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Chapter 37A: If You Seek Trouble…


July 18, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

“This whole thing just seems strange.”  Taikie hurried along after Enrie.  “I mean… Kekla’s reaction?  It was like a baby-tale monster was jumping out of the woodwork at her. Who’s that scary?”

“Lots of people.”  Enrie thought about that.  “I mean, historical examples, there’s the Butcher of Borninbar, there’s The Empress That Wasn’t…”

“The Traitor?  I thought that was an Emperor.  Unless…”

“No, there are three of those in history but the Empress That Wasn’t is why you must be sane to inherit the throne now.  There are a lot of scary people out there.”

“That case a few year ago…” Saydrie shook his head.  “Well, there are scary people now, too.”

“…And we’re going up against one?”

“I like to think about it,” Enrie worked up the thoughts as she spoke, “kind of like being tangentially inconvenient.  We’re not foiling some mastermind’s plot, like in a novel, we’re just doing something they might not like.”

“I don’t think that follows logically,” Taikie complained.  “After all, we’re not just getting in her way in the hall.  She was obviously looking for — for the puzzle — and we’re obviously looking for it as well, and not to share it.  So we’re directly opposing her, even if we didn’t know it and she doesn’t know it.”

“…well, if you want to be logical about it,” Enrie joked.  She smiled sidelong at Taikie.  “You’re right, of course.  We know this is dangerous.  We know it might even get us expelled.  It might lose me my vowel.”

“They can actually do that?” Taikie frowned.  “I mean…”

“The Emperor, and thus, the Emperor’s lieutenants, aides, and seconds-in-command, can do pretty much anything that they choose to do.  If they wish to tell me my name is Nyerenarie now, they can do so, and nobody would argue with them.  Least of all me,” Enrie admitted.  “I might be brave, but certainly not brave enough to take on the Emperor.”

“But brave enough to take on someone who makes people treat her like a children’s-tale monster,” Taikie pointed out.

“Well,” Enrie admitted, “We’ve taken on bullies and won.  We’ve taken on instructors and won.  You climbed a tower and installed a goat on the top of it.  We’ve been brave, even when we didn’t want to be, before.  I think it’s too late to back down.”

“If there’s anything the Bitrani-Calenyena war taught us,” Saydrie said quietly, “it’s that it’s never too late to back down.  You can step out now, Enrie.  It might be safer for you.  If she’s that powerful an enemy…”

“Then someone has to bring her to the attention of stronger people,” Enrie answered.  “We can do that.  Besides,” she offered, with more confidence than she felt, “It’s not like we can let Taikie have all the fun.”

“I wouldn’t call being hit with a wrench ‘fun’,” Taikie complained.  “So?  We’re off to the library again?”

“We’re off to gather reinforcements.” Enrie smiled grimly.  “And then we’re off to get in trouble.”  


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Is it any better if they’re deliberately planning to get in trouble?

    Question: If people can demote you by taking your vowel off you and/or changing your first vowel, can you also be promoted by, say the Emperor changing your name?

    • Dan Gudy says:

      I think their deliberately planning to get in trouble has the potential to be much worse instead of better – in addition to the trouble they are planning to get in, they could also land in even more, unplanned trouble. 😛
      So I’m hoping that’s not what Enrie meant and that instead she merely acknowledged that, as experience has shown, trouble is likely what they will get into while pursuing their various goals.

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