December 14, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Enrie hadn’t been under any illusion that demanding to sit with her friends was actually going to get her anywhere. The Cevati Bitrani were too angry, too wound-up, and too much older than her. They didn’t know her from the next girl, and even if they did, they were unlikely to be impressed by her or her royal ancestry.
She glared up at the angry Martial House boy, wondering how badly this was going to hurt. She had their attention. She had all their attentions. Which only worked if the right people noticed what they were doing before she got pounded into paste.
Well, she supposed it worked either way, but one hurt a lot more.
“Who do you think you are, anyway? I told you, we need to talk to our friend here.” He glared back down at her.
Enrie swallowed a sigh of relief. It looked like they were still in the talking stage, or at least the giant they’d picked as a spokesperson was. “And I told you that I needed to have breakfast with my teammates here. You’re still in the way. Kindly move.”
“And what if I don’t want to?”
“Then I’m going to be forced to ask you again.” If you said it in the right tone of voice, nobody really paid too much attention to quite what you said. “Now, just let me pass.”
“When we’re done, little girl.” Before she realized what he was doing, he picked her up under the elbows and moved her several feet away.
For a moment, Enrie was frozen with rage and surprise. But only for a moment. “What in the name of the three gods and all the mountains in the world was that, you misbegotten son of a tarpani and a rat?”
His cocky smile faltered. And there, there were the Bitrani women who had been missing up until now. “Piadro, you can’t do that to Calenyena women!” The girl hurrying over had surely bent the rules of the uniform as far as they could go, in a faded, pale version of Medical House blues, the skirt down to her ankles and not an inch of linens showing anywhere. Her blonde hair was also cut short and she was flailing her hands at the tall – and now rather confused – man. “You just can’t do that, how did you spend this many years here and not learn that?”
She was, Enrie noticed, scolding him in clear and perfect Calenyen. She made a note to consider that later; right now, the oaf was coming closer again.
“It’s no big deal…” he tried.
“Why don’t you ask her that, you oaf?”
“I heard she took a punch from an Art House student in the middle of a brawl, and you don’t see her crying about that, do you? Come on, Falivia, it’s not like I hit her.”
Enrie cleared her throat. “I’m still right here. Don’t do that, don’t ever do that again.” She moved to slip past him yet again, only to find – perhaps unsurprisingly – that he was still not moving.
“What’s the big deal?”
“Oh, for the crying love of the Three above, Piadro, come here and leave the nice royal lady alone.” Falivia grabbed Piadro’s sleeve and tugged him away. “I don’t know what you boys think you’re up to but you shouldn’t be doing it in the lunch room, whatever is. And you shouldn’t be grabbing people like that. I don’t know who raised you, but they clearly missed a few important parts.”
She led him off through the dining hall tables, berating him the entire way. Enrie took a breath and looked around the remaining Cevati Bitrani.
“Well,” a voice cut her off over her shoulder, “this doesn’t look like a fight.”
She turned slowly, already knowing she was going to see House Monitor Libkazaari behind her.