"Wh-what?" Yoshi stammered. Vlad rounded on her.
"The cops are going to turn up, and they're going to trounce everyone in ten blocks who isn't a spirit. Milou!" he shouted into the phone, as apparently someone had picked up. He turned away from Yoshi. "Qefer Clinic just exploded, I need some help--"
"What about you??" Yoshi said uncertainly. Vlad glanced at her again, hesitating.
"Uh--there's a teahouse on Ruttruqc," he said quickly. "If I don't meet you there in an hour, go home."
He left then without another look back, jogging across the street towards the clinic, speaking in fast Aetherian to Milou on the phone. Yoshi watched him go uneasily.
"Liya?" she said finally.
"Yeah," Liya croaked.
They set off quickly, ducking into another alley that led down a flight of steps, past a couple of monsters that were peering out onto the street to see what was going on. As they descended onto a quiet, narrow street that ran parallel to the one above, the night lights around them slowed and gradually changed color, going from orange to pink to violet again. Yoshi and Liya slowed down, casting glances around as they went. They passed lit windows and doorsteps, but no more people.
They looked at each other grimly, but said nothing. Then came a thumping from up ahead, where warm light spilled out into the street. They both stopped dead, and then Liya reached over wordlessly, pushing Yoshi to one side.