Daniel found Mela in the lounge. She was sitting on the sofa, which had been covered with a plastic sheet to protect it. Her legs were tucked underneath her and her attention was fixed on the television. He rapped loudly on the door frame to get her attention. She looked up and grinned at him before turning back to the television.
â€œI never knew Gaia was so weird,â€ she said.
â€œHmm?â€ He glanced at the TV and saw that she was watching some sort of science documentary. â€œWeird?â€
â€œWeird!â€ She pointed at the television. â€œHow can a world actually work that way?â€
â€œWhat way?â€ He looked back at the television and frowned at the images of underwater volcanoes. â€œWhatâ€™s it about?â€
â€œPlate Tectonics, I think it called it.â€
Daniel blinked at the concentration on her face as she spoke, and again when he realised sheâ€™d actually said Plate Tectonics in English.
â€œReally? How much of what itâ€™s saying gets through?â€ he asked.
â€œEnough. Iâ€™m missing more just because I donâ€™t understand rather than things not getting through.â€
â€œWell, youâ€™re only fourteen, honey.â€ His father walked past him into the room. â€œMost fourteen year old humans would find the details of geophysics a bit of a stretch as well.â€ He turned to Daniel. â€œI just received a rather disturbing phone call from someone I know youâ€™ve met.â€
Daniel cocked his head at him. â€œWho?â€
Daniel stared at his father for a moment and the closed his mouth when he realised it was open. â€œThatâ€™s what she meant when she said she surmised some things Ebona and I didnâ€™t say! She figured out your identity. How do you know her?â€
â€œNever mind that. I was expecting her to yell at me, but she was calling about something else. You both need to go back to the other world within the hour.â€ He scowled at the wall. â€œAnd take Sonia with you.â€
â€œHuh? A few minutes ago you wanted me to leave Mela here. And why the hell would I take mum with me?â€
â€œA few minutes ago I hadnâ€™t received a phone call telling me that a trio of red dragons had broken through a thin spot over Wales and were flying in this direction.â€
â€œWhat?!â€ Daniel sat down on the sofa with a bump. â€œDragons here? They donâ€™t…â€
â€œCome here?â€ he asked. â€œOh, they do, if they find a breach. But itâ€™s rare for three to appear at once.Â And they broke through deliberately as well. This isnâ€™t random and Sarah is certain theyâ€™re after Mela. Iâ€™ve sent some of mine to intercept them, but…â€
â€œBut itâ€™s wisest to get their target out of the way,â€ Daniel said. â€œFor once I agree with you. But why mum?â€
â€œI want you to take her back to Waldhafen with you. Sheâ€™ll be safer there and theyâ€™re good people. Theyâ€™ll look after her and their healers might be able to help her. Goodness knows nothing else Iâ€™ve tried has. Even Haliaâ€™s only been able to stabilise her sudden decline.â€
Daniel eyed his father thoughtfully for a moment and then nodded. â€œIâ€™ll tell Ebona and collect my stuff. Whereâ€™s my spear?â€
â€œIn your wardrobe with your bags, and Iâ€™ve already told Ebona. You just need to pack.â€ His father put his hands on his shoulders. â€œBe careful. The dragons will come after you again. They really want this girl for some reason.â€
â€œWelcome, Warriors,â€ A large black gryphon Andrew assumed was Kimiâ€™s mentor greeted them. He rose and dipped in a bow. â€œI am Aratts.â€
â€Thank you,â€ Andrew said as Kaguya and Lydia helped him sit down. â€œIâ€™m Kimiâ€™s heart friend Andrew. These are my sister Lydia and her heart friend Bennu.â€
â€œWelcome,â€ Aratts repeated. â€œWhere is Kimi?â€
â€œShe said sheâ€™ll be back soon,â€ Kaguya said. â€œIâ€™ll go and await her.â€ She gave Andrew a concerned look as she left. â€œYou should make some ice for your ankle, ice warrior. Itâ€™s swelling up.â€
He looked down and saw she was right. â€œI would if I knew how… Ow!â€ he broke off as Lydia grabbed his injured foot and started to remove his trainer.
â€œSorry, but we need to get the shoe off, get some ice on that ankle and lie you down. I guess weâ€™re stuck here for a couple of days at least.â€
â€œIâ€™ll make some ice.â€ Kimi came in with Kaguya and Eyvindr. She tapped beaks with Aratts in some kind of greeting and then walked over to a barrel of water that stood in the corner and breathed on it. It froze instantly. â€œThere!â€
As Lydia smashed up some of the ice and tended to Andrewâ€™s ankle, he listened to Kimi describe what had happened to them.
â€œThe light warrior is an intelligent young woman,â€ Aratts said when she finished. â€œSheâ€™ll be okay. But what you say about Elapyron…â€ He shuddered.
â€œI was hoping you might be able to train Andrew and Lydia a little,â€ Kimi said. â€œThey donâ€™t know how to control their powers yet. Especially not Andrew. Weâ€™ve been lucky so far, but it canâ€™t last.â€
â€œI noticed when he couldnâ€™t make ice for himself. I think I can help once heâ€™s recovered a bit.â€
â€œThank you.â€ Andrew said as KaguyaÂ returned with cushions and piled them on the floor nearby.
Andrew hopped over to them with Lydiaâ€™s help and lay down.
â€œWeâ€™d be grateful for any help you can give us, sir,â€ Lydia said.
â€œYouâ€™re welcome,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™ll talk more when youâ€™ve rested.â€