Spy Glass Page 10

“After your sorry performance this afternoon, you should have a bodyguard until you get in shape,” Nic said. “I’m hoping your plans in Fulgor don’t involve any danger.” His comment sounded like a query.

My first instinct was to dodge the question, but I needed their help. Might as well take the direct approach. “Can you get me a job in the prison?”

They skidded to a stop and gaped at me. Eve recovered first. “If you’re worried about those men who hurt you, they’re in the SMU.”

“SMU?”

“Special Management Unit. In a place that is isolated from the regular prison population.”

“Good to know, but that’s not the reason,” I said.

“Then why?” she asked.

“To obtain information.”

“Wow,” Nic said. “That’s seriously vague.”

“I’d rather not give you details at this time, but it is important.”

Nic chewed on his lip. “You’re not going to do something illegal, are you? Like help a prisoner escape?”

“Of course not.”

“You’ll give us details later?” Eve asked.

Later could be years from now. “Yes. I promise. Will you help me?”

“Depends,” Nic said.

“On what?”

“Do you need a position at Wirral or Dawnwood?”

I hadn’t realized there were two in Fulgor. “What’s the difference?”

“Wirral is a maximum-security facility. Dawnwood is low-security.”

“Maximum-security.”

“We can’t help you,” Eve said.

“Why not?”

“We don’t have any contacts at Wirral. They recruit people straight from the academy and train them for another year.”

“Yeah, if you wanted a post at Dawnwood, we could pull some strings,” Nic said.

I tried to hide my disappointment. “Do you know anyone who has a friend at Wirral?”

Eve shook her head. We continued the rest of the way to the Second Chance in silence.

Before I could say good-night, Nic groaned and slapped himself on the forehead. “How could I forget?”

“Do you want a list or should I just summarize?” Eve quipped.

“Ha. Ha. We don’t have any connections to Wirral, but you do, Opal.”

“Me?”

“Damn. He’s right. I’m sure she would help you.”

“Who?” Partners could be so annoying!

“Councilor Moon.”

4

THE COUNCILOR’S HALL TEEMED WITH GUARDS. FOUR times as many as the last time I had been here. I couldn’t just sign in and find my own way. No. Instead, I had to surrender my sais and switchblade, endure being frisked and interrogated about my reasons for coming to the Hall. Then I was assigned an escort.

My companion was a friendlier version of the entrance soldiers. He didn’t carry the full complement of weapons around his waist. I guessed these half guards were an attempt to downplay the overwhelming tension that vibrated in the air. It didn’t work.

As I followed him across the black-and-white checkerboard tiles of the Hall’s lobby, my skin crawled with the feeling of many gazes watching my every move. Strident sounds echoed in the large open space. The ceiling with its grand glass chandelier hung ten stories above my head. On the opposite side of the lobby, an elaborate wooden staircase wound up the floors, giving access to the rest of the building where the Moon Clan’s administrative staff had offices and suites.

When we reached the bottom step, a bubble of magic engulfed us. My escort continued to climb the stairs, but I glanced around, looking for the magician. The press of power disappeared. Since no one caught my eye, I hurried to catch up.

Councilor Tama Moon’s office suite was located on the first floor. The long hallway to her elaborate double doors had been decorated with art from various clan members. I noticed all of Gressa’s glass pieces were gone. Not surprising. She had helped Akako take possession of Tama’s body. I wondered which prison Gressa had been sent to—Wirral or Dawnwood.

When we entered Tama’s expansive reception area, my escort said for the fifth time, “She won’t see you today, and it’s doubtful she’ll even let you make an appointment.”

The woman sitting behind the desk frowned and appeared to steel herself for an argument. Considering what had happened to her, I understood Tama’s precautions, but the whole atmosphere reeked of paranoia.

“She knows me, and if I have to wait a few days to see her, that’s fine,” I said.

However the heavy tread of boots behind me wasn’t fine. I turned and two wide guards tackled me to the floor. My breath whooshed out with the impact. In a heartbeat, they yanked off my cloak, pulled my arms back and manacled my wrists.

Voices yelled and confusion reigned for a moment. Jerked to my feet, I swayed as dizziness obscured my vision. A hot metallic taste filled my mouth. I probed teeth and lips with my tongue, seeking damage. A split lip so far.

The commotion drew Councilor Moon from her office.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

Good question.

“Zebb said she has a null shield,” the guy clutching my left arm said.

Why would they think—? Oh. The bubble of magic couldn’t sense anything from me, therefore I must be shielded.

Tama stepped closer. The men increased the pressure as if I would try to attack her. I almost laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation until I saw the strain in her face. Hollow cheeked and with dark smudges under her eyes, she gaped at me in fear.

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