Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 163,200,182 Issue: 280 | 23rd day of Awakening, Y9
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Catching Up: Part Three

by extreme_fj0rd


"Hey! Arielle!"

      The Air Faerie slowed and glanced over her shoulder, hearing her name called somewhere behind her. It didn't sound like any of her new friends, she thought vaguely...

      Lianar pushed through a group of older Earth Faeries, frantically muttering apologies, and skidded to a stop just before Arielle. She made quite a contrast from her earlier self, panting from her mad dash through the halls with one hand resting on the wall beside her to keep her upright.

      The Light Faerie raised her other hand to keep Arielle waiting; the Air Faerie shifted uncomfortably and glanced after the other Air Faeries she'd been walking with. They were a year older than her, and she had been having a lot of fun listening to what they had to say about the other Faeries they passed.

      But Lianar was her classmate, after all...

      She waited for the Light Faerie to speak. After a few moments, Lianar straightened.

      "Thanks," she said, grinning. She was still breathing heavily, but in a more usual way.

      The Air Faerie returned her smile. "You must not get much exercise," she commented.

      Lianar waved a hand vaguely. "Oh, I do. Just usually my exercise is practicing flying." Her gaze returned to Arielle's face abruptly, and she said, "I stayed after class, and so did Patricia--"


      "--and guess what, Ms. Evea is letting us form a group early! Oh, Patricia is that Dark Faerie, you know, the seventh one." Lianar grinned.

      Arielle nodded, still attempting to comprehend what the Light Faerie was saying.

      "She's letting us form groups already?" she asked incredulously after a moment.

      "Oh, not everyone, just because Patricia and I stayed after class and asked," Lianar said innocently.

      "That's it?"

      "Well, it might have something to do with Patricia. When I asked her, she said that she was a charity case and got in on 'the merits of her study' or something," Lianar said, making air quotes around the phrase. "But Patricia's always like that, she doesn't mean it really."

      "So..." Arielle frowned at the Light Faerie. "Why are you telling me this?"

      Lianar laughed. "We want you for Air, silly!"


      "Well, I do, and we agreed that I'd get Water and Air," the Light Faerie clarified. "She's finding Earth and Fire. So, will you do it?"

      The flow of chattering Faeries around them ceased abruptly; the chime rang again, signaling the start of the next class.

      "I have to get to Healing!" Arielle said, jolted by the noise out of thinking about Lianar's question. "I'll tell you later, okay?" She didn't wait for an answer, but spun on her heel and dashed off, wings fluttering behind her.

      Lianar sighed and glanced around, and then ran for her own class, Mathematics, hoping she wouldn't be too terribly late.

     She was.

      The instructor, a Water Faerie, glanced up from writing on the chalkboard. "Lianar," she said pleasantly. "How good of you to join us." She turned from the board, set the chalk down, and came towards her tardy pupil.

      Lianar hung her head, abashed.

      The Water Faerie considered Lianar for a moment. "Detention," she said crisply at last, picking up her chalk again. "Today, in the room designated for such things. Third floor,” she added, and turned to the board. "Now, consider that the slope is the variable 'y,' and the y-intercept of the graph is equal to the variable 'b'..."

     Lianar strode through the halls to her next class, sliding between clumps of her fellow students without really looking at them. Only a sharp poke to her shoulder caught her attention; she turned, and grinned at Arielle.

      The Air Faerie smiled back. "I decided," she said. "I'm in."

      "You are? Oh, Faeries!" Lianar exclaimed. "We're going to have the best group in the history of Faerieland, you just wait and see!"

      Arielle laughed. "I'm not sure about that," she said, "but it's certain to be interesting. What's your next class?"

      "Oh--I've got quest-giving."

      "How's that? I don't have it 'til second term," Arielle said, enviously.

      "It's good," Lianar said with a shrug. "I don't think I'm going to choose that for my specialty, though."

      "Of course not, you're going to go for a Racer instead," the Air Faerie said, grinning broadly.

      Lianar shook her head. "What's your next class?" she asked, bringing the conversation back to where it had been before.


      The Light Faerie made a face. "Clear across the school. Bother."

      Arielle grinned. "I know. Who're you asking to be our Water, then?"

      "I don't know," Lianar said, frowning. "I mean, I know who all the Water Faeries in our year are, I just haven't met many of them yet."

      "You really take this seriously, don't you?" Arielle asked with a grin. "Anyway, if I want to get to history on time, I have to be off. 'Bye!" She slipped into the crowd, vanishing between a large group of Earth Faeries and a couple of young Fire ones.

      Lianar shook her head, smiling, and turned to continue the journey to her own next class.


      Lianar made an effort to be on time for her detention that afternoon, determined to make a good impression on whichever teacher was overseeing the room designated for her discipline.

      To her dismay, when she turned the last corner and looked down the hallway at the open doorway, the Fire Faerie seated at the long desk was clearly Ms. Evea.

      The Light Faerie took half a step backwards, just as determined now to not let her Faerie Cloud Racers instructor see her.

      But if she skipped detention, she'd be in even bigger trouble. With a sigh, Lianar stepped forward again.

      It seemed to take too little time to traverse the hallway; she paused in the doorway and smiled at Ms. Evea.

      The Fire Faerie glanced up from her conversation with a Water Faerie who looked vaguely familiar, and frowned. "Lianar? Are you sure you've got the right room?"

      Lianar nodded, tucking a wisp of hair behind her ear. "Pretty sure," she said. "This is detention, right?"

      "Yes, but..." Ms. Evea looked perplexed.

      "I was late for math today," the Light Faerie explained. She stepped inside the room and glanced around. Ms. Evea's desk sat at the front of the large room; the rows of desks it faced were approximately half-full of Faeries. Some slouched rebelliously in their chairs; others sat primly at attention, making it obvious that they didn't think they were supposed to be here.

      The Fire Faerie gave her a shrug, then nodded. "Have you met Lillian yet?" she asked, motioning to the Water Faerie.

      Startled by the change in subject, Lianar glanced at the other student, who smiled shyly.

      "Not yet," Lianar said cheerfully. "It's nice to meet you, Lillian. I think we're in Ms. Evea's class together?"

      "This is Lianar," Ms. Evea explained to the Water Faerie.

      Lillian nodded. "Nice to meet you too," she said softly.

      Lianar smiled at her teacher and took a seat in the second row; clasping her hands on the desk in front of her, she stared at the wall above Ms. Evea's head.

      Evea frowned at Lianar for a moment; then she shook her head and turned back to her conversation with Lillian, dropping her voice to a whisper again so as to not disturb the students in detention.

     An hour later, the chime rang again, contained by a simple spell to the confines of the detention room. The Faeries stood and stretched--and yawned, in some cases, when the student had been napping--and spilled out into the corridor.

      "Lianar," Ms. Evea called, "a moment?" She waved Lillian on into the flood of students now free from detention, and sat waiting at her desk.

      Lianar hung back for a few moments, until the others were mostly gone, and then stepped up to the Fire Faerie's desk.

      "Lianar..." She looked pensive, twiddling a pencil between her fingers thoughtfully, and then put the pencil down abruptly on her desk. "Lianar, have you yet found a Water for your group?"

      The Light Faerie shook her head; enlightenment came after a moment, as Ms. Evea simply looked at her.

      "You want Lillian to be our Water?" she asked, for confirmation.

      Her teacher gave her a slightly sheepish smile. "I wouldn't want to think that you're doing it merely to please me," she said. "I don't want to interfere. But--consider her, will you?"

      Lianar nodded, and turned to leave.

      "And Lianar--"

      She turned back.


      The Light Faerie smiled. She hesitated, as if on the verge of saying something else, and then nodded and left the room.

     Evea watched her go with something like relief. Lillian hadn't been in Faerieland long; she'd lived near Maraqua, the Fire Faerie gathered, and the recent war had affected her such that her guardian sent her here.

      She sighed, and stood to chivvy a last few reluctant students out of the room.

     Lianar strode down the corridors, frowning. She knew she had to acquiesce to Evea's request; if she didn't, there was no guaranteeing that they would get to form a group. Lillian seemed an all right type, too, though perhaps a little quiet. Well, no matter: she would do.

      She would have to, Lianar thought, and smiled. She should go see how Patricia was doing, too.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Catching Up: Part One
» Catching Up: Part Two
» Catching Up: Part Four
» Catching Up: Part Five
» Catching Up: Part Six
» Catching Up: Part Seven
» Catching Up: Part Eight
» Catching Up: Part Nine
» Catching Up: Part Ten
» Catching Up: Part Eleven
» Catching Up: Part Twelve

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