Maybe I’m looking at Lorien itself.

‘Two Loric and a Mogadorian,’ the entity says at last, its appraisal of us complete. Its voice is nothing like Eight’s used to be – it’s like a hundred voices speaking at once, all of them perfectly in tune. The flashing pools of energy where Eight’s eyes used to be linger on Adam again and the entity’s lips purse in curiosity. ‘Except not quite. You are something different. Something new.’

‘Uh, thank you?’ Adam replies, and takes another step backwards.

Marina clears her throat and steps closer to the well. There are tears in her eyes. Her hands extend out in front of her, like she wants to grab at the entity’s hand and make sure he’s real.

‘Eight? Is that you?’ Her voice is hard to hear over the rhythmic pulsing beneath the well.

The entity turns his gaze on Marina and frowns. ‘No. I am sorry, daughter. Your friend is gone.’

Marina’s shoulders heave with disappointment. The thing in Eight’s body reaches out to comfort her, but energy crackles between them and it ends up pulling back.

‘He is with me now,’ the entity says, soothingly. ‘He does me a great service, letting me speak through him. It has been a long time since I had a voice.’

‘Are you Lorien?’ I ask, at last finding my own voice. ‘Are you, like, the planet?’

The entity seems to consider my question. Through the thin fabric of Eight’s shirt, I can see his wound light up. It glows cobalt blue like the rest of him, his entire body filled up with the energy. It’s seeping out of him.

‘I was called that once, yes,’ the entity says, and waves its hand at the glowing carvings on the walls. ‘In other places, I was called other things. And now, on this planet, I will be called something new.’

‘You’re a god,’ Marina breathes.

‘No. I simply am.’

I shake my head. God or not, we need this thing’s help. We don’t have time for riddles. I’m suddenly really, really tired of cave drawings and prophecies and glowing people.

‘Do you know what’s happening?’ I ask Eight – Lorien – whatever it is. ‘The Mogadorians are invading.’

The entity’s eyes turn once again to Adam. ‘Not all of them, I see.’

Adam looks uncomfortable. The entity quickly turns away. It stares up at the ceiling and it’s as if those crackling eyes can see outside of the temple. Like it can see everything.

‘Yes. They are coming,’ the entity says, his echoing voice apparently bemused by the impending Mogadorian invasion. ‘Their leader has chased me for a very long time. Your Elders foresaw the fall of Lorien and chose to protect me. They hid me here in hopes that it would delay him.’

‘It didn’t go so hot,’ I reply. Marina elbows me.

The entity’s eyes slowly turn to the ceiling again. For a moment, a deep sadness passes across its face.

‘So many of my children gone forever,’ the entity muses. ‘I suppose you would be the Loric Elders now, if such a thing still exists.’

‘We’re Garde,’ I say, correcting this billion-year-old godlike energy force, because what the hell, we’ve come this far. ‘We’re here for your help.’

The entity actually chuckles. ‘It does not matter to me, daughter. Elders, Garde, Cêpan – these words are how the Loric chose to understand my gifts. It does not have to be that way here. It does not have to be any way.’ The entity pauses thoughtfully. ‘As for help, I do not know what I can offer, child.’

More confusion, more riddles. I didn’t think coming to the Sanctuary would go like Nine had joked – that we’d unleash some massive power that would wipe out all the Mogadorians. But I expected to find something that could help. Our friends could be dying right now in the first wave of a Mogadorian invasion, and I’m down here making small talk with an annoyingly mysterious immortal.

‘That’s not good enough,’ I say.

Frustrated, I take a step towards the entity. Energy crackles around me and I feel my hair stand up from static.

‘Six,’ Adam whispers, ‘be careful.’

I ignore him, raising my voice to yell at the all-powerful Lorien. ‘We’ve come far to awaken you! We’ve lost friends! You have to be able to do something. Or are you cool if Setrákus Ra just marches down here and destroys this planet? Kills everyone on it? You’re going to let that happen twice on your watch?’

The entity’s brow furrows. A crack opens in the skin on Eight’s forehead, and energy begins to spill forth. Marina covers her mouth but manages not to cry out. It’s like Eight’s body is hollow inside and the energy is gradually breaking it down.

‘I am sorry, daughter,’ Eight says to Marina. ‘This form cannot hold me for long.’

Then, the entity turns back to me. There’s no sign that my words have offended it, or had any effect at all. Its voice is as melodic and patient as ever.

‘I do not condone the senseless destruction of life,’ the entity explains. ‘But I do not choose fates. I do not judge. If it is the will of the universe that I cease to be, then I will cease. I exist merely to bestow my gifts upon those who are open to them.’

I spread my arms. ‘I’m open to them. Load me up. Give me enough Legacies to destroy Setrákus Ra and his fleet and I’ll leave your glowing ass alone.’

The entity smiles at me. More cracks form along the backs of Eight’s hands. The energy is escaping.