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Chapter 4D: Daring the Aether


September 16, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Silence reigned at their table for a minute. Enrie did her best to catalogue everyone’s reactions, but she was having a hard time dealing with her own. It seemed like a lovely idea, but it seemed like a lovely idea that was doomed to fail. That was not how Enrie wanted to flunk out of Edally.

Saydrie seemed doubtful. Kekdela was either intrigued or she hadn’t figured it out yet. Tesdes had folded in on himself as if he wanted to complain but didn’t dare. And Taikie was leaning forward, her lips parted, excited.

Enrie took a long sigh and met Riensin’s gaze. If he was going to create some grand plan just to try to add a -rien to the end of Taikie’s name, well, there were less elaborate courtship rituals Enrie had seen. And if he just wanted to go down to the beach with her… he was probably climbing the wrong mountain to begin with. Enrie wasn’t even sure, to stretch her metaphor, that Taikie even knew the beach was there.

He raised his perfect eyebrows at her. He really was quite good looking. “I’m sure we could talk the whole class into it. Probably not the entire year — but everyone in our class session? I bet you and I could do it, Pupil Enerenarie.” He added a low, sardonic-looking bow.

Enrie was startled into a laugh. “We probably could, but the question is, should we?”

“Well…” Taikie leaned forward further. “If we do, maybe we can get people talking about the implications of humanic aether, whether or not it exists.” She twisted her lips and wrinkled her nose. “For a school focused on higher learning, there seems to be a lot of people who just want us to memorize the way things have always been, rather than actually… learning.”

“But,” Kekdela raised a pen up like a pointer. “That’s common in learning art. You study the masters first, so you can see how it’s done. Only then can you innovate. We’re only first-year students, guys, we’re not supposed to be developing the secrets of the universe quite yet.”

“That’s at least third year,” Riensin joked.

Taikie was unpersuaded. “That’s one thing, but the masters weren’t doing things that were potentially completely wrong, were they?”

“Well, if you’ve ever seen Dedkevzhaded-Kiet’s work, you might not say that.”

Kekdela chewed on the end of her pen. “I’m just saying, if we’re going to do this, we should study the masters a little bit along the way.”

Riensin raised his eyebrows. “Are you talking about the masters of philosophy or the masters of pranking?”

She grinned widely around her pen. Enrie found herself smiling as well.

She looked around the table. Saydrie and Tesdes were still quiet, still looking uncomfortable. The smile slid from her face and she swallowed. “We have to accept that we might get in trouble.”

“Well…” Riensin still hadn’t stopped smiling. “I’m a spare; my parents can survive if only one of us gets through school. But if it’s too risky…”

“No.” Saydrie, in a rare gesture, squeezed Taikie’s hand. “No, let’s do it, all right? Let’s see what they do.”


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    The question is, did their philosophy teacher actually want them to _think_?

    • Dan Gudy says:

      Heh, when you think about it, that is actually a very, very interesting question. Also pertinent to the discussion at hand.

      And the answer to Riensin’s last question is, of course, both. 😛

  2. tuftears says:

    Yes! Get the whole class in on it! I bet everyone will love the looks on his face when he gets their papers back, and he can’t flunk everyone, right?

    • AVR says:

      There’s no law saying a teacher has to be fair or keep his word. He can just flunk the “ringleaders”, however he chooses to define them.

      Of course flunking people for any reason invites scrutiny and his boss is keeping an eye on him anyway, and there’s whatever else our protagonists might do.

  3. Marina Brave says:

    But Sayyyy you have the most to loooooose

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