Of course, Dara had been bored and loud about it for every minute of the drive here. Now that I needed him to distract us with some antic from all this emotion, he stood still as a stone in the dullest alternate universe.
Papa and I had just finished hugging, and judging by Mom’s tear-dampened cheeks, she and I were due for another round. I noticed that everywhere else in the courtyard, students were scurrying, leading or trailing lines of their belongings in orderly hover patterns. They wore suits with ties—even the girls, just like I’d fantasized. They carried and checked black leather-bound notebooks. They moved straight ahead to the stone footsteps of the Public Hall, to the front doorway where they all looked like toys compared to the giant columns. Nobody else was embracing their parents.
Dara broke his silence.
“You think everybody already knows you’re the youngest?” he asked.
“Dara,” said my father. A warning. “Naré, your age is nothing. You have been the most brilliant girl at all of your schools. You will be the most brilliant sorcerer here.”
“So, no pressure, huh?” I riffed.