May 6, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“Considering the nature of your discoveries…” House Monitor Libkazaari was not smiling, and she was dressed in funeral red to honor Talmizhaab, but she was not frowning, and she did not seem displeased. “Well, I would not say they are good discoveries, but I would say this gains you a little leeway in punishment.”
She glanced at a series of reports sitting on her desk. From here, Tairiekie could tell they were discussions of the goat – the top one was from Pelnyen, who also thought she should be punished for going into the closed labs.
“Of course, you’ve tweaked the nose of some rather loud Instructors. I have a feeling you did that on purpose.”
Tairiekie wasn’t smiling either. She, too, was wearing head to toe red; they would give Talmizhaab to the fire tonight. She had never known the Instructor, but she still felt as if she was mourning him.
The House Monitor coughed. Tairiekie flushed. She was supposed to be paying attention. “Ah – sorry? Oh.”
“Did you offend Instructor Pelnyen on purpose?”
Something about Libkazaari’s expression made Taikie feel as if she could be honest. Or perhaps it was just the pounding headache and the mess the last day had been. “He was going out of his way to offend me,” Tairiekie answered slowly, “and I was tired of it. I am not a Philosophy Student. I do not think like one. I try hard in his class, and all he does is insult me.”
“And you did not think you should mention this to me?”
“I…” Tairiekie slouched down in her seat. “You were so angry at me,” she admitted in a tiny voice. “You thought I was here for my suffix, and I’m not, I just want to learn, and everyone keeps yelling at me.”
Libkazaari coughed. Tairiekie dared a glance at the House Monitor’s face; she was smiling. Not a broad smile – really more of a smirk – but she did not look angry. “Your parents are Engineers, yes?”
“And sometimes, someone yells at your parents?”
She flinched. “Quite a lot, sometimes.” It was the job, her father would say. It was people not understanding the job, her mother would say.
“And what do your parents do?”
“…Keep on working?” She peeked up at the House Monitor. “But, but it’s not their supervisor who’s yelling at them. When he yells, my parents yell back.” She swallowed. “House Monitor, I don’t think I’m supposed to yell back at you.”
“You have a fair point, and made as eloquently as your Diplomatic teammate.” Now, Libkazaari looked… what? Sad? “I apologize, that you didn’t feel you could talk to me. How much trouble has Instructor Pelnyen given you?”
“Ah-” How did you quantify trouble? She could make a device… later. And perhaps she would check with Enrie first about that one. “I think he has a problem with my parents. And he doesn’t like Engineers at all, ma’am, or House Akaizen. But mostly, he seemed impatient with how slow I was with his class, and refused to take extra time to teach me.” She cringed down deep in her seat. “I don’t mean to be tattling, House Monitor.”
Libkazaari pursed her lips. “It is my job – my primary job – to serve as parent for you students. While sometimes that means being disciplinarian, it does also mean that I am responsible for your well-being and happiness. If an instructor is being unreasonably unkind to you, Pupil Tairiekie, I need to know.”
Tairiekie caught a breath. “What if – what if it’s not unreasonable? What if I really am no good?”
There was a moment of silence that seemed to stretch on far too long. “Tairiekie, while I believe you are, on occasion, distractible, you are no less so than any other first-year student I have met here. In addition, you have displayed some curious and interesting initiative.”
Tairiekie didn’t say anything. None of that said that she wasn’t a bad student.
The House Monitor raised her eyebrows. “Every pupil who is admitted to Edally Academy is a top-notch student. You may not be the top of your class or your House, but you were admitted here, yes?”
“Yes, ma’am.” She’d never had any doubt at all before being admitted here.
“Then I would have no concerns, if I were you. If Instructor Pelnyen is causing problems – that is, I suppose, if he continues to cause problems for you –”
“I don’t really think making a, I mean.” She looked down at her toes. She was normally better at censoring herself than that.
Much to her surprise, House Monitor Libkazaari laughed. “There is no chance that the goat could have been made by anyone but you, Tairiekie. Other students have the skill, some other students had the motivation, but you were the only one I could think of who had the skill, the motivation, and the support group to do this.”
She could continue to protest her innocence, but Taikie didn’t think it would do any good. Instead, she needed to protect her friends. “It was my plan and my implementation, House Monitor. My friends – my teammates – weren’t involved.”
House Monitor Libkazaari smirked gently. “We are, here at Edally, not supposed to teach our students to defy authority. We are not supposed to allow rebellion to foment. However, we are supposed to encourage loyalty. I’m sure you can imagine that there are times when these two directives collide.”
Taikie swallowed. “Yes, ma’am.”
“I will deal with Instructor Pelnyen, and I will ask your teammates in one week, one month, and four months if they believe he is treating you fairly. “
“This way, I can trust they’ll err in your favor.”
Tairiekie sighed. “Yes, House Monitor.”
“And as for the problem with the goat.” She steepled her fingers. “Well, I have no evidence. I have no confession. But I have a strong suspicion. So you will be helping to catalogue all of Instructor Talmizhaab’s workshop. It won’t be a pleasant job, but I’m sure you can find some way to learn from it.”
“In addition,” the House Monitor plowed ahead, “although nobody can prove anything, I’m sure that if I punish you in such close proximity to the ‘goat incident’, word will get out very quickly. And once it does…” She raised her eyebrows.
“…everyone will think I did it.”
“Mind you, having gotten out of your parents’ rather wide shadow, I do assume that after this, you will attempt to focus on your studies.“ She might have smirked again. If she did, she covered it with a cough. “There’s still exams coming up, after all. And the leaderboard. You don’t have to climb any more buildings.”
“Yes, House Monitor.” Inside, Tairiekie was cheering, but she managed to smile politely instead of dancing in her seat. “I’ll try to stay off the roofs for a while.”
And thus ends Edally Academy: The Angry Aetherist!
I’m sorry about the delay, guys; I fell into a (metaphorical) hole for most of April and am only now climbing out.
Do you want more Edally? If so, I can oblige. My plan would be as thus:
I’d take two months to write at least a large portion of the next story.
I’d begin posting on Wednesday, July 8th and post every week on Wednesday.
During the 2-month hiatus-of-writing, I would post a short piece every other week, detailing the trio’s adventures – and their friends’ adventures – between Angry Aetherist and the next book.
What do you think?