Deathwalker 3.6

             The startled silence was surprisingly cold.
            “You’ve done deathwalks before?”
            I was getting better at reading Ter Dryst’s tones, and there was a definite edge under the neutrality. Ter Fless’ smile disappeared, and he glanced at Ter Dryst with a frown. My heart rate spiked, and my brain spluttered. Oh, spectre shit. Deathwalking without a license was illegal here.
            “No. That is, yes,” I spluttered, took a deep breath, and tried again. “I have done deathwalks but not in this system.”
            As the air warmed, I managed not to collapse in a relieved pile, but I hoped that would be the last legal threat today. The continuous spikes of adrenaline were frazzling my brain like an overheated ship’s computer. I was almost ready to go home and work for Aunt Apikalia.
            “We have never had a Deathwalker from among the Kaihmi before. You are licensed with them, as well?” Ter Fless asked brightly as if the awkward moment had never happened.
            “Not exactly,” I hedged. “The Kaihmi do not have formal deathwalking laws.” Probably because I was the first one they’d had. At least in our clan’s records. “We follow the laws of whatever system we are in.”
            That was probably true. I kept my expression neutral. Neith could have been guiding Great-Uncle to systems that had looser laws. Or she could have been ignoring the laws and not telling me. It was Neith after all.
            “So what system’s school were you in?” Ter Fless with cheerful interest.
            “It wasn’t a formal school,” I answered cautiously, glancing at Ter Dryst. His face was impassive, and his continued silence was a sharp contrast to Ter Fless’ chatter.
            “No?” Ter Fless sounded slightly alarmed, and I immediately gave him my full attention.
            “It was more of an apprenticeship,” I explained, resolving to ignore the tense silence of Ter Dryst. “Students go on deathwalks with experienced deathwalkers. At the same time, they study the history of different cultures.”
            That was also true, or at least, it was more of an exaggeration than a lie. “They” was a bit of a stretch, but I decided it could be considered a generalization. Technically, Neith and I counted as plural, right? 

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