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Monday morning...

When class had started, the first thing Professor Corningstone did was for the class to show their typical singing poses.

"Okay, students. Ready positions and... common song!"

It was then that all the students jumped into the usual singing pose.

"Okay, I want to see backs straight, chins up, chests out. And well done, Miss Gloria" the professor said, remarking Gloria's perfect position to sing. As Corningstone walked on, she told the students to practice new poses for Thursday . However, Gloria was completely ignoring this, choosing rather to pull funny faces and blow raspberries in Chrysta's face.

Monday evening...

Chrysta and Mumble sat on their respective beds, reading book after book after book on how to be a better singer. the titles of these books included "The Poses and Postures of Singing", "Songs and Serenades", "How to train your vocal chords". When one was finished with a book, he or she would swap books with the other. Chrysta paid particular attention to every single word of every single book. She was determined to pass that exam and rub Gloria's nose in her success. She was thinking of what to say to Gloria when victory was finally hers. She was thinking along the lines of "Who's the loser now" or "na na-na-na na, I beat you!". Something like that, anyway.

Tuesday morning...

The professor had organised a pop quiz that, and it seemed that Mumble just happened to know every answer to every question.

"The answer is A. a heartsong!"

"Hm, very good, Mr Happy Feet."

"It's D. sticks and stones!"

"Correct" Corningstone said proudly as she ticked a question that read "- and - may break my bones."

"F. a penguin without a heartsong is barely a penguin at all!"

"Right again."

Before Mumble could answer the next(and hardest) of the questions, Chrysta covered his beak and said "It's a Bass, Professor!"

"Hm, impressive, miss Wolfsworth" This urged Chrysta to stick her tongue out at Gloria, who just shrugged it off in annoyance.

Tuesday evening...

Gloria walked over through the penguin library and grabbed a medium sized book called "Heartsinging for rookies and MORONS". She tested it's weight, counted it's 250(or so) pages and said "yeah, this'll do". She brought it to her friend Katniss' room and, rather than reading the book, threw it at the skua that was always perched on Katniss' balcony, shouting "and don't come back" in the process.

Wednesday morning...

Gloria walked out of class holding a small piece of thin ice: her test paper from the mock exam that day. She hugged and high-fived Katniss, who was waiting outside for her, and was asked "So, how was the test?"

"Probably awesome, as always" Gloria said smugly, before Chrysta and Mumble walked out with their papers. As they were both A+, it was typical of Chrysta to show off these results to Gloria as they left, before Gloria showed Katniss her paper, a D- which was littered with comments such as "Disappointing" and "Are you fishing kidding me?" as well as over a hundred unhappy faces .

Wednesday evening...

Gloria jogged back to her room after an hour long run to clear her head, when she saw Chrysta jogging home as well, and ran faster. Chrysta may be smarter than her, taller than her, prettier than her, better at singing than her, but she was not going to be faster than her. Gloria would not allow it. Unfortunately, Chrysta saw the look on Gloria's face and increased her own speed, driving Gloria to go faster, only for Chrysta to speed up, and vice versa several times until they both headed for the steps, and raced up the 50 steps to the main building. Gloria resorted to tripping Chrysta over and sending her down the steps, only for the latter to use the stretchy headband she was wearing to slingshot herself about ten steps ahead of Gloria. Finally they both reached the last two steps and, crawling on their hands and knees, reached the top at the same time, before falling unconscious seconds later.

Thursday morning...

Professor Corningstone had the students in line again, in ready positions for their check-ups. First she walked over to Mumble.

"Okay, Mumble. Common song. M-hm. Michael Jackson. Yes. Yo-yo pose. Very good, as always, Mr Happy Feet."

It was then that she walked over to Chrysta. Very good.

"Common song. Yes. Dirty Trollop. Very good. Gangsta mon. Magnificent, Miss Wolfsworth."

Finally, she walked to Gloria, who was in the exact same common song position as Monday.

"Tut-tut-tut-tut-tut. A little bit clichéd, isn't it, Miss Gloria."

As the teacher carried on her check, Gloria looked at Chrysta, who, in response to the raspberries Gloria blew at her on Monday, simply returned the favour.

Thursday afternoon...

In Emperor Land, Mumble's parents Memphis and Norma Jean were sitting at home, wondering what their son was up to.

"Oh, I can't believe it Memphis. Our precious little Mumble's been gone for a week now."

"I can't believe that boy" Memphis responded. "Why's he got to be so different?"

"I just hope he passes that exam at the end of the semester. I hear Veronica is his teacher."

"Veronica Corningstone. Oh, mama, that boy is not gonna be a singin' major for long, I'll tell you now."

Just then, Professor Corningstone, who was just on her lunch break, walked up to the couple and said "Norma Jean? Is that you?"

"Veronica? Oh my Guin! Long time no see. How are you?"

"I'm fantastic. But I'm also here to talk to you about your son Mumble."

"Oh, good grief" Memphis said in agony. He wasn't upset with Mumble. He was furious with himself. After all, he was the one who dropped Mumble as an egg, and never even bothered to tell Mumble about it. Poor kid, he thought. Living the life that Mumble had must be torture.

"Your son Mumble" Veronica began. "Is the best student that I have ever taught". These words made Memphis surprised and proud of his son. "Are you sure you have the right parents?" he asked.

"Yes indeed. Mumble told me personally of his heritage. I had a pop quiz on Tuesday and there wasn't a single question he couldn't answer. Except the one that Chrysta answered of course. Anyway, he got a perfect score on his mock exam. He had the intellect of an Elder, of course, that would be no surprise considering his parentage. I'm just glad he takes his brain from your side of the family, Norma Jean."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Memphis asked.

"Don't play dumb with me, Memphis. We were all singing majors remember, all the time that Norma Jean and I were studying you spent either getting drunk or defacing private property with Maurice."

"Oh, yeah. Good times."

"Anyway, the exams are next week, and I think that your son is going to pass those tests with flying colours, unlike his father."

"What. Just because I didn't study and turned up three hours late to class means I get kicked out of the programme. Ha, what a show."

"Although I must admit, Mumble's friend Chrysta has helped him to gain some confidence."

"Wait. Who's Chrysta?" Memphis and Norma Jean asked in sync.

"Oh, yes. Chrysta Wolfsworth. She's Mumble's room-mate. They're very close."

"Oh, I see" Memphis said curiously.

"Well, it was good catching up with you two. I must be off, my next class is about to start. Goodbye Norma Jean."

"I'll see you 'round, Veronica" Norma Jean responded as her friend left her and Memphis alone.

"Well, isn't this great. Mumble's been gone for a week and he's already at the top of the class and even has a girlfriend."

"Yeah, I know. I can't wait to meet this Chrysta."

"I just hope she's penguin enough for him".


Next chapter: Chrysta's nightmare

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