â€œAre you hiding us?â€ Sonia asked as they appeared on the shore of a small reservoir. â€œThere’s that curfew to consider.â€
â€œOf course,â€ Matthias said. â€œThough this area seems rather quiet.â€ He stared at the small sailing dingies moored nearby before looking at Laxmi. â€œThis is where you nearly drowned?â€
She nodded. â€œThe heart of the breech is down there.â€ She pointed into the water. â€œSo they’ve got to be nearby.â€ She tapped her foot impatiently. â€œWhere is he? He should have located them by now.â€
â€œRight here.â€ Darlyryan was leaning against a nearby tree. “And I’ve located them, but I think your kind have figured out I’m here. They’re in a pocket and you know how I am with Spatial stuff.”
“Not good I take it?” Sonia asked.
“Well I’m not terrible. I can teleport and make pockets but I’m rather heavy handed at breaking into them. I’d probably hurt the girl and her family if I broke in, Sonia-ida. You, however, are very good at it, I believe. So I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Butâ€”” she began,
“Oh, don’t worry I’ve been keeping an eye on them. I would have risked breaking it myself if they hadn’t been keeping ahead.”
“Ah. Show me and I’ll tear it open then,” she said.
“You’re right on top of it actually.” He frowned to himself. “I wonder what brought them out here. I can guess what brought them to town but I don’t see what the breech has to do with that.”
“We’ll worry about it later.” Sonia frowned in concentration. “Yes, I sense it. Give me a moment.” She closed her eyes and almost instantly a tear appeared in the air in front of them through which they could see a twisted version of the surrounding landscape. There was a popping sound and the strange landscape shimmered and vanished as the tear faded.
“There!” Daniel pointed along the lake to where a small group of people were suddenly visible fleeing from a large group of lost ones. Unfortunately, that meant the group was running away from them as well.
“Claire!” Matthias yelled. “This way!” He turned to Karen and Alban. “You two go and help them â€“ you’re best suited.”
“Of course, Dad.” Karen started to glow and raced towards the Aylmers with Alban not far behind.
“Us as well?” Julie asked.
Matthias turned to her and Marama. “Yes. Could you circle around and approach from the other direction?”
“We can,” she replied. “Good idea.” They disappeared into the undergrowth that bordered the path.
“Daniel, help me get this ward up.” Sonia held out her hand to him. “We need to confine those creatures.”
“Ward?” Darlyryan looked from her to Matthias and back, then suddenly gave a brilliant smile. “You’re not planning to send them back?”
“Not if we can help it,” Sonia said. “Laxmi showed us what the prison is like.” She shuddered. “They have to be confined but not like that.”
“Thank you,” Darlyryan said softly. “I was worried.” He broke off as Salia gave a quiet groan. He hissed and looked sharply back towards the Lost Ones. It looked like they’d brought the Aylmers to bay and Karen and Alban hadn’t reached them yet. “Damn! No time. See if you can talk to them, Lan. At least distract them.”
“Chance’ll be a fine thing,” she said. “But I’ll try. What are you going to do?”
“It looks like one of them has got an anchor on the girl. I’m going to go and tear it off.” He transformed into a crackling ball of lightning and shot towards the fight.