Lorelei felt as though she was going to wither under Calliope’s scrutinizing gaze. Calliope stood several inches taller than Lorelei and stared at her down the bridge of her nose. Lorelei wondered whether she might get hit over the head with the writing tablet Calliope carried if she misbehaved. She wished that Delia had stuck around while she spoke with Calliope. Her roommate had disappeared as soon as she made a quick introduction.
Calliope smiled. “So, I meet my newest student at last.”
Lorelei breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe her instructor wasn’t as intimidating as she thought. For someone being nicknamed “The Wisest of the Muses”, Lorelei was expecting someone a lot scarier.
She wasn’t sure how to greet her mentor. Shaking her hand seemed a little—inappropriate. After all, Calliope was hundreds (thousands, even) of years old. She finally settled on an extremely awkward curtsey, which ended with her stepping on the hems of her robes and nearly tearing them off. Calliope burst out laughing. “No need to curtsey to me!”
Her balance regained, Lorelei tried to readjust her robes. “I’m sorry. I just . . .”
“No need to apologize. I was just as scared when I came here to study. I understand completely.”
“You studied here? But I thought . . .” Lorelei trailed off uncertainly.
“You thought I was the original Calliope? I assumed the same thing at first. No, Calliope is just a title. I have a regular name, just as you do. Perhaps one day, you could earn the title of Calliope.”
“That would be wonderful. I think I have a long way to go.”
Calliope smiled. “It’s good that you realize that. A lot of students come here thinking that we have nothing to teach them. A humble heart is important for success. That is why your application stood out among them others.” She looked Lorelei straight in the eye. “If you do well over the next few months, I may consider training you to take my place one day. You seem extremely intelligent Lorelei. I think I would do well to name you my successor.”
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