Edie got her pancakes and added some fresh fruit on the side—she wanted to be at least a little bit healthy—and headed back to the table, intending to ask Derwen whether her faerie self was in any way connected to plants. After all, Leila was clearly connected to the plants, but she wasn’t a plant herself… though in some ways her tree could be said to be part of her. Derwen clearly wasn’t a dryad, but maybe she was something similar.
However, when she reached the table, she found that Derwen hadn’t returned yet—but Corrie had, and Roe was sitting next to her. “Oh, hi!” Edie said.
“Hi, Edie,” Roe said, smiling. “Corrie was just complaining that I didn’t answer my door this morning. Sorry about that. I was with Link. I don’t know why Talia didn’t answer, though.”
“Maybe she was sleeping,” Edie said. “I hope we didn’t disturb her.”
“Why didn’t Link come join us for breakfast, if you were with him?” Corrie asked.
Roe shrugged. “I don’t know. He says he doesn’t like the dining hall food. We eat here together sometimes, and we go out, but I don’t really know what he eats the rest of the time.”
Edie waved to Dawn and Rico as they sat down. “Corrie, didn’t you have another question about Link?”
“Oh, yeah!” Corrie grinned. “Roe, I was wondering how everything went for Link with talking to the faeries. Last we heard anything, he still had more to talk to.”
“Oh, well, he survived,” Roe said, looking down at her bowl of cereal. “He wouldn’t tell me any details. I mean, I don’t think any of them attacked him or even threatened him, but it still sucks.”
Edie nodded sympathetically. “It must be hard to feel like he’s hiding things from you.”
“Yeah.” Roe spun her spoon around in her bowl. “I understand, because he’s always been clear that his first job, above everything else, even passing his classes, is taking care of Troy and following his king’s orders. And I think he’s trying to protect me, but I don’t need to be protected just from information.”
“Maybe he was ordered not to tell you any more details about the talks with the faeries,” Dawn said.
Roe shook her head. “He said he wasn’t. If he’s lying to me about what he was and wasn’t ordered to do, we have a bigger problem.” She smiled, lifting her head again. “I know it’s not really any of my business what exactly he does for the Djanaea, I’m just curious and want to know.”
“It’s not just curiosity,” Corrie said. “You care about him, so you want to make sure he’s staying safe.”
Roe wrinkled her nose. “Yeah, I think that’s part of the reason he won’t give me details, because it’s not very safe to be out in the woods by himself talking to faeries. He doesn’t want me to worry, but at the same time, he doesn’t think he can avoid it. It’s frustrating, because we talk about everything else. He even told me his real name—the one the Djanaea use. But that actually is a secret.”
“Ooh, his real name,” Corrie teased. “Getting serious. How’s Troy doing on the romance front?”
“I’m not sure,” Roe said, looking down at her bowl again. “But he has three more years to figure it out.” She finally took a big spoonful of cereal and started to eat again.
“I wonder how many faeries are really out there,” Dawn mused. “We know about the court faeries, and some of them must live there, but maybe not all. Then there’s Tom, and Leila, but they can’t be the only ones who are separate from the court, right?”
“And Derwen,” Edie said, looking around. She hadn’t joined them at the table yet. Where was she? The dining hall was fairly crowded, but not so much that Edie shouldn’t have been able to find her friend… though Sarah was pretty short. There was probably just someone taller than her blocking Edie’s view at the moment.
“Yeah, what’s taking her so long?” Corrie said. “Did we lose her?”
“I don’t know, maybe she didn’t like Dawn’s question,” Edie said, raising her eyebrows.
Dawn grimaced. “That was pretty tactless. I’ve just been trying to figure out whether she has a physical reaction to the weather, or just gets cranky about it. She did say it was okay.”
“Maybe she…” Edie started, only to be interrupted by Rico.
“There she is,” he said, pointing over Edie’s shoulder.
She turned to see Derwen walking through the entrance to the dining hall, dripping. Had she left the building just to go out in the rain some more? She was certainly more wet than she had been. In fact, as she got close to them, Edie could hear her shoes making a squelching noise.
“Hi, guys,” she said, sitting down. “I just wanted to get some more rain.”
“Did you already eat breakfast?” Corrie asked.
“No,” Derwen said, frowning and looking around. “I’ll go find something.” She got up and walked away again, leaving a small puddle on her chair.