As Corrie started to unpack her notebooks, laptop, and pens, she saw another familiar face approaching the open door. But she had to blink a few times to get through her surprise enough to speak. “Derwen? Is that you?”
Derwen was a friend of theirs from early on. She’d helped rescue Annie after she’d been kidnapped by faeries at the beginning of their freshman year (of course, it had been partly her fault that Annie had been kidnapped in the first place). In spring semester, she’d returned to campus as a student, and she’d been calling herself “Sarah” then, wearing a glamour—because she was a faerie, and she’d had to disguise her true nature.
It seemed those days were over. She was in her true form as a tall, busty woman with bright blue hair. The blue hair wouldn’t stand out on a college campus—it certainly hadn’t stood out when she’d first started as a student—but now Corrie noticed other details of Derwen’s appearance that she hadn’t seen before. She had little nubs of horns sticking out through the hair, her eyes were yellow and slitted like a cat’s, and she seemed to have too many teeth.
“Hey, Derwen,” Dawn said. “What’s with the, uh…” She gestured at the top of her head.
“You like them?” Derwen laughed, reached up—and pulled the horns off. They were tied on with string. “I thought they made me look even more like a faerie.”
“Oh shit,” Corrie said, and laughed. “I thought they were real!”
“You are a faerie,” Edie said. “Why do you have to look more like one? And are your eyes really like that?”
“No,” Derwen said. She blinked, and her eyes turned to ordinary, human-looking eyes, a common brown. Now she didn’t appear at all inhuman… until she smiled again.
“The teeth?” Corrie said, raising her eyebrows.
“Those are mine.” Derwen smiled wider, which was a little unsettling. Thankfully, Corrie knew her well enough not to be too nervous.
“So the horns are fake, but physical, and the eyes are a glamour.” Corrie shook her head.
“Are you afraid that if you don’t change anything, no one will realize you’re a faerie?” Dawn said. “Can’t you just tell them?”
“I can’t talk to everyone on campus,” Derwen said, tossing her blue head. She’d returned the glamour to her eyes. “I want them to know I’m a faerie first.”
“But why?” Annie asked.
“Because.” Derwen grinned again. “Now that we can be open, why shouldn’t I be as open as I possibly can be?”
“But you aren’t being open,” Edie said. “You’re just making stuff up.”
“I’m making sure everyone knows I’m a faerie,” Derwen said. “That’s the important part. Anyway, I live upstairs.” She pointed to the ceiling. “So I’ll be seeing you guys a lot.”
“Cool,” said Edie. “Seems like everyone we know is in these two dorms. Sayer and Mary Thomas.”
“What about you?” Corrie asked, turning to Rico.
“I’m on the first floor,” he said. “I got assigned a roommate, Shad. He seems like a nice guy so far.”
“Oh, that’s good. What about…” Corrie tried to think about other people they knew. “Oh, Edie, your friend Zip. Is she still here?”
Edie nodded. “She emailed me. I’m not sure what dorm she lives in, though.”
“What about that girl?” Dawn asked Corrie. “I forget her name. The one whose parents your dad is friends with, you know who I mean?”
Corrie stared at her for a moment, having to process that before she figured out what Dawn was hinting at—not everyone in the room at the moment knew about werewolves. “Oh, Belinda! Yeah, I think she’s in Gilkey. I guess that’s still open for freshmen. You’re right, we should go say hi to her.”
“Do you want to do that now?” Edie asked, closing the lid to her trunk. “I’m pretty much unpacked.”
“Yeah, sure. You want to come, guys?” Corrie looked around at her friends. “Belinda is the one who was doing the music lessons. I told you about that. They didn’t last very long, though.”
“Oh, I’d love to meet her!” Annie said. “She did get into Chatoyant, then?”
Corrie nodded. “I wonder how big the class of incoming freshmen is. She might be one of just a few. We should make sure she knows she has friends here.”
“I’ll come,” Roe said.
“I’ll go wherever Dawn is,” Rico said, smiling at Dawn and taking her hand.
“Derwen?” Corrie asked, not sure if she wanted Derwen to come along, but the blue-haired girl wasn’t in their doorway anymore. Corrie walked up to it and looked around, to find Derwen halfway down the hall, talking to three guys who were staring at her. Her fake horns were back on.
“I guess she’s busy,” Corrie said. “Come on, let’s go look for Belinda.”