|What Could Possibly Go Wrong?|
There aren't very many residents who share Rayne's love of trees for so profoundly a different reason as Liyara does. Honestly, every time she sees one, she has to remind herself that societies frown upon their lovely foliage being turned into even lovelier torches. But oh, they do go up so nicely, and surely she could light just one? ... No. No. No, save it for later. There'll always be some big fight in which she accidentally burns down a tree. Who could blame her for being imperfect? Surely no one would think she missed on purpose. Who does that?
And so when Liyara comes walking through the area to look at furnishings, she is also looking at the trees, envisioning them as flaming spears stabbing upward into the sky. Oh, they are so beautiful in her mind's eye. This is really the only reason she's looking up, as she, like most people, doesn't really look up when walking about. But any reason is good enough, when it lets her someone in the trees. She starts wandering in that direction, which seems more like a glide than anything else. Her feet are touching the ground, but only barely.
Rayne currently only has a single eye open, and is in fact barely paying attention to what's going on around her. The motion in red, however, does catch said eye and she glances downward at the approaching... Oh, it's Liyara again. Aaaaand the half-dragon has apparently noticed her. Or at least noticed that someone is there. The second eye is opened and she adjusts her position, going from lounging with just her upper back against the trunk and resting her crossed legs up on the branch to fully sitting more or less upright with both legs dangling off the same side of the branch, facing the approaching one. Well, just in case she's not noticed, she's holding off on saying anything just yet.
"That certainly looks comfortable." Liyara comments as she approaches the tree, more to herself than Rayne, but Rayne can probably hear it. When Liyara leans over and angles her head to get a better look up in the tree, she notices rainbow hair. Well, that certainly narrows things down. It's really very considerate of Rayne to make it easier to identify her that way. Liyara slowly drifts to a stop just underneath the tree and just... watches Rayne for a moment. Her tail flits back and forth on the ground below, leaving small dust clouds in its wake. She doesn't say anything more, but she smiles brightly. Something about it seems to say, "I caught you!"
Rayne doesn't attempt to hide the fact that she's there after Liyara speaks up. "Well, it's not exactly soft, but it works. In the week before I got an apartment here, I actually did sleep up in trees in the park. I've spent a fair enough amount of time on Cevernal travelling and got used to it there," she says casually. "How's the city treating you, Liyara?" ...That seems to be her standard greeting.
"Cevernal." Liyara tests out the word, raising an eyebrow but not asking any more about it. Rayne will offer if she wants, and Liyara gets to not be seen as nosy! Ah, the subtleties of human conversation. Much more fun than Dragon conversation. ... Much.
"It seems to be treating me much the same. I'm fed well and have amassed a small..." Don't say hoard. Don't say hoard. "...mountain of books." ... That was little better. But it was better.
Rayne nods. "Last planet I was on before I came here. Long, complicated story behind that. Anyway... A mountain? Glad you've landed on your feet and found a place to stay, then." Gods, when did she get so bad at small talk? She looks over her shoulder at the nearby apartment complex, then motions with her head in that direction. "Are you staying there, or have you found another place?"
After blinking for a moment, Liyara shakes her head. "Oh. I don't hoard the actual documents." Blood of Tiamat, she said it anyway! She clears her throat to distract from her choice of words, and then taps her temple slightly. "They're in here." Did she memorize them, or...? "None of them said anything about Cevernal, though." Well, she clearly wasn't reading the right books.
Rayne nods, saying, "Aaaah, so just a metaphorical mountain, then. And it doesn't surprise me that you've not come across it... as far as I know, I'm the only..." She pauses, then corrects herself, "It's only been me and one other that's come from my universe... and I know I didn't write any books, and kinda doubt she did, either. But she did bring one or two. Only in digital format, though. No clue what happened to her, though." She shrugs, clearly not distraught over this other person from her universe. Heck, she almost forgot about her.
"Digital?" Liyara doesn't seem familiar with the term, but a second later, she makes a small sound of revelation. "Ah. Stored on a computer." She pauses, tilting her head to one side, and her eyes glass over, like she's reading something. But she's not. After a moment longer, she tilts her head back a bit. "...I wonder about the backwards compatibility of an advanced space race's formats with this place's computers." Whoa, wait, didn't she not even recognize the term a second ago?
Rayne nods. "Yeah, on a computer." She blinks at the pause, raising an eyebrow at the look on Liyara's face. There's a slight pause after Liyara's question before she cautiously says, "Uh... well... You'd be surprised how advanced the computer systems actually are around here. There's stuff here that's well advanced of even where I'm from. Especially in Artificial Intelligence."
"Oh?" Liyara smiles. Advanced computers. She's been doing this the slow way, it turns out. "...That's good to know." Really good, actually. But Artificial Intelligence? That draws another, longer pause from Liyara. Artificial Intelligence. Her eyes glass over again. Reading. Reading. Wait. "...Ah!" Liyara's overly-green eyes widen and then her face brightens, too. "AI. That's what Jack was talking about the other day, isn't it?" ...? Oh. Bishop. Well, sure. ... She only just got that? Well. She did get it. That's what counts, right? "...I admit, I don't think I fully understood at the time." Someone has high standards for herself.
Rayne tilts her head further at the new long pause. "You have some sort of... magical book storage ability?" she ventures. "Okay, I'm kinda jealous now. But... yeah, that's AI. Synths, as they tend to be called here. Medical Mechanica makes them... but they're pretty damned secretive about it."
"Magical..." Liyara looks confused at Rayne's question, but only briefly. She seems to be the type to only ever show confusion briefly. Either she understands things quickly, or hides her feelings a lot. Or maybe both. "Oh, no. Nothing so elaborate. I almost exclusively use incendiary magic." Once more, the winged woman taps her temple again with her index finger.
"Eidetic memory, or close enough." There's a half-skip, and then Liyara explains, as if realizing that more context would be helpful. "I remember what I see near-perfectly, but I still have to consciously read it once it's in here." Her eyes lid at the explanation of Medical Mechanica though, and Liyara's smile turns into a bit of a grin. "...I do love secrets." Uh oh.
Rayne blinks, then nods. "Fire, huh? Kinda my strongsuit, too, with magic. Seriously, I just know little tricks like cleaning and mending spells, and then there's the fire stuff." No, she's not demonstrating while in the tree. "For obvious reasons," she states, then just moves on. "But that's some memory you've got if you can memorize entire books without really knowing what's in them! You sure it isn't magical?" That look on Liyara's face... doesn't disturb Rayne as much as it probably should. She leans forward and says, barely loud enough to be heard, "I never said this. But if you happen to find out information, there's people that want to know." And then she's right back to conversational tone again. "Well, so long as you know the difference between secrets that should be out in public and the ones that... shouldn't?" She's talking government and corporation transparency versus personal privacy, but who knows if she's getting that across or not.
There's a quick nod from Liyara when Rayne comments on being good at fire. Well, Liyara seems to be under the impression from their previous conversation that Rayne is a half-dragon, so it would make sense to her. "It's not magic, but I certainly am." The redhead pauses, furrowing her brow. "...At the risk of coming off poorly again, my mind just works..." She clenches her jaw. Don't say better. Don't say smoother. Don't use comparatives at all! "...fast." Good... "So it's normal to me." Right, but not to other people, is the implication. Hey, implying it is better than saying it! Progress!
"Oh, and I'm a teacher, I'm very good at distinguishing between what makes good curriculum and what should be..." Used for blackmail. "...private." Yes, that.
Rayne nods, then sighs. Of course, with Rayne it's not the dragon that's bringing out the fire aspect, but what her father was. "Yeah, wish I were anywhere above average in that regard. But I'm a little below if anything, considering how old I am." Yes, Rayne didn't take offense at that this time, it seems. She then tilts her head. "A teacher? What do you teach?"
"Well, as headmaster of the Tolarian academy..." Liyara begins, pride more than a little evident in her voice. Never mind how she was almost kicked out when she first arrived. Nevermind that at all. "...I teach all subjects. Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, etc." No. Don't say etc. The schools of magic aren't common knowledge here, Liyara! "...I don't practice anything but Evocation. But that's never stopped anyone from being a good teacher before." Go back! You left a few out!
"Oh, and... are you of an unusual age? You appear to be, well... about my age." Apparent age. Liyara is much older than she looks, but there's a lot of that going around in this conversation.
Rayne blinks. "Headmaster? Have you considered employment at the academy here?" she asks, but the specialization of the academy that Liyara had been apart of quickly becomes clear. "Ooooh. All magic stuff, then? And yeah, that's called 'the paradox of expertise,' I think? Or something like that? Where the best at doing something usually is a pretty lousy teacher at it?" She sounds slightly unsure of herself at this, but then promptly forgets this and nods. "Yeah, well... I'm assuming you mean the age you appear, as opposed to your actual age... I'm about four hundred." Yes, Rayne assumes that someone that looks as young as Liyara looks isn't actually that young when they've been a headmaster of a school.
"Indeed. Though for my purposes, evocation is no harder to teach than the others. Dragons and their kin have inherent magic, so study isn't really our preferred method of advancement." Liyara tilts her head and laughs a little. Her laughter is rich, warm, and pleasant. "But I've found that knowledge is the key to almost everything." Blackmail, espionage, and forbidden magic are all quite handy! "So I feel blessed."
"Four hundred! Oh my!" Liyara looks genuinely surprised. "Well, you don't look a day over twenty-six!" Oddly specific. "I'm not in your range, but you're right that I look younger than I am." She smiles brightly. "Draconic blood. Burns away the impurities. Or so I tell my students." She seems to be enjoying herself, now.
Rainbow Dash is making her way across the area, her shadow zooming along on the pavement below her and she catches sight of some people she's met before and decides to try and be social! Not that it's a real issue usually, but she's been exploring this place..and trying to find a way out! So, she swoops down about level with Rayne's perch. "Yo!"
Rayne shrugs. "Well, I don't know the full differences, granted. I'm sure that does make it more difficult for you to explain it, though, having it be so inherant. I know I had to have an expert actually look at something inherent in me to make an enhancing magic item for it. I certainly couldn't have explained it to him." The mention of twenty six specifically gets an odd look. "I'm... not sure how I should take that. I stopped aging when I was seventeen, but I suppose I do try to make myself seem older... so other people give me more respect." She pauses, then grins. "Yeah, but it's not nearly so age inhibiting as Phoenix, is it?" She then spots the motion a little upward and looks up at the other rainbow hair/maned one approaches. "Oh, hello, Rainbow Dash. How's the city treating you?"
Rainbow Dash says, "It's okay so far," she nods, she doesn't intend on staying here long after all. She has a life! "I don't intend on gettin used to it. This little blue Pegasus is gonna find a way home."
The sight of a pony zooming down out of the air should get more of a reaction from Liyara than it does, but she's basically decided that this place is like if the Feywild and the Shadowfell collided, and everyone lives in the wreckage. So she just smiles. "Ah. The flying pony." Success! Didn't insult the pegasus! "Good day!" Liyara seems to be in a good mood.
"I don't know too much about Phoenix blood; they don't generally mix with the populace in Toril, as they're rare, fleeting, and..." She makes a bird-shaped gesture with her hands, trying to explain that they can't really casually become humanoids like dragons can, but then shrugs. "...Not romantically inclined." Well there you go. She just came right out and said it. After a moment, she pauses, then gives Rayne another look over. "...It's only just now occurred to me. You greet everyone that way."
Rayne gives Dash an apologetic smile. It's become clear to her how miserable Rainbow Dash can get in this limited space and projected sky over Mabase. She sighs and shakes her head, then looks back to Liyara. "Well, that's a difference between our universes, I suppose. Plenty rare and fleeting, I suppose, but I personally consider it a bit too long since I've had a romantic partner." She blinks and then says, "Well... yeah. I'm kind of a representative of the city, in a way, so I like to know how things are going in that regard."
Rainbow Dash says, "I know a Phoenix...her name's Philomina, she's Princess Celestia's pet. And in Neo-Tokyo, there was a few people who were part Phoenix. I have NO idea how that even works."
"Ah, well. I'm sure you could find someone if you were truly so inclined." Liyara dismisses Rayne's comment about romance casually; apparently she thinks that Rayne should have no difficulties in that regard. Why? Probably superficial reasons. It's not like Liyara knows Rayne very well. And she has a low estimation of humans, so... if Rayne really wants to do the math, she could probably work it out.
"But I'm surprised someone as old as you would..." Liyara, if you say 'stoop so low', you will have to strangle yourself. "...deign to do government work." Oh, someone doesn't think very highly of governments, either? Well, medieval governments were probably pretty poorly structured, so that tracks. Liyara glances to Rainbow Dash after a longer moment, and then gives a little laugh. "A pet phoenix? Well, I suppose when they're young..." She seems to think the idea is silly. But then, she would probably react the same way if someone said they had a pet dragon. Which people sometimes do.
Rayne visibly winces at the mention of the pet Phoenix. "Yeah," she says with a mildly annoyed tone. "Twilight mentioned her, too." She shakes her head in annoyance, then says, "Well, like I've said before, different universes have different rules... especially with so-called mythological species." She then winces again at Liyara's mention of 'oh, you can just find someone'. "Easier said than done," she mumbles, having long since lost her confidence in being able to tell when someone is as remotely interested in her as she is in them. No, she's at a point in her life where she just hides those feelings out of a sense of fear, and can't figure out how to get herself out of that rut. "Well, I kind of just... fell into the role, honestly. My predecessor was a god of sun and war, ran TASK as a paramilitary group... after the whole dimensional collapse thing, I restructured it entirely into the Mabase City Police Department." She gives Liyara an odd look at the mention of 'when they're young,' but then shakes her head to dismiss her own distaste at that remark.
Rainbow Dash says, "Naw...Philomina is really, really old...." she shrugs. Just a burning bird after all. "Fluttershy caused a little problem when she thought she was sick and took her to try and heal her. turns out she was just, ya know, gonna rebirth herself or something."
It seems to take Liyara a bit by surprise when Rayne says that different universes have different rules for 'mythological species'. Mythological? She did read that not all universes seem to have Dragons, but... She tilts her head and her eyes glass over for a moment. Rayne will probably recognize this as her doing some more reading in her head. "...Oh. I see." She un-spaces out just in time to catch Rayne's odd look, and she offers an apologetic smile. "...I've met a baby phoenix before. They were almost as intelligent as an adult human, and much better conversation." ... Wait, really? "...So they could..." She slows down in her speech. "Make... a good..." Her eyes narrow, and her tail flicks. "... I'm doing it again, aren't I?" Maybe a little.
Rayne mumbles, "Doubt she's as old as my father," before shrugging. Philimina was an old conversation for her. She looks between the two again, then says, "I... probably should clarify... in my home universe, those types of 'magical' species and the like... they're all what my father called 'second level' species. As in... every one of them is born without anything inherently odd except for maybe a few tells. Hair in phoenixes, eyes in a dragon, for instance. I don't know about Fey, Coatls, or Thunderbirds. Actually, I'm not sure Thunderbirds actually exist... BUT... Yeah, something happens in the normal lifespan and the latent heritage gets activated. With phoenixes, it's dying an unnatural or violent death, with dragons it's involving overcoming extreme emotional adversity..." She then pauses and looks back and forth, then facepalms. "...You two don't know I'm a phoenix, do you?" She forgets that's not common knowledge, sometimes.
Rainbow Dash says, "I think you sorta mentioned it before..." she shrugs in the air, 'Or I coulda been thinkin' about what's her name back in Neo-Tokyo. Human names are weird, though...."
Liyara just lets her head droop a little bit. "...I just put it together a second ago." So that's what that was. Doing it again was 'insulting you again', then. She takes a deep breath, and then shrugs. "...I guess I'll just get used to being the rude one." Her intentions are good! ... Well, at the moment anyway.
"Your places are both pretty different; I've never heard of a phoenix-blood, let alone..." She gestures at all of Rayne, because that says everything, doesn't it? "...And in my world, it's very common for horses to talk and even fly, but I've not met a single flying, talking pony until I arrived here." She pauses, thinking for a moment. "...And actually, never a pony pegasus."
Rainbow Dash laughs, "hey, where I come from, I'm the rude one- don't worry about it! I can get all four hooves in my mouth at once!"
Rayne shrugs to Rainbow Dash. She honestly doesn't remember if she told her before or not. "Well, pony names are weird for us, too." It's as she explained how the races work in her universe... she still considers herself human as well. She then looks to Liyara and says, "Don't worry about it. Like I said, different universes, different rules." She glances between the two, then says, "The first I met was an alicorn." She then smiles bemusedly and says, "That would take a lot of flexibility and a big mouth."
Rainbow Dash says, "I'm sure Pinkie Pie could do it."
This just draws a burst of suppressed laughter from Liyara, who covers her mouth with the back of her hand to help keep it muffled. "It sounds like you have some interesting friends, Rainbow." No, it's not a first name, Liyara. Ah well, Rainbow Dash seems tolerant enough to forgive it. Liyara looks back to Rayne, and then smiles, before her wings start flapping, and she slowly flits up so that she's at eye-level with the other two. Once in the air, she peers at Rayne's eyes for a moment. "...So, half and half, then?"
Rainbow Dash says, "Oh yeah, totally," she nods, then looks suddenly VERY sad, but covers it up quickly. "Place is so dusty," she mutters, then continues. "Pinkie's pretty crazy, she can just...do things....that other ponies just can't. I'm the fastest Pony in Equestria and somehow she can get somewhere before I can, even when I'm trying to get away from her."" Rayne tilts her head slightly at the mention of Pinkie Pie. It's not one she's heard that much about. At least not the purely pony version of. She looks back to Liyara in time to see her suddenly looking at her eyes. There's a slight blush at the close look, then she says, "Uh, yeah, more or less. My mother was a Dragon, my father a Phoenix. Neither knew what the other was at the time, apparently. My phoenix blood has been activated, my dragon... not so much. And as traumatic as I've heard an experience has to be for that to happen, I'm kinda okay with that." She then looks to Rainbow Dash and says, "Doesn't that make-" but then she shuts her mouth, deciding it's probably best to not test Dash's ego that way. Rainbow Dash says, "NO...she's not faster. She cheats."
Seeing Rainbow Dash's sadness, even for a moment, causes Liyara's eyes to lid a bit. It seems everyone around here wants to get home, so it's no wonder Rayne didn't think it would be too easy. Liyara's not in the habit of charity, but maybe when she figures out how to create a portal home, she can figure out how to help the ones she's met here, too. It's not like her to care, but she shares their predicament.
Outwardly, Liyara is just focused on the conversation like a good participant. "I'm not nearly as fast as Korrin, but no matter how fast he is, he can't run somewhere faster than I can... could... teleport there." Inwardly, though, she's not really even in the conversation. It's auto-pilot. Inwardly, she's thinking about what Rayne said. Draconic blood triggered by traumatic experiences. Interesting. Well. Everyone would be better off if they were a little more draconic, wouldn't they?
Rayne should not have told her that.
Rainbow Dash hates seeming vulnerable and..stuff. So she locks it down best she can, but talking about her friends is a soft spot. "Teleporting isn't quite what she does...we can't figure it out. She just..doesn't play by the rules of any kind of physics.
Rayne has lived four hundred years without being able to talk to a stranger about being a phoenix, let alone having the potential in her to be a dragon. Now that she's in a place with dragons and pegasi and even the occasional deity(pains in the ass, as far as Rayne's experience is concerned) being just... there, she sometimes doesn't think about the fact that perhaps there are some things she shouldn't say, still. "Well, I'd say there had to be something behind it, but I understand your world not only doesn't have interstellar space, but isn't even heliocentric. And apparently actually requires the sun to be manually moved. So I'm not gonna ask about something even you can't explain about it."
Liyara is about to say that from Rainbow Dash's description, Pinkie Pie sounds a little like an old student of hers with a feathered red hat, but then Rayne drops that information about Rainbow Dash's world. "...Wait, go back? None of what you just said makes sense." Equestria.
Inwardly, the plotting and scheming has begun. Of course one must be properly distanced and separated from the traumatic event so as not to be blamed. Yes, she's already on the 'how to get away with it' stage, and she's moving right on to the 'how to kindly offer to help the new dragon learn the ropes'. Things like ethical quandaries and moral boundaries and incompatible dragon-types aren't really in her wheelhouse right now. Results! Results are what matter.
Rayne says, "Yeah. Their world doesn't make sense. So if someone there breaks even those laws of physics... no, I'm not going to even remotely attempt to figure it out. I imagine if I met Pinkie Pie, my brain would break down."
Rainbow Dash says, "Oh yeah..like she said; our Sun and Moon are raised and lowered by our Princesses, we have to help the leaves fall..and we gotta clear away winter, too."
These description make Liyara's head spin, so she just shakes it after a moment. "Right, well... Then that's a mystery for another day." She folds her fingers together for a moment in an almost "Mr. Burns" style gesture, and then realizes what she's doing and puts them behind her quickly. "I'm afraid I must be on my way, I just wanted to say hello. It's been a pleasure." Yes. She has much plotting to do. Much plotting indeed.
Rainbow Dash says, "See ya!"
Rayne nods, then leans back to relax again in her position in the tree. "Well, it was nice chatting with you again, Liyara. Have a nice day."