Chatoyant College, Chatoyant College Book 12: Reemergence

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 6: The Long Story

“Now, Edith,” Leila said, “will you answer my question? What has happened while I have been gone? It seems to be a great deal.”

Edie took a deep breath. She wished she could look at Leila’s face while she explained what had happened, but maybe this was more intimate. Clearly, it was more comfortable for Leila.

“Okay. Before I start, how much do you know about the treaty between Thengul and Alienor Chatoyant before the school was founded? You weren’t around then, were you?”

“No, no. I am not quite that old.” Leila laughed.

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Chatoyant College, Chatoyant College Book 12: Reemergence

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 5: A Real Conversation

Edie didn’t want to get up and go over to Leila, to bridge the small space between them. She was upset—she was mad at Leila, and she wasn’t getting answers that satisfied her, so she didn’t want to do what Leila said.

But she also missed her girlfriend badly, and she couldn’t bear to let Leila sit there reaching for her when they were finally together again. So she got up, walked over, and sat down next to Leila, resting her shoulder against Leila’s arm and not letting her skin touch the tree.

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Chatoyant College, Chatoyant College Book 12: Reemergence

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 4: Stories Untold

As soon as they reached the orchard, Leila sat down, her back to a tree trunk. She looked tired—were those dark circles under her eyes? Edie had never seen her looking anything less than perfect.

Leila gestured at another tree, the one she was facing. Edie hesitated. She had good memories of this orchard—but bad ones, too. And the bad ones had been hidden from her for a long time. She didn’t know how to feel about this place, and she knew even less how to feel about it with Leila there with her.

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Chatoyant College, Chatoyant College Book 12: Reemergence

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 3: Never Before

Edie took a deep breath. Leila didn’t appear happy or excited to see her, but that might not be anything bad. She was just confused. She’d been away for months, and there had been a lot of changes on campus. She’d returned to a world that was different from what she remembered.

“Yes,” she said. “It’s me. I’ve been waiting for you to come back.”

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Chatoyant College, Chatoyant College Book 12: Reemergence

Chatoyant College Book 12: Prologue: Awake

She awoke.

It had been a long, unpleasant dream, both figuratively and literally; it was gone now. No, sometimes it had been pleasant. Often it had not.

It was an escape.

She was awake now, and she left the tree, stepping outside it to taste the world for the first time in many months.

She had misjudged her timing; the trees were in full bloom, nearly full leaf. She could have left weeks ago and she would have been well. But now it was not only well, it was easy, comfortable. She could stretch and open her arms all the way.

She had not judged the timing so poorly after all.

A return to life was ahead of her. Perhaps this time it would be better. It would be easier, more pleasant, more invigorating.

The last time had not been so bad, not at all, but she could never stand to do just one thing for very long. She could never stand to be just one person. And it was just her luck that those she was drawn to, and who were drawn to her, would never be happy were she more people, or with more people.

Perhaps, this time, she would find something better.

Smiling into the morning sun, she turned toward the land and walked through the trees, brushing them with her fingertips as she went—polite, gentle greetings. Hello. How are you. Has the spring returned? Has anything returned with it?

Nothing to be too wary of.

The trees did not warn her.

Between two trees, she stepped into a glass wall, an invisible wall, a nothingness in the air that struck the breath from her lungs and sent her staggering backward. For a moment she cursed this shape, these human lungs, but then she saw what was before her and shook her head in bafflement.

The thing that had stopped her could not be seen, except in a certain way. In a way, it glowed. But when she made to walk toward it again, her hand outstretched—nothing, except that her hand stopped in midair.

She waved her hand over the invisible barrier, to the left and the right, up and down. It went as high as she could reach. She swung herself up into the nearest tree and sought it again: yes, the barrier went up this high, and likely higher. Did it dome the entire campus?

She went on, moving to the south, testing it. It continued, smooth as glass, because it was nothing made by humans but by magic.

Who would have done such a thing? Had the students created it? Mardalan, perhaps? No, her sister preferred the old ways. She would not make such drastic changes. Even now that she was the sole ruler of her little domain—or so she claimed—she would not make seeking her prey more difficult.

She would not ask Mardalan. Not unless there was no other choice. So she followed the invisible wall, continuing on, until she could find a place that would give her answers.