SPG: April, Part 2/4

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“He could be in danger,” Dakotah said.

“Roland?” Pete asked, as if she hadn’t heard clearly. She didn’t think she had. “How could Caitlin want him? Is he involved in the fey world?”

“You tell us,” Val said with a snicker.

“How long have you two been together?” interrupted Phin. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“We’ve just been texting a bunch…he only asked me out last week.”

Dakotah was less interested in the dating side of things. “Has he ever said anything to you? About the fey, or maybe being followed?”

“No!” Pete responded a little louder than necessary. “He’s got nothing to do with…with…” She waved her hands at the shop, and by extension at the fey world.

“Well, I gotta talk to him,” decided Dakotah. “Where’s he live?”

Pete pursed her lips. This was not okay. She’d never seen a conflict with helping Dakotah with his secret problems, and leading a normal life. The only time the two things had intersected was when Phin and Leal had been kidnapped. And then, like now, she’d been jarred out of her comfort zone. Helping Dakotah, being a Hero, it was like a game only they played. Roland couldn’t be involved.

“Pete,” snapped Dakotah. “Do you get he ain’t safe? We gotta figure out his deal.”

She sighed. “Yeah, ok. We can walk there. I’ll text him we’re coming.”

~*~

On their walk, Val went over a few of the things she’d learned from the Guardian grimoire.

“So, that’s why I don’t think Caitlin has any Guardian powers. Sunil either, maybe. If the Heart of the House is destroyed they–you–can’t access the magic.”

Dakotah shook his head. “So how’d she teach me magic?”

“She learned magic as a Guardian, so she probably understands things that way. But I’m saying the source of her power is different.”

“Too bad,” said Dakotah. “I was hoping we could control her with the Belfast crystal or something.”

Val laughed. “That’d be easy. I’ll look it up, see if I can find an explanation of the crystals.”

“We’re here,” Pete called. She led them through a few backyards and now they stood in the dark outside Roland Cunningham’s house. He lived in another typical Summit-area house, not a mansion but influenced by Victorian style. They waited on the grass beyond the screened-in back porch while a light flicked on inside, and finally Roland stepped outside.

In the beam of the garage floodlight and porchlight, Dakotah recognized him.

It was hard not to. Roland had starred in the lead role in Guys and Dolls a couple months ago. His picture had been on all the posters. He was black but albino, with a wide, smiling mouth. His hair was short, shaved neatly at his temples and not too much longer around the rest of his head. This style was in.

Dakotah had no questions about how Roland and Pete had started texting. Even though she was only a sophomore, Dakotah could bet they had the same perfect grades, extracurriculars…Probably met at a National Honor Society meeting, he thought with a smirk.

Roland looked a little confused to see so many people at his door. “Hey, Pete, Val…Phin?”

Phin nodded. “Nice to meet you.”

Roland looked at Dakotah.

“Dakotah,” Dakotah said.

“Ah, right, hey man,” said Roland with a look of comprehension.

“Hey.”

“Sooo,” said Roland.

Dakotah was about to step up when Pete did.

“Rol, this is kinda weird, but Dakotah got some info and heard someone might try and…I don’t know, hurt you?”

Roland’s eyebrows went up. He looked at Dakotah. “You did? Who’s gonna hurt me?”

“Do you know an Irish chick named Caitlin?” Dakotah asked. “She doesn’t go to Central. She, like, twenty-four.”

A shrug. “No. What does she want?”

Pete explained that they didn’t know much, and asked if Roland had noticed anything weird lately. While he answered, Dakotah slipped into Other St. Paul. In Other St. Paul, even though it was kind of like being in a constant fog, he could still see more clearly. Fey glamour was stripped here, magic revealed itself.

And Roland was lit up like a torch. He burned in Dakotah’s vision, lighting up the whole area around himself.

Dakotah flipped back into the human world. “Stop lying,” he barked at Roland.

Pete flinched at his tone, stopping mid-sentence. “Dakotah, what–”

“He’s got a powerful glamour on. You think I don’t see that?”

Roland put up his hands. “Dude, what the f–”

“Tell me what you know about the fey,” Dakotah said. “Everything you know.”

“What are the fey? Is that a band–?”

“Oh, Jesus,” said Dakotah. He shielded his eyes and turned back into the fey world. He tried to swipe the glamour off but it didn’t work like it usually did. Frowning, Dakotah probed the shield of magic with his mind. He felt holes in the glamour, not like chinks in the armor but like keyholes. Seizing those holes, he pulled at the glamour again.

It came away suddenly, causing both Dakotah and Roland to stumble. His friends gasped and when Dakotah looked again, he saw why–Roland was gone, and in his place stood a fairy.

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