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Chapter 32B: Solutions and Problems


June 6, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Kekdela took in Taikie’s explanation while Enrie tried not to look as embarrassed as she felt.  They had been, a little.  She just hadn’t…

“Teasing you about Riensin, hrrm?  I told you you were laying it on way too thick.”  She delivered the last to Riensin, with a roll of her eyes and a playful glare.  “And now see what you’ve done.”

Riensin seemed a lot less quick to smile.  He wrinkled his nose and looked off.  “I wasn’t being thick at all.  And even if I was, that was no reason to snap at Kekdela.”

“It hasn’t exactly been a calm and level-headed week or anything,” Taikie countered, clearly stung. “And…”

“And,” Enrie picked up, “Saydrie and I hadn’t noticed exactly how much the House Monitor and others had been insisting that Taikie was here for her suffix.”

“Well,” Riensin shrugged, “what’s wrong with that?  Lots of us are.  Especially spare kids, like me.”

“I’m not.”  Taikie managed to say it calmly.  “It if happens, in my last year or two.. maybe.  But right now I’m just trying to honor do my parents and to my studies.”

That seemed to knock the anger right out of Riensin.  “Oh.  But, well…”

She shook her head.  “I don’t mind if other people are.  I, um.  I understand Edally is about meeting people and building a network, too.”  She glanced at Enrie sidelong, and Enrie nodded.  “But I—”

“You awful children, what have you done?”

Riensin looked over Enrie’s shoulder at the interruption, blanched, and bowed.  Enrie took a second to notice that his bow was as deep as he could manage in his seat and that Kekdela and Tesdes, although they looked confused, were also bowing.   The voice was female; it wasn’t Pelnyen.  Someone royal, from the depth of the bows?

She caught Taikie’s gaze for a second and then turned around slowly.  “I’m sorry?”

“You’re going to be!”  The woman looked royal, but she also had that look that appeared to be advertising to all and sundry that she was royal — expensive fabrics in the brightest colors, embroidered with expensive patterns and layered stiffly enough that moving might be an issue. “What did you do?”

There were so many answers to that question.  Saydrie saved Enrie from having to come up with the right response.  “Associate Governor Ilonilarrona.”  His bow was Calenyen-perfect.  “I did not know that you were no longer working in the enclaves.”

“What?” The woman narrowed her eyes at Saydrie.  “Who are you, and what are you talking about?”

She’d heard that voice before, she just knew it.  Enrie frowned.  There was something about the way she blurred her words together that sounded familiar, like she was in too much of a hurry to bother with all the consonants.  

“This is surely a long way from the enclave?” he asked, far too innocently.  “I know that I found it so when I first came here…”

Lady Ilonilarrona.  That was Ulunumani’s mother, or her friend’s mother…  Enrie should be more able to keep these names straight.  Well, she’d been told the woman had a title.  She bowed politely.  “Cousin.”


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Well, let’s see how the cookie crumbles – or maybe what the goat eats.

  2. JamesDWitmer says:

    Wow, these kids are good. I have a feeling Lady Ilonilarrona is not going to come out the winner in this exchange.

    Go team…

  3. thnidu says:

    And they operate as a team!

  4. Marina Brave says:

    Why is she being allowed to come harass students? Poor kids.

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