Chason was shaking his head, and he had gotten half to his feet. “You guys don’t know her at all. I don’t know how you can think that she’d be in any way involved with something like hurting another student! I mean, really.”

“Chason-” Nilien began.

Lorque talked right over her. “Just listen for a minute, okay? When Nilien went out to the woods, she had a tracking spell on her that she knew was there. She thought maybe she could – find out more about who was tracking her. But then Ember saw someone, and the tree fell almost on top of her!”

“Wait, what?” Augustin frowned. “She what?”

“She what?” Chason repeated. “Even if it was just someone setting you up for some sort of silly prank – okay, those sorts of things happen. They’re ridiculous and sometimes people get a little hurt, but they do happen – but if something like that was going on, it was really, really silly to go out into the woods on your own with a known tracking spell on you!”

Nilien wasn’t sure which she preferred, people not believing she’d been in danger, or people scolding her for getting herself into a dangerous spot. She thought, if she were being honest, she preferred to hear neither of them.

She cleared her throat. “I know it was a bit extreme,” she allowed, “but I didn’t want to be the sort of pushover that just waits for things to happen to me.”

“Well, I suppose you didn’t wait for a tree to almost fall on you, then! And you think Heldira was behind this somehow?”

“The tracking spells were hers. I don’t know where she was at that time – I can’t do spells well enough to do a tracking spell, even if I wanted to-” She was going to be depressed about that for a while, she though. It would be nice to be at a magic school and able to actually do magic.

That wasn’t the point right now. She mentally shook herself. “I don’t know where Heldira was,” she repeated herself, “but I do know that she set the tracking spells. They all smell like the same person’s magic to Ember, and they do keep coming back.”

“I don’t know,” Chason frowned. “This is all really excessive. We’re students.”

“And I’m a student because someone tried to kill me!”

“And,” Lorque added, “you said yourself, Heldira is part of some secret thing outside of school.”

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