While James watched the young diplomat and her centaur sentry, Malia's eyes slid to her husband. She well knew his penchant for violence and control and vengeance, and there was no denying that Kyrilis Wooler struck at least all the visual chords of a young Francesca and, given the topic at hand, how could that not be where his mind went? She noticed a certain tension in his massive form and when he rose to his feet, the Queen sat forward. She would have to keep an eye out, lest James happen upon the young woman in the library later...
Rafael: "Francesca is not in control," "At least, she wasn't five years ago." "The vampire who is always with her, Seo-Jun; he doesn't answer to her."
James: "Francesca is quite in control. She knows what she does, and whom she consorts with..."
Kyky listened carefully to each answer, and felt herself sit a little straighter when the King rose. Usually, it was good practice to imitate - in any other negotiation, she would also have stood, after a moment or two, which would silently reinforce that they were on the same page. However, she could think of no excuse for what would clearly be seen as strange behavior at best or manipulative at worst… So she opted to repeat. It had a similar effect. "And she's consorting with…" And then he cut her off before she had to decide on what euphemism to use... Perfect.
James: "The succubi, they are her children. Her curse. It gives us great pleasure to destroy them one by one" "Have you dealt with any?"
Manny: "Are we conspiring to rise against the Queen of the West?"
"Not at all," Kyky whispered back to Manny, reassuringly, sensing his agitation, and, without thinking, reached up to lay a hand on his shoulder as he leaned in. Kyky hoped Rafael would field the King's question; he was their authority on creature-hunting. To Manny, she whispered, "We're just gathering information and insights..." Hopefully, they could get a rare candid moment with the Northeastern King and use what they learned to find a way to pressure Francesca to rescind her policy or step down? Kyky didn't know, based on what she'd heard from Rafael and James, but suddenly the Queen was piping up in a rather uncharacteristically impulsive way that had Kyky's head snapping in her direction.
"No, no, no, no, no," Malia spoke up, almost as if she could not help herself. "It's hardly so easy. Francesca Rossi is a witch far more than a thrall. She might have ceded some of her autonomy to the vampire, but she must be getting something back worth more to her. Who among us can command one creature, where Francesca keeps courts of them? She has the succubi," here, Malia nodded toward James, "but what else…? ...Half the kingdom she claimed, and piddling revenge?"
Kyky sighed, and cast a glance toward Rafael because the question the Northeastern Queen posed next was exactly the one that had been on Kyky's - and indeed all the Peacekeepers' lips - that they hadn't been yet able to fully articulate, much less answer. And so Kyky nodded, and hoped against hope that perhaps the two living beings who knew Queen Rossi best might have a guess:
"The pair of them - Francesca and her vampire - what do they want?"