After her shift at the library, as usual, Dawn headed for the dining hall for some dinner. She found Corrie already there and waved at her before getting her food.
Corrie was alone at the table, which was a bit unusual, but maybe that would work out well. “Hey, Dawn, I saw your email,” she said as soon as Dawn sat down.
Dawn nodded. “So you know what Professor Lal was talking about?”
“Yeah.” Corrie put down her fork. “I found out who was killed.”
Dawn had been about to take a sip of her soda, but she put down her glass. She had a feeling she didn’t want to have to worry about dropping something when she heard what Corrie had to say.
“It was Elrath.”
Dawn’s eyes widened. She’d been right. “But who—what could possibly kill him?”
“That’s what I was worried about,” Corrie said, nodding. “So I talked to Professor Lal. She doesn’t think that any humans need to worry about whatever killed him.”
“But faeries might?”
“She didn’t say specifically, but yeah, I guess so.” Corrie frowned. “I don’t know whether the faeries are communicating with each other or what. I told Edie, so she’ll probably tell Derwen. She might have told her already, actually. Hopefully she’ll be okay.”
Dawn tried to remember whether there was anyone else they might want to warn, but Elrath was dead, Brandon had gone to the court, and all the other faeries on campus—at least the ones Dawn knew personally rather than just seeing at random—were professors, so they probably communicated with Professor Lal and all had the same ideas about what was going on.
“That is scary,” she said. “But you know, I wonder how likely it is that any other faeries have to worry. Elrath was a pretty big jerk. I would think it was something personal against him.”
Corrie laughed. “I was kind of thinking the same thing. Maybe he seduced the wrong faerie’s girlfriend or something.” Her smile faded, though, and she leaned forward and spoke softly. “Do you think it could have been Tom?”
Dawn’s eyes widened. Her immediate reaction was complete denial, but she forced herself to think it through. Tom and Elrath had once been friends, but something had soured the relationship. Tom had threatened Elrath after he’d drugged Dawn. Elrath claimed that he didn’t care about that threat—but he’d avoided Dawn anyway, so she didn’t know how seriously to take him.
But as far as she knew, Tom had never done anything to Elrath beyond words. And he’d been the faerie her aunt had known, the faerie who had made her believe that faeries were fun and exciting, not dangerous. True, he’d been her boyfriend, but they couldn’t have started out that way. It was possible he’d started out pretending to be a student, or actually being a student, like so many faeries did… but all of that pointed to him not being dangerous.
Not that students couldn’t be dangerous.
Finally, she took a deep breath and shook her head. “I really don’t think so. I think it would take a lot to make Tom that angry, and I don’t know of anything that would have done it. I wonder if he even knows Elrath is dead.”
“I bet the faeries in the woods know,” Corrie said, picking up her fork again and stabbing her salad. “They have to have noticed the fog, even if they don’t cause it. They must have wondered why.”
Dawn nodded. Unless Tom was away from campus or hiding in a cave for some reason, he would have noticed the unusual fog. And she’d never known him to do either of those things.
“It had to be a faerie that killed him though, right?” Dawn said. “Nothing else could have gotten close.”
“Maybe if it surprised him,” Corrie said with a shrug. “We don’t really know how good of a fighter he was. Charlie thinks a werewolf could have done it, but it wasn’t any of the ones around here.”
“There you are,” came a voice. Dawn looked up to see Roe setting down her dinner next to Dawn’s spot, grinning at them. Annie approached on the other side. “I knew we could find someone else to have dinner with. Dawn, what’s wrong? You’ve hardly eaten.”
Dawn realized she was hungry again and took a sip of her soda. “Corrie was just telling me about the person who was killed.”
“Oh, right, you said her name was Christy, right?” Roe and Annie sat down.
Corrie nodded and glanced around. “She was actually a faerie named Elrath. We’ve had to deal with him before, and we’re not surprised that someone would want to kill him.”
Roe stared, looking back and forth between Dawn and Corrie. Annie looked sick.
“But Professor Lal says there’s nothing to worry about,” Corrie said quickly. “It’s just… unpleasant. Roe, I actually wanted to ask you something. Those teeth you’ve been having visions about?”
Roe grimaced. “Yeah?”
“Professor Lal’s real form has long, sharp teeth. Could they be hers?”