Mela was sure she must be shaking visibly as she stared at Darya. He looked just as hesitant as she felt as he met her eyes.
“Melusine,” he said softly. “How are you?”
Mela swallowed and managed not to back away only with effort. She knew he’d been trying to protect her and Sarah and Matthias would never have left him alone with her if they felt he constituted a risk. “I…” she began.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Melusine. I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you. You know that, right?”
“You put a knife to my throat!” she snapped. “What was I supposed to think?” She sighed heavily. “Couldn’t you just have explained?”
“What, that I was taking you to a dragon who was going to protect you from another dragon? Would you have come with me if I had?”
Mela hesitated then shook her head. “No, of course not. I’d have run like hell. But grabbing me like that didn’t work either, did it?â€
Darya chuckled. “That’s true. We didn’t realise the Dark Warrior was so tough. Ystelyan would have sent more people if he had. But it all worked out, thank goodness.â€ He held out his hands to her.
After a long moment, Mela took his hands. â€œDon’t you ever scare me like that again!â€
“Why would I?â€ he asked. â€œYou should be safe from Gerian here and I think you’d listen to me now. I’m not going to try it again.”
“You think he’s still after her?” Yemi asked.
“We’re sure of it,” Kyle said. “He needs her if he’s to find the Dragon Knights. But Doctor Tyler will protect her.”
“That’s a point,â€ Jason Keefe was standing in the doorway. He still had a bandage around his head but otherwise looked much better. â€œWe could use you to finally track them while you’re here, if you’re willing. That would shut him down, on that front anyway.â€
“I- I’d need the pendant to do it,â€ Mela said.
“How long have you been there?â€ Kyle said simultaneously.
“Not long, I was on my way to the gym.â€
“Are you sure that’s wise?â€ Kyle eyed the bandage meaningfully.
“No, it isn’t!â€ Sarah said. She and Matthias had returned with Aunt Lori. â€œI told you to stay in bed!â€
“I’m fine, Sal!â€ Jason said. â€œThat dragon woman seems to have done a really good job.â€
“She did,â€ Sarah said. â€œBut she also said you should rest for a couple of days, and I concur.â€
He scowled at that, then nodded. â€œIf you insist. Will you at least get me up to date on what happened after I passed out? I gather you didn’t manage to rescue Andrew?â€
“No,â€ Matthias said sadly. â€œThat’s why I’m here, among other things.â€ He paused. â€œIs Caoilainn here? Did she tell you about Lyrrekka and what we found out while you were unconscious?”
Jason pulled a face. â€œYes and yes. I’m trying not to think about the latter. But what happened to stop you rescuing Andrew?â€
Matthias sighed and took a breath. â€œCould you call Caoilainn and Lucas… possibly young Ian as well? I might as well bring everyone up to speed at the same time. Especially since I want to borrow Lucas tomorrow if possible.â€
“That’s up to him, of course,â€ Sarah said. â€œBut I can’t imagine that he’ll say no.â€
“Of course I’ll come with you,â€ Lucas said after Matthias had finished. â€œIt certainly sounds like you might need my help. Do you have any idea at all what he’s planning to do here on Earth?â€
Matthias shook his head. â€œNo, but I’m certain it won’t be good.â€
“Well, that goes without saying.â€ He glanced over at Sarah. â€œSensing anything, Sal?â€
Sarah closed her eyes and a frown of concentration creased her forehead. â€œNo…â€ she hesitated. â€œWell no more than has been usual recently. I’ve been feeling that something terrible is going to happen for some time, but I don’t know what.â€
“Hmm…â€ Matthias frowned. â€œSonia has been sensing something as well. But even now she can’t pin it down. Something about the sky cracking or tearing â€“ whatever that means.â€
“Yes! That’s exactly what I’ve been seeing,â€ Sarah said. â€œI can’t make sense of it.â€
“Cracking?â€ Kyle said. â€œDidn’t Hannah say that thing which attached itself to her two years ago gave her visions of the sky cracking?â€
“She did,â€ Jason said. â€œSean said he kept dreaming the same thing.â€ He grimaced apologetically when Kyle flinched at the mention of Sean’s name. â€œHey, it wasn’t you who killed him. For all the Core told everyone you did.â€
“I know,â€ Kyle said. â€œBut it was my fault.â€ He shook his head. â€œI wish he was here. He’d be able to clarify this, I’m sure.â€
“Almost certainly,â€ Sarah agreed. â€œThat knack for clarifying precogs is one of the things that makes the Lavernes so dangerous to us.â€ Then she cocked her head at Matthias. â€œWhat about his mother? Is she still working for you?â€
“She is, but she’s at Adrian Laverne’s wedding this weekend. I’ll send her a message, but she might not be able to get away without it being noticed before Monday.â€
“Hopefully that will be soon enough,â€ Sarah said. â€œBut unless you’ve something else to tell us about the situation, I think it’s time we had that discussion about where you’ve been hiding Sonia.â€