October 26, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“I don’t know if that went well or badly or something in between.” Riensin might be saying he was uncertain, but his grin told another story.
“You don’t think he really meant it, do you? That we should stay out?” Taikie chewed on her lip. “We have to take that class to pass. I know. I asked the House Monitor when – when the trouble started.”
“It’ll be fine.” Riensin flashed a bright smile directly at Taikie. “We didn’t do anything wrong.”
“We made the teacher angry. That’s got to count as something wrong, doesn’t it?” Poor Taikie. She looked so nervous.
Enrie wanted to be soothing, but the best she could manage right now was to take the problem apart for Taikie. “It goes in our favor that Pelnyen has very clearly picked fights with you in the past. He was being quite unkind, and what we did – well, Riensin’s correct, in that we didn’t actually do anything wrong, that is, against the rules.” As far as she knew.
“But he could still expel us. My parents will never forgive me if I’m expelled. This was an awful idea.”
“This from the girl who climbed a tower, dragged a mechanical goat to the top of said tower, and rigged it so that it pissed out over this same Instructor’s head?” If Reinsin’s grin got any bigger, it would devour his face.
“Allegedly?” Taikie tried. “And there was no dragging involved. House Akaizen uses pulleys, thank you.”
“My apologies. ‘…from the girl who climbed a tower and hauled a mechanical goat up there. Allegedly hauled.’ Taikie, it’s just the same. It’s a prank.” He was being reassuring, and yet Enrie wanted to slap him.
“Hsst.” Saydrie stepped back into a classroom and tugged Enrie and Taikie with him; Riensin followed suit, pressing close to Taikie as if by accident. From her position, Enrie could look out into the hall or at Riensin flirting with her teammate; she chose to look out into the hall.
Pelnyen huffed by, followed by House Monitor Libkazaari. He was grumbling as he went. “You’ll see. These presentations, they were entirely out of line. They were baiting me.”
“Did you set them to presentations?”
“I set them to independent studies. They chose to do presentations. I thought they were trying to get out of writing papers.”
“So what you’re telling me is that several of your students – ”
“All! It had to be all of them, not a single one of them looked surprised and the one, the twin, he was grinning from ear to ear. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. My students are conspiring against me!”
“Well, Pelnyen, there has to be a reason for it. What have you been doing?” It might have been her imagination, but Enrie thought House Monitor Libkazaari was enjoying this.
“The same as usual! Teaching!”
“Well, then, that’s your problem.”
“Hsst.” Riensin gestured down the hall – not after Libkazaari and Pelnyen, but in the direction they’d come from.
Pelnyen’s office door, always closed and locked, was wide open.
Enrie told herself that it was possible she might not have looked if Riensin hadn’t moved first. It was likely untrue – he’d left it open, swinging wide open, while he thought (correctly) that his students were conspiring against him. He’d practically been asking for them to ransack his office.
And so ransack it they most definitely would. Even if Riensin hadn’t already been going for the door.