Spy Glass Page 1

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CROUCHING IN THE DARKNESS OF THE CLOSET, I stilled as footsteps approached. My instincts screamed to run. I stared at the thin ribbon of light under the door, shadows of shoes paused. I silently urged them to walk away. All I wanted was one day of peace. One day. The knob turned. No luck. With a whoosh of fresh air, my hiding spot was exposed.

“For sand’s sake, Opal, what are you doing in there?” my mother asked.

I suppressed a sigh. The truth—hiding from her—wouldn’t help. “Looking for my boots?”

Her scowl deepened as she pushed back a lock of graying hair. “They’re on your feet.”

I straightened. “Oh…yes…well.”

“Come. There are a thousand things we need to do, and you’re wasting time.” She shooed me through my room and downstairs to the kitchen. “Sit and read me the guest list while I cook lunch.”

My gaze swept the long wooden table filled with paper, swatches of fabric, lace, sequins, sewing patterns and half-completed decorations—enough clutter to force us to eat in our formal dining room. I cursed my sister Mara under my breath. Before returning to work at the Magician’s Keep’s glass shop, Mara had asked our mother to plan her and Leif’s wedding, trusting her with everything. Smart girl. She remained a safe five-day journey away from Mother’s all-consuming new passion.

When I failed to sit at the table, she stabbed a spoon at the chair. “Guest list, Opal.”

“You’ve been over it a hundred times.”

“I want to be certain—”

“You haven’t missed anyone. It’s perfect. Stop worrying.”

She dried her hands on her apron. The stained white fabric covered her chest and long skirt. “Do you have something better to do? Did I interrupt your moping time?”

“I’m not moping.” My voice whined. Not a good sign.

“Resting, recuperating, moping, it’s all the same.” She hauled a kettle filled with water over to the glowing coals in the hearth.

“No it isn’t. A lot has happened—”

She pished at me. My own mother!

“Stop wallowing in the past. What’s done is done. Focus on the future. We only have one hundred and fifty-three days until the wedding! Then it’s only a matter of time for grandchildren and maybe you and Kade…?”

Yanking the chair out with a loud scrape, I plopped on it. I snatched the list from the pile and read names aloud as my mother continued to bustle about the kitchen. She had mentioned Kade almost every day since I’d arrived. Sixty-three days of missing him, dodging her questions and being drafted to help with preparations for an event two and a half seasons away. How could one woman be so irritating? For a second I wished for another family. A sensible one without all this…stuff, like the Bloodrose Clan, living in austere isolation.

“Opal, stop making that face.”

I glanced over the list, but her back was to me. Long strands of hair had sprung from the knot she had tied this morning. She rolled dough with quick efficiency.

“How did you know?”

“I’m your mother. I see all. Hear all. Know all.”

I laughed. “If that’s true, then why do you ask me so many questions?” Ha. Got her!

Her hands stilled. She turned to me. “Because you need to hear the answers.”

My father’s arrival saved me from a retort I didn’t have. He filled the room with his large frame. Even though most of his short hair had turned gray, he still looked young. My brother, Ahir, bounded in behind him. A mirror image of our father except Ahir’s thick black hair brushed his shoulders.

“Hey, mop top,” I said to Ahir.

“What’s up, peanut?” He smirked.

I used to tower over him, but now he was six inches taller than my own five-foot-seven-inch height.

Before I could throw another insult at him, he handed me an aqua-green glass vase. “New recipe. Look at the clarity. Sharp.”

I examined the glass in the sunlight. The cold crystal felt dead in my hands. No throb of potential. No song vibrated in my chest. Nothing. My glass magic was gone. Although painfully aware of my loss, a small part of me hoped to feel a spark every time I touched glass…only to be disappointed each time.

“Working with this melt is pure joy,” Ahir said. “Let’s go over to the factory, I’ll gather a slug for you to try.”

I gave him a tight smile, letting him know I saw through his blatant attempt to interest me in creating with glass again. But no magic equaled no passion. Before Yelena had uncovered my abilities, I hadn’t known about the magic. It had been masked by my desire to create. Now, the inert lump in my hand was just another reminder of my useless existence.

“I think I’ll go for a ride instead.” Returning the vase to Ahir, I left the kitchen. My mother’s protests about missing lunch followed me to the shed.

My family owned an eight-kiln glass factory, not horses. However, when I decided to stay for a while, my father cleaned out the shed, converting it into a temporary stable for Quartz. The small enclosure had room to hang my tack and saddle, and to give Quartz shelter from bad weather. Being a Sandseed horse, she preferred to graze in the Avibian Plains bordering our land.

No one would dare bother a Sandseed horse in the plains. I scanned the tall grasses. They swayed with the wind. The reds, yellows and oranges of the cooling season had faded into the gray and brown dullness of the cold season. I shivered, thinking of the miserable weather yet to come. Believe it or not, I had been anticipating this time of year. The fierce storms on the coast had abated. Kade planned to spend a few weeks with me, until the Commander of Ixia had invited him to demonstrate his Stormdancing powers, taming the killer blizzards blowing from the Northern Ice Sheet.

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