Cadel finds Annabelle checking over a shipment of something whenever she gets back, swinging off of Nitro with ease. People swarm around the crate and carry things away; balls the color of eggs and field hockey sticks. "Whoa, what's with the entrance?" Annabelle asks, glancing up from taking inventory.
Cadel shrugs, grabbing Annabelle's arm and pulling her away from the crowd slightly. "I need to tell you something."
Annabelle's face immediately goes serious, and she gestures for Lucy to take over before pulling Cadel further aside. "What?"
Cadel glances around at the people staring at her in undisguised interest at both her new-girl status and the llama hovering close by. "Not here. Do you have somewhere private?"
Annabelle nods, gesturing towards the school. "Meet me up on the roof in about half an hour, give yourself time to change." Cadel grimaces but then grins, embarrassed flush crawling up her neck from under her t-shirt. "Yeah, thanks."
From behind her there are several startled shrieks, and Cadel barely has time to whip around before a wall of pain slams into her mind, making her drop to her knees, retching. Thankfully there isn't anything in her stomach for her to bring up, otherwise it'd be all over the lawn. Cadel grits her teeth as Annabelle crouches next to her, calling out orders. "No, don't. Hand me Nitro and take me to the roof like you planned to before. Changing will have to wait."
The roof is blessedly quiet after the bustle of the school, and Cadel takes a second just to clutch Nitro close and breathe through the worry of what's going on, sitting on a bench and leaning her head back gratefully. The warm sun that was so comforting earlier is no comfort now; what can it do against a witch?
Cadel feels the bench flex as Annabelle sits next to her, not pushing just yet. Cadel heaves a sigh, fingers tensing and relaxing around Nitro's soft body. "Remember how, when I got here, I said I was a gray witch, and I could do evil or good magic?"
"Yeah. What's going on, Cadel?"
"When an evil witch sends out a searching spell looking for someone or something, it's a huge outward swing of power. Like-" Cadel pauses, face scrunching up as she imagines a scenario. "Imagine all the power in a large bomb. Not hard, right? Now, imagine forcing all of that power to move in a single direction. That's what basically just happened. It's enough magical power to force Nitro to switch forms against his will and my own, and I managed to avoid it the first time by sitting in a field; I guess it had sage hidden somewhere, which is why I wasn't in a ball of pain when I arrived."
"But not so much with the second one, obviously. Whoever it is is getting more confident, that was a very powerful spell. I need to know; is there anything going on that would invite random people from god knows where onto school grounds?"
"Just the field hockey games. You don't think...?"
"I don't have time to think. Right now all that matters is that you don't tell anyone. There's a good chance that this witch is acting independently, and I don't want anyone else getting hurt."
"And if she's not?"
"I'll let you know, I swear. But we don't know that."
Annabelle stands suddenly, bursting into motion. "We don't know anything!"
Cadel stares up at her impassively. "You're right, we don't. I don't like going into a situation blind anymore than you do, but that doesn't change the fact that we have to do it."
Annabelle scoffs in the back of her throat, low and almost a growl, before stalking out the door. The other girls hover outside, listening intently. Annabelle walks away and they follow.
"This is absolutely mental, Annabelle!" Bianca says, gesturing behind them to the roof. "Witches and spells? What is this, Hogwarts?"
Annabelle shrugs, shoulders rigid and straight. "Look, what we saw last night was no trick, and neither was her beast changing shape right after she got back. Whatever is going on, we can only be as prepared we usually are, as much as I hate to say it."
The girls scoff. "Why don't we just ask her to prepare us then?" Zoe asks.
"I don't think she can."