"Huh," Vlad said thoughtfully. "Okay."
"It did get a reaction," the pregnant spirit said.
A creature that was little more than a dark, vaguely bird-like shape with round red eyes spoke up quite clearly from its perch on the table. "Making veiled threats against the Assembly seems..."
"Unwise?" the spirit next to it finished. The huge lion that had been sitting behind the table leaned over to join the conversation.
"Yeh. Ain't gonna be so good fer us if he gets himself assassinated."
They fell into discussion then, about why the Cynn had done what he did, and how it worked to their advantage. Liya sat back and stole a look at Yoshi, who was listening to the conversation raptly. She rolled her eyes.
"You don't seem to care much for the Cynn, eh?"
The speaker was the dark-skinned, freckly spirit sitting beside her, the one with the long red hair. They had brought their chair back down onto all four legs and now stretched, yawning, showing long incisors.
"I don't have ta," Liya answered flatly.
"I suppose not," the spirit agreed. "Are you Archipelagan? You sound it."
"Do you believe the propaganda, then?"
"N-No," Liya muttered, flushing. "But if y'all had never come to my world, I'd..." she paused, and then finished quietly, "I'd still have a fucking family."
"Oh, aye??" The spirit propped their chin on one hand and regarded her with heavy-lidded pale eyes, their thin eyebrows arching. "Is it so simple as that? You would still be waste to the humans in your world. Aetheri or no Aetheri. It is just easier for them to pick off people like you, than it is to engage with us. And easier for you to blame us than to engage with them."
A thought rolled past Liya's mind's eye, all blurry figures limned by light so bright it had gone greenish. "You don't know nothin' about me," she murmured.