Spy Glass Page 103

“And my job?” I asked.

“Until you’re mine, you can encase the black diamonds in glass and teach Quinn how to do it,” Galen said.

He opened the door to the back room. The floor was concrete instead of sand and the walls were covered with stones. A kiln and a variety of glassmaking equipment littered the room, which even had a chimney. Barrels of lime and soda ash had been stacked in the corner.

“Everything you need is here. Get started. I’ll be back later.” Galen paused next to Quinn and whispered something to the young magician before leaving.

I waited for Quinn to attack again. But after shooting me a venom-filled glare, he returned to his table. It was the first time in half a season that Galen wasn’t with me. The hard knot in my chest eased just a bit and knowing I’d have access to a kiln gave me a tiny crumb of hope. But I’d need allies. I approached Quinn.

“Go away,” Quinn said in a low growl. He kept his gaze on the diamond in his hand. “Or I might do something you’ll regret.”

“Then I’ll just add it to my list.”

He ignored me.

“I’m sorry for leaving you here, Quinn.”

He continued to stare at the stone, but I sensed a change in the way he held his shoulders. Wearing a loose tan tunic over white pants, Quinn blended in with the bamboo walls and fine white sand under his bare feet.

“It was a mistake. An oversight. An inexcusable laziness on our part. Pick one. I could list reasons…or rather excuses for why we walked away, but it doesn’t help you.” I drew in a breath, trying to organize my thoughts. “I will fix it. And I’m going to need your help.”

He leaned back as if lost in thought. I waited. Finally, he met my gaze. “You’re going to need a miracle.”

Progress. “They’ve been known to happen,” I said.

“Not here. Although many of our new family members think being invited here is a miracle when they first arrive. We entice them from the streets and homeless shelters with promises of food. We welcome them in, provide them with clothing and shelter. They’re happy until they learn the price of admission—working and obeying Walsh. Until they discover they can never leave.”

“One woman escaped with her children.”

“No she didn’t. They found and killed her.”

“But they didn’t find her children.”

His surprise only lasted a second. “Good for them. I hope they stay hidden.”

“Would Walsh kill the children?” Even with all his creepiness, he didn’t act the type.

“No. Just drag them back here, and force them to work magic for him.”

Like Quinn. “What does he hold over you?” I asked.

“My sisters’ lives.”

I swallowed a dry lump, and felt it land with a thud. “Tell me what’s going on.”

Anger flared. “You don’t know the havoc your little visit caused?”

“Sorry, no.”

He surged to his feet, and I moved so the table remained between us. Instead of attacking, he ran a hand through his messy hair as if to collect his thoughts. Dark smudges under his gray eyes gave him an older appearance. His muscular build must be a result of all those years swimming and diving for oysters.

Quinn pulled the chair farther out and pointed. “Sit down. This is quite a tale.”

Not wanting to upset him, I perched on the edge of the seat.

“Your glass magic fascinated Walsh,” Quinn said. “Since he knew I had an…affinity for glass, he asked me to make those glass messengers. I couldn’t. My magic sticks to the glass, but that’s it.”

“You make the cold glass!” I said.

A flash of pride. “Yeah.” But then he switched to sarcasm. “More money for the Bloodrose Clan. Yippee.” He kicked the sand. “At least it worked better than the sea glass. That didn’t go at all like I had hoped.”

The sea glass had been found by Heli and brought back to the Stormdancers’ cave. Infused with magic, the glass made everyone go crazy with desire. They had fought over the pieces until I figured it out and diffused the magic.

“Was the sea glass a message for help?” I asked.

“Yes, but I couldn’t control my power so it backfired.”

Heli had been right. She had said she was close to deciphering the code. Mixed emotions rolled through me. If she understood the plea for help, would she tell Kade? Or rush to the rescue on her own? Knowing Heli, she would come alone and get herself into trouble. At least she was busy with the storm season.

“The issue with the messengers was resolved, but Walsh’s fascination with the quirks of magic, his words not mine, continued. He decided to implement his breeding program to see what would happen.”

I asked Quinn why the clan obeyed Walsh. “You outnumber the guards and he’s the only one with magic.”

“A few have tried, but they’re caught and punished. The first offense is a beating and confinement, but after that they force you to watch them hurt someone you care about….” He shuddered. “Everyone’s terrified.”

Valek’s lessons in strategy bubbled in my mind. “A few people won’t work anyway. Everyone needs to be committed. If the entire clan attacks at a prearranged time, it would be hard to counter.” I tapped my leg. “You’ll need a leader. Someone to convince them and to organize them. You’ll need captains who could be in charge of different areas.”

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