Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Two
Chapter 2: A Bit of Class
As the week progressed, I grew confident as I read and
re-re-re-read Speak Tyrannian with a mental intensity that I had never pressed
myself into before. I memorized words, closed the book and made sentences with
them, and even had Migga quiz me on them. Both Migga and the book helped me
translate the all of her lessons on living in Tyrannia and learn the language.
My notebook filled rapidly with discoveries and observations.
Once I got a grasp on the language, I closed
the book and put it into my backpack to give back to Murrov the next time I
Deciding to challenge myself even farther, Migga
and I made a trip to the local market to shop and haggle. Several hours later
I felt tired but extremely pleased with myself. I had successfully gotten he
both of us a good lunch from several vendors, plus ingredients for a delicious
dinner tonight... all without any help from Migga!
^^It's time for your ultimate test,^^ Migga told
me that evening as we ate. ^^We're going to start school on Monday. I'm going
to introduce you to the class.^^
I swallowed nervously; I was going to a strange
classroom in a strange land where I was still struggling to learn the language...
We walked into the room and immediately all eyes
riveted on me as Migga explained to the teacher, a Tyrannian Krawk, in a low
voice who I was and where I'd come from. The students had thick fur, or tusks,
or huge claws, or clubs, or even combinations of them all.
The Krawk smiled (rather toothily) at me and
gestured me forward before scratching her claws noisily on the stone desk in
front of her for attention. ^^Class, I would like to introduce to you our new
student; Dusk. She comes to us from the Darigan Citadel. She is still learning
Tyrannian so be extra patient with her and please give her a hand if she needs
^^Hello,^^ I said shyly, touching my chest politely.
^^Welcome, Dusk,^^ rumbled the class, touching
their own chests in greeting.
As I took an empty seat to the sound of curious
and excited murmurs, I tried to swallow my nervousness. I was new, and behind
the class on the current lesson, even though Migga had been kind of keeping
me up to date every evening. I glanced at the board, which happened to be a
heavy black piece of stone and saw the words 'test soon' in white chalk. Oh
A Tyrannian Cybunny tapped my shoulder and pressed
a few sheets of paper into my paws. ^^Pssst. Hey, Jarragh wanted me to pass
these to you.^^
I accepted them, half expecting a rude or vicious
comment about my home. It was no secret among outsiders that Lord Darigan's
downfall and eventual redemption was a less than shining example. Not to mention
Kass and his ultimate disappearance under rather dark circumstances. There were
all kinds of bad jokes and insults that we had to face whenever we showed hide
or hair around Meridell beneath us.
Instead, a small note was paper clipped to the
front of the sheets of paper.
^^Hello Dusk, I thought you might need these.
We're having a test on Wednesday. These are my notes for the lesson; feel free
to make a copy for yourself.^^ >^-^<
It took a moment before I realized the strange
markings at the end of the sentence were a stylized "happy" Kougra face, complete
with whiskers, eyes and a nose. My eyebrows shot up as I looked over the well
organized sheets, in Tyrannian, of course, but that was all right.
I turned and looked back along the row of students.
A Tyrannian Lupe smiled warmly at me past his tusks and gave me a wink.
^^Thank you!^^ I mouthed happily.
He dipped his head in a part nod, part shy duck.
I smiled to myself. That was so sweet of him, and it really made me feel better
to receive such a warm welcome.
The Krawk scratched again for attention once
I was settled in and began the day's lesson, ^^Today class, we are going to
go a little more in depth about the Monsters we faced when war swept through
our homeland... Remember now, anything talked about today and tomorrow will be
on the test.^^
I choked back a gasp of surprise as the lesson
continued. Tyrannia had felt the ravages of war? I took notes furiously; all
the while my gears were in overtime. Things were so peaceful here it was hard
to imagine. But then again, our Citadel had been through it... twice...
We stopped our history lesson an hour later and
milled through the halls. My next destination was Art Class. Once again, the
class greeted me warmly as Migga and the teacher introduced us. I caught a few
students shooting glances at me and then leaning down to add a few strokes to
their paper. Glancing and drawing. Glancing and... I blushed and my ears felt
hot as I realized I was the subject of someone's picture. Awkwardly I rubbed
the back of my neck.
Then Gym... Each introduction to the new class
full of students got easier as I was greeted warmly and with a great deal of
curiosity by my fellow students. I stretched and limbered up smoothly, deciding
I would be ready for any exercise they could throw at me.
I was much smaller when it came to muscle mass,
but I was more agile and gave a few Mynci jocks a run for their Neopoints when
we ran a lap or two, then hit an obstacle course.
The Gym Teacher thought it was a hoot when I
seized a bar and hauled myself up a series of platforms to the very top, balanced
on a single paw and then sprang off, landing nimbly on all four paws to a chorus
of cheers and the shocked puffing of the Mynci duo behind me.
^^Well done!^^ roared my Grarrl teacher, ^^Oh
well done!^^ He clapped me heartily on the shoulder, rocking me solidly on my
paws, ^^I never thought I would see the day when someone would give my best
students some competition for a change. All right students, hit the showers.
That will be all today.^^
^^Dusk, where did you learn those skills?^^ one
of the jocks asked me curiously when they caught their breath; apparently they
had been making a big effort just to keep up with me.
^^I do it all the time at home,^^ I explained
as we headed for the building, ^^I just go outside and start running. Everything
in my way... fences, street signs, ledges, balconies, roofs, other Neopets... they
all become obstacles in my course. I don't pick a path I just go and don't let
myself stop. You learn to make everything leverage or a hurdle.^^
Interest flared in the eyes of several pets and
I could hear them setting up a time to try that as we split up. No one seemed
jealous of my abilities.
My day was full of pleasant surprises. Everything
about me that was different was a point of curiosity, not scorn. I think... I
was teaching the Tyrannians new things as fast as they were teaching me.
I grinned to the sound of shocked gasps as I
crawled fearlessly into a pitch dark hole to retrieve a ball. The only incident
in there was bumping noses with a really strange fellow (later learning it was
a Stego) who was more than happy to let me take the ball out, since it was blocking
one of his tunnels.
The social hierarchy here seemed to be different
than home in the Citadel. Sure, there were the queen bees, the athletic showoffs,
the geeks/nerds/odd ones out, the smart students and the unlucky social lower
class... and though everyone seemed to stick with their own groups, there didn't
seem to be the tension that I would usually see at home. One of the odd ones
out accidentally crashed into one of the athletic showoffs. To my surprise,
rather than yelling or teasing, the athletic showoff laughed it off and helped
the outcast scoop up the spilled books and papers before going their own way.
^^Of course not,^^ Migga snorted when I brought
it up. ^^Usually they stick with their own because they're the most comfortable
with others like themselves. Doesn't mean that they can't be polite and respectful
to others who are different.^^
I chewed that one over for hours afterward. For
all the primitive looking living conditions and mannerisms, they seemed to be
far more advanced socially. Back home, there were always social tensions and
it would take a bold Neopet to point out that it was okay to be different. Then
a month later it would be back to the tensions again. I couldn't help but feel
a little ashamed of my classmates for acting immature like that.
To be continued...