February 12, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Enrie was finally beginning to understand why Ledryie was upset, and she didn’t know what to do about it.
She was training to be a Diplomat, she reminded herself. If she couldn’t straighten out a roommate dispute, she didn’t deserve to be here.
“My name opens paths to me,” she said slowly. “And my parents’ work has as well… which was opened to them, maybe, in part because of their names. I can’t deny that. I don’t know if it gets me out of trouble when I get into fights – but Ledryie, I hope you believe me when I say I didn’t mean to start a fight with the other royal-blooded students, and I only started one with the Cevati Bitrani because they were starting a fight with my friends.”
“But you still started a fight.”
Enrie raised her chin. “I did. And I will always start a fight if I think it will protect the people I care about. If there are more paths clear to me, that’s what I should do with them.”
“Punch people?” For all that the question was a bit aggressive, Ledryie looked as if she was warming up.
“To be fair, I didn’t actually punch the Cevati Bitrani or my cousins. But I would, if I needed to.” She smiled grimly. “My cousins are more likely to need it.”
Ledryie snorted. “Bunch of ruffles covering fluff, if you ask me. What were they getting on your case about, anyway?”
Enrie noted dryly but with no surprise that down-talking royalty earned Ledryie’s warmth. She’d noticed that before, usually from hard-working but poor people, and if Ledryie had made it here, she definitely counted as hard-working
“They wanted me to cheat. To go along with their cheating so that the Instructor involved didn’t get upset.” Enrie didn’t even like saying it. It made her feel dirty. “I disagreed. They were worried I’d upset the Instructor.”
“What, there’s a teacher who’s helping? This place really is rotten.” Ledryie shook her head. “You start doing that, then the degree isn’t worth anything and ‘I graduated from Edally’ stops being a door into jobs.”
“I turned them in.” Enrie frowned. “I don’t think the school is rotten. I think there are pockets of rot. But maybe like a bushel of apples, maybe we can pull out the bad ones before the rest get nasty.”
“What, you’ve sorted apples?”
Enrie let herself smile a little bit. “I’ve sorted apples. Come on, Ledryie, you know as well as I do that there are bad apples and good in every bushel.”
“Ha.” Her roommate shook her head. “And now we’re starting to smell every rotten one.”