“You are… not a Thanatian…”
Laina shook her scaly, snake-like tail, sitting herself upright on the sofa as the leader of this strange race approached her. She was both upset and amused with the fact that this being did not know what she was. It was to be expected from a backwater collection of solar systems like this, but at least the being didn’t insult her by mistaking her for a Temthan.
Like most Neraids, she was used to being in liquid, and her body felt incredibly heavy on dry land. What made matters worse was the awkward OuterLung device around her neck, allowing her to breathe properly in this planet’s thin atmosphere. Clearly the beings here were used to an atmosphere of only 20% oxygen. Surprisingly though, despite the being in front of her being quite small, the rest of their architecture was plenty large enough for Laina and her incredibly long body.
“Hello…” The being wasn’t nervous, but they weren’t happy either. “I apologise, I was told I would be meeting a Thanatian concerning a race from outside the Maza Systems. I did not realise I would be speaking directly to your kind…”
The being bowed. Laina inspected it up and down. Two hundred Centis tall, excluding tail; natural armour hidden by shiny silver and black armour on top; large black and green wings; standard hardened head plate. Obviously a Panvok being. Her guards probably would not have had trouble dealing with it at first glance, but there was a hidden power to the creature.
“It is no problem!” Laina smiled. At least the being realised its mistake. “I am Laina, Vasila of the Neraids. I have come to propose. We should have an opening of trades between us.”
Again, the being bowed. Laina noticed the fangs in its mouth, and its large eyes. Definitely a Panvok. But one of those distantly related ones.
“My name is Elkay Theanon, High General of the Retha. It is an honour to meet you. I admit I have not heard of Neraids. Where in this massive universe are you from? And why are you here?”
Laina liked this Elkay being already. Polite, kind, and both humble and powerful at the same time.
“We were pointed in this direction by Tavrans. They have their ties. They recommended you and your group. For trade and protection. For the Temthans do not like us.”
“You are in danger?” Laina noticed the different tones in Elkay’s voice. There was something about the way he spoke that made him seem… almost attractive. And almost certainly trustworthy.
“No. Not at all. We just wish to spread ourselves. Meet new races. Trade. Make allies. Peace with Temthans is temporary. We would like friends in case they change their minds. We heard what you did.”
Elkay sighed. “I thought as much.”
“A tongue of gold.”
“So they all say…” Elkay’s tone changed. There was sorrow in those big, red eyes of his. “Unfortunately, us Rethans do not normally operate solo. We have to work with the other members of the Maza. While I would quite like to say yes, of course we can be allies, I have to discuss this with the leaders of my allies, and we must approve your relationship together. After all, I hardly know of your kind, and you may not be happy sharing space with Thanatians or Banikans or Vohra or something like that.”
“That is fine!” Laina smiled. “I can stay for a bit.”
“You misunderstand,” Elkay tried to explain. “This process could take months. While I can try and speed things up as much as I can, at the end of the day, this is a group and we must take each others’ considerations into account.”
“But we remain in contact. While the process happens. Yes?”
Laina’s smile turned into a grin. “Then that is all that is needed. Perhaps more Neraids shall come to visit. Perhaps some of your kind will visit. I believe we can benefit all.”
“I hope we can come to a swift agreement,” Elkay smiled weakly. “Do you require anything while you are here?”
“Thank you, but no. My guards and I, we shall tour. This city, then to the multicultural worlds. Get a feel for it all. Would offer you to come, but I assume you are busy?”
“I am,” Elkay nodded, glancing down at a wristband. “I must apologise, but I have a lot of work I must attend do.”
Laina swished her tail and bowed, then turned to leave. “Thank you.”
“Thank you too.”
Once the long, snake-like being had left and was out of earshot, Elkay called for one of his captains. Immediately, Vallas and Teekay appeared.
“How was the meeting?” Teekay asked.
The High General shrugged. “Well, I suppose… But that was very strange.
“That is the second new species to want to meet up with us in a week…”