Clare K. R. Miller

Chatoyant College Book 13: Chapter 51: Winding Down

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Friday, May 26

Dawn hardly had time to think for the next few days. Between work, looking for the faerie, and getting ready for finals, she just didn’t have a break. Most of the time, she liked it that way, but she did wish that one of the things taking up her time wasn’t looking for a faerie that had killed two people on campus.

Since they hadn’t found anything, they hadn’t bothered contacting the faerie professors who were on campus, though Corrie had received the schedule from Professor Lal. She wrote back to the professor to explain what they’d seen—or rather, hadn’t seen—but received no response.

After class on Tuesday, Dawn asked Professor Lal about her opinion on the cold spot. The professor confessed herself to be baffled. She didn’t see any reason to think that it was the faerie that had attacked people, but there was no reason to think it wasn’t, either. Professor Lal had Dawn look for it again, and she found it, but when they physically went to visit the spot, it wasn’t there anymore. Dawn tried searching for it by sensing air currents and thought she found it again, for a moment, but then it slipped away from her.

If it was an actual breeze sometimes, moving around campus, that would explain why she couldn’t pick it out. She was able to get some information about temperature when she was sensing the air currents, but not enough to be sure that any particular one of the little breezes flitting around campus was the breeze that sometimes held still. She explained her theory to Professor Lal, who said she would speak to the other professors and see if any of them could come up with a faerie that sometimes or always manifested as a cold breeze.

On Wednesday, Dawn had her sociology exam, which she thought went well. On Thursday, she had an exam for Intermediate Elementalism, which she knew went well—it was just kind of a formality, since Professor Lal had been watching them all perform elemental magic all semester, but she seemed to like the structure. On Friday, she handed in her final papers for History of Psychology and Academic Writing; there was no exam for Grounding, Centering, and Trance, but Professor Strega had told them all at the end of the last class on Monday that they had all passed.

And then, finally, yet somehow abruptly, she was done with the semester. Most students, including her, would stay on campus until Monday to get their preliminary grades; graduation was next Friday, after the final grades had been published and the seniors could be sure that they were graduating.

She and Corrie had continued their searches of campus to the best of their abilities, but nothing turned up. There was nothing to see during the day, and Corrie couldn’t see much at night. Dawn could find the cold spot, but not reliably, and it certainly didn’t seem to be doing anything.

The faerie attacker wasn’t doing anything, either. No one else was hurt or killed, and there were no reported sightings. Dawn was relieved, but also uneasy. What was it waiting for? Did it actually have an agenda, or was it just lashing out at random? And what was holding it back now?

She hoped it would hold off until graduation was over. Then the campus would be empty except for some administrators and, most likely, the magic professors. They might have an easier time finding it then.

On Friday night, she and Corrie sat in Corrie’s room one more time, trying to sense what they could. Dawn could tell there was movement, people walking around campus, but she couldn’t tell what they were doing. The wind was unpredictable, going many directions at once, and she couldn’t pick out any one breeze from it, but she knew the cold spot wasn’t being a single spot at the moment.

Finally she shook her head. “I can tell people are walking around, but maybe they’re just getting bolder now that it’s been a week since anyone’s been killed and exams are over. Corrie, what about you?”

Corrie stretched her arms in the air, shaking her head. “I thought I saw some people, but they weren’t walking where there is light, except for the moon, I guess. But it’s not very bright. In a week or so the moon will be bigger, but we’ll be gone by then.”

“Maybe it doesn’t like the moon,” Edie said.

“It did attack Troy on the new moon, but that doesn’t explain the attack on Elrath,” Corrie said. “Still, that’s probably something to mention to the magic professors, if they haven’t already figured it out. Thanks, Edie.”

Edie gave a thin smile. “I wish I could be more helpful.”

“You’re keeping me from going crazy,” Corrie said with a grin.

“What should we do this weekend?” Dawn said, wanting to change the subject. “We’re free of exams, so we should do something relaxing.”

They started brainstorming ideas for something relaxing and fun to do on the weekend, including a pizza party, watching a lot of movies, and reading a lot of books. Dawn had almost forgotten that there was something on campus to be wary of when Corrie’s phone rang.

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