They all agreed to meet at seven with whatever backup they could find. Troy and Link seemed to be arguing in quiet voices as the students left the magic building, so Corrie, Edie, and Dawn separated from them easily, even though they were both going north and staying carefully to the paths.
It was another humid day. “Do you think it’s going to storm?” Corrie asked Dawn.
“There’s a storm near here. I’m not sure if it’s coming in this direction.” Dawn glanced back. “Do you think Tom will agree to help us?”
Corrie shook her head, not meaning that he wouldn’t, but that she had no idea. “We may as well ask, right? He likes to help you.”
“I don’t know if he likes anything,” Dawn said, rolling her eyes.
Edie laughed. “He might help, or he might have snarky advice. Maybe both. Do you think he knows what’s been going on?”
“He must know something,” Dawn said. “He can’t come onto campus anymore, but he always seemed to have information before, so hopefully he has information now. If not, I don’t know. I wonder how he’ll feel about Elrath.”
They were quiet as they reached the northernmost end of the paths and crossed the grassy field at that end of campus. Corrie also wondered how Tom would feel about Elrath’s death. They had once been friends, but had a falling out that she wasn’t sure she entirely understood—it seemed to have something to do with Elrath’s exploitive ways, considering how angry Tom had gotten when Elrath had given Dawn magical drugs and danced with her. He might have done more if her friends hadn’t been around to keep her safe. And what had made Elrath’s actions even worse were the fact that he was drugging girls while using glamour to make himself look like another girl.
But that didn’t mean Tom would be happy that Elrath was dead. He might be sad, because they’d been friends. Or he might just be scared of Gerlina.
They reached the northern end of campus and stopped where the invisible wall protected the border. Corrie put her hand against it, but quickly pulled away again. It felt strange to touch, especially since it really didn’t look like she was touching anything.
“Tom,” Dawn called. “I want your help.”
She didn’t have to speak loudly, or at least she never had in the past—Tom probably had some magical way of hearing her when she was at the right part of campus. They’d gone into the woods in the past to call him, near a stone bench, but they couldn’t reach the bench now.
And sure enough, a few minutes later, Tom appeared out of the trees. He crossed his arms and frowned at them. “And what dangerous situation are the three of you getting into now?”
Dawn smiled at him—in fact, she looked like she was trying to hold back laughter. “What makes you think there’s any danger?”
Tom shook his head. “Do you ever call me when there isn’t?”
“Sure. When we want information.”
“Well, do you want information today?”
“No. We want your help. What do you know about what’s been happening on campus?”
Tom looked away, into the woods. “I know Elrath is dead, and the same person has killed a few humans.”
Corrie couldn’t tell how he was feeling. He was probably hiding his feelings on purpose, or maybe he just didn’t have any strong feelings. Well, she didn’t exactly need to interrogate him.
“Do you know anything about who’s been doing the killings?” she asked.
“No, and no one else does, either. Some of the faeries are frightened.” He turned back to them with a smirk.
Corrie knew how he felt about the other faeries in general, so the smirk didn’t surprise her, but it did bother her a bit. “They should be. The magic professors have figured out who it is. Does the name Gerlina mean anything to you?”
He shrugged. “I knew of a Gerlina once. I thought she died.”
“Apparently not,” Dawn said. “She went into hiding or something and wasted away. Now she’s trying to get revenge.”
“Revenge? On who, the royal family? Elrath was the last of them.”
“If you help us, you’ll find out more when you meet with everyone later this evening,” Edie said. “We’re not going to go around giving out anyone’s secrets. We didn’t tell them who you are, either.”
Tom tossed his head. “Fair enough. But did you forget I can’t come onto campus?”
“You can,” Edie said. “During the day, when the front gate is open.”
He frowned, but didn’t argue with her. “What exactly am I supposed to be helping with?”
“The magic professors have a plan to trap Gerlina,” Dawn said. “We just want some backup in case it’s more difficult than they thought. You would just have to wait out of the way unless we call you, and then… I don’t know, do whatever the magic professors want you to do.”
“You want me to be your backup against the thing that killed Elrath.”
“Maybe not our only backup,” Corrie said. “We’re going to ask the werewolves for help, too.”
“Well.” He gave them a grin that struck Corrie as menacingly toothy and sharp, though his teeth looked like ordinary human teeth. “What are we waiting for?”