December 4, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Gianci stood up, smoothing his tunic and trousers and bowed to all three of them. “I’ll leave you to your studies. Saydrie. Think about it, all right?”
“I will,” Saydrie admitted. “I don’t want to be expelled… I don’t want to be in even more trouble.” He swallowed. “Thank you, Gianci.”
“Don’t worry about it. After all,” he grinned broadly, “you’re my countryman.”
Saydrie laughed, short and too high-pitched. Enrie looked at him, at the way his brow was furrowed and his hands were twitching. Gianci’s footsteps moved away quietly, much more softly than he’d come in.
Enrie looked over Saydrie at Taikie for a moment, and then back to Saydrie. She swallowed around a lump in her throat. “We have to lose the treaty again. We have to forget all about it.”
“Enrie!” Saydrie stared at her. “You’ve been looking into this for weeks!”
“I have. But I’ve been your friend for longer than that. And this, this could be really close to sedition.”
He blinked slowly. “You’re trying to protect me.”
“That’s what teammates do, right?” She smiled crookedly. “We help each other. If that involves saving each other from exploding Devices or not poking at the foundations of our society, well, both seem fair.”
He swallowed and nodded slowly. “That makes sense. Do you think I should be worried?”
“No.” She made it sound as certain as she could. “No, I don’t think you should be worried, because Taikie and I both know that you’re a good person.”
“Good people can be seditious,” he argued.
“Careful,” she teased, although she wasn’t sure it was funny. “That’s awfully close to sedition.”
He sighed. “It is, isn’t it?”
“I was – I was trying to make a joke,” she offered cautiously.
“This is veering into Philosophy.” Taikie wrinkled her nose. “And I don’t think Pelnyen will give us extra credit for coming up with new things to philosophize about on our own.”
“He probably won’t,” Enrie agreed. “So – we’ll shelve the book back where it goes, and we’ll stop worrying about this? With Pelnyen angry at us and classes just getting harder and harder, we have enough other things to think about anyway, don’t we?”
“We do.” Saydrie nodded slowly. “If you’re willing to do that, and it won’t bother you…”
“It might bug me a bit. But they obviously want this covered up, and it doesn’t seem like the best time to be digging into things that higher-ups want covered.”
“The question is,” mused Taikie, “who wants it covered up?”
“And why,” Enrie agreed. “But we’re not going to worry about that anymore.”