Sean’s fear about Kyle’s state of mind had been justified, Karen realised. A glowing gate which would either take them to the Core or allow them to speak to it here hung in a room in the centre of the tower. Kyle was standing in front of it and pouring a sustained blast of cloudy blue water at it in an attempt to breach the wards on the gate.
Stop him, the Core said in their minds. He’s a traitor like his heart friend.
“What?” Karen exclaimed as she grabbed Kyle’s arm. “Kyle, what’s going on?” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Zilah stiffen at the Core’s words.
“It was the one who told Marian Laverne about my father!” Kyle shook her off. “I think it told her about Jay’s sister as well.”
“What!” Karen froze and turned to look at the gate. Her mother? He was saying the core was responsible for her mother’s condition and her family having to grow up in hiding. She wanted to ask if it was true but she couldn’t – not without giving herself away. And Dad was adamant she mustn’t do that.
And he’s right, Sean said. Not yet. And no, before you ask,Â you’re not leaking I seem to be approaching my own maturity. Bad timing.
“Is this true?” Jason asked sharply. “Did you tell that woman about Eric and Sonia?”
Of course, it replied coldly. They were traitors as well.
“That’s a lie,” Zilah said. “It did turn them in but it doesn’t think of them as traitors at all.”
“No, they just found something it didn’t want anyone to know,” Kyle said coldly. “I’m going to kill it.”
“Kyle! If you do that you’ll destroy this world!” Karen grabbed hold of him again but he just pushed her aside.
“I don’t think he’s thinking about that bit,” Jason said softly. “I’d really like to help him myself, but I guess we have to stop him. It’s horrible but it’s not worth destroying the world over.”
“I know,” Karen agreed. She wished Jay didn’t sound like he was trying to convince himself of that. Hell, she wished she wasn’t trying to convince herself of that. If it was an empty world maybe, but people lived here! She launched herself at Kyle and tried to knock him over.
He must have sensed her coming because a rope of water separated from the stream shooting at the gate and pushed her gently into the wall before binding her there. More streams of water flew around and caught the others as they charged â€“ except Sean and Zilah who somehow both managed to sidestep it.
“Stop that,” Kyle said in a deceptively mild tone. “I’m trying not to hurt any of you.” He returned to his attack on the gate. “And can’t you feel the hatred pouring off the damned thing. It hates us all!”
Sean looked around and gave a deep sigh before whispering something in Zilah’s ear. Whatever it was his heart friend looked startled. Sean nodded at her and she trotted over to stand by the exit as Sean made his way around to lurk near the gate. He made no move to stop Kyle, however. Instead, he seemed to be waiting for something.
“Why doesn’t it stop him?” Karen wondered out loud as she struggled against her bonds.
“I don’t think it can, not until he opens the gate anyway and if he can get in one good shot…” Alban hesitated. “Well its defences are so formidable because it’s fragile, if the stories are to be believed.” He hesitated and added more quietly, “I hope Sean has some sort of plan…” He broke off as the ward around the gate finally shattered.