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Chapter 21B: Vowels


February 8, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

They ended up in Enrie’s dorm.  None of them really wanted to separate and Enrie’s dorm was the closest to the House Monitor’s office.  Kotke was there when they arrived but hurried out, apologizing and explaining that she had studying to do with her own team.

Ledryie, who was never around, was actually there.  She was perched on her bunk, sewing carefully on one of her uniforms.  She looked up at the three of them, waved, and went back to her work.

“So now what?” Taikie flopped into Kotke’s chair.  “It feels like we keep running into dead ends.”

“Do you think that was a dead end?”  Saydrie frowned.  “It sounded as if…” he glanced up at Ledryie, who was ignoring them.  “As if they were going to do something.”

“It sounded like they already knew this sort of thing happened, though.” Taikie frowned.  “How can they just accept it?”

“I don’t think they do.”  Enrie was sifting through the pieces in her mind.  “I think they know it’s a possibility.  Like, well, we know cheating’s a possibility.  Some people do bad things.”

Taikie twisted up her face.  “Bad things?  Cheating undermines the whole system the school is built on!”

“Some people kill other people, too.  They steal their inventions or claim credit for their work.  Some people do awful things, Taikie.  And being smart is no guard against that.”

“That’s kind of depressing.” Taikie frowned. “You’d think, if you didn’t need to cheat to get by, people would be happier being skilled.”

“Well,” Saydrie said slowly, “for some, cheating is a skill.  Breaking the rules, getting around restrictions, not getting caught…”

Enrie glanced up at Ledryie, who was still working on her stitch-work.  Well, speculating on cheating at school was nothing new.  “I think that’s probably true for some people. I don’t think that’s what’s going on with… other people, though.”

“Is this about all the vowels surrounding you in the dining hall?” Ledryie put down her uniform.  “Because everyone noticed that.  And the big fight you pulled with the Byi… the Bitrani students at lunch time.  People are starting to ask what’s next, the east-coasters or the northerners or, uh.  The spare kids.”

Enrie frowned.  “I picked a fight with the Cevati Bitrani because they were picking a fight with Saydrie and he’s my teammate.   I didn’t pick a fight with Olisama and her friends at all – they were mad at me for not playing along with one of their games.  I don’t think the east-coast students or the northerners have a quarrel with me.”

“Yet.” Ledryie smirked.  “If you keep rocking the boat, eventually you’ll irritate everyone.  And then where will you be?”

Enrie hadn’t spent a lot of time talking to her roommate, but she hadn’t expected this from her.  “I’ll be… here, at Edally still.  Unless I irritate the staff too much, I suppose, and then I’ll be back home with my parents.”

“It must be nice.” Ledyrie scooped up her sewing again. “What about your teammates?  They can’t just run home and be a vowel.”


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Diplomat to Diplomat for the score! The school could do worse than House Monitor Leydrie when she grows up. *nods approvingly*

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