Dawn’s heart leapt. She quickly looked at Edie, grinning, but Edie was frowning. Dawn didn’t understand how she could possibly be unhappy until she spoke.
“What do you mean, you believe you found her?” Edie said. “Couldn’t you tell that it was her? Is—is she dead and you’ve found her grave?”
“No,” Professor Strega said. “The problem is only that I have not seen her in person.”
“What makes you think she’s there if you haven’t seen her? Did you even try to see her?”
Dawn and Edie walked toward the magic building together. Edie was so nervous that Dawn could practically feel her vibrating. Thankfully, after a first onrush of rhetorical questions, her nerves were exhibited by silence—which was a good thing for Dawn, who didn’t think her own nerves could stand the questions that had no answers.
Monday, March 14
It hadn’t occurred to Dawn until the day of class that she would have to talk to Professor Strega on her own. But there wasn’t much choice, of course; Edie was in her own class at this time of day, and since Professor Strega had told them to keep what they were doing a secret, she couldn’t bring Corrie in.
She would have liked to have Edie there to help her. But there was nothing to be done.
Dawn took a deep breath. “Elrath said the name she was using when she left was Lea. Do you know what her last name is, or what the name of her husband was?”
Tom was already shaking his head. “I’ve told you everything I know. Even that much I only know because Elrath complained of all of it to us.”
Corrie frowned deeply. “Then he knew all of it. He could have told us just as easily instead of making us go chasing after information. Does he want to find her or not?”
Tom’s shoulders jerked back and his eyes widened. “Did you make a bargain with Elrath?” he demanded.
“Just an information trade,” Dawn reassured him. “We’re all fine. He met with us and didn’t—didn’t do anything at all.” She couldn’t help remembering how he had touched her, seeming to deliberately rest his fingers on the arm that her Sight had been stripped from. But that hadn’t hurt her; it hadn’t even been a threat. It wasn’t worth mentioning.
“You’re the one who told us to go to Elrath,” Edie said, raising her eyebrows.
Dawn looked at Edie, who was staring at her with wide eyes. “You didn’t tell us that!”
“I forgot,” Dawn said honestly. “I’m sorry. I was so interested in what she actually found out, what kind of faerie Ailish is, that I forgot she was taking a trip to find out more.”
“But where is she going?” Edie frowned. “Is she actually going to Wales to look for her? That’s where the ladies of the lake come from.”
As they headed down the stairs, Dawn saw that she’d received a text back from Rico. He wanted to know if she would order Chinese food and watch a movie with him that night. She smiled, keeping one hand on the railing so she wouldn’t fall down the stairs as she slowly texted back that she wanted to, and she would if she could, but she wasn’t sure if she would have time.
“What are you grinning about?” Corrie teased her.
“Just texting Rico,” she said. “Let’s try to do this quickly, okay?”
Dawn looked at her friends. They were all silent for several seconds. Then Corrie said, “Come on, let’s go up to our dorm room to talk about this. I don’t want to keep sitting here where anyone could walk in on us.”
Dawn nodded agreement, and they all got up and headed upstairs. She sent a short text to Rico as they walked, letting him know that they had talked with Elrath and were all OK.
When they reached Corrie and Edie’s room, they all went in, Corrie locking the door behind them. Corrie sat down on her bed and Edie took her own desk chair, so Dawn sat on Corrie’s desk chair.
Dawn stared at Elrath, trying not to be too obvious about it. He must have been asking them to do something for or with his sister—that was his trade for the information they wanted—but she couldn't imagine what. And she didn't think it would be anything they were willing to do.
Dawn stared at Elrath. He was lying. He had to be. What he’d just said didn’t make any sense.
How could the treaty not apply to the faeries still on campus and in the area? What did it even mean, if the agreements that had been made back then by Alienor Chatoyant and Thengul were no longer valid? How were there both humans and faeries still living on campus?