The La-Iin Series
“Theories of Malicerie”
“It’s hate mail day,” Theasis called.
“I hate hate mail day,” the history teacher said.
“There is no such thing as hate mail day, Miss Theasis,” the Principal said, exasperated.
“Well, there should be!” Sharai said. “That way we know what to expect when we come into work that day!”
“Shut up, Mr. Sharai,” the Principal snapped. Sharai heaved a sigh and sat down in a chair.
“Just when I think Malicerie’s reputation is going up this happens,” Theasis said.
“We have been trying as hard as possible to keep up the reputation of the school….you and I anyway, Miss Theasis, along with a few other teachers. Sharai, heaven forgive me for saying this, at least stays out of the public eye. We have Mr. Chensu with his crazy ideas–word of Shipping Day mark two got around to me eventually, I hope you know.”
“I’m sorry,” he sighed.
“I suppose I can at least give you credit for trying to do your job on occasion, though I suspect you’re one of the primary reasons we have as bad a reputation as we do. Though it can’t be nearly as bad as the reputation we’ve garnered thanks to our ‘lovely’ Class A teachers,” the Principal scoffed.
“I swear, you must have internalized sexism,” the Class A teacher scoffed back.
“Quiet, you. Theasis, what are the recent controversies?”
“There’s the normal complaints from people who didn’t realize Malicerie was multi-grade, and also some scattered complaints from people who apparently didn’t realize it was unisex or multispecies,” she said.
The Principal rolled her eyes.
“Don’t you mean multigendered? We have students who aren’t male or female, you–”
“No, we do not. Be quiet.”
“Yeah, be quiet, Miss Neowang!” Sharai said, then started to giggle. Neowang glared at him.
“There’s also a few bits of mail from people who want to see or talk to Miss Vampiris,” Theasis said. “Some of these border into worship territory…”
“Dispose of them before word of their existence gets to Miss Vampiris,” the Principal said.
“Yes, of course. But you know, another thing I thought was weird was that most of these worship-mails came from out of Bledger….though there’s still a lot of it that did come from Bledger…”
“Well, Miss Vampiris has quite the reputation. She’s a six-year-old Vampire child prodigy…you know, I really think she’s safest here. I’ve never seen any of the students make a fuss about her,” the history teacher said.
“That’s only Class D, though! In Class B there are a few students who talk about her,” a teacher from Class B said.
“What’s there to accomplish from being a child prodigy?” Neowang scoffed. “It only enforces that society wants us all to be smart. What about our students who don’t care for those sorts of things or who can’t be smart!?”
“You sound more confused than ever,” Sharai sighed. Neowang glared at him.
“Anything else, Miss Theasis?”
“Plenty,” she sighed. “There are some letters from parents. Some commend us. Others are more critical….actually, Principal, instead of going over all the mail, I think I should probably tell you about something that’s worrying me.”
“You should,” the Principal agreed. “What’s the problem, Miss Theasis?”
“A lot of the mail was asking us about certain rumors. Apparently there’s some floating around that Malicerie sabotages the children…”
“They think we’re like Class A all over–”
“How’s that a bad thing?” Neowang asked. Sharai glared at her. Neowang glared back.
“–or that we don’t take things seriously. Some think we’re too strict and turning our students into carbon copies of each other. …I think these rumors came from the parents of some students, Principal.”
“Looking over the mail from parents leads me to that conclusion. Of course the students from Class A act the same as their teachers in most cases. We got mail from the Kerushaos asking about the differences in Class A classes and Class D classes since their children believe and know two different things…which, actually isn’t completely wrong.”
“Parents of students from Class B and Class D ask us if we’re taking anything seriously,” Theasis said. “Their complaints are different, though. Class B parents are asking us if we’re just letting students do what they want. Class D’s parents don’t have as many complaints, and they lack the complaints about grades like Class B’s does in most cases, but they’re asking us if we’re teaching children that they can coast through life or do whatever they want without working for it.”
“Class C parents are asking us if we’re biased against their students or if we treat them too harshly…some claim their children are acting almost robotic.”
“Then we’ve got letters from other people asking us if those rumors are true….I don’t think this could bode well for the future, Principal. We have more students between all four classes than we’ve ever had, but that only means there’s more families for rumors to spread to. From here we could end up going down to a number lower than even the number of students we had in our earliest years…”
“That might not be too bad,” the history teacher said. “Then there’s less students to teach, less students to pick on you and ridicule you…”
“Don’t be selfish, Mr. Chensu. It’ll reflect badly on all of our reputations, not to mention that of the school’s,” the Principal said. “Eventually if people grow to believe these rumors are truth only a select few will send their children to Malicerie. You could all be out of jobs. ….except for maybe Class A’s teachers, of course…”
“Because we’re the only ones where there weren’t any major complaints!” Neowang said. “You all try to teach the same things over and over again and don’t bond with your students as I do.”
“If all other classes in Malicerie go down, I will take Class A with them!” The Principal yelled. “Remember that Malicerie Public School is a place of my ideals. I will not accept these sorts of rumors being perpetuated about it. Already I fear our reputation is worse than it could be, but I had hope because of the number of students now in our school. I don’t dream of Malicerie Public School being like every other school out there. I dream of it being a place where children regardless of grade or any other factor–”
“So grade is the most important, huh!?” Neowang exclaimed. The Principal glared at her. Neowang scoffed.
“…as I was saying….I want it to be a place where the students can learn and prosper without stress. But I also want to succeed. I want Malicerie not to be a famous school, but to be a school where a parent not intending to cause undue stress on their child could send them. That doesn’t mean I don’t want them to learn. I only want the students to enjoy their time at Malicerie as they learn. So I don’t need teachers teaching whatever the hell they want, teaching essentially nothing, being hard on students when they mess up or doing things that could lead to them getting fired.” She focused on the history teacher, who flinched.
“In the end, it’s not the students whom the rumors stop with….alright, that’s not entirely accurate. We have some troublemaker students who need to be dealt with. Perhaps we should organize a meeting with some of those troublemaker student’s parents soon.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Theasis said.
“Thank you, Miss Theasis. I swear, you seem sometimes as one of the few sane teachers here….ahem, but that isn’t all. Our reputation can also be helped by the work of our teachers. If our teachers are giving it their all and doing the best they can, not only will they have happy paychecks, but then all we need do is find the problem children and find a way to keep them from souring our reputation further.”
“Promise me you will all do your best,” the Principal said. “I will contact the parents of notably problematic students, if Mr. Sharai would help me by going through student files to find out exactly who those students are…”
“Sure,” he said.
“Work your best to make sure that hate mail day is destroyed.”
Sharai giggled. “You said hate mail day.”
The Principal sighed. “Shut up, Mr….ah, I suppose if I’m telling you all to try, I should try as well….”
“Are you all going to listen to her?” The history teacher asked.
“Of course,” Theasis said.
“Why not.” Hyungdarou said with a shrug.
“I wonder if I am a little hard on the kiddies…” Yushie sighed.
“No way in hell,” Neowang said.
The other teachers walked away from Neowang and the other Class A teachers.