“She’s just outside the school walls,” Darya said. “She’s not alone. I think she’s meeting with someone. They’re hiding themselves and her very well. Even scrying with the pendant it’s hard to pin her down, but she’s close enough that if we head in that general direction we’ll find them.” He paused and frowned. “There’s something odd about them, though.”
“I guess we’d better go and find out,â€ Matthias said. â€œDaniel and I will hide us; let’s not do anything precipitous until we know the situation.”
“Good plan,” Darya said. “They feel dangerous. We should take back up as well.”
“I was intending to,” Matthias said.
“May I accompany you?” Darlyryan asked. “I have the strangest feeling about this.”
Matthias gave him a long, thoughtful look before nodding. “You may. But is that a premonition?”
Darlyryan frowned and shook his head. “No, I’m not prone to premonitions. This is…” He waved his hand around to indicate he was searching for the word. “We call it asairet – a sense of the present. I don’t think English has a word beyond clairvoyance, which is a bit too general.”
“Oh!” Sonia said. “I know that — sense of the present is a good name for it. It’s unusual.”
“I know it is,” he said. “But we should get going. We’ve only got a small window since she’ll want to be back before she’s missed.”
“That’s a good point,” Matthias said. “Let’s go.”
Finding Kayleigh proved harder than expected. Darya could sense from the pendant that she was very close by, but whenever he tried to home in on her he ended up sending them in the wrong direction. It was getting harder and harder not to curse out loud about it but he didn’t want to alert her to their presense.
After several more attempts he ground to a halt and threw the pendant hard at the school wall which had once again appeared in front of them when they emerged from the trees. Darylyan picked it up and handed it back to him.
Let’s try something different, he said mentally. Which direction are you sure she isn’t in when you try and locate her?
Darya gave him a puzzled look but concentrated again and soon sensed her presence somewhere to their left, so he gestured right. She’s not that way.
That’s the way we’re going then, Darylyan said.
But– Darya shuddered. Everything was screaming at him not to go that way.
Trust me, he said. I think they’re using a special kind of ward to avoid being found.
It makes a twisted kind of sense, Matthias said. Something certainly doesn’t want us to go that way which makes me think we should.
My thoughts exactly, Darylyan said. Lead us whichever way you least want to go.
Darya swallowed and nodded. He lead them through the woods surrounding the school even though his stomach was knotting up more and more as he did. When he heard voices up ahead he nearly turned and ran but Kyle grabbed his wrist and shook his head.
That’s Kay’s voice alright, Adrian said. Best check the concealment wards before we head in closer.
I already have, Matthias said. They’re as good as they can be, which is pretty good if I do say so myself.
They crept closer and eventually found themselves looking down into a small picnic area. Kayleigh was sitting on a bench by an older man Darya didn’t know. From the hiss Kyle gave, however, he did.
Garret Cantrell, Matthias said. So he’s involved in this.
I’m more worried about the other two, Adrian said. I don’t think they’re human.
Other two? What other two?
You can’t see them, Matt? Sonia asked. Because Adrian’s right: I think they are more dangerous and not human.
Quite right on both counts, Darylyan said. But you’re both very clairvoyant if you can see them without them wanting you too when they’re phased. Give me a moment.
Something seemed to click in Darya’s head and suddenly he could see the two Kithreiri in the clearing. A dark haired red-eyed female was sitting near Kayleigh and Garrett and talking to them earnestly. Leaning against a tree and listening to her was a gold-eyed male with an unhappy expression.
Lyrrekka hissed quietly. What the hell? That’s Xantaria!
Yes, Darylyan said. And Andarian-mirian. This is… I was not expecting this.