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Mr. Tanner Teaches the First Meridell War


by tambourine_chimp

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"Good morning, Class 6A," Mr. Tanner announced gruffly as he stormed into the classroom, dumping his case heavily on his desk. "You already all have detention after class because I burnt my toast at breakfast, locked myself out of my own house, and because I can't find the blasted chalk!"

     "It's fallen under your chair, sir," an appalled blue Kacheek told him as the class broke out into a cacophony of moans and complaints.

     "Oh, big whoop," the red Grarrl muttered darkly as he fished the fiddly crumbling stick of white chalk off the carpet. "So now your detention is five minutes shorter, big deal…now, everyone open your history textbooks to Chapter Six."

     "Isn't that the First Meridell War, sir?" asked the selfsame Kacheek innocently.

     "No, it's Aerobics 101," snapped his teacher acidly, "what else do you expect to find in a history textbook, home economics?"

     When the class had all got their books open at the right places, Mr. Tanner took to stalking up and down the aisles of school desks, glaring with squinted eyes at his numerous nervous pupils.

     "Are we all quite ready?" he growled impatiently, scanning the class for affirmative nods before choosing a student at random. "You, Tomlinson, begin!"

     The Techo's face was one of honest, simple confusion, eyes blinking and mouth open. "Er…sir? Begin what, sir?"

     "Begin your A-B-C's," Mr. Tanner retorted snidely. "Begin," he repeated slowly after the student got to F, "reading."

     "Oh," muttered the Techo clumsily, "yes, sir…Let's see, Chapter Five…"

     "You're not even on the right page!" roared the angry, prehistoric teacher. "Chapter Six, boy, not Five! We did Five last week, remember? It was all about Coltzan, if you think back…then again, I wouldn't want to tax your mind when it's obvious that you're incapable of remembering what you had for supper last night, let alone what we did in class last week…"

     "Fish and chips," stated Tomlinson matter-of-factly.

     This time it was Tanner's turn to look confused. "Fine, so maybe you can remember what you had to eat last night, but anyway…if we could get back to reading, please?" he asked tetchily, his face strained into a sickly-sweet smile. "Chapter Six, boy, begin!"

     "Chapter Six," the Techo started with an air of one who thought he was doing great so far. "In Me…Merry…Merry Bells a few ye…ears ago King S…Snarl…"

     Clapping his hands to his ears (or, at least, where he'd always reasoned his ears would be), Mr. Tanner tried his very best to contain his roar of outrage, causing quite a few students to look up from their books to watch the grumpy old Grarrl build up from a muffled, face-screwing growl to a full open-mouth bellow of resentment.

     "Stop, stop, stop, stop, STOOOP!" he snapped, stamping his foot so hard it shook the entire room slightly. Calming himself down in the silence that followed, Mr. Tanner massaged his brow and sighed reluctantly. "Typical!" he groaned, "Well and truly typical! I ask you to read and learn and most of you can't even do the former!"

     "Sir!" a bespectacled starry Chia's hand shot in the air so fast there was almost a 'Pop!' as it broke the sound barrier. "Sir! Sir, I can, sir, I can…"

     "Quiet already, Smith!" Resigning himself to what he figured was inevitability, the red Grarrl sighed, picked up a copy of the textbook from a nearby pupil and began to read it quietly to himself…and as he read a plan began to form in his mind. None of them could really read, so they wouldn't be able to tell if he was really reading from the book or making it up as he went, and when they finally did learn to read, they'd teach themselves the real facts anyway!

     "Yes," he murmured out loud by accident. Realising his mistake, the teacher quickly covered his tracks. "I-I mean, yes, just as I thought! This book is full of nonsense! Hardly a fact in it…terrible! Well, it seems I have no choice but to teach you from memory."

     "But sir!"

     "Enough, Smith, or you'll have triple detention, one after the other!" Composing himself, Mr. Tanner thought quickly how best to begin. "Let's see now, the First Meridell War…well, you should all know that there were three sides in that war, am I right?"

     "Three, sir?" asked a confused Ixi, "Surely you mean two?"

     "Surely I mean three, and surely do I also say that your detention will be spent cleaning the blackboard with your tongue," the Grarrl muttered maliciously, not willing to lose his stride to an impudent little girl. "The three sides were as so; the Knights of Meridell, the Minions of Darigan and…the Farmers of Meridell."

     Pandemonium reigned in the class room, outburst of indignation bounced of the walls like a verbal Bagatelle ball. Students moaned and complained, but Mr. Tanner wasn't having none of it as he raised his hands for silence, a sign the class knew well enough to obey.

     "Thank you," he murmured slyly, before carrying on as if there had been no interruption whatsoever. "Now, the Farmers were against both the other two sides in equal measure. They were against Darigan because, as only a few people know, their Citadel is only buoyant because it is fuelled by the natural resources of the vegetables the Farmers produced, and the Farmers didn't want to see the forces of Darigan use their floating advantage to destroy the rest of Meridell, thereby putting the Farmers more or less out of business. Likewise, they were against the Knights because they did not wish for the side of Darigan to be vanquished, for this would have meant that their number one source of income would be gone."

     By now the class was more or less completely enthralled, their minds captivated by the mere thought of a minor, as-yet unknown third side in the legendary war. Only the Chia Smith looked-up every once in a while, comparing what his teacher was saying to what he had read in the textbook and sighing sadly.

     "What were the Farmers to do?" asked Mr. Tanner dramatically, deliberately waiting for some bright spark to suggest that they should've moved elsewhere just so he could humiliate them with the fact that it had been a rhetorical question. "Well, the answer was simple; if they couldn't allow either side to win, they would have to make sure that - in the long run - both sides lost.

     "This they achieved by hatching an ingenious plan that has to this day been referred to as the infamous Harvest Gambit (though there wasn't really any harvesting involved, mind you). What they did was they pretended to strike a truce with the forces of Darigan, allowing them to defeat but not eradicate the rest of Meridell. That way, they figured, Darigan had won, and yet both sides lived. They did take into consideration that Darigan's army would want to destroy Meridell completely so Phase Two of the Gambit came into action.

     "Offering Darigan's forces a 'Victor's Banquet' up in their Citadel, the Farmers prepared them a very large and very special meal that contained…but no, maybe I shouldn't tell you how they won and stopped Meridell from being destroyed completely…"

     "Oh, go on, sir!" the entire class (minus one) cried out in earnest unison.

     "Very well," Mr. Tanner sighed, feigning a feeling of reluctance. "You see, what they did was this; they poisoned the banquet…with dung! Well," he added quickly with a worried murmur as the class began to moan and complain, and the first feelings of trickery began to arise. "It was more like manure from their most potent manure heaps, with a dashing of compost thrown in for good measure…but the effects were remarkable! Every single soldier in the Darigan army ate their fill at the Banquet that night, and the morning after each and every one of them were too sick and bed-ridden to set foot out of their rooms, let alone go down to Meridell for a bit of destruction. By the time they were all feeling better, they had realised they had been tricked, and accepted a peaceful truce - for, don't forget, if they were to have retaliated and attacked the Farmers, they'd have no more fuel to stay afloat. They left Meridell well enough alone and the rest, as they say, is history."

     There were a few uncertain faces amidst the sea of amazement and awe before a certain Chia felt his educated duty to pipe up.

     "Excuse me, Sir, but I don't believe a word of it," Smith told him bravely, "I mean, it's a well-known fact that no one knows what keeps the Darigan Citadel afloat…"

     "Closely guarded secret," Mr. Tanner muttered darkly, a warning that the little pet should sit down and shut up.

     "And even if it was known what kept it up in the sky, it's hardly going to be vegetables!"

     "Eyries eat vegetables and they can fly," the Grarrl growled lowly.

     "Yes, but they also have wings," the Chia answered triumphantly. "In fact, I don't think the Farmers even took part in the War…in fact, I doubt they even noticed there was a war going on!"

     "You know that triple detention I was warning you about?" Mr. Tanner reminded him as the home bell rang and everyone went to pack-up before remembering their unfair punishments.

     "Y-y-yes, sir?"

     "Consider that tripled as well!" Snapping the history book shut, he tossed it back onto the desk of the student he'd borrowed it from and looked towards the Ixi who had spoken out earlier. "Getting licking," he growled, removing the board rubber personally and locking them away in his desk.

     As the students carried out their various punishments, the blue Kacheek that had first spoken to him treaded carefully up to him, a look on his face showing the inner-conflict concerning a certain question.

     "Er, sir?" he asked finally, curiosity overcoming common sense. "Were the Farmers secretly involved in the second and most recent Meridell War, sir?"

     "Of course not, boy, don't be absurd," the Grarrl scoffed as he retrieved his case and turned to leave. "Everyone knows the Citadel now flies thanks to Virtupets Incorporated!"

The End

Author's Note: Well, that was fun to re-write history (yes, not much of that was actually true, you can all close you mouths now, no secret conspiracy has been revealed today)! Want Mr. Tanner to return and educate you on something else? Write to me and I'll see what I can do!

 
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