Spy Glass Page 12

“But who…”

“Will protect you?”

She nodded.

“Do you trust me?” I asked.

“Yes.”

I pulled in a deep breath. My plans to find my blood would have to wait. This was more important. I had to finish rescuing Tama first. “I will protect you. Hire me as your new assistant, and I’ll find you the right people.”

“But what about magic? It can influence anybody. Force them to do horrible things. And magicians can be corrupted by all that power. That magician downstairs has been spying on me.” She shuddered so hard her teacup rattled.

Which explained the paranoia I had sensed earlier. “We can ask Master Bloodgood to assign you another magician. One who can surround you with a null shield. Then you won’t have to worry about being spied on or attacked.”

“No. I don’t want anyone who has magic near me!”

I backed off. One problem at a time.

We summoned Faith and I outlined my plans to her. She glanced at Tama. A little color had returned to the Councilor’s face and she leaned forward, listening to my strategy.

“Did you check employment history before hiring the new staff?” I asked Faith.

“We didn’t have time. Everything was so chaotic.”

“First order of business is to reduce security. We’ll keep the best ones on staff.”

“How do you know who is trustworthy?” Tama asked.

“I don’t. But I trust two people who do.”

“Wow.” Nic whistled. “You went in search of a job as a correctional officer, and became the Councilor’s new assistant. How did you manage that?” He propped his elbows on the edge of my massive desk. He rested his square jaw on his hands.

We were in the Councilor’s reception area. I had claimed Dari’s work space and Nic and Eve sat opposite me.

“I impressed her with my amazing filing skills. I can alphabetize in seconds.” I snapped my fingers.

“In seconds? You’re my new hero.” Nic batted his eyelashes at me.

Eve punched him in the arm. “Knock it off.” She turned to me in concern. “What’s going on?”

Only a few people knew all the details of what had happened in Hubal. The whole city of Fulgor believed the Councilor had been under the influence of her sister. That Akako used magic to control Tama. Close enough.

I explained Tama’s fears.

It didn’t take Eve long to sort through the information. “What do you need from us?”

“The Councilor needs two bodyguards with her all the time. How many teammates do you have?”

“Our team has twelve. I’ll talk to Captain Alden about our short-term reassignment, and I’ll work up a watch schedule.”

Nic groaned. “Don’t put me on night shift or I’ll die of boredom.”

“What’s next?” Eve asked, ignoring her partner. Just like her fighting style, she didn’t waste energy or time.

“Weeding out the security staff. Can you do a little digging into their histories? Find out who’s trustworthy?”

“I can get rid of half of them for you right now,” Nic said. “When the Councilor returned, she wanted this place full of soldiers. We couldn’t provide the manpower, so they hired people with no training or previous experience just to have warm bodies here.”

“Great. Make me a list,” I said.

“Captain Alden can investigate the rest for you,” Eve said.

Nic tapped his finger on the chair’s arm. “I hope you realize you’re not going to be popular once word spreads.”

“I’m not here to make friends,” I said. “Besides, I’m temporary. Once we have the right people in place, we can all go back to normal.” Except, I didn’t know what normal would be. Since my sister Tula had been kidnapped and murdered over six years ago, nothing in my life had been normal.

Dari and the Councilor’s personal bodyguards were the first to go. Nic and Eve returned for the night shift and handed me a list of names.

“Good or bad?” I asked.

“The riffraff,” Nic said. “Can I give them the boot? I always wanted to be in charge.”

I scanned the names, but didn’t recognize any. “No. Faith Moon will handle that unpleasant task.” I glanced up from the paper. “Are you ready to be reacquainted with the Councilor?”

“I showered,” Nic said.

“Did you put on clean undergarments?” I asked.

“Yep. Got my best pair on. No holes. Do you think she’ll want to check?” He grinned with wolfish delight.

“Eve, I think you should do all the talking.”

“Yes, sir.”

I knocked and waited for Tama’s faint response before entering. The Councilor’s back was to us as she pulled employee files from a drawer, sorting them. Her office was long and thin. Narrow stained glass windows striped the side walls and stretched up to the ceiling two stories above our heads. The sitting area was near the door and across from an oval conference table. Opposite the entrance, her U-shaped desk faced a wide picture window.

The sunlight faded, reminding me of the need to light the lanterns. My stomach grumbled. I hadn’t eaten since this morning. When Tama reached a stopping point, she turned and faced us.

I introduced the soldiers, emphasizing their help in Hubal. Her stiff demeanor relaxed, and she smiled at them when I explained they would be guarding her tonight.

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