September 14, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“…and then Pieped suggested they could run interference. Which is probably why there’s this very polite wall of Estyaa House colors by the doorway. I don’t think Lady Ilonilarrona’s done with us.” Enrie spared a glance for the nicely-composed line of purple, cyan-teal, & bright red by the main entrance, then looked back at her friends. “This is getting so big,” she murmured.
“Big is good.” Kekla was looking a bit ashy and a bit nervous, but she was sitting with them, her hands moving over a drawing, listening to their conversation. “The bigger it is, the more insulation you have.”
“I’m not the sort of person to use people as — as extra padding beneath my armour,” Enrie complained. “But… they volunteered.”
“It’s not quite the same when they’ve decided they’re going to follow you,” Kekla offered. With a small smiled, she pointed out, “look at me. I’m terrified, but you’ve got me going along with this.”
“That’s leadership. Either that or just a lot of charisma.” Riensin smiled. “I’m taking notes. I mean, I’m going along, too. But I’m taking notes.”
“Well, I’m in Diplomacy House. I’m supposed to…” Enrie shook her head. That wasn’t quite how Diplomacy went, but she wasn’t really sure what else to say. “So, anyway, she thought we’d been digging in her stuff.”
“Oh, that’s because someone had. But I knew you guys were off — well, I thought you were in the Library,” Riensin admitted. “It takes the pressure off of you if you can’t be where the crime is happening.” He grinned widely. “And Kietsap was wandering around in two different uniforms all evening, half of it with Tesdes. Being a twin has some serious advantages.”
“You…” Enrie blinked. Riensin’s grin got bigger.
“Couldn’t have been me, I was down in the dining hall playing Goatherd, Go with Tesdes.”
“He cheats half the time,” Tesdes muttered. Riensin snorted.
“Yeah, ‘I’ do. Sorry, I should have warned you.”
Surprisingly, Tesdes grinned. “We were playing for homework, right? So I owe you three homework assignments and an essay.”
Riensin stared at him for a moment and started chuckling. A moment later, Enrie joined in, and, a few moments after that, they were all laughing, loud and raucous, even Kekla.
Enrie caught sight of Lady Ilonilarrona through the wall of Estyaa House Students. She was glaring directly at Enrie and her friends.
Probably thinks we’re laughing at her, Enrie mused. The thought only made her chuckle more.
Eventually, the laughter stopped. Riensin wiped his eyes and grinned at Enrie. “Seriously, though. Once we got Kekla settled, Tesedes and I… sat down here and played Goatherd, Go. We drank a lot of that bitter lizho juice they’ve been serving, so I spent a lot of time wandering to the privy… but we had a very uneventful night.” He winked cheerfully. “And we were thinking, if you wanted to sit down and work on that puzzle of yours tonight, we might have found your missing pieces.”
“I could kiss you,” Enrie murmured.
Gianci laughed. “Wouldn’t that confuse her Governorship?”