Andrew watched Ystelyan’s imps go anxiously. He didn’t fully understand what his father’s message had meant, but he could tell it was bad and had something to do with why Anthony had lost control.
“Why would anyone do that? It’s so cruel.” Naria paused and gave a horrified whimper. “And we’d better test me for this infection, my mirian, given that I drained some of his energy. I don’t even want to think what this would do to one of us.”
Ystelyan’s face tightened and he nodded. “That’s a good thought, Naria-alra,” he said. “It shouldn’t be contagious here, but you were exposed on Taloa so you could be infected. Mal can look when she’s finished with the children. It seems to be quite a slow progression, so we have time.” He looked up as Lyrrekka returned. “That didn’t take long.”
“No,” she said. “And I sorted a one other thing while I was there.” She handed him a small bottle.
Ystelyan tilted the bottle and frowned at the liquid within. “This really is an evil little creation, isn’t it? I knew that Xantaria was ruthless but I didn’t realise that she’d-” He broke off as an imp made of shards of dark brown metal flew through the wall and bowed to him. “Everyone is being quick today, it seems.”
“You sent an imp to Darlryan-mirian?” Lyrrekka asked.
“I did. He hates Xantaria and he’s an expert on antidotes.”
“But do you trust him?” Lyrrekka said.
Ystelyan shook his head. “Not really, especially not after he admitted he could get to Taloa without us knowing. He’s not actively malicious but he’s – um – very focussed. He’d have to be to think that way of getting there was a good idea.”
“That’s from Kitarian’s father?” Andrew asked.
“It is.” Ystelyan frowned as the imp began tugging impatiently at his sleeve. “I’d better see what he has to say.” He absorbed it and his frown deepened.
“Well? Does he have an antidote?” Lyrrekka asked.
Ystelyan shook his head. “He has an antidote to her normal venom and a couple of her engineered ones, but not this one. He says that if it’s like her other venoms the basic antidote will hold it at bay while a more specific one is made. He’s going to send some but he also wants my permission to come here and research it.” His mouth twisted slightly. “I don’t think anyone else has as good a chance of success in a short period so I guess I’ll have to say yes.” He cupped his hands and began to form another imp. “Naria is worried that she might be infected as well.”
Lyrrekka gave the girl a startled look and nodded gravely. “I didn’t think of that but it is entirely possible. Though it’s slow enough that at this point we can probably fix it before it releases enough toxin to need an antidote. The fact she designed it with slow onset is a blessing â€“ albeit a mixed one.”
“Yes, and the fact it won’t be contagious anywhere but Taloa is an unadulterated one.” Ystelyan released the imp then turned to where Malindra was still with the two kithreian children. “Mal, when you’re done can you check on Naria before healing Xeria-alra?”
“Of course, father,” she replied.
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