Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! I’m not Canadian, but it’s a more valid thing to celebrate today than Columbus Day, which is the day we Western Hemispherans of non-indigenous-peoples descent take credit for “discovering” two continents that were already populated by folks who would have been more than happy to continue without smallpox, genocide and thievery, keeping their gold, chocolate and coffee to themselves. Anyway, even if you aren’t lucky enough to be Canadian, or to have the day off work, you can still celebrate by having an adventure! Of your own choosing! And not involving sailing oceans blue (at least not in this one. Feel free to have other, non FYA-sanctioned adventures involving sailing oceans blue all you want — better yet, invite us along so we can fulfill our long-held dream of living on a boat!). Where was I? Oh yes. It’s Monday, and this particular Monday is called Columbus Day by some folks, Thanksgiving in Canada (OMG I am jealous of yr pies and turkey and nom nom nom), which means a few lucky ones get a day off work and the post offices are closed. And ALL Mondays in FYALand mean choosing adventures!

Last week, you found out your dad isn’t really your dad, and he COULD be some sort of mind-controlled zombie carrying out the devil’s dirty work on the High Courts. More importantly, you found out the chemistry with Eli you noticed earlier wasn’t just due to Potions class, but there’s something he and his mom aren’t sharing. It was a close call, but you chose: Quickly cast an eavesdropping spell in Eli and Heather’s direction. It won’t last more than a couple of minutes, but who knows what you’ll hear?

Who knows, indeed?

Chapter 05: Big Pitchers Have Big Ears

“Hello, rude! Didn’t your mother teach you it’s not polite to keep secrets?” you mutter to yourself as Eli and Heather rush off, agitated and whispering. Good thing your mom taught you an awesome eavesdropping spell. Auricus aperto! Smug, you fling the incantation at their backs and rock back on your heels to listen.

“You’re moving too fast, Eli,” Heather is warning him. “She’s young, you know.”

As if! I’m seventeen. But Heather is still talking. “And not just in years. You know how complacent the magical community has gotten, and it shows in the way they train their children. They’re just not prepared anymore! I’m glad Congress finally saw sense and desegregated, but not for the necromancers’ sake — this school has much less to offer you than you have to offer it.”

“God, Mom, don’t get started on the education of the gifted youth again. We don’t have much time. I know it’s risky, but Tabitha really could be the key to the whole coup! If we can get her on our side, find out what she knows, we can –“

“Well, hello, lovemuffin.” You jump about a mile, away from Dace’s nuzzle. Dammit. His silly crooning drowned out what Eli was saying, and broke the spell. “I can’t believe you’re waiting to give me a little … encouragement … before flying practice. You haven’t done that since we first started going out.” He waggles his eyebrows and licks his lips, trying for seductive.

You try not to sigh, but it’s too hard to suppress both that AND an eyeroll, so a little huff escapes. You hope Dace will chalk it up to excited breathing, and grin slowly. “Dace, honey,” you singsong, running your finger down his (very muscular) chest to his (eight-pack) abs. “I left my bag over by the tree. Will you get it for me? I promise I’ll make it up to you after lights-out.” And like the well-trained boyfriend he is, Dace jogs over to the tree to grab your designer tote, big enough to stash your tablet, books, wand, message paper, extra shoes, full makeup bag, a scarf, an extra top and your wallet, and still have room for some gummy bears. You look for Eli and Heather, but they’re too far away now for another eavesdropping spell.

Taking your bag from Dace with a thank you kiss, you trudge back to the dormitory and try to make sense of what you just heard. A coup? What’s that about? Is your dad REALLY in trouble, or are they just using you for their own ends? You do know things have gotten increasingly rocky for magical people in the last three or four years, and the High Council has been coming down hard on anyone risking the secrecy of the community, but is it EVIL? What is going on? And as if you needed more to worry about, your first exams are next week. GodI’m totally going to get a zit from all this worrying, you think.

When you get to your room, for once you’re glad Drusilla’s not there. You need to think, and you’re not sure how much you’re ready to share. You get out your wand and draw a circle in the air in front of your face and open a communication portal to your father’s office. It’s time to answer his message anyway.

“Pumpkin! How are you?” he cries when he accepts your spell. “How’s school?”

“Fine, Daddy. It’s been busy this week — sorry I haven’t called. I’ve been meeting some interesting new people.”

“I’m sure you have, sweetheart, I’m sure you have. Listen, your mother and I were thinking you should come home this weekend. You know, have a little break, maybe bring a few friends? We just expanded the hot springs in the back garden.”

You pause. A lot of kids drop home on weekends, but you’ve NEVER come home this early in the term before, except for that unfortunate time during second year when you racked up too many bills in Newtseye Village. And your dad never, NEVER asks you to come home for weekends, so now you’re really worried. And there are exams coming up you need to study for. But it COULD be a good opportunity to poke around a bit.

Do you:

A. Jump at the chance. You can invite Dru and Dace, and take your mind off the crazy that is Eli. He’s probably just stirring up trouble.

B. Agree, and plan to invite some of the necromancers (maybe Eli?). Maybe your dad’s prejudice against them isn’t as bad as you remember, and just maybe he’ll let slip some important clue if he goes off

C. Stay at school. You need to know more about Eli’s plans before you start messing with your dad. Besides, there are exams to study for.

D. Tell him you’ll think about it. You need a second opinion, and there are some magic beans that need to be spilled to Drusilla, and maybe Eli.

Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.