I think it was about here that readers started guessing we had plans to Joss Whedon this relationship, by which I mean “make it sweet, funny, and brief because one of them will die far too soon,” not “make it nominally feminist enough to be a shield for our own toxic behavior.” Man, linguistic creep is hard to deal with sometimes, and by “linguistic creep” I mean “the mostly slow, sometimes rapid change of words or phrases’ definitions,” not “Joss Whedon, that linguistics-obsessed creep!”

Oh, well, you can’t fool all of the readers all of the time. I was a bit bothered that they were on to us with this one, but not bothered enough to change course. These two deserved what kindness we could give them now, and we were pretty committed to both their stories’ endings at this point.

Would’ve been awkward if they’d come in any earlier, though. Good thing Syr’Nj is a quick dresser.

In the corner is the quiet debut of Sephora, the stoic, somewhat ethnocentric sky elf medic commissioned by Kensou. She won’t have a huge role, but we will see her in a succeeding chapter.