“I’m sure he’s fine,” Corrie said, trying to soothe Roe’s worries. “He can take care of himself, right? The Djanaea have their own magic.”
She actually wasn’t sure whether Link could hold his own against any faeries who decided to give him trouble. But there had to be something he could do. It would be ridiculous to send someone with no more power than an ordinary human to talk to faeries like Mardalan.
“Yeah, I guess,” Roe said with a shrug and a twist of her mouth to the side. “But it’s mostly illusion magic, and he doesn’t want to hide himself from the faeries, since he has to talk to them. So I don’t know if it will keep him safe.”
“Have you had any visions about him doing this?” Annie asked.
“No, but that doesn’t mean anything. Half the time my visions look a lot scarier than they are.”
“That’s true,” Edie said. “I remember the vision you had that turned out to be about Brandon sending glitter all over the place at the craft fair.”
They all laughed. “I remember that,” Corrie said. “That was fun. Have more visions like that, Roe.” A moment later, though, she remembered that Brandon had been exiled from campus—for good reason—and she sobered up again. It was strange to think of him now.
“I’d rather have useful visions,” Roe said. “But they’re not bad, I guess.”
“Actually, your vision was useful to me,” Edie said, leaning forward over her food. “Remember the vision you had about Leila coming back?”
Roe perked up, lifting her head. “Yeah! Has it come true?”
“It did,” Edie said. “She came back this morning and we talked for a while. She’s… not sure what she’s going to do, but it was just like in your vision.”
Roe leaned back, letting her shoulders lower and resting against Edie’s bureau. “I’m glad to hear it. She’s okay and everything?”
Corrie smiled as she watched Roe relax. She obviously had been worried about Link, but now that she had something more positive to focus on, she must be feeling better.
“Yeah, she’s just fine,” Edie said. “The reason she was so distracted when she came on campus was because she was confused about the barrier. It wasn’t there when she left, remember. So she found it on her way in, then came in through the gates and went back to the woods to look for it, but she couldn’t figure out where it was. I managed to explain everything to her.”
Roe was nodding. “That makes a lot of sense. So she was pretty deep in thought, and you surprised her.” She jumped slightly, as though surprised herself—then pulled her phone out of her pocket, where it was ringing quietly. She lifted it to her ear. “Link? Hi! You’re back already? Okay… yeah, of course. Just a minute, I’m having Chinese food with Edie, Corrie, and Annie.” She pulled the phone away from her face and looked around at them. “Do you mind if Link comes up? I’m going to give him my leftovers.”
“Fine with me,” Edie said.
“Warn him that he might get interrogated about how he talked to the faeries, because I’m really curious,” Corrie said with a grin.
Roe laughed. “Okay.” She put the phone back to her face. “Yeah, I’m coming down to get you. Just a minute.” Opening the door, she said, “I’ll be right back!” over her shoulder, then disappeared down the hall.
“That was quick,” Annie said, lifting her noodles with her chopsticks. “He can’t have talked to all the faeries in one night, can he?”
“Maybe he started earlier than we thought,” Corrie said. “But it sounds like he’s okay, so none of them must have given him any trouble.”
They ate in silence for a few minutes before Roe returned with Link. He seemed to tower for a moment, taller than any of them, before he slid into an easy cross-legged position with his back against Edie’s trunk. “Hi, girls. Oh, thanks, babe.” He practically inhaled the rice Roe handed him.
“So it went well?” she asked.
He shrugged with one shoulder, swallowing the last of his rice. “As well as I could hope, I guess. I didn’t get to all of them. I’ll go back out there tomorrow.”
“I thought you had to talk to them all today,” Edie said.
“Without getting myself killed,” he said with a small smile. “And I’d already walked almost halfway around the border. Since that barrier is still up, I have to go back the way I came, in through the small gate.”
“Oh!” Corrie had forgotten that not everyone knew about the unusual properties of the barrier. “You don’t have to. Or you shouldn’t.”
He frowned, raising his eyebrows at her. “What’s that?”
“The barrier only works to keep faeries out and students in,” she explained. “I don’t know if we understand exactly how that works, but any student who’s outside the barrier can walk in that way. It’s like there’s no barrier at all until you get past it. We just can’t leave.”
The frown slowly faded as he nodded. “I’m not a faerie, but I don’t know if I really count as a student, either. I’ll have to test that. Thank you.”