“Can we go and see mummy before we go back to Gaia?” Salia asked while they were preparing to leave. “I want to say goodbye.”
“Of course.” Matthias smiled down at her. “I want to tell her what happened anyway. She needs to know.” He looked over at Lydia. “Any luck getting your mentor to talk to you? I want to know what we’re up against before we try your plan.”
“So do I but I’m afraid not.” Lydia shook her head. “She’s calmed down a bit but she says she needs to think.” She frowned and wrinkled her nose. “There’s something she’s not telling me. I get the feeling she already knew the prison was breeched but not that he was around as well.”
“Hmm?” Matthias gave her a quizzical look.
“Something slipped out while she was panicking. She said ‘not him as well’ – I tried to ask her as well as what? She clammed up.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “That does sound like she knew something.”
“It does,” Alaryia agreed. “And that doesn’t just sound like the breech but I’m not sure what else it might be.” She rose to her feet. “I’m going to have to talk to Takilyan about it. He was directly involved stopping Likadrian and in the aftermath. He might know more and he’s not the kind to panic.” She tapped her tongue against her teeth thoughtfully. “I’ll ask Ystelyan if he knows anyone who might know as well when he finally wakes up.” She looked over at Lyrrekka. “We need to arrange for you to meet those people from my court, as well.”
Lyrrekka nodded. “I’m going back to Taloa with Matthias. Send an imp and we’ll arrange something.”
“Moppet!” Valeria swept Salia into her arms and hugged her. “You’re going back to Gaia now?”
“As soon as we’ve told you what happened, yes,” Matthias said. “We’d stay a while longer but I don’t want to give the Lavernes any time to get into position.”
“Yes, from what you’ve told me that would be a very bad thing.” She sat back down on the throne with Salia on her lap. “So what happened?”
After he finished, she hugged her daughter tightly and frowned. “Is it selfish that my first thought is ‘well at least he’s not after here’?”
“Just a little,” Matthias said. “But I think it’s understandably so.” He cocked his head at Salia. “Between the Lavernes, Emms and these Lost Ones of his, things are likely to be a little hairy on Earth. Are you sure you want us to take Salia back there? It might not be safe.”
Valeria considered the question then nodded. “Nowhere is safe at the moment and I trust you to protect her. You’ve got a lot of powerful people around you. And now the Core can’t block it, you can gate her here if you get into a battle.” She paused as her mother interjected a thought. “Besides, I want you to find her heart friend before someone else does, and she might be able to help with that.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Matthias said. “Little Arava as well. Except we never had chance to ask Ystelyan about giving us the Seeker’s pendant and I don’t know of any alternatives.”
“I’ll send him an imp,” Kyle said. “I doubt he’ll say no. I’m not sure if there are alternatives but if there are, they aren’t as reliable as the pendant. Mother might know.”
“It depends what you want to do,” Lyrrekka said. “We should be able to find Salia’s heart friend easily since she’ll be with us, but Arava’s still at Caerdu. Still since I doubt you’re hiding her the way you hid the knights, it should be doable.”
“Well, we’ll do that as soon as we’re sure it’s safe – or safeish – then,” Matthias said. “The first thing we need to do is get everyone together and find out if Carl managed to get any of the Laverne’s satellite families on our side.” He wrapped an arm around Sonia’s shoulders. “And you can go and sleep – you look like you still need it.”
“I’m fine, Matt,” she said. “I barely hurt at all and just listening won’t hinder my recovery. Will it, Sarah?”
“She’s right, it shouldn’t. Slow it down a little but not stop it anyway.” Sarah said. “But you do look trashed, Sonia. A nap would do you good and Nephele can bring you up to speed when you wake up.”
Sonia glared at her and threw up her arms. “Okay, you win. I’ll nap. Now let’s get going before something else happens.”
“Do you sense something?” he asked urgently.
“Not right now but something’s coming.” She shook her head.
“Okay, let’s go then.”
“Good luck.” Valeria rose to her feet again, giving Salia another hug and a gentle push towards Matthias before heading over to give Alban a hug as well.
He waited until Salia joined the group before opening the gate back to Earth.