Sequel of sorts to Problem Child
The cy’Lightning students were unusually quiet for a Saturday morning. They were getting ready for their weekly cy’ree meeting, which was normally somewhere halfway between a class and hanging out with friends. Today, however, they were anticipating it with a small amount of dread, cleaning up from the latest of breakfasters and talking in tense undertones.
“It’s not our fault.”
“Or responsibility, you know.”
“Will he be angry? What’s he like, angry?”
The nervous question was met with an uncomfortable silence, broken only when Leofric – Professor Inazuma, more formally – walked in the front door.
“Good morning,” he said brightly before taking in the atmosphere. He paused and looked around. “… Ah. Why don’t we sit down and get started?”
Wordlessly, they gathered their cushions and arranged themselves in a semicircle across from Leofric, who settled crosslegged on the floor.
After allowing a few seconds to pass in silence, he looked at the cy’ree captain and asked the question they were all waiting for him to ask. “Where is Desta?”
George cleared his throat – the only outward sign of any nerves. “She’s still in bed, sensei. Alona tried to convince her to get up, but it… didn’t work.”
Leofric looked questioningly at Alona.
“She, um.” Alona paused, looking conflicted before spitting out all the words in a rush. “She said she didn’t care and get out of her face before she made me regret it. Sir. Sensei.”
“Ahhh.” Leofric nodded. “Well then, let’s just go on without her. As I’m sure you remember, your task was to find and assist one person in need of help every day this week. How many of you managed to do something every day?”
About two-thirds of the arranged students raised their hand.
“And some days, but not every one?”
The rest of the students raised their hands.
“Excellent!” Leofric grinned encouragingly at his Students and, practically in unison, they all relaxed as they realized he was not going to be angry. (At least, not at them.) “Who wants to go first?”
Three students raised their hands and he nodded to one of them. “Go ahead, Alona.”
Twenty minutes later, the laughing conversation of cy’Lightning was interrupted by the sleep-dishevelled appearance of the final cy’ree member. Desta wandered into the living room, yawning, and Meryl stuttered and trailed off.
“Come on, Mer, don’t leave us in suspense.” Leofric leaned forward, grinning – and completely ignoring Desta. The rest of his Students looked at each other before she hesitantly resumed her story.
Desta, meanwhile, noisily made herself some toast and munched on it, standing conspicuously on the edge of the group. “Having fun, kids?”
As no one responded or seemed to be taking any further notice of her at all, she frowned, turned and stomped out the door.
The meeting wrapped up a half-hour later, with the cy’ree given their new task for the week (catch or hunt animals for the cooking club to use) and Leofric stood up to go.
“One last thing,” he said casually. “When Desta comes back, send someone down to the dojo to let me know.