Spy Glass Page 121

Fire Lady smell good.

Really?

Smell Changed Man.

Devlen’s image filled her mind.

Do you like him? I asked.

A series of her favorite things flashed, including Devlen.

Even before? When he was mean?

He needed herd. Our herd. Changed Man.

Interesting. I found a currycomb and groomed her. Just being with her helped me deal with those last days as Galen’s slave. I mulled over Quartz’s comments.

Who is in our herd? I asked.

Loving images floated one after another. Me, Devlen, Kade, Valek, Yelena, Irys, Ari, Janco, Nic, Eve, Leif, Mara, my parents, my brother, Heli, Ulrick, Fisk, Pazia, Quinn, Reema, Teegan and all the Sandseed horses.

Big herd, I said.

Good. She nudged my stomach with her nose. Make bigger. Plenty of room.

I laughed.

“I haven’t heard that sound in a long time,” Kade said from behind me.

Stormy Sea Man. Quartz turned to nuzzle his ear.

Stormy Sea? Who came up with that one?

Smell like rough sea. Offended, she flicked me with her tail.

Certain I would see anger and betrayal and pain all caused by me, I met Kade’s gaze with reluctance. His sad acceptance shot right to my heart and I bawled. Big racking sobs shook my entire body. A distant corner of my mind wondered, why now? I had stayed dry-eyed and stoic through the horrors of Galen, yet Kade’s understanding unhinged me.

He held me while I soaked his tunic. Eventually the sobs dwindled and the rock in my throat dissolved.

“I know I’m being unfair by coming here when you can’t talk,” Kade said.

I shook my head no. Pointing to my chest, I tried to tell him if anyone had been unfair it was me.

He held my hands so I couldn’t gesture. “Listen. Even before I found out about you and Devlen, I realized we couldn’t be together. Now brace yourself, I’m going to use a weather analogy.”

I groaned.

He quirked a smile. “You’re all energy and excitement and then you blow away. Being with you is like being on the coast, dancing in the storms. Breathless activity, followed by calm. I have that with my job.” He brushed my hair from my eyes. “After you sacrificed your magic I thought you would be content to stay uninvolved in Sitian affairs and be with me. But you rushed off, jumping right back into the maelstrom. I don’t have the energy to deal with storms on both fronts—pun intended. I need someone steadier.”

Tears ran down my face.

He hugged me. “And I’ll offer to render aid whenever needed because I know you wouldn’t ask. After all, I don’t want to miss out on all the fun.” He kissed my forehead and walked away.

Devlen hovered near the stable’s entrance and Kade paused next to him and said something. I held my breath, but Devlen nodded and Kade left.

When Devlen came closer, I raised my eyebrows, inviting him to explain. He peered at me in amazement. “I never dreamed you would forgive me. Would want to be with me.” He cupped my cheek, wiping away my tears with a thumb.

I covered his hand with mine, pressing it against my face.

“Kade asked me to be the voice of reason when you dash off into danger. Note he said when.”

Valek arrived to escort us to Galen. It had been a full day since Devlen injected my blood into him. They had chained him in one of the cottages. Quinn’s glass ball/null shield nearby. Valek had also gagged him so he couldn’t order me to free him.

A deep hatred consumed me when I saw him. I gripped the orb hard. Devlen stood behind me. He squeezed my shoulder in support. Quinn’s parents acted as witnesses. Since the revolt, Quinn’s father, Lane, had been unofficially voted as the new clan leader. According to Valek’s report, he planned for a more democratic society where everyone shared the work and the profits. Since Quinn was the only Bloodrose with magic, I had asked him to stay away from me just in case I accidentally grabbed his magic.

I started with Devlen, draining the blood magic from him. Then I nodded to Lane. He moved the null shield away from Galen. Without hesitation, I concentrated on the orb, siphoning our magic. Galen’s eyes widened in surprise. The steady ring of diamonds filling the orb sounded. Between the two of us, our power was considerable.

Controlling the pull of magic, I drew it all. Galen bucked and screamed. But for me, the burning sensation of the magic leaving felt purifying, cleaning Galen from my body and soul. The pings of diamonds slowed and I closed my eyes, reaching for the last bit. A heavy fabric of magic settled on my shoulders and I instinctively pulled it as well.

When no power remained, I opened my eyes. The effort had sapped my energy, but I stayed on my feet.

Able to speak for the first time in days, I said to Galen, “A good friend told me that criminals get caught because of greed and stupidity. Loophole number two, Galen. You ordered me not to siphon your magic, but not our magic. And you underestimated Walsh, who took steps to protect his family before he died.”

I turned away. Valek had taken Devlen’s place behind me. He pulled the fabric from my shoulders and the significance of its presence finally sank in. It was a null shield jacket. I glared at Valek.

“I thought it was worth a try. Did it work?” He gestured for Lane to approach.

Lane held Quinn’s glass ball. The null shield’s magic pushed me back. It did work. My immunity had returned. Damn it! I sputtered. “You… How… I don’t want magic!”

“Being immune isn’t magical. There’s no magic involved,” Valek said in a flat voice.

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