â€œOkay,â€ Alaryia said. â€œTak and I are going to start peeling off the first layer of this thing. When we hit a booby trap, we’ll stop and let Indaturan and Ystelyan deal with it before continuing.â€
â€œThat seems reasonable,â€ Matthias said. â€œIs there anything we can do? I mean, Sonia’s learning new wards and Lyd is resting, but the rest of us?â€
â€œNot really,â€ Alaryia said. â€œContact your other allies and tell them what has happened, maybe? I suspect they are wondering where you are.â€
â€œMy family know,â€ Adrian said. â€œBut it wouldn’t be a bad idea to send messages to some of the others.â€
â€œYou should,â€ Lydia opened her eyes briefly. â€œThough I imagine Melissa told her mother.â€
â€œYes, I’ll send a few imps,â€ Matthias said.
â€œGood,â€ Alaryia turned her eyes back to the rapier. â€œAnd we will deal with this.â€
Lydia dozed fitfully on the couch, slipping between vivid dreams and short periods of wakefulness. It wasn’t very restful so eventually she groaned and sat up.
â€œTrouble sleeping?â€ Adrian asked.
She nodded. â€œThe sort of dozing that makes you feel more tired, not less tired.â€ She frowned as she tried to chase down the images from her dreams, certain they were important. â€œI think whoever created that thing is trying to find me. I think that’s what my dreams were about.â€
â€œThat’s entirely possible,â€ Alaryia said. â€œWe need to take a break from unwrapping this anyway so I’ll have a look. If you’re sensing them, we might be able to identify them from that.â€
â€œAnd then I’ll get Mal to make you a sedative,â€ Ystelyan said.
â€œI’m not sure that’s a good idea,â€ Lydia said. â€œI think I kept waking up because they would have found me if I fell asleep.â€
â€œDream tracking?â€ Alaryia said. â€œIt’s possible but unusual. We’ll soon find out.â€
â€œAnd if it is, there are ways to use it against the user,â€ Indaturan said. â€œWe’ll be able to completely misdirect them so they won’t be able to find you.â€
â€œThat would be good,â€ Lydia said. â€œI can’t not sleep, after all.â€
â€œI’ll look now.â€ Alaryia came over and sat on the arm of couch. â€œLie down and try and doze again. I’ll monitor and see if I can sense what you did.â€
Lydia did as she requested and almost immediately, her mind flooded with the same disjointed yet vivid images as before and the definite feeling that someone or something malicious was looking for her. Before they could lock on, however, she was pulled back to wakefulness by Alaryia.
â€œDefintely dream location,â€ she said. â€œAnd whoever they are is very good.â€
â€œDefinitely not Aneria then,â€ Indaturan came over to join them. â€œShe’s no good with dreams at all. Let’s put up the misdirection, then see if we can identify who is really doing it.â€
â€œYes, of course,â€ Alaryia said. â€œI’ll let you handle the misdirection since you’re better at it.â€
â€œThank you,â€ he said. â€œAre you okay trusting me to do this, Lydia-ida?â€
Lydia just nodded and he smiled. â€œLet’s do this, then.â€