February 19, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
They had made it only a few more feet out of the classroom before Riensin, Tesdes, and Kekdela caught out with them. “What do you think happened? Do you think it’s something about the,” Riensin dropped his voice to a whisper, “cheating thing?”
“What do they do to Instructors who cheat?” Kekdela mused. “Do you think they arrest them? Send them off to teach in the southern islands or up in the frozen north?”
“Or on a boat.” Tesdes shuddered.
“Or on a boat.” Kekdela grinned, liking that idea. “Or do they just send him home in shame?”
“Change his name to Kyasmaasik,” Saydrie muttered.
Riensin snorted. “We should do that anyway. I bet we can find out. It’s not that hard to go looking for information around here, you know. You just have to be willing to do a little bit of, ah, digging.”
Enrie raised her eyebrows at him. “‘Digging.’ That sounds a lot like ‘snooping.’”
“Well, we’ve done that before, haven’t we, with no ill consequences? Come on, isn’t that what happened with Junior Engineer Tairiekie here? She went looking for information…” He trailed off invitingly.
Taikie looked unimpressed. If Riensin was still trying to get her to the beach, he was going to have to build a Device there. “And I got bashed over the head for it.” Enrie wondered if she was thinking about her own snooping, or Enrie’s. Enrie’s hadn’t gotten any literal heads bashed in…
“What did you do, you awful excuse for a child of the Emperor?” The complaint came with a shove to Enrie’s back, with such timing that Enrie thought the gods were laughing at her for a moment. “What did you do? It wasn’t enough for you,” and here she was shoved again, “to think you were better than us, turn up your nose and annoy the Instructors. No, no, you had to ruin everything.”
Olisama – for it had to be Olisama, nobody else was quite that annoying – was still going on, but Enrie had caught on one thing she’d said.
“Oh, shut up.” Olisama shoved Enrie one more time. Enrie turned around and took a step backwards, putting Saydrie and Taikie at her back. “You had to ruin everything. And why? Does it give you extra points? Are they going to be more understanding when you mess up in a class? Were you diplomatic?” She managed to make it sound like a dirty word.
“Instructors, plural,” Enrie repeated. “You’re saying there’s more than one person involved in this.”
“This was always bigger than you, you miserable, useless daughter of a forgotten line. Do you have any idea how many people you’ve inconvenienced? Not the least of which, of course, is me. Your parents may not care if you flunk out, but mine will put me out of the house and leave me welding gears like some… some…” She flung up her hands in frustration. “Some awful person!”
“Some awful person.” Enrie couldn’t help but smirk. “I’d start paying more attention in Engineering classes then, if I were you.”