Aug 22, 2019 6:38 PM
Margaret in Neuroi World
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"Har-vest-ing... Wheat! And I already know some of it mom farmed beans! Thank you!"

She hops, happily, finds a spot to sit, and starts reading, mouthing and whispering the words haltingly.

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Margaret grabs the almanac she's been slowly working her way through, finds another spot nearby, and is quickly immersed in her own reading. 

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Grenadine gets bored of reading before too long. She wasn't making much progress anyway. Mala seems homesick and spends a lot of time with her brother, when he's not working - apparently having found a job to do here.

Classes start before very long. The adults start enforcing rules fairly strictly - they're not unreasonably restrictive rules, but breaking them gets you in a lot of trouble.

The first day is a little bit of a getting-to-know-each-other day. There are a lot of teachers leading small classes, one for every five or six students. For now they'll have classes on arithmetic, reading and writing, manners and culture, navigation and the weather (important stuff for witches!), what the UDF is and how it works and the so-far short history of the Neuroi War, practice sessions using shields and manalight and learning about witches in general, and flying lessons.

Each student will get special classes where teachers try to help them figure out how to use their special, and one other special class you can choose from a list, starting next week.

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The strictness of the rules is obnoxious, but mostly only in the abstract since she doesn't actively want to break them. 

Classes are so great! Well, okay, manners and culture is pretty boring, but literally all of the other classes are great. Especially the one about how to use her special, she's really looking forward to that one.

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They keep the young witches busy. Lots of classes, lots of exercises, some scheduled playtimes and a little bit of free time. They don't do any chores, the school's servants do that. (Mala seems bothered that they have servants, and goes out of her way to be nice to them).

A few days later their arithmetic teacher tells them the options for you-pick-one extra classes are: Archery, Languages (Ostkav, Suomic, Venetian, French, Latin, or extra English lessons for those who still need them), Nature Scouting (finding edible plants and safe water and making fires), Medicine, Broomcraft, Gardening (apparently just to relax or something, it's not a farming class), History of Magic, and Sketching and Painting.

"Do please ask me if you have any questions about the classes, young ladies! We'll talk about these for a few minutes before our lesson today."

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Margaretta is also deeply unused to having servants, but she treats them basically the same as the teachers except she doesn't ask them questions and doesn't expect them to give her orders.

The immersive English environment has left her vocabulary workable if happy, her grammar quite good, and her accent obvious but comprehensible. She probably wants her pick-one-extra class to be medicine, but she wants to know what broomcraft is before she's sure. Is it just extra flying lessons, or is it about making and repairing quality brooms?

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Broomcraft is about making, repairing, designing, and testing quality brooms, including making tradeoffs between turning and altitude and speed and cost and so on! The newest models even use large sections of metal, as she has seen with Freya's 'wing.

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Okay forget medicine she wants to take broomcraft. She's going to learn to make things!

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Mala chooses medicine.

Grenadine wanted Nature Scouting, but was poked and prodded into Broomcraft by the teachers, apparently because of her unusual ability to feel magic.

"They always choose what I'm gonna do. It's better for me, or it's ma future or something. It's annoying."

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"Grownups know a lot of things, but I think they forget kids know things too. And they shouldn't say 'this is the one class you get to pick' and then not let you pick it. You should find someone who's taking Nature Scouting and get them to teach you, then at least you'll get to learn some of it."

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"Ooh, good idea."

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"Thanks! If you do, I should join in, Nature Scouting does sound interesting. And who knows, maybe you'll turn out to like Broomcraft."

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"I'ma go look for someone right now! I think Ophie wanted nature scouting!"

And Grenadine runs off.

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Yay, she helped! Margaretta goes looking for someone who picked Medicine, with the aim of taking her own advice.

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Mala chose medicine! She's been really quiet and not really interacted with the other witches much, but she smiles hesitantly at Margaretta when she appears.

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"Hi Mala! I'm taking the broomcraft class but I want to learn medicine too. Can you teach me what you learn about it?"

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"...Maybe? When? They make us do so many things. Always learning. And I still have extra English lessons."

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"True. But it's more fun than chores and looking after little siblings. Maybe we can eat meals together sometimes and you can tell me then?" Margaretta already eats with Mala occasionally, but not exclusively; she moves around a lot.

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"I could tell you some things after classes and before lights-out maybe. Or during meals... Maybe. I - I eat with my brother mostly. But I don't know how much I will learn about medicine. It sounds hard."

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"Those times sound good! And you're sure to learn more medicine than I will; I'm not taking it." She quirks a half-smile at this last.

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"You're smarter than me... But yeah. I read this book written by a witch doctor. She was... Strong. That's why I want to learn medicine, you know? I'm not that smart but I can maybe be strong."

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"You can definitely be strong if you work hard! I want to be strong too." 

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"We have stories about witches at home... Not all witches are smart, or good. But they're always strong. You can never ignore a witch, or make her marry you or anything. That... Sounds nice."

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"Yeah. I'm glad nobody can make me marry them. My parents would probably have found someone good for me to marry, but if I don't have to get married I can wait to be really sure of the person first."

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"I probably want to marry. But not for a while, yeah... Okay. I'll try to teach you some things about medicine. But I don't know how well it will work. Do you... Want anything else?"

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