Outside, the sun was still rising, and the streets were empty. Shadows fell between the interconnect buildings and across a canal; snow was built up in the corners here and there, but otherwise, it had all gone from the streets.
"They're just...talking," Vlad said. He and Liya were peering through the bookshelves at Yoshi and Shinobu, who were seated at a table speaking in low voices. Liya leaned back.
"They ain't yellin', though," she said. Vlad began to pace up and down the aisle, which was deserted except for them, and lit only by a pale, dusty light coming down from above. Liya remained where she was, and eventually leaned forward again against the bookcase, shifting her weight to one foot as she watched.
"Hey Vlad," she said presently. "I got a question."
"What's that," Vlad answered, now fussing with the closer-cropped hair on the back of his head.
"You study monsters with Shinobu, right?"
"Yeah, I'm the teaching resident in Bestiary Studies. Why?"