Nilien wanted to be reassured. She had found Chason quite friendly, and that seemed to be in a bit of short supply here. Still, though…

“It still seems a little strange to me.” She didn’t want to say anything else about people, their friends, and choices, because she didn’t want to sound like she was criticizing Lorque’s choice of companionship, so instead she said, “Professor Vaudelle thought it was just some sort of prank, but she didn’t know about the assassin until I told her. So I’m not sure what it was, although it being another student means it was probably just a bad joke.”

“Well, if it is a prank, eventually, they’re going to have to finish the prank, right?” Riva leaned forward; her otter tumbled out of her lap and landed next to River, who appeared to ignore the other familiar, even as it started using River as a jungle-gym. “It’s not much of a prank to just know where you are. I mean, I suppose if you are having trouble finding your way around, they could position themselves to help you and then — well, be less than helpful and lead you somewhere bad.”

Bad like a forbidden garden? No, Benoir just had no sense when it came to rules, she was pretty sure.

“That doesn’t seem like much of a prank,” she admitted slowly.

I think it would be a very good prank. Ember turned around a few times before settling on the bed, looking down at the other two familiars from a safe perch. Nobody would believe you, because you already get lost. Or you blame your familiar for getting you lost when your familiar found you what you needed.

She petted Ember behind the ears apologetically. “It’s still mad at me because I blamed it for me being lost. I think it’s going to be mad at me for weeks,” she explained. “But — I think you’re right, Riva.” At least Riva hadn’t read this in a book. “If it’s going to be a prank, they probably have more to it. Otherwise, Chason probably would have been in on it and walked me someplace bad today.” That made her glad for more than one reason, but she tried not to let it color her thinking yet. She didn’t know, not yet.

“So whoever set this up — Heldira, you said? – and maybe her friends — they probably have some else up their sleeve.” Lorque leaned in, a smile growing on her face. “We should trap them. We should set a trap. Leave the tracking spell on — they already know where we live, right? — and we’ll set up, hrrm.” She glanced over at Riva. “Do you have any ideas?”

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