Part 4: The Interloper, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 29: Crushed

The gentleman left, and then Tanyth and Linza returned to a table on the balcony. It was quieter now that it was in between teatime and dinner time. 

Tanyth sighed and rested their chin on their hands, their elbows on the table. “What did you think?”

“It was fun! Did he masturbate?” Linza asked.

“Not today, though sometimes, yeah. I’m sure he will tonight, though.” Tanyth sighed dreamily. “Glad you enjoyed it. Though you’ve already been very patient! What did you want to talk about?”

Linza took a deep breath, steeling herself. “You know that new guy, Grun?”

Tanyth’s eyes lit up. “Oh. My. Gods. What a hunk!” They giggled and hid their face in their hands. “Ugh, I already have such a crush.”

Linza had made peace with the butterflies, but she had not yet negotiated with the nausea. The reaction was so quick, so visceral. It was like all the tea had turned to spoiled milk in her stomach.

She was jealous, of course. Not just of the gentleman, but now of Grun. He was so rude and pushy and odd, and Tanyth liked him? She knew them and cared for them and she was just a student to them?

She had convinced herself that perhaps Tanyth just had a rule against anything with newer staff, and that’s why they had rejected her. 

But, no.

They had a crush on Grun.

Linza dug deep and mustered as sincere a smile as she could. “Aha! I thought you might like him! Is he totally your type?”

“He’s totally my type,” Tanyth moaned. 

If Tanyth noticed her blushing, they probably attributed it to arousal.

Linza let Tanyth drive the conversation after that. She’d already gotten the answer to her question, and then some. 

She couldn’t possibly tell Tanyth that Grun had been flirting with her. It would crush them. 

Like they’d just crushed her. 

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