Margaret Peregrine is a high school sophomore. Most of the time, she's either at school, at the school robotics club, at the school chess club, or doing schoolwork. Today, she's cleaning out her late great-grandmother's attic.
"No, nothing. I don't even recognize the voice. That makes sense, that there'd be guesswork involved in figuring out how to pronounce things." She orders one of the variants on veggies-in-sauce.
Margaret eats her food and fidgets with the loose plastic on the corner of her menu, hoping the professor knows something about whatever family this language is from and doesn't know too much about the workings of old tape recorders.
"They do, yes. I'm pretty sure it's the same voice on all four tapes, and if it's not the same language it's at least similar enough that I can't tell."
Margaret listens too, though she's not expecting any insight.
"Arabic, huh? That's cool. Do you know anyone who speaks Arabic? Or I guess studies how it used to be, if it's old."
"Getting in touch with the Arabic professors sounds like a good next step. And maybe your friend if this is old like Chaucer rather than old like Beowulf."
"Fair enough. I'll still take your friend's email if you think she wouldn't mind my asking."
"Thanks! I don't suppose you have the emails for the other professors? The class websites don't always say."
"That's convenient! Thanks again." She finishes off her veggies and asks for her check.
Margaret sends the Arabic professors emails very similar to the one she sent the Latin professor, and also emails Bella:
Good news! The Latin professor thinks the incantations are an old form of Arabic, and the university has Arabic classes I can bother the professors of. And the cassette tape disguise worked perfectly.
It might be more complicated with anyone who doesn't feel like meeting in person but I guess you can always claim computer problems. Or talk on the phone.
Yeah, I don't think it will be too suspicious not to want to put the tapes in the mail or anything. Good thing we've already determined they're audible over the phone just fine.
Let me know if you need any other checks like that.
I will, thanks!
While she's waiting on an answer from the Arabic-speakers, Margaret starts researching places a high school student can learn to design a research study. Her parents are going to be so happy that magic is inducing her to accelerate her education.
That will work fine! She sends him her phone number, eats an early dinner, and has the tapes ready to go when he calls.