“Mel! Mel!”

I stretched, and kept walking. I looked up, and saw that Lana had followed me. I waved.

“Hey, Lana.”

She motioned back to the Academy. “You’re going to get in trouble.”

“Mmhmm.” I smiled. “Probably get about a bajillion demerits for that.”

“Isn’t that a bad thing?”

“Nah.” Of course it was. But it was a school bad thing. What were they going to do? Give me a bad report card? Whatever

Throw us in jail? If that could happen, the Mayor would already have done it.

Try and have me killed. I laughed. Get in line. Today I was going to enjoy the day.

Lana finally gave up, and just walked with me back towards the Spire. I started talking with Lana about the various gangs we’d have to deal with. The sheriffs and their deputies were a big one, especially if we ever moved out of our area. The Mayor’s Guard was like them, but actually scary.

Then there was the Half-Men southeast of town, and the Mer-Derers by the docks. Would really need to know more about them.

“And the Reza!”

The little pink-and-black bird boy was back. Dangling from a streetlamp, he was spinning in his ridiculous clothes. A few other bird people, or Reza, were flying around the area. Given the upturned hat on the ground with coins in the ground, I thought it was supposed to be a performance.

The bird boy flung himself off the lamp. Somersaulted and cartwheeled into the air, before landing in front of Lana.

“Lana!” He crowed. “Dearest Lana, the effervescent, the beauteous, the sublime. Marry me?”

The other birds burst into laughter. Lana blushed, and turned away. My eyes narrowed, and I could feel my mouth tighten. So I bopped him on the head.


“No joking like that,” I muttered.

“Who’s joking?” He said. “Lana, tell your bodyguard I only have honorable intentions for your…honor.”

Lana, however, was still turning a furious shade of red. She flapped around, trying to stay calm. “Um, hi Nahc.”

“Greetings and salutations.” He bowed low to me. “Nahc, the greatest crow that ever lived.”

A braggart boy. One of those. “Emelia.”

Nahc walked over to the hat and plucked a fruit out from its depths. He held it in his talon, and sat, taking a bite.

“So what brings you two lovely ladies outside here?” He asked. “Would have thought you’d be defending that tower. Or yourselves from every gang in town aiming for your head.”

“Thanks for the concern,” I said drily. “If not your help.”

He held up his wings. “Mr. Clops said not to get involved. We just got our curfew lifted. If you want to come to the Waste Quarter, even you humans will be tolerated.”

“Pass,” I said. “We were just at school. One place we’re tolerated at per week.”

“School?” Nahc looked perplexed. “Really?”

“Yup,” Lana said. “Blue Wheel Academy.”

“Blue Wheel?” the birds all crowded around Lana.

“What’s it like?”

“Is it really shiny?”

“Did you die?”

“It was stupid,” I said. “We had bad teachers, demerits, and a lot of jerks!”

copyright 2019 Jack Holder

Leave a Reply