Those are military trucks all right, Matthias said as Naria circled over the convoy of vehicles making its way towards the small tourist carpark at the base of the hill. Can you get a bit lower? I want to scan them and see how many there are before we move on to the other points.
Of course, Naria said. Just make sure you keep us masked. I don’t want to be shot at. I’ve seen the damage bullets can do.
I will, he said. I don’t want to be shot at either.
No, I’d imagine not. Naria’s mental tone was dry. She circled around gradually reducing height. Tell me when we’re low enough.
This should do, Matthias replied. Circle a little tighter, please.
Of course. She did as he asked. I wish I could hover for you but it’s not a flying trick I’ve ever mastered.
This is fine, Matthias said. Hmm. I think they’ve anticipated us realising they were coming. They have some sort of shielding. It’s hard to get a good read.
Someone’s blocking you? Andrew asked.
Not someone, something, Matthias replied. It’s a physical shield. Interesting. That’s a neat trick. I wonder how they learnt it.
Hopefully, not from the Kithreia, Naria said. They have similar things.
No, I don’t think so, Matthias said. I imagine the Kithreia ones are more robust. This is like they’re trying to hide behind tissue paper. I could tear through it easily but I don’t want to alert them and I don’t need to because it’s translucent. It’s more effort to count them all but I can do it.
You know, they probably invented it for the kids like Emily, Andrew said. They’d need some sort of protection wouldn’t they?
That could well be it since it’s unlikely they had anyone who could ward the kids the normal way, Naria said. And you’d have noticed a cluster like that eventually. But this stuff would have concealed them if you weren’t looking.
Yes, he agreed. And they used it now for the same reason, except we were looking. I think we need to have a word with Sophie Ashbourne about her not mentioning this. There was a pause. Okay I got the count. Let’s move on to next point.
They swept around the remaining points that Emily had tagged for them and everywhere it was the same. Military trucks driving in and setting up out of sight of the school ready for their attack. Having checked them all they swept back to the hill again since Emily had said this would be the on the ground control centre.
No sign of Robert yet, Matthias said. I didn’t think there would be but it was worth checking.
Why are they bringing him anyway? Andrew asked. Is that normal?
I have no idea if it’s normal, Matthias replied. But I’d imagine he’s there to direct them to any hiding places we might have. We’ll see.
I could put them all to sleep right now, Naria said. Then they couldn’t attack.
Yes, but that would be hostile from their perspective. That’s why I want to hold it in reserve – use it only if we can’t diffuse this. He gave a sigh. Take us back to the School and let’s report our findings.
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