Travis’ mouth twitched. “I’m pleading the fifth on that, but yeah, I like the idea. That might get us what we need. Do we have any other way we can find out more? Like his ex-girlfriend… Jaclyn, do you know where she is? Or what about Samita and Rod? Can’t you, I don’t know, summon up something?”
Samita’s mouth turned into a flat line. “Summoning is very dangerous. One wrong move and you could release whatever you summon into the world. Worse, depending on what you summon, you could put your life or even your soul in danger.”
Jaclyn started tapping furiously into her phone.
Vaughn looked up from whatever he’d been checking on his phone. “Hey, it doesn’t have to be something dangerous does it? I read one of those Dresden Files books, and in there the guy summons up fairies and feeds them pizza. Can’t you do something easy like that?”
Samita’s expression—a kind of twisted frown that left one side of her mouth higher than the other—made me suspect she was trying to be polite, but wasn’t sure she could.
Rod shook his head. “Not that easy. I mean, it’s not that fairies won’t eat pizza, but it’s not that easy to catch them. If there’s one thing fairies are good at, it’s not being caught. I may be able to catch one though. Trolls tend to attract trouble, and if there’s anything out there, I’ll probably run into it.”
Travis nodded. “In a good way?”
Rod snorted. “No. Anything that decides to fight me will want to do it because it thinks it can take a troll. So figure it’ll be big and dumb—not exactly the kind thing that’ll answer questions. The only good news is that if there are ogres and giants out there, we’ll know about it.”
Eyes widening, Travis asked, “Could they be out there without anyone noticing?”
Amy answered, talking as Samita opened her mouth. “Easily. I’m not any kind of expert on your fey, but if they have any spell casters among them, it wouldn’t take much. Besides, most of them are only partway into this reality at best. You’d probably miss them even without an invisibility spell.”
Travis pulled himself up. “Every time I ask a question, this sounds worse. We’d better get into the dining hall if we want to catch Adam. We’re all going to feel stupid if he eats early and we’re still talking.”
Jaclyn lifted her hand away from her phone and held it in the air. “I’m texting Nicole.” When no one responded, she added, “Adam’s very, very ex-girlfriend. Her number was in the FBI’s database. She confirms that he’s allied with a group of fairies called the Shade Circle. She doesn’t know anything more than that.”
Samita frowned. “I’ve never heard of the Shade Circle. They sound like they might be vassals to the Unseelie Court.”
She sounded like she might be trying to convince herself.
Amy pulled herself up. Facing Samita, she said, “If they’re going to be facing magic, they’ll need help. We enchant something so they can see through illusions at the very least.”
In a low voice, Samita said, “We won’t have time.”
Amy shook her head. “It can be temporary. As long as it makes it till morning and they all have one, it’ll be good enough. We can work up something better tomorrow.”
I bit my lip for a moment, and then said, “Can’t you just cast that spell you used on the Fourth of July?”
“How did that work for you?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.
Then I really thought about it. “Right. I don’t know what drugs are like, but yeah. That’s the closest I’ve been.”
“We can work up a better version,” she said. “Rod, you should go with them just in case.”
Samita nodded. “Excellent idea.”
“Maybe someone should go with you?” I asked. “You know, to keep watch while you’re working?”
Amy and Samita looked at each other. “Sure,” Amy said, “Vaughn, do you want to?”
I’d been thinking that Jaclyn or Izzy ought to go with them, but Amy would have a better sense of what fairies would be vulnerable to. Aside from which, Vaughn was undoubtedly a powerhouse.
“Sure,” he said.
Cassie frowned for a moment, but then we all left, Amy, Samita, and Vaughn to the magic labs,and the rest of us to the dining room.
Walking down the hall, I found myself ahead of Camille and Haley, who were having a quiet conversation that I couldn’t quite catch, and a little behind Courtney.
Turning back to me, she said, “I can’t believe how calm you’re all being about this.”
My stomach felt like I’d left it back in the lab. “I’m not calm.”
I didn’t think any of us were calm. I couldn’t see everybody, but the people I could see all were acting like they did when we thought we might go into a fight. Cassie was grinning, and making little jokes to the person walking closest to her—Jaclyn. Jaclyn, in turn, wasn’t saying anything beyond a polite murmur when Cassie paused.
Travis walked with a superhuman smoothness, sometimes sniffing the air as he talked to Rod and Rachel. Rachel muttered something that made both Rod and Travis laugh.
Courtney stared at me. “You’re not?”
“I don’t talk much when I’m nervous.”
“He doesn’t,” Haley interjected.
Courtney glanced back at her. “I don’t like feeling like anything can happen next.”
We kept on talking until we were nearly to the dining room. I think Courtney felt a little calmer by then.
I didn’t even get the chance to walk through the door when Daniel shattered what calm I had.
Adam’s not here, and neither are any of the teachers.