Otondyoo was not pacing.
Otondyoo was not pacing, because they were close enough that they could see the foreign ship, and that meant the foreign ship could see them.
Otondyoo wanted to pace, because the foreign ship was crewed by – not Bitrani, they didn’t look quite like Bitrani, but still – by tall people with sun-chapped redness over pale skin, hair in brown and blonde and a fiery red Otondyoo had never seen. Their clothes were in blue and grey and green, cut in strange ways, the pants only to the knee, the shirts leaving their arms bare. They must be freezing.
The Emperor was smiling, and if anything, that made Otondyoo want to pace even more. It was a vicious smile, not a diplomat’s face. “Did you know, Otondyoo, that there’s a particular artifact in the imperial treasury that claims to be able to read the color of a person’s aether?”
“But people don’t have aether, sir. The scholars determined that…”
“Indeed. Of course.” The Emperor’s smile grew. He passed the telescope to Otondyoo. “Tell me, what do you think they’re feeling right now?”
Otondyoo had already looked at all of them. “I think they’re cold, sir.”
Obediently, Otondyoo looked again. “Their leader… I think their leader is worried. He keeps looking at us and then back to his first mate. And to the Calenyena-looking one they’ve got on the aft rigging.”
“Indeed. Do you think they were expecting to find someone else?”
Otondyoo dropped the spyglass down to study the armament. “If they were, sir, they might have not been expecting them to be friendly.”
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