Lucas arrived even as Alison was agreeing to allow him to look in her mind. He headed straight over to her and offered her his hand.
“Let’s get this over with,” he said. “Before you change your mind.”
“I won’t change my mind,” Alison said. “But getting it over with is probably a good idea.”
“Please be careful,” Edward said. “I’ve spent a long time putting her back together. I’d hate to have to start again.”
“I’ll be careful,” Lucas promised. “But thank you for telling me. If her mind is damaged I’ll need to use an even lighter touch than I usually do.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Alison said firmly. “I’m not as fragile as he thinks.”
“Alison–” Edward began.
“I suspect he knows better than you in this case,” Lucas said. “But we’ll soon find out.” He ushered her to one of the couches and they sat together. He gently laid his fingertips on her temples and closed his eyes. After a pause he pulled back with a startled yelp. “Who did this to you?” He turned to look at Edward. “And you are doing a fine job of fitting the pieces back together.”
Edward sighed and shook his head. “Most of the work was already done – if much more crudely. I’m just smoothing the joins and putting in the smaller pieces.”
“Don’t sell yourself short,” Lucas said before turning back to Alison. “But really, who did that to you?”
Alison shuddered violently before whispering. “Shalriya I think. Father thought it happened when she nearly killed my heart friend. He had his best mind healer try to fix it but she wasn’t as skilled as Edward.”
“Yes, that might explain it,” Lucas said. “The backlash down the bond would have been intense and the other world wearing at your essence would have aggravated it.”
“What is it?” Valeria asked then gasped as he showed her an image of Alison’s mind. The image resembled nothing so much as delicate glass vessel which had been shattered and was painstakingly being glued back together. “Guardians! No wonder you were so volatile, girl.” She hesitated. â€œWe’ll decide on how you pay your blood debt once you’re fully healed.â€
â€œBut-â€ Alison began.
â€œNo buts,â€ Valeria said. â€œIt’s clear you weren’t entirely culpable for your killing my mate but you aren’t entirely off the hook, child.â€
â€œI know that, I don’t want to wait to pay,â€ Alison said.
â€œI know,â€ Valeria said soothingly. â€œBut I want to see who you really are before I decide.â€
â€œI’m not actually sure how to repair her mind any further,â€ Edward said. â€œHer mind has started rejecting repairs.â€
â€œYes,â€ Lucas said. â€œShe would be. Looking at her injuries, I think we need to heal her heart friend before we can finish fixing her mind.â€
â€œAnd for that we need to talk to father,â€ Alison said. â€œI don’t think he’ll go for it.â€
â€œWe can only try,â€ Lyrrekka said. â€œI’ll send a message to Takilyan-mirian. He’s trying to persuade him to release her. The fact that you need her if you’re to heal might help.â€