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Chapter 16C: Goat-Hair Braids & Other Pretenses

3

December 31, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Enrie’s face was stretched with a smile as they left Gianci behind.  Taikie was smiling; even Saydrie had stopped frowning and was looking a little more relaxed. “He’s a nice guy,” Taikie decided.  “Even if he was snippy with us last time.”

Just like that, Enrie’s mood went sideways.  “Well, I suppose he had reason to be.  It’s more surprising that he’s not being so snippy this time.”

“The school staff knows something’s going on now.”  Saydrie sounded a bit surprised.  “That’s why you did it, wasn’t you?”

“…can we pretend it was?”  Enrie covered her face with her hands.  It was a lovely plan, if only she’d done what she was supposed to and thought about it first.  “I mean… yes?”

“Well, it worked.”  Saydrie bit his lip.  “Now the staff knows that something is going on with the Cevati Bitrani…”

Oh!” Taikie looked at Enrie as if it had been a purposeful brilliance.  It would be nice to be able to claim that it had been. If only it were true.

“I just wanted to get their attention away from you because if they were yelling at me, maybe the teachers would notice.” Enrie sighed.  “I hate it, but sometimes the teachers are more concerned about people with a vowel at the beginning of their name.”

“It makes sense.  They want to be important.”  Taikie’s look surprised Enrie; did she know more than she’d been letting on?  “So they attach themselves to people who are – or, sorry Enrie, might be – important.  Sometimes you get that when you have a really clever or important engineer, where people will try hard to be near them, like their cleverness will wear off.  Usually other engineers,” she qualified.  “Not like, singers or button-makers or courtesans.”

“Like that.”  Enrie was relieved that Taikie understood.  “Except that in my case, I haven’t done anything for it except be born to the appropriate parents.”

“Gianci seemed to think differently.”  Saydrie’s murmur was thoughtful.  “And I know,” he looked over at her and smiled, “that Taikie and I think you’re more than just a vowel.  You’re our friend.  And even if it was an awful plan to try to get a bunch of older, bigger students to hit you… I appreciate it.”

“Me, too.”  Taikie hunched her shoulders up.  “They were getting really mean.  Just because I was there with Saydrie.”

“I’m sorry.  I thought about going off with them…” Saydrie hung his head.  “But I knew if I let them get me out of the dining hall, things were going to get really violent.  I’m really sorry about that.”

“You don’t have to be sorry.” Taikie glared up at him.  “We were just being your friends, Enrie and I both.  Your teammates.  Right, Enrie?”

“Being my friend shouldn’t be dangerous.”  He set his jaw in that stubborn way he had.  Enrie tried to think of something that would comfort him.

Taikie beat her to it.  “Aren’t you the one that saved us from an exploding Device?  Being me is dangerous to start with, Saydrie.  So far, I’ve nearly gotten blown up, climbed to the top of a Tower, gotten in a fight, and gotten hit over the head with a spanner.  I don’t think spending time around you is going to make life any more hazardous.”

He almost smiled, almost.  Then he glanced over at Enrie.  “But what about you?”

Luckily, Taikie had given her time to find an answer.  She smiled back at him.  “Politics is always dangerous.  At least here, people are looking me in the face when they’re attacking me.”


3 comments »

  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Good friends! *love*

  2. thnidu says:

    And I love Taikie’s last line.

  3. Marina Brave says:

    Oh, good, they shut that danger argument down quick.

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