After Angelique cast charms that mended Alexandra's clothing, and Anna removed the bloodstains, they both volunteered to accompany Alexandra to the New Amsterdam Center for Chirurgy and Healing. Angelique smugly informed them that she had an Apparition license.
The waiting room resembled the nave of a church. Over a dozen other witches and wizards waited to see the Healers, as did a hunchbacked creature with a canine face, whose long, grizzled jaw was locked on what looked like a chewed-off piece of a car engine, and a goblin who had flowers growing from his skull.
"Are you okay?" Anna asked, as they sat on a pew-like bench.
"I'll live." Alexandra leaned against her friend and closed her eyes.
"I'm still upset with you," Anna said.
"Alexandra, did you really mean all those things you said about the Confederation?" Angelique asked. "Are they really trying to kill you?"
"What, you thought all this time I was just looking for attention?" asked Alexandra. Her eyes were still closed.
"It did sometimes seem that way," Angelique said weakly. "But Anna, that means they tried to kill you, too!"
"Yes," Anna said. "Alexandra saved my life, and then she saved Larry and Adela. She was incredibly brave and ingenious. That makes it hard to be angry at her for accusing me of giving her Amortentia."
"Alexandra!" Angelique exclaimed. "You didn't!"
"Alexandra, you can be truly awful, sometimes," Angelique said.
"I know. I'd be even more terrible as a girlfriend."
Eventually, a witch in an old-fashioned nurse's outfit led Alexandra into another room with furnishings consisting of a cot and a rack of Alchemical supplies. The Healer there already had salves and potions opened. He was a bald wizard with a neatly-trimmed white beard, and seemed kindly enough as he inspected Alexandra's injuries.
"Did you try to heal yourself?" he asked.
"Yes," Alexandra said.
"Well, you didn't do a terrible job. But you'd have scars without professional healing." He cast a charm Alexandra was unfamiliar with that extracted slivers of glass she'd missed, without any pain. He cast some more healing charms on her various burns and bruises. "Where did all these other scars come from?"
"I can't seem to stay out of trouble," Alexandra said. She was grateful the Healer didn't seem to recognize her.
The wizard tsked. "I deal with dueling injuries fairly often. But this looks like it was a nasty duel."
"You should see the other girl." Alexandra wondered where they had taken Harriet.
"Well, I've patched you up pretty well," said the Healer. "I recommend resting and no intense physical or magical activity, and definitely no more dueling."
"Thanks," Alexandra said. "That sounds like good advice."
She walked out without assistance, though still with a slight limp. She told Anna and Angelique, "I'm hungry."
It was late evening, and they made their way through the narrow streets of New Amsterdam, which were cramped and busy, compressed as they were between the enormous avenues of Muggle New York that surrounded each block of the unseen wizarding community in its midst.
They found a Goody Pruett's, and over a slice of black, oily schadenfreude pie, with a glass of FizzyPop, Alexandra told Anna and Angelique about the duel in the bathroom.
They were shocked at the extremes Harriet had gone to in her murder attempt, then confused by Alexandra's escape from the Blood-Sealed room.
"So now you can open up other another world at will?" Anna asked.
"It's not that easy," Alexandra said. "I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get back to this one."
Anna's eyes widened. "Why would you do that?"
"Because otherwise she'd have had to kill that wolf-girl," Angelique said. "Honestly, Anna, sometimes you are so silly. What else would you expect her to do?"
"Kill the wolf-girl," Anna said.
Alexandra and Angelique both stared at her for a moment.
"She meant to kill you," Anna said. "She'll probably try again."
"I destroyed her wand. So maybe she won't try immediately." Alexandra sighed and chewed slowly on the black schadenfreude filling, savoring its taste. "She called me a vile, narcissistic cunt."
Angelique's hand went to her mouth. "My goodness."
Anna said, "She's the c-word. Seriously, Alex… She didn't deserve mercy."
Alexandra found Anna's unexpected bloodthirstiness unnerving, though filled with schadenfreude, she wondered if killing Harriet might have been more satisfying.
They left the Goody Pruett's. The street was full of wizard establishments — Alchemists, Artificers, a cafe advertising "Muggle-style Pizza Pies and Imported Coffee," a Clockwork repair shop, a wand shop, many robe and hat stores, and one tiny establishment, wedged between a bookstore and another pastry shop, with a small sign hanging over a narrow windowless door: "Snead's Elven Cobblers," beneath a picture of a boot.
Under other circumstances, Alexandra would have wanted to explore these places. And this was just one small street in New Amsterdam. They reached the end of the street, where another few steps would take them out into the Muggle world. Anna was unbothered by the sight of cars rushing past a few yards away, though Angelique regarded them with apprehension.
"I'm really tired, and I need to prepare for the Beasts challenge tomorrow," Alexandra said.
"You're still competing in the Decathlon?" Anna asked.
"Until I have a better idea," Alexandra said. "Have you got any ideas for how I can sneak off to Storm King Mountain, with all this attention on me?"
"No," Anna said resignedly.
"Where is Storm King Mountain? Why do you want to go there?" asked Angelique.
"Better you don't know," Alexandra said. "No offense, Angelique. Just think of it as another one of my outrageous stunts. And remember that it wasn't all about me, if I fail."
Angelique shook her head. "Alexandra, you sound so grim. I can see why Anna worries about you."
"I'm worried about her, too," Alexandra said.
Angelique looked from Alexandra to Anna, then frowned as a truck rolled past, blasting its horn.
"I'll be fine," Alexandra said. "I don't think anyone will try to kill me on my way back to my room."
"I'll walk with you," Anna said.
"But how will you get back, Anna?" Angelique asked. "You don't even have an Apparition license."
Anna smiled. "I'll be fine. I know how to get around a Muggle city. I'm not a pureblood like you two."
Angelique frowned doubtfully. Alexandra rolled her eyes, though she knew Anna was teasing.
"Well, take care, then," Angelique said. "And good luck, Alexandra." She gathered up her robes, which were long and fluttery and not very suited to walking around. She winked at them, and Apparated away with a pop.
Alexandra and Anna walked to the river, not saying much. They reached the steps going down to the water. Walloon Tower rose up in front of them.
"They put you there?" Anna asked.
"Yeah. I don't even know who else is staying there. Where are you staying, anyway?"
"There's a Chinese wizarding community here in New York. My father was able to arrange for me to stay with some distant relations."
Alexandra nodded. The two of them stood by the water's edge.
Alexandra spoke first. "I'm really sorry, Anna."
"You always are," Anna said.
"I mean, about everything."
"I know what you meant." Anna looked across the river. The wind blew her long black hair across her face, and her robes fluttered around her. "In eighth grade, I betrayed you to try to save my father. I know you forgave me, but I think you've never really trusted me after that."
"That's not true," Alexandra said with a pang, feeling like the gulf between them was widening.
"I don't blame you. But it really, really hurt, Alex, to think you'd believe I'd try to make you fall in love with me like that."
"I know," Alexandra said. "I was just so angry. I mean — I almost slept with Larry!"
Anna's mouth twitched.
"Anna… I'd take Amortentia, if it would make me feel the way you want me to feel."
Only a little light from the street lamps above reached them, and even when Anna tilted her face up, shadows fell across it. Alexandra had always thought she could read her friend's expressions, but now Anna's face was impassive, and her brown eyes were unreadable.
Slowly, Alexandra reached for Anna's hand. "I thought about what you said. About trying."
Anna didn't pull away, but she didn't say anything. Alexandra looked over at the tower, and said in a low voice, "You can come back with me, if you want. To my room."
Anna was silent a long time. Then she said, "Amortentia wouldn't be real. It wouldn't last."
"I know. I wasn't going to—"
Anna closed her eyes, and pulled her hand away. She turned away. "You were right," she said. "You'd be a terrible girlfriend."
Alexandra looked down. "Anna… I think things are going to get a lot worse. The threats, the danger to you and everyone else around me. And I'm running out of time."
"Then you should worry about yourself," Anna said. "The people around you can take care of themselves."
Alexandra didn't know what to say to that. She stood on the edge of the water and looked at her friend, wishing she had a Time-Turner again.
Anna's voice softened. "Be careful, Alex. Keep your promise."
Alexandra started to ask, "Which one?" but Anna Disapparated with a pop, startling her.
"Without a license," Alexandra said to the empty air. "Shame on you, Anna."
She took the magic bell out of her pocket, and rang it to walk through the river to Walloon Tower.
She had told Anna and Angelique the truth: she was very tired. But her night wasn't over yet. When she got to her room, she opened Charlie's cage.
"Miss you terrible," said Charlie.
"You knew I was in trouble, didn't you?" Alexandra said to the raven.
"Troublesome," Charlie affirmed.
Alexandra took a piece of parchment from her writing desk, and wrote a short message:
"You win. I need your help. I'll do whatever you ask, but I need you to do something for me…"
When she finished, she beckoned Charlie over, and tied the note around the raven's leg. Then she cracked the window open. "Take this note to my father."
She was still not sure how owls and ravens could find people that Special Inquisitors couldn't, but she assumed it depended on Abraham Thorn's willingness to be found.
"Fly, fly!" Charlie said, and flapped off into the night.
Next, Alexandra took out the tiny Eye-Spy she'd been carrying in her pocket. She reversed the Shrinking Charm and laid the orb on her desk to examine it in more detail. It was more complex than any of the artifacts Lucilla and Drucilla had let her work with, but she was able to figure out most of the enchantments on it. Repairing it was the easiest part. It started to roll under its own power immediately, and Alexandra cast another charm to fix it in place as she finished her work.
Finally, she released it. The Eye-Spy spun around, scanning the room before turning to face her.
"This is an invasion of privacy, Mr. Mudd," Alexandra said, knowing that without the Snitch present, the journalist couldn't hear her. But she gave the Eye-Spy the finger. Its iris opened wide, then it swiveled about and shot out the open tower window, zooming across the river back toward New Amsterdam.
She lay down in her bed, meaning to close her eyes only for a few minutes, but it was past midnight when she awoke. Angrily, she sat up and looked in the mirror, rubbing her eyes.
She waved her wand before the mirror, and said:
"I spy, with Mr. Mudd's Eye,
So let's talk, you and I."
The rhyme was a flourish, activating one of the spells she had cast on the Eye-Spy. The mirror shimmered and showed Mr. Mudd sitting at a desk, speaking into his crystal radio set. For the first time, she saw his bare head without the fedora he usually wore. She snickered at the sight of his premature bald spot. He wore pajamas, so he was in his room.
Alexandra unrolled her map of New Amsterdam, and pointed her wand. A pinpoint of light obligingly appeared, showing the location of the Eye-Spy. She was relieved that Mr. Mudd was not the guest of the Governor-General; instead, he seemed to be staying in the middle of New Amsterdam, near the Academy's temporary headquarters.
She rolled up her map and wearily began the hike back across the river to New Amsterdam.
It took her forty minutes to reach the place where Mr. Mudd was staying: "The Gorgeous Gorgon Inn," according to her map. The inn was on a bustling street in downtown New Amsterdam that was busy even this late at night. Young witches and wizards were strolling from tavern to tavern, while elves and goblins and a few Clockworks moved about on business of their own. The elves seemed to be making late-night deliveries, while the Clockworks swept the streets. She had no idea what the goblins were up to; they stalked about silently and secretively, glaring at any humans who looked their way.
Alexandra saw no hags, but she did spot a gang of hairy, dog-jawed creatures like the one she'd seen at the New Amsterdam Center for Chirurgy and Healing. They were a sinister pack, but a passing Auror sent them walking in the other direction. Alexandra tried to look inconspicuous, hoping New Amsterdam didn't have a curfew, and that the Auror wouldn't recognize her. The Auror instead seemed more interested in interrogating a goblin, who had just crossed the street carrying a sheaf of papyrus under his arm.
Alexandra walked into the Gorgeous Gorgon Inn. Behind an ancient wooden counter with several candles sitting on it, an elderly witch with her hair covered by an enormous babushka dozed snoring in a large comfy armchair. Alexandra tip-toed past her and up the stairs.
Her map wasn't precise enough to tell her exactly which room Mr. Mudd was in, so she held out her wand and wiggled it. She heard a thump and a curse from behind one of the doors, so she went to that one and knocked on it.
"Who's there?" asked a voice from the other side.
There was a closed eye painted on a plaque set in the door, so Alexandra just folded her arms and stared at it. The eye opened, then widened into a round circle, before snapping shut.
After a very long delay, the door opened, and Archibald Mudd, wearing a robe over his pajamas and a fedora on his head, stood in the doorway looking down at her. He held a wand in one hand.
Alexandra smirked, more at the fedora than the wand. "Gosh, Mr. Mudd. You're not afraid of me, are you?"
"You've earned a fearsome reputation, Miss Quick," said Mr. Mudd. He did look nervous, but also curious. "What are you doing here? How did you know where I'm staying? I warn you, threatening the press —"
"I'm not here to threaten you," Alexandra said. "But if you don't let me in, I'll scream and make a scene. That might be embarrassing for you. Not so embarrassing for me. I'm kind of shameless, if you haven't figured out by now."
Mudd said, "I am not letting an underage witch into my hotel room at this time of night. Especially not the daughter of—"
Alexandra Apparated past him, into the room. It was a rather dingy room, with an open suitcase sitting on the bed, and piles of clothes strewn about. Mudd's Eye-Spy, Snitch, and radio sets all sat on the desk by a lamp, exactly where Alexandra had seen him through her mirror. There was an old-fashioned typewriter next to the Eye-Spy, along with a stack of parchment, several tied scrolls, and a leather-bound journal.
Mudd ran over to his desk and closed the journal. "Get out!" he demanded.
Alexandra gestured with her wand, and the door slammed shut.
"Are you writing your story for tomorrow's edition of the Wizard World Weekly?" she asked. "What will the headline be this time? 'Enemy's Dark Daughter Tricks Poor Psycho into Another Murder Attempt'?"
Mudd picked up his microphone. "Would you care to give me your side of what happened tonight? I'll be happy to include some quotes from you."
"Did you get some good pictures?" Alexandra asked. She pointed at the Eye-Spy. "What kind of a pervert sends an Eye-Spy into the girls' bathroom? Maybe you shouldn't be afraid of my father. Maybe you should be afraid of the female students at New Amsterdam Academy."
The reporter turned to look at the Eye-Spy, then back at her. He laughed.
"Charming," he said. "Miss Isingrim told me I'd be interested in having the Eye-Spy follow her. I didn't know where she was going to take it, of course, or that she was going to… well."
"Try to kill me? 'Cause you'd totally have warned me if you'd known, right?"
Mr. Mudd folded his arms.
"I want you to stop slinging mud about me and my friends," Alexandra said.
"What you call mud — haha, very clever — is merely a matter of perspective. You don't have to like my perspective, Miss Quick. Maybe you should try being less newsworthy." He gave her a patronizing smile.
"What if I can give you something in exchange? Something even the Governor-General can't."
"What would that be?" asked the reporter.
Alexandra smiled back at him. "An exclusive interview with Abraham Thorn."