“What are we supposed to tell our friends and family about why we might not be going back to school in the fall?” Dawn asked. She knew she would tell her aunt Pru the truth—Pru had, after all, been a student at Chatoyant College and known a faerie herself—but she had no idea what to say to her parents or the few friends she had from high school. She’d been keeping the information about faeries from them for good reason.
“That is up to you,” Professor Lal said, her lips thinning. “The truth is an option.”
“You could also just tell them that there was a killer loose on campus and the school may be closing because of that,” Professor Rook said. “Use the truth, but not all of it.”
“Aren’t you worried about people finding out about the faeries?” Edie asked. “What if it attracts tourists? Or the government?”
“The government has not interfered in our activities so far, though we have been teaching genuine magic at this school for centuries,” Professor Lal said. “Nor have we attracted tourists. I expect the information about faeries will spread just the same way information about the magic major has. Those inclined to believe it will do so, those disinclined will not be able to be convinced.”
“People who don’t believe in magic can be persuaded to believe it if they see enough,” Edie said. Dawn remembered—it seemed like ages ago—that when they had first started at Chatoyant College in the fall, Edie had been skeptical about magic. But she obviously hadn’t refused to believe it; if she’d been impossible to convince, she probably never would have come here in the first place.
“So far,” Professor Rook said, “we’ve never had a problem with students showing off their magic abilities and attracting willing believers. Perhaps a few have done that, but it’s only brought students to the school. Since no one will be able to show off the faeries, it should be even less of a problem.”
“If a problem is, it will be theirs to fix,” Professor Strega said, gesturing at Professor Lal and Professor Rook. “As students you do not need worry.”
Dawn shook her head. It was true that she wouldn’t have to do anything about it if the government or tourists descended on the school, but any public knowledge of faeries would still reflect on her and affect her life—especially if people learned that she could see through glamours.
But there was nothing they could do about the possibility. All they could do was decide what they wanted to tell people. Dawn was pretty sure her family wouldn’t go around spreading the news about faeries to tabloids, at least. In fact, the worst—and possibly most likely—outcome of telling them about the faeries was that they might not believe her.
She would probably do as Professor Rook had suggested and just tell them that the school might not reopen because of the killer. They’d want to know why they hadn’t heard about this sooner, but she could deal with that when she came to it.
And her parents were on their way—if they weren’t already on campus. She had to finish packing.
“That’s right,” Corrie said. It took Dawn a moment to realize she was responding to Professor Strega still—that if there was a problem with people knowing about faeries, it was the school’s problem to deal with. “You’ve made it your problem to deal with. It’s too late, isn’t it? Now that the students have learned about faeries and left, they’ll tell other people. If the magic goes back to the way it was, everyone here will still remember. Even if you took away the memories of today’s assembly, other people would remember.”
“We would never remove people’s memories without their permission,” Professor Lal said, perhaps a little too sharply. Dawn bit her lip—did she know that Leila had done just that to Edie? She glanced over at Edie, but her friend didn’t look upset.
“You’re entirely correct, Corrie,” Professor Rook said. “It’s too late to take it back. We’re just going to have to do what we said we’d do.”
Corrie grinned. “Fine, then. That’s all I wanted to know.”
“Are you really leaving?” Roe said suddenly.
Professor Strega turned to her. “Yes. I think you will do well without me. Simply you keep practicing your meditations.”
Roe nodded. “I’ll miss you.”
“Perhaps one day we will see each other again.” Professor Strega held out her hand. Roe shook it.
“I hope I will see all of you in the fall,” Professor Lal said. “If we are unable to open the school, then perhaps I can still be in contact with you.”
“You have my phone number,” Corrie said. “You can call me if you need us, and I’ll get you in touch with everyone.”
“That sounds good to me,” Dawn said.
“Especially if we might be able to help make sure the school gets reopened,” Edie said. “I’ll be available.”
“Me too.” Dawn nodded.
“And me.” Corrie held her hand out, and after a moment, Professor Lal shook it. She shook hands with Professor Rook as well.
“Okay,” Corrie said. “Now I guess we’d all better head home.”