One thing I learned from my teachers was to think about surprising events after you are safe and have time to think about them. I whirled around, grabbed my parents by the arms and started to run, but soon realized that my mother wasn’t capable of running. She was too stunned to do more than stumble along, so I scooped her up in my arms, thankful that she was a small woman. My father might have been able to do it too, he was bigger than me, but all his time at the table writing his papers couldn’t compare to what I had been doing for the last near year (I don’t even want to count my time in that box).
My magic bolstered my strength and energy, but it didn’t tell me where to go. As soon as I was out of that room, I was hopelessly lost. My father, however, had no such problem.
As soon as we were in the hall, he took the lead. “This way,” he said, and waved me after him.
Up until now, I always thought of my father as some kind of a dorky nerd, but right now, I would have followed him into the gates of hell.
We rounded several corners and descended two flights of stairs before we went through a door leading outside. Dad led me around behind some other building and up to a small door located in a massive brick wall.
I put mother down while father searched for something. She was crying now, though she was trying not to make any noise with it. “Don’t you remember, Lloyd? Six bricks up and two over” (sniff). “It’s on the right hand side.”
He went to the appropriate spot and a brick slid sideways at his touch. He moved something inside the small hole and the door came ajar. He closed the brick and ushered us through the door.
We were just rounding a corner that would lead us down into the city when we came face to face with someone I wasn’t happy to see; it was the shadow we had acquired at the mining colony.
I didn’t take the time to analyze his reaction to finding me here. I drew my sword, and then pulled him helplessly forward into its point.
“Pip sent me,” he gasped hastily before my point pierced his skin.
I froze. “What did you say?”
“Pip sent me. He sent me to see if I could find some information about you. I didn’t expect to find you so soon and not out here. Please follow me. I’ll take you to him.” He spoke rapidly, obviously disconcerted by his present predicament. “He sent these.” He held up a large bag, but was unable to present it too far forward without risking his neck with a careless shifting of his weight.
“What is it?” I asked without moving. “Open the bag.”
He let the bag fall open and then reached inside to draw out a gray cloak. “There’s one for each of you.”
I let my hold on him slip and he took half a step back with a barely concealed sigh of relief. I took the cloak from him. It was just a cloak, but just to make sure, I remade it. No one noticed the act; careful watching wouldn’t have revealed it, but now it was a product of my creation and couldn’t be trapped with anything. I handed it to my father and held my hand out for another one. My sword was still trained on the man’s throat. I noticed that he wasn’t much older than me.
After I had changed the third one, the man wadded up the bag and stuffed it into the front of his shirt.
I sheathed my sword and waved for him to lead on, but before he could take a single step, I pulled him helplessly back into my reach. “You better not be playing a trick on me. Don’t think you’ll be able to escape if you are.”
“I’m not. Pip set me to following you back at the colony. I was backup, in case something went wrong.”
“He didn’t tell me.”
“You weren’t supposed to know I even existed.”
I pushed him forward. We needed to get away from here. We didn’t have time for discussion.