The cave was hidden from plain sight behind a rockfall, making it a very good place for a lair. It is possible that the rockfall was not natural though, and was designed to hid it from prying eyes. The cave is ‘too smooth’ and is clearly not natural, which indicates that it was probably made by Oldtimers with their machines. Elspeth decides to send out a small, delicate probe to make sure she isn’t going to walk into a trap, and possibly have a few vital seconds to get away. Elspeth came upon a strange pool of multicoloured liquid, which she kept far away from, with good reason. The cave could well be under the Blacklands.
The cave opened out into a wide cavern that is strangely warm, and is lit by a strange orb, which we would know as some sort of lightbulb, but probably freaks Elspeth out. The cavern has three more different entrances that could lead anywhere, how will Elspeth know which way to go? The cavern contained a number of machines, one of which has clearly been tampered with, and is probably the Zebkrahn machine that Alexi and co were using. Elspeth felt someone is on the edges of her mental area (is that what you would call it, or would it be range?) and it is oddly familiar, though Alexi and co, and Rushton’s minds have never been felt before by Elspeth. Elspeth cannot use her powers to find Rushton, as it would surely set off the machine, she will have to find him herself, and then she will be able to contact him safely. Though she could run out of luck and Rushton’s mind could have a mental shield, and that would make things more complicated.
Elspeth took a lantern and headed down the nearest tunnel. Her light reflects off two eyes, and to her disgust it is a stuffed Guanette bird. I wonder if the Guanette bird correlates to any of our animals we have now (as they are rumoured to be from the Beforetime) or if they are some sort of new species. She proclaims her disgust for the find, and nearby she hears a noise. She finds someone is in a bed, and that someone is Cameo. Cameo is clearly distraught and tells Elspeth that she is in danger and that Alexi wants her. Surprisingly whatever they have done to Cameo has increased her abilities and she is able to hear Elspeth’s thoughts. But she was not strong enough to do what they wanted, instead she true dreamed that Elspeth, and Elspeth alone needs to complete a task. A task that relates to what Alexi is searching for, which is a map to Oldtime machines. These machines were the ones that created the Great White. Fortunately Alexi and co are not aware of the power and true nature of the machine, but still it is a grim future if they ever were to find it, or if anyone found the machine. Cameo begins to weaken, but tells Elspeth that she is the Seeker, and her destiny will always draw her to the machine. After that, her hand in Elspeth, she died. Elspeth cried, but terribly for her, they have found her.
Ariel is a sick person, and she could hear his cruel laughter, sending Elspeth into a deep rage and vowing that they will pay for Cameo and Selmar’s deaths. Fortunately, she could only hear them, they weren’t in the same cave, but are nearby. Elspeth returned to the main cavern, and found the next tunnel which should surely lead to Rushton. She gets so close to the group, that she can hear Madam Vega interrogate Rushton.
We learn that Rushton’s mother sent him to Obernewtyn, hoping that Michael Seraphim would recognise him as his son. Everything begins to fall into place, and we were told ages ago that Rushton had a half-brother, who is the current Doctor. Madam Vega is as sadistic as Ariel (nearly) and proclaims that she will enjoy killing him, but after he answers her questions. Rushton however has no plans to give in. Elspeth creeps closer to try to talk to Rushton, however Alexi is right behind her! Not only that she is knocked out by a blow. To be honest that would have been a great place to end the chapter, but the chapter isn’t over.
When Elspeth woke, Madam Vega was complaining to Alexi that he could have killed her with such a hard blow. Elspeth’s head is really taking a beating, first her fall and now a blow to the head, hopefully she hasn’t got much of a concussion. I wonder how blows to the head affect her powers? It appears that they are planning on using Elspeth to make Rushton talk, but Alexi isn’t interested in him, he wants the map! The three villains plan to find the weapon and use it to force the Council under their rule, and if they don’t succeed they will unleash its power, which would probably lead to everyone’s doom.
Alexi, Ariel and Madam Vega are as bad as each other, all are sadistic and power hungry, and I would not be surprised if they would quickly double cross each other. Only Alexi understands the machines, and Ariel seems to have forgotten he is still just a Misfit. Too late, Elspeth thinks about Louis’s instructions to stay outside and wait, now she had given herself to them and they were going to use her. Elspeth knows that she will be able to find out where the machine is if Marisa was thinking about it when she wrote her diaries, and she knows that she will be forced to do it.
Elspeth is back in the main cavern, and is strapped to the machine mentioned earlier and she can just see Rushton (the size of the caves seems to have changed because I thought he was hidden within one of the caves, but maybe I thought it was bigger than what it really is). She talks to Rushton, and he is surprised that she is alive. They can’t talk for too long, as Alexi returns with the diaries. Alexi knows that she can read Marisa’s mind when she was writing the diaries, as Selmar could do it, but they didn’t have the correct papers at the time. He gives her one warning, if she cooperates he won’t have to use the Zebkrahn machine, and she ‘will be free to go’ (that never happens does it?). Elspeth realises that she will be useless once she gives them what they want, and tells Alexi as much.
Alexi goes to the machine and starts it up. Elspeth wonders what sort of people would create such a machine, and I wonder that too. At first all Elspeth feels is a faint buzzing in her head, and if that is all the machine can do, she would be safe. Alexi seems to be more unhinged that all of them, and threatens to kill Ariel or anyone else if they annoy him further. Alexi increases the power, and the buzzing is louder, but still bearable, but it must get a lot worse, if Selmar and Cameo were psychologically damaged by it. Alexi hands the diaries to Elspeth, and she tries to block out the incoming thoughts from Marisa. Elspeth is able to withstand another increase in the power, it is yet to be painful, but Alexi will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
Elspeth tries to reach out to Rushton with her powers, and encounters a block like Jes, but she will find a weakness in it, and get in, even if it is painful for him. She breaks in, and an audible moan is heard from him, as his mind retreated inwards to ‘deal’ with Elspeth. Surprisingly Elspeth knew Rushton’s mind, it was the same as her rescuer who helped her escape from the machine. The thing is, Rushton has no farseeking abilities. He reveals that his friends worked together and were able to help. Elspeth quickly filled him in on all that had happened since they parted. It only took a moment, as she could use pictures instead of words (which would be really cool!).
The machine increased again in power, and Elspeth tried to leave, but Rushton keeps her where she is. Rushton allows Elspeth to draw on his strength to withstand the machine, even though he would feel what she felt. Ariel comments that it is taking too long, and the power increases dramatically. Even with Rushton, they won’t be able to withstand it forever. Alexi and Madam Vega realise that Rushton is helping her, and somehow Elspeth is able to do multiple things at once, and see Alexi in her face, withstand the machine and be in Rushton’s mind. It would be so strange to be able to do that. Alexi ups the stakes and tells Elspeth that he will kill Rushton unless she helps.
In that moment, Elspeth was no longer able to block out Marisa’s thoughts (I had forgotten that in the list) and saw that the map was on the front doors of Obernewtyn. Even worse, Elspeth was able to see the chasm in the ground where the machine was waiting. Elspeth pushes away from the thoughts, and Alexi continues to threaten Rushton’s life. A new voice was heard in Elspeth’s head, and tells her that ‘they are approaching’. I assume that is Louis and co, and I wonder what they can really do. Elspeth is in a tough situation as she just needs to delay them for a few more moments, as she cannot reveal the maps location to them, but they are just about to kill Rushton.
She could hear people running towards them, as the machine began to overheat and shoot out sparks. Madam Vega had raised her hand, and was ready to kill Rushton. Something inside Elspeth’s head came into action, and a power that she had not had before was at her fingertips. She now knew how Jes had killed the soliderguard, as she possesses the same power. The wild power surged through Elspeth, and she controlled it and sent it at Madam Vega, who crumpled. After such a large physical exhaustion, Elspeth drifted away into semi-consciousness then unconsciousness.
I wonder if her power has always been there, or if it just appeared at such a pivotal and stressful time where she needed it. What happens now, will the power always be there, can it be controlled enough to make everything strong, or is it really uncontrollable and will kill? How will Elspeth react knowing she KILLED someone? Even if it was someone as evil as Madam Vega she still killed her. What about Ariel and Alexi, what is going to happen to them, will they be killed in fighting, run away, be caught? What happens when they do catch them, because they would have to hold them prisoner forever, as they could never be released, as they would go to the Council and expose everyone. There is one more chapter, and I wonder how many of these questions will be answered.