56.2 \ 238

Cristobal had been adding words to the comics battle he and Toller drew yesterday. His new friend had thrown in some total non-sequiturs with a serious look, as though these particularly imaginative images were important. Without lifting his eyes, he tuned his hearing to the adult discussion. “…need to have a discussion with the new student at our office location, about possible sensitive information related to his admissions.” It seemed that anybody could hear the man’s words in the quiet of the classroom.

The teacher, Jae, replied, “Toller has been a great addition to the class, a knowledgeable student and positive presence. I hope the discussion goes well. We’ll be happy to have him back here anytime soon.”

Toller made no effort to hide his attention when they walked up to him. He was glad he’d given his notebook comics pages to Cristobal yesterday. Glad he told the older brother how to be prepared without alarming him, by sharing imperatives as though they were a nonexistent father’s lesson. The urgency of caring for another in dangerous times. He wanted to help this kid from being trapped in safety when safety might be shattered, though the guy seemed to have suspected for a while already.

“Apologies for taking you from class Toller, but we need to ask you further details about the circumstances that brought you here.” The suited man addressed him softly but firmly. The adolescent turned to his cohort and winked with brave nonchalance. Carlo, the younger prince, was looking at him with friendly attachment and fidgeting with discomfort over the unfamiliarity of this scenario. Other classmates were also rapt to this scene with undisguised trepidation. Toller picked up his few things and went quietly. He noted the faces of his classmates and teacher. He noted every visibly detachable item on his escort.

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