HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 173

“What are you doing here?” Frederica asked.

“Oh, just a little sightseeing,” Carmen replied. “I haven’t been home in half a century so I was curious. Looks like the place has made some progress while I’ve been away. Not enough that I’d want to stay, mind you, but it’s good to see.”

Frederica stared blankly at Carmen for a long moment. Carmen rolled her eyes.

“I’m here for you, obviously,” she said. “While you were drowning your sorrows in seafood, your friends tracked down my home address and came banging on my door begging for help. Who was I to refuse?”

“Who indeed,” Frederica replied.

“I was tempted to keep you waiting a few days, just to make my entrance more dramatic,” Carmen said. “But your friends were very insistent that I come right away. Though it did take me a while to track you down. I was beginning to think you didn’t want to be found.”

Frederica took a deep breath and glanced at Teth and Orna.

“Don’t tell me you’re actually thinking of staying,” Carmen said.

“No, definitely not,” Frederica said. “It’s just… I’m never going to see them again, you know?”

Carmen scoffed.

“Oh, don’t be so melodramatic,” she said. “This place is never as far away as you think. You’ll be back.”

Frederica sighed. She stared down at her food, took one last bite, and stood from her seat.

“I’m going to go say goodbye,” she said. “Or… see you later, at least.”

Carmen nodded. Frederica crossed the tavern and approached the elves’ table. Teth looked up and smiled. Orna frowned in Carmen’s direction.

“Is that who I think it is?” Orna asked.

“Uh… maybe?” Frederica replied. “She was a witch once, apparently.”

“She still is,” Orna said. “Galdrar sometimes spoke of her. She’s dangerous.”