“HEY AILADASSSSSS!!!!!” Ili careened into the schoolroom on his skates, bouncing off the doorframe. “Ow. AILAD—“
Since Ili had caromed right into Ailadas’s middle as he rose to answer Ilesias’s shout, they both sat down rather abruptly, Ailadas back into his wheeled chair that squeaked backwards a fraction, Ilesias landing on the floor.
“OW!” –“Ouch, young man… you might have broken me in half with such precipitous action!” Ailadas climbed to his feet slowly, testing his joints carefully along the way.
“I’m sorry, Ailadas, I was just so excited…” Ili tried to help him up but only managed to sit down again as his skates flew out from under him. “Ow.”
“Ahem. Take your time and get your wheels under you. Then sit down over there and tell me what requires such abrupt and rapid action on your part?” Ili rose up on his knees and picked up a number of pages that had hit the floor along with both of them and sat down in the chair indicated, rather than on the floor.
“Ranuras… one of my day servants just told me… he saw… he was peeking… well, he shouldn’t have but he was… the Mahid girls are going to have a team a faib team… they’re allowed to practice an’ he says they’re gooder than—“
“There is no such word as ‘gooder’, Ilesias!” Ailadas looked at him over his spectacles as he adjusted their fit on his nose. But his words barely deflected Ili who continued right on with hardly a breath.
“—better ‘n all the servants thought… an’ they only have one string not two but they are allowed to train, First Amitzas said so an’ they don’t have a coach yet an’ I thought you could be their coach an’…”
He finally came to a verbal stop when he saw Ailadas shaking his head. “No? Why not, ‘ladas? You’d be an EXCELLENT coach—“
“Ilesias Aan! Take a breath and stop and listen for a click.”
Ili took a deep breath, puffing his cheeks out ostentatiously and stared cross-eye’d at Ailadas who coughed and then waited. One long moment, then two…until he let his air out with a wheeze. “Ahem. Excellent. Now, what were you saying? First Amitzas has permitted the Mahid women to form a faibalitz team?”
“Yes, Ranuras said he saw… he wasn’t supposed to, but he did. He said one girl took a bloody nose from Joras Mahid but scored a goal after.”
“Did she, indeed? Hmmm. With a bit more decorum, my student, we shall pay a visit to my good friend Amitzas Mahid, ahem.”
“Why did you shake your head, no, Ailadas when I said you should be coach?” Ili asked, skating backwards, talking once more as they headed down to the Mahid quarters.
“Ahem. I have rather a lot to do, Ilesias. You interrupted me in the middle of grading my latest papers and then I was going to begin reviewing your brother’s latest section of his doctoral argument. I was also going to read your latest offering on the design and maintenance of the city’s water systems. Your adventure this spring gave you a unique perspective on the drainage aspect, I must say.”
Ili refused to be diverted. “But who will they be able to get as a coach? They’re GIRLS. No one would… um…”
“Be so soft-headed as to coach them?” Ailadas hid his grin behind a cough. “Ahem. There’s a friend of mine… or two who might be that crack-brained.”
“Ailadas! I didn’t say anything so rude! You did!”
“I did indeed. Ah, Ser!” He hailed one of the servants who had just stepped out of Ili’s way before the backwards coasting boy could hit him.
“Yes, Ser? How may I help?”
“The Imperial Pharmacist. Is he about?”
“The Mahid, Ser, is in the Great Aviary, feeding the birds.”
“Oh? Of course. Thank you. Ili I suggest you watch out where you are –“
The servant snatched the vase off the plinth just as it went over with Ili on top of it. “—going.”
“Ow. Yes, Ser.”
“All right? Well, brush yourself off and let us talk to your honourary grandfather about whether we should approach any of my friends as coaches.”
“Oh, good! I want to see the girls practice!” Ili turned to the servant hurrying up with a broom and a dustpan. “Sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going. I’m glad you caught that vase… even if it is ugly.”
“Ili! Ahem. I’m glad you apologized, but that so called ‘ugly’ vase is a priceless example of Piinian era craftsmanship.”
“And you’re going to make me write a paper about it all, right?”
“Exactly right. My apologies as well, Sers.”
“Oh, no problem, Ser Tutor. The plinth is replaceable.”