The first thing I do, after I clear the bedroom of roommates and merhorses, is put on some pants. I pledge that for as long as I am living in the cabin, I will go to bed wearing a full pajama ensemble. I have a feeling this won't be the last midnight strategic-planning session. Beau and Olga have gone home to their brood and will check in on our progress.

Once I'm dressed, I enter the common room. Krill's gills! There are strands of white fairy lights on the ceiling, which illuminate a silver platter of miniature cakes on the coffee table. Each confection is frosted in a different shade of pink and topped with sugared violets and tiny silver-horned unicorns.

"Wow, who did the lights and the little cakes?"

"I did," Lily-Bella says. "They're called cupcakes."

"It looks amazing in here!"

"Thanks." Lily-Bella is in a pink satin nightgown, her pale blonde hair shimmering under the fairy lights. She's on the sofa that's closest to the window, sitting beside Thunder who's wearing his usual black t-shirt and jeans. Pierce and Pickles, are on the opposite sofa. I notice Pierce has stolen back the plaid shirt that I "borrowed." Fintan is pacing next to the fireplace. Each time he passes the hearth, the fire blazes excitedly for a moment like a puppy happy to see its master. Shadows flicker on the walls like rogue spirits.

The wind is howling, and the Hawaiian-print curtains blow into the room. I'm sure the curtain was dark green earlier today. I can only assume Cupid is redecorating.

"Better shut that," I say. As I close the window, I think I see something moving through the bushes. Probably a deer or fox or Bigfoot. You can never assume anything at a school for supernatural beings!

"Okay, everyone," I say, taking a seat next to Pierce. "We should probably start planning. But before we do, I want to make sure you know the risks." I smell the sugary cupcakes, and my stomach growls super loud. Everyone cracks up. I'm a little embarrassed, but I laugh too. "Sorry." I help myself to a cupcake and take a bite, carefully avoiding the too-cute unicorn. "Wow!" Cupcakes taste like thick, sweet amazingness. Pierce watches me eat. I feel kind of bad that he can't enjoy real food.

I squeeze his hand, then he lifts mine to his lips and kisses my knuckles. I shake my head to clear the fog of Pierce attraction that is clogging my brain. Maybe I should get him to move so I can concentrate. He smiles at me, yeah, with full-blown dimple action. I think I'll keep him here. Now, what I was going to say? Oh, right. Warn friends of danger.

"Okay, so we are dealing with someone or some group that is really evil. These aren't the sorts of villains who are going to be easy on us because we're teenagers with the best years of our lives ahead of us." I give them all my most serious expression to make sure they get the risk.

"I am definitely in," says Thunder, picking up a cupcake. "This is our territory, and no one is coming in and messing it up. I can get the whole pack behind us too."

"Thanks, Thunder," I say. "Let's keep it to ourselves at first. Once we know what we're doing, we can bring in the rest of your pack."

"Okay," says Thunder. He eats the entire cupcake in one bite. "Ummmm."

"Well, I can't wait," says Lily-Bella, eyes shining in a kind of feral, scary way. "I haven't had a good fight since I left the Fairy Princess Academy. Nobody on earth can match the wrath of a fairy princess scorned by her prince or held captive in a dragon's lair."

Thunder casually rests his muscled arm over the back of the sofa behind Lily-Bella. She glances over her shoulder and smiles.

"Thank you, Lily-Bella. Uh, hopefully this won't lead to any physical confrontation. Pickles?"

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