July 11, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Ulunumani had fled, flinging imprecations. Enrie wanted to feel bad about that — and in some sense, she supposed she did. Ledryie was right; she was far too casual about making enemies. At least Taikie’d made her first enemy when he tried to kill her; Enrie seemed to make them when she got in their way.
At the rate she was going, she was going to have plenty of enemies by the time she got through her first year. Two instructors, at least two royal students, all — no, some — of the Cevati Bitrani.
She could try aiming more at making friends and less at making enemies, she supposed, if they worked out the matter with the treaty and she was still allowed in school. Someone like Lady Ilonilarrona being against it seemed like a good mark in her favor…
“We need to know who her friend is.” She had been staring off at the side of the lunchroom while her friends laughed about Ulunumani; now she turned to Taikie and Riensin. “Both of her ‘friends.’” She nodded ruefully at Tesdes, allowing for the possibility that someone like Ilonilarrona was unlikely to have a lot of true friends.
“Both?” Riensin raised his eyebrows. “Is she making social visits while she’s here?”
“There’s the one that was, ah, perusing the puzzle boxes with her… and then there’s the one who was displeased when she made a stink. The first one is male and I’ve never seen him. The second one is female, older, and more severely dressed. She seemed pretty unimpressed by Ilonilarrona when she’d just confronted us, but that’s the only time I’ve seen her. Royalty, probably, however distant she might be from the throne.”
“All right, then, we have to find out who the two of them are, these ‘friends.’ And where Lady Ilonilarrona and everyone else is staying. We need to get into P’s office. We need to figure out who you’re going to present this to. That about right?”
Enrie nodded. “That sounds like everything. Oh… we can ask Stable-Master Korten about any visiting goats. It won’t fool him, but he might be willing to tell us because we’re quiet and don’t cause him any trouble.”
“You make the most interesting friends.” Riensin grinned at her; Enrie grinned right back.
“That’s coloring yourself with the same paint the Empress does, isn’t it? Since you’re our friends?”
“We are?” Kekla smiled. “Does that mean I get to draw you?”
“When we’re… yes. Yes, Kekla, you can draw me. Although I might have to run off in the middle of sitting to cause havoc or upset a cousin or get half of the Cevati Bitrani annoyed at me or some such.”
“Well, Instructor Paazhtamden says I need to work on quick and mobile sketching and painting while moving, so that will do just fine.” She smiled brightly. “And will be easier than getting someone to let me sketch them while they’re…” Her obscene gesture finished the idea.
Taikie cleared her throat. “Let’s go talk to Stable-Master Korten!”
Enrie ducked her head to hide a grin.