Chapter 22: They've Gotten Worse
Professor Lal walked around her desk and sat down in the chair. "Does anyone have any questions? About the readings, or today's class, or the syllabus, or anything else I can answer?"
Dawn glanced at Roe. She had a question, of course, but it wasn't one they wanted to ask in front of the rest of the class. Someone had a question about the exams that had been covered in Monday's class; someone else wanted to know what rationalism had to do with anything (the answer was that people were less likely to believe magic was real, so they didn't bother being against it). Finally, class was dismissed, and Roe, Corrie, and Dawn stayed in their seats as the rest of the class gathered up their things and left.
Professor Lal looked as though she were about to leave, too, but then she saw them still seated and stopped, frowning. "Is something wrong, girls?"
Dawn glanced over at Roe, who looked as though her courage had utterly failed her. After waiting a moment for her to speak, she turned to the professor. "Roe wanted to talk to you about her visions. She had one last night."
"Oh, really?" Professor Lal set down her books on her desk and walked over to them eagerly. "What did you see? Tell me all about it!"
Roe shook her head, embarrassed, but at least the ice had been broken. "I don't remember it at all. I remembered some of it right after having it, but just enough to tell Dawn and Corrie that they, their friend Edie, and you were in the vision, along with someone else, and there was some sort of danger. I think I freaked out everyone else on my hall screaming."
"Really." Did those dark eyes flick over to look at Dawn before focusing on Roe again, or was that Dawn's imagination? "Does this happen often?"
"I screamed on Thursday, but I don't remember it, because I was sleeping. But uh, that's why I wanted to talk to you, because I need some help. They freak me out and I don't remember them well. I thought I had some control over them but they seem to be taking over. They're worse since I got to Chatoyant than they had been in a long time."
"I see. Well, I'm glad you came to me. Let me think... Professor Strega is in a class now, I believe, but why don't I ask her to send you an email so you can set up a meeting and some private tutoring?"
"That would be great," said Roe, smiling with relief. "I'm so embarrassed to need extra help like this."
"Oh, don't be!" Professor Lal waved away her concerns. "I doubt any of you three will be surprised to hear that we get a few students every year who've come because they heard about the magic and have some weird, magical gift that they need help with. I've helped a few myself; I'm only sending you to Professor Strega because she's the expert in your field. Your classmate Lin is getting help from Professor Agnew. Just remember," she said with a sudden smile, "if you get a vision about one of your tests, don't use that knowledge to cheat!"
Roe laughed. "I won't, Professor!"
The conversation seemed to be over, so Dawn finally gathered up her things and, with Corrie, walked out of the building and back into the heat. As soon as they were far enough away, she asked in a low voice, "Did you see her?"
"What--oh, Professor Lal?" Corrie shook her head, frowning slightly in confusion. "I did remember to touch my keys at one point, but she didn't look any different to me."
"Weird. I guess she has a stronger glamour or something." It disturbed Dawn that Corrie couldn't use the old method to see what she saw, but Corrie didn't seem bothered. At least her friend didn't seem to think that she had made up Professor Lal being a faerie.
"Hey, I never noticed that statue before," said Corrie suddenly. Dawn looked up to see where she was pointing. They were walking along one of the paths on the outer edge of the campus area, but there was still a good amount of grass between them and the woods. The statue stood a little ways off the path.
"Me neither," she said, grateful for the change in subject. "It's kind of pretty, though." She stood on the edge of the path, trying to get a better look.
"I think it's okay," Corrie said. "Look down."
There was a path leading to the statue--it was packed earth rather than the cement the rest of the paths were made of, but it looked deliberate, not like it had simply been beaten by thousands of feet. "Oh, cool, let's get a closer look then."
They walked up to it. The statue was of a young-looking woman (of course, being carved of stone, they didn't know how old she actually was) with upswept hair, wearing a full skirt and a high-necked blouse. Its feet were directly on the ground--or rather, its skirt went to the ground, as no feet were visible--but a small plaque was set at the bottom of the skirt. "Vertiline Gravette," Corrie read. "I wonder who she was?"
"No idea," said Dawn. She was looking at the statue's face. Though the arms were in a relaxed posture, Vertiline's face seemed to display fear. It was probably just an inexpert carving, she decided, and turned away. "I've got to get my books for my next class."