October 3, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Who do we take it to? turned out to be a question of some contention. The six of them collected had at least twelve ideas of people they could take their information to, ranging from the Emperor himself to regional Governors all the way down to the upperclassmen in any number of classes, from History to Diplomacy to Art House – which was, surprisingly, Tesdes’ idea and not Kekla’s.
Enrie tried not to be miffed. She tried not to say this was my project. It wasn’t anymore, and, truth be told, it had started out as Lovdyo’s anyway. If it was sort of a group endeavor now, well, she wouldn’t have gotten anywhere close to this far without everyone here.
They got it narrowed down to three: Head of School Wiltemika, House Monitor Libkazaari, or Elalekorra, the junior noble in charge of handling the Emperor’s communication with his nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other more distant relatives.
“I think we should go in order,” Taikie offered. “First, we go to the House Monitor, but we bring her copies, not the originals, and we don’t bring the originals with us. Then, if that doesn’t work, then we go to the Head of School. And if we still haven’t gotten a satisfactory result, on holiday break, we’ll visit Enrie’s cousin Elalekorra. That should give us the backing to say ‘we tried more local channels first,’ right?”
Riensin laughed. “That is perfect. We look like we’re just trying to do the right thing – which we are,” he added hurriedly. “We’re definitely trying to do the right thing here, I’m not arguing that, we’re just also happening to annoy someone who’s been being horrible, maybe Ulunumani’s family look even worse, and generally cause a bunch of trouble for a bunch of really troublesome people. Sounds like a win-win-win for me.”
Enrie smirked at him. She couldn’t tell if he was trying not to offend her or not to offend Taikie, but either way, it was kind of adorable. “I like the idea,” she agreed. “We don’t want to bother someone too high up in the government unless we’ve tried all available channels first. Taikie, if it weren’t Libkazaari, I’d say we should have you do all the talking. You’re… so sincere.”
“I am!” Taikie frowned. “I mean, I really do mean everything I say, I’m not just, um, saying it. I really do care about all of this and I want to do the right thing.”
“I know, Taikie.” She smiled as soothingly as she could at her friend. “That makes you wonderful – and it makes you ideal for talking to adults. All right, so what do we need to do? Make another copy of everything, as best we can. It won’t have the embedded aether – there might be embedded aether in the documents; I’m not entirely sure – but it will at least have the text. That’s a start. Then we split up the document again, and I – and Taikie and Saydrie – will go to the House Monitor.” She took a breath. “This is really happening. We’re really there. Almost there, at least.”
“Almost there,” Taikie agreed. She was smiling. Even Saydrie was smiling. “And nobody’s hit anyone with a pipe.”