Chapter 12: Enlisting Help
“But—” Corrie started, then paused, not entirely sure what she was going to say. It wasn’t as though she didn’t want to help. But she was scared—not so much for herself as for Edie, of course, but for herself as well. She didn’t want her parents to be upset by having their daughter kidnapped by faeries, or killed by them, and that was their overwhelming experience when it came to dealing with faeries. Or was it? Professor Lal and Leila both treated them fairly well, and Ever was their friend. There were also plenty of faeries Dawn had noticed on campus who didn’t seem to want to hurt anyone.
But the court faeries were definitely not their friends, and if someone in the court had created the book that had confused them and messed up Dawn’s energy, that was further proof. She swallowed and tried again. “Are you sure you want our help? I mean, we’re just students. And we don’t even know that much.”
Professor Lal smiled. “As a matter of fact, you know a great deal. I know you are referring to magic, and it is true that you are the beginning of your training—except for Edie, of course, who has almost no training at all—but you are all skilled, and Corrie, as you know, you have more magical power than almost anyone on campus. But what I am referring to is knowledge of the faerie folk. I do not know if you realize just how much more you are aware of than the average student.”
Edie nodded. “Leila doesn’t tell anyone, not even her other friends. She was even afraid to tell me at first, until she realized that I already knew about faeries.”
“Precisely,” said the professor. “There are a number of students on campus who have had encounters with faeries and been aware of it, and the resident assistants know that the reason it is dangerous to go into the woods and stray off the paths is because of faeries, but I do not know of anyone other than your group who know how widespread we are in and around this college.”
Dawn grimaced. “And that’s my fault, right?”
“If you wish to assign blame, it should be assigned to Tom and your aunt Prudence in equal measure,” Professor Lal said, smiling more widely. “Tom is the one who gave away the vision ointment, and Prudence used it on you. You had no idea what would happen when you came to a place so filled with faeries.”
“So there’s no one else on campus with the Sight?” Dawn asked.
“There has not been in some time. It is not a common gift.”
“But I thought knowing about faeries put us in danger,” said Corrie. “We’ve been trying to avoid telling too many people because of that. But I guess it wouldn’t matter whether or not we knew about faeries for the book to cause problems for us, would it? That was just about magic.”
“Indeed.” The professor nodded. “It is true that knowing about us, and having some among us—such as Mardalan and her folk—know that you know, puts you in greater danger than the average student. However, it also makes you safer in some ways, and certainly more valuable. Had you not known about faeries, would you have brought me the book?”
“I think we would have,” said Dawn. “I mean, it’s about magic, and you’re our magic teacher.”
“But we wouldn’t know about using four-leaf clovers and iron to protect ourselves,” said Roe. She pushed back her sleeve and showed her steel bracelet. “These bracelets have been helpful.”
Corrie grimaced, remembering how her imprudent use of her bracelets had screwed things up with Brandon. But Professor Lal was nodding approvingly. “Exactly. I think if you were to go into the woods to seek information, you would be relatively safe—but you would also be closely watched, and thus, that is not what I want you to do.”
“It’s not?” said Corrie.
“No. I and some other faeries will do that work.”
“Leila could probably help,” said Edie. “She doesn’t like her sister very much but I don’t think she likes any of the faeries in the court much either.”
“Oh!” said Corrie. “And that could be an even better trade. We were going to ask you for a trade for her,” she explained to the professor.
Professor Lal raised her eyebrows. “Leila is free to come and go—she is not in a situation like your friend Annie was when Ever traded herself.”
Corrie shook her head. “That’s not what I mean. We wanted a way for Leila to get into our dorm if she wants to visit Edie. That’s what we were going to talk to you about this afternoon, actually. We thought she could trade information for an ID card, since she’s not a normal student.”
The professor frowned. “We have never issued a student ID to a faerie without going through a full false enrollment. However, there should still be one in existence for Ever. Perhaps we can work something out for her. However, I would be wary of asking a dryad for help in the winter.”