104

“We can bring you things you don’t know, that you’ve never seen,” they had said in more words than that. “But – you have to ask.” So the Princess thought of something to ask them before they released her streamview from the program loop – a genuine curiosity, simple and inconsequential. Soleil told them about the book she never found in the Great Library at home, from her memory’s sparse detail, with the word ‘movements’ in the title. The three individuals had accepted her request as reasonable.

Now, Soleil was again at a streamviewer, the common equipment that also allowed for human connectivity to the Vedani network interface. Not just a few, but many things made for Vedani suited Alisandrian human capabilities as well.

With her new skills and the ingrained technological acumen imparted by her mother in their lessons together, Soleil could create harmless program structures to her suiting. She’d created an inviting shell for housing unusual occurrences without disturbing other virtual furniture. She noticed residual environmental effects from her previous encounter with the Kao-Sidhe, as they suggested she call them.

Neither of them were waiting for the other. They intended to collide, at which moment the Gazebo would open. A place to meet with a nice view, designed a little like a trap to spring up around them on mutual recognition of their next encounter. It was amenable to them both, with a stability that would allow Soleil to keep her grounding, and enough flexibilities to allow the Kao-Sidhe a comfortable presence. Their embodiment had been characterized by phenomena to Soleil; this time they made an effort to visually appear.

They presented relatable expressions that wouldn’t stress-load the system. A jumble of humanoid and other puzzling features represented each, to the degree of a quick knife-and-woodblock carving. Each was nevertheless iconically distinguishable, and the encounter felt a little more real.

“We’ve brought you a page,” they began without introduction. The Gazebo was an attractive visual setting, with conglomerate views of favorite gardens around the Pan-Galaxy.

“A book-style page!”

“We believe it’s exactly what you are looking for.” Soleil faced from one icon-being to another. One resembled a bright vegetable and was mostly silent. The second had a lot of detail embellishment and flourished with excesses of color. The other stood forth with presentation and drew a lot of interest. Garlic, Rosy Glow, and Dragon Food didn’t bother naming themselves again, but Princess Soleil could assign their distinct attributes.

They displayed a painstakingly crafted page. A graininess indicated that it was an artistic virtual replica of something physical. It looked to be from the right age of her life, and the title included the word ‘movements’. But the page was covered in dance diagrams. Soleil really didn’t think that was the book she’d chosen as a youngster, but it was interesting – at least, difficult-looking and similar to a familiar martial art.

She accepted the page graciously from Dragon Food. The stream transfer took unusually long, and for some reason their virtual sprites were winking the entire time.

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