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Chatoyant College

Chapter 70: Standing Outside Looking Creepy

“You’re in my room,” Lorelei said quickly, passing Edie a bottle of water. “You needed to rest.”

Edie accepted the bottle, twisted at the top, and then looked at it in perplexity until Corrie took it and opened it for her. It was clear that Edie didn’t have the strength to even do that. Corrie and Dawn helped Edie sit up so she could drink the water. She gulped down almost half the bottle before taking a deep breath and asking, “How did I get here?”

“We carried you,” Corrie told her. “You passed out in the forest. Do you remember?”

Chapter 69: Bait

There was silence for a few moments following Corrie’s question. Then Dawn, standing but also leaning against the wall, brightened. “We don’t have to. We can just take her to Lorelei.”

“You don’t think she’ll mind?” Corrie asked. “It’s kind of late.” She was watching the stairs, but apparently no one was inclined to come downstairs at this time of night. Which was a good thing, since she didn’t know how they would explain having her unconscious roommate propped against the wall.

“Of course she won’t mind. It’s her job, isn’t it?”

Chapter 68: The Blue-Haired Girl

“Ever?” Corrie repeated, dumbfounded. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you—weren’t you back there with them?”

“I should be,” Ever said with a little grin, “but Mardalan was distracted. I slipped out. I was going to wait for her to stop paying attention to Edie and get her away, but you got there first.”

“So you saw what happened?” Dawn asked.

“Some of it. I figured you would need some help. But come on, you’d better get out of here before the fight ends. I don’t think you want to leave Edie in the sight of whoever wins.”

Chapter 67: Show Yourself

Corrie screamed at about the same time Mardalan did. However, the gout of blood she’d been expecting didn’t appear. The wire looked, from her point of view, like it had ben to the side rather than going directly into Mardalan’s neck. It was still clear, however, that she was not unharmed. She continued to scream, not even taking a breath, and clapped her hands to her neck.

Chapter 66: Rescue

The lights were real; Corrie immediately put her hand into her pocket, where she was keeping her four-leaf clover, and they were still there. They glowed in the sky, near the tops of trees, like they were hanging on an immensely high ceiling. But she couldn’t see how they were being held up. Maybe faerie magic was good for something besides illusions after all.

Chapter 65: Lights

“Cold iron,” Leila breathed, staring at Corrie’s bracelets. “Like this stick.” Her head came up swiftly before Corrie could reply. Her green eyes bored into Corrie’s. “You created these as a weapon against me.”

Corrie swallowed. It was the truth, but she couldn’t say that. “We created them to protect ourselves. People keep attacking us—Edie and our other friends. Edie probably told you about Marlin?”

“Yes.” Leila made some gesture with the steel wire that made Tom jump back again. “But this wouldn’t be the first time you used iron to attack me.”

Chapter 64: In Danger

“Leila has a sister?” Dawn asked, startled.

“Oh, yes. They hate each other,” Tom said matter-of-factly. “Which is, I suppose, why Mardalan felt it necessary to torment those trees. She might be even a match for the dryad.”

“Mardalan?” Dawn glanced back at Corrie, who was hurrying to join them.

“She’s involved? That’s not good.” Corrie shook her head hard.

“Oh, you do know her?”

“She, um, kidnapped one of our friends. We got her back.”

Chapter 63: Entertainment

The campus seemed dark and forbidding as they walked through it, Dawn in the lead. “Tom was friends with my aunt when she went here for college,” she explained quietly. There didn’t seem to be anyone else up and about—certainly all the lights in the academic buildings were out, and those were the buildings they were walking among—but she still didn’t want to be overheard. She’d already told Naomi and Corrie a little about Tom, so this explanation was mostly for Troy’s benefit, but they all needed to know where they were going. “He seems trustworthy.

Chapter 62: The Banquet Hall

Mardalan let out a wrenching shriek and whirled around, clutching at the back of her neck as she did. But the wire had already fallen, though Edie couldn’t see where it was. There seemed to be a mist in front of her eyes. She clutched at the ground, dragging breath into her lungs. Had Leila made her stop talking again? She was breathing, but it seemed difficult. Everything seemed difficult.

Chapter 61: Lost Something

It was only moments before the door was opened and the little old faerie woman came out. Naomi gave a squeak of surprise. Dawn was just glad she was wearing something this time—a shapeless shift that might have once been somebody's undershirt, but fell nearly to the short faerie’s knees. She stared up at them, or at least Dawn thought she was staring; her huge eyes made it difficult to read her expression.

Before any of the humans could say anything, the faerie spoke, clutching at the edge of her door. “You’re not supposed to be here.”

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