“Hold on, something isn’t right here.” Lydia ground to a halt and stared at a distinctive V shape in the peeling paint on one of the doors. “This house isn’t very large and we’ve been walking in a straight line for a while and finding nothing. Unless this place is a TARDIS, that’s impossible. And I’m sure that we’ve passed this door before.”
Her father paused as well and also frowned. “Jayden’s not bad at Spatial but I’m not sure he’s as good as your mother.” He scowled thoughtfully. “Then again, he did make a pocket so he might be good enough to mess with the internal dimensions of the place. But you’re right; this does look a bit familiar and this hallway is suspiciously monotonous.” He pointed to a table. “I think we’ve passed that before. I think he may have done something else here.” His scowl deepened. “I never realised he was this good at Spatial Manipulation.” He turned to Xania who was standing behind Valeria. “Would you take a look, dear?”
“Of course.” The nymph bowed her head and reached out her hands to touch the walls. After a moment she swayed on her feet and snatched her hands back as if she’d been burned. “Oh!” She snatched her hands back. “He’s twisted this hallway into an endless circle. I’m not sure that I can break us out without help. I can feel his power in the walls and I’m no match for him.”
“I’ll help.” Hannah took her hand. “I’m pretty good at spatial.”
“Me too!” Ema took her other hand.
Matthias laid a hand on her shoulder. Pretty soon everyone in the corridor was clustered around her, sharing their strength. Matthias smiled at her. “See, you have lots of help. Will you be able to do this now?”
Xania nodded hesitently. “I-I think so. It’s enough for me to feel confident to try anyway.” She closed her eyes again and her face scrunched up in concentration. Lydia swallowed back nausea as the walls and floor warped and twisted and swirled together like a magnolia whirlpool. She began to close her eyes to shut the sight out but then opened them again as Xania gave a strangled sob.
“Xania?” Matthias asked.
“He’s fighting me!” the nymph sobbed. “He’s so strong! I don’t know if-”
“Keep going, little nymph,” Takilyan said in a soft encouraging tone. “His resistance is mostly bluff and you’re almost through. Look and see. If I was a little better at Spatial I’d tear through this for you.”
“I-” She looked up at him then closed her eyes again. “Oh! You’re right, he’s not really trying is he?”
“No, most of his attention is elsewhere and he doesn’t think you can break through.”
“How dare he discount me this way.” Xania’s face became determined as she resumed her concentration. This time, Lydia was forewarned enough to repress her nausea as everything twisted together again. Lydia continued pouring her energy into the nymph until a wet tearing sound filled ears and the air tore open to reveal a wall and door where previously there had only been more hallway.
Xania gave a pathetic groan and crumpled to the floor. There was blood leaking from her skin, though she seem to have any injuries.
Matthias knelt beside her. “Damn! Even with help it was too much for her. Someone take her to Alaryia, please.” There was a pause before Alban pulled her into his arms and raced off.
“Will she be okay?” Valeria stared after them worriedly.
Matthias see-sawed his hand uncertainly. “She’s burnt her essence. It should be treatable with time but you know how essence burn can be in Speakers.”
Valeria shuddered and nodded. “Well Sarah and those dragons are all very good.” She sounded like she was trying to persuade herself. She turned her attention to the room at the end of the corridor. “And we should make sure her injury wasn’t in vain.”
“Indeed!” Matthias agreed as he to turned to face the door. The rage leaking from behind it was palpable in the air. “Well he’s definitely in there. Stand back everyone.” He pulled back his arm and threw a bolt of darkness at the door. It shattered and exploded inwards. “Let’s go.”