HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 398

Frederica opened her eyes.

She was still standing in the courtyard, only now it was night. Dee and Josephine still stood in front of her, Magh and Tommy were still behind her, but everyone else was gone. And, she realized belatedly, they weren’t at the magic school anymore: they were standing in the courtyard of Victory City University.

But VCU was different, too. The old library had been torn down and replaced by a sleek new building, and the rest of the structures had been painted and renovated as well. Lights streaked across the night sky overhead—flying vehicles, moving silently through the air.

“Hi!” a cheerful voice said. “Do you need assistance?”

Frederica turned as a robot strode over to them. It looked like one of Jeannette Carroll’s designs, but much more advanced.

“Uh, no,” Frederica said. “We’re good, thanks.”

A green check mark appeared on the robot’s face screen.

“Have a nice night!” it said.

The robot turned and strolled away. Nobody spoke for a long time. A peal of laughter rang out from somewhere on campus.

“We’re in the future, aren’t we?” Tommy asked.

“Yes,” Dee said. “Thirty years from what you think of as the present.”

“How do you know that?” Frederica asked.

“Because this is where I’m from,” Dee replied, then turned and headed for the exit.

“Wait, what?” Josephine said.

She hurried after Dee. Frederica glanced at Tommy and Magh, then followed her sister. When they reached the sidewalk, Frederica marveled at how quiet the traffic was. The cars rolled by with barely more than a hum from their engines.

“Why are we in the future?” Josephine asked. “How are we in the future?”

“The spell,” Magh muttered.

“You mean that green glowy thing?” Josephine said.

Magh nodded.

“It must have pulled us all here,” she said. “Everyone outside the bubble was unaffected.”