“Won’t he think I’m dead?” Ophelia asked.
Alsia shook her head. “No doubt he thinks that you are dying but our kind forge a link to those we use our venom on. The antidote will break it but he’ll know that you survived and come after you.”
Ophelia bit her tongue to stop herself swearing and looked up at Alsia. “Why are you helping?”
Alsia gave a shrug that spoke whole volumes. “Why wouldn’t I? We’re on the same side, dear. Plus I like you.” She cocked her head and smiled. “There’s more to it than that of course, but I’m sure you’ll be able to work it out. It’s some other people whose mental abilities worry me. But diverting as this chat is you’d better get the antidote into you. We wouldn’t want you to be gone long enough for someone to call your mother.” She turned and with one last smile over her shoulder and a gentle blast of snow she was gone as were the bonds holding Kira who sagged to the ground by the tree.
“What the crap was all that about?” she asked. “She really wanted to help? I thought she was lying.” Kira buried her head in her hands. “If I’d known she was serious I would have got out of the way but… why… I don’t understand…” she trailed off in confusion.
“It certainly seems she does…” Tilaran picked up the antidote package and sniffed it cautiously. “Yes, it certainly seems she was being genuine. This smells right.” He dipped a finger in contents and tasted it. “Yes, that’s right. I guess mother is right when she says Alsia is okay.” He pocketed it and bent down and picked up Ophelia. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m getting cold again and this cup is empty.” She waved the empty goblet that had held his antidote attempt at him.
“Well we’ll fix that as soon as I’ve prepared this,” he said. “Let’s get you inside.”
“Will it really work?” she asked as he strode towards the tree.
“It should,” he said. “Unless she’s good at preparing fake antidotes and I doubt that since she removed the blade. It certainly won’t do any harm and she’s right, since you’re going to be okay we need to get you back to your bed soon.”
“Okay…” She agreed. He carried her inside followed by a very confused Kira. Ophelia couldn’t say that she was any less confused than her friend.
“I told you Alsia was a good one,” Kira’s grandmother said. She was sitting by Ophelia while they waited for the antidote to take effect.
“Are we sure this working?” Ophelia took another mouthful. “I still feel lousy and my head aches.”
“Yes, but your condition is stable,” she replied. “This is just the – um – hangover. You’ll be sick for a day or two but you’ll live now.”
“Oh, damn,” Ophelia said. “Mum will freak out if I’m noticeably ill. She panics if I sneeze.” She smiled as Kira’s grandmother raised an eyebrow. “My mum is a bit overprotective.”
“Ah… and Alsia knows it, apparently since she advised us to get you back before your mother found out. Interesting.” She laid a hand on Ophelia’s head. “But the venom is all gone now, so let’s take her advice.”