“Professor MacNeil?” Marcus said. “Her speciality is Interdimensional Studies. How can she help with this?”
“You really should pay more attention,” Frederica said with a wink. “Come on.”
She led him to the elevator and they rode it up three floors. As they reached the Anthropology Department, the frosted glass door opened and Carmen stepped out, bag slung over her shoulder. She pulled up short, eyeing Frederica wearily. She barely even registered Marcus’s presence at all.
“Let me guess,” she said. “You’ve got yet another problem you need me to solve for you.”
“Uh… maybe?” Frederica said sheepishly. “You don’t actually have to do anything this time, though. We’re just doing some research and hit a bit of a dead end. We were hoping you could take a look at something and let us know if you’ve ever seen it before.”
Frederica nudged Marcus. Carmen finally turned toward him, regarding him blandly.
“You took one of my classes last year,” she said. “A good student, if a bit unimaginative. Not exactly the type I’d expect to throw in with this lot.”
“Trust me, I’d rather not be a part of this if I could help it,” he said. “But she wasn’t getting anywhere without me.”
“I was doing fine,” Frederica said. “Besides, you practically blackmailed me into bringing you along. You could’ve walked away at any time.”
Marcus rolled his eyes but didn’t respond. He took his phone from his pocket and held it out to Carmen. She leaned down to get a closer look at the sketch, eyes narrowed.
“Where did you see this?”
“Carved into a stone pendant,” Frederica said. “You recognize it?”
“Sort of,” she said. “The magicians of your world are like children, fumbling at mysteries too big for them to understand. Sometimes they get close to something real, something they can control. This one was closer than most.”