There's a feeling in my body when I wake up that something's wrong, and once I come to consciousness, sure enough I hear Akantha calling my name.
"Netea!" She hollers at me, echoing across the room, and reluctantly I open my eyes. I'm far too comfortable under my sheets, and I don't care if the room is too bright, the horizon brushed orange by the rising sun. Dawn? Why do I have to -
It hits me, and I profane loudly enough for her to discipline me from the hallway.
Marissa, I can't believe I forgot!
"No, no, no no," I murmur, frantically throwing back my sheets and hurrying to my drawers. I screw my uniform into a bundle in my fist, a chiton - the simpler of garbs - and I'm glad that it's all I have to wear, I'm not expected the opulence that the sponsors will attempt. Still, I feel bad that I haven't made an effort, it's Marissa's graduation after all.
Luckily, I'm adept at changing quickly, having slept in plenty of times for Akantha's classes. I could hear my mentor fiddling with decorations in the hallway, a silent message for me to hurry up. I throw the chiton cloth around my body, hooking the standard silver fibulae through the loops so that they hang at my shoulders. I glance at the mirror in passing and see that my curls are a complete mess like tangled corn silk. I have no time to tidy it though, as I swear Akantha is about to trash the place in pent-up irritation.
Marissa will never forgive me if I'm late to see her go, so I grab a brush from Iliana's dresser - hoping she won't mind - slide my feet into unbuckled sandals and practically fall out of the dormitory. I hurry up and find Akantha standing before me, fully dressed in beautiful and ornate jewellery, wearing a white peplos spun with golden thread. Her long brown hair - greying after a number of centuries she wouldn't elaborate on - was piled on top of her head, a veil hanging down underneath the arrangement.
"Netea," she says, and I can tell she's very angry, threatening to shatter the calm she always holds in her glass-like blue eyes. "You are by far the most hopeless of all my students -,"
"Yeah, yeah, I know," I say dismissively, seeing from the mantle clock that I have just five minutes to get from the dormitory to the other side of the acropolis before the ceremony begins. I don't give my mentor a second look, clipping shut my sandals and racing from the room, Akantha calling after me down the stairs.
Great, just great, I think to myself as I charge across the courtyard, past the fresh springs and the classrooms, slowing just a little as I enter the sacred area where the temple stands, and where Ideón grows in all its glory, the Ideas glowing bright red at the prospect of one more initiate. The leaves rise like a mushroom cloud, so high that I swear the branches touch Olympus. Not many get to see it up close except the sacred Nine and, on an occasion like this, a graduating Muse.
Today, it was my best friend's turn.