"So what is the Derseqi Prize?"
"Liliac! How can you just... not know about the Derseqi Prize?"
"Is it something extremely obscure and academic?"
"So, little one? What is it?"
"Okay, so I'm guessing you don't know about the Derseqi Consortium then?"
"No, I'm afraid not."
"It's a group of academic florets in the Local Group who keep up with each other's work and socialize. Mostly on the Overnet since there's only a few thousand of us across a few galaxies. Anyway, once a century or so we all get together and hold a conference."
"Another conference? Mats, you know I love you, but I don't know if I can--"
"Heyacith already agreed to take me, if you'll let her."
"Thank the stars for that!"
"And one of the things that happens at the Derseqi Consortium Conference is the Derseqi Prize for Excellence in Academics. It's an honor even to be nominated... and I was!"
"I'm so proud of you!"
"Thank you so much for agreeing to take Mats to this conference. I know it's really important to him but I cannot, cannot handle those things. So boring!"
"I'm honored to be asked. It's not easy for an affini without a Derseqi floret to get into the conference. All the academics in the Local Group think it's the most adorable thing ever so there's always a lot of competition for the affini tickets. I was in the lottery for one, but no luck. Except now I have luck. Oh, Liliac, you don't know what you're missing! Thousands of cuties all nerding out and cuddling and writing and... and... oh, you should see the videos! I went to the Conference once a few blooms ago... best time of my life."
"I'm really glad you'll enjoy it."
"Your owner's so pretty!"
"Oh, Heyacith isn't my owner, but Liliac had to take care of her other florets. Heyacith is a linguist too, but she focuses more on linguistic exchange than philology and literature."
"Congratulations on being dominated for the Derseqi Prize, by the way!"
"Thanks! I don't know how good my chances are. Milisaasshet Foresthnithikit, Sixtieth Floret wrote that series of papers on irregular hausteric implants that got Vrzz Pssrnk, Twelfth Bloom to retract her book, and the prize went to a literature floret last time."
"I think you still have a chance."
"Is my acceptance speech good, Heyacith?"
"Mats, you know you can't use your speech to denounce Rosewood and call for her expulsion from the academy."
"I know, I know. I knew you'd cut it out, but I couldn't not write it. She's terrible!"
"We all know your... Rosewood issues, Mats."
"Anyway, it is very good. I hope you get to speak it."
"And to announce the prizewinner, our guest affini speaker this conference is... Rosewood Tae, Thirty-Second Bloom!"