My Best Friend is a Prince from Another World



Pt. II, Ch. 3: “We’ve kind of got ‘new here’ written all over us, huh?”


Upper School Main Building, Classroom 2-C

It had been a bit of a rush to get our schedules and get to our homeroom; Dean Jerdew sent one of his assistants with us to show us the way. Confusingly, the room numbers in the main building weren’t by floor, but by class year; I don’t think either of us would have remembered without help that the second-year floor was the top floor of one of the two high school buildings.

We’d seen the classrooms empty in the spring. Now there were students going into all of them; ours looked a little more than half full when we arrived. After looking around, Joel eventually moved to a desk near the back where we’d come in, and I figured I’d take the desk between his and the inside wall. There was no one sitting in front of me; the guy at the desk in front of Joel had been talking to his neighbor and a girl who was standing between their desks and Joel’s.

“Hey, are these going to be assigned seating?” Joel asked. When the guy in front shook his head, Joel set his bag down and said “Hi, I’m Joel.”

I sat down, and added, “I’m Mark.”

Joel went on: “We’ve kind of got ‘new here’ written all over us, huh?”

Jack shrugged. “Everybody’s new once. I’m Jack Allard.”

After Kai and Amy introduced themselves, Jack went on, “How did you like the opening ceremony?”

“A lot more formal than our last school,” said Joel. “Same for the uniforms. The head of school, Mittari, had some nice things to say.”

“So, the uniforms where you used to go were casual? Nice,” said Jack. “I thought these are pretty standard. They explained that the full blazer and everything is only mandatory for assembly days, right?”

“Yeah, they did. There were no uniforms at all, where we last went. Not much of a dress code, even.”

Amy had a question, “I see the pin, but I don’t recognize it. Where are you from?”

“Oh, the eagle,” said Joel. “That was our ambassador’s idea; we’re visiting students from the U.S., New York in particular.”

“The you-ess?" Amy paused. “Wait... New York? Like in America, from the other side of the gate?”

I snorted. “U.S. as in the United States... of America. Yeah.”

“So, the gate is no longer secret?” Amy asked, “There’s an ambassador, and we’re getting exchange students now?”

“I guess,” said Joel.

“I don’t think Hull technically ranks as an ambassador,” I said, “but yes, pretty much.”

“Oh,” said Kai. “That makes some sense of something my aunt said having to do with the gate. She’s in the Senate Diplomatic Service and was recently promoted. I wonder if that was related.”

“We met a Legatus Matsumoto,” I replied.

“That’s her. My dad’s sister.”

"Cool. She was very helpful in getting this all set up,” said Joel.

“How did you end up as exchange students?” asked Jack.

“It’s a long story, but basically...” Joel gave a very brief summary completely leaving out the initial introduction or his being a prince, “and after I got invited, this guy,” he pointed to me, “decided it sounded like a good idea to try to come along too, and he bugged the people at the State Department -- like your diplomatic service -- until they let him take the exam with me.”

The conversation turned to living arrangements and their impressions of the city. They weren't surprised that we were living away from home. The academy had an international reach. The location of our apartment on the other hand...

“South Riverside is a pretty fancy area,” said Amy. “Your government is paying for a whole townhouse just for the two of you?”

Joel shrugged and looked over at me. “I think they bought the whole building?”

I shrugged back. “I think so. Our neighbors are mostly the first few US diplomats.”

Joel gestured at the head of the room. “Looks like the teacher’s here. It’s good to meet you three.”

“Yeah, for me too,” I said.

“We can talk more over lunch or something,” Jack replied.

The teacher introduced himself as Mr. Kirill; after taking attendance, he continued: “I will be your homeroom teacher, as well as for English Literature. I recognize a fair number of you from English last year. I’m fine with your settling at whichever desks you’d like but if you start chatting with neighbors too much, I will make you pick at random instead.

“Before we start in on lessons, we’ve got one administrative thing to take care of. As Ms. Shevariet said earlier, the student council needs volunteers from each home room, so who wants to be on the organizing committees? It looks like we need two people each for the Festival of Nations and for the class trip. Do you have anything to add?”

He was looking over at Elise who was sitting in front of the room, near the window. She shook her head, “That’s fine, Mr. Kirill.”

“OK, volunteers?”

Three girls from near the front of the room raised their hands. When Mr. Kirrill called on them, all three wanted to volunteer for the festival, and none for the class trip. He looked at Elise, who told him that a third volunteer would be fine.

“So, anybody for the class trip?”

Still no more hands. He looked to Elise again, who this time stood up and spoke directly to the class. “Do you really want all the other homerooms to get to decide where we go, and what we do?”

Then Joel raised his hand. Kirrill looked down at the roster, “You wanted to volunteer, Mr. Ross?”

“That’s right,” said Joel, looking straight at Elise as he said it.


About the author


  • California, USA

Bio: Amateur SF/fantasy writer. Professional computer geek. Something of a grouchy old man, but mostly harmless.

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