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Chapter 34C: Find a foothold

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June 24, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

After Chapter 34A

“The problem is, I don’t really have a plan for this part,” Enrie admitted.  They were sitting over an early breakfast — it appeared her teammates couldn’t sleep any more than she could. “I have sort of… bits and pieces of a plan.  Go look here, go look there.  The first ‘here’ turned out to be a bust.  We don’t know if … certain other people haven’t beaten us to half of it.  We’ve already got… something.  So that leaves us, well, kind of flailing about.”

“What are we flailing about?  Still looking for more cheaters?”  Riensin flopped down across the table from them.  He nodded, politely and deliberately, at Taikie, who flushed and looked away.  “I mean, I could ask my brother.  He probably knows if anyone’s cheating in his classes.”

“How does that work, anyway”? Enrie deflected.  “Being in all different classes from your twin?”

“Not bad.  We share a room, so I mostly feel bad for our roommate.  And we hang out sometimes, mostly when classes aren’t in session.”  He shrugged.  “We’ve never been up in each other’s pockets or anything, anyway.”

“But that’s us.” He leaned forward with a smirk.  “You three seem to have all the fun.  That woman yesterday, she definitely had an interest in you, and it wasn’t to help you find a place after you graduate here.”

“She wants to find me a place,” Enrie answered darkly, “just at the bottom of a deep part of the sea.”

He raised his eyebrows.  “She seemed angry.”

“Kekla and Tesdes didn’t see you?”

“Oh, well.”  He shifted.  “I had homework?  And then… I’ve been busy.”  He looked down at his breakfast and then looked up, bright smile back in place.  “Anyway, you told them something interesting, I take it?”

“Well, Kekla helped us figure out part of the problem.  And then Tesdes pointed out a bigger potential problem.”

“Really?”  Riensin raised his eyebrows.  “It all sounds quite interesting.  I can’t wait to hear about it.”

“Maybe Kekla and Tesdes will tell you about it?”  Enrie bit her lip.  “I’ve angered a lot of people so far this year…”

We have,” Saydrie corrected quietly.  

“…true.  Well, there are a lot of irritated people, and they all have to eat dinner.”  Enrie winced.  “Some Diplomat I am.”

“You’re learning,” Taikie offered loyally.  “We’re all learning.  And…”  She shrugged uncertainly.  “Like we’ve been saying… people need to be annoyed?  I think you’re just nervous.”  She smiled now, looking like she was suddenly in her element.  “You’re supposed to be.  It’s like climbing a mountain — or, well, maybe a dorm tower.  Being nervous tells you to watch where you put your feet, that’s all.”


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