When Dawn and her friends reached the magic professors’ hallway, it was immediately obvious which of the professors was keeping watch on campus tonight—Professor Strega.
Dawn sighed a little, but she knew it could have been worse. She wasn’t sure how much she trusted Professor Lal anymore, and Professor Rook was really difficult to talk to. It didn’t help that he appeared, to her Sighted eyes, as literally a giant crow.
Then again, Corrie had a class with Professor Rook this semester; maybe she would have no problem talking to him, though she hadn’t really said much about him except that his class was demanding. And Dawn only trusted Professor Strega a little more than Professor Lal.
In fact, she wasn’t sure how Professor Strega might feel about them coming to her with information that only pertained to the future of the campus. Since she was leaving—thanks in part to painstaking research by Edie—she might not care.
But they had to tell someone, and she was the one who was around.
Corrie took the lead and walked up to the one door that had light spilling from under it. She knocked, and after a few moments, the door opened. Professor Strega was behind it.
She looked at them with an inscrutable (to Dawn) expression, then stepped back, pulling the door open with her. “I thought you might be Roe, or bring Roe.”
“That’s right,” Dawn said, frowning and looking around at the empty hall and office. “It’s Friday night. Doesn’t she have lessons with you?”
“They are no longer regular,” Professor Strega said. She sat in her desk chair, leaving just enough room for the three of them to stand in her small office. “She is growing quite skilled with her visions. Difficult they may be to interpret, but she has some control, and no longer are they so frightening to her.”
Dawn nodded. That was true—she hadn’t heard Roe scream for months. There had been times at the beginning of the fall semester when everyone on their hall in Gilkey had been awakened by Roe screaming in her sleep after a particularly scary vision, and she was glad that was over.
“Well, it’s a good thing she’s improving,” Corrie said, clearly thinking that it would have been unfair of Professor Strega to abandon Roe if she’d still needed work on her visions.
“Yes,” Professor Strega said. “Why do you come here?”
“We needed to talk to a magic professor,” Corrie said. “We ran in to Elrath a little while ago.”
Professor Strega’s tongue flicked out. “He has right to be on campus.”
“Yes, of course,” Corrie said. “It’s what he said to us that has us concerned. People are starting to pay attention to him, to notice that he’s different from other people on campus.”
“We explained that it’s because the magic is no longer smoothing everything over,” Edie said. “With no magic forcing people to ignore evidence of faeries, strange things stand out a little more now.”
Professor Strega nodded slowly. “Do they realize he is a faerie?”
“I don’t think so,” Dawn said, thinking of the boys who had commented on a girl running out of the room in the library. They obviously hadn’t seen, or even suspected, the tall, muscular man she saw. “They just think he’s a weird girl. Or maybe an interesting girl.”
“But that’s not the actual problem,” Corrie said quickly. “He’s mad that it works that way.”
“Oh, he did not think of the consequences of his actions.” Professor Strega spoke so dryly that Dawn wasn’t sure if she was being sarcastic or not, but she couldn’t help smirking anyway.
“Exactly,” Corrie said. She was smiling, too. “So he said he’s going to fix it. I don’t know how, since he’d told us that the only way to fix the magic is with a new agreement, but he might have been lying then, or wrong now.”
“And if it is possible for him to do something, we want the magic professors to keep an eye on him,” Edie said.
“Yes,” Professor Strega said. “I suppose we must.”
“Sorry to dump this on you,” Dawn said. “We know it won’t be your problem soon, but you’re the one who’s here. We can come back in the morning and tell whichever magic professor is around then.” Of course, she hoped they wouldn’t have to, but she would have felt bad leaving out the option.
“No, no. Not necessary. I will speak to the others.” Professor Strega picked up a pen from her desk and spun it between her fingers. “Did he say anything of what exactly he would do?”
“No,” Corrie said, glancing quickly at Edie. “Just that he was going to fix it himself. He was kind of mad at us, but we were trying to get him to leave us alone.”
Professor Strega’s mouth opened wide in what Dawn thought was a smile. “That is right for you to do, girls. Thank you for telling this.”
“You’re welcome,” Corrie said, and then they got out of there as quickly as they could without being rude.