Edie was very relieved to see which door was open—it was Professor Lal’s.
Not that she was entirely thrilled about the prospect of talking to Professor Lal, of course. Ginny was much easier to talk to. But she thought Lal would be able to give them better answers, and even though she didn’t always like to explain things to them, she would at least understand why they were asking.
Corrie walked up and knocked on the open door. “Professor Lal, are you busy?”
The meeting broke up noisily. Edie didn’t say anything. There was nothing she could say—certainly not anything she wanted to say in front of all these people. She grabbed hold of Corrie’s hand; Corrie squeezed, showing that she understood. Accompanied by Dawn, Derwen, and Rico, they made their way out. Edie thought she saw Charlie’s mouth moving, trying to talk to them, but she couldn’t hear him over the noise everyone else was making, and they already had momentum. Anyway, she didn’t particularly want to talk to him.
Sunday, February 13
When Edie and Derwen had finished their Saturday afternoon study session, Edie tried to call Corrie to see if she wanted to have dinner, but her phone rang a few times and went to voicemail.
She tried not to be too concerned. Corrie was probably studying, too. Since she wasn’t starving, she suggested to Derwen that they head back to the dorm before going for dinner, which Derwen agreed to.
“What are we going to do?” Edie whispered to the others as they hurried out of the woods. “Can she really do that?”
“I do not know,” said Professor Strega grimly, walking with long strides. “But I do not know that we can stop her.”
“Doesn’t anyone have the actual text of the treaty?” asked Corrie. “Surely there’s a faerie here who was around when it was signed. What happened to Thengul?”
“Tom’s been around a long time,” said Dawn. “Should I call him? It won’t be easy to get him to tell us anything.”
“I do not know that either,” snapped Professor Strega. “I do not know anything.”
Edie felt a hand grip hers. She wasn’t sure whether it was Corrie’s or Dawn’s, and she didn’t care. She squeezed back. What was Professor Strega doing? Did she really think it was safe to just march in here and accuse Mardalan of things? And with students in tow!
The other professors weren’t anywhere to be seen. And she didn’t think it was likely they were hiding here—they would probably have come out in response to Professor Strega’s demand.
Professor Strega started walking quickly before any of the girls could say anything, and they had to hurry to keep up. Edie’s mouth was hanging open, but she wasn’t sure what to say. What had happened, and when?
Thankfully, Corrie spoke first. “Stolen? How can you be sure?”
Edie frowned. She wasn’t sure she trusted Professor Strega at all. On the other hand, she didn’t want to try telling Lal about their theory, and Ginny probably wouldn’t be able to tell them anything, since she wasn’t a faerie.
“Why do you think she would be helpful?” she asked.
“She really wants to know what’s going on,” said Dawn, looking at Corrie, who nodded. “When we told her about you and Brandon looking for the treaty, she already seemed to know that people were looking for the treaty, but not why.”
The others thanked Troy, too, and he told them to say hi to Roe for them, but Dawn seemed to be rushing them out of there, which seemed odd to Edie. Maybe she’d figured something out. Edie tried not to hope that it was a way to get her to Faerie.
“Okay,” said Dawn quickly once they were outside—there was no one outside to overhear them, since it was still cold, but there hadn’t been enough snow to have fun with. “So I just realized something.”
“Don’t be dramatic about it,” said Corrie, though she was grinning. “Just tell us.”
Edie looked at her friends, her eyes wide. They stared back at her, Corrie shaking her head—obviously, they didn’t understand Troy’s reaction any better than she did.
She turned back to him, trying to figure out what to say so she wouldn’t freak him out anymore. His reaction confused her, though. He wasn’t telling her that Faerie was dangerous—he was afraid he would get in trouble for going there. Or that people would think he had gone there when he hadn’t. She wasn’t really sure yet whether he had or not.
Edie stared at her hands, feeling hopeless and helpless. She couldn’t just wait around for spring. What if Leila never came back? What if she lost her chance to help her girlfriend because all she was doing was waiting around?
But on the other hand, she hadn’t had any success finding a way to get to Faerie. Brandon had finally given her more specifics than anyone else, but he’d been just as discouraging. Even if he hadn’t said explicitly that she shouldn’t go, he seemed to think that she didn’t have any chance of surviving if she did go.