The image showed Xantaria and Mitakrian standing on the ground just below the floating rock that housed the dark sanctuary. Mitakrian was sitting on the ground with his hands palm-down the soil and his eyes closed while Xantaria hurled blood-red bolts of lightning at the floating rock. She would occasionally try to leap up to ledge by the entrance only to be buffeted away and smashed back into the ground by the winds. Still, it seemed to Lydia that she was getting closer each time. After a few moments, she realised that the rock was getting slowly closer to the ground and that the barren, windswept plain was looking lusher around Mitakrian.
What’s he doing? she asked.
â€œAlongside draining the air energy from the environment, he’s pouring life essence into the surroundings to further weaken the air affinity zone and bring the sanctuary back down to the ground,â€ Naria said. â€œIt’s not a bad plan as it will take out one of the main defences and weaken the others, but it’s a surprisingly peacable way for Mitakrian to try and take down a fortress. He’s very confrontational for someone whose ability spread emphasises defence.â€
He certainly was when he attacked Caerdu and nothing suggests he’s changed tack in the interim, He who was Indarian said. So I suspect this is Xantaria’s plan. She seems far more inclined to the subtle. Even her blasts are primarily meant as distraction from what he’s doing.
â€œYes, but not the peaceable,â€ Naria said. â€œThis is the way you’d do it if you wanted to avoid killing someone.â€
Lydia’s stomach sank. It’s me isn’t it?
Quite possibly, he said. It’s certainly not me because this is no less dangerous to the guardian network than a frontal assault would be, which actually isn’t that dangerous to start with given the safeguards we built in after the last time.
Which means she wasn’t just intending me to die when she let me be rescued. I don’t like this.
â€œI don’t blame you,â€ Naria said. â€œBut you’ve been thoroughly checked and there’s no booby traps or compulsions on you, so whatever it is, it’s more complex than using you as some sort of weapon. But now we have to wonder again, is she after Drew or you?â€
No, it’s Drew. Lydia said. At least that’s what my gut is saying.
I agree, He who was Indarian said. They’re being careful because Lydia is here â€“ that’s why the young lady saw him not dying if Lydia was with him.
â€œAnd why Lydia thinks she should protect us this way,â€ Andrew said. â€œBecause they won’t go through her to get to me? I hope you’re right.â€
But we have some advantages now, He who was Indarian said. Having realised what they are doing, there are ways to counter it. That was well spotted, Naria-alra â€“ I had only noticed that he was eating the air essence, not that he was also corrupting it with his own life affinity. After all, we only have to hold them off until help comes. She who was Tarlea is diverting even more of her energy to me so I can use it to counter him.
That’s the Wind Guardian? Lydia guessed.
Indeed, he said. She can’t send me everything, obviously, but it should help. But be ready in case they do break through.