“We told you about this,” Dawn said. Had it only been a couple of weeks ago? It felt like a very long time had passed since Elrath had broken the treaty and abdicated the faerie throne. “We didn’t believe you that the treaty wasn’t being enforced, and one of the reasons was that the magic is still keeping people from finding out about faeries.”
Elrath frowned. “We talked about how Alaineth had selectively enforced the treaty, and the division in magic between the faerie land and campus land. The division in the magic cannot be undone.”
“Obviously not,” Edie said, “because the barrier is still there and it still—keeps faeries out and humans, or at least students, in. But I don’t think the barrier is what was keeping people from figuring out that faeries exist.”
“At the beginning of our school year, one of our friends was kidnapped by faeries,” Dawn explained. “I noticed that she had disappeared because I have the Sight, but none of the other students realized it. Lorelei, our RA, only understood what had happened when I told her, even though she already knew faeries existed. I told Corrie and Edie that she’d disappeared, but it took them a while to understand, and my roommate had completely forgotten that the person existed.”
“The kidnappers must have cast some spell of forgetfulness,” Elrath said, but he didn’t seem confident.
“It happens every time,” Corrie said. “If a student leaves, or if a faerie leaves, or even if a faerie joins without going through the official channels, the magic just smooths it over.”
“The magic professors have told us they have to work with the magic to make things happen the way they want,” Dawn said. “They’re not casting spells of forgetfulness, and sometimes that would be really complicated, like when Derwen took over the identity another faerie had left behind.”
“It is easy to change your human memories,” Elrath said scornfully.
Dawn winced and glanced at Edie, but she didn’t look like Elrath’s comment had reminded her of what Leila had done to her. Then again, she wasn’t human. Who knew how easy it was to change her memories? Though the campus magic had treated her the same way it did humans, at least at the beginning of the year.
She turned back to Elrath. “Okay, don’t believe us if you don’t want to, but this is how we understand it, and it’s the only thing that explains your problem.”
“They are not finding out that I am a faerie.”
“The magic was smoothing over everything that was strange about you,” Corrie said. “Just like at the beginning of the year people just didn’t notice that our friend was missing, for the whole time you’ve been a student here, people have forgotten about you not using email, or being rude to everyone, or whatever other strange things you do.”
“Human minds do try to justify everything,” Edie said. “That’s just how memory works. The magic doesn’t have to do that much to keep people believing what they want to believe.”
“If that’s so,” Elrath said, “why does anyone remember? Other than our gifted child here, of course.”
“Edie and I remember because we’ve been told about them, and we’ve seen them,” Corrie said. “Like Dawn said, it took a while. But eventually, there comes a point where neither our minds nor the magic can ignore what we’ve definitely experienced.”
“Fine.” Elrath sighed. “If this is how it works, what must I do?”
“I guess you have to try to act as much like a normal human as possible,” Dawn said, looking back and forth between her friends to see if either of them had any other answers, but neither volunteered anything. “That way, no one else will have questions about things you do.”
“It might already be too late, though,” Corrie said. “If they already noticed that you don’t do email, they’re going to think you’re weird even if you suddenly start.”
“You probably just have to grin and bear it until you graduate,” Dawn said.
“I have a suggestion,” Edie said, “but it isn’t going to be free.”
Elrath stared at her, then peeled his upper lip back in a snarl. “I think I have bargained with the three of you enough. No, I will fix the magic on my own.”
“Fix it?” Corrie said. “I thought it couldn’t be fixed. Not without a new agreement.”
He glared at them and didn’t answer that. Instead he spun on his heel and stalked away from them on the path. They watched him until he disappeared behind a building. Dawn sighed with relief. She feared that they hadn’t seen the last of him, but at least there was some hope that he wouldn’t bother them anymore.
“What was your suggestion going to be?” Corrie asked, turning to Edie.
Edie grinned sheepishly. “Honestly, I didn’t think he was going to like the idea of bargaining for it. I hoped he would just go away.”
“So you didn’t have a suggestion?” Dawn asked, raising her eyebrows.
“I did, but it isn’t a good one.” Edie wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “I’m glad I don’t have to give it to him. Though it would have been such a bad bargain that he would probably have never asked us for anything again.”