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Chatoyant College

Chapter 55: The Rat-Faced Spoke a Word

Edie didn’t realize Corrie had stopped until she’d gotten a couple of steps past her. Then she stopped, realizing she couldn’t feel the presence at her side anywhere, and turned. There was Corrie, right behind her, staring down at a table. The little man behind it, who had a long rat’s face, beady eyes, and a slinky, furred tail he kept stroking, was keeping up some kind of chatter. He was talking about the jewelry laid out on his table. It was sparkly and interesting, but it didn’t seem worth stopping for, not after Professor Lal’s warning. “Corrie,” she called.

Chapter 54: Come Buy

“But then why did you go?” Corrie protested, still finding it difficult to believe that Professor Lal was being entirely above-board and honest.

“For the food—which is not harmful to me, or any other faerie—and the company other than the hosts. It’s simply a social event, and there is no need for me to list the specific faeries I wished to see at the ball. Have you never attended a party with people you disliked, in order to see the people you did like?” Professor Lal raised her eyebrows at Corrie.

Corrie nodded reluctantly. “I guess I have.”

Chapter 53: Rules

“Any other questions?” Professor Lal asked, taking a nibble of her apple. “Since I don’t have anywhere to be right now, I may as well take as much time as I can. Of course, I might refuse to answer some of your questions. You girls don’t need to know absolutely everything.” She smirked. “But I do want to keep you safe.”

Chapter 52: Questions

“So do you think we should avoid buying anything on campus?” Dawn asked.

Professor Lal gestured as though she was waving away their concerns. “Most of it should be harmless. I only want to study the posters because it sounds as though they are affecting your lives in unpleasant ways. The other things you’ve bought are not so bothersome, are they?”

“The bag is okay but only because I tested it first,” said Edie. “I bought it as a knitting project bag, but I can’t use it unless I want whatever’s inside to turn into green cotton.”

Chapter 51: Magical Pranks

“You know about the craft fair,” Corrie said, fighting to keep her voice calm even as her heart sped up, hammering in her chest like she was running. Could Professor Lal have forgotten about that? That wouldn’t be normal—would it? Had Brandon done some other kind of magic that had made her forget about it? “The one this afternoon. We talked about it in class.”

“The explosion,” Roe said when Professor Lal continued to frown. “Remember? I had a vision about something exploding in glitter. Tricia said it was probably the craft fair, and she was right.”

Chapter 50: Faerie Food

“That’s not safe,” Corrie said automatically, then looked up at her magic professor, confused. “Is it?” If anyone would know what was safe for humans and what wasn’t, it was Professor Lal… but Corrie wasn’t sure she trusted her to tell the truth about it, not after seeing her at the ball the night before. It seemed so long ago, like everyone should know what happened, but, she realized, she hadn’t even mentioned to Professor Lal that she’d been there.

Chapter 49: Men Sell Not Such in Any Town

Dawn nodded to the faerie, smiling as politely as she possibly could, and backed off, back onto the path so the trees screened her. “Okay,” she whispered to her friends. “Now we know where the path leads. Can we go now? I really don’t think a faerie market is a safe place for us.”

“We should be fine as long as we don’t eat or drink anything,” Edie whispered back. “I mean, we know the rules, right? And they said they would trade for anything.”

Chapter 48: Following the Path

Dawn’s friends took her hands and lined themselves up behind her. She turned to the path, shaking her head—was the glamour on it so strong deliberately, or was it a different kind than they were used to, so that their usual methods didn’t work? Maybe they would find out when they reached wherever it led.

“Jeez,” said Roe from the back of the line after they’d walked a few feet. “You can really see where you’re going, Dawn?”

“I really can,” she said. “And it’s totally straight, at least from here. Just keep following me. You know, this probably isn’t a good idea.”

Chapter 47: The Path

Dawn and Rico went left, Roe right behind them. Edie, Corrie, and Annie went right. It was a pretty big tree, after all, and Leila was a skinny woman. But when they met on the other side, none of them had any news.

Edie looked up into the branches, frowning. “Corrie, would you give me a boost up?”

“Of course,” Corrie said, moving quickly to the trunk and pressing her shoulder against it. “But I thought you were afraid of heights.”

“I still am,” said Edie, grinning. “Unless it’s a tree. Especially this tree—you know, in a sense, it is Leila, and I know she wouldn’t let me fall.”

Chapter 46: Searching

“Well,” said Edie, “she doesn’t have a cell phone—she usually finds me, actually. And you guys probably know that she doesn’t really live on campus, she just kind of pretends to be a student…” She looked down and dug into her pocket for her cell phone. Dawn thought she looked sad and uncomfortable, and wondered why. Had she had a fight with Leila? But then why would Edie suggest they go find her?

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