October 7, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Enrie stared at House Monitor Libkazaari’s door. She looked at her friends. She swallowed around the bile in her throat and looked back at the door.
“I can hear you out there. Unless you’re here to discuss the merits of saddle-throwing positions, come in.”
Enrie’s cheeks flushed and she ducked her head, but there was nothing to do but walk in. “House Monitor Libkazaari.” She bowed as deeply as she could. She could see Saydrie and Taikie doing the same.
“What did you three do this time? I don’t normally see you before I get reports of trouble – unless this is this nonsense with the Associate Governor and her, ah, friend.”
Saydrie shut the door, and, after a moment’s thought, dropped the thick tapestry that had been tied back aside it over the door. “Well, ma’am…”
“It does, although tangentially and not on purpose on our parts. I would’ve rather stayed away from her,” Enrie admitted.
She was only a little surprised when the House Monitor laughed. “I’m not surprised, after getting her daughter kicked out of school. You three definitely have a nose for trouble, don’t you?”
“It’s not like we go looking for it,” Enrie protested. “It’s just, well, we like to know things. We like to learn things. And we’re pretty good at not doing what’s expected of our, ah, type.”
Taikie made a small noise, and Enrie half-bowed in her direction. “Except Tairiekie, who is about the best example of a top-grades Engineering Student as the Three might have conceived of.”
That didn’t make Taikie look any less distressed, but it did make Libkazaari clear her throat and cough. “So be it. You’re definitely interesting students, and, yes, Tairiekie, I do have to applaud your teamwork. You are a very tight-knit group, and you seem to inspire others to the same. Yes,” she added, at their faces, “I have noticed the team of Riensin, Kekdela, and Tesdes seemingly following you around. And, of course, young Gianci, although it seems unlikely you’ll inspire him to teamwork, per se.”
“I… ah. Well, I’m glad you think we’re doing well at something, House Monitor.”
“Good save.” Libkazaari nodded. “So what do you have for me today?”
“I’m afraid, well, I think it’s more trouble. And I don’t know why, but I know that Associate Governor Ilonilarrona and Lirnilalie are trying to get rid of it. Them… and someone I haven’t found yet.”
“You sound like one of those dramatic novels they’ve been publishing in the Lannamer Times, Enerenarie.”
“Thank you, ma’am. But it’s– well, if it’s not real, it’s an elaborate hoax. Here.” She began pulling papers out of her bag and laying them out. “We found this in a book on Bitrani Folklore…”
“This looks like modern paper and modern penmanship.”
“It’s a copy. The originals are– well, we’ve been having such trouble with Associate Governor Ilonilarrona…”
“Of course. So, you found this…” Libkazaari’s face went still as she read the first document. “Oh. I see.”
It went stiller and stiller as Enrie produced the rest of her copies. “Do you know what this could mean?” Libkazaari finally asked, her voice hoarse.