In the silence that followed Sarah’s departure, Kasi trotted over to Ebona and touched horns with her.
“Hello, shadow sister,” he said. “I apologise for not greeting you immediately but I felt dealing with Gerian more important. He was a petulant toddler in my last memories before the blank and he doesn’t seem to have grown up much.”
Ebona gave a neighing chuckle. “I quite understand, light brother. You seem to have him well in hand. Which is a relief – he’s caused us much trouble in the past.”
“So I hear,” Kasi said. “And I can only get away with it because of Keylaria. He sees me as an extension of her. I dread to think what she’s going to do when she finds out what he’s done in her name.”
“Oh, she’ll probably knock me into transition,” Gerian said. “She might even kill me. To get her back, it’ll be worth it.”
“She won’t kill you,” Kasi said. “Not unless you’re still being stupid.”
Gerian didn’t reply to that. Instead he turned back to Karenn. “How is Lyrrekka-ida? Still not happy with me?” he hesitated. “I’m surprised you let her back to Taloa.”
“Lyrrekka’s family,” Karen said. “We know her. If you’d let her contact us, we would have listened and we might have avoided this mess.”
“But… that…” Gerian was shaking his head.
“Karen-ida, let it be for a while,” Takilyan said suddenly. “You’ve shaken his worldview and he needs time to settle.” He turned as Sarah and Birke returned. Each was carrying a large bud the size of a basket ball. “Welcome back.”
“We’ll deal with the ice nymph first.” Sarah placed the bud on the floor in front of Alison’s heart friend and it immediately opened into a beautiful translucent purple flower. “Can you release her please?”
Gerian nodded and tapped a crystal at the base of the light pillar. The light faded and the nymph slumped forward into Sarah’s arms. She and Birke quickly positioned her in a standing position at the heart of the flower. The petals pulsed and grew, closing around the nymph. Through the petals, they could see that she was floating in some kind of liquid.
Alison reached out and touched the petals. “She’s awake in there. I can feel her.”
Yes, she is,” Sarah said. “But she’s not in pain. You couldn’t feel her before?”
“Not like this, though father said she wasn’t asleep.”
“I see.” Sarah looked over at Gerian. “Your heart friend now.”
Gerian sighed heavily. “If I didn’t know you were telling the truth about us dying…” He trailed off and released Elidyr to be hustled into the second flower by Sarah and Birke.
“Okay,” Sarah said. “Who’s going to fly us to Waldhafen?”
“Excuse me,” Lydia said. “Why do you have to fly?”
“Oh, you wouldn’t know, would you?” Sarah said. “It’s one of those things no one has ever figured out the why of, but both gating and teleporting disrupt all known forms of stasis and that would kill them. Flying is the quickest way.”
“I’ll take you,” Indaturan said. “We can’t jump but I can still twist space to make the distance a shorter. I can speed it to a couple of hours instead of days. But send an imp on ahead to get Estara to send someone to meet us part way because I don’t want to leave the rescue too long.”
“Thank you,” Sarah said and began forming an imp.
“And I’ll take the others back to where we’re meeting to go on this rescue.” Takilyan looked over at Gerian. “Are you going to behave?”
“I’ll block anything Shalriya and Mitakrian try,” Gerian said. “But you know, if you’d been a bit more agreeable I’d have actually helped you rescue her.”
“Really?” Takilyan tilted his head. “It’s probably better this way. Alaryia is coming. You’d have ended up killing each other.”
“And someone does need to keep an eye on those two,” Indaturan added. “Now let’s carry these two outside so we can get going.”