Edie walked with Dawn north through the campus, toward the spot where she would meet Tom. Corrie was waiting at the front gate in case her father showed up a little early; Edie had decided to go with Dawn, who seemed more nervous than Corrie did, though neither of them exactly seemed happy.
They’d spent the afternoon playing card games and trying to distract themselves. It had been fun, but they hadn’t really been able to forget the plan for the evening, which loomed over them.
Edie hoped that they’d be able to actually pull the whole thing off and catch Gerlina tonight. She didn’t want to have to go through this all over again tomorrow night—and the werewolves probably wouldn’t all be available on short notice again, even assuming they were available tonight.
She and Dawn had reached the barrier at the north end of campus. “Tom,” Dawn called.
He appeared within moments, as quickly as he usually did. Edie wondered if he had some kind of teleportation ability, like Brandon did. But there had been times when they’d looked for Tom and he had taken a while to make his appearance. Maybe he was just more likely to be hanging around close to the area where they called him these days.
“Ah,” he said, giving them a silly grin. “It’s time?”
Dawn nodded. “It’s twenty minutes to seven. That should give you enough time to make it halfway around campus and come in the front gate.”
“Then I shall meet you there shortly.” He jumped up into a tree; Edie supposed he would travel using the trees, maybe jumping from branch to branch like a squirrel. Or maybe he had some magical way of traveling through the trees. That would explain his ability to arrive quickly when Dawn called him and seemed to suit him better than teleportation. Maybe the times he’d taken a while to appear, he’d just been distracted, or really far away.
Edie and Dawn turned around and started walking back south. “Why do you think he agreed to help out?” Edie asked.
Dawn shook her head. “Could be a lot of reasons. To protect me, for one. Or to help fight against the person who killed Elrath, since they used to be friends. He doesn’t usually seem to do anything unless he thinks it will be fun, though, so he probably thinks this will be fun for some reason.”
“He does like drama,” Edie said, remembering that Tom had said he liked to watch the court faeries because of their infighting.
“Right, so he probably thinks this will be dramatic in some way. I’m just a little worried that he’s going to deliberately screw things up so it will be more dramatic.”
“Do you think he would?” Edie bit her lip. “Maybe we shouldn’t have invited him to be backup.”
“I think he would be tempted to, at least. He’d want to do something that would make things harder for the magic professors. But if it would make it harder for us, too, then he might hold back.” Dawn frowned. “Actually, he’ll probably feel like he needs to protect Troy. I’d kind of forgotten about that. He’s the one who told us about the agreement with the Djanaea. Maybe we should have told him who Gerlina wanted revenge against after all.”
“He’ll find out soon enough,” Edie said.
“True. But I wonder why he didn’t recognize the name Gerlina.”
Edie remembered Tom telling them that he hadn’t been around when Lady Chatoyant originally started the school, but she didn’t think he’d ever told them how long he’d actually been on campus. They knew he’d been on campus twenty or so years ago, when Dawn’s aunt was a student, and it sounded as though he’d been around for the hundreds of years since Alaineth, the last king who’d wanted the job, had died. But she was pretty sure that Balyan, Gerlina, and the Djanaea prince went back further than Alaineth’s death.
“Maybe he wasn’t around then. The magic professors said they hadn’t heard anything about Gerlina in a long time, right? He might have just never known her.”
Dawn nodded. They’d almost reached the front gates, and Corrie was waving to them. She grinned as they approached. “There you are. Is Tom on his way?”
“Yeah,” Dawn said. “Is your dad?”
“As far as I know. He called to say he and his friend were on their way. He seemed to think he’d be here in time, but that was an hour ago.” Corrie turned back to face the gate and looked around; there was no apparent movement outside of campus.
“If it seems like he’s going to be late, one of us can go to the magic building and ask them to wait,” Edie said.
“I’ll go, and take Tom with me,” Dawn said. “Always assuming, of course, that he actually shows up and doesn’t get distracted by some kind of drama in the woods.” Corrie laughed.