Edie waited for the professors to tell her, Corrie, and Dawn why they thought they would be able to help, but they seemed uncertain how to begin. Finally Corrie leaned forward. “Look,” she said. “We’d like to help, but we don’t know what you think we can do. Why would we know anything about what happened? Did they tell you we were there, or something? I don’t think they would lie, but maybe there’s some faerie trick going on. No offense.”
“That is exactly what we fear is going on,” Professor Lal said. “We are fairly certain that the killer is, in fact, a faerie. But we do not know how or why it is killing.”
Dawn crossed her arms over her chest. “Start from the beginning. What do you know, and what do you suspect?”
“Elrath was killed by something that tore him to shreds,” Ginny said. “I imagine that you all saw the blood. It was extremely difficult to clean up—I believe that is some property of his blood, not something to do with the way he was killed, except that there was so much of it.”
“We had every reason to believe this to be a personal attack,” Professor Rook said. “Elrath has made many enemies during his time in and around this school, not least recently, making changes to the magic. While he lived on campus, he remained in the Mary Thomas dorm most of the time, which protected him to an extent from other faeries.”
“Because there’s so much iron in the building?” Edie asked.
“Exactly,” Professor Rook said, nodding briefly to her.
“But then how could he live there? I think even the bed was iron.”
“It would have caused him pain,” Professor Lal said. “But he must have been willing to live with it.”
“As I was saying,” Professor Rook said, his voice extremely dry. “On the night of his death, we do not know why, he obviously left his dorm. It was clear to us that something took the opportunity to attack him.”
“We could not find any signs of the border having been breached,” Professor Lal said. “Nor could we find the attacker on campus. Therefore, we believed that it had killed Elrath and then left, its mission complete. Obviously, we were wrong.”
“So the same faerie definitely killed both of them,” Corrie said.
“Almost certainly,” Ginny said, nodding. “They were both killed in the same manner.”
Edie put her hand over her mouth, not wanting to hear any more. They’d already said that Elrath had been ripped to shreds. Hearing it about a faerie that she knew was a very bad person was one thing—hearing it about Sean, who by all accounts seemed to be a perfectly nice human, was even worse.
Ginny frowned. “Other things are also similar—they were both outdoors when they were killed, and it was night. However, that doesn’t narrow it down very much. We have a good idea of why someone would kill Elrath, but why kill Sean? It can’t be for the same reason.”
“You’re saying you know it was a faerie, but not who,” Dawn said. “And you want us to hunt them down.”
“Not hunt,” Professor Strega put in. “We will not put you into danger. But advise—and you have abilities, you are special, you may be able to help.”
“We should also tell you what Link told us about last night,” Professor Lal said. “It may be that Sean was not the intended victim at all. Link says that he was walking to Sayer to pick Troy up from a study date with Sean when he saw it.”
Edie gasped. “So it was after Troy?”
“Perhaps,” Professor Lal said. “Perhaps he was also an incidental victim. But Link says he saw it attack Troy, and he fought it with illusions, but that did not help much. They ran away and reached their dorm safely. Link did not see Sean, and Troy said that while he left the building, Sean did not. Sean must have left later. Perhaps the faerie was simply lying in wait to attack anyone who left Sayer, and Sean was unfortunate enough to not have any defenses.”
“Troy was injured himself,” Professor Rook said. “But Link has managed to heal him fairly well, though they are both weak.”
Edie felt a bit sick. No wonder Link hadn’t been able to meet with Roe last night. He’d just been attacked, and he’d probably been exhausted when he talked to her, after using all his strength to heal Troy. Well, if he was actually able to explain the whole thing to Roe, he would surely be forgiven.
Corrie didn’t seem happy, though. “I still don’t understand why you need our help. If Link saw and fought the faerie, don’t you know who it is now? Didn’t he describe it for you?”
“He couldn’t see a faerie,” Ginny said. “And it’s not because it was dark. This faerie seems to have taken a form we’ve never seen before. All we could see is teeth.”