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Chapter 30

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March 7, 2019 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

And if I say it is an Honor, it is one. 

Princess Oltyellalobtello seemed as much at a loss as he was.  She cleared her throat after a moment. “Tairiekie, I understand.  You don’t want special favors. You want to get where you are going to get  on your own strength. Am I close?”

“Y- yes,” Taikie sniffled.  

“But on the other hand, you have faced challenges that are possibly not being properly considered.  How many days of class did you lose to being hit with a wrench?” She seemed to have trouble saying this, as if she couldn’t believe someone would have this problem.  

“A- a week.”

“And did you receive any tutoring from the teachers?”

“Enrie and Saydrie helped me.”

“Come on.” Oltyellalobtello held out a hand to each of them.  “Let us walk and consider the matter.”

She was, Saydrie realized, taking time out while working against a tight schedule to calm down a distressed teenager.  He wondered if this was how she was all of the time, or if it was a more pragmatic matter of needing the three of them helpful and in good working order for her Treaty Meet.  

Either way, he took her hand.  Taikie, after a split second of hesitation that nearly stopped Saydrie’s heart – even the Calenyena wouldn’t scorn at a hand held out from a A Princess, would they?-  did the same. “Consider it?” she muttered, as Oltyellalobtello began leading them in the direction she wanted to go – from the more residential areas into the government center of the city.  “I’ve been considering it for weeks.”

“You didn’t say anything,” Saydrie protested.

“We had other problems.  You had someone following you around – sorry, Princess – and Enrie has the whole concern with the Imperial Bureaucrats, and even Riensin had other things on his mind.  There were bigger things to worry about.”

“That’s what I want to bring up,” Oltyellalobtello inserted before Saydrie could add another protest.  “You want to get everywhere on your own merit, like every other student, but you are ignoring challenges that no other student has faced.”

“That’s what I want to bring up,” Oltyellalobtello inserted before Saydrie could add another protest.  “You want to get everywhere on your own merit, like every other student, but you are ignoring challenges that no other student has faced.”

“I should be able to get over all of those challenges!  Besides, Saydrie and Enrie were right there beside me!”

“Neither of us got hit over the head,” Saydrie pointed out.  “And, on top of that, neither of us really cares nearly as much about being top of our class.  I have to keep my grades high enough to not endanger my enclave. Enrie heeds to not flunk out.  None of us are at a risk of that, I’m sure. I know you’ve had trouble with philosophy-”

“I think Instructor Pelnyen is afraid of us now,” Taikie admitted in a mutter, “which doesn’t really – that’s not a good reason to get good grades, either.  Good grades are supposed to be because you’re smart, because you worked for them, because you deserve them.”

“And you do, and you are, from everything I’ve seen.”  Oltyellalobtello‘s voice was quiet and earnest. “But bad grades aren’t supposed to be because you weren’t in class because of an injury, or because you were being chased to Lannamer by people trying to run you off the side of the road, or because there was a strange person tracking your teammate all around campus.  Or because someone suggests that you should drop all your schooling to suddenly go to a Treaty Meet on the far side of the coast. None of those are reasonable reasons to get bad grades, that is, none of those are your failing.”

“I made my decisions.”  Saydrie recognized this tone, and was almost – almost – grateful for it. It means she was coming out of misery.  “I knew that all of these things would impact my grades-”

“You didn’t know that a madman was going to hit you over the head!”

“No,” Taikie agreed, with a bit of a sigh.  “But my mother told me school would be difficult and I didn’t believe her.  And look, it’s become hard, and what can I say, that I didn’t know that it would be hard?  That I thought it would be more important to make a goat that would pee on Instructor Pelnyen’s head than to study-”

“That you thought the safety of the nation was of paramount important,” Saydrie cut in firmly.  “We’ll work on things, when we get back. We’ll see who we can get to tutor us, all right? I’m sure that we can work it out.”

“If all else fails,” Oltyellalobtello cut in, “then Elalekorra and I will tutor the three – no, seven – of you personally.  You’ve done too much to help our nation for either of us to ignore that.  And while I doubt we can get the Emperor himself to help, the two of us can make time-”

Taikie was turning ashen.  “Are we – would you – really?”

“Really.”  There was no arguing with that tone.  “It would be my honor. And I will make sure it is Elalekorra’s honor as well.  But ah, here are your friends.”

Riensin looked as if he had run the whole way.  His braids were beginning to come out and there was a flush to his cheeks.  He was, however, grinning, and he was holding Enrie’s hand in one hand and Gianci’s in the other. “I don’t know where Tesdes and Kekla went,” he admitted, “but I can go find them now.”  He bowed very deeply to the Princess. “As you requested. Remember this when I need a pardon.”

Before the Princess could answer, he had dropped both hands and run off again.

She looked at Saydrie in askance; he shrugged.  He had no idea what exactly Reinsin was going on about.  

Enrie looked a little baffled.  Gianci looked more than a little worried.

The Princess bowed shallowly to both of them. “I apologize for interrupting what must have been a lovely day by yourselves, but we must hurry to make it to the Treaty Meet.”


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