Tuesday, November 14
Corrie and Edie walked into their Intermediate Elementalism class. Corrie was working to hold back a smirk. Professor Lal probably wouldn’t like it if she was smirking at her. It would make her even less likely to take what Corrie was about to say seriously.
The two of them waited at the front of the class, by Professor Lal’s desk. There was also another presence along with them. Corrie couldn’t see or sense her, but—unless she had chickened out—she knew she was there.
Professor Lal frowned as soon as she came in, striding directly to her desk. “Corrie, Edie. Is there a problem?”
Corrie shook her head, working even harder to control her smirk. “Everything’s going well. We’ve just brought a guest to class, and wanted to let you know.”
Professor Lal raised her eyebrows. “A guest? Is that so.”
The professor obviously didn’t believe them. “Yes. Her name is Alice Atkins.”
“We’ve spoken to her,” Edie said. “She told us her name. She doesn’t like to communicate with people, but was willing to work with a medium.”
Professor Lal looked between the two of them, her lips pressed thin. “This is the ghost.”
“She has always hidden from magic professors because she was ashamed and embarrassed,” Corrie said. “We’ve known she was haunting Mary Thomas for months, and we spoke to her for the first time about a month ago, but we didn’t find out until recently how you and the other magic professors managed to not know about her.”
“We’ve investigated,” Lal said.
Corrie nodded. “She always hid from you and the other magic professors because she died making a huge mistake with a spell. She was trying to impress her magic professors at the time. Seeing any of you reminded her of the reason she died. You can understand how that would be painful.”
“I…” Lal’s eyes roamed around the air between Corrie and Edie as though she would be able to see Alice. Corrie was perversely pleased that they’d managed to render the faerie speechless.
“She doesn’t remember having you as a professor, which makes sense, since you didn’t remember her, either,” Corrie continued. “She remembers Professor Rook, so he might remember her, too. She’s not ready to face him yet, but she wants to—needs to, I think—come to magic classes.”
“Of course she can’t enroll as a student, since she has no way to fill out the forms or take tests, except through the medium, and the medium has their own classes to deal with,” Edie said. “But if she comes to classes, she’ll learn anyway.”
“And then maybe she’ll understand whatever went wrong with her final spell,” Corrie said.
Professor Lal sighed. “How do you know she’s here?”
“Alice?” Corrie said. “You don’t have to talk to Professor Lal, but can you move something on her desk so she knows you’re here?”
For a moment nothing happened, and Corrie feared that Alice had decided she couldn’t face a magic professor after all. But then a folder on Professor Lal’s desk flipped open and the papers slid onto the floor. To her credit, Lal didn’t jump, just looked down at the pile on the floor with her lips pressed together.
“Well, I can hardly stop your guest from attending class,” she said. “Not if she can’t be seen or touched. But I’ll get in touch with Lin and see if she can’t help illuminate this a little more.”
Corrie and Edie grinned at each other. Lal pointed at the papers on the floor. “However, we did have a handout for class today. So unless your ghost is willing to pass the papers to your classmates, the two of you have just volunteered to pick them up and do that. And hurry, because class ought to have started several minutes ago.”
Corrie shrugged. “Fair enough.” She bent, picked up the papers, gave half the stack to Edie, and began handing them out.
They’d helped Alice as best they could—and that had been quite a lot. From here, any more changes that had to be made, she could make herself.