Catching Up: Part Nine
The Earth Faerie in charge of the infirmary frowned at them. "Who did you say you were coming to see?" Her name tag told them that she was called Clocia.
"Lillian," Lianar repeated. "She's... a Water Faerie. We were practicing Faerie Cloud Racers--"
"Oh, that girl," the Faerie said. She nodded. "Well, she's right down the hall, but I'm not sure if the healers are done with her yet. I'll just go see. Wait here." Clocia bustled off, wings flapping behind her.
Lianar exchanged glances with the other girls, and then shrugged.
"Where do you think Ms. Evea is?" Arielle asked, looking around the infirmary's waiting room curiously. "She flew up here, after all." The Air Faerie leaned over towards the window, twitching the curtains out of the way to look out onto the courtyard. "Oh--"
"Never mind that," the infirmary Faerie said, coming back down the hall. "The healers are just done with her now; you can go in. A few at a time!" Clocia added, as they made to move off in a group. "Two at a time, I should say. And don't overtax her."
Again they all exchanged glances, even Patricia. Lianar sighed.
"Well, I'll go first. Who else wants to come?"
"I will," Arielle said. Lianar nodded to her, and they set off together. Behind them, Therisa, Emm, and Patricia looked at each other and shrugged.
They found chairs to sit in and wait, and waited. Patricia found that from her chair, across the room from the window, she could see out between the curtains that Arielle had moved. The Dark Faerie frowned, peering through the glass. She couldn't see much area, but something purple was out there, and Patricia bet that it was Lillian's crashed Racer that Ms. Evea had flown up here.
Out of unspoken consensus none of them spoke until Clocia left again. Then Therisa leaned forward. "Patricia, you look horrible. It was an accident, it wasn't--"
The Dark Faerie almost cracked a smile, but held a finger to her lips. She slipped across the room to the window and pushed the curtains aside further, revealing more of the courtyard, and the rest of Lillian's Racer. It looked worse for wear, she thought, eyeing it. From the ruts in between the flowerbeds, and the condition of the Racer, it looked like Ms. Evea had almost crashed it in landing so suddenly.
She winced. Behind her, Emm hissed, and Patricia straightened and strolled back to her chair casually. The infirmary Faerie came in a moment after the Dark Faerie had regained her seat. Patricia stared blankly ahead in an imitation of her previous state.
A few minutes later, after rearranging a few papers on her desk, Clocia walked out once more.
"Wasn't your fault," Therisa said, glancing after the Faerie to make sure she was gone. "It wasn't anyone's fault; it was an accident. Just bad luck, or whatever you want to call it."
Patricia shrugged, but her eyes kept straying to the window. "I think Ms. Evea is going to be in trouble," she said under her breath, low enough that Therisa and Emm, across the room, couldn't hear her words.
"What did you say?" Emm asked, but Clocia came back a moment later and Patricia had no opportunity to reply. The infirmary Faerie didn't leave again before Arielle and Lianar came back, both looking sobered.
"How is she?" Emm stood up quickly. "Is she all right?"
Arielle shrugged and looked at Lianar, who said, "She's fine. She bumped her head pretty hard, but the healers fixed her up." The Light Faerie smiled. "So she's all right now."
Clocia, from behind the desk, said, "Two more of you can go in now."
"Can't three of us go?" Therisa asked, standing up. "We're the last ones left."
The Water infirmary Faerie looked between the three girls and shook her head. "No. Rules are the rules. Sorry."
"Fyora take it." Therisa scowled. "Patricia, do you mind waiting?"
The Dark Faerie shook her head. "Not at all. You and Emm go ahead."
Lianar sat down next to Patricia as soon as Therisa and Emm had left, and Arielle sat down on the Dark Faerie's other side.
"How about you?" the Light Faerie asked. "Are you okay?" She looked concerned. Patricia almost smiled.
"Therisa just gave me the lecture," she told Lianar in an undertone. "I'm fine. I don't think it was my fault--well, maybe a little, if someone has to take the blame. I wasn't looking, I just did what Ms. Evea had told me to do."
"Ms. Evea," the infirmary Faerie mused. Patricia glanced up at her, sharply.
"Do you know where she is?" the Dark Faerie asked. She stood up and walked over to the desk, trying to avoid looking at the half-opened curtains. "Is she all right?"
The Water Faerie raised blue eyebrows. "She's fine. Evea is always fine. She's evolved especially to be that way." She smiled faintly, looking through a file folder.
"So you're her students," she added. "She told me about you. Said that you hadn't flown yet, but that she expected great things from you."
Lianar and Arielle glanced at each other and grinned, pleased at even this second-hand compliment from their teacher.
"Why did she tell you about us?" Patricia asked, frowning. The infirmary Faerie's nametag caught her eye again, and she read the name off. "Clocia." It sounded familiar from somewhere, though she couldn't think where--
"Oh," the Dark Faerie said. "You were on Ms. Evea's team in school, weren't you. And you were in the Racers for a while, the leagues--" She stopped abruptly. "No. That can't be right. She said that you'd gone off somewhere, and done something else instead."
"Healing," Clocia said, swallowing a smile. Her amusement still showed in her voice. "Yes, I was on Evea's team. Craziest years of my life, and that's including the time I was in the leagues for Faerie Cloud Racers."
"You knew Ms. Evea," Lianar said slowly, standing up and coming over as well. "Where is she? Can we see her?" She glanced around as if she expected their teacher to appear out of thin air.
"I saw her when she came in with the Water Faerie girl, but she left almost as soon as she came," the infirmary Faerie said apologetically. "I have a general idea of where she might have gone, but no more than that, and it's not enough to go on to find her."
"We can try anyway," Arielle said, joining Lianar and Patricia at the desk. "Can you tell us?"
Clocia hesitated, and then shook her head. "No. I can't. It wouldn't be right," she added, and looked down the hallway toward Lillian's room. They all looked, too, and saw Therisa and Emm emerging.
"Your turn," Therisa said to Patricia as they came closer. "She's fine, don't worry. And she's blaming it all on herself as well, so you two can get together and argue about who was more to blame." The Fire Faerie grinned to show that she was kidding, and Patricia was able to grin back.
"Sounds like fun," she said drily. "See you, Clocia." The Dark Faerie headed off down the hall. Behind her, she heard Lianar's voice: "By the way, Therisa, Emm, this is Clocia. She was Water for Ms. Evea's team when she was in school."
Patricia smiled and rapped on Lillian's door. "Lillian? Can I come in?"
Arielle waited until Patricia had disappeared from sight, and then she turned back to Clocia, interrupting Therisa and Emm's attempts to express their surprise.
"You said you knew where Ms. Evea had gone," the Air Faerie said, leaning forward across the desk. "Where is she?"
Clocia glanced down the hall, and then sighed. "Like I said, policy forbids me to say anything. Anyway, it's during school hours."
"We can handle it," Lianar said defensively. "We're not babies. Tell us." The others nodded.
The Water Faerie looked from face to earnest face, and frowned. "Why do you want to know, anyway?"
"She might think she was the one at fault," Therisa said from the back of the group. "We can't just let her go off somewhere thinking she was the one at fault. It was an accident. But if Patricia and Lillian are anything to go by, she'll be blaming herself, too."
"I don't think she'll need to," Clocia muttered. "They'll do it for her."
"They?" Lianar pounced forward. "Who are they?" Arielle nodded, looking from the Light Faerie to Clocia.
The Water Faerie grimaced. "Fine. Fine. I didn't tell you anything about this, mind," she added. "But if I were you, I'd go check at the Faerie Courts."
"The Faerie Courthouse," Emm said. "Ms. Evea is in trouble?" The Earth Faerie stared around at the others, who stared back. "Then we have to rescue her!"
Lianar nodded. "We do. Can Lillian come, or do you have to keep her here?" she asked Clocia, glancing again down the hallway. "She's all better, she said she was."
Clocia shook her head. "No. Sorry. That's one thing I can't do. Anyway, her Racer's crashed. It'll take some time to repair it. You may take your Dark Faerie friend, though."
"Oh, of course," Lianar said, nodding vigorously. "We have to wait for her."
Patricia slipped out of Lillian's room again a few minutes later, frowning. Lillian seemed better, but she was still blaming the accident on herself. The Dark Faerie sighed and shook her head. She had tried to change the Water Faerie's mind, at least, and that was all anyone could expect of her.
Still, she felt bad for not staying longer. She at least could've kept her company.
Then she looked up and saw the tableau of her waiting groupmates. Lianar was pacing the room; she turned near the wall, and saw her.
"Patricia! Oh, good. Clocia told us where Ms. Evea is," the Light Faerie added, hurrying forward, "and so we can go now and find her."
Patricia glanced from Lianar to the others and frowned. Lianar, in the meantime, reached her and started pulling her towards the door.
"She's in trouble," Emm put in, falling into step with them. "We have to go now."
"In trouble. Ms. Evea," Patricia said, distracted. "What kind of trouble?"
"We don't know! Just that she's in some sort of trouble and we have to go rescue her," Arielle said. "So are you coming?"
"Thanks, Clocia!" Therisa added, turning around to wave at the Water Faerie infirmary-keeper as they reached the door.
"Coming? Of course I'm coming," Patricia said. "What do you take me for?"
To be continued...