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Chapter 16B: Even a Goat Can Learn to Quack


December 28, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Enrie felt stiff and angry as they left Biological Systems, but the more steps she took away from the room, the less certain she was.  It could have been a misunderstanding.  There was no way an instructor in the most prestigious academy in all of Calenta would encourage his students to cheat.  There was no way he’d single her out for special cheating privileges.

“How do you think you did?”  Taikie still sounded subdued, but Enrie was pretty certain she would explode if she didn’t ask that question after every exam.  “It seemed easier than the last one, but there was that trick question at the end.”

This would be the perfect opportunity to bring up Kaasimasik’s weird behavior.   But, trick question? “I missed the trick question,” Enrie admitted.  “If I manage to get through this semester, I’m going to need to have you start tutoring me or quizzing me in Biologic Systems if I want to make it through the year.”

“I can do that!” Taikie lit up for a moment.  Then she frowned, the smile gone. “Do you really think there’s a chance you won’t make it?  I mean, you didn’t do that badly, did you?”

“I won’t know until we get the test back.  If the last question was a trick, though, I was probably fooled.”  Enrie wrinkled her nose.  “Let’s talk about something else.”

“Well, we’re not going to talk about the thing, right?  Because we’re done talking about that.”  Taikie ticked it off on a finger. “Saydrie probably doesn’t want to talk about the other Cevati Bitrani, do you, Saydrie?”

“No, thank you.”  His lips twisted in a grimace.  “Anything else.”

“I could tell you guys about this Device one of the other first-year students in Akaizen House is making, but I’m not sure…”  She trailed off as Gianci stopped in front of them. “Hello?”

He bowed, the way courtiers and the very fashionable bowed in court, both hands sketching out a flourish as he ducked his head down.  Then he stood, smirking.   “Quite a show, Lady Enerenarie.”  He bowed much more staidly to Saydrie and Taikie and his smile vanished.  “Look, if any of you need anything, all you have to do is ask.”

Enrie’s mouth was open.  She closed it, then opened it again cautiously.  “I’m not-”

“-until you earn it.  I was raised in Lannamer, remember?  I know that.”

Her mouth was open again.  She closed it and bowed instead, as solemnly as she could.

Trust Taikie to break the tension of the moment.  “But your name is Bitrani.”

Gianci smiled again.  “My mother,” he admitted, with a little shrug.  “They moved north because my father wanted to be closer to the political action, but my mother wanted me to have a little piece of Bithrain, as she put it.  So, ah.  I look Bitrani, I sound Bitrani – in name only –”

“It looks like  a duck, it sounds like a duck, but it turns out the duck is a goose.”  Taikie grinned so widely Enrie couldn’t help but smile as well.  “I’ll try to remember you don’t quack.”

“Oh.”  Gianci’s laugh was so deep and so warm.  “Even a goat can learn to quack, if you give it enough lessons.”


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Ooooh! Gianci!

    Potential opposite gender interest and long term ally! *squee*

  2. Marina Brave says:

    …wasn’t Taikie there for the conversation about him being born in Lanamer already?

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