Two different kinds of hunger woke Lydia the next morning: both the not-unexpected hunger for energy but the more normal hunger for physical food. She lay there staring at the ceiling as she tried to decide which she should deal with first. She still hadn’t decided when there was a quiet rap on the door. She sat up and realise Karen wasn’t there. Had she already got up or had she not come back last night? She looked back at the door as the knock was repeated. â€œCome in!â€
â€œMorning, Lyd.â€ Her mother came in carrying a tray with Lyrrekka behind her. â€œHow are you feeling?â€
â€œHungry,â€ Lydia admitted. â€œIn both senses of the word.â€
â€œWell this should sort out one kind of hunger.â€ Sonia handed her the tray. â€œAnd then we’ll find a volunteer for you to feed on.â€
â€œThanks, mum.â€ Lydia tucked into the scrambled eggs on toast. After a few moments she frowned. â€œShould I be feeling hungry so soon?â€
â€œI can’t say for sure, given that most of us always feel hungry.â€ Lyrrekka said. â€œBut it doesn’t surprise me. Your reserves will sap very quickly until your energy settles, so it follows that you’ll feel hungry when you do.â€
â€œI see.â€ Lydia finished her breakfast before swinging her legs out of be. â€œWhere’s Kaz?â€
â€œOh, she’s been up for a couple of hours.â€ Sonia helped her stand up because he legs were still a bit wobbly. â€œShe’s helping Matt with something. I think we’ll ask Dan to let you feed. I’d do it but apparently I still have to coddle my essence to avoid a relapse. Can you walk?â€
â€œI’m fine, mum,â€ Lydia said. â€œJust a bit shaky.â€
â€œOkay.â€ Sonia helped her through the door and down the stairs.
They found Daniel outside on the lawn. He was brushing Ebona’s mane and tail while she and Kenna ate a plate of minced beef. He looked around as they came out and hurried over.
â€œLyd! Are you okay?â€
â€œI’m fine, Dan,â€ Lydia said. â€œBut… um…â€
â€œYou need to feed again?â€ he asked. â€œKelaria said that you probably would.â€ He held out his hand to her. â€œGo on then.â€
â€œThanks!â€ Lydia took his hand and carefully drew on his energy until her hunger faded, then she sighed in relief and released his hand. â€œThanks, Dan.â€
â€œYou’re welcome, Lyd,â€ he said. â€œAre you sure you’re okay?â€
â€œAs much as I can be,â€ she said. â€œI mean, my essence hurts a bit when it’s poked but it’s better than the alternative and it’ll ease off soon, I think.â€
â€œLyd!â€ Andrew’s voice came from the door. â€œYou’re awake!â€ He hurried across the lawn. For once, Naria wasn’t there. â€œNari is with her councillor at Ystelyan’s palace. She’ll be back soon,â€ he said before she could ask.
â€œAm I that obvious?â€ Lydia asked.
â€œYou and Dan both,â€ he said. â€œNari and I are going to see Lucas again when she gets back.â€ He hesitated. â€œMelissa wants to know if you want to see her as well?â€
â€œMelissa is your councillor?â€ Lydia asked.
â€œThat’s probably not a bad idea,â€ she said. â€œI think I’m okay but talking with someone can’t hurt.â€
â€œI’ll arrange it then,â€ Sonia said. â€œLet’s go find Matt and Kaz and see what they are up to.â€