Chapter 40: Transformation
Dawn and the others brought their flames closer so they could see what Roe was holding. It was definitely some kind of root, brown and thick, with a little bit of dirt on it and a few tiny rootlets springing up around the pointed bottom end. It wasn’t really shaped like a knife, but then, turning it into a root shaped like a knife wouldn’t have helped very much, would it?
“How do we know if it’s really the right one?” Dawn asked finally.
“I’d say it’s likely. May I?” Ginny held out her hand for it, and Roe passed it to her. Ginny turned it over, looking at it. “Well, it does look like it’s been sliced off at the top here.” She turned the flat top end so they could all see it; it was whitish inside, like a potato, but not as pale, and it definitely didn’t look edible. “But there’s nothing in the vicinity that it could have been sliced from, and how would it have gotten sliced anyway?”
“Someone could have sliced it off from a tree out in the woods and brought it here for some reason,” Rico pointed out. “Or by accident.”
“That’s true,” Ginny said. “It’s unlikely, but we can’t rule it out.”
“Can’t you tell if there’s magic in it?” Roe asked.
“There is, but only the amount that would be in any tree root. Corrie probably didn’t intend to keep the magic—she was just trying to protect herself—so it may have dissipated.”
Dawn bit her lip. “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, I don’t really want anything around that can take away my Sight, but we could trace the magic back to the creator if we still had it, couldn’t we?”
“Yes, we could. I think I can turn it back into a knife, though. It should retain that memory. And in that case it may still have traces of the magic in it—but turning it back into a knife will prove to us whether it is the right one or not.”
Rico found Dawn’s hand and squeezed it. “Do you have to do that in front of Dawn?”
“Yes. Even if I am able to turn it back into a stone knife, there’s no guarantee that it will be the correct one.” Ginny put down the root on the mud in the middle of their little circle. “If I took a marble and turned it into a pebble, it would retain the memory of being a specific marble. Then if I turned it back into a marble without any specific idea as to what the marble should look, it would become that exact marble. If I turned a different pebble into a marble, though—one that had never been a marble—it would probably look much like it did as a pebble, or perhaps like a marble that had made a strong impression on me as a youth.”
“So I shouldn’t try to turn it into a knife, because I have a specific idea as to what the knife should look like, and that wouldn’t prove anything,” Dawn said. She was glad to have Rico holding her hand, even though she didn’t think just seeing the knife lying on the ground would feel threatening.
“Exactly.” Ginny smiled. “Also, even though I am taking this as a teachable moment, not everything needs to be a test. It’s best that I turn it into a knife because I am by far the best at magic here. And with that…” She pointed at the root. For an eyeblink nothing seemed to happen, and then, with no apparent intermediate shape, there was a stone knife sitting in the middle of the circle instead of a root.
Dawn gasped and squeezed Rico’s hand, even though this was what she’d been expecting. She had to swallow before she could speak. “I’m pretty sure that’s it.”
“You can’t be certain?” Ginny asked.
Dawn shook her head. “It was dark. Darker than this. But it’s the right shape.”
“Hmm.” Ginny reached into her pocket. “That’s good enough for now. If necessary, we may end up bringing this to the police station to show Paul. But not tonight—I wouldn’t be surprised if the others were already on their way back. And it is very late.” She pulled a dark cloth out of her pocket and picked up the knife with it, wrapping the stone thoroughly. “Silk,” she explained. “To keep the magic from contaminating anything else.” She stood up, and the others followed suit.
Roe yawned. “I hate to say it, but I am pretty tired.”
“I’ll be in touch with the other magic professors regarding this,” Ginny said. “Though I don’t know if I’ll want to do any more work tonight. If you go to class tomorrow, they’ll tell you. But I’m sure Professor Lal would not be upset if you missed one class.”
As they walked back to Gilkey, Ginny carrying the knife in her pocket, Dawn didn’t think there was much chance of her getting any sleep tonight. But she could think of one way she could at least feel safer. She turned to Rico, still holding his hand. “Will you stay with me tonight?”
He smiled and kissed her gently. “Of course, love.”