‘You’re tired,’ Setrákus Ra says, finally. ‘We will discuss it further once you’ve rested.’

Five nods and takes a cautious step around Setrákus Ra, as if he’s uncertain whether the Mogadorian overlord will actually let him pass. When Setrákus Ra doesn’t try to stop him, Five grunts and slouches his way towards the exit.

He makes it about halfway there before Setrákus Ra calls after him.

‘Where is the body?’ he asks, stopping Five in his tracks. ‘Where is the pendant?’

Five clears his throat, and I notice his hands start to shake, at least before he makes a conscious effort to steady himself. He turns back around to face Setrákus Ra, who is looking towards the open ship, obviously expecting something to be waiting for him.

‘What body?’ I ask, feeling a tightness in my chest. When they ignore me, I raise my voice higher. ‘What body? Whose pendant?’

‘Gone,’ Five says simply, answering Setrákus Ra.

‘I asked you a question, Five!’ I shout. ‘What bo –’

Without looking at me, Setrákus Ra waves a hand in my direction. My teeth click together as he telekinetically shuts my mouth. It’s like being slapped, and my cheeks grow hot with anger. Someone is dead, I know it. One of my friends is dead, and these two bastards are ignoring me.

‘Elaborate,’ Setrákus Ra growls at Five, and even in his handsome human form, I can tell his patience is beginning to wane.

Five sighs like this whole exchange is a waste of his time. ‘Commander Deltoch decided he would watch over the body personally, and I didn’t want to question his orders. I found Deltoch’s remains right before we left. The Garde must have snuck in and escaped with their friend.’

‘You were supposed to bring him to me,’ Setrákus Ra hisses, his eyes burning holes into Five. ‘Not Deltoch. You.’

‘I know,’ Five replies. ‘He wouldn’t listen when I told him those were your orders. At least he died for his insubordination.’

I watch a dark cloud pass over Setrákus Ra’s face, wheels turning behind his stolen blue eyes, as if he knows Five is playing him somehow, the rage building up. I feel his telekinetic grip on my jaw loosen. He’s distracted, now focused entirely on Five. Before he can say or do anything more, I step between the two of them, raising my voice a little higher. This time, they have to pay attention to me.

‘What body? Who are you talking about?’

Finally, Five’s good eye lands on me. ‘Eight. He’s dead.’

‘No,’ I say, the word practically a whisper as I try, too late, to stop myself from reacting. My knees feel weak, and Five’s impassive face becomes blurry as my eyes fill with tears.

‘Yes,’ Setrákus Ra chimes in, and all the rage has been drained from his voice, replaced by something more coiled and sinister – his tone showy and overly congenial. ‘Five here saw to that, didn’t you, my boy? All in the service of Mogadorian Progress.’

I take a step towards Five, my fists clenched. ‘You? You killed him?’

‘It was –’ For a moment, it looks like Five might deny it. But then he glances quickly at Setrákus Ra and simply nods. ‘Yes.’

Just like that, all my effort to show no emotion around Setrákus Ra slips away. I feel a scream building up inside me. I want to attack Five. I want to throw myself at him and tear him apart. I know that I wouldn’t stand a chance – I saw the way he handled himself in the Lecture Hall, the way he can turn his skin to metal or anything else he touches – but I’ll do as much damage as I can. I’ll break my hands on his metal skin if it means getting just one punch in.

Setrákus Ra puts his hand on my shoulder, stopping me.

‘I believe now would be an excellent time for that lesson we discussed,’ he says to me in that same phony tone.

‘A lesson in what?’ I spit, glaring at Five.

Five looks almost relieved that Setrákus Ra’s attention now seems focused on me. ‘May I be excused?’ he asks.

‘You may not,’ Setrákus Ra replies.

From next to one of the ships, Setrákus Ra grabs a cart covered in tools – wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers all made for servicing the Mogadorian ships, but not so different from the ones on Earth – and wheels it over next to us. He looks down at me and smiles.

‘Your Legacy, Ella, is called Dreynen. It gives you the ability to temporarily cancel the Legacy of another Garde,’ Setrákus Ra lectures, his hands clasped behind his back. ‘It was one of the rarest on Lorien.’

I wipe my forearm across my eyes and try to stand up a little straighter. I’m still glaring at Five, but my words are for Setrákus Ra. ‘Why are you telling me this now? I don’t care.’

‘It’s important to know one’s history,’ he replies, undeterred. ‘If you believe the Elders, Legacies arose from Lorien to suit the needs of Loric society. I wonder, then, what benefit is derived from a power only useful against other Garde?’

Five remains perfectly still, refusing to meet my eyes. Distracted by my anger, I forget to moderate my words, to keep it cool.

‘I don’t know,’ I snap sarcastically. ‘Maybe Lorien saw freaks like you two coming and knew someone would have to stop you.’

‘Ah,’ Setrákus Ra replies, his voice overloaded with professorial smugness, like I’ve stepped right into his trap. ‘But if that is the case, why did the Elders not select you to be among the young Garde saved? And, if Lorien does somehow shape Legacies to suit the needs of the Loric, why would it bestow Legacies to those ill suited to use them? The mere existence of Dreynen suggests a fallibility in Lorien that the Elders would seek to deny. It is chaos that needs to be tamed, not worshipped.’