“It’s not going to cooperate? It was that blunt about it?” Kira’s father eyed the Key as Ophelia nodded. “Why not? Did it explain?”
They had found an excuse to visit Kira’s after school and were sitting in the living room drinking tea.
Ophelia shook her head. “About the best I can work out is it feel like whoever got loose belongs to it in some way… though belongs might be the wrong word. It’s not a feeling of ownership.”
“Ah…” he narrowed his eyes. “That’s interesting. Backs up Alsia-ida’s story as well.”
“It does?” Ophelia tilted her head at him. “You know what’s going on?”
“I think so. I think that it must be another of Kaylaria’s court that has got loose. Obviously someone who was not driven into transition by escaping. But if they are pinging your senses that suggests that we’ll have to deal with them one way or another. They may be out of control from the pain or simply see you as the enemy. Hopefully they’ll be rational enough to talk around. If not… well we can work around the Key if needed.”
They Key twitched in Ophelia’s hand and placed an image in her mind. “It says he’s rational and someone opened a gate for him.”
“What?” Tilaran stared at her. “That’s concerning.” He turned to his mother. “What do you think.”
“That someone is taking idiotic risks to attract Ophelia’s attention,” she said.
“And rather fortunately it seems to have paid off for him,” Alsia appeared, leaning against the door frame. “Thank you for leaving an invitation in you wards.” She paused and her expression darkened. “And he’s a bigger idiot than I realised! He could have got anything doing that.”
“He being Darlryan-mirian?” Tilaran asked.
“That’s right,” she said, “Whoever is loose is with him. I felt him rip open a tear a few nights ago.”
“But he’s not an obvious enemy,” Halia said. “He is the one who sealed up the cracks to the void. What happened between you?”
Alsia muttered under her breath for a moment before replying. “He’s the one who killed Layla.”
“Fucking wonderful!” Ophelia growled and then stopped as everyone stared at her. “What?”
“You swore, dear.” Alsia replied. “You never swear.”
“I do when I’ve got reason. What am I going to do? They Key is being…” she hesitated as she searched for the perfect word, “obstreperous.” She frowned down at it again. “It’s saying you are wrong about what happened.”
“Wrong how?” Alsia said. “She certainly died of his essence venom and he made no attempt to give her the antidote. He says he didn’t know but that’s impossible.”
Ophelia tried to get a response from the Key but the reply made no sense to her. “It’s saying it was his venom but someone else did it?”
“What?” Alsia stared at her. “I don’t think that’s possible. But… Well I won’t let anyone kill you and I don’t think he intends to anyway but he certainly sees you as an obstacle which is a problem. And he’s up to something and want to know what.”
“Thanks…” Ophelia said. “I suppose we’d better go then as I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Do you know where to go?” Kira’s father asked.
“By the river… he’s waiting for us.”