"Yay I got on the shortlist to get us both tickets!"
"Intercontinental Occult Diplomacy 's next concert: The Compass of Ten Directions."
"Oh, is it supposed to be good?"
"Yes, yes, silly Amarat, most ICOD concerts are good."
"Abyssal Wasteland kinda earned its title with me, I must say..."
"Ok, ok, that one was before I got into the band, but even I heard it wasn't that good... I couldn't get us tickets to this next one in Kagomine, they're not touring here though, [sob]!"
"Where they touring?"
"Tsou, Moniq, and Nisei."
"You got until you buy the tickets to pick the location, right?"
"Yeah, what are you thinking?"
"Tsou and Moniq are going to be packed, even with the pandemic, but Nisei has the strictest measures.
"And you know people there... Your tutor right?"
"Tsk tsk, he's a lot more than my tutor, he's the founder of flyforce!"
"Hari Pawtel is it?"
"Magelord Pawtel, or highness, if you meet him and he's got an entourage.
"How strong is he?"
"He was runner-up for Earlmage Kautanissian, he's big league sorceror material."
"Ooh, and he's pushing 80?"
"89, but let's not ask him, it'd make a scene."
"Why? I hear they ask women their age all the time."
"Yeah, with the assumption they're young and inconsequential... If you're past 70 in that place, you're serious magic mojo. At 89, he's probably the strongest mage they ever had. They don't think it's an insult to ask a woman's age, because they'll just deflect with a compliment about your good looks."
"Are the women there all stupid?"
"Stupid no? Interested in keeping the men complacent and feeding them compliments? Every one I've met."
"Can I see your ticket?" The attendant asked Amarat, in Nisan, while another did the same with Flora. Amarat was fluent, and he had practiced two dozen phrases with Flora just to smooth this over.
"Here." He showed her his jade bank, but the high tech glass of it seemed too shiny and it took five tries to scan his ticket properly, while Flora's comparatively lower-tech phone scanned on the first try. Ironically, his phone was a Nisei product. From next year's crop of new models. They'll get it right, if he comes back next year for a concert, it'll probably scan on the first try, or so he told himself.
"Have a nice show!"
"What's with your new phone? You didn't bring your service one?"
"I can't take my work phone with me, unless I'm on a diplomatic mission, remember? This one is a personal one, and a present from uncle Pawtel, for my last arnday."
"You get foreign chiefs of state to send you arnday presents?"
"Just the one that taught me Mathematics."
"Oh, he's been a friend of the family long then?"
"Twenty-plus years now."
"What a nice phone, doesn't look like a foreigner's." Interjected a visiting fan, wearing a cosplay uniform directly inspired by Rulers of Earth, the band's' last concert, she shone in a cuirass of white plastic meant to represent mystical jade armor, with seams of indigo. Her face shone, glinting with silver and platinum seams while her eyes were outlined in midnight blue and lightly dusted with sparkles reminding of gemstones, a silver tiara completed the outfit.
"He's mine." Flora interjected, wrapping herself around Amarat.
"I'm just curious about the phone, unless you bought it on the island, they're impossible to get..."
"Which is why you have one, having bought it on the Island, like most diplomats do, wouldn't you, Ambassador dell'Auro?"
"You recognized me?"
"Not many would wear the dell'Auro crest on their tiaras like that."
"Are you a friend of father's?"
"You don't recognize me? I thought I made quite an impression."
"Amarat lil-doodle-bug! Give me a hug!"
"I'll smear the make up."
"Amarat-Snuggle-bug." She whined.
"Are you going to introduce us, Amarat, or should I slam my big heel onto her big toe and call it a greeting?"
"You grow cruel, and terrible in your power as you get older."
"I doubt anything I can do out of love can be terrible, except we admitting we never had any."
"Touché, that is a dark and terrible beast."
"Aren't you two third cousins?"
"Does she know?"
"Yes, yes, we're actual third cousins, unlike Annunzia and Natalia."
"Why do you mind so much? You're just as much a Dell'Auro as Natalia or Annunzia?"
"No, I'm more, but because it's a secret, I'm less, I don't expect you to understand."
"I'm a bastard, why do you think I wouldn't understand?"
"I keep forgetting you are..."
"My real dad is just a priest."
"Ok, you got me there. He's a Domei now."
Towards Natalia Dell'Auro
Towards Ninu dell'Auro