Lintalai's running late for school - her boot zipper broke and she had to find another pair, only many of her other pairs are not currently with their mates and the ones that are prove not to fit any longer. Eventually she puts on an unseasonable pair of sandals, skips breakfast, shoves her blue food coloring in her pocket to sneak in the bathroom or skip if she doesn't get a chance, and catches the train.
Her stop lets out in a big quad zoned for schools, with several such buildings surrounding; there's green kids over there, yellow ones there, an intercaste school, three purple schools, an orange school. And hers, full of blues, one of the largest schools on the quad even though there aren't as many blues as anyone else, presumably because there are more schools for all the other castes elsewhere in the city and out in the sticks.
She heads up the steps - hers is the only school with steps, probably because they wanted them to be dramatically marble - and goes in -
- that's not school -