Wordcount: 632 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
It’s Almost Hatching Day!
Classes are projected focused, with each group assigned a real-world issue and then turned loose to think up solutions. In theory they are supposed to be dealing with a corrupt clerk who is shortchanging them on grain purchases, but all anyone is talking about is the upcoming hatching in Pine Reach.
“I heard there’s a golden egg,” Ava leaned in conspiratorially, but that was common knowledge at this point and William rolled his eyes.
“Everyone’s heard that, no one knows it, but everyone’s heard it. Just because you have an uncle in Pine Reach does not mean you know more than us.”
“I was just saying,” Ava objected, hurt.
“’Liam stop picking, you just wish you had cousins there.” Ethan was still studying the problem, one of the only people in May’s group that was even pretending to focus on the work. “Ava, your brother’s a clerk, right? Can we go to this guy’s superiors?”
“Not a chance,” Ava shook her head, “corruption tends to come from above, we’re better off checking to see if he’s doing it to anyone else first. And it’s too big to be a red egg, my Uncle said so.”
“Your uncle was not alive the last time we had a golden,” May pointed out kindly, “but I am sure he’d know if it was bigger than normal.”
“Still might be a red,” William said, “then we’re all worrying over nothing.”
Golden foxhawks signaled a major disaster on the horizon. They had never been born to a time of peace and there was debate constantly going to whether they brought bad luck with them or if they simply showed up to partner the heroes that inevitably saved the day.
May was inclined to agree with William, the Three Kingdoms had been at peace for decades and there was not so much as a hint on the horizon that anything bad was brewing.
“We’ll find out soon enough,” Ethan pointed out. “Now what happens if we find out this guy has been shortchanging other folks as well?”
“Document and take to the magistrate.” William said, confidently.
“Get independent verification of the weights first.” May added, “Word against word will not win us anything.”
“Ah right,” William said frustrated. “Forgot it’s not the same.” Local laws allowed for word against word, depending on the trustworthiness of the people swearing out the charges. City laws did not, since it was much harder to know who was trustworthy and who was not.
“I am just glad I’ll be too old to be chosen once it’s fledged.” Ava said, “Can you imagine what that is going to be like in three years? No one will get anywhere near that hatching I bet.” She shuddered.
Hatchings were mandatory for those ten to sixteen, so the fledglings would have an easier time finding their riders. There’d be more than once when parents had tried keeping their children home only to have the fledgling and a very annoyed fledgling master show up at their door. The Fox Kingdom had made attendance mandatory to save time.
May would be too old as well, but her little brother Ferris would not be, and he was crazy enough about the foxhawks and foxknights that he would not blink twice if the golden chose him. A rather terrifying thought all things considered.
“So we’ve got a solution then?” She said, to take her mind of her thoughts. “Who’s brave enough to turn it in?”
“Turn what in?” Professor Daniel turned from the other group he had just finished with, one eyebrow raised. “You think you have got it worked out?” But he had that grin on his face that said things were not going to be that easy.
May sighed and tried to remember how much she liked school.