January 23, 2017 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
They’d been back at school for two weeks. Enrie was entirely caught up on all her classes, and Taikie was back into reading ahead by at least a week. Their Instructors had either forgiven them, or, in the case of those more nosy than fretful about academics, had stopped asking what was going on.
They were between their last two classes; Gianci walked up to them looking uncomfortable. His hands were folded in front of them and he bowed a little as he got close.
“Gianci? I – it’s Enrie, Gianci.” Enrie ran her hands over the buttons on her jacket uncertainly.
“There are times to be formal,” he countered. “And in this case, well… there is a race in Ileltedez tomorrow night. Would you like to attend with me?”
Suddenly his nervousness made sense. Enrie smiled broadly and bowed, far deeper than the situation called for. “I would be thrilled to attend the races with you… but only if you go back to calling me Enrie. Otherwise, this sounds more like a treaty-signing than a date.” She winked playfully at him.
He flushed. “You would? I was hoping, but—”
“Ah, Miss Enerenarie. If you could please come with me?” The Head of the School, Wiltemika, walked up to both of them. “Mr. Gianci, I apologize for the interruption, but I’m afraid whatever it is will have to wait. I need Miss Enerenarie and her team now.”
“Then Gianci should come along,” Enrie insisted. She didn’t want to lose yet another chance to go to the races with Gianci. “He’s been a part of this all along.”
“So have Riensin, Kekla, and Tesdes,” Taikie pointed out. Enrie was just grateful she didn’t mention that ‘all along’ was less time for Gianci than for the others.
The Head of the school sighed. “All right. Come along, the four of you. The others will have to find out later, as I don’t have time to go find them right now.”
“Thank you.” Enrie bowed politely.
“Yes, yes.” Wiltemika smiled, but it looked rushed. “Up to my office now, let’s hurry. There are people we don’t wish to keep waiting.”
“This is all a little alarming,” Enrie admitted, as they walked very quickly up to Wiltemika’s office.
“Alarming? From you? You’re the girl that faced down Lirnilalie and an Associate Governor, visited the Voice of the Emperor, and came back unscathed, with your teammates who have already found one murderer, not to mention, possibly pushing one of Instructor Pelnyen’s most obnoxious sayings right back into his face, rather literally. I cannot think of anything, dear girl, that might be alarming for you.”
“But I was alarmed or frightened or terrified for most of that,” Enrie protested.
“Well, then, you handled yourself with remarkable poise and strength and I’m certain you’ll continue to do so today. Here we go.” The Head of House’s office was in the center of the History building, one story above everything else. Enrie had never been there, but she’d heard rumors and legends about it, stories from her parents’ days at school, and whispers from students who knew upperclassmen who had been called here.
None of those legends said anything at all about four armed guards standing outside the office.