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The next day, I put on my uniform and made my way to the Chalet School. I arrived without incident. There were no Immortals in the vicinity. There were plenty of children, though, thronging towards the doors, laughing and chatting and greeting each other after their holiday. As it was my first day, I expected to have to find the headmistress’ office, so I stood back a little and waited for the crowd to pass.

The girls, though, had other ideas. I saw them notice me and immediately a fair girl came towards me with a big smile.

“Say, you’re new, aren’t you?” she asked. “My name’s Cornelia. Come along with me and I’ll show you where to go.”

I was a little taken aback. I hadn’t expected this kind of friendliness right at the start. Cornelia put her hand through my arm and took me towards the door, chatting away, and introduced me to the mistress who stood there welcoming people, even though all I’d had a chance to say to her was my name.

Having seen the dormitory and had coffee, which was called by the German word, I had to take exam papers. The headmistress explained that this would determine which form I’d be in. I did my best. I thought I was quite good at history – after all, I’d lived through some of it, and spoken to people who’d seen more – but that didn’t really help me with all of the questions. And the maths paper was probably the worst thing I’d ever had to do. By the end of it I was thinking that, enemy aside, it might be a good thing I’d come here. Maybe I’d learn something.

When I was called to unpack, I somehow managed to hide my sword under the bed while the Matron’s back was turned. We went to bed at what seemed like a ridiculously early time, but when everyone was asleep I was able to find a loose floorboard, which provided a safer hiding place. I got back into bed then, wondering what kind of day tomorrow would be.



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