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Chapter 20A: The Overladen Apple Tree


January 28, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Enrie found herself clinging to Saydrie’s hand again, this time for her own comfort rather than his.  Taikie trailed behind them as they walked to House Monitor Libkazaari’s office.  They were all quiet.  They  had been quiet since they left the dining hall.

Perhaps she should have been expecting to see someone in the halls – the Instructors did not fold up like their maps after classes, of course – but she was still surprised to see Instructor Pelnyen coming out of Libkazaari’s office.

She was further surprised to see him somber and not at all sneering.  He nodded at the three of them absently and walked by.

“Is everything all right, Instructor?” Enrie couldn’t have said why she asked, except that he was, like them, human.

He raised his chin and looked at her as if expecting a taunt.  Enrie made sure her face showed nothing but concern. “I am doing quite well.”  He was obviously lying.  His voice cracked slightly as he continued.  “Thank you for asking.”

“If there’s anything that I can do, please do let me know.”

The Instructor managed a sickly smile.  “I doubt your teammate there would be pleased with you for that.”

Enrie didn’t look at Taikie.  “I am sure that my teammates understand helping out those who might need it.”  She bowed politely.  “You are our Instructor.  If there is anything I can do, please let me know.”  She was repeating herself.  Sometimes it was needed.

“I doubt there will be anything you could do.  Still, thank you.”  He nodded more politely than she could remember seeing from him and headed off.

Enrie turned to look at Taikie and Saydrie – mostly at Taikie, who really did have reason enough to dislike the man.  She was looking thoughtful, however, and not at all distressed.

“I wonder if he’ll say anything to you.” It was the same tone of voice Taikie used when studying a piece of machinery.

“Probably not.  But it was the proper thing to do.”  Enrie thought she, herself, sounded a bit too much like she was bowing at temple.  “I mean,”

“It was,” Saydrie agreed.  “It didn’t hurt us at all, and it might help him.  Or,” he added in a less kind tone of voice, “it might just confuse him, which would not be that much to the negative, either.”

Enrie snorted. “Is he our enemy then?”

“I think that’s up to him.” Taikie was still sounding very thoughtful.  “It seems like many things are changing that don’t involve us.”

“And even the things that do involve us are so much bigger than us.”  She glanced at Saydrie, thinking about the Cevati Bitrani and all the trouble they were causing.  “Well, I can’t put this off much longer, can I?”

“Speaking of things that may be bigger than us.”  Taikie cracked a small smile.  “No, you can’t.”  The smile vanished as quickly as it had come.  “You’ve got to tell the House Monitor.  And we might want to tell the Head of School, too.   This is important, Enrie.”

Enrie swallowed.  “I know.”  She smiled weakly.  “It’s not as if they’re close cousins?” she tried.  “And they’re neither team nor House.”

It was an awfully weak justification, but it was going to have to do.

“Come on,” Taikie urged.  “It won’t get any tastier for being left to get cold.”


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Barely cousins at all if she didn’t know them before she came here. 🙂

    Would one wish to keep any of them other than the engineer?

  2. Marina Brave says:

    Oh, Taikie’s being awfully mature here. And don’t feel like you’re betraying family, En. Being cheated for isn’t good for your family, either.

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