posted Sep.17.17 at 03:00 pm

"--is, what do you learn from Helly?" Vlad asked. The staircase deposited them onto a much busier, poorly-lit street. Most of the people milling about didn't look like either spirits or humans, instead coming in an array of scales and feathers and fur and number of legs. Warm yellow lights glowed from windows and alcoves, offsetting the swarm of livid violet lights.

"Like, clearly you can already smash bone on your own," Vlad reasoned, as they crossed the narrow street. "What's Helly got to teach you?"

Liya had to side-stepped to avoid bumping into a slender dragon-like creature that had their child wrapped cozily around their shoulders. "Oh, wull, lotsa other stuff," she answered Vlad. "Mostly about differnt people I might need ta heal."

"Different species, you mean?"

"Some, yeah. But also just about differnt people. Like, once, we talked about, uh--" Liya hesitated. "Yil--yiller--"

"Yllur?" Vlad interjected.

"Yeah."

"Well, well. What did you think about that?"

Liya frowned at him. "What d'ya mean, what do I think?" she said. "It just sounds like bein' transgender."

"Oh," Vlad said, seeming pleasantly surprised. Yoshi had stopped dead in his tracks, but neither Liya nor Vlad immediately noticed. "You know what that is?"

"Yeah! I read about it."

"You did." Vlad seemed amused.

"Yeah!!" Liya insisted. "You know those books that teach ya about periods an' stuff?"

"Let's say that I do," Vlad said. Yoshi opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out.

"I had one, an' it talked about, y'know, what if you was transgender."

"Huh!"