Chapter 48: Outside Sources
They kept working on their magic. By the time they were thoroughly chilled and ready to go home, Edie had made a pool of a rather respectable size, Dawn had managed a twig that kept its shape, and Corrie had started her own metalwork practice. She was making all different shapes out of iron, including knives and something like a morningstar, with a long handle to grip. They weren’t pretty, but they would be extremely useful against faeries if they had to fight. And Corrie was pretty sure she could create iron at will now. Dawn was going to have to experiment with that herself.
But something was bothering Dawn. She didn’t know why it hadn’t bothered her before, as a matter of fact. So when she got back to her dorm room, she called Emi at the library. “Dawn?” Emi said when she’d picked up the phone. “What’s up? You looking for some more hours? We don’t need anybody else right now, but after the holiday we’ll be asking everybody to sign up for extra shifts if they want them during finals.”
“I’ll probably take some of those,” Dawn said. She might be busy all the time, but she liked being busy—and she really liked working at the library, where everything was orderly and organized, or at least she was getting things into a more orderly and organized state. Then again, she wasn’t sure about planning ahead for extra shifts, considering how often emergencies seemed to come up. She’d just have to see what her options were. “But that’s not what I was calling about. I just have a quick question.”
“That box of books you had me shelve, the ones that were donated. Where did they come from?”
“Huh? Oh, I don’t know, Dawn, hang on a minute, okay?” Before Dawn could agree or argue, Emi put her on hold, which was strange behavior. The library phones did have multi-line functioning, but they almost never used them, and the library was busier during the day anyway. When Emi came back a few minutes later, she sounded distracted. “Sorry, that was Sarah, it’s really not my job to—oh, you don’t need to hear about it. What was the question?”
Dawn repeated her question, wondering who Sarah was. No one she’d ever shared a shift with, certainly. But small a campus as it might be, it was hard to meet everyone within just a few months, so it wasn’t too odd that she didn’t know Sarah.
“I’m not sure where they originally came from. They were here one morning to be shelved, and a lot of them were books we were looking for, so I guess I didn’t think about it too much. Why do you ask?”
“Well, it’s the magic book I took from the box. It’s really interesting, but if this is the only college that teaches magic, I wondered where else a book on real magic might have been published. Do we get a lot of books on magic from outside sources?”
“No idea, actually. This is the first time we’ve gotten one since I’ve been working here, but that’s only three and a half years. You know how little the magic section is used. Can I get back now? I have a line of people waiting to return books.”
“Yeah, of course. Thanks, Emi.”
“Yeah, bye.” She hung up. Dawn slowly closed her phone, pursing her lips. She was suspicious, though she didn’t actually know how suspicious she should be. Emi, or one of the librarians, had always seemed to know everything that was going on at the library, but she’d never actually asked anyone about the provenance of donated books before. She would have to ask one of the librarians about that book on Sunday, when she worked again.
She turned the twig over in her hand, feeling proud. No matter where that book had come from, she was still able to use its teachings. She stuck the twig on her desk, right by her bed, where she could admire it while she worked on some homework.
That night, she dreamed over and over again that she was in magic class, and the teacher was Miranda Swick. Her mind invented a tall, pinch-faced, red-haired woman to play the author of the book. She kept trying to do trance, but she couldn’t get it right; she was doing the magic Professor Lal had taught her instead, using her own internal magic, and whatever she tried to do came out wrong. Miranda Swick kept forcing her to eat her mistakes, and they tasted sweet and delicious, but it still terrified her.
When she woke up in the morning, she remembered nothing of the dreams. She did notice, however, that the twig she’d created the night before was gone.