My Best Friend is a Prince from Another Worldby
Pt. II, Ch. 6: [Interlude: Elise] “Have you noticed anyone unusual this year?"
Jordi’s Market, Riverside terminal
Just after 7pm
Elise was ready to leave work and still in her work clothes. At this hour, it was better to take the train home in the casual and unflattering uniform of a convenience store employee than a girl’s school uniform.
As she left the shop, a woman walked up to her; she was an adult, but not a whole lot older. She was wearing office clothes, like a great many of the commuters who had come into the store during her evening shift. “Miss Shevariet?” asked the woman.
Elise had been expecting someone from Paul Jekanis’s firm to contact her, but just walking up on her way out of work was unexpected and not particularly welcome. “Do you work for Magnus Trading?” she asked in reply.
“Yes, Miss,” said the woman. “I’m Brinna Jekanis. My uncle Paul told me to get some papers from you.”
The woman had an accent that reminded her of Paul Jekanis, but stronger. It wasn’t quite what she’d have expected from someone older members of her family, but she couldn’t place it beyond that.
“Yes,” said Elise. She started getting into her school bag when Brinna waved her off.
“Perhaps I can buy you a cup of coffee and ask you a few questions about them,” said Brinna.
Elise paused for a moment, and then nodded. There was a lunch counter a few doors down from Jordi’s that served decent coffee, and they took a booth there.
Once seated, Elise gave her the packet she’s copied from the student council office. It had photocopies of all the upper-school class rosters, as of the first day of school, and the contact information for those second years whose families had agreed to include them in the class directory – about three-fourths of the class. Brinna, before opening it, handed her a small brown envelope, which Elise put away.
After looking through the photocopies, Brinna asked, “No contact information for the other two class years?”
Elise shook her head. “I’ve got the list for my year as the second-year representative to the student council, but I didn’t have a good reason to explain wanting it for the other classes. When they print the directory in a couple of weeks, I can get you a copy.”
“We’d appreciate that,” Jekanis said. “We’d show our appreciation even more generously if you can get us one before it’s available to the rest of the student body.”
“I’ll try, Miss Jekanis,” said Elise. She might be able to do that; the Dean’s office handled printing them, but often looked for volunteers. “You said you had questions?”
“Yes,” said Brinna. “Have you noticed anyone unusual this year? New students, foreigners, anything like that?”
“We took more transfer students than usual,” said Elise. “Fifteen, I think, in my year.”
“Any foreigners among them?”
“I haven’t gotten to know any of them yet, and not all of them are in the directory,” said Elise, “but you can find them because the roster won’t list a homeroom teacher for the prior year. If you’d like, we can run through the directory together if any of them supplied their information.”
They did so; of the fifteen, eleven had given contact information for the directory. Seven were clearly local; two more probably were. Two stood out – a girl, Mina Fremis, whose parents’ address was in the city of Kala in the Great Kingdom, and a boy, Alvar Leto, whose address was at the embassy of Fenrik. Of the remaining four with no directory information, none stood out by name, and according to the roster, two of them were scholarship students, which made it likely they were local.
Brinna had been taking notes; her list had the two foreign transfer students, and the six not in the directory, and pointing to it, she asked “Can you find out more about these students? Anything out of the ordinary from other years would be very welcome, of course.”
Elise nodded. Brinna kept the packet and her notes, except for the scrap with eight names. The two went their own way, and when Elise got home, she opened the envelope she’d received. Inside were two one-Imperial notes. That was more than she could make in a week even if she worked up to the 20-hour legal limit for folks her age; with classes and family commitments, it was a little more than twice what she made in a typical week.
She would share most of it with her parents, but she intended to keep a little for herself. Maybe I won’t mind the softer dress code, she thought.
- California, USA
Bio: Amateur SF/fantasy writer. Professional computer geek. Something of a grouchy old man, but mostly harmless.