“I think we’ll take neither of those options,” Darlryan said dryly. “Do you really think that’s all we can do?” He smirked when there was no response and shook his head in obvious amusement. “You really do, don’t you? Watch and learn, Xantaria.” He turned to Indaturan. “You’re better than me at spatial. Make a secondary bubble around Kayleigh and Robert. The rest of us will hold this one until it’s done.”
“I’ll help!” Hannah said. “I’m quite good at spatial. We’re going to make a lifeboat to allow us to move Kay and Robert through the void, right?â€
â€œWe are.â€ Indaturan took her hand. â€œAdrian, can you help as well, please.â€
â€œOf course, my mirian.â€ Adrian kept one arm around Kayleigh who was clinging to him even as he took Indaturan’s free hand.
â€œTell me once it’s ready,â€ Darlryan said. â€œThen the rest of us will shred the bubble and we’ll escape to Taloa through the void. I’d suggest heading for somewhere near the school so help can come quickly.â€
â€œJust near?â€ Karen asked.
â€œWell yes,â€ he said. â€œAt least, we probably don’t need to arrive in the middle of the meeting with the Prime Minister.â€
â€œOh, good point,â€ Karen said. â€œThe house we’re staying in, maybe? It’s on the grounds but out of the way and I know it well.â€
â€œPerfect,â€ Darlryan said. â€œYou can take the lead then. Have you ever been in the void before?â€
â€œNo.â€ She shook her head. â€œBut as I understand it, we’ll be forced into our resonant forms as soon as we enter it?â€
â€œYes,â€ he said. â€œTaloa will be the closest world and you’ll sense its familiarity. Just concentrate on the house and you should be drawn there. The rest of us will follow, guiding the lifeboat bubble.â€
â€œI can do that,â€ she said.
â€œWe’re almost ready with the bubble,â€ Indaturan said. â€œBring Robert here please, Alaryia.â€
â€œOf course,â€ Alaryia led the young man over. â€œYou’ll be okay,â€ she said soothingly as she positioned him next to Kayleigh. â€œYou’ll be home soon.â€ She stepped back and picked the Kithreian boy up again as the bubble Indaturan, Hannah and Adrian had been building solidified around Robert and Kayleigh.
â€œOkay, let’s do this,â€ Darlryan said.
Karen took a breath and tore at the collapsing bubble around them, aware that the others were doing the same. It took only a moment before it shattered, disgorging them into the void. As she concentrated on her room at Brierthorne, Karen decided that the void was not an especially accurate name for this strange non-place of swirling energy â€“ but Darlryan had been right that she could sense Earth. As she concentrated, she felt herself being drawn there. Moments later, a tear appeared in front of her. She shot through it and collapsed back into her physical form at the foot of her bed. The others piled in on top of her and they ended up in an uncomfortable heap on the floor.
â€œYou could have picked a larger room,â€ Darlryan said after they’d picked themselves up and banished the bubble around Kayleigh and Robert.
â€œI picked the place I knew best,â€ Karen said as she and Hannah helped Kayleigh to Lydia’s bed. She turned to help Robert to her own bed but Lydia and Andrew were already assisting him. â€œI’ll call Mum and Dad, then. Hopefully they can get away from the meeting.â€ She closed her eyes and reached for them, giving them a brief summation of what had happened and the fact they needed assistance for Kayleigh and Robert.
We can’t come, Sonia replied after a moment. But Kayleigh’s father and Lyrrekka are coming. Could you ask Alaryia to care for them until we can send a healer?
Of course, Mum, she said before passing it on to the others.
â€œOf course I’ll care for them,â€ Alaryia said. â€œThough I suspect they need food and comfort more than physical healing.â€ And you’ll want Lucas-alran to check Xantaria hasn’t left any surprises in their minds, she added mentally.
â€œI’ll go and make something,â€ Lydia said.
â€œI-is this real?â€ Kayleigh said. â€œIt’s not a dream again?â€
â€œIt’s not a dream, Kay,â€ Adrian said. â€œAnd I am so sorry I didn’t realise.â€
â€œIt’s not your fault,â€ Kayleigh said. â€œShe was a good fake.â€ She clung to his hand. â€œThey used to torment me by letting me see through her eyes.â€ She paused and then grabbed Hannah’s hand with her free hand. â€œIt wasn’t me that betrayed you. You know that right, Han? I wouldn’t have done that.â€
Hannah gave a weak smile. â€œI’m glad of that. But you should rest and we’ll bring you up to speed once you’re stronger.â€ She paused as they all heard the front door slam open. â€œSounds like Dad is here.â€