After the Storm Palace was safe and Matthias, Sonia and their group had gone with Alaryia to question the prisoner, Hannah and the rest of Sarah’s group also took their leave and returned to Earth. They had no sooner emerged from the portal than James came rushing up to Sarah.
“Sarah! Is Matt with you?” He looked around anxiously. “He isn’t? We need him back soon! Someone just rang the main gate buzzer and I don’t recognise them.”
“Someone?” she asked. “Someone human?”
“I think so, yes,” he said. “They’re definitely an Astral too, but a wild one, I think. They don’t feel like any of the families. I’d go answer it but with our wards in lockdown…” He trailed off. “Well what’s the use if I can’t let them in even if I want to.”
“But you’re Matthias’s second, aren’t you?” Hannah blurted. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“It’s okay,” he said. “And yes I am, but he forgot to hand them over to me before he rushed off. I didn’t even realise until the bell rang.”
“Typical.” Sarah rolled her eyes. “Get him to tune you in all the time. I did that with Lucas after I did the same thing several times. Now let’s see who it is and if we want to admit them or not. Then either way, send a message to Matt.”
“That’s a good idea,” he said. “Sorry I was flipping out when you arrived back, I think this whole mess is getting to me.”
“You do look tired,” Sarah said. “Have you been sleeping?”
He shook his head. “Too much to organise.”
“Bloody Morgans,” Sarah muttered. “You’re all the same. If you don’t sleep you’ll be good for nothing.” She reached out and touched her fingertips to his temple. “Hmm, good, it is just tiredness. With that damned bug going around we can’t be too careful.”
“I’ll be fine,” he said. “Let’s go see who our visitor is.”
Just outside the gate, a woman in a tailored dark grey business suit stood leaning against an expensive-looking metallic blue sports car, talking on her phone.
The car’s second hand, James said. I can feel at least two previous owners even from here.
Interesting. And that suit is homemade rather than designer, Sarah said. Well finished and well fitted, but still… Let’s see who she is.
The woman looked up as the gate opened, said something into her phone and put it away before turning to face them. Her eyes were a light blue that seemed incongruous against her rich dark skin. For a moment Hannah wondered if she was wearing contacts but they looked normal, just oddly coloured.
It’s unusual but it happens, James said before speaking aloud. “Can we help you, madam?”
She favoured him with a long look before responding. “Possibly, but it’s even more likely that I can help you. Is your brother at home, Mr Morgan?”
James stared at her then shook his head. “He’ll be back shortly. We can send him a message if you want, madam.”
“Sophie Ashbourne.” She offered him her hand. “And please do. We need to discuss how we’re going to stop my employers finding out about you.”
“Your employers?” he asked. She just tilted her head at him and his eyes widened. “You work for the Government?”
“Not officially, but yes. I’d rather not explain more than once, though. So could you please call your brother?”
“Yes,” he said. “I think I’d better.”