It's a slow day at Milliways, and the kobold is getting bored. Usually she'd solve this with a math lesson, or a conversation with Bar, or just heading home to catch up with her tribe, but one of her friends asked her to do some scouting, recently, so that's today's task. She goes up to her room for it, makes a portal to a random ship, and watches.
"I guess that's safe if you have good reaction time and they don't have some kind of automatic defense system."
She's amused. "That's not a problem, the portal is one-way except for light. I can't actually do two-way portals, if I want that I have to make two of them."
"Huh! Is there a reason light's the exception?"
"I think it has to do with how I got the magic in the first place; it happened in an unusual way that sometimes has side effects like that. It's kind of complicated, to explain, though."
"I'm listening if you're willing to get into it."
"Sure." She sits, leaning against one of the stone outcroppings. "My world actually has two magic systems; the other one just happens to people, instead of anyone being in control of it. What happens with that is that you get inspired, and can't really focus on anything else except making the artifact that the magic is inspiring you to make. It's kind of dangerous, people go insane sometimes if they can't find the materials they need, but if they make their artifact, it's magic, and sometimes it's a kind of thing that nobody has seen before - a new tool, sometimes, or a weapon, or clothing or armor that helps whoever wears it. And that happened to me, and my artifact is the mental tool, called a spell form, that I use to cast with. And I think being able to make portals that have light come through the wrong way is the artifact magic of my spell form."
"I was following that until you said 'the artifact magic of my spell form'."
"Like - you could have an artifact bowl that turned water you poured into it into soup; turning water into soup would be the bowl's artifact magic. The spell form isn't a thing in the real world, like a bowl is, but it's still a thing that exists and can have artifact magic like that."
"I'm still not sure I get it."
She shrugs. "I'm not sure how else to explain it."
"Oh well. So this cave is - in Milliways?"
"Well, in the backyard, anyway. There are human-style rooms for rent, too, but I'm more comfortable here, it's like home. We can go in whenever you're ready."
She deposits them neatly just inside the main entrance of the bar, this time.
"Oh, when you said the backyard I imagined walking, but I suppose you probably don't have much reason to walk places unless you're adding to your repertoire."
"And I enjoy it, but it's a bit of a hike from the cave to the bar."
"Reasonable! It's safe to touch things here?"
"Mmhmm. The bar might have a free drink for you - regular patrons get one, but I've never actually done this before. They're a person, the bar."
"How does that work?"
Shrug. "Magic. They don't remember how they started, lots of people ask that. They talk by making napkins with writing on them, but telepaths can see them just fine and everything."
She walks over to the bar. She says hello. She gets a free drink.
The kobold follows. "Has anybody interesting turned up?"
A little girl with a flute; she's in the infirmary talking to the on duty staff right now. You just missed a fellow who wouldn't take antidepressants even at a discount, unfortunately. And someone very annoyed that I couldn't sell magic items who left in a huff.
"Time magic didn't work in my favor this time, huh? Oh well."