3.1

She had only had Ember for a couple days, and yet when Nilien went to class, she found she missed her familiar almost immediately. Within a few minutes of starting her first class, however, she was far too engaged in the subject matter to think about Ember or much of anything except the class.

Reinmonte was covering very different material from her former school, so Nilien spent her morning catching up, taking notes until her hands cramped and trying to follow along. She asked questions as often as she felt appropriate, although not quite as frequently as she had questions, and was grateful every time someone else raised their hand.

She’d expected to be nervous about lunch, after the way dinner had gone, but her mind was running in circles about the new mathematics problems she’d just learned and she was hardly paying attention to where she was going.

She barely noticed when Ember joined her — indeed, didn’t notice at all until her familiar lightly nipped the back of her calf. Hello.

“There’s a lot to learn.” It was somewhat of an apology and something of a pleased complaint.

“I think you’ll catch up soon.” Lorque had stopped a few feet back to pet River between the ears. “You were asking good questions. And there will be people who will help you with anything you get really stuck on. Augustin is really good with math, for instance.”

“I am.” As if summoned, Augustin walked up to them. Nilien found herself wondering what sort of familiar he had, and what they looked like in the indigo that matched his trousers and tie. “I’m also pretty good in science, if you end up needing help with that. But only after I’ve eaten something.” He gestured towards the dining hall.

“Thank you.” Nilien ducked her head and followed his gesture. “I’m normally fairly good at classes, but everything is so different here.”

“You’ll settle in soon enough.” Lorque seemed brightly confident about the matter. “Just keep up like you were this morning and everything will be fine, you’ll see.” The crowd was thinner today, but there were more people behind them. They must have gotten in closer to the beginning of meal time. Nilien followed along with Lorque towards the table they’d sat at yesterday.

“I’ll manage one way or the other with classes.” She was determined to do that much. “As long as I don’t get lost too many times.” She set down her books in the same place she’d sat the night before, across from Riva, who had clearly beaten them there.

“Lost?” Riva looked up, surprisingly sympathetic. “Oh, no. You didn’t end up anyplace horrid, did you? I got lost my first week here and it took me hours to find my way back to the dorms.”

“Oh, no, I ended up in the bird dormitory. Not horrid at all,” Nilien assured her. “But even with a detailed tour back to my room, I’m not sure I’d be able to find it again.”

“Eventually, you get used to it all.” Riva shot her a sympathetic smile before turning back to her book.

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