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Chapter 39B: Return to the Library

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August 16, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

They should have been making their way back downstairs to help Taikie and Saydrie with their project, but Enrie found it was hard to work up the motivation to leave. One kiss led to another, and another one after that, until finally she sighed.  The sun was beginning to set through the cupola windows.

“We have to…”

“I know.”  Although he was sighing, too, Gianci stood, watching his head, and offered her his hand.  “So, what’s the next step?”

“We find Taikie and Saydrie.  And then we have to see what we can find in the Associate Governor’s rooms, and in Lirnilalie’s rooms.”  

“Is there anyone that can help you, an adult, a teacher?”

“We think the Stable-Master — Korten — might be able to help us, but we don’t want to get him in trouble.”  She smiled crookedly.  “We’re still students and still children.  There’s only so far the law will push us, but him, well, he could lose his job, or worse.”

“You said you could lose your vowel.”

“But that’s me, and I know what I’m getting into.”  She gestured down the stairs.  “Are you sure you want to help us?  You’re — I mean —”

“I look Bitrani, and they’re more likely to blame me.  But Saydrie’s an enclave Bitrani, and he’s helping.  How can I not?”

“Saydrie’s on my team.”  She didn’t really want him to back out.  “We could really use more help.  This is,” she took a breath. “It’s scary.”

“Then let’s go.”  He smiled at her, playfulness seeming to float over a deep well of seriousness.  “I am yours to command, Lady Enerenarie.”

She raised her eyebrows at him.  “Careful with words like that.  You’re in Estyaa House too…”

“Yes, I am.” He gestured down the stairway.  “And it is as I said it.”

“Well, then.  Come, first of my loyal troops.”  She felt both giddy and ridiculous, but, then, kissing someone had always done that to her. She led him down the stairs and out of the broom closet where, perhaps unsurprisingly, nobody was waiting for them.  “They’re probably in the Library, up in the Bitrani History section.  I think we’ve more than quadrupled the use of that section this year.”

“It’s pretty unused,” he agreed.  “What drew you there?”

“Well, Saydrie noticed a piece of an old Bitrani folk song…”  By the time she was done explaining the song, the portions of the treaty found in the song book, the folk songs used as codes, the traitor emperor and how he’d thought up some of those codes,  they were in the library, up the stairs and into the Bitrani History section.

“…And it may be hidden in other places, as well,” she concluded.  “Saydrie, Taikie.” She nodded politely at her friends.  “If you ever lock me in a closet again, I will leave fish in both your beds.  And, ah… thank you.”

“I see you managed not to leave him in the closet,” Taikie teased.  “Did you two work it all out?”

“I…”

“Yes,” Gianci answered, far more certainly than Enrie had managed.  “And I’m here to help.”


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