“Ah, I see you’ve met my daughter!” Lyrrekka smiled warmly when Salia and Karilya wandered into the garden looking for her. “I was about to come and find you. I really hope that you girls get along, because you’ll be sharing classes.” She took them both by the hand and led them through the garden to an exit Salia had not noticed the day before. She frowned â€” she was sure they’d walked through this part.
“The doors to this part of the wing are hidden,” Lyrekka explained. “There’s some dangerous things kept in here – but you’ll be fine as long as you don’t prod anything without your teacher’s permission.” She laid a hand on the door and it swung open. “Come on then.”
Lyrekka led them down another long corridor and into a room with two desks in the center and quite a few books and toys. It reminded Salia a lot of the room where she had her classes at home.
Karilya bounced over to one of the desks and sat down. She opened the sloping lid and pulled out some books and a pencil. Lyrrekka gave an indulgent laugh.
“Karilya loves her classes.” She gave Salia a little shove towards the other desk. “I’m sure you’ll like them too.”
Salia muttered sceptically to herself about that as she sat down, opening up her own desk. She peeked inside and found pencils and similar but no books yet. She looked up as the door opened again and an elderly red eyed goblin with horse’s ears and coarse grey hair walked in. Karilya leapt to her feet and stood there respectfully in a way that told Salia that this was the teacher. She hesitated and then rose to her feet as well. There was no need to antagonise him. She tried not to make her relief at her teacher being a goblin rather than a dragon obvious.
“Hi, Per, this is your new student Salia,” Lyrrekka said. “Salia, this is Peradan, who will be your tutor for the next year or so.”
Salia scowled at that but mumbled a quiet hello. She had no intention of being here for a year â€“ let alone several â€“ but mentioning that would only cause trouble.
Lyrrekka chuckled and ruffled Salia’s hair before dropping a quick kiss on to Karilya’s forehead. “Watch out for this one, Per, she bit Gerian-mirian when he was bringing her her.”
“I’m not surprised, he probably deserved it. More people should try it. They might chew some of the arrogance out of him.”
Lyrrekka chuckled again and shook her head. “I won’t tell him you said that.” She looked back to Salia and Karilya. “Enjoy your lessons, girls. I’ll pick you up later.”
Peradan turned to Salia. “You’re the Storm Queen’s daughter aren’t you? So I doubt your education has been neglected.” He ruffled around in one of the cupboards and came out with some books. He sorted through them and then handed one to Salia.
“Would you read for me, please, your highness,” he said.
“Read?” She took the book and looked at the title curiously. It was in the flowing Haltia script and revealed the tome to be a book of children’s tales.
“Yes. I’m sure you can read, but I need to assess your level so I can tailor your lessons.”
“Oh, okay.” She opened the book hesitantly and began to read the first story out loud.
“Classes are fun, aren’t they?” Karilya said after Peradan had sent them into the courtyard for a break.
“I guess. I always liked them at home,” Salia said. Peradan had seemed please with Salia’s reading ability and she couldn’t help feeling pleased about that.
“I can tell. You read really well.” Karilya sat down by the fountain and splashed her face with the water. “It’ll be lunch soon.” She paused as Salia flinched. “Stomach food, silly, and I don’t eat my friends without permission anyway. That would be rude.”
Salia stared at her and nearly said something but then her stomach rumbled. “Oh!”
“Mia will be here soon with lunch.” Karilya laughed gently. “We could play for a bit while we’re waiting.”
“Play?” Salia said. “Play wha-” She broke off as Karilya splashed a handful of water into her face.
“A water fight, of course!”
Salia giggled in spite of herself, scooped up a double handful of water and flung it at the dragon girl.
By the time the teenaged goblin arrived with their lunch, both girls were thoroughly soaked and sitting by the fountain giggling. The goblin girl looked at them with her vividly yellow eyes and shook her head in amusement.
“Peradan will go crazy if you drip on his floor, sister,” she said.
“I know,” Karilya shrugged. “It’s worth it to make a friend smile.”