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“So.” Miss Milligan looked down at her hands.
“So?” Aud asked gently. “You called us here because you believed our daughter was telling tales, Samantha, right?”
“She seemed to be having a lot of trouble with the other students because of it?” the young teacher explained nervously. “And it seemed like… I’ve had students before, who were confused between fantasy and reality. It makes the world a hard place for them.”
“But you work in a school that caters to non-human students,” Sage pointed out. “Surely your students interact with non-humans.”
“Small non-humans!” the girl wailed. “Pixies. Maybe a gremlin. Elkin. The centaurs sometimes come near the school. Not dragons. Not ogres. Not races that eat people!”
“Actually,” Aud couldn’t help but point out, “very few of even the largest races eat human or other sentient meat, and they haven’t in decades. Certainly since the [fillnamehere] Conventions.”
The teacher waved a hand impatiently. “I know, I know. I read my history. But… do you think it’s really true? I mean, I’ve heard of humans eating Harpy meat.”
Sage collected himself first. He was less prone to shock, Aud thought, after his years on the police force. “You have?” he asked quietly. Very quietly.
She’d had time to read the horror in their expressions, and looked, more than anything, confused. “Well, yes. Haven’t you?”
“No,” Aud answered. “Not outside of horror novels and bad urban myths.”
“Oh.” The poor girl squirmed on her chair. “I guess we’re back to ignorance. I didn’t know anyone willingly spent time with… with dragons. With ogres.”
Audrey didn’t know what to think. The girl had a painful level of ignorance, the sort that could cause her all sorts of trouble – and by proxy, cause the school trouble. She didn’t seem to be a bigot, or the sort of hateful people that Aud knew all too well, but she definitely had… issues. And she was probably passing those issues on to her students.
“I’ll tell you what,” Audrey said slowly, “I work as a liaisons, sometimes, translating from the non-human races to the human institutions in the city. For the sake of the rest of Juniper’s school year, why don’t I do something similar for you?”
“Liaise?” She shrank into her chair.
“Not quite liaise, but… instruct. Explain. Teach,” she added, with a smile. “Over tea?”
“Over tea?” Miss Milligan studied her empty tea cup thoughtfully. “I’d like that, yes. Please.”
“Good.” Audrey stood up. “Shall we say every Wednesday after classes, does that work?”
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