Why won’t you talk to me? Lydia was sitting in the conservatory trying to contact her mentor. She’d been trying for a couple of hours and her patience was wearing thin. I know you can hear me. I can feel you listening. You’re supposed to be my mentor but you clam up every time something happens.
I can’t talk to you! The terse reply finally came. I’m trying to find somewhere to hide from Xantaria.
Please be quiet, Lydia. She sounded stressed. You’re distracting me from listening for her spies. I’ll talk to you once I’m safe, I promise.
Is there anything I can do to help?
Yes, tell my daughter I’m on the run and need to contact the rebellion. I’m sure she’s in communication with them and I know they won’t talk to me directly. They have absolutely no reason to trust me.
I’ll tell her, Lydia said.
Thank you, now leave me alone. She’s near; I need to concentrate. Fellaria broke the contact without even a goodbye.
Lydia didn’t open her eyes immediately. She sat there, chewing on her lip and wondering who to ask about sending an imp. She wasn’t sure she knew how.
A quiet clattering made her open her eyes to see her mother putting down a cup of tea on the table in front of her.
“You look like you need this,” Sonia said.
“I was trying to talk to my mentor,” Lydia said. “She’s on the run from Xantaria. Can you show me how to send an imp?”
“If you want, but I doubt she respond to one if she’s not responding to you calling her telepathically.”
“Oh no! It’s not to send to her. I spoke to her briefly. She wants me to pass a message to Alaryia for her.”
“Ah! Well you won’t need an imp,” Sonia said. “We’re visiting her for dinner this evening. She might be able to help with our prisoner. You know about that?”
Lydia gave a strained laugh. “I could hardly miss that altercation, mum. Only reason I didn’t come running was Dad had asked me to concentrate on contacting Fellaria unless you or him called me and I had a feeling he was right.”
“Yes, he probably was,” Sonia agreed. “It sounds like she needs help, though he probably wasn’t thinking of that.”
“So who’s going to this dinner?”
“Your father and I, the four of you, Naria, Lyrrekka and her kids and Yedan – that’s the prisoner’s name. The others are going to keep an eye on the news, see what the government does now they’ve recalled Parliament. But drink your tea. Lyr seems to think we should dress up for this visit since it’s a formal invitation.”
“Um… Mum, I still don’t have most of my clothes here.” Lydia sipped at her tea. “We never picked them up from the house.”
“Yes, and it’s not like we can go shopping,” Sonia said. “I’ve sent Daniel and your father to get them because they’ll be able to conceal themselves. Not that you own anything especially formal anyway. I might have to borrow something from one of the cousins.”
“Nah, I think I have something suitable,” Lydia said. “That long skirt and blouse I wore to the award ceremony last year.”
“It’ll do, I suppose,” Sonia said. “You did look good in it and it’s more you than a formal dress.”
Lydia nodded. “I’d better go and wash my hair while we’re waiting for them to get back with our stuff.”