Edie leaned forward, curious what Link’s better plan might be. Did he want Tom out front as the main plan, despite what Professor Rook said? Maybe he had something else in mind, now that the backup was here. She was just glad that he was no longer protesting against the whole concept—he just wanted to make improvements.
Troy made a protesting noise without opening his mouth, and Charlie’s mom shook her head. “You don’t need to worry. We’ll be there to protect you. Don’t you agree, Francis, Marie?”
“I’m sure we can hold our own against this faerie,” Corrie’s dad said. “If nothing else, Link, I’m sure we can hold her back long enough for you and Troy to get away, if necessary.”
“I’m confident we can fight her,” Marie said. “There’s four of us, all adults. We have the strength.”
“I’m not doubting your strength,” Link said. “Just the plan. The four of you can’t exactly go out flanking Troy, or she won’t even show up. Isn’t that right?” He addressed his last question to the magic professors.
“That is right,” Professor Lal said. “Tom and the werewolves will have to be hidden, the same as, or even better than, the four of us. Perhaps inside a building, with the students. She doesn’t seem to be aware of anything inside buildings.”
“Will that be safe enough?” asked Charlie’s mom. “We are strong, but we’ll still need a few extra seconds to get out of the building. If this faerie attacks, we need to be ready.”
“When she attacked Troy the first time, we had some warning,” Link said. “We could see her moving before she actually got her teeth in him.”
Troy nodded agreement. “I remember seeing the teeth before it was actually close to me. It freaked me out, but it took her a little while longer to get close.”
“She might be getting faster,” Corrie said. “From what the Circle of the Goddess said, they didn’t have any warning.”
“But they weren’t paying attention,” Edie said. “They were trying to do their ritual. They might have even had their eyes closed. And didn’t Meg say she was feeling a breeze before the teeth actually attacked?”
“I doubt the werewolves will be needed as soon as she appears regardless,” Professor Lal said. “They are only backups in case our net does not work. By the time the net is deployed, she will certainly know that she is in danger. I think we can have the werewolves and Tom come out as soon as they see us begin to build the net.”
“We can simply knock her down and hold her,” Charlie’s mom said. “There’s no need for a net.”
“No, the net is good,” Link said, shaking his head. “But I like Professor Lal’s suggestion. The rest of you pop out as soon as the net shows up.”
“Except for you three,” Ginny said, pointing at Edie, Dawn, and Corrie. “You’ll stay put no matter what. We’re not putting any more students in danger than we absolutely have to.”
Edie nodded. She wasn’t going to argue with that—she didn’t want to be anywhere near Gerlina.
“Which building should they hide in, then?” Professor Rook asked.
“The science building has a door that opens onto the center green,” Ginny said. “It’s an emergency door, so one of us will have to disable the alarm, but I think that’s the best location.”
“Everyone shouldn’t come from the same direction,” Corrie said.
“Agreed,” Professor Lal said, nodding at her. “The four of us will be in the spaces between the buildings. Tom, why don’t you watch from the administration building? There are no convenient doors there, but if you head for a door as soon as the net is deployed, that should be enough time for you to serve as the next tier of backup, in the unlikely event it becomes necessary.”
“Just show me where to be, and I’ll be there,” Tom said with a nod.
“What about us?” Dawn asked.
“We’ll keep the magic building dark, with the three of you inside,” Ginny said. “You’ll have the best view but it’s unlikely she’ll see you. And there won’t be any need for you to rush out.”
“What if we do see her coming?” Corrie said. “How do we let you know where she is, if you’re all outside and we’re all inside?”
“That, we have the solution for,” Professor Rook said. He walked toward them with his hand in his pocket, then brought his fist out and held it over Corrie’s lap. Corrie cupped her palms. Professor Rook dropped four stones into her hands: one black, one red, one green, and one blue.
“Set the stones out where you can easily get to them,” he said. “If you see Gerlina coming, tap the one of the correct color—the black one is mine, the red is Lal’s, the green is Ginny’s, and the blue is Professor Strega’s. We’ll have an alert that way.”
“Okay,” Link said, “I’m impressed. Maybe this will actually work.”
Edie scrambled in her pockets for a notebook and wrote down which color stone belonged to which professor before she could forget. Corrie grinned and elbowed her gently. “Good thinking.”