The portalsnake doesn't keep Azan from winning its war.
They take prisoners. One of them is not going to catch Maki's eye.
“Maki!” Azan he says with audible relief. “I thought you were dead!”
“No, I...sort of...it’s a long story. I brought a friend with information for you.”
There is a brief whispering between Azan he and someone next to him.
“Maki, why do you have a talking bird?”
“Their name is Iri. They came back with me from another world. Their Azani isn’t very good but they can understand what you say and I can translate some for them. They can see Iral.”
“What do you mean, see Iral?”
"I have magic. I can see faraway places. I can see the past, too."
“I want to test this,” Azan he says once Maki translates.
"Of course. How?"
“...Can someone find Dama? She’ll be better for this.”
”Yes, my king,” someone answers.
”Until she gets here, would you mind telling me more about how your magic works?”
"People where I'm from can all do magic. There are twelve kinds, everyone can do one of them. I can get information."
"The magic has to understand the question. If you ask me 'which is bigger, the sun or the moon?' I can use magic to find out how big both of them are. I have to think about it to know which one is bigger. And I can't exactly read minds. Mostly."
"I can see things that are... out in the world. Sometimes intentions are out there. When you say things in Azani, I'm reading your intention to communicate. And I've had a little experience with Maki so now I can tell a few things about humans - probably not as much as you can tell just by looking with your eyes, I only have a little experience. The only way magic makes me better at that is I can do it from behind a wall."
“...So if I think really hard at you?” Azan he asks.
"...I don't think you can do it without trying to talk - or write, that sort of works - but if someone cut out your tongue, say, I could understand you if you just pretended nothing was wrong and kept trying. I think."
Azan he keeps asking questions, absolutely delighted.
Eventually Dama shows up.
”My king,” she says as she enters, then “Maki!” She runs up to him and hugs him tight. “I’m glad you’re not dead.”
”Yeah, me too,” Maki says, a little surprised.
Once she’s caught up, she nods thoughtfully. “But why do you have a magic bird?”
”I don’t have them, they’re my friend.”
“Okay. So, what, you want me to write things down somewhere else? Come up with questions to ask?”
"You want me to watch what she writes and tell you?"
Iri watches her - mostly, with breaks to look around themself just in case - as she goes out of ordinary sight. Then they start narrating. "She's writing the number fifty thousand two hundred one. Now she's writing words... book... bird... rock? I think that's what those words mean, I don't know how to pronounce them in Azani. I think she might be drawing something... but I don't know what it is..."
When she’s done drawing, she comes back to show the paper to Maki, who confirms what Iri had said.
”And is that... supposed to be Iri?” he asks.
"Oh! I see it now." Iri strikes a pose.