December 16, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“I’ve got the ear of the Emperor, you’re right here,” Lirnilalie pointed out. “So listen. To me, an Imperial Princess–“
Somewhere behind her, Riensin cleared his throat.
Elelakorra chuckled. “Lyirnilalie, I think the entire point is that you have repudiated your title and it has repudiated you. By that standard, this first-year student has far more standing than you do, as she is still an Imperial Heir.”
“She’s a child, and a foolish and ridiculous one at that. She’s a liar and a sneak, and has been telling me untruths since the moment I laid eyes on her.”
“Technically, since before that,” Enrie offered. She shouldn’t have, but she was feeling a little reckless — probably Riensin’s fault, or the way she could see Saydrie and Gianci both getting pale and unhappy. “I have no qualms about lying to an enemy. That’s Empress Unarona’s most quoted line. ‘Lie when it suits you, and save the truth for the bedroom and the council of chiefs.'”
She winked at Saydrie, because that had been his line to start with, something he brought up while they were doing homework, and received a thin smile in return. She could tell he wasn’t feeling well, but didn’t know how to help him out.
Lirnilalie scoffed. “And, it seems, your bedroom is going to involve truth with the Bitrani.” She cleared her throat and looked back at Elelakorra. “Elora, clearly you must see what’s going on here. This young child of thinned heritage had become infatuated with the Bitrani – or perhaps a specific Bitrani – and she is looking to aid their cause. She’s come here, probably with forged papers, to explain to you why there needs to be some investigation, or why the Emperor needs to open up some closed case, because she wants to help the rebel Bitrani that we have — because of course, there are always rebels, but as a young student, she cannot know how doomed these rebellions are.”
It sounded reasonable. If it had been presented to Enrie about another student, she might have believed it. She was concerned that Elelakorra would feel the same. Right now, though, protesting it was the best way to sound like a child.
“Keep your story straight,” Riensin protested lazily. “Is she infatuated with a Bitrani, or was that a lie?”
Lirnilalie shot him a glare that might have melted a lesser man on the spot. “Would you like to try me, young man? I’m sure you think that you’re quite bright, but I’m equally certain that you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are.” She turned back to Elelakorrra as if the interruption hadn’t happened.
The Voice of the Emperor had her eyebrows raised. “My question is – how do you know what was in the papers?”