Stowaway, 116

The Omtec Prime was a very round merperson with dark blue colouring and lots of long frills, all fringed with orange and then yellow. Zhe had dark eyes that were set apart in zhier head and a small snout for a nose, and zhier body paint was swirling patterns of yellow.

When zhe spoke, zheir mouth was full of multiple rows of sharp teeth, and Pax was quite certain he saw a venom sac in there as well. Zheir ‘Vyle was accented in a way that suggested it was not zheir first language, but it wasn’t hard to decipher.

“I’m so grateful to finally meet you,” Zhe said, clapping zhier hands together. “The Emvel Prime’s messages about the mysterious sky people were so fascinating. You must be Captain Natalie.”

Stowaway, 104

“Being a patriarch isn’t such a big deal,” Louis said, as Pax considered the injury on his lower back. It was just a shallow scratch, nothing to be concerned about, apparently. Dragons supposedly healed fairly quickly, in any case.

The claw marks on his chest were a little more serious, but they’d probably be fine too. Denver was putting ointment on them just in case. “I think it’s a really big deal,” Denver said. “And you’re just good at it.”

“I mean obviously I’m good at it,” Louis said, tail swishing. He hit Pax’s ankle. “Sorry.”

Stowaway, 93

Denver’s goodbye hug with Pax had turned into a goodbye kiss, which had turned into some goodbye making out, which Pax tolerated bravely for a good amount of time before gently making Denver disengage from him. “Goodbye, Denver. I’ll see you in roughly three weeks.”

Denver smiled, floating back. “Maybe sooner. I might come visit. Or you could come visit.”

“I’m sure I will,” Pax agreed.

We’ll definitely drop in, said Nate. See how you’re doing.

“Great,” said Denver, as Louis also hugged Pax.

Pax did not kiss Louis, but he did hug back. “You keep Denver and Alse out of trouble,” Pax ordered him.

“I was going to do that anyway.”

Stowaway, 92

Nilmeain Kasar was the most interesting city Pax had ever explored while wearing nothing but body paint.

Unlike Archer’s Rest, it was laid out in a very sensible way that was very easy to navigate thanks in no small part to the signage everywhere, once Pax had gotten used to the spiral shapes. Unlike Bethel’s Frontier, it was quite temperate. Unlike Jdinrma-Hash, people generally were quite happy to give directions to an obvious foreigner. And unlike Barnt, no birds were pecking any of his sensitive areas.

And unlike any human city Pax had ever been in, clothed or no, Nilmeain Kasar was ruled by his best friend’s husband, so everyone was excited to give him stuff.

“You don’t find a blade of this calibre every day,” said the artisan Pax was speaking with. “That’s made from thrice-erupted ageon strengthened with blackwild, and the handle is living coral from the Y’nn’a Fields.”

Stowaway, 91

Sembel Nok was the name of Alse’s palace, and it was very big, which was helped by the fact that being underwater meant it didn’t need to accept land-based restraints on how much support a building needed before collapsing. Or that was what Hyel told him before admitting to not being an architect, which was very silly of xer.

Pax would never have admitted to not being something.