A gnawing sense of alarm grew in Lydia’s stomach as she waited for Melissa to return with Sonia. She didn’t think Xantaria would try and kidnap her again but the sense of being watched was making her skin crawl. She tried to keep calm but her anxiety suddenly peaked into an uncharacteristic panic, making her leap to her feet and flee the room just in time to run into her mother and Melissa.
â€œLyd! What’s wrong?â€ Her mother asked as Lydia clung to her.
Lydia tried to answer but couldn’t.
â€œShe’s terrified,â€ Melissa said. â€œDid something happen?â€ She leant past them to look into the bedroom and gasped.
â€œWhat is it?â€ Sonia asked. She maneuvered Lydia gently out of her way so she could look. â€œDamn, Lyd, did you see who did it?â€
â€œD-did what?â€ Lydia asked as her heartbeat calmed slightly. She turned to look and froze as she saw the rapier of rose-pink crystal piercing the bed where she had been lying moments ago. â€œWhat the hell!â€
â€œThat wasn’t what made you run like that?â€ her mother asked.
â€œMaybe, but not directly,â€ Lydia said. â€œI just felt panicked. A premonition I guess.â€
â€œProbably.â€ Her mother scowled at the blade. â€œPink, so it’s not Xantaria.â€ She pulled the rapier from the bed. â€œI’ve called Matt. I think we need to ask our allies if they know who did this.â€
â€œIt could be Aneria.â€ Lyrrekka turned the rapier over in her hands. â€œBut while she’s nasty, I don’t think this sort of attempted murder is her style â€“ her style is messier and more painful. And this doesn’t feel quite right to be hers, though it’s close enough that I think someone faked it. I’ve heard of such tricks but never seen it before.â€ She put the rapier back on the table with a convulsive shudder. â€œThat is a horrible thing, though.â€
â€œWe should show it to my mirian and the others,â€ Adrian said. â€œThey’ll likely be able to identify the culprit. I agree it doesn’t seem Aneria’s style. She likes to make examples of people she kills, the better to sow terror.â€ He frowned. â€œI’d say it was Xantaria trying to disract us but that doesn’t seem likely either, somehow.â€
â€œI think even she knows she’s made too much of a target of herself for such a thing to work,â€ Matthias said drily. â€œCan you send an imp to Indaturan and tell him what’s happened?â€ He looked over at Kyle. â€œAnd you send one to Ystelyan, please?â€
â€œYes, of course,â€ Adrian said. â€œBut are we still being watched?â€
Lydia extended her senses again, aware Melissa and Sonia were doing the same, but this time she sensed nothing.
â€œNot that I can sense,â€ Sonia said as Lydia shook her head.
â€œThey seem to have gone,â€ Melissa agreed. â€œMaybe this was just to distract us.â€
â€œNo,â€ Adrian said. â€œThere was real malice towards Lydia in thisâ€ He formed the imp and sent it off. â€œI guess that they fled when the attack failed.â€