Dad races toward me across Khione's snow-covered landscape. What will he do to me for repeatedly going against his wishes? It's gotta be bad, because he used my full name!

Behind Dad, Crumpet, Fairy Princess Iridessa, Gloria, Professor Woolfson step out of the same limo. There are four limousines in all, stopped in a semicircle in between the marquee and the barn. At the back of the queue is a large silver vehicle with only one window in the front.

Dad practically knocks me over and squeezes me hard. I'm pretty sure he's broken a few bones. Pierce even winces. I'm about to make some sort of remark about my imminent demise from his hug, when he pulls back to look at me, and I notice the dark circles under his eyes. In the moonlight he looks almost like a Halloween zombie. He smells like sour milk and dried salt. His clothes are wrinkled and disheveled. His hair is a dull green, which happens when a merperson doesn't get enough rest, and he hasn't shaved, so his chin is shadowed with green stubble. Has he been this worried about me? I bite back my retort. "Dad! Are you okay?"

"Never mind about me! What about you? I've been so worried!"

"I'm fine, Dad. Wait. What's that? Who are they?" I say, pointing at a group of fairies coming out of the second car, each dressed like a different variety of flower. They raise their wands, and the ground beneath them turns bright aqua. I peer over my dad's shoulder and see they're laying an intricate blue carpet with beautiful fish and coral and seaweed floating beneath a glossy surface.

"What are they doing?"

The other teachers and Crumpet make their way over to us. "Good evening, Waverly."

"Hello, Professor Crumpet."

"How is the party?"

"It's ... um ... great."

"Excellent. Sorry to interrupt, Gil," says Crumpet. "But once you're done talking with Waverly, could you please join me and the other teachers inside? We must prepare for the surprise."

"Certainly, Sir," says my dad. Crumpet winks at me, and he and the teachers disappear into the marquee.

"The fairies are creating an honorary footpath for the royal family. The Queen hates it, but protocol and all. It should only take a few minutes; then they will proceed with the royal decrees and such."

Dad takes my hands. "Waverly, I am so relieved you are alright. I would've been here sooner, but your mother ..."

I remember my premonition about my mother suffering. My heart races. "Mom! Is she okay?"

"Yes, of course, Wave. I've just been back from Pacifica. She is fine."

"Thank Neptune!"

"She gave birth a bit early."

"What? Why?"

My dad pushes the hair back from my face. "You look beautiful, Wave."

"Thanks, Dad. But what about the baby?"

"Babies," says my dad, grinning. "Kipper, Coranne and Dart." It warms me to see a smile on his weary face. I guess this is why he's so tired. It wasn't because he was worried about me.

"One of my brother's names is Dart?"

"You should see him, Wave. The name fits. The babies think the cutest things. I could listen to their thoughts all day. I can't wait for you to meet them."

This is when it sinks in that Dad listed three separate names. I really need to pay better attention. That cannot mean ...

"Yes, Wave. Three new siblings for you! Two boys and a girl. Your old dad still has it!"

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