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Chatoyant College

Chapter 13: Control

Corrie glanced at Edie, wondering what Professor Lal meant. Edie sighed and nodded. “She’s kind of… well, I guess she’s just really tired lately,” Edie said. “I think it took a lot out of her to be social with you guys yesterday.”

“Jeez, I’m sorry,” said Corrie.

“It’s okay,” Edie said. “I mean, she wanted to do it. But she went right back to her tree.”

“She did leave kind of abruptly,” said Dawn. “But I guess it makes sense that she would be tired in the winter.”

Professor Lal nodded. “Exactly. As the trees slow down and sleep, so will a dryad, whose life is tied to them.”

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.

Chapter 11: Conference

Dinner that evening was quieter than usual—Annie, Rico, and Duncan had all already gone home, as had a large percentage of the campus, judging by how uncrowded the dining hall was. Corrie didn’t mind, though. She wanted to hurry through dinner so they could get to the meeting with Professor Lal quickly.

Roe pushed away her bowl of soup, looking queasy. “Are you sure she didn’t say anything about what we’re going to meet about?” she asked for the fiftieth time.

Corrie shook her head. “She just said she wanted to discuss something with us.”

Chapter 10: Love Lives

Tuesday, November 25

Corrie and Dawn stood outside Professor Lal’s office, leaning against the wall and making desultory chat. They had come to her office hours to ask her about Corrie’s idea for an information exchange, but there was someone in there already, probably discussing work for magic class. They certainly didn’t want to interrupt, but neither of them could think of anything interesting to do while they waited.

Chapter 9: Plans

Edie held Leila’s hand as they walked together out of the dining hall and back across campus to the woods. She looked up at her girlfriend, smiling. “That was nice of you to come have dinner with us.”

Leila nodded. “I am glad to spend more time with you and your friends.” She wasn’t looking at Edie, though, just staring straight forward. She was walking quickly enough that Edie had to take longer, faster strides than usual to keep up—but at least she didn’t have to run.

Chapter 8: Excuses

Corrie bit her lip, worried. Maybe Leila really didn’t know her sister that well, if she thought the book didn’t seem like something she would do. But what were the chances that it hadn’t been Mardalan at all? Not good, she thought—Professor Lal had been pretty certain it was her. Still, she could ask for more clarification. “What about the book itself? Professor Lal checked it for malevolent magic, but there wasn’t any in it. Just bad information. Does that sound like something she would do?”

Chapter 7: Social Circles

“Why not?” asked Edie, frowning.

“Because,” said Leila, “there is very little that I know about my sister that Lal does not know. That is, I believe Rook knows her rather better than I do, and as she is trying to harm students I am sure they have shared all of their information in an attempt to stop her.”

“But she’s your sister,” Corrie said, confused. “Don’t you know her really well?” She looked around the table, trying to get agreement from her friends. “I mean, I don’t have any siblings, but I always thought if I did have a sister we would tell each other all our secrets.”

Chapter 6: Information Exchange

They had a surprise at dinner that evening—at least, it was a surprise to Corrie. Leila joined them in the dining hall. She and Edie were waiting there at their usual table, along with Rico and Dawn, when Corrie arrived. She paused before approaching them, unsure for a moment whether her discomfort was with Leila or with the idea that she would be a fifth wheel, then shook her head at her own silliness. She and Leila had made a truce, and should be getting along fine now.

Chapter 5: Connection

Corrie’s eyes widened. “A link to Mardalan? Do you mean that you could use it to find her?”

Chapter 4: Trance Repeated

Monday, November 24

Corrie was delighted at first to have another day of trance in magic class. It wasn’t that she thought she needed the practice—there was no way she could overdo trance like she had with elemental magic, and she was pretty much confident with any type of magic now. But she was glad that she was able to make up for the problems she’d had in Friday’s class, when she had been unable to achieve trance at all.

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