July 26, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Finding Riensin was harder than she’d hoped it would be. He wasn’t in the dining hall, he wasn’t readily visible in the library, and he wasn’t in his dorm’s common room or in his room, although his roommates gave Enrie and Taikie quite the look — before they noticed Saydrie standing with them.
Enrie was just about out of ideas — short of finding him in Art House, which she didn’t think Kekla would appreciate — when they bumped into Gianci coming down the hall in the Arts and Handicrafts building.
“Lady Enerenarie.” He bowed stiffly at her. “Tairiekie. Saydrie.”
“Gianci.” She bowed back to him, hoping she didn’t look nearly as stiff or as angry. “Sorry, I hope we weren’t in your way…?” Inwardly, she cringed. She sounded like her mother with a particularly difficult provincial governor.
“Not at all. I’m sure you have something very important to be getting on with.”
“Certainly not worth getting in your way for.” She wanted to shout at him, but all she managed was a sharp smile.
“Just enough to be an excuse to skip the races, then? You know, I thought it was because I looked BItrani, but then they’re saying you were cuddled up with your teammate, so maybe I’m just not Bitrani enough…”
“Oh, by the Three in all their aspects!” Taikie shoved open a door to the cupola. “Gianci, Enrie, go up there and look for Kekdela in the cupola. And don’t come out until you’ve found her.” She gestured so violently Enrie thought she was going to shove them.
“No. You’re being ridiculous, and we don’t have a convenient beach.”
She really did know what that meant. And she was shoving Enrie in a closet instead of that beach.
“Taikie…” she tried one more time.
“In. Look for Kekla.”
“Who is Kekla and why would I want to look for her?” Gianci growled.
Saydrie stepped up close to him, blocking his escape. “Because Enrie needs your help and you’re too dense to see it. In the cupboard. Now.”
“You three are insane.”
“Don’t blame me for this.” Enrie stepped into the broom closet. “This is their doing start to finish.”
“But they’re your friends. You can’t tell me you didn’t have anything to do with it.” He looked in the broom closet. “No Kekla in here, there, can I go?”
“Keep looking.” Taikie began pushing the door shut, the doorknob poking at Gianci’s backside. “Clearly you’re not looking hard enough. She’s nowhere else; she must be in there.”
“You’re insane,” Gianci repeated. “You know I’m going to end up pressed up against your friend like…” He trailed off. Taikie was smiling far too brightly.
“Just get in the closet. The sooner you get in, the sooner you can come out and keep acting like a child whose toy’s been taken away.”
“Fine.” He stepped into the closet, doing his best not to touch Enrie. Taikie shoved the door closed, leaving them in there together in the dark.
Enrie took a breath. “Well.”