Edie managed to focus on studying for the magic midterm, but that was probably only because she had two other people to help keep her on task. Her plan worked out well; she, Derwen, and Darcy were able to help each other a lot, bouncing ideas and questions back and forth. Edie had already thought she was pretty well prepared for tomorrow’s midterm, but she left their study session feeling even more confident than she had going in.
As she often did on Tuesday and Thursday nights, she had dinner with Derwen, Corrie, Annie, and Roe after studying. She made sure to let them know that she was meeting Leila after dinner, so they would understand that she had to rush off and Corrie wouldn’t worry about her.
Roe asked if Leila was back on campus as a student, and Edie had to tell them that she was still working on that, but she hoped that was what they were going to talk about. Corrie told Edie to be careful, as usual. Annie didn’t say anything.
Finally, at seven, Edie went outside to find Leila, who was standing right outside the door, leaning against the building. Edie wondered what she had been doing while she waited; did she go back to her tree to pass the time, or had she done something else?
The temperature seemed to have dropped several degrees while she was eating dinner, and she shivered. The sun had set not too long ago, and it must have taken the warmth of the day with it. “Hi, Leila,” she said. “Is it okay if we go inside somewhere to talk? I don’t have my jacket.”
Leila reached out and wrapped her arm around Edie’s shoulders. “I shall keep you warm.”
Edie laughed. “Okay, but it’s going to be a little difficult to talk this way.”
“I know.” Leila let go quickly. “Where can we go that is quiet?”
“My dorm?” Edie suggested. “Though Corrie will probably be done with dinner soon, too.”
Leila shook her head quickly. “No, somewhere no one is likely to interrupt us.”
“We could try the library.” Edie pointed to it. “Actually, have you seen the history of Chatoyant College exhibit they have up now? You might be interested in that.”
“Ah, no, I have not, but I would like to. Does it show what the college has been through the years?”
Edie shook her head and they started to walk toward the library. She was still chilly, so she was glad for Leila’s long legs—as she walked quickly to keep herself warm, Leila walked at a normal pace. “It mostly has stuff from the founding of the college, but it also has yearbooks from a lot of the history. It’s been interesting to look at them and see faces I recognize, though I don’t think I ever saw you.”
“No, I have not been officially a student.”
Edie took a deep breath. It was hard to ignore a segue like that. “So, isn’t it about time you tried it out?” They’d reached the library, and she held the door open for Leila.
Leila entered, not quite looking at her, and then stood still. “Which way?”
“Down here.” Edie guided her to the stairs and down the hall to the room with the exhibit. “We can’t stay all night, but I think we have a couple hours until they lock up.” She hoped Leila was just waiting until they were alone to answer her question.
Luckily, the exhibit was not a popular place to be on a Saturday night, and no one else was in the room with them. Leila crossed immediately over to the yearbooks and opened one, seemingly at random. Edie followed her and watched as she flipped through the pages, looking at the students’ faces.
“I do not think it is in my nature to change, Edith,” Leila said at last, still looking down at the old yearbook—this one was from 1951.
“Of course it is,” Edie said. “Everything changes. You’re not alive if you don’t change.”
Leila turned to her, raising her eyebrows. “Am I not? Faeries do not change. What change have you seen any of us accomplish?”
“Feloc and Belara changed,” Edie said, happy to have a convenient example. “Instead of fighting against each other and Mardalan all the time, they teamed up against Mardalan.”
“Mmm.” Leila replaced the yearbook and picked up an older one, from the 1930s. “That did not work out so well for them.”
“No. But I’m not suggesting you fight with Mardalan. Though if you did, you’d probably win.”
“Your friend, Derwen,” Leila said, and Edie was surprised to see her turn the yearbook and point out a small, black-and-white photo of a young woman who was unmistakably Derwen. “She does not change.”
“That doesn’t mean she can’t,” Edie said. “She’s taking a magic class for the first time as a student.”
“I did not say that I do not have the ability,” Leila said. “Only that it is not within my nature.”