Ili jumped out of the chair as the Steel Gate shut with a thud that echoed up to the ceiling of the reception hall. He caught his toe on the edge of the chair, just as the bearers set it down with a clack, fell forward, managed to tuck and roll before bouncing up onto his feet. “Where’s Gian? Nuni and Didi and Hasha and Rik are all out there still!” The class came hustling in, escorted by Sereniteers.
Two guards closed in and kept an eye on the chair bearers. “They did good, got me in here fast, don’t bother them!” Ili snapped.
“Protocols, Coronet Regal.” One of them said. Ili couldn’t tell which one of the guard he was, through his helmet.
“Ili! Ili are you all right?” “That WAS Matthas!” “He hurt Ilesias Mahid, did you see? Did you hear the crack when that marble hit him?” “Is he all right?”
“Children, please.” Gian said quietly into the babble. “We don’t know yet. And before you ask, Ili, Nuni, Hasha, you may not gear up and help hunt for him. He is a danger to you, not a hide and seek partner.”
“Teacher, he was just as surprised as Ili,” Rik shouted. “He’s running. We could—“
“No, you may not.” That was Captain Idiesas. How did he get here so fast? “Boras, take these two chair bearers to the Ivory chamber, ask them what they saw, pay them and get them out of here.” He turned to Gian. “I’d appreciate you attending your charges up to the Muunas Laughs Schoolroom, if you please.”
That was the schoolroom deepest inside the Imperial section. Gian just nodded and they all started moving that direction, toward the Ifornamiian staircase.
“Captain.” Ili stood as tall as he could, right in front of the Captain of the Guard. “Assembly is in session, They’re all safe. I might be able to do something from here, without endangering myself at all!”
He started to just say ‘no’ he could see it as clear as if he had the word painted on his lip. Then he stopped. “What can you do?”
“I can call from the Presentation Balcony... it’s built so that my voice will carry all the way to the Temple... maybe to where they’re hunting Matthas. I can try and call him out. He wasn’t trying to hurt me. He was just working as if he were a real okas.”
“He won’t answer,” Didi said. “We should just find him and chop him up into tiny bits for getting people killed.”
Nuni looked at him. "Ili why are you doing this?"
Ili glanced over and shrugged. "It's the right thing to do." He hadn't turned away from the Guard Captain.
“Captain Firnean, please let me try.”
He looks down at me as tall as the Aras statue in the Temple. I hate Matthas. I’m afraid of him. But if I can tell him he’s sinned... he’ll come out. He’ll be saved. Isn’t that part of what our job is? To talk to ALL Arkans?
“It doesn’t matter if I don’t like him. I shouldn’t treat him any differently than any Arkan.”
He nodded abruptly. “Wait for two tenths, with your peers, Coronet. I will fetch you and escort you.”