Matthias looked worried when he and Sonia returned. He sat down in one of the armchairs and scowled at the television. Sonia looked more pensive than worried but still not happy.
â€œWhat happened?â€ Karen asked.
â€œNothing on the surface,â€ Matthias said. â€œHe seemed to accept what we were saying and even seemed happy about it, but…â€ He trailed off, his frown deepening.
â€œSomething beneath the surface?â€ Karen asked.
â€œThat’s right,â€ Sonia said. â€œWe both got the sense that he was hiding something. I mean obviously he doesn’t fully trust us any more than we do him but this felt like something more; something was off. And since we can’t read him over the phone, we can’t work out what. After dinner I’m going to try and scry out the Cabinet to see if I can find out because I wouldn’t put it past them to try and get control of us again. They might think with the situation stabilised they don’t need us any more. I hope I’m wrong.â€
â€œIf you’re not we’ll handle it, mum,â€ Daniel said confidently.
â€œNo doubt,â€ she said. â€œI’m worried it might be messy to deal with, but we’ll worry about it later. It’s my turn to make dinner, anyone want to give me a hand–â€ She broke off at a knock at the door. â€œAre we expecting anyone?â€
â€œNot that I know of.â€ Matthias went to the door and returned a moment later with Anthony Williamson and his two daughters.
â€œAnthony?â€ Sonia tilted her head at him. â€œIs something wrong?â€
Anthony smiled and shook his head. â€œNo, not exactly wrong, I’ve just had an idea. This school the government are setting up for the emerged embers, I know we’re teaching there but they’ll be trying to make sure we can’t influence the students too much. We need someone on the inside as a student and Selene is willing to volunteer.â€
Matthias and Sonia looked at each other.
â€œThat’s not a bad idea,â€ Matthias said. â€œBut possibly risky. Are you sure you’re okay with that?â€
Selene nodded. â€œI want to help and I’ve spent my whole life in danger, so I’m used to it.â€
â€œWe could do with more than one,â€ James said. â€œPerhaps Lisa as well, though it would be harder to make a cover for her.â€
â€œIf she’s willing, we should be able to come up with some sort of cover identity,â€ Matthias said. â€œWe just have to make sure they don’t find out she’s my niece.â€
â€œWhat about sending one of the kids,â€ Sonia asked. â€œI mean we’d have to be careful but I think your wards have held so no one knows about our other identities.â€
â€œVery risky,â€ Matthias said. â€œProbably too risky. Andrew’s friends recognised us in spite of the wards.â€
â€œProbably because they are Andrew’s friends,â€ she said.
â€œI wouldn’t mind doing it,â€ Daniel said. â€œI’m pretty sure I can stop them realising. At least with a few more warding lessons.â€
â€œWe’ll talk about it over dinner.â€ Sonia turned back to Anthony and Selene. â€œYou’ll stay, of course?â€