November 14, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“…And, Enerenarie, what would you say was the most important part of the aether channeling by biologic entities?” Instructor Kaasmasik stopped in front of Enrie’s desk for the fourth time; they were barely a quarter of the way into the class. “What does it mean, most importantly, that, say, a weasel can be proven to channel aether?”
He was spoon-feeding her the answer. Enrie wanted to yell at him, but the truth was, she was grateful for the clue. She couldn’t think about Biological Systems. She could barely think about anything except ancient pieces of paper and old folk songs.
Instructor Kaasmasik cleared his throat. “Enerenarie?”
Enrie looked down at her notes briefly before looking back up at the instructor. She cleared her throat; she could handle this. He had just spoon-fed her enough clues. “The weasels and the other animals that channel aether naturally,” she said slowly, “prove that aether-channeling is thereby possibly naturally. We may use devices for it in the modern age, but the devices are…” She thought about saying not necessary but thought about Taikie and changed her mind “…a way of refining the use. If a weasel can use aether, then a human can, too.”
“Very good. And when we dissect the weasel—”
“Not Ledryik!” cried out Larrabietta.
“No. Not a named weasel, not a pet weasel. A wild weasel. When we dissect the weasel, you can see the aether channels within it. And when biologists dissect human cadavers—”
“Eeewwww.” Larrabietta was not having a good time with this class today.
“Dissect human cadavers,” Instructor Kaasmasik continued without pause, “what do you think they find, Enerenarie?”
What was he doing? “Aether…. Channels?” She frowned. “Are there really channels?”
“We will see when we dissect a weasel tomorrow.”
She ran her finger over the lines on her wrist. “But-” She frowned. She already sounded stupid enough.
“What is it, Enerenarie?”
“Well, if we have the innate ability, why can’t we use it? If a weasel can find the way home, regardless of any scent-markers put in the path, like you said yesterday, then why can’t we do the same thing?”
“That is a very good question. Uzrin? Do you have a hypothesis?”
The look Uzrin gave Enrie was unreadable. She feared it might be pity, but it didn’t quite have that tone to it. He cleared his throat thoughtfully. “Well, when we were reading up on the aether in animals for the Introduction to Philosophy class…” He paused, ducking his head down. “That is, ah, um.”
“I heard about the interesting presentations you all prepared for Instructor Pelnyen. By this point, it is likely that every Instructor in the school and likely some in other academies has heard about it.”
“Oh.” Now Uzrin’s expression was clearly readable as panic. “Um.”
“We’re all quite entertained, although if you tell Instructor Pelnyen that, I’ll deny it. As you were saying?”
The onus was off Enrie. She allowed herself to relax and to consider the ramifications of pulling an all-eighteen prank, the sort of prank all of the Instructors were talking about. Maybe Riensin had other motives than an interest in Taikie, after all.