The staircase had turned, and because it stubbornly refused to take her back down the path that would lead her to the library, Maisy had no other choice but to move forward. Forward, down what seemed to be an endless stretch of maze-like corridors, empty, nearly empty (but for the paintings), because unlike her of course everyone else was where they were actually supposed to be.
She knew it wasn't intentional, or at least, she hoped it wasn't... but it was beginning to feel as though the school had something against her. Not the people in it, but the school itself, because no matter how hard she tried, and no matter how many times she studied her map, she always, somehow, ended up in the wrong place. Studying the scribbles she'd added since last looking at map, frustration coiled tighter inside of her, a snake, properly ready to spring. If she couldn't even figure out how to get around Hogwarts, how was she ever going to figure out the actual skills required to survive there? Maybe there was an elective on getting around the castle. If there was, she'd never figure out where the room was that it was taught in.
Rationally, she was only too aware it wasn't the school's doing, though. And it wasn't her map. That miserable, awful letter stuck in her mind, wrapped around her every thought, twisting her into knots of confusion and fear. Her response had come automatically, and she didn't regret it. Not really. But the words... that terrifying promise at the close of the letter was an inescapable torment, waiting like a ghost in the dark. We can make your life here a living hell. Never before had anyone so much as threatened her. To date, the worst case of bullying she'd encountered was when Mina Thorough pulled her pigtails the first day of Year Two at Hollyhouse Elementary. Everything at Hogwarts felt bigger. Bigger and more wonderful, but also more dangerous.
Maybe she had been jinxed... and that's why she couldn't find her way around. Maybe they had already begun their acts of vengeance, and she had no real idea it was happening. Could magic work that way? And what sort of world had she found herself in, that children could be so cruel and frightening. Children. Kids. None of the books Yvanine had given her explained anything at all on how to deal with the students at Hogwarts. She hadn't told him, yet. Not about the note, or the threat behind it, or even the letter she had written. She'd wanted to, but a small part of her was afraid he would avoid her if he knew she had something of a target on her back.
And a large part of her wanted him to... if only to keep him out of it.
"Stupid..." She muttered, crumpling up the map in her fist and tossing it down the long, narrow corridor. Tears pricked behind her eyes and furiously, she blinked them away.