Samita furrowed her brow as she thought. “There are spells best done with a multitude of bodies for sacrifice, or simply to add to the metaphysical weight of the ritual.”
“The more people, the more power?” Vaughn sat on Haley’s dresser. Haley’s eyes flicked in his direction, but she didn’t say anything.
Samita’s mouth tightened, “Not… exactly, but that can be true.”
Amy had taken off her helmet when the door shut. She swung it in her left hand, “I don’t see any sign that Adam’s been trained as a wizard. I looked into his room a little, and we both know everyone in the magic program. He’s not in it.”
Samita nodded. “He’s not, but it’s obvious he’s connected to the fae somehow. Depending on how connected he is, he might be able to turn even a small amount of knowlege into a threat.”
“Sure,” Amy said, “but don’t think magic. Think people. My ancestors required all the major noble families to have a household in the capital. It made communicating easier, but it also meant conveniently located hostages in case of a rebellion.”
Vaughn nodded. “That makes sense. Think about it. You’ve got kids from all the most prominent super families. You can do anything with them–kill them, sell them off to the Dominators, whatever.”
I thought about that. Mind control was the Dominators theme. Hunter would be prime material for them. Getting hooks into the next generation of heroes was something they could only fantasize about.
All the same, this didn’t have the feel of a Dominator operation. I’d read a little about them, and they weren’t the type to take chances. Adam and Hunter were wild cards. So were the rest of the students. Getting them all together in one place practically begged for someone to discover how to break whatever the control mechanism was.
This felt like someone less paranoid, or more confident.
Maybe it was simply Adam, or Hunter or both. Of course, even if they were doing this on their own, it didn’t mean that the Dominators wouldn’t be willing to take over (in more than one sense) if it worked.
“I hope they’re not working for the Dominators,” I said, thinking about Daniel, and for that matter, Izzy. Her grandfather was bad enough.
Of course, Daniel would likely be able to hold out for a while. His father knew the Dominators’ methods, and he’d probably passed the knowlege on.
It seemed likely.
“I don’t think the Dominators are involved,” Samita said. “They avoid fae whenever possible. My master told me that they tried to take over a faerie queen once, and it backfired–badly.”
Sean looked toward the door, and then back to us. “We’ve got to get out there and stop wasting our time. We don’t know enough to figure out who’s behind it. Let’s get out there and end this.”
He stomped his right foot on the ground for emphasis.
We couldn’t prepare for the Dominators at this point–especially with Daniel being one of the potentially affected parties. Bearing in mind what Samita had said, we could prepare for the fae. “What all did you manage to do in Samita’s lab before you had a to leave?”
Amy and Samita looked at each other. “Not much,” Amy said. “The good news with the fae is that the less powerful ones can’t do much more than illusion and misdirection. We found a way to break an enchantment. Samita doesn’t like it much. It’s blood magic.”
Samita gave her a look. “I’m not saying we shouldn’t use it. I said I felt compromised by helping you. In the end, you came up with something in time. I couldn’t. Show it to them.”
Amy pulled two big glass shakers out of her pouch–the kind that pizza restaurants use to store red pepper flakes or parmesan cheese. It seemed a little strange to see her holding shakers in her black gauntlets.
Vaughn started laughing. “You enchanted red pepper flakes?”
The red flakes inside the shakers glittered more than normal.
Amy laughed with him. “No. Don’t be silly. I created little gems out of blood and I enchanted them just like I created bigger gems to ward Nick’s lab.”
“Oh,” Vaughn grinned at her. “Why’d you use the pepper shakers then? And where’d you get them”
“Easy. I knew I didn’t need to hit them with much blood for this, and I didn’t know how much I’d need, so I erred on the side of caution by making a lot of little pieces. I already had a plan in mind, so I nicked a couple shakers from the catering department on the way out.”
Samita’s eyes widened. “You stole them?”
Amy rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why you’re so concerned for the compound’s catering service. Anyway, I was planning to give them back afterward. It’ll be fine.”
Samita’s voice turned to a loud whisper. “You might break them.”
Amy shrugged. “I’m sure they plan to lose a few. No big deal. Pretty small thing in comparison to your average super fight.”
“She’s got a point,” Vaughn said.
Next to me, Haley had started giggling. When I looked at her, she said, “We’re in the middle of all this, and we’re arguing about pepper shakers.”
Then she stepped in to the middle of the room. “Amy? Samita? Let’s not worry about it, okay? We still have a lot to decide. We need to get done and go.”
“Finally,” Sean said.
Fifteen minutes later we had all the plan we were likely to get. We walked down the hall as a group, toward the exit in the back of the row of shops on the ledge near the park. We were prepared to fight, but hadn’t seen anyone yet, so we didn’t expect to.
It looked like we’d get on to the ledge without anything interesting happening, but as we walked down the wide hallway that allowed staff to get into the backs of the stores, I heard a familiar voice–Daniel’s.
He stood next to Izzy, Cassie and Camille. They were all in costume.
They must have entered from the outside. I hadn’t felt it when we got within his telepathic range like I normally did.
I wasn’t sure what that meant. Was it really Daniel? I hoped not, but didn’t get to try to communicate by League communicators as a test.
Amy shoved the pepper shakers into Samita’s hands and jumped toward their group, moving at speeds I’d generally only seen out of Jaclyn or Izzy, shattering rock when her feet hit the rock floor.
Izzy aimed for her, and they hit with enough force that they blasted through the back wall of one of the shops.
So much for the element of surprise.