Dawn didn’t realize until they’d already left the common room that Derwen was still with them. She wished the faerie would leave, so they could talk more freely, but of course Derwen would get offended if Dawn actually said that. And since she was friends with Edie, Edie probably wanted her around with them.
If Dawn thought of any other questions to ask a faerie, she could ask now. But Derwen had already answered her only question—she didn’t know what faerie might have killed someone on campus. If they didn’t know who was dead, they wouldn’t know who to suspect.
Even if they did know who the victim was, she realized, they probably wouldn’t know who to suspect. Except for Mardalan. She could always suspect Mardalan.
Corrie was the first to speak as they walked slowly toward the stairs. “Edie, do you think this could have anything to do with Leila leaving?”
That was a question that Dawn hadn’t thought of. She looked at Edie, who grimaced, her eyes wide. She looked baffled. “I don’t see how it could be, but maybe she was keeping Mardalan under control somehow, and now she’s snapped? It’s a stretch.”
“I doubt that,” Dawn agreed.
“I don’t think it was Mardalan,” Derwen said, but she sounded uncertain. “She’s horrible, but she’s always been pretty smart about taking people.”
“She didn’t have to be smart about it,” Dawn said. “The campus magic dealt with everything for her. It did when she took Annie and when you traded yourself. Or did you do something when you left campus to make everyone forget you?”
“No, I didn’t have to.” Derwen smacked herself in the head. “Of course, the campus magic doesn’t work anymore.”
“Maybe that’s why whoever it was decided they could come on campus and kill someone,” Corrie said.
“That doesn’t make sense.” Edie shook her head. “Before Elrath broke the magic, a faerie could come on campus, kill someone, and leave. The magic would have constructed an explanation around it. But now everyone knows that there’s a dead body, and everyone will be wondering about who it is and who killed them.”
They’d reached the top of the stairs. Rico pulled open the fire door for the fifth floor and held it while the girls walked through. They all headed automatically for Corrie and Edie’s room.
“Maybe the campus magic was keeping someone out,” Derwen said as they went inside. “Then they came in and killed someone.”
“The barrier is still there, though,” Edie said.
“If anything, something is being kept in or out more than it was before.” Dawn sat down at the foot of Edie’s bed. Rico sat next to her, putting his arm around her. Edie sat on her desk chair and Corrie took her own bed.
“Maybe that’s the problem?” Derwen sat down on Corrie’s desk chair. “But whoever it is would have to be stuck on campus. And that means they’re still here.”
“It also means they would be someone who belongs on campus,” Corrie said. “A student or a professor. They might be a faerie, but they are part of campus.”
“It could be a human killer,” Rico said, but his voice lacked conviction.
“Who are all the faeries on campus?” Corrie asked. “Which one of them would kill someone?”
Dawn shook her head. “I can’t think of any. Elrath is a jerk, but he never seemed like a murderous jerk. Then again, we thought Marlin was just an annoying guy, and he turned out to be much worse.”
“And we have so little information,” Edie said. “The victim might not be human, either.”
Dawn nodded. “I’m wondering whether it could be a fight between two faeries. Maybe it really has nothing to do with us, or anyone on campus.”
“Are you suggesting we stop worrying about it?” Corrie said, the corner of her mouth rising ironically. “When have we ever managed that?”
Dawn shook her head, smiling a little. They’d never been able to keep their noses out of faerie affairs on campus, even when they intended to. It always seemed to have something to do with them, anyway—even if that was just because of her Sight.
Derwen hid a yawn behind her hand. “Now that there doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger, I’m tired. I’m going back to bed. See you in the morning, Edie.”
Dawn watched her leave. She knew she should go back to sleep—no one had said anything about canceling classes tomorrow—but she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to relax.
“I hope they release the victim’s identity soon,” Edie said. “I hate to think of who it might be, but I don’t like speculating, either.”
“We know it’s a girl, but that doesn’t narrow it down much,” Corrie said. “It could be hundreds of people.”
“They might just be keeping her identity private because she isn’t a student,” Rico said. “That’s how I would do it. Wait until the family is informed.”
Dawn nodded. “I guess that is a possibility. That won’t be good for the college’s reputation.”
“None of this will,” Corrie agreed, and they were all quiet.