“That’s the sixty-four million dollar question, isn’t it?” Sonia said. “Whatever it is, this spy isn’t constrained by either wards or physical constraints. It’s going to be tricky.”
“That’s one way to put it,” Daniel said. “But now that you put it that way, I think impossible might be more accurate.”
“Oh I’m sure it’s not impossible,” she replied. “I have an inkling that we need to analyse what we’ve sensed about it and then we’ll be able to tweak the frequency of a net ward in order to capture it.”
“Uh,” Daniel said. “I don’t know much about warding apart from the concealment ones I use.”
“Which you picked up on your own, because your father only trained you in fighting and basic telepathy when he decided to use you?” She rolled her eyes when he nodded. “Typical, he should have known you’d need basic ward knowledge. But it’s all good. Picking them up on your own means that you have a knack for wards, so it really shouldn’t take me long to give you a quick lesson in manipulating them. Are you okay with that?”
“Of course!” he said. “I want to help.”
She gave him a bright smile before turning to the stove as the kettle boiled and pulling milk and tea bags from her bag. “Be a dear and fetch the teapot and cups from the cupboard. Give them a rinse as well. They might be a bit dusty after all this time. We’ll have a cup of tea and then I’ll start on your lesson.”
“You’re a good teacher, mum.” After an hour of Sonia cramming information into his head, Daniel’s head was spinning but he was certain he knew how to do what she had asked.
“Teaching is something of a Keefe speciality. That’s why we run Brierthorne.” She gave him a thoughtful look. “And you still have some holes in your training which I’ll see about remedying when we have time.”
“I’d like to know more about our kind as well,” he said.
“Oh, that’s easy. I’ll grab some of the history blocks when we get to Brierthorne for the meeting. It’s a lovely way to learn about the past.” Her expression turned serious. “But do you think you’ll be able to tune a net ward to catch this thing the next time you sense it?”
He nodded. “And I think that I can remember enough about how it felt to sense its concealment wards now.”
“Excellent!” Sonia clapped her hands. “We’ll have another cup of tea and head back. I don’t think it’ll be too long before it turns up. I want it caught before we leave for Brierthorne. The last thing that we need is someone spying on the meeting.”
“Where have you been?” Matthias was waiting for them in the hall when they got back to the house. “I couldn’t sense where you were.”
“I needed to have a private chat with Dan,” Sonia said mildly. “So I took him to our island cottage.”
“That place is still intact?” Matthias look surprised. “I would have thought it would have degraded from lack of use by now.”
“My pockets do not degrade, Matt,” Sonia said. “You should know that. It’s fine – just like we were last there yesterday.” She gave him an impish smile. “We should spend a few days there when all this blows over.”
To Daniel’s amazement his father actually blushed at that. “Sonia!”
“Well we should,” she said. “Its been too long. A second honeymoon would be nice.”
“It would be nice if we could,” he said. “But I’m really not sure this mess will blow over. It’s just too big.”
“I know,” Sonia said. “But there will have to be a lull at some point and we do need some time. Why were you looking for me?”
“I was worried,” he said. “You’re still pushing yourself to hard.”
She gave an exasperated sigh. “I am not going to have a relapse, Matt! Sarah and Birke are checking on me every day.”
“But nothing, Matt!” she snapped. “I’m not an invalid any more. I know you’re worried but I need room to stretch in order to finish healing.” She turned to Sarah who was coming downstairs carrying a tray. “Tell him, Sal.”
“She’s right, Matt,” Sarah said. “Don’t worry, I won’t let her hurt herself.”
“If you say so,” he said. He hesitated but clearly decided not to push the subject. “Anthony is training Andrew to control his ice better. I don’t think Drew is too happy about it but Naria knows her own mind and seems determined to get him properly trained.”
“Well he does need training. Has he ever had any training apart from that bit of dream training I gave him?”
“I believe he had a couple of lessons from his heart friend’s mentor,” Matthias said. “But otherwise no. He’s been picking things up fairly well though.”
Sonia tutted. “You dropped the ball there, Matt. Even Dan needs major training and you gave him some lessons. Why on Earth didn’t you teach him to ward? It’s lucky he has a knack for it.”
“I was going to,” Matthias said. “But it’s hard to teach someone who’s furious at you, especially when you’re not a very good teacher.”
“And you aren’t a very good teacher,” she said. “You should have asked Neph. She’d have helped.” She headed to the stairs. “Shall we go and check on them â€“ make sure Drew isn’t killing him?”
“I think Naria would stop him,” Matthias said. “But, yes, let’s. I’m curious to see how he’s doing.”
They headed up two flights of stairs and along a corridor to a part of the house Daniel hadn’t visited yet. They headed to the door at the end of the corridor and once they reached it, Matthias knocked. A moment later, Naria opened the door a crack. Her lips were twisted and clamped like she was trying not to laugh. Behind her Daniel could see Andrew and Anthony – they both looked rather confused.
She took a breath and giggled a little.
“You’ll have to wait a minute,” she said. “We’ve rather too much ice in here right now. Give me a moment and I’ll melt it so we can open the door properly.” She closed the door again.
“I guess Drew made too much ice,” Sonia said levelly. “It’s not uncom-”
Daniel stiffened as he sensed the presence enter the corridor and turned to face it. Hopefully his mother’s lesson would be enough to catch it.