Chapter 38: The Search
After seeing off Corrie, Edie, and Professor Lal with the police, Dawn, Rico, Roe, and Ginny (Dawn was having a hard time convincing herself to say that instead of Professor Agnew) went outside to find Rico’s car. It was quite cold out now, and over Dawn’s protests, Rico gave her his coat—her own, of course, had been somewhat shredded by Paul’s knife. No one objected to Dawn sitting in the front seat of the car with Rico, for which she was grateful.
“So all of you are taking introductory magic classes this semester, right?” Ginny asked as Rico started the car and pulled out of the parking class.
“That’s right,” said Roe, who was in the back seat with her. “Dawn and I are in Professor Lal’s class with Corrie and Rico is in Professor Rook’s class with our friend Annie.”
“So Edie is the only one I might have next semester?” Ginny asked.
“I guess so,” said Roe. “You switch off teaching the intro class?”
“Yes, it’s been the tradition for a few years that Marie and Rook take the fall semester and I take the spring semester with—well, it’s Professor Strega now, because Joe retired last year. I’m now the only human in a department full of faerie professors.”
“That must be kind of weird,” said Dawn. “But of course, you can’t see their true forms—unless you have the Sight too?”
“No, I don’t, and while they told me about the four-leaf clover method, I choose not to use it much.” She chuckled. “I’ve seen all three of their true forms and once is enough for me. I suppose it must have been extremely strange for you to see Rook as a giant bird but hear and feel human.”
“It was bizarre,” Dawn admitted. “It might have been different if I knew him a little better, but I’ve only met him a couple of times.”
“He’s a good teacher,” said Rico. “Quiet, though. I mean, he doesn’t like to answer questions after class or anything like that.”
“I guess I’m lucky that I got Professor Lal this semester,” Dawn said. “I needed someone who could really explain things to me.”
They pulled into the parking lot at school and got out of the car. Dawn shivered and pulled Rico’s coat more tightly around herself. It seemed to be even colder here, and there were tendrils of mist beginning to seep up from the ground. “Can we go back to the dorm before we look for the knife? I have a warmer coat I could get, and then Rico can have his back.”
“Good idea,” said Roe. “I want some gloves. I wasn’t really planning to be outside.”
“Sorry about that,” said Dawn.
Roe hit her lightly on her uninjured shoulder. “It’s not your fault! It’s more my fault for not planning ahead.”
“There’s no need to argue,” said Ginny. “Let’s go back to your dorm—which one do you live in?”
“We’re all in Gilkey,” said Dawn. They made their way across the chilly campus, half-frozen blades of grass crunching under their shoes. “I guess we should be careful not to wake anybody.”
“I’ll wait downstairs,” said Ginny. Rico pulled out his ID card as they neared the building, then held the door for all of them. They hurried upstairs, Dawn handing Rico back his coat on the way. She crept into her room, leaving the light off; she was pretty sure she could see the shape of Naomi on the bed, and didn’t want to wake her. She would want to join in the adventure once she heard about it, of course, but she would also be cranky if she were woken in the middle of the night.
After collecting her coat, hat, and gloves, she hurried downstairs again to meet the others. They were all bundled up now, and they walked back out in to the cold air.
Dawn took the lead this time—everyone else knew where they were going, but she was the one who’d been there. When they reached the spot between academic buildings where they’d met Paul, she was a bit surprised and chagrined to see that the ground was churned up and covered in ice. She hadn’t realized how much of a mess they’d made.
Ginny put her hands on her hips and looked around. “How far could the knife have gotten?” It wasn’t a rhetorical question—she was looking at Dawn.
Dawn shook her head. “Not very far, I don’t think. I mean, we were pretty much in the circle of light the whole time.” She gestured at the ground, indicating the light provided by the bulb on the emergency phone. “Paul hadn’t gotten anywhere when the police showed up and said they didn’t find a knife on him. So unless it’s been magically transported somewhere else, it’s in this space.”
“Well, let us hope that it has not been magically transported, because then we would have a fruitless search indeed.” Ginny shrugged. “Let’s spread out, then—not too far.” She directed them each to a building or the space between one, saying that they should start from the outside and move slowly inward so they wouldn’t miss anything, and the search began.