Dawn, Corrie, and Edie walked the rest of the way to the dining hall, enjoying the weather, then claimed a table with their jackets (it was not quite warm enough for them to go without—though Rico was already in short sleeves every day) and headed over to the food.
Dawn got in line for the pasta station, noticing that the girl in front of her was vaguely familiar. She didn’t think about it until she started telling the dining hall worker what she wanted and the girl, waiting for her food to be finished, turned to look at her.
It was Edie’s friend—no, she wasn’t Edie’s friend anymore. She had been Leila’s friend and had annoyed and harassed Edie. Chris, that was her name.
She apparently recognized Dawn, too, because she stared at her with wide eyes, then turned very deliberately to watch her food being made, her shoulders tense. Dawn raised her eyebrows and decided not to say anything to her. She remembered Chris eavesdropping on them and then getting upset when she heard things she didn’t like, about faeries and werewolves, so obviously, Chris wasn’t trying to be her friend.
When she returned to the table with her dinner, Corrie and Edie were already there and sitting down. “What do you think? Can he?” Corrie asked quietly as Dawn took her seat.
“Can who?” Dawn said, still thinking about Chris. It was lucky that she apparently hadn’t believed them or done anything about what she’d overheard.
“Elrath,” Corrie said. “Can he fix the magic himself?”
Dawn frowned. “I have no idea. He’s the one who told us it couldn’t be fixed, right? So either he was wrong then, or he’s wrong now.”
“Or he was lying then or is lying now,” Edie pointed out.
“I don’t think he’s lying now,” Corrie said. “He was too upset. And the way he walked away, I think he said something he didn’t mean to.”
“I thought he just walked away because he didn’t like Edie’s bargain idea or you contradicting him, but you might be right.” Dawn frowned at her pasta and twirled some around her fork. “I don’t know if it matters if he can fix it. There’s nothing we can do about it either way except wait until it happens. And if it never happens, then we don’t have to do anything.”
“But what if one of us could help him?” Edie said. “If he could make everything go back the way it was, that could be a good thing.”
“It could be a bad thing, too,” Corrie pointed out. “As it stands now, no faeries can do what Siffyd did and just take a spot on campus.”
“But they can’t do what Derwen did and take over her spot, either,” Dawn pointed out quickly. She knew they must all be thinking of Leila, and she didn’t want to upset Edie with an argument over whether or not it would be a good idea for her to rejoin campus. “And that’s not the only thing. What if his idea of fixing the magic isn’t just to make it go back the way it was? What if he has other ideas?”
Edie set down her fork. “You’re right. He probably would want to change everything so it’s to his benefit, not necessarily to anyone else’s.”
“I don’t know what he would do differently, though.” Corrie’s appetite didn’t seem to have been diminished by their conversation. “He just wants people to forget how strange he is.”
“We don’t know him that well,” Dawn said, shaking her head. “He might decide he wants to set himself up as king over everyone after all, or do something so that faeries can pass through the barrier either direction, or… I don’t even know.” She made herself eat some pasta. Once she had a little food, her appetite returned.
“We do know that he’s unethical,” Edie said firmly. “So if he can be stopped, he should be.”
“But we don’t know if he can even do anything,” Corrie said.
“Well, if anyone knows, it’s the magic professors,” Dawn said around a mouthful of pasta. She swallowed. “I think we do have to tell them what he said.”
“They might already know, but you’re right,” Corrie said. She sighed. “And I was hoping to have a nice, relaxing Friday night.”
Dawn smiled. “Hopefully this won’t take too long, and then we can all relax.” She remembered her idea to cuddle with Rico all weekend. She’d be lucky if she really was able to do that. But she’d kind of known that already—they were all lucky if they got to have more than a day of relaxation living on a campus where faeries also dwelt.
“Okay,” Edie said, picking up her fork again. “We’ll eat and then go to the magic professors. I hope Ginny’s on campus. She’s the easiest to talk to.”
Dawn nodded and applied herself to her pasta. The sooner they could get this over with, the better.