A short while later, Professor Lal came around to ask them for their reports. Rico reported on the wind blowing harder down the highway, and Professor Lal nodded, pleased. Then she turned to Dawn.
“I could sense a storm to the east,” Dawn said. “At least, I think it was a storm.” She described how she had felt the air swirling, eddying about itself on a grand scale, moving slowly as it was pushed by the prevailing chilly wind.
Professor Lal’s eyes actually widened. “That sounds like a storm, indeed. How far was it? Miles?”
“It must be miles away, but I don’t have much of a sense of distance.” Dawn shrugged apologetically. “I definitely was stretching way beyond campus.”
“Very good, Dawn. I will have to check the meteorological information when I return to my office—my own senses do not stretch that far.”
Dawn felt her own eyes widen. She would never have guessed that she could be better at any particular kind of magic than Professor Lal, who had had so many years of practice. This must be a kind of magic that practice didn’t help nearly as much as inherent ability—which made sense, with elemental magic, but Dawn had never thought she had any extraordinary ability with air magic.
“Is this dangerous at all?” she asked. “I didn’t know I’d be able to go so far.”
“If you do not feel that you have exhausted yourself, I see no danger,” Professor Lal said. “You simply have a very special ability when it comes to sensing air currents. It is unusual, but by no means unheard of. And remember, it will likely be harder to reach when you leave campus.”
“Of course,” Dawn said, nodding and relaxing a little. If Professor Lal, with all her teaching experience, didn’t think it was weird or worrisome that Dawn had one particular ability, then she wouldn’t worry about it either.
Except for that weird little pocket of cold air. Could that be a sign that there was a problem with Dawn’s ability? Maybe she was making it all up, though the professor would be able to tell that when she checked the meteorological information.
Still, Dawn decided to hang around even after Professor Lal had dismissed the rest of the class. “I want to talk to her,” she whispered to Rico, giving him a kiss on the cheek before he left.
“Dawn,” Professor Lal said when she saw that she was the only one left. “You haven’t spoken with Corrie yet?”
“I—what?” Dawn blinked at her, disoriented and confused. Was there something she was supposed to say to Corrie?
“I’m sorry, did you have a question related to class? Please go ahead and ask.”
“Oh… yes.” Dawn took a deep breath. “I did sense something weird, that didn’t make sense to me. There’s a cold spot at the south end of campus, right up against the wall. At least, I think there is. But how can I be sensing an air current there if it’s not moving?”
Professor Lal frowned. “Give me a moment… ah, how strange. I sense nothing. Would you mind checking again to see if you can still sense it?”
“Of course.” Dawn closed her eyes and quickly sent her senses to where she remembered it being. “Yes, it’s still there. It’s like a cold wind, but it’s just in one spot.” Why would she be able to sense it when Professor Lal couldn’t? It wasn’t a problem with distance.
“That is mysterious indeed.”
“Should we go look for it?”
Professor Lal shook her head. “I may, perhaps. But it may simply be something taking shelter within the confines of our campus. It likely does not wish to be disturbed.”
“Okay. Nothing to worry about, then?”
“I think not. You are unlikely to be manufacturing air sensations. But I will let you know about that storm, whether or not I locate it.”
“Great. Thanks.” Dawn grinned at Professor Lal, then headed back toward Gilkey.
She had a little while before she needed to be at the library, so she knocked on Corrie and Edie’s door on her way past. No one answered, though, and she was pretty sure they were both in class right now.
When she got back to her own room, she wrote Corrie a quick email. Professor Lal hadn’t seemed too worried about whatever she was saying about Dawn talking to Corrie, but Dawn wanted to know what was going on.
However, she didn’t get a response before she had to get to work, so she just grabbed her keys and headed out for a boring few hours shelving books. If Corrie had something important she wanted to say to her, or that she needed to learn, Dawn would see her later regardless.