“Call me Sera,” she said absently, clearly mulling over what had been said. “Mum was clearly on something when she named me.”
“Very well, Sera,” Silver said.
“So you must have slipped into the area where normal people can’t see you, as well,” Sera said. “That’s why it didn’t attract attention.”
Ophelia nodded. That much was obvious. She turned back to Silvie. “But what was that thing?”
“They’re called the Lost Ones, or at least that’s the closest English translation of their name. They used to be human…” It trailed off as if thinking. “The story is a bit garbled, so bear with me. Some humans have powers – they’re rare, but they exist. My father says the main group call themselves Astrals – which is a little bit pretentious. I prefer active. Several thousand years ago, one active decided that it was unfair that most humans didn’t share his powers and decided to fix the universe. It went about as well as you can imagine. Tens of thousands died, others went mad and a few thousand became twisted creatures like that with powers but no body of their own. Their creator refused to back down and was only stopped by what our legends call the first war. The actives pooled their resources and created a prison into which they dumped all the lost ones and their creator. Then they created a seal for it – that gem you have – and left them alone.”
Ophelia shuddered violently. “That’s horrible! Was there no way to fix them?”
“I don’t know. I guess not,” Silver said quietly. “Though some people say the second war – the one that led to the exile – was really about that.”
Ophelia opened her mouth to ask about the second war but Silver had already continued.
“The lost ones faded into memory until about a few decades ago when something breeched the prison and Lost Ones started escaping. We tried to deal with them but we didn’t have the key gem – until my mother discovered it had attached itself to a teenage girl and recruited her to help.”
“What happened to her?” Ophelia asked.
Silver’s flames dimmed. “She died â€“ it would have been around the time you were born. My people have been looking for you ever since, but more urgently since the Pulse. I won’t lie to you, Ophelia. We need your help but it’s very dangerous.”
“The Pulse made it worse?” Sera asked.
“Yes, it turned the breach from a small crack into a full blown hole. We think that was someone trying the same thing as the Lost ones’ creator. Thankfully someone stopped them before the worst damage was done, but even so…” It trailed off and its flames curled in on themselves again. “Please help us, Ophelia!”
Ophelia looked at Silver and frowned. “Why did it pick me?”
“No idea; my grandmother might know, though. I’ll ask her. Will you help us, please?”
Ophelia sighed and flopped backwards onto her bed. She had no doubt that Silver was telling her the truth and yet something didn’t ring true.
“It isn’t telling us something,” Sera said.
“Hey, who are you calling it? I’m not an object.” Silver’s flames spiked irritably. “I’m a she.”
“Don’t change the subject! You aren’t telling us something.”
“I swear I told you everything I know about the situation. I think granny knows more. I’ll ask her if she’ll talk to you.”
“I’ll help,” Ophelia said. “I can’t let things like that run around possessing people, but we have to try and find a way to fix them. And if I find out you’re lying to me….” She sat up and glared at Silver, whose flames dimmed again. “So how do we find them? I’m betting they don’t all act like that one or they’d have been discovered before.”
“No, that was dangerously obvious,” Silver said. “Almost as if it was trying to attract attention. But you’ll be able to sense them when they’re close and when they break out according to mother–” She broke off as Ophelia heard her mother coming and gestured her to be quiet.
“Shh! Mum’s coming!”
Silver disappeared from sight in a swirl of flame a split second before Cass’s head appeared around the door.
“Dinner is nearly done, girls.”
“Okay! We’ll be down in a minute.” Ophelia waited until her mother had gone and turned to Silver as she reappeared. “Do you want me to sneak you some food up? What do you eat anyway.”
“The same as you, but no. I have to get home. I’ve got a report to make.”
“But I have more questions!”
“I know… we’ll talk again tomorrow, I promise,” Silver said and vanished in another fiery swirl.