Clare K. R. Miller

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 28: Smoothing

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Friday, April 21

Dawn caught sight of Edie and Corrie on the path and lifted her arm to wave at them, making big gestures so they could see her. Corrie waved back, and Dawn picked up her pace. The two of them must have been waiting for her; they’d all agreed to meet for dinner after their last classes, and they both had afternoon classes that let out earlier than hers.

She caught up to them with relief. “Happy Friday,” she told them.

“Yeah, you, too,” Corrie said with a laugh. “Had a long week?”

“I’m just glad midterms are over.” Not that most of her exams had been difficult—but she’d exhausted herself studying for them. She was ready for a break now, and she intended to spend most of the weekend cuddling with Rico.

“Me, too,” Edie said. “We finally got to start doing real magic with Ginny today.”

“Ooh, that’s fun,” Corrie said as the three of them started to walk toward the dining hall. Dawn nodded in agreement; she would never forget her first day learning to do real fire magic. It had been so easy that day—but then, it hadn’t been all her. The origami dragon she’d bought for Rico had been in her bag, and with the heightened amounts of magic in everything they’d bought on campus, her fire magic had been boosted.

Edie wouldn’t have the same problem. And she’d already tried some elemental magic back when they were using the book that the faeries had planted on them to cause trouble. Hopefully, her bad start wouldn’t make magic harder for her in class, but somehow Dawn thought it wouldn’t.

She was lost in thought, thinking of all the times she’d practiced magic last semester and how badly they’d gone, so that she didn’t realize someone was calling her name until Corrie grabbed her arm. “Is that Elrath?” Corrie asked.

Dawn’s eyes widened and she looked around. Sure enough, Elrath was striding up the path toward them, his towering antlers unmistakable in the bright afternoon sunlight—but of course, Corrie probably didn’t have a four-leaf clover in her hand, so she couldn’t see the antlers.

“What could he possibly want?” Dawn wondered aloud, but all three of them stopped to wait for him.

He stopped on the path about three feet away, close enough to talk comfortably but not close enough to easily touch. Dawn thought that was just about close enough. She folded her arms to look at him and felt her friends close by her sides.

“You’ve been telling people about me,” he said in a low voice.

Dawn blinked, confused. She didn’t remember telling anyone about him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“We told Professor Strega and Professor Lal,” Corrie said. “I’m sure they told the other magic professors. They needed to know so they can deal with what you did.”

Elrath shook his head. His face was set in a scowl. “It’s not them. Other students. They’ve been asking me questions.”

Dawn suddenly had to force down a smile. That girl in the library must have finally talked to him. “Was it that cute blonde girl? She’s worried about you. She might like you… or she might like Christy, anyway.”

It was his turn to look confused. “Cute blonde girl?”

“I don’t know her name. She was asking about you in the library.” Maybe she hadn’t said anything.

Elrath’s eyes widened and he took a step forward. Dawn, Edie, and Corrie took automatic steps back. “So you have been telling people.”

“I didn’t tell her anything. She wouldn’t believe me even if I did. I just said she should talk to you if she wanted to know anything about you.”

“No one ever talks to me. But in the last two weeks, three people have asked me about homework and six have asked me why I don’t use email.” He still looked angry, but frustration crept into his voice, straining it. “I do not have problems with students!”

“Oh!” Edie said.

Dawn looked at her. Her eyebrows had lifted. “Do you know what he’s talking about?”

“It’s the magic, Elrath,” Edie said as though it was obvious—or at least as though it should be obvious to Elrath. “When you broke the treaty, you stopped it from smoothing everything over.”

“Of course,” Dawn said as she realized what Edie was talking about. It made sense that Edie would be the one to figure it out, since Leila was having similar problems with the magic.

“What magic smoothing everything over?” Elrath asked.

“Ever since we came to campus, we’ve noticed that the magic on campus makes people forget about faeries,” Corrie explained. “We only figured things out because Dawn had the Sight.”

“Derwen was able to leave, and then come back, to campus because the magic kept people from wondering where she had come from,” Edie said. “It must have been doing the same for you.”

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