Clare K. R. Miller

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 13: The Djanaea Story

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“What exactly is the agreement?” Corrie asked. “What are you telling them, or asking them? I mean, you don’t have to tell me if it’s supposed to be a secret, but I’m really curious.”

Link shook his head. “It’s not really a secret. In fact, I guess it might be better if more people know. I trust you guys not to run around telling people about it.”

“Of course,” Edie said. “First of all, we’d have to explain about the faeries and the merpeople that go to college here, and then if they stopped laughing long enough to listen to the rest of it…”

They all laughed, then Link said, “Exactly. Well, Troy’s ancestors have been coming to this college for about three hundred years, but it wasn’t until after a few generations had attended and graduated with no problem that they ran into any faeries.”

“That makes sense,” Corrie said. “Most students have no idea the faeries even exist.”

“I hope Troy’s ancestors didn’t find out about the faeries the same way I did,” Annie said.

“It’s actually kind of a sad, romantic story,” Link said, frowning. “One of the princes fell in love with a woman—well, as you know, that’s the whole point. But when he told her what he was and asked her to marry him, she refused. She said she loved him but she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, leave Chatoyant College.”

Edie put one hand to her mouth. “She was a faerie?”

Link nodded. “He wasn’t going to take no for an answer when she said she loved him. So when she kept refusing, he followed her into the woods. He was surprised that she didn’t live on campus, and ended up confronting her. Then her sister tried to attack him for finding out about them, and she had to protect him.”

Corrie stared. Two faeries who were sisters and lived in the woods? At least one of whom couldn’t leave campus, and the other was attacking humans? This couldn’t be Leila and Mardalan in the story, could it?

Leila was a lesbian. Or at least, she liked girls. That didn’t mean she liked only girls, or that she had only ever liked girls. Maybe when she came onto campus as different identities, she had different preferences.

Leila had said, when they were trying to rescue Edie, that she was there when the agreement had been made with Troy’s people. She hadn’t said that she had been part of it. But then again, she wouldn’t, would she? That wasn’t the sort of information she would just give out for the fun of it.

“What were their names?” she asked.

“His name was Lienus,” Link said. “He would have gone by a different name in the human world, something to keep him from standing out, but we don’t have a record of it.”

“You don’t have a record of the faeries’ names, either?” Edie asked. Corrie wondered if she was thinking the same thing.

Link shrugged. “Not that I know of. I guess I never thought to ask. But I think the one who wouldn’t marry him is supposed to have died a few years later, anyway.”

“But the one who loved Lienus rescued him, right?” Roe asked. “They obviously didn’t live happily ever after, but that was the source of the agreement.”

“Exactly. She won the fight against her sister and forced her to agree never to allow him to come to harm. Then they wrote that down and made it official. The faeries—all the ones they talked to, anyway—agreed not to allow any Djanaea prince to come to harm, and we agreed to protect their secrets.”

“Their secrets,” Corrie said. “Like the fact that they exist on campus?”

“There might have been other secrets, but we didn’t write them down,” Link said. “As far as I know, today, it’s just the fact that they exist. Of course, if there are others, I wouldn’t be telling you. But I am checking with them to make sure there isn’t anything else they want from us.”

“That makes sense,” Roe said. “You’re not just trying to bully them into agreeing, you’re making sure they have something to gain, too.”

Link nodded. “Most of the ones I’ve talked to remember the original agreement, anyway, and they would never break it.”

“But you’re not part of the agreement,” Edie said, leaning forward. “They only agree to keep Troy safe, right? You could add yourself—the prince’s protector, or whatever you call yourself.”

“That isn’t necessary,” he said. “As long as they keep the agreement, I’ll be all right. Though with the humans and the faeries dissolving their agreement…” He spread his hands wide and shrugged. “Who knows?”

“The professors will keep us safe,” Annie said. “They always have.”

Corrie nodded, though she didn’t feel so certain. After all, there was soon to be one fewer professor, and she wasn’t sure those who were left would know what to do. Was magic working in exactly the same way on campus that it always had? She wasn’t sure.

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