Chapter 1: The Library
Sunday, November 23
As it turned out, Dawn had to save most of her homework for later that evening—she’d almost forgotten her shift at the library. She spent a few minutes talking to Rico, then wrote a note for Naomi saying that they needed to talk, though it wasn’t urgent. Then she bundled up, because the cold weather was really arriving in earnest, and hurried off to the library.
Emi greeted her with a wide-eyed expression of shock. “Dawn! You’re a minute and a half late! I’m shocked and appalled, really I am.”
Dawn grinned, though she had been nervous she would be in trouble for her lateness. Emi’s sarcasm, however, assured her that she was not. “Sorry about that. It’s been really hectic lately. I almost forgot.”
“Oh, that reminds me.” Emi swiveled her chair around to keep facing Dawn while Dawn signed in and hung up her coat. “Are you willing and able to pick up some extra hours during finals? We have to keep the library open twenty-four hours for people pulling all-nighters, so you might have to be here in the middle of the night. On the plus side, there’s usually not much work to do and you can pull your own all-nighters.”
Dawn was nodding before Emi had even finished talking. With her course load, she was sure she would be pulling some all-nighters, and forcing herself to be in the library the whole time wouldn’t hurt. “I can do that, definitely. Plus I can use the money to buy some extra awesome Christmas presents. When does it start?”
“We open at the regular time on Friday the 12th, then don’t close at all until finals are done on the 19th. I’ll put you down for some of those hours. We won’t make up the work schedules until finals schedules are written up, though, to make sure nobody is working during their finals.”
“Sounds good to me.” Dawn pulled her gloves out of the pockets of her coat and pulled them on. She needed her hands to warm up if she was going to be dealing with books. She was about to head up to the second floor to look for books that needed to be re-shelved, assuming that Emi didn’t have any specific job for her, when she remembered the books that had come in with Mardalan’s book and turned back.
“Hey, remember that box of donations you had me shelve a couple of weeks ago?”
“Sure,” said Emi.
“Do we have a record of what was in there?”
Emi looked confused with her eyebrows pulled together, but she turned to the desk computer. “Yeah, of course. Let me look it up.”
Dawn stood there for several moments in silence while Emi typed and clicked the mouse before Emi finally said, “Huh.”
“What is it?”
“I can’t find any record of those books. I’m sure I remember them—there was that one on magic you were looking at, right?”
“Yeah, that’s why I wanted to know what the others were.” Dawn decided not to discuss her exact reasons with her boss—it wouldn’t help her to know.
Emi shook her head. “Well, I can’t find any record of that book. I guess nobody got around to putting the books in the inventory—or, you know what, I bet it’s just that the source wasn’t noted. That happens all the time. Because I’m sure I wouldn’t have had you shelve the books if they weren’t in the system yet. People need to check those out.”
Dawn nodded. “I know there were some history books that have been in demand lately.” She remembered those titles, at least. “Well, it’s not a big deal. Will you let me know if you come across the information?”
“Yeah, sure.” Emi waved her away. “Be off with you. There’s shelving to do.”
“Aye, aye,” Dawn responded with a half-smile, walking toward the steps. Her mind was whirling as she trudged up. Could Professor Lal have deleted the record? That didn’t seem like it would be useful—though if she wanted to get rid of the Swick book, it would make sense to have it deleted from the library system. Lal had said she was going to talk to the librarians about it, hadn’t she? Dawn wasn’t sure. And what if the oversight with the listing was due to some interference from Mardalan? That sounded a lot more likely. Maybe she’d tampered with more than one book, or created more than one, and wanted to make sure they were kept separate.
Well, that just solidified Dawn’s intentions. She was going to find those books, as many as she could, and check them for magic. If there was anything suspicious, she would check them out and take them to Professor Lal. If Mardalan was trying to mess with them, Dawn was determined to stop her.