Travel on the river continues. During a meeting, the Circle discusses what they will face at the convocation. After some joking that they might be spied on, they heard an eep! and a sploosh of water. There didn't seem to be anyone trying to swim away, but Hai'li did find a water buffalo to take the form of.
One of the secretaries advised Marilee that the vote wouldn't be held until she got there, so she came up with an excuse to delay her arrival so the Circle could have time to feel out the situation.
They arrive one the 13th, Jupitersday, in the afternoon. Harmony and the Darkening Sky go to the meeting to regretfully inform them that Marilee had to go back to Great Forks and wouldn't be back for a few days. Harmony would hold a party that evening as an apology for the delay. The Sijanese priests were quite excited to see Dark Storm, and very enthusiastic about getting to know him better.
The others were taken to their hotel. Akamura looked around the building for spies. During a meeting before the party, the Circle discussed what they hoped to find out from the other delegates during the party. Hai'li attended in her bathrobe after her bubble bath. Kazu, given how quickly he disappeared, seemed to have learned how to teleport. Harmony informed Hai'li that Kazu "liked liked her." Much blushing ensued. Hai'li rushed off to Dark Storm, who was reading an illuminated Sijanese manuscript, to ask him for advice.
That night, the party was held. Many elbows were rubbed. The Lookshy delegate was very suspicious about the abrupt change in Marukan clans that hoped to join the Confederation of Rivers. Not only did the previous candidates drop out, this clan, which had previously shown no interest in joining, suddenly volunteered. It was all very suspicious to him.
Aria, the Nexus delegate, seemed to get more information from Akamura than he got from her. She was also apparently interested in having a date with Dark Storm. Hai'li was quite shocked when she realized that was what Aria meant when she invited Hai'li as a chaperone.
The Chayan delegate explained how Chaya worked. That, though they often abstained from voting, there was much they could effect by the consequences of the vote. She advised Akamura he could check the minutes.
The Sijan priests were delighted to talk to Hai'li. She got an invite to the Underworld.