“So,” Daring Sun said, wheeling after Ambris and helping her rearrange books, “this is going to sound like I made this up, but—”
“Yes, that’s usually how made up things start,” Ambris mused, inserting a book into an open space.
“Wait, wait, listen!” Daring exclaimed, handing a book to Ambris. “Look, you know how the Somisto people disappeared from Saddle Arabia thousands of years ago, and no one knows what happened to them?”
“Hand me that book, won’t you? And yes, I know.”
“Okay, and you know how—”
“Okay, okay!” She handed Ambris a book and then continued. “So, as I was saying…” She opened a book and showed Ambris a photograph of an ancient ruin decorated with designs of stars drawn inside of squares. “—the Somisto Ruins near Ao-Kazar Citadel are full of these symbols, because the Somisto thought they were stars that had fallen to earth, and they thought the earth was square?”
“I thought this was made up, not proven facts?” Ambris asked, moving off to the next aisle.
“I’m getting to that!” Daring promised, putting down the book and wheeling after Ambris.
Once they’d stopped, she grabbed one of the books Ambris had gifted her and opened it to a photograph of different ruins.
“Now look at this photo of a Xokomi temple from Brayzil! Look at these designs!”
She turned the page to a different photograph that showcased a decaying wall filled with designs of stars inside of circles.
Ambris peered down at the photograph. “Interesting. What’s your theory?”
Daring’s eyes lit up, and she closed the book.
“What if—hear me out—What if the Somisto’s had to leave Saddle Arabia for whatever reason—maybe Mt. Amaspi erupted or something—and somehow they crossed the sea and arrived to the shores of Brayzil, specifically—”
She grabbed a different book and opened it up to the photograph of a different temple.
“Sinhao,” Ambris completed, “where the Tolomis lived.”
“Right! And the Tolomis weren’t just a fishing tribe, but they were also astronomists. They knew that the earth is a sphere so! What if the Somisto’s arrived to Sinhao, met with the Tolomis, and then migrated to the jungle because it reminded them of home, and restarted their society as the Xokomis and—” She grabbed the previous book again and opened it up to the photographs of the stars inside circles. “And they changed their symbols to match the fact that the earth was round, and BOOM!” She closed the book and crossed her arms, grinning. “I just figured out what happened to the Somisto.”
“In which case I’ll have to remind you of the problem every other person who’s had that theory runs into,” Ambris said, going back to re-organizing her books. “The Somisto lived in the jungle, miles and miles away from any kind of water surface except for small rivers that couldn’t sustain anything larger than maybe a raft. There’s absolutely no records that they knew how to construct any sort of proper maritime vessel, let alone be able to successfully cross an entire ocean.” She turned to Daring. “How do you explain that?”
Daring frowned. “…They had secret airships?” she suggested, and when Ambris rolled her eyes, she continued, “Okay, obviously not, but that would be incredible, right?! An ancient tribe having airships!”
To be completely honest, that was an appealing idea, and her fictional Daring Last-Name-Pending still needed a groundbreaking discovery to make in the book.
“I might use that for my book, I think,” she announced, making a mental note about it. “But it will require a lot of research of the Xokomi ruins.” She paused to bite down a smile and carefully added, “I suppose I’ll add that into our schedule for our trip to Brayzil with your parents.”
Daring blinked. “…Our what?”
“Our trip,” Ambris informed, pushing up her glasses. “The board approved my request for a fully-financed research trip to Brayzil, and they’ve agreed to let me bring you and your parents as my ‘assistants’’ .”
“No,” Daring gasped, rolling her chair back. “No way! No! Missus K, are you kidding?! Please don’t be kidding! Really?!”
“Really, if your parents allow it.”
“Oh my gosh,” Daring whispered, stunned. “Oh my gosh? I’m going to Brayzil? I’m going to Brayzil! I’m going to—”
“If your parents agree!”
“I’m going to swing from the vines, and then we can go to the stadium and! And we can show my parents the ruins properly, and you can tell them about your books, and we can research together, and—! And—!” She stopped abruptly, trying to compose herself, her breathing coming out in heavy gasps. “Oh my gosh.”
“Before you have a heart attack, why don’t you tell your parents I’ve invited you all to dinner Friday night at my house, and we can discuss it with them.”
“O-Okay!” Daring exclaimed, tears wetting her eyes. “Oh, wow, Missus K, you’re the best, holy fu—dgesicles! Thank you so much! What can I do to repay you?!”
“Dear girl, you’ve already done more than enough.”