Salis' Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium

This is the first chapter that has only seen editing by myself, so hopefully it isn't too noticeable.

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Place of Learning, Knowledge and Magic

Submitted: August 24, 2019

Reads: 8

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Submitted: August 24, 2019



Mr. Recruiter, or Pali I guess was his real name, seemed happy. I couldn't imagine why, after all that I had put him through anyone would be happy. Even I was happy now that it was over. I never wanted to do something like that again. At least not until I learned some wilderness survival skills.

"I am glad you two worked things out." The priest said with a chuckle. "I will never forget this day."

Pali chuckled weakly. "I know I will not forget this day either."

"You two wait here, I'll go summon a carriage for you." The priest turned to leave but added, "Stay out of trouble while I am gone you two. I would not want to miss it."

When the prietst left, Pali and I looked at each other. He shrugged.

"So…" Pali said, breaking the silence. "Do you mind if I asked you any questions?" I nodded. " I am really interested in Terra. I realize that your memories of it may not be the best, considering the nature of Terrans, but anything you could tell me would be wonderful."

At first I had no intention of answering him, but something he said caught my attention.

"What do you mean that about my memories?

"Oh, in most cases when Terrans are found they have lost most of their memories. Although I suspect that your case is not as severe considering what I saw you had made in Porra-kel."

Strange, as far as I knew I remembered almost everything about my life before I came here, other than what I was doing before I arrived on Calorin. A normal person would have been relieved to find out that thet were one of the lucky ones that kept their memories, but my life on Earth was pretty forgettable so I wouldn't have been missing much if I had forgotten. I guess keeping my knowledge was something to be happy about.

"I'm sitting down." My legs were still pretty tired and they hurt so I saw no point in standing at the moment if I didn't have to. So I sat down.

Pali looked at me but didn't say anything about it. "Would you mind if I asked you how much you do remember? I am particularly interested in what you were doing with that water wheel."

"I was making myself a new home."

"Why would you do that, and so close to winter? Was your family's home not enough?"

"I don't like living with animals in the house. They're dirty."

Pali nodded at that. "I understand that. I would not like living with animals in my house either, but I do not think it would be worth the risk of dying from cold. As far as I saw there was nothing inside to provide heat." He paused. "Unless you had some other means…"

So he was wanting to know about what I was building inside the water wheel. It made sense because he probably saw I had put something in my bag. I imagine he might have also seen all the wires I had left behind.

"You don't need to know."

Pali sighed. "If you will not tell me that I will not press, but I think you will not be so stubborn with my next question. Why do you talk the way you do? Combining words like that makes you somewhat hard to understand and a little crude."

Combining words? Could he mean that?

"Can't, won't, you're, shouldn't."

"Yes, those! Why do you do that?"

"They're called contractions."

"Contractions? Are they a habit from your native Latin?"

Latin? I guess I could understand why he would think I spoke Latin because as far as I had heard the height of Terrans was almost exactly when the Roman Empire was around.

"Nobody speaks Latin anymore."

"Nobody speaks it anymore? Why? Did something happen?"

"So when does this school start?" I asked him, ignoring his questions.

Pali's face momentarily looked frustrated but quickly went back to boring normal. "Your orientation and placement will take place tomorrow, with your lessons starting the next day."

Wait, the school was starting tomorrow? This was cutting it close.

As if reading my thoughts Pali said, "We could have had more time to get you ready, but someone had to do something stupid." When he said that I almost could have sworn he was smiling.


The priest had come back. "Your carriage will be here shortly." He then saw me sitting on the floor. "Do you want a cushion while you wait?"

I nodded.

As if the cushion thing hadn't happened he told Pali. "It will not be long so we should head out to the front and wait."

"Thank you. Your help has been a blessing." Pali said, actually looking grateful.

"And thank you for making my day." The priest smiled and motioned towards the door he had entered from. "This way."

I didn't move.

The priest saw this. "Is there something wrong?"

I said nothing.

Instead of saying anything Pali simply leaned over and grabbed me by my collar and pulled my towards the door. This set the priest off laughing the whole way outside.

When we arrived at the spot where the carriage would come Pali let go of my collar and then stretched his arm.

"For a child your age you are heavy. I guess this proves what I read about Terrans being built heavier despite their short statures."

It was true, while I was shorter than all the other children my "age" I was built thicker as well as being stronger. My best guess was it was because of Calorin having less gravity so they didn't need as much muscle. All of that sawing I had been doing probably added to it.

Not long after Pali had set me down the carriage came. What got my attention was that it was one of the levitating carriages I had heard of but never seen. Now that I saw one right in front of me the fact that this world had magic finally started to feel more real.

"Salis." Pali said to me when the carriage stopped in front of us. "Time to get up."

I didn't get up. With my legs as sore as they were I didn't want to get up. I also figured that Pali or the priest would be nice enough to lift me inside.

Instead Pali pulled untied a cord from around his waist. "Do you mind doing the tying?" He asked the priest.

The priest looked puzzled until he saw Pali pick me up and hold me to the side of the carriage. The priest laughed and tied me to the side.

"Are you sure this is safe?" The priest asked Pali.

"She is a tough one, she should be fine."

The priest laughed, "Have a safe trip." He waved at us as Pali got inside the carriage and we drove off.

Pali was getting his revenge.


The ride on the side of the carriage was horrible. I was hanging with the cord tied tightly under my armpits, which not only had taken the circulation from my arms it had begun digging into my armpits and they hurt. Even with this I decided that I would not let Pali win so I decided I would act as if nothing had happened.

The ride actually was almost worth the pain. While the carriage was going down the streets many people had the chance to see me tied to the side. The looks I got from the people that saw me were amusing to say the least.

When we finally arrived at the inn I let myself down from the side of the carriage. Now not only were my legs sore but by arms and armpits now hurt. I was going to have to make it a point to not put myself in anymore situations that required me to use my muscles for the time being. Unfortunately this meant I would probably have to be good more than I wanted.

Not long after I had freed myself Pali came out of the carriage. With his first look at me I saw disappointment appear on his face. Apparently he had looked forward to seeing me still tied to the side. He should probably have been more relieved to find that I had not fallen off on the way.

"I see you managed to get yourself down." He looked from me to the inn. "Will you go in by your own strength or will I be dragging you inside?"

I entered the inn in front of Pali, who looked relieved.

Inside the inn Pali spoke to the innkeeper before turning to me. "Your room is down the hall next to mine." He handed me a key. "Since you are filthy I have also asked the innkeeper to prepare a bath for you. Wait in your room and he will come for you when it is ready."

Pali and I walked down a short hallway before showing me my room. Before I entered he handed me a bag. It was the one he had showed me earlier that had clothes in it.

Upon entering my room it quickly sat on the small bed I found inside. The room wasn't terribly big, nor well furnished but it was cleaner than anything I had slept in since comming to Calorin. The bed was also softer than what I was used to, but since my hammoch didn't have much padding on it aside from a thin blanket it wasn't hard to beat.

After relaxing on the bed for a few minutes, letting my sore muscles relax, I opened the bag Pali had given me. Inside the bag were five body length tunics, each a different size, five pairs of undergarments, two pairs of foot wraps, and a pair of boots. I guess I could understand why he had bought different sizes of clothing, but the boots just looked evil. Even if the boots fit it would be a chore getting them on. I had also never used foot wrappings before, but many of the men in the mines used them so I had seen them get put on before.

When I did try the boots on I found that they were a bit big for my feet. This also made it so they weren't as hard to get on as I thought they would be. The only problems I had were that they were a bit lose and would probably chafe my feet and that, while not a problem at the moment, my feet were wider than those of the people of Calorin so in the future my feet would grow too wide for the shoes.

When a few more minutes had passed I heard a knock on my door. When I opened it I saw the innkeeper, who told me that my bath was ready. Following him I went to the bathing chamber. It was going to be the first time I hadn't bathed in a river in years. It was also the first time I had had a warm bath since coming to Calorin.

Back in my room I found myself the most refreshed I had felt in years. While I wasn't too thrilled about the fact that all of my clothes were white, I was just happy to have some clean, well made clothes. The shoes I had been wearing had been pretty frail too, so while the new shoes were too big, I was just happy to have new shoes.

After some time I heard another knock on my door. It was Pali.

"I brought you some books to read. Since you were helping keep records for the mine I am sure you can read them. Just make sure you get them back to me in one piece."

I took the books from him after which he left. In my hands I saw three leather bound books. On the spines I saw that there was a book on Flaern history, a book about a man I had never heard of nor cared to know about, and a book about some country I wasn't familiar with. Even though I could care less about the history on Calorin I had nothing better to do so I started reading.


Pali was exhausted. He had been running around so much the past few days that even all the walking he had done over the summer hadn't prepared him for an adventure on a mountain. Thankfully he would be heading back to the Kein the next morning and would return to teaching. He would also mostly be rid of the child.

Pali wanted to get right to sleep but he remember that he should contact Headmaster Ury and tell him he had a new student coming with him. He just hoped he could find the crystal that he needed to contact the Headmaster. With Salis having moved things around in his bag he was not sure if everything was still in there.

He found it. It looked as if she had not even tried to hide it at all. He found it simply sitting at the bottom of his bag. Normally something as valuable as a communication crystal would be the first thing stolen but she might not have know what it was and considering she had only taken his food and left even his money alone told him that she would not have stolen anything no matter how valuable. Well, he hoped that she would not steal anything.

"Headmaster Ury?" Pali said after activating the crystal. "This is Pali."

A few moments passed before the image on the crystal shook, as it was apparently being picked up, and Headmaster Ury appeared.

"Yes Pali. I am here. Do you have news about the Terran child you were going to look for?"

"Yes, I found her in Porra-kel. Unfortunately she is not very trustful so she ran from me down the mountain."

"She ran down the mountain?"

Pali then told the headmaster about how events had transpired from when she ran until their arrival at the inn.

"Hopefully she is reading the books I gave her and has not run away." Pali said upon finishing his story.

"This child seems to be a handfull. Do you think she will behave enough to be worth bringing her to Kein?"

"I could not tell for certain, but she seems intelligent enough to stop before things get too bad."

"A Terran might be worth some trouble, do you not think?" The Headmaster chuckled. "But tell her that we will not tolerate bad behavior, even from someone like her."

"I will gladly pass on the message."

"I assume you will make it to Kein in time for us to asess her placement."

"We will be leaving by carriage at dawn."

"Make sure to bring her to me as soon as you arrive."

"Yes, Headmaster."

"Sorris protect you."

"Thank you Headmaster."

The Headmaster's face disappeared from the crystal. Since it was still not too late in the night Pali picked up a book and read.


I awoke the next morning well before dawn. The books I had tried reading had bored me to sleep. Combined with my fatigue I had not lasted long. I don't even think the sun had completely set when I fell asleep.

Now that I was awake lit a candle since it was still dark outside and got dressed. I then picked up a book and began reading again. While I didn't care much about any of the books that had been given to me, I imagined that I would be going over a lot of the things written in them so I felt getting a head start on it was a good idea and if I fell asleep again all the better.

A few hours later, just after I noticed light through my window, I heard a knock on my door. It was Pali.

"Good, you already look ready to go, but the innkeeper will be bringing you your morning meal before we depart."

Soon after I finished breakfast Pali returned to my room. Since it was now time to go I picked up the bag with my clothes and left the room. Pali already had all of his things so we went to the innkeeper and gave him our keys and then handed him a few coins.

Outside I saw that one of those levitating carriages was already waiting for us.

"Do you want to ride on the inside this time?" Pali said to me before getting in.

I nodded and stepped in.

When we had settled ourselves in Pali signaled the driver in the front of the compartment and we took off. Since this was my first time in one of these carriages I was amazed at how smooth it traveled. I was also impressed with how fast it went after it had stopped accelerating. I didn't know exactly how far away Kein was from Stutra but it wouldn't take long to get there compared to the non magical ways of transport.

I actually discovered that the ride was not as smooth as I thought it would have been. While it was not bumpy, because it wasn't touching the ground, the wind would easily push it from side to side if a strong gust came. I was betting that one of these carriages would not be fun to ride in during a bad storm. Aside from this we often had to turn quickly to avoid the occasional wheeled carriages and carts.

Other than the wind and traffic the ride was uneventful. Pali ended up falling asleep not long after we left the inn so I was left alone with the driver. Since Pali looked so defenseless I couldn't help resisting the urge to take advantage of that and actually tied him up with my shoelaces.

Not wanting to stay inside the carriage with two men I didn't trust, and not wanting to be around when Pali woke up, I climbed out of a window and onto the roof, taking all my belongings. Since we weren't travelling at highway speeds it wasn't terribly windy on the roof and I managed to get some reading done.

When it was what a thought a little before noon I saw a large town appear in front of me. While it wasn't as large as even some modest sized cities on Earth it was the biggest one I had seen yet on Calorin, being roughly twenty five percent bigger than Stutra from what I could tell.

Instead of heading right into the city as I had expected the carriage turned east just before we entered and skirted around the edge. When we reached the eastern most edge of Kein the carriage followed a road almost due east for about five minutes before I saw several buildings come into view.

What I saw stood out from all the other buildings I had yet seen in Calorin. While there were several of the traditionally round shaped buildings being used there were four buildings that differed from the norm. The first, while still having the round shape was larger than any other building I had seen other that Sorris' Temple in Stutra. The next two were identical and were shaped like a long oval and were the first multi-storied buildings I had seen on Flaern, having three floors each. The third was also three floors but lacked any sort of roundness to it and looked more like something I would see on Earth rather than on Calorin.

As soon as the carriage pulled to a stop I jumped off of the roof, my legs protesting slightly since they were still sore. Surprised that Pali was not awake yet I kicked the carriage closest to where I thought his head would be. Soon after I heard a groan as well as the driver's voice telling him we had arrived. Not long after I heard a thump as if he had fallen off of his seat and onto the floor. It was then that I took the opportunity to head to the nearest building, the one that looked like it was from Earth, hoping to be out of sight when he exited the carriage.

Just as I was about to enter the building the carriage door opened. It was an untied Pali. He didn't look mad but instead gave me a look that said I should expect something to happen later. I had counted on that reaction so the look didn't mean much to me.

Since I had been caught I actually waited for Pali to catch up to me.

"That was a mean thing to do." He said to me. "Now that you are a student at this school things like this will not be well looked upon."

Since I was curious about the building I ignored his statement and asked him a question.

"Why is this building so different?"

Pali looked surprised, probably because I had actually talked without being expected to.

"So you did notice the building's design. As you should considering it was built according to what we have been told how Terrans construct their buildings. It is better suited for building extra floors than the traditional construction, which is why we used the design."

Just as I had suspected. The design had indeed come from Earth. This meant that there were probably other things that had been brought over. Which also meant that these people knew that it was possible that I could give them other things from Earth. The only question was if I wanted to give them anything. Maybe if I got something in return?



Pali and I entered the building.

"You will not be getting these back." He said, showing me my shoelaces. "Follow me."

Pali turned away from me and headed to a flight of stairs to the left of the entrance. Following him up we exited on the second floor. We then walked the entire length of the hallway before stopping at a door at the end.

"This is Ury Turrel Ellis' office. He is the headmaster and you will have to get his approval before you will be allowed to take part in lessons. If you treat him the same as you have treated me I very much doubt that you will be allowed to stay so behave."

I nodded, after which Pali knocked on the door, stated his name and entered.

"Greetings Pali." said the most well fed, although not quite fat, man I had seen on Calorin. "I am glad your journing was a safe one." He glanced at me for the firtst time. "And hopefully uneventful."

That last line caught my attention as well as the way he had looked at me. It was as if he knew what had been going on for the past few days. Since there were no phones or anything like that I had no idea how he could know. The only explanation I could think of was magic.

"Thank you Headmaster. The trip was mostly uneventful." Pali glanced at me.

The headmaster seemed to notice the glance. "We will have to catch up more later, but first we have other business to attend to." The Headmast finally turned his attention fully to me. "Salis Terra, is what you are called is it not?"

"It is."

"That is not a Terran name. Would you mind telling me what your Terran name is, providing you remember it?"

"I am sorry." I don't want to tell you.

"Tell me, how long has it been since you arrived on Calorin?"

"Seven years."

"That long? It is surprising that it took this long for someone to find you, though Porra-kel is not the most visited place." He paused. "Speaking of which, would you mind telling me what you did all of those years in Porra-kel?"

I told him.

"That will be convenient for us that you already know how to read and write." The Headmaster looked at Pali and then back to me. "I have one last question for you. I have been told that you were building things. We would be very happy if you shared anything you could about how to make things from Terra."

I shook my head.

"Not even if you were compensated?"

I wasn't surprised that he brought up me being compensated, but there were reasons why I didn't want to share any technology from Earth. The first was that I didn't want to be exploited. The other big one was that whoever I gave any technology to would have a big advantage over other countries. If it was Flaern's fate to get conquered by another country I didn't want to interfere with that and give them any advantages.

"How does fifty gold minimum for every piece of knowledge sound to you? I could easily go up from there depending on what you tell us. You could become very wealthy"

Fifty gold!? Most miners didn't make half of that in a year. Maybe there was something… It was now I remembered all of the poor and sick people outside the temple. There were things I knew that could easily help them. Even I couldn't ignore sick and dying people could I? Could I really be completely heartless? To be honest from what I knew about the reincarnation cycle that was supposedly used by the Calorin Deity I almost didn't care considering they would simply be reborn and forget their previous life, but it was fifty gold…

"Medicine." I said finally.

"Medicine? Does this mean you will give us the Terran knowledge about medicine?"

I nodded.

"Good! That is good news indeed!" The headmaster turned to Pali and then back to me. "I welcome you to The Kein School of Magic and Learning, Salis Terra. Pali will take you to your room and in a few hours one of our other instructors will perform your evaluation." The headmaster then handed Pali a sheet of yellow paper.

Had he just accepted me on just the fact that I agreed to give them knowledge?

"Thank you Headmaster." Pali said before giving a slight bow.

Pali and I left the room.


"Thank you for behaving." Pali said as soon as the door closed. "While you were not as polite as I would have liked you did much better than you have been with me. Now I just need to show you your room and I can be rid of you."

Pali led me back to the stairs and finally out of the building. We then headed towards the farthest of the other three story buildings and entered it. Inside I saw was a long hallway with doors lining both sides with another exist opposite us on the far side. The stairwell, like the Terran styled building had a stairs to the left of the entrance. We were the only ones in it at the moment.

Pali looked at the sheet of paper the the headmaster had handed him. He then began walking, looking at the numbers written on the doors to our left. About a third of the way down the hallway he stopped.

"This is the room you have been assigned to. Since I have a feeling you will be coming into a lot of money soon you can choose to be given a better room on the upper floors. Since you will be having someone room with you in this room, and considering how sociable you have been with me, I imagine you will do just that…"

So I would be having a room mate if I stayed in this room? That would be nothing compared to living in a small home filled with noisy children and farm animals. I also could think of better things to do with my money, so despite what Pali thought I was going to do he would be wrong. I just hoped the girl I would be sharing my room with wasn't nosey.

I opened the door to my room and looked inside. It was a very plain room, only having two beds, some simple desks next to each bed, and two small drawers. The thing that I was most happy about was that it was clean.

"I will leave you to settle down. Someone will be bringing you lunch and shortly after that you will be taken to take your asessments." Pali left with an almost relieved look on his face.

Inside the room I took out my few belongings and placed them on my bed. Not long after I had done so I heard a knock on the door. I wondered if it was my lunch, but upon opening the door I saw it was Pali. He looked sorta emberassed.

"I forgot to tell you. The books I lent you will be needed to be returned to the library on the floor above the Headmaster's office in the Temple of Learning."

I shut the door and went back to my bed. Since I had not tried on all of my clothes yet I decided to do it while I was waiting on my lunch. I just hoped he hadn't been to horrible at guessing my measurements.



Lunch came and went. I had had a good hour to eat and relax when I heard someone at my door. It was Pali.

"Seems I am not rid of you yet, child." He said. Despite this he didn't look to unhappy. I guess he had fallen for me and didn't want to admit it.

"We better hurry, the one that will be giving you your assessment does not appreciate being made to wait." Pali did look uncomfortable when he mention this.

Since I wanted to get this over with I stepped out of my room and followed Pali and in a few minutes I found myself back inside the the large round building adjacent to the Earth style building called the Temple of Knowledge. I guessed this might be the Temple of Magic.

On the way to the building and inside I had noticed that, while the morning had shown little activity, there were a number of children and adults now. Many of them we carrying belonging bags and chests towards the dorms. Pretty much all of them stared at me whenever I walked past. I made it a point to ignore them.

I soon found myself inside a fairly large room. Inside the room I saw that it had been arranged in an auditorium style seating with a raised platform near the front of the room to my right, and with a half circle of benches placed on the left side of the room. In the corner I noticed a stack of polished square boards.

"That is Pae Candrar Im." Pali said, pointing out an older man sitting on a chair on the platform in the front of the room. He was the only one in the room besides us. "He is actually an instructor of magic but is well versed in all of the other subjects, making him the one of the best instructors at guessing which teacher to put each child with."

The man had seen us and stood up, waiting for us to approach. Pali and I walked to him.

"Greetings Instructor Pali. I see you have returned from your annual search for children." The man looked at me. "And you found an unusual one this year."

"Yes, I certainly did find an unusual one this year. Unfortunately she was the only child I found."

The man turned to me. "Your name child."

"Salis." Was all I said considering Terra was given to every Terran in Flaern I didn't have to say that. He would know. Pali rolled his eyes.

"Well child, let us waste no time. We usually do not have to evaluate our new students since most of our patrons have been tutored and we know where they stand, but with you we have no way of knowing how much you know."

Pali left the room.

For the next hour I had to listen to this man's scratchy old man voice as he asked me all sorts of questions. The strangest thing though, was that he had not once asked me anything related to Earth. He never even mentioned it or my appearance. My best guess was that he was just going through routine questions that he would have asked any pospective student.

When he had finished questioning me about my knowledge on everything from history to agriculture he picked up one of the boards, a piece of graphite, and a sheet of paper.

"Do you understand what this is?" He said, motioning to something written on the paper.

When I took a closer look I saw that he had written what were probably math questions. While I easily understood most of them, I saw that the harder ones used symbols I didn't recognize. When I told him that I found out they were just the Flaern equivelent to the 'x' and 'y' used in math on Earth.

Seeing this I took the graphite, which almost immediately dirtied my hands, and easily filled out all of the answers. The man, whom I had decided to call "Pie Can," looked over the paper, nodded, and then gave me another. This new one was filled with some of the harder math questions that had been on the previous paper. Sadly they were so easy that eighth graders could have done them. While I knew that I had forgotten a lot of the math I learned it looked as if I still knew more than what was taught here.

The man looked over the last piece of paper, nodded, and said. "That will do for your evaluation. Since your knowledge of Flaern and Calorin in general seems to be lacking I will be placing you with Instructor Nila Candrar Fis on the first, third, and fifth days of the week. She is well versed in history and the Deity and is used to teaching the young ones, however; when she begins arithmetic you will immediately go to Instructor Callic." He handed me a piece of paper with room numers written next to the names of both instructors.

I was going to be skipping out on my assigned teacher's math lessons? I guess it made sense considering this teacher, whom I decided to call "Vanilla," wouldn't have anything mathwise to teach me. I just wondered what I would be doing at… hmm, Cowlick was a good name. I just wondered what I would be doing with this Instructor Cowlick.

"Now that we have your knowledge instructor assigned I will be assigning your magic instructor. Since you have had no prior experience with magic I will be placing you with myself for the second, fourth, and sixth days of the week. I expect you to be on time for all of your lessons. Since you are here by the School's favor we will not hesitate to expel you for poor performance or behavior."

It made sense that I was going to be watched closely, I wasn't paying my way after all. The only question was how much I could stretch the boundries that had been set for me. The being on time thing wouldn't be a problem though.

"Two things before you leave child. The first is that you will be meeting with a Priest of Candrar every morning, an hour before lunch. I believe you will be giving him Terran insights on medicine. He will be stopping by your room to wake you up so do not take too long to get ready. Second, you will be going to the field on the far side of complex where you will be doing your physical evaluation."

I soon found myself dismissed and immediately left the building for the field.


On the far side of the school grounds I found a number of children and two adults doing various things around what looked like a track on one side of a small round building and an archery range on the other. Since I was here for an evaluation I walked to the nearest adult, a man. He was watching a number of children practicing with wooden swords.

Upon nearing his I saw that he probably was an instructor that dealt with exercising and such here. While he was short by Calorin standards he was well built and had a dark tan that showed he spent a lot of time outside.

"Greetings child!" He said upon seeing me. "I believe you are the Terran called Salis. I am Benc Vellis Soli. Meric and I have been looking forward to seeing what a Terran is capable of, especially one that is whole."

He walked next to me and got down onto one knee and looked me over. "You really are more stocky than a normal girl your age should be." He looked at my arms. "Have you had any training?"

I shook my head.

"Well, normal children do not come with muscles that thick. Your build also looks to be more sturdy too." He stood back up. Thankfully the man, now known by me as Bench, hadn't tried to touch me in any way.

By this time a number of the other children had noticed me and had formed a small group. I could hear them whispering things amongst themselves but didn't try to hear any of it because it was most likely weird stories they had heard about Terrans.

"Benc, I see our unique one has arrived for her evaluation."

The woman that had appeared and spoken to Bench was the adult I had seen watching several children shooting bows and crossbows at the archery range.

"Indeed she has. She looks like she is going to be a strong one too."

The woman looked me over.

"Yes, her arm muscles look a little soft but I can tell that they are bigger than usual. She should hold a bow just fine."

The woman, Medic I decided to call her, stepped back and turned to Bench.

"All of the targets at the range are being used right now so I will let you have her first Benc."

The woman turned and left.

"I think I will have you do your running exercises first. I want to see how good your stamina is before you get tired from doing other things."

Bench turned towards the track and called out to a girl.

"Since there are a few rascals practicing with wooden swords right now and will most likely hurt themselves if I leave, I am pairing you up with Ferra. You do not seem very talkative so I am hoping some of her spirit will be passed on to you."

Oh no. Did he just call over an energetic one? Was she going to talk my head off? If I had known not talking would potentially lead me to being paired off with someone like that I would have definitely talked more.

"You wanted me Instructor Benc?" Said a smiling girl of about sixteen Calorin years.

"Yes Ferra, I want you to take Salis here through the evaluations."

The girl, Ferret was what I had chosen to call her, looked at me. First with curiosity then, almost yelling she said "Cute!" With that she grabbed my hand and leaned over to me.

"Your name is Salis?"

I nodded.

"You do not have to be shy. I promise I will be the best of friends with you."

I had met one of the types of people I had hoped to avoid. Since I didn't want her to talk too much I hoped that answering her questions would actually make her speak less than if I didn't speak at all. I just hoped she didn't get to clingy or start viewing me as a pet.

"Shouldn't we start?" I said.

Ferret looked a little disappointed when I spoke, though I don't think it was because I wanted to start the evaluation. I was curious but asking her would only make her talk more.

"She can speak!" said Bench. "I knew you had it in you Ferra. Now I know it was a good idea to leave this to you." Bench then turned back to watch the children practicing with their wooden swords.

"I will have her talking just as much as me by the end of the day Instructor Benc!"

Bench looked over his shoulder at her and then me. "If you do I will have to call you the Deity that Beats Impossible Odds!" He laughed and then turned back to watching the practicing children.

"Oh, she cannot possibly be that bad."

Their conversation pretty much guaranteed that I was going to give Ferret a hard time. I was going to enjoy this.

"Salis." Ferret said. "Let us get to know each other well during your exam." She waited for me to reply but when I didn't she moved on. "Let us do distance running first."

Ferret started walking towards an oval track where a few other children were jogging.

"Do you like running?" She asked me.

Since I had decided to talk a little but didn't want to talk too much I replied with as few words as possible. Not that I would have normally answered any differently…

"I don't care either way."

"Why not?"

"Why should I?"

Ferret looked disappointed with my answers. My plan was succeeding.

"Can you tell me things that you do like?"

There was no way I was going to tell her what I liked. I didn't want her finding out any of my weaknesses. Pali had already discovered my weakness to pineapple and that had not turned out well so I definetly didn't want this person finding out one. I just had to hope she didn't go get advice from Pali.

"Do you hate me?" she said. "I hope you do not hate me. I just want to be your friend and to make you happy."

If I said I did hate her how would she respond? Would she stop talking and leave me alone or would it just motivate her and make her find out what she had done to make me hate her. To be honest the pitiful look she had on her face almost made me feel bad, but why should I care if she was sad or not?

"I don't hate you." As much as I hated saying that I couldn't lie. I hated people that lied even more than people who talked too much.

Ferret jumped up and down excitedly, having recieved her first victory in the Salis x Ferret war.

"So you finally admit that you liked me. Ferra is so happy right now!"

And there she was taking it farther than she needed to.

"I don't remember saying the word 'like.'" I said to her, hoping but not expecting it to fix the situation.

"Your shyness just makes you cuter." And then whispering to herself. "I just wish your voice sounded shy too."

I wanted to sigh but couldn't bring myself to. I wasn't being shy Ferret, I was being unsociable.

We had reached the track. The first thing I noticed was the small table with several hourglasses on it. There was also three pairs of shoes and sandals near what looked like a starting line. The three children on the track were all running barefoot.

"Take your shoes off and put them over there with the others." She said with a suspicious smile.

I actually was more than happy to take the boots off as well as my foot wraps. Since my boots currently had no laces they had begun to chafe my calves. I didn't even want to try running in them even if they did still have laces. The one good thing about having the laces missing was that the boots came off easily.

"Ah!" Ferret said looking at my feet. "Even your feet are cute! I have never seen feet that wide on someone your age!" She looked up from me feet. "Do all Terran children have feet like this?"

"Never paid attention or cared." I said truthfully.

"Are they not awkward?"


Ferret looked back to my feet. I could see her holding back the urge to touch them.

She shook her head, apparently to focus herself and then walked to the table and picked up an hourglass. I couldn't see the small hourglass very well from the distace I was at but it looked to have lines meant for measuring time.

"Ready?" She said, another suspicious look on her face. If I had to guess she was hoping I ran cute too. "Four laps!" She shouted suddenly, the embarassment on her face making me think she had almost forgotten but barely remembered in time.

"Go!" she said, flipping the hourglass over.

Since I didn't care about setting records or impressing anyone I didn't try running as hard as I thought I could. My legs were also still sore from my short hike on the mountain so I probably wouldn't have had much fun anyways.

When I had ran four laps, only being passed by two of the other three students, I stopped in front of Ferret. I knew it would have been smarter and less mentally painful to have just ran right past her but I didn't want to make of scene after she chased me down, giving her the excuse to cuddle me or something equally horrible after she caught me. I never had been as fast as any of the native Calorin children.

"You were holding back." She said as soon as I stopped.

I guess the fact that I was not breathing very hard gave that away.

"But your running form was cu… satisfactory." She added, obviously stopping herself from saying cute. I don't know why she was hiding it this time.

The rest of the test went by, thankfully, with little more than Ferret explaining what I needed to do and her commenting in her way about how I did.

By the time I had finished my last sprint my leg muscles were killing me. My feet were just as sore. Even though I had walked everwhere for the last few years my legs and feet were no match for a helping of mountain and then repeated sprints.

"Did you have fun?" Ferret asked happily.


"I did not like it at first either, but when you get into shape it will not be bad. You might even like it." Ferret looked towards the small building. "Put you boots back on and then let us go get a drink before we move on."

I was thirsty so I liked that idea.


When we arrived at the building I noticed a barrel. There were also several children standing near it talking. When Ferret also saw them she stopped and got an annoyed look on her face. My best guess was that she didn't like someone in the group.

"If that creep over there talks to you," she said, pointing to the tallest member of the group. "Ignore him. He is a Dugin and it shows."

I could actually understand why Ferret, being under Vellis, would hate someone under Dugin. Those under Vellis and Dugin had just never gotten along well with each other. While the former were generally sociable, carefree, and playful the latter were serious, manupulative, and liked to be in control. To be honest both of them could be equally annoying.

"Maybe if we hurry he will not see us." Ferret said, grabbing my hand and pulling me more quickly to the barrel.

Ferret did not succeed at avoiding him. The boy, as well as the group he was in, had all turned to look at us when we were within a few meters of the barrel. By the time we had reached the barrel the group had formed a semi-circle around us. The boy stepped out.

"Hello there Fer." He said, adding a derogatory tone. "I see you found yourself a new pet."

"Leave us be, Dario. We do not want to be in your company."

"We?" He looked at me then back to Ferret. "Have you already told this… special thing a bunch of lies about me?" He looked at me again. "So, what has she told you?"

"That you're a Dugin and to ignore you. That's it." I said, purposefully ignoring Ferret's earlier advice.

"A Dugin?" He looked back to Ferret. "Fer my dear, again with the hate towards Dugin. Why do you keep making those born under Dugin sound so horrible?" He looked back to me. "You look to be a very intelligent girl. You should know that those of Vellis have a tendency to not see things the way they really are."

It was true. From my experience with those born under Vellis in Porra-kel did tend to see things the way they wanted. The thing was that those born under Dugin also tended to do this too. It was probably the only thing they would ever have in common.

"Be quiet Dario. You are just trying to turn her against me and have her join your group of fools and future criminals." Ferret said.

"Fools?!" He laughed, as did his companions, though most of them looked as if they didn't really find anything funny. "A Vellis is calling me a fool? Do you realize how rediculous that sounds?" He shook his head. " I cannot believe we are having this argument again."

I could see why this guy, let's call him Dorito, had such a big group of "friends." He did seem pretty charismatic and probably be a great gang leader someday.

Since I was getting tired of their argument I turned to the water barrel. Inside was some mostly clean looking water and a few cups hanging onto the side. Since Terran were rumored not to be able to get sick, and the fact that I never had despite loads of sicknesses among the village, I wasn't too concerned about it being contaminated. Sharing a cup with someone else was a bit gross though. I took a drink anyways.

I heard Ferret laugh. "Salis is ignoring you already Dario. I knew she was as smart as she is cute."

"Or maybe she is she is smart enough to realize how stupid you and your lies are." He turned towards his group and after telling them a joke about Ferret they left.

"Of all the people to meet." Ferret said to me before getting some water.

I had to agree with her. I had now been exposed to a group that I would normally have easily been able to avoid, but now that a certain boy associated me with Ferret he would probably try to "win" me from her. Or maybe this would be a good way to pass some time. Since I did hate people like Dorito maybe I could find a way to "create some fireworks" inside his group. Nothing like a good civil war.

I heard Ferret sigh. "Let us move on before that cyst comes back." She motioned for me to follow her.

As I followed her I found myself inside the building. It was full of weapons. While all of the different types of bows looked to be completely deadly, most of the melee weapons were wood variants of the real thing.

"Choose two melee weapons and a bow. If you want me to help I would love to find something that I think fits you the best." She said, her smile, as well as that suspicious look, back on her face.

Since she would most likely choose something that made me look the cutest I declined her offer. Since the closest thing I had used to a weapon was a wood cutting axe I actually had no idea what I would be best with. There were also more types of weapons to choose from than I had expected to find.

I first looked at the swords. While none of them were as big as some of those medieval European swords they were all pretty normal looking. As I looked at the swords I noticed that, despite all being wood, they were all pretty heavy. Since I didn't want to tire myself out too quickly I decided on a medium sized, single edged sword.

Moving on I came to what I would call the miscilaneous weapons. There were all sorts weapons here. There were axes, clubs, spears, pole arms, and even a whip among other things. Passing over the axes, clubs, and spears I decided on a pole arm. Since I already had a sword I wanted to also try something that had a bit of reach to it.

Finally I went to the bows. Aside from the expected selection of different sizes of bows there were crossbows. Since I had not expected to find anything like a crossbow I went right to them. While they did look a bit more simple than I remembered them they were indeed crossbows. Since I knew they were easier to learn how to use than a bow I picked a decent sized crossbow.



Now that I had chosen my weapons I headed back to the door where Ferret was drinking some more water.

"Hmm," She said taking a good look at me choices. "Are those not a little heavy for you?"

I set down the pole arm and crossbow, then swung the sword with one arm. While I had no doubt that my arm would get tired pretty quickly if I only used one arm it would probably be fine if I used both.

"Ah!" Ferret said, suddenly excited. "You are going to look…" she paused and looked at me. "You are going to look so intimidating with all of those oversized weapons on you." Translation: You are going to look so cute with all of those oversized weapons on you. What worried me was that she was learning to conceal her fantasies.

"I did not expect you to choose a crossbow." She continued, changing to her serious mode. "Let me get you a bow too since you will be training with that more. Since I will be sparring with you I will be getting weapons like the ones you chose."

Since I knew where the archery range was I headed there as soon as she came back with a bow. When she saw where I was heading she followed me.

"I do not really like archery." She said. "It is not as much fun as a good fight between two equally skilled opponents."

I didn't see how training how to kill people could be fun. Sure learning self defense was good and all but enjoying it? Well, I guess it might be fun if you didn't like your opponent…

Since the archery range was not too far from the building we were there in no time. While there were a few children practicing with bows it was no where near as crowded as the fighting circles where that teacher Bench was watching.

"I see you finally made it here Ferra." said the archery teacher, Medic or whatever she had been called.

"Yes Instructor Meric."

"So, how well did our Terran child here do?"

"Her results were about average, but I think she was holding back."

Medic looked at me. "Were you holding back?"

I shrugged. I could have made an excuse about my legs being tired but I think the results would have been the same even if they hadn't been.

"No matter. When we start your lessons we will be able to tell." She looked back to Ferret. "Will you be fine handling her archery evaluation or should I get someone else. I know well your dislike for archery."

"I will be fine Instructor Meric."

"Make sure she does not hold back this time." Medic looked at me before leaving.

"You heard her Salis. No holding back now." Ferret said with a smile.

Ferret and I headed straight for the nearest open target. Aside from the target I noticed that there were a few containers a little behind the shooting line. Inside these containers were a large amount of arrows for the bows and bolts for the crossbows. Since I had chosen a crossbow I grabbed a bolt first.

I had never used a crossbow before so I wasn't too sure what I was doing, but somehow managed to figure it out before Ferret had to intervene. The hardest part had actually been pulling back the firing mechanism, but the impressed look Ferret gave to me when I pulled it back was worth the effort. With that done all I had to do was load the bolt into the crossbow and I was done. It had been surprisingly easy.

Next I walked up to the firing line. The target looked to be about thirty meters away from me. I actually had no idea how hard this distance was considered and since I had never shot at targets before I had no idea how well I would do. The only way I was going to find out was to shoot the thing.

Surprisingly Ferret had been quiet the whole time. From looking at her I think she was more interested in what I would do and probably didn't want to spoil anything. Or maybe I was being too cute and she was speechless. If it was the latter then I would be more that happy to be cute for her if it kept her from talking.

With my attention back to the target I lifted the crossbow to my shoulder. It actually felt heavier holding it up to my shoulder than when I had just been carrying it. While I was fine at the moment I knew I wouldn't be able to hold it up for too long so I needed to be quick.

I wasn't to sure if I was using the sights on the crossbow or even if they were sights but aimed as best as I could. When I was satisfied I pulled the trigger and with a thump the bolt left the crossbow. Soon after I saw the bolt hit the target. I hadn't gotten a bullseye but I had hit about halfway between the edge and center. Hopefully next time I would do better.

"Wow!" Ferret said, actually sounding impressed. "Have you used a crossbow before"


"Take a few more shots and then we can get to the bow. I doubt you will be as good with that."

I shot the crossbow four more times. While my second and third shots weren't much different from the first my fourth shot was almost a bullseye. By the time I tried my fifth shot my arms had started getting tired and were starting to shake so my aim was worse and it ended up becoming my worst shot.

"Done?" Ferret said when I set the crossbow down and stretched my arms. "Rest your arms for a minute and we can then try the bows."

For the next five minutes Ferret tried talking with me. At first I had answered a few questions, like where I had been living, if I had had a family, and how long I had been in Flaern. When she started asking about things I liked and disliked I stopped answering her, not wanted her to find ways to get on my good side.

When she saw I wouldn't talk to her she started to try and play with me. When I sat on the ground and refused to do anything she started poking my cheek, which I promptly bit, gathing a few laughs from the children at nearby targets.

Rubbing her finger she said, "I think it is time for you to try the bow."

I stood up and grabbed the bow from where I had laid it. Looking at the forms of the children shooting around me I grabbed and arrow and tried doing what they were doing and holding the bow and arrow like they were.

Satisfied that I was doing everything right I pulled the bow string back. While I had been expecting it to be about as hard to pull the bow string back as it had been arming the crossbow it was surprisingly easy even with my arms still a bit tired from holding the crossbow.

Since the bow didn't have anything like a sight like the crossbow I tried aiming with the arrow. Since I knew arrows tended to drop after they were shot I aimed a little higher than where I wanted to hit. I fired. The arrow landed just in front of the target.

I grabbed another arrow. This time I aimed higher. This time it hit the very bottom of the targed. I fired another arrow aiming even higher but it landed short of the target.

I looked at Ferret. She had a grin on her face. Had she known this would happen all along? Had she chosen the weakest bow, knowing I was barely strong enough to hit the target?

"I see you gave her "that" bow Ferra." said Medic, coming out of nowhere.

"I could not help myself." Ferret replied, denying nothing.

"She still managed to hit the target. Not many beginners can do that."

"You should see her hits with the crossbow."

"Not the best, especially with a crossbow, but better than most beginners." Medic turned to me. "I think you would do well in my accelerated class."

So I was going to be put into an accelerated class? While I guess I should have been happy with someone showing such expectations from me I knew it would just give me more work to do. Besides, how did you accelerate training with a bow? I hoped it didn't involve too much pain.

"That is great news!" Ferret said excitedly and then with less vigor, "I barely even made it past the evaluation."

"Yes, I remember." Medic said. "You dropped the arrow so many while times while I did not think you would ever shoot one let alone hit the target."

Ferret looked emberressed. "If it was not for Instructor Fin's advice…"

"Yes, he said it was one of his greatest accomplishments in his last few years here."

"I was not that bad!"

"No, sadly I have seen worse."

Medic soon left for the next child over.

"We should go to the sparring circle. It is getting late." Ferret said.

I nodded.



The walk over to the sparring circles was quick and thankfully quiet. Ferret still looked emberresed from her talk with Medic. I was more than happy to let her stay that way if it meant quiet.

"Is something wrong?" Asked Bench when we arrived at the sparring circles.

"Nothing." Ferret said a bit too quickly.

"How has your new friend been performing?" He said, obviously ignoring Ferret's suspicious denial.

"She did well with her running and Instructor Meric decided to put her in the accelerated archery training."

Bench looked at me, he had a sad look on his face. "That is quite unfortunate. Meric's idea of accelerated training is making the victims stay for an hour or so longer than normal. You have my condolances." He then laughed.

"Yes, that is not something I would wish on anyone." Ferret added, though she did not laugh.

"Well, let us see what we have here." Bench said, changing the subject when he noticed Ferret. "A sword, as expected, and a pole axe. Interesting choice."

Ferret and I walked to the nearest open sparring circle. We each set our pole axes to the side and readied our swords.

"For the first while I want you to attack me. I will only block and not fight back. After that I will see how good you are at defense and countering." Ferret said. "I do not want to put a mark on your cute face or skin so I will not be too hard on you."

Since I had been watching the other children that had been sparring as much as possible I had an idea about how I should hold the sword. I had also gotten a few ideas on ways to attack Ferret. My only problem was that I had already tired my arms a little from holding the crossbow. My arms had had a few minutes to rest since then and the fact that the bow had required little strength would hopefully have been enough to let my strength go back to normal.

When I took my first swing with the with the sword it wasn't at Ferret. I actually wanted to get used to the weight of the sword before I went after her. For the next minute or two I tried swinging the sword in different ways. When I felt a little tired I stopped for a few moments before turning back to Ferret.

When Ferret saw I was getting serious she took up a defensive stance. For once she looked totally serious and focused. When I saw this I knew that my chances of hitting her were low. I actually found myself wanting to prove that thought wrong.

I swung at her. She didn't even block and just stepped out of the way. I tried a different approach, and then another and another. Each time she either easily moved out of the way or pushed it to the side with her sword.

"That should be enough." She said smiling at me. "Do not hate me in the next part."

Ferret took up a more agressive looking stance. I immitated her defensive stance, watching her closely. When she attacked she came in more quickly than I thought she ever could have moved. I did my best to block her but I was never fast enough and got hit each time, though I could tell she was holding back a lot of her strength.

A few long minutes later Ferret stopped. "Good job Salis! I noticed you improving even as we fought. If you keep that up you will be excellent with the sword in a few years."

Ferret walked to the edge of the sparring circle and sat down, motioning for me to do the same. "Let us rest for a few minutes before we use the pole axes."

I was not as tired as I had been after doing the sprints I did welcome the opportunity to rest. Unfortunately for Ferret I sat a few meters away from her. She did look noticebly unhappy about it but stood up and sat down next to me.

"Your blue eyes are so pretty." She said after a moment. "It is like there is a small sky looking back at me."

This had not been the first time someone had made that kind of remark about my eyes. Since I had yet to see another set of blue eys other than mine I understood why they would think that.

"Do you mind me asking why you dislike talking so much? I have the feeling that you are not shy."

The reason why I didn't like talking? I simply didn't want to get attached to any one person. I wanted no attachments of any kind.

"No matter what the reason." She continued. "I want to try and get you to enjoy speaking with other people as much as I do. I also want you to know that I really do want to be your friend, even if you choose not to talk much."

Ferret stood up and picked up the pole axe. "Are you ready?" I followed suit and readied myself for another round like the one with the swords.

Since none of the other children were using pole axes I had no clues on how to go about using one. Looking at the thing I realized how much trouble I was probably going to be in for. Not only was it twice my height it was also balanced differently than the sword. When I swung it around a few times I also realized how much trouble I would be in if I let someone get close to me.

I had wanted to test the weapon just as long as I had with the sword but because I was much more awkward with the poleaxe I tired myself more quickly. When I turned to Ferra I knew that I would be having a much harder time. I just hoped that she wasn't as good with a pole axe than she had been with the sword

I attacked her from the longest distance I could. She jumped to the side, actually looking a little scared. My best guess was that she knew that the extra length added that much more force than a sword would have of the same weight. Sadly as I attacked I never got the reaction out of her again.

When Ferret began attacking me I learned first hand how painful it was to get hit by the pole axe. I could even see her straining to slow her weapon down before she hit me with it, failing to make the blows nearly as soft as she had made them with the sword. Thankfully she had never once tried to hit me in the head.

"Forgive me Salis." She said as soon as we had finished. "I have never focused much on the pole axe as much as I have the sword so I was not able to control it as well as I wanted to."

I only rubbed my shoulder in reply. It still hurt from when she had hit me there a few times.

"Well done you two!" Came from an approaching Bench. "You did very well for a beginner, Salis. Watching the other students was smart and gave you a better chance, not that you had any with Ferra."

Ferret's face flushed a little at his praise.

"You know I still have much to learn." She replied.

"Of course you do, but someone fighting against one with years of experience while having none themselves is pretty hopless no matter."

"It is so."

Bench knelt next to me. "I want to thank you. I have not seen Ferra jump like that since she was as new as you are." He laughed. Ferret's face went red again.

Bench stood back up and turned back to Ferret. "So, how do you think Salis did, Ferra?"

"She definetly has never used a sword or pole axe before, but despite choosing weapons that were too heavy for her she is fairly quick and has good reflexes for someone so unskilled. She is also very strong for someone her age and size."

"I thought as much myself." Bench said. "Salis, I want to put you in my version of accelerated training. I will not be making you stay any longer than is usally expected but will instead be pushing you harder and faster than I normally do."

"As for what times you will be expected at the field I have talked mith Meric and we have decided that you will train with me in the mornings for an hour just after morning meal. In the afternoon after you meet with your Magic or Knowledge instructor you will be spending two hours with Meric." Ferret shivered when Bench mentioned the two hours of archery. "With that you are now ready to start your life at this school."

Medic then dismissed Ferret and I.




Before I left the field Ferret told me what to expect for meals since no had told me yet. She explained that one of the dormitory maids would go through the hallway every morning ringing a hand bell to wake everyone up. Following her would be several other maids that would be placing our morning meals in front of our door, knocking to let us know it was there. For noon meal and evening meal the maids would take our meals directly into our rooms if no one was there to recieve them.

When she had explained that she told me to wait for her while she put our weapons away and did a few other things. As soon as she went into the shed I made my way quickly towards the girls' dormitory, hoping she would be unable to find me there.

At the building I found that it had become much more lively than it had been when I had left. There were now many girls as well as some boys gathered in groups in various places around the building chatting. Ignoring them I went inside and saw even more activity. Aside from more groups of chatting girls I saw others carrying belongings. Some of the girls were even being followed by maids, all of which were by the stairs or going up the stairs.

Even with all of these people none of them approached me. While many were too absorbed with what they were doing to notice the ones that did notice me either stared or said things to other people. I was actually quite happy about this. I also counted myself lucky that there wasn't anyone else like Ferret that wanted to make friends with everybody, aside from the Dugin born.

As I reached my room my stomach rumbled. I didn't know what time the evening meal would be brought but I hoped it was already here. When I opened my door and entered I saw there was no food. Instead there was a black haired girl sitting at the desk opposite of the one I had chosen. She was looking out the single window in the room, opposite of the door. I also noticed a light on the ceiling above the door, lighting up the room fairly well.

The girl looked from the window to me. She didn't give me a surprised look as I would have expected but looked at me curiously instead. I also looked at her curiously. She was obviously not from Flaern. Instead of the usual medium to dark brown hair hers was black. Instead of brown eyes hers were grey. Her skin was also darker in a way that didn't make me think she just had a dark tan. Aside from that her build and shouder length hair were pretty normal. She looked to be about ten years old.

"Hello." She said, her voice a little uncertain. "Are you a Terran? They told me I would be sharing a room with one. That you would look different. That you would have white hair and blue eyes."

Since I would have to be sharing a room with this girl and her being too awkward around me would be distracting I decided to talk to her.

"Yes, I'm a Terran."

"What country are you from? My parents travel and they never told me about a country with people like you."

"Terra isn't a country, it's a different place. Somewhere not of Calorin."

She looked confused. "Are you from one of the lands where the Deity are from."

"No. I don't really know where Terra is or how to get back there." Believe me I would be there if I knew.

"Do all Terrans speak funny like you?"

She was probably talking about my lazy use of Flaern, or rather my addition of contractions to a language that didn't have anything like that.

"Don't think so. I just speak this way because it's faster.

"What foods do Terrans like to eat?"

"Uh, I guess it depends on the Terran."

"Are all Terrans as tough looking as you?"

"I'm actually about average…"

As we continued talking I found out that she was called Artua Usui Kein, though unbeknownst to her she was now Arty in my mind, and that while she had been born in Kein her parents were merchants from a country far to the north where it was much warmer. During the summer harvest break for school she would help her parents until they left to sea and traded all winter until they came back to sell during the summer. I also found out she had an older brother that was also attending this school.

When the knock on the door for evening meal came it the sun had gone down and Artua had long run out of questions to ask. She was now drawing a picture of me while I read.

As I was the first to get up I opened the door. Standing there was an older woman holding two plates of food. When I reached out to get them I heard a shout.

"Salis!" I heard an unfortanately familiar voice. It was Ferret. She must have been watching the maids go to each door, hoping to see if she could find me.

Even though she was pretty close I managed to take the two plates from the woman and closed the door with my foot. I knew it wouldn't stop her, but I hoped to be proven wrong.

As expected I soon heard a knock on the door. I ignored it and set a plate of food down in front of Arty and then placed my plate on my desk and sat down.

When Ferret knocked again Arty looked a little confused but stood up and opened the door.

"Thank you." She said to Arty. "Salis… why did you leave, and why did you just do that?"

It was because I didn't want someone knowing which room I was staying in.

"Has she been treating you well?" Ferret said to Arty.

"Salis is nice. She has not done anything bad. She even let me ask her lots of questions and draw her."

Ferrets jaw dropped. "She would barely even talk to me…" she then changed modes. "I am sorry. I should probably introduce myself." The two exchanged names. "So, what did you do to make her talk?"

"What did I do?" Arty looked unsure of how to answer. "I just asked."

Ferret turned to me. "How come you will talk to her but not me?"

I started eating.

"Teach me your secrets master." Ferret said, turning to Arty.

And for the rest of the night Ferret and Arty became friends. Poor Arty barely managed to keep up with Ferret when she got going. Most of it was Arty telling Ferret what I had told her. They even started drawing me at one point. Strangely they left me alone to my reading.

Finally I heard a bell ringing outside. It was the lights out bell.

"Thank you for the wonderful time, Artua." Ferret said, getting up.

"Good bye Ferra."

Ferret left the room.

"I am tired." Arty said, pulling off her clothes and climbing into her bed.

"I think she steals your energy." I told Arty. "That's why she has so much of it."

Arty gave a fearful look. "Is it true?"

"I couldn't say."

A few minutes later the light in our room went out, marking the end of an annoying day.


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