The Prince and his insect companion sit, on opposite sides of the table. She interrupts him, constantly, and spits venom whenever he tries to speak over her. He doesn't respond to the insult, just raises his voice until they are both yelling, gesturing wildly at the map of Remora between them.

She surrenders first, laughing and spreading her four arms wide, and the Vizier, watching them from a doorway, realizes that it may already be too late. It was his own failing. Even now, she is too alien to be female, all eyes and cartilage and small glittering teeth, immature and, he'd assumed, of marginal importance.

She stands, grabbing her bag from the back of her chair, and wordlessly extends a hand to Pyrus, who hands her the datapad he's been holding-and smirks when she yelps and nearly drops it.

She glares at him, attempting to strike him with the datapad, cursing him as he turns the blow away with the side of his arm. The volume rises as they trade insults with grins on their faces-Insect, Matchstick, Hotheaded, Spoiled, You-don't-know-who-you're-dealing-with.

And the Prince, who is unfamiliar with the daughters of rivals, who never saw the girl's mother smile as she promised death to all who would threaten hers, really doesn't.

Thank the Inferno for at least making her untouchable.

He catches her in the hallway, tapping his staff against the ground to get her attention. "You should hunt on your own planet, Ice Flea."

"I'm quite sure I don't know what you're talking about." Her hands, tucked against her back, contract into fists, as she lifts her head and turns on her heel, prim and composed. "And I'll thank you not to address me that way."

"You forget yourself. You're very far from home. Meddle in the affairs of other worlds, and you'll find your father's protection matters very little."

"I don't need my father's protection." She spits before thinking, and hesitates, unsure of her own power. "Does Pyrus know you're trying to undermine his work? Or are you doing this on your own?"

There is a brief second before she realizes she's said exactly the right thing, when she is still a child, not a shadow of a future Queen who demands a measure of his Prince's loyalty.

It passes quickly. "I'm warning you. Now get out of my way."

Still, she steps around him, and he grins at that. Not that Queen yet.

"Lady Zera." She pauses, looking back over her shoulder as he speaks. "You resemble your mother terribly."