Saturday, August 26
Corrie, Edie, and Dawn arrived early to the magic building that morning, wanting to make sure they could get to their assigned rooms easily. After all, if everyone on campus was required to attend one of these classes, it would be a huge crowd.
To Corrie’s disappointment, the class list pointed them each to a different classroom. She and Edie were each in one of the big amphitheater-style classrooms, and Dawn was in the same one where they’d had trance class last semester. Corrie was on the top floor, so she waved goodbye first to Dawn and then to Edie as she trudged up to the classroom.
It was only about a quarter full when she got there, so she was able to find a seat in the front row, near the far side of the room. Professor Lal was standing at the front of the class, talking quietly to a couple of students Corrie didn’t recognize. No one seemed to be intimidated by Professor Lal, but she was in her usual glamour, and maybe they didn’t remember that she was a faerie.
Corrie found a four-leaf clover in her pocket and received a mild surprise. Professor Lal looked just as Corrie remembered her, but one of the students she was talking with was also immediately recognizable as a faerie. In fact, she’d heard Dawn mention him before. He had hair that looked like leaves—pretty green leaves tinged with yellow and red at the edges. She wondered if they would fully change with the season.
Now that she knew there was a faerie talking to Professor Lal, she was suddenly very interested in what their conversation might be. Was he giving her tips, or worried about what the class would reveal? She turned to look over the rest of the class, still holding her clover, in hopes of removing the temptation to listen.
There wasn’t anyone else she knew well in this classroom, though she recognized several people, including Celeste, the girl who’d been friendly with Dawn, and Rico’s new roommate, Shad. She turned to watch the people entering. Most of the people who came in looked vaguely familiar, with one or two she knew she recognized from past classes, even if she hadn’t really spoken to them.
Finally, a friend showed up—Corrie sat up and waved, grinning. Roe grinned and waved back, making her way across the room to Corrie. “So, do you think we’ll learn anything?” she muttered, pulling a pen and notebook out of her bag in defiance of her words.
Corrie shook her head, still watching the entrance. “I hope we’ll learn something.”
Then someone came in that Corrie was really surprised to see. She sat up, feeling her eyes go wide as though seeing more clearly would explain why Meg was here. Meg was one of the girls who had been a member of the Covenant of the Goddess, the bigoted pagan group that she and Edie had walked out on last year. Their two leaders had tried to trap a faerie last semester and it had gotten them killed. Meg had been the one to tell the professors what had happened. Corrie wouldn’t have expected any of the members of that group to return to Chatoyant College. If she’d seen something kill two of her friends, then found out some of her teachers were the same type of being, she wasn’t sure she would be able to return.
But there was Meg, walking to the middle of the classroom and sitting down in the front row. She was staring straight at Professor Lal. She didn’t seem to notice Corrie.
The other students were walking away from Professor Lal now, taking seats in the front row next to Meg, though they didn’t look at her. The room was about two-thirds full now. Professor Lal looked around, then cleared her throat, and the little chat that was going on died down.
“Welcome back to Chatoyant College,” Professor Lal said. “If you were here at the end of last semester, then you were at the meeting where we faeries revealed ourselves, and if you weren’t here, you’ve heard the truth by now. We agreed with the administration that the only way the college could be reopened is if we could make the students safe from faeries and the other things that are out there”—a few students made noises, but she ignored them—“and I believe this is the best way to do it, to educate you. So, I want to ensure you know what you are dealing with.”
She dropped her glamour. There were a number of gasps around the room—and then Lal smiled, displaying her infinite-looking rows of sharp teeth, and several people screamed.
“I will not hurt you,” Professor Lal said. “The other faeries who are among you as students and teachers will not hurt you. But there are other things out there that might.”