The portalsnake doesn't keep Azan from winning its war.
They take prisoners. One of them is not going to catch Maki's eye.
“I like the idea of having things organized by kind?”
If she has time for it now he can organize everything in a way that makes her happy.
She claps her hands together and grins. “Thank you!”
He does that. It takes a while. But hey, it'll be fun to watch her and nag her every time she finishes using something.
She looks frustrated and almost upset the first few times he does, but after that she just seems happy about it, and happier in general.
He doesn't have a good baseline to compare with but he's hopeful this means he's useful.
He is so useful. The most useful. Vida has never been this efficient in her life. By any chance does Valan want to keep working for her after he’s free?
"...You're planning to free me?"
“Yeah? What, did you think we were going to keep you under watch forever?”
"...Yes. That's very kind of you. It's a little early to say but I think I'd like working for you then."
She beams. “Oh, thank you! Do you know how hard it is to find a good assistant?”
"I try! I'm surprised you couldn't take your pick of Azanis, though, it seems like what you do here is important enough that you should."
“Important, yes, safe, no. And with the workshop being the mess it was...”
"It's nice to know I'm good for something. Do you have any other problems on that scale?"
Not exactly but she could definitely use someone she can trust with the details of what she’s working on, so they can stop her from making stupid mistakes or missing obvious answers. There’s a reason she has to keep her hair so short. And that reason is that fire and distractibility don’t mix well.
"...I assume you're not going to consider me trustworthy any time soon..."
What? No, he seems trustworthy. More trustworthy than at least a few of the Azani assistants she’s tried, anyway.
"You're not worried I'm going to betray you for the honor of Sesat?"
“Are you planning on betraying me for the honor of Sesat?”
"No, but couldn't I say that even if I were?"
“You’d have done it by now if you were going to. “
"...I guess that makes sense. In that case do I get to know how you're planning to keep Iral from taking northern Sesat?"
“...I’ve heard nothing yet about Iral making a move on it.”
"But they're going to - I guess you haven't lived next to them, it wouldn't be obvious to you. They've been trying to claim some of the land near our border with them for years. Usually it's just little skirmishes that don't go anywhere, at the most, but with our entire army disarmed and yours tied up watching us..."
Vida doesn’t say anything for some time.