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Chapter 28B: Rise or Fall


May 6, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

They were quiet as they walked out of the library, two books signed out properly and safely nestled in Saydrie’s book bag and the third tucked into Enrie’s bag while they were sure nobody was looking.

They hadn’t discussed it, any more than they had had room for discussion when they went looking for the book, but Enrie had shared a look with Saydrie, another look with Taikie, and taken the book.

They didn’t want it to show checked out to one of them, in case people came looking for it to make it, too, disappear.  They didn’t want it to be found on Saydrie — of all of them, he had the most to lose.  Enrie was fairly certain she was a better liar than Taikie, so she slid the book into her bag.  If someone questioned her, she might blame it on her ill-thought-out crush on some Cevati Bitrani — or not-Cevati, as the case had ended up being.

They’d made the decisions, but they found themselves shifting uncomfortably as they walked to their dorms, glancing sidelong at each other, glancing at Enrie’s bag, looking back at each other.  IF there had been anyone watching them, they might as well as had signs on their foreheads saying “Guilty, Guilty.”  But nobody else seemed to notice.

Enrie cleared her throat.  They had to at least pretend things were normal.  “Ulunumani.”  She said it as decisively as she could manage.  “Tomorrow on lunch, we talk to Ulunumani.  And then we’ll talk to House Monitor Libkazaari, whatever Ulunumani  says.”

“And then what?” Taikie’s voice cracked.  “What do we do…”

“First, we gather everything we can.  There might be notes in some historical books — there’s, um.  We found some other paperwork.  We have to go get that.” From Pelnyen’s office.  They might have to enlist Riensin for that one.  Did they dare?   “We need to make sure we have everything possible.”

“And then what?”  There was an unhappy strain in Taikie’s whisper.  “Do we…”

“Then we see what we have.”  It was the coward’s answer, and it made Enrie feel all the more guilty for it.  She swallowed and repeated it, trying to sound authoritative.  “And then we see what we have, and we go from there.”  She glanced at Saydrie, who was looking solemn and non-committal.  She glanced at Taikie, who was looking miserable.  “We have to do something,” she whispered.  She didn’t know if she was trying to convince Taikie or herself.

“We do.” Saydrie’s voice was firm and deep.  “And… we should do it as a team.  All of us together.”

Enrie swallowed and nodded.  Saydrie had to know what that could mean.  “Together.”

“Tomorrow.”  Taikie looked at Enrie uncertainly.  “We talk to Ulunumani together, too…?”

It was a good idea.  “We should.  We should make a point.”  She held out both of her hands to her friends.  “No matter what, we’re a team.”

They both took her hands and squeezed.  Enrie made herself smile at them.  

“Rise or fall, we’re a team,” Taikie whispered.

1 comment »

  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Oh, boy. The stakes are rising aren’t they?

    (I like to think that the Emperor and his heir would be Team Enrie if they knew about this and not Team Burning Books.)

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