Will remembered what Tayna had told him, to be nice to them, but he wasn't in the mood. 'Give those back, Marinia,' he said coldly, gathering the others from his bed out of her reach.
'You're turning into quite the detective,' she said, 'so what's the theory? Figured out how to rescue them all yet?'
'That's none of your business,' he snapped, swiping the papers from her and locking them in his bedside cabinet. She looked surprised for a moment, then crossed her arms and watched him curiously.
'There's no need to have a tantrum, you know. I was just interested. My name's highlighted too, and so is my sister's. Seeing as it's all of our necks on the line, wouldn't you think it's fairer for you to share your findings?'
'If I was going to tell anybody,' he answered, standing tall in front of her, 'it would be Principal Paradam, not you.'
She whistled mockingly, 'tetchy, tetchy.' Will tried to move past her, but she purposely blocked his way, again when he moved to the right.
He sighed wearily, 'I have to get to class. Get out of my way.' She remained still this time, but when he moved, she laid a hand over his shoulder, her fingers tensed delicately. Will felt a strange feeling ripple through him, his body seemed to grow heavier, his feet unable to lift, planting him on the spot. How does she do that?
'You know,' she said, turning her head so that her voice curled around his ear, 'if we were friends, I might tell you what I know.'
His head jerked with surprise. 'What do you know?'
'None of your business,' she said, smiling and echoing his words.
'Marinia, if you know something, you have to tell me,' he said, demanding rather than pleading. 'I need to find my brother and sister. How would you feel if you were me, and it was Valda who'd been kidnapped?'
Her chest seized up in surprise, her eyes flashing with pain. Her grip tightened on his shoulder, and she sighed in resignation. 'There's a word going round that it's connected to the Northern Sanctuary. I don't know how, but whatever happened there, it might be a clue. I didn't tell you that though, remember.' She released him and Will literally felt as if there was a weight lifted. He was about to leave once more, before she added, 'and for the record,' she glanced at him with an unexpected emotion, anger, 'if I was you, I wouldn't have lost them in the first place.'
With that, she strolled across the dormitory, slipped her leather bag over one shoulder and headed down the stairs with alternating clicks of her heels.
I didn't lose them, Will told himself, it wasn't my fault...was it?
He met Tayna and Andrel in the dining room eagerly eating breakfast. He didn't tell them about what Marinia had told him, he was still mulling it over as he spread blackcurrant jam across his toast and took a satisfied bite. The Northern Sanctuary. He'd never found out what happened there, was he the only one who didn't know? Marinia herself didn't seem sure, though he remembered Tayna looking glum when they were looking at the photographs, wishing for something to change the subject. He considered asking her, but before long, they were heading out of the castle onto Grey Beach, awaiting the rise of the Water House.
The mood of the students was dreary, increased only with the news that morning that they would be getting their 'Safety with Seaweed' tests back. Erin had been caught out on lesson plans with the kappa incident, and with all underwater expeditions banned, some class slots had been left open, filled with dull dictation from the textbooks and tests that even she seemed to find pointless. The salt air in the Water House didn't help everybody's exhaustion, and had Erin not slammed down her books onto the desk upon her entrance, it was clear there would have been a clamour of snores only moments later.