But there was the question of why the building had fallen on us. The natural assumption was that I had turned into a dragon and knocked it down. Which is silly. If I were going to kill some mhelvul, I wouldn’t knock a building on them, I’d just breathe on them, or bite them, or claw them. Or sit on them. Plus everyone who was there saw the pillar start to fall before I turned into a dragon.
I asked to be the truthforcer at the trial of whoever had done it to me. Vengeance for my back, and Gunthet, and my favorite mhelvul academy.
Rankotherium and Cterion appointed me the sentence-maker and executioner as well. Dragonets usually don’t do that — whether it’s “don’t have to” or “don’t get to” I am unclear on. But if I was going to get my vengeance, they would give it to me in in full measure. They thought it would be educational.
The mhelvul were particularly interested. There was a rumor that it was some rebel against our rule, taking an opportunity to try to kill a young and relatively unprotected dragonet. If this had been true, they would have needed to give us the culprits quickly, or face an extravagant reprisal. That happens every dozen years or two, and sensible mhelvul make sure that it is taken care of quickly and efficiently.
It turned out not to be nearly so personal.
The gymnasium was a new building, less than a dozen years old. The Prelret Construction Company had built it.
They hadn’t done a very good job.
They’d used cheap materials when the Academy had paid for expensive ones, and hired unskilled workers instead of experts, and taken shortcuts. The columns, for example, weren’t dug into the ground. They were set on top of the floorboards. Which probably would have been fine if we hadn’t kept slamming carts into them. I certainly sped up the collapse, pushing carts harder than a team of mhelvul girls could have done. (I refuse to accept any guilt for that.) But even without me it probably would have happened in a few dozen years. If nothing else wrecked the building earlier.
But they’d done the same thing everywhere. The column was grey pine rather than oak. The mortar they used on the stonework didn’t have very much pozzolana in it, and it was still soft in spots. The plumbing leaked — all the girls knew about that. Three walls were double walls but without any insulation between them, and the fourth was just a single wall. And so on.
It wasn’t dragons vs. mhelvul, when that news came out. It was everyone vs. the Prelret Construction Company. Owned by Bdresia’s parents Thunes and Hascrinet.