July 9, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“All right” Riensin leaned forward. “So you have a puzzle piece. We need to check in Instructor… P’s office. You found things that were of the right era there, right?”
“Yes, but someone else has already ransacked his office.” Enrie wrinkled her nose.
“Do you think he noticed?”
“…that’s a good point. His place is such a mess.”
“And they might not have found what they were looking for, especially if it had more of that aetheric weaving. Which I should totally learn how to do. Can you imagine a sea chart that only you could read?”
“Or notes or diplomatic papers…”
“More secrecy.” Taikie glared at them. “Besides, how are we going to get into the… into where we need to go?”
“Oh, that’s not even the hard one. The difficult case is ‘how do we get into Lad… into the target’s guest suite or wagon’.”
Enrie swallowed. “You want to get into… you want to…” She felt like she must be turning the color of steamed rice.
“Well, if someone already went through the Library, then it’s possible — oh, look, speak to the winds and be careful what might return.”
“You.” Ulunumani stalked over their table, dressed in simple, dull-colored clothing — not in her uniform, and looking more like a maid or a prisoner than someone of a royal line. “You had to go and do it while my mother was here. You had to interfere. Do you have any idea how much trouble I can make for you? How much trouble my friends can make for you?”
“You know,” Riensin quipped, “It’s not normal that the help starts threatening royalty. And you look a little dark and short for a Bitrani, but that dress…” he clucked. “Man, that might even too be boring for the enclave folks, what do you think, Saydrie?”
Saydrie frowned. “It looks nothing like Bitrani clothing,” he opined very quietly, “not even in coloring. It is far too ugly for that,” he added, and his tone was so casually informative it took Enrie a moment to realize he’d just made a dig at Ulunumani.
It seemed to take Ulunumani a moment, too. “What did you say, you miserable Byi—”
“I’d watch those words,” Kekla inserted cheerfully. “They tend to be overhead by tall, muscular, angry people with an axe to grind with Calenyen royalty.”
“Oh, who asked you?” Ulunumani snapped. “My problem is with this miserable excuse for a royal daughter and her pathetic crew of hangers-on.”
“The way I see it,” Taikie offered sharply, “We weren’t the ones that got expelled from Edally barely half a year into their first season.”
“We’ll see about that.” Ulunumani stomped her foot, seeming surprised by the muted sound her soft-soled boots made. “I can make trouble for you. My mother can make trouble for you…”
“I’m willing to bet,” Enrie interrupted, “that it’s your mother who decided you needed to be wearing dun and mud and rags. Face it, cousin, you got caught. You’re the one who will have to pay the price for that.”