July 19, 2018 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Demand and Supply
“But why does it always work?” Tairiekie was, as always when the topic came up, plaintive. “I mean, we’re in a school.” And a little bit stuck on the subject. “Somewhere, someone has to be interested in all of the amazing things that can be done with engineering!”
“Akaizen House?” Saydrie tried. They’d gotten her off the topic once during breakfast, but then Riensin had gotten her going all over again.
“We’re supposed to be learning a broad spectrum of general topics! I don’t roll my eyes at textiles classes!”
“Well, sometimes you do,” he demurred unwisely.
“Just when they’re boring!”
“Textiles aren’t boring!” Enrie insisted. “The amount of information you can weave into a piece of cloth — or embroider into a garment — it’s amazing!”
Saydrie sent up a silent prayer to the Three. When they got going, they could be like that for hours.
“Get out of my way, Byittie trash.”
That hadn’t been the rescue he’d been looking for, but the Book of Tienebrah said “find your answers in everyday life”, and the Book of Reiassannon said “take your challenges and turn them to weapons.”
“I am not in your way,” he insisted quietly.
“You’re in the hallway. I’m in the hallway. Thus you are in my way.”
Turning, he recognized the speaker. Not in their eighteen-group nor in Saydrie’s House; the uniform said Textiles House. More unfortunate still, he had expressed an interest in Taikie, in Enrie, in Kekla: presumably in every female — every Calenyen-blooded female, Saydrie corrected mentally — in the school, or at least in their year.
And, as he was making patently obvious, he hated Bitrani, especially Saydrie, at least since the trip to Lannamer.
“Ergo, get out of my way,” he finished smugly.
“How did you ever get into this school with such a poor foundation in logic?” Taikie wondered with apparent sincerity.
“Clearly not on his looks,” Enrie sneered. “Do you think his parents…” she dropped her voice like she was suggesting something scandalous.
Taikie clearly filled in the blank with something, though Saydrie couldn’t guess what. “No!” She gasped as if horrified. “The school wouldn’t… would they?”
It was going so well. His would-be tormenter was sputtering. Enrie was smiling. Taikie was horrified — but in a good way.
“Oh, you three again, of course.” Instructor Tiemaktamiek, who taught their basic Agriculture and Trade class, sneered at the three of them. “It seems as if you can’t move at all without causing some sort of trouble, doesn’t it?”
“Professor.” Saydrie’s former tormenter bowed, suddenly doing his best imitation of a good student. “I was just telling this… quota student to get out of the way of the real students.” He managed to make quota student sound exactly like Byittie.
“Well?” The professor raised an eyebrow at Saydrie. “Are you going to get out of his way, or not?”
“Professor, I—” Saydrie sighed. “Yes. We were just heading into class when we appeared to get into this student’s way. We’ll go in there now, and that will get us out of the altercation.”
“Not so fast.”
“Have you finished your homework?”
“Of course, sir.”
“Don’t ‘of course, sir’ me. You may be the darling of the Head of School and the House Monitor now, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not still under all of the rules of the school. Did you finish your homework?”
Any minute now, Taikie was going to explode, or Enrie was going to say something a little too clever, and then they were going to be serving detention again. Saydrie bowed, as shallowly as he dared while still being nominally responsible. “Sir, I can show you my homework if you wish.”
“Oh, I’m sure you can. And who did it for you, hrrmmm?”
“What? Sir, I – I.” He was sputtering. He didn’t want to be sputtering! It just sounded stupid!
“Oh, close your mouth, Zaydrie, you look like a fish. Who did your homework? Your bright friend here, Lady Enerenarie? Or the book-eater, Tairiekie?”
Now that wasn’t the voice he’d been expecting. Riensin stepped up on one side of him, grinning. On the other side was Kekdela and Tesdes.
“I’m sorry to admit it, but Saydrie here helped us with our homework last night. He’d gotten his done early – he didn’t want to get in trouble, you see – and I was having a little bit of trouble with question three, and Kekla here wasn’t really sure about question four, so Saydrie helped us through. I know it’s against the rules, but since we all went to Lannamer together, sometimes it’s like we’re one big team, and, I mean, didn’t House Monitor Libkazaari say that helping your own team out is not only allowed within the rules, it’s aggressively encouraged, nay, almost required. So, of course we were going to ask for help when we couldn’t get it within our actual Team….”
“Enough!” bellowed Instructor Tiemaktamiek. “The next time I hear about Lannamer, I am going to dock a point from that person’s final grade! Now get into class, get your homework out, and sit down!”
“Oh, look. It’s the Double Trio of trouble. Talking about how much fun you had off in Lannamer instead of classes?”
Gailpoon was Instructor Tiemaktamiek’s favorite student – and definitely not a favorite of the three.
And he was sneering at the six of them and not having a single idea why they were trying not to giggle.
It was Kekla who was brave enough to clear her throat and ask “Professor?”
“Gailpoon, by the Three, do you not have any sense? Take your seat, and think about farming more and your classmates less,” Instructor Tiemaktamiek snapped. While Gailpoon, confused, did just that, the professor turned to the six of them.
“I keep my word,” he snarled. “Don’t think that I don’t. Now take a seat, and I will dock points from all of you if a single one of you says a word out of place today.”
They sat silently. Saydrie, however, was having a very hard time not grinning.