“Hey, Amber!" Edgar said with his usual geeky smile, pushing his glasses further up his nose. “Come on in!"
It was my room, in my house. I didn't need his permission to come in. I let it slide, though, when I finally took in what I was looking at. He and Kimberly were sitting in the middle of a room filled with toys, with two beds on either side, and a refrigerator against the far wall. The smell of hot popcorn wafted into my nose, making my mouth water despite myself.
“Shut the door, okay?" Ed said, turning back to what he was doing with Kimberly. They were both sitting in front of an Easy Bake Oven, putting ingredients into a tiny pan to make a cake. Vanilla, I was relieved to see. Even Ed wasn't stupid enough to feed a werewolf chocolate. I shut the door as he'd asked, my head still spinning.
“What's going on here?" I asked at last.
“I'm here from Majestic," Edgar told me. He finished mixing the batter, helped Kimberly put it into the oven, and then stood up to face me. “They thought you two might need a little help, so I brought you a ton of cool stuff!"
“Yeah," I said slowly, looking around the room again, “I can see that."
“Check it out," he said, grabbing my hand and pulling me to one of the beds. He pushed on the bedframe and the entire thing slid into the wall, leaving no trace that it had ever been there. He did the same to the fridge and the other bed, and then brought them all back out by tapping the wall. “We figured Dalton wouldn't be happy if he found out you had all this stuff, so you can hide it to make sure he never sees it!"
Still too stunned to say anything intelligent, I opened the fridge and was greeted with the sight of dozens of types of food, all waiting to be heated up and eaten.
“There's a microwave in this wall," Edgar went on, pulling it out for me to see. “It'll work as an oven too, so you can cook whatever you want in it. And when you have to get rid of the trash," he tapped his toe twice on the floor in the center of the room, making a hole open up in it, “you just throw it in here."
“That's cool, I guess," I said, following him around the room. Below me, Kimberly kept a keen eye on the toy oven's timer. “But…"
“Kimberly's toy box is in this wall, and there's a bookshelf here too," Edgar shrugged. “I don't know what authors you like, so I filled it with R.A. Salvatore books. He's awesome!"
“Ed, listen to me."
“And the best part," he interrupted again, leading me toward the door, “is the lock. If anyone tries to get in, the door won't open until you tell it to. They won't know it's locked, though. It'll just act like the hinges are jammed!"
“Edgar!" I yelled, cutting him off before he could keep going. When he finally stopped talking, I took a deep breath. “Okay, look, this stuff is great. Thanks. But why did you bring it?"
“Because you needed it," Edgar answered.
I shook my head. “Ed, I'm not stupid. Majestic isn't a charity. They wouldn't have sent you here, especially to give me all this stuff, unless they wanted something from me."
Ed's face fell, and he shuffled his feet a little on the carpet. “Okay," he said sheepishly, “you got me. I just wanted to talk to you a little before I delivered the message."
“What's the message?" I asked.
“There's nobody for me to talk to back at headquarters," he said. “Dex is nice, but he thinks I'm annoying. Victor looks like he wants to cut me into pieces every time I open my mouth. And Lewis can't talk at all, so…"
“Edgar," I said firmly, “the message."
“Okay, okay," he finally relented. “It's from Mr. Wrogan. He says they're having a harder time catching the Silverblood than he expected."
“What does that have to do with me?" I asked, glancing at Kimberly to make sure she wasn't paying attention.
“Well, besides the obvious, Mr. Wrogan wants your help."
“I can't do anything to help him. I fought that thing once and almost got killed, remember? Besides, I don't even know where to look for it."
“You won't have to fight it," Ed replied. “Mr. Wrogan just wants to use you as bait."
I gave him a flat stare. “Wow, that makes me feel so much better."
“It's not like you'll be there alone," Ed shot back. “He just wants you to stand out in the open until the Silverblood shows up. When it does, we'll take it down before it can touch you."
I sat down on the bed to consider the offer. Did I really want to help these people? They were the ones who had dragged me away from home, wanted to perform experiments on me, and then tricked me into kidnapping a five year old girl to take my place. I didn't owe them anything.
I looked up at Ed. “I take it the cool stuff only stays if I agree to help you?"
“Afraid so," he said, looking around the room as if he wished he could keep it all for himself.
Well, that settled it. If it were just me here, I probably would have still said no. But I had Kimberly to take care of, and without Majestic's gifts she would be stuck living in a pile of garbage for the rest of her life. How could I do that to her?
“Fine, I'll do it," I said.
“Really?" Ed asked. He looked surprised that I had agreed that easily.
“Just tell me where to go and when to be there."
Ed hesitated. “I think you might want to listen to the rest of the message first." He grinned. “He didn't think you would want to help, so he told me to offer you something else if you didn't agree."
I crossed my arms. “What's that?"
Ed spread his arms dramatically. “They said that if you help them catch the Silverblood, they'll return the favor by helping you get your mother back."
I froze, his words breaking straight through my mental armor and hitting me right where they knew it would.
“They'll get my mom back from Hendricks?" I asked quietly.
Edgar nodded. “They want Hendricks arrested just as bad as you want your mom back. Two birds with one stone, right?"
I thought back to the last I had ever seen of my mother- crying, slamming her bedroom door in my face. Dex had said she was probably still alive, but I didn't trust him as far as I could spit him anymore. Still, if there was any chance at all that she was alive, it was my responsibility to rescue her.
“Tell your boss I'll help him," I said, even more firmly now than before.
The Easy Bake Oven's bell dinged, and Ed instantly got on his knees to help Kimberly take the cake out. “You should put a ton of frosting and sprinkles on it," he advised her, shooting me a devilish grin. Great. She wouldn't be able to sleep a wink tonight.
He stood back up. “They're planning the operation two days from now," he said. “That should be enough time for you to get ready. There's a bank on the other side of town."
“I know where it is," I said.
“Be in the parking lot at 11:00pm, and we'll get started."
I repeated that to myself inside my head. 11:00 at night, in the bank's parking lot.
“You probably shouldn't tell Dalton about this," Ed said. “He wouldn't take it well."
“Yeah, no kidding," I agreed.
“Well, I'll see you in two days, then!" he said. Before I could say anything else, there was a bright green flash, and Kimberly and I were alone in the room again.
NEXT TIME: Gifts from Majestic and a chance to save her mom? Things just might be looking up for Amber! She's still got her meeting with Stark tomorrow, though. Wonder what the old man wants to talk to her about?