July 30th, 2012 | Published in Dragon Wars
Lydia had been right; getting a rough fix on Andrew was fairly easy. All the same, by the time they jumped for the third time as they refined the fix, Daniel was starting to feel dizzy. After he’d pinned down a direction, he sank down onto a nearby rock and rubbed tiredly at his eyes, then reached up to stroke Ebona’s nose where she stood beside him in resting form. He felt someone squeeze his shoulder and looked up to find Matthias looking down at him worriedly.
“Are you okay, Dan?” he asked softly.
“Yeah.” Daniel rubbed at his eyes again. “But this is really hard. The fog seems thicker than when we tried at Sarah’s; I think he’s shored up his defenses because of Simon running out on him.”
“Nephele says that Lydia is saying the same. It’s no bad thing since it means he’s not planning to move.”
Daniel nodded and stared in the direction he’d sensed Andrew. “How many more? He feels quite close now.”
“Hmm. We’ve got it down to within a mile but if we risk going a bit closer, we might be able to pin it down even closer. We’re trying to decide whether to risk it. Since Emms has concealed it somehow, it might be a good idea.”
Daniel considered. “I think I can manage one more if the others can. But I need a rest first.”
“Yes, Karen does as well. Lyd apparently has a knack for this.”
“Lyd is just full of surprises.” Daniel paused. “Why did you decide to come with me and not her or Kaz?”
“Because I suspect you still don’t entirely trust me,” Matthias said.
Daniel blinked at him. “I trust you, I think. I’m not sure I trust your judgement-” He broke off as Matthias threw back his head and laughed.
“You sound like your mother, Dan,” he finally said. “And I can’t say as I blame either of you. After this mess with Emms I don’t think I trust my judgement either.” He poured a cup of tea from a flask and handed it to Daniel. “I think my worst mistake was not telling you everything at the start. I think you’re a better actor than I realised and you could have pulled it off.”
“And I would have,” Daniel said. “And I’d have been able to warn you about Emms’ thing earlier. Maybe enough earlier to deal with it.”
“Yes, exactly. Sonia told me I should. I really should have listened to her.” Matthias paused and his expression went wry. “She nearly crowned me with a cast iron skillet she was holding when I told her what Emms had done to you.”
“She said she’d nearly hit you,” Daniel said. “She never said what with though.”
“That would have made things interesting around other unicorns,” Ebona said. “You would have needed a mental box like the one your mother made for Andrew. Could she have managed that before she was healed?”
“She could,” Matthias said solemnly. “She did something similar for me and for Karen. Though it would have hurt her.” He rose to his feet as Daniel finished his tea. “Is that enough rest?”
“Could I have five minutes more?” Daniel asked then jumped as the air in front of them chose that moment to tear open and spit out a small water imp. It hovered in front of Matthias, the water it was made from swirling in an agitated fashion.
“I think we’d better,” Matthias said as he held out his hand to the imp. “I need to find out why Ystelyan is so worried.” He absorbed the imp. “Oh dear.”
“What is it?” Daniel asked nervously. There was something about his father’s strained response that was more terrifying than utter panic.
“It seems Emms is planning to do whatever it is he’s doing tomorrow. We have to do this last jump and go to Waldhafen. He and Alaryia have persuaded the council to let us use it as a coordination centre.” He gave a sad smile. “I just hope the others have managed to sort out what’s going on with Marian when we get back to collect them.”