A/N: sorry peeps, I won’t be able to post the next Whisper update before Thursday next week. Dragon Wars will be up as normal on Monday.
Hannah and Kayleigh’s father ran straight to her his daughter’s side when he entered the room.
“Kayleigh!” He knelt beside the bed and hugged her gently. “I’m so sorry.” You’re completely sure it’s her? He added mentally for everyone but Kayleigh and Robert. It isn’t another imposter? Lydia couldn’t blame him for the anxiety in the circumstances.
I double checked, Darlryan reassured him. It’s definitely them. That trick only works if you don’t know what to look for, and as far as we know Dialdra and her brother were the only two who could do it.
“Daddy!” Kayleigh clung to him and wept. “I’m so sorry. If I hadn’t been careless, they wouldn’t…”
“No, it wasn’t your fault, Kay,” he said gently. “It was entirely the fault of the people who did this to you.” He gave Dialdra a cold glare. The Kithreian shrank a little underneath it and actually ducked behind Indaturan.
“I should let him have you for what you did to that girl,” Indaturan said. “Go back to your cell. I’ll deal with you later.”
“Yes, master.” Dialdra seemed strangely subdued as she disappeared.
“How long?” Kayleigh’s father asked her.
“J-just after school finished,” Kayleigh said. “They had Robert longer because the guy pretending to be him was the one who led me into a trap.”
“You know about your mother?”
Kayleigh nodded, fresh tears springing up in her eyes, and repeated what she’d told Hannah about her captors making her see through Dialdra’s eyes.
“I’m so sorry about your mother, Kay,” Adrian said. “I wish I could have stopped mother doing that.”
“I know,” Kayleigh said. “I know it wasn’t your fault. I had the distinct impression that the bitch who was holding us was responsible somehow. That or one of her allies. She gloated about it. Said that the minds of astral humans were far too easy to break.”
Darlryan hissed angrily. “Every time I think she can’t sink any lower, she manages it somehow.”
“Well we knew that Mitakrian was behind it,” Indaturan said levelly. “And that Xantaria is allied with him. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised she knew.”
“I suppose we shouldn’t be,” Darlryan sad. “But somehow I am.” He looked around as Lydia came in with two bowls of soup and some bread. “Ah good, I think they need that.”
“It’s just green soup I’m afraid,” Lydia said. “I couldn’t find anything else that would be quick.”
“That’s not surprising,” Lyrrekka said. “I think we need to get everyone to hit their stores to boost us up here.” She looked at Kayleigh as Alexander Clitheroe took one of the bowls and sat down beside her. “Do you know about the current mess?”
“Some of it,” Kayleigh said. “Not much though.” She looked at her father. “Tell me what’s happening while I eat?”
He nodded and began explaining to her as he fed her with the soup. When he finished she frowned into the empty bowl.
“I don’t understand what she wants,” she said finally. “I mean, why kidnap me? I’m nobody and I wasn’t even in a good position to be a spy.”
“I think she wanted a plant in our family specifically,” Adrian said. “Robert was much better positioned as a general spy given that he had access to everything Garret’s spies learned, but he was never much good at spying on us and we’re not really accessible ourselves.”
“I see.” Kayleigh lay back on the bed. “That sort of makes sense.” She paused and frowned. “Who’s bed is this? I’m getting it all dirty.”
“It’s mine,” Lydia said. “But don’t worry. We have clean linen and you can have a bath later, if you feel up to it.”
“A bath would be wonderful,” Kayleigh said dreamily. “It’s so long since I’ve been clean.” She looked at the empty bowl again. “Could I have some more soup if there is any?”
“Of course!” Lydia said. “I’ll get you some.”