The Headmaster nodded towards me.

“Headmaster Lien. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Lien let me go, and pulled out a notebook. “Let us talk. I have received notes from the truant officer, your homeroom teacher, several chefs from the cafeteria. A total of seventeen demerits thus far. There is also witness testimony of your leaving the school without permission, another two.”

The corner of her mouth twitched in what might have been a smile. “Attempting to attack the Headmaster…will be discounted as a provoked lesson.”

She closed the notebook. “You, Emelia McKay, were already shown to be obstinate, belligerent. You are unwilling to move from a course of action that you have predetermined as right. And your moral code is so set that any digression is seen as surrender.”

Lien nodded. “I suspect the only reason you returned to the school was to teach young Jonas a lesson when you discovered his affiliations and true meanings of words towards Miss Woodland.

“But what is truly disheartening, is your lack of ability to think.”

I stared. “Come again?”

“Reasoning. Your awareness of the world beyond your own senses.” Lien waved a hand. “Consider today. Why was the truant officer able to whisk you away from maledictions? Why was your compatriot Sela able to walk free accompanied by one swordsman and a book-maker? Why is Lana even here?”

I waited for an explanation. When it didn’t come, I realized that she wanted me to answer. “I don’t know.”

“Do you have any idea?”

“Because you fixed it?”

“Is that a guess, or a theory?”

I squeezed my eyes shut. “We left because you were there. Blue Wheel has to have a reputation, something the gangs don’t want to mess with.”

“Why would that protect Sela?”

“It wouldn’t,” I admitted.

“Why is Lana here?”

“Because she wants to!” I shouted. “And no one is going to tell her where she can and can’t go!”

The headmaster tutted. “You were so close to actually thinking.”

“Yeah, well…you’re stupider!”

“Is that the best that you can come up with?” Lien asked. “Bad insults after a poorer performance?”

“It wasn’t that bad,” I said. “And when I get home, I’ll train, and come back even better.”

“How?” Lien asked. “Explain it to me. How are you getting better?”

“Hard work,” I said. “Keep going over the magic.”

“How?” she asked. “You saw how I could dispel all your magic in an instant. For all your training, you could not stand a chance against me.”

“You’re different.”

“I am barely competent in comparison to the true masters of magic,” she said. “Just as Sela’s duelist friend is considered average. And Mr. Clops is just coming into his own as an orator. And yet we are all your superiors in every way.”

“Why?” I asked. “What makes you think you’re better than us?”


She handed me a badge.

“We went to school.”

copyright 2019 Jack Holder

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