“Oh well, humans, am I right?” the goblin said and spat out crumbs of the heavy pastry as he started laughing. The fairy and the vampire that stood next to them at the coffee table smiled politely at the remark, while scanning the room for people they knew. During the first break of the day the coffee break in room “Dionysus” was packed. The attendees of the “Computers, past, present and futures” conference idled at the standing tables, strode around the room in search for coffee and pastries or gathered around the few sockets that could be found to plug in their laptops to catch up with emails. Or writing frantically — who knew these days. It was rare to have that many beings from the Otherworld in one room and the underlying tensions added to the buzz. They were more or less on their own, but most kept up appearances for the sake of the few humans that had made it into academia.
The goblin, whose name tag said “Matthew T. River” or “Gwoargh”, depending on who was looking at it, was one of the few who had the audacity to talk about humans while some were in earshot. Not that their remarks were at all, well remarkable, everyone here knew that humans were a bit odd. This was what united this group of beings from all over the world and beyond: they were intensily curious about humans. That was also what they shared with the few humans in the room. Nonetheless, their curiosity was professional, one could say that they studied them. For a living.
It sounded odd to most of them. While the daemons and sirens had taken the bad rep for most things that happened, all beings of the Otherworld had spend most of their existence trying to draw humans in, ensnare them and learn their secrets. While they used to draw up the most delicate contracts that had to be signed with blood, lured them over the sea or granted them three wishes just to talk to them, now people signed up to tell them their secrets just for the chance to win an voucher, get a device or sometimes just for the sake of it. It was still hard work, but nothing compared to the olden days.
It was worth spending three days in a room without windows, living on pastry and coffee that was weirdly too strong and too weak while talking about the work they were doing all day with people who did similiar things and whom they could theoretically talk to every day of the week. Just to learn more about those weird and wonderful beings that roamed the earth and to think about ways of how their life could be made better. “Oh well, academics, am I right”, “Dr. Laura Bischoffs” or “Sunflower, the Third” thought to themselves as they headed out of the room to find a plug to read their emails before the next session began.