I pulled my head down, deciding that seeing it with my own eyes wasn’t worth the risk. I pulled up the spybots’ views of the scene, moving a few in for a better view.
Amy and Vaughn followed my example.
My comm made a clicking noise and I heard Haley’s voice. “We can see everything. Do you need any help? We might be able to send the jet.”
I was about to reply that we’d taking any help we could get, but Samita replied before I could. “We might need everyone we can get. Bloodmaiden told you how the circles we created were imperfect. It’s possible that the Things might break them. They’ve been pushing against the barrier, and I don’t think that Troll and Gravity Star will be enough to stop them—not if Kid Biohack and Alden break out too.”
I flipped to the spybots’ view of Grand Lake’s campus and I could see Samita’s point. The Things from dePuit Hall bunched around one spot as if they believed they might be able to push through, their teeth and giant grins reminding me of creepy clowns.
Alden and Kid Biohack had both transformed. Alden still couldn’t stand on the leg Cassie shot, but The Thing That Eats had decided that something deserved its full attention.
The two of them stared at each other, illuminated by red or green glowing circles.
Plus, since we’d been gone, Samita had added a third individual circle (green), this one for Philo. Marcus had been keeping him at bay, but to judge from the laser burns on Philo’s legs, Marcus or Cassie had immobilized him long enough for Samita to trap him.
He’d healed and as The Thing That Eats, he too paced his magical cage.
If any one of their captives broke out, The Thing would break the circles, and they’d need more help than we had to give them.
“What happened to Vengeance and all those guys?” I asked. The spybots didn’t show them anywhere.
Over the comm, Cassie snorted. “They left right after you did. Shift, Railgun and I had to shoot down Philo. The Hangmen had been helping. Have you seen them?”
“No,” I said.
Next to me, Vaughn flipped through spybot views that glowed on his wrist communicator. “After all that shit where they told us stay out of it, they just left you holding the bag? That sucks.”
“Whatever,” Cassie said, “at least we don’t have to deal with them.”
Amy pulled her head up and looked over the peak of the roof again. “I’ve got good news and bad news,” she said. “I know why they came here.”
I flipped spybot views, bringing up the scene on the other side of the roof where Andronicus stood next to the rock. “Which one is that? Good or bad?”
Amy frowned. “Both. You know the wards around the city? We’re at the edge of the wards and they’re linked to physical objects. The rock’s one of them.”
“They’re going to break the ward from the inside,” I said.
“Bingo,” Amy said, “and any vampires that we missed out there rush in, killing and turning more people while The Thing That Eats escapes out into the world.”
Vaughn looked up from his comm. “Where’s the good news in that?”
Illuminated a little by the glow of her wrist communicator, Amy grinned. “The vampires are still on the other side of the ward. If Storm King hits them with lightning until they burn, they’ll probably die for real, and they won’t be able to fight back.”
Vaughn nodded. “So you want me to take out the vampires? They can’t do anything.”
She nodded. “But the ward will drop when The Thing That Eats is gone and we don’t want them here.” She waved her hand toward the houses around us. “Maybe the Rocket will need to help. There are a lot of them. Anyway, here’s my plan. Storm King takes Latoya and Jillian out of the fight. I don’t want them to blast me from behind. The Rocket can go for the guy with the shields. I’ll take Andronicus. I’ve got a way to kill it, but not him.”
Eyeing her, I said, “How?”
She met my eyes. “You know how I absorb people’s abilities by stabbing them with my spear?”
I nodded. “There’s a risk with old, supernatural creatures. You didn’t want to do it on a troll last summer because its personality might overwhelm you.”
“Right,” she said, “but I’ve been practicing on the vampires we’ve been fighting, and I think I can suck The Thing That Eats out without killing Andronicus.”
“You’re sure?” I asked.
She answered me without hesitation. “I’ve done it before and so have the Bloodmaidens before me. I’ll be taking it out of Andronicus, but not taking it into myself. The previous Bloodmaidens will help. They know what happens when it goes wrong.”
Vaughn took a breath. “It’s really old. Eons old. You’re sure?”
Amy shrugged. “Mostly, I don’t think there’s another choice. You two can hurt The Thing, but you can’t remove it without killing the host. I can.”
“Then I guess we’d better move.” I checked the spybots. All of The Thing’s nearby bodies—Jillian, Latoya, Andronicus, and the shield generating man stood next to the rock.
“We’d better go,” I said.