It's Halloween-the day we will take down Darkins, rescue the merfolk, save the bay, and finally get back to the normal teen problems of dating, math homework, and overprotective parents. My mouth is dry and my stomach is twisted in knots. So much is riding on us today, but I'm excited too. We are doing this! All of us together! Except for Fintan and Pickles, I remind myself. No one has heard from Fintan. And poor Pickles! As soon as this is over, I'm determined to visit her on Mt. Olympus where Cupid has stashed her in hiding from her mother.

So far there are sixteen of us West Marin Heights students hiding behind a knoll near the dusty dirt road that leads to the Darkins compound. We're waiting for Cupid to bring the final group of students. Then we'll lay out the details of our plan for everyone.

While we wait, Thunder and Lily-Bella have wandered off and disappeared behind an enormous eucalyptus tree. Pierce has gone ahead into the compound to scope out the positions and number of Darkins' guards. Shelly is sitting by herself in the meadow, picking at the grass. She's been a bit of a loner since abandoning me in the barrel that night. We haven't told her yet about her mom being here. We don't trust her not to do something rash.

A tractor rumbles past on the road beneath us, startling me. It's same road where Pierce "borrowed" a car last time we came here. The sun is high in the sky, and I'm sweating in my leather pants and black wig, but there's no help for that. Today I am Kelly Spring-party planner extraordinaire.

I wipe my forehead with the back of my hand. There's a sudden blissfully cool rush of fennel-scented wind as Cupid sweeps by and steers Apollo's golden chariot to a flat spot in the middle of a stand of trees at the top of the knoll. Four weres hop over the side-Gunther, Tamar, Charlotte and Kiara. Vang, the cute vampire from Biology with dark eyes and skin and the brightest smile I've ever seen, opens the door, jumps out and offers his hand to Khione, goddess of snow. She takes it and steps gracefully to the ground, a flurry of snowflakes spiraling up and down her thin body. She seems oblivious to the way Vang is looking at her.

"I can't believe you stole Apollo's chariot again," I say.

"That is because there is something about gods that you do not know," Cupid says, as he releases the alicorns from their golden harness.

"Enlighten me."

"We never learn from our mistakes!"

"Besides the likelihood of Apollo locking you up in Hades again, what if one of the guards from the compound sees magical winged unicorns chomping on their grass?"

"Do not worry, my dear. They have a glamour upon them which makes them look like ordinary horses to humans."

One of the alicorns whinnies in protest.

"What is it, Sprinkles?" says Cupid.

"She says 'I am no ordinary horse, you arse,'" I translate for him. "Her words not mine."

Cupid waves his hand, and the errant alicorn is now a donkey. Cupid glares at the other alicorns. "Anyone else have anything to add?"

The alicorns all whinny politely.

"Alright Red Velvet, Mocha, 'Nilla! Go have a nice graze," Cupid says, slapping each one on the rump. "Lay off the dandelions Sprinkles! You're getting a bit plump." The equines take off toward a patch of green on the brown knoll in the shade of an oak.

I look around to see if I can locate Cyril the stunt donkey and his horse friends. I've been worried about them since we had the meeting with Dirk. I really hope nothing happened to them. Could Darkins have discovered that Cyril helped me gain access to the facility? I think, "Cyril!" as hard as I can, but there's no answer.

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