August 20, 2016 by Lyn
an Inventrix Guest Story, Part the First
Addergoole, Year 25
Sigruko’s first full weekend at school had been uneventful. Lunch on Friday had been interesting – although not as interesting to her as how many new students were completely surprised. Sure, the gym teacher had wings, for example, but she’d already known it was a school for “special” people. And having grown up surrounded by adults with horns and hooves and tails, she had a pretty clear idea of what kind of special that meant.
Apparently, not everyone was so well-informed.
But despite the Director’s warning that things would be getting “even stranger”, nothing really seemed to be happening. Sigruko’d spent the weekend exploring the school – warily, at first, the puzzling uneasiness of her father about the place still lurking in the back of her mind. But after surveying the entire school (aside from the labrynthine Library) and finding no sign of lurking traps in the corners, she had decided (for the third time) that he was probably just being over-protective. That was a thing parents were known to do. The teachers didn’t seem any more dangerous than the grown-ups at the ranch and the older students, while some were annoyingly unwilling to take “not interested” as an answer, were nothing worse than that: annoying.
By Monday morning, she had pretty much decided there was nothing to worry about. Except maybe obnoxious teenage boys. And homework. She’d forgotten what it was like to have classes and homework, the past few years, and she almost forgot over the weekend that she had any.
As she flipped through her math textbook before class, Corentin (a second-year student) slid into his seat one desk over.
“Morning, princess.” The irrepressibly cheerful older boy had taken to greeting her that way every morning after a conversation that first Monday, regarding her “royal demeanor”.
Sigruko sighed in exasperation. “I told you, stop…” She trailed off mid-retort as she glanced up and saw him.
The last time she’d seen him was Friday morning; at that time, he’d been an almost gypsy-like and handsome, as best as she judged those things, young man. But Corentin was now, for lack of a better description, a purple elf. His ears were very long and pointed and while his hair was still the same black, his skin had turned a deep lilac. The most striking (and unnerving) difference, though, was his eyes. They had gone from an ordinary dark brown to a pupil-less silvery white.
“…calling me princess,” she finally finished.
“Surprise!” He grinned. “How do I look?”
Sigruko stared at him for a moment. “Purple?”
“Very purple,” he agreed. “It’s not my favorite color, but it’s not bad.”
“It’s a nice purple. None of my family turned colors.” Her eyes wandered back to his ears; they were at least six inches long, maybe more.
Corentin, noticing her gaze, grinned wider. “Or has pointy elf ears?”
“Not that pointy.” She smirked back. “My mom’s ears are pretty pointy, and Uncle Howard’s are… Well, they’re long.”
He looked surprised. “Your mom?”
“Yeah, her ears are like this long.” She gestured out from her own ears. “My dad’s are kind of pointy, too, but they’re more like Lord of the Rings than, um… Legend of Zelda?”
“Your dad’s… Leofric, right?” He sounded cautious, almost as though he was expecting her to yell at him or something.
Sigruko frowned, puzzling over his reaction. “Yeah. Do you know him?”
“Not personally, no.” Corentin shifted in his seat and made for an abrupt change of subject. “So, Lord of the Rings; you like fantasy?”
“I only saw the movies, a while ago.” She shrugged. “There aren’t a lot of people in my family who read books.”
“Oh, you’re missing out. I bought a whole bunch of books last year, if you want to come by and borrow one sometime?”
“Maybe,” Sigruko answered non-committally. “If I have time.”
Corentin made a dismissive noise. “Homework doesn’t take that long. And be honest,” he added with a teasing smile, “you don’t have any hobbies of your own.”
She stiffened indignantly. “Of course I do!”
“I…” She trailed off, realizing with chagrin that he was right. “I… do combat training with my dad?”
“That doesn’t count!”
“It is fun,” she said defensively.
“I believe you.” He grinned at her. “It still doesn’t count.”
“Fine. You win,” she grumbled.
“Speaking of fun!” Corentin casually leaned forward on his desk. “Do you have a date for the dance yet?”
“The dance?” It took her a moment to switch mental gears and remember the weekly dances, and she frowned doubtfully. Sigruko had never actually gotten to go to a school dance – what with the world ending and all – and while she wasn’t really sure she would like it, it might be fun to try. At least once. “Do I need one?”
“Well no, I guess not. I was just wondering… You know.” He absently started fiddling with his pencil. “Do you want to go to the dance with me?”
Sigruko just barely suppressed an exasperated sigh. Corentin seemed like a nice guy so far and deserved a better reaction than that. Honestly, if she was somebody else, she probably would have said yes. And it wasn’t his fault his classmates were obnoxious flirts. “Sorry, but… I’m not really interested in dating right now.”
“Oh.” He looked disappointed but undefeated. “Maybe–”
“And definitely not boys.”
“…Oh.” He really looked disappointed. “That’s definitely a no.”
“I’m afraid so.” Sigruko smiled slightly.
“Well, hey.” He rallied gamely. “If you don’t find a date, maybe we could go as back-up dance partners, just friends? Have fun, check out the girls, that kind of thing.”
“Hmm.” Sigruko considered the offer for a moment, then gave a real smile. “That could be fun.”
“Great!” Corentin grinned delightedly back.