Spy Glass Page 122

“Save that speech for the Commander of Ixia. I know and you know and the horses know better.” And Reema and Teegan, but I wasn’t going to tell him. He’d try to recruit them to our team. And they were too young to decide if they should join or not.

“Before you start lecturing me, I have a present for you.” Valek handed me a spyglass.

“Is this—”

“No. Yours was crushed in the cave-in, but I thought you’d like a replacement.”

“Thanks.”

He waited.

I pulled the spyglass’s sections out and peered at Devlen through the barrel. “You’re right. I can see the future.”

“And?” Valek asked.

“And if you need our help for any future missions, just ask.”

“A package deal?”

“Yes,” Devlen answered.

“Good thing, I brought another.” With a dramatic flourish worthy of Janco, Valek presented a spyglass to Devlen. “Now you need to leave so I can finish our business with Galen.” Valek showed me one of the glass knives. “I thought it fitting.”

“It is.” I took the knife from Valek. “You once told me Galen was my problem and I should deal with him.”

“You’re not a killer, Opal,” he said.

Devlen agreed. “You’ll regret it.”

But they didn’t know what it felt like to be magically bound to another. To feel helpless. “This isn’t about murder. It’s about justice. We know the Sitian Council will discuss the situation until the subject is exhausted. Anything could happen during that time. They’re already backing away from charging Vasko.” He claimed Galen had engineered the blood magic test laboratory and he had no knowledge of it.

Fire flashed in Valek’s eyes. “Vasko’s due for a visit.”

“I’ll let you handle him, but Galen is mine.” I spun and sliced the sharp edge of the glass knife deep into Galen’s throat, drawing a line from ear to ear. Blood spurted. I watched until he died. No regret.

I paused on the doorstep. Was she still disappointed? Would she be upset over my delayed visit? Would she be able to accept all the changes in my life? So much had happened, she might be overwhelmed.

“Opal, the door is not going to open by itself. She’s your mother. How bad can it be?” Devlen asked.

Sweat dampened his tunic. The bright sun blazed. It was midafternoon in the middle of the hot season. The humid air felt hot enough to melt sand into glass. His skin had darkened as we traveled south, but our paler traveling companions hadn’t fared as well.

Grabbing Devlen’s hand for strength, I knocked and entered the kitchen, pulling him in with me. As expected, my mother prepared the evening meal for my father and brother. She gaped at me as if seeing a ghost. Considering that I hadn’t seen her since she learned I was alive, I shouldn’t be surprised.

I braced for recriminations or for her to ladle on the guilt for not rushing home as soon as possible. Instead, a smile lit her face and she ran to me.

“Opal!” She embraced me and held me like only a mother could.

All my worries dissipated, and any hard feelings between us had been forgiven and forgotten in an instant.

“Your letter asked us to wait. That you’d be visiting us at the start of the cooling season. Why didn’t you tell me you were coming sooner?” she asked. She finally noticed Devlen standing by my side. Stepping back, she clutched her hands to her chest. “And you brought a guest?”

“Yes. Mother, this is Devlen, my…” All moisture fled my mouth. My tongue refused to work.

“Her betrothed.” Devlen extended his hand.

Shocked, my mother stared at him for a moment. I fiddled with the ring on my finger, spinning it around and around.

And then my mother pulled it together and shook his hand. My emotions flipped from being terrified of her reaction to being impressed.

“Nice to meet you,” she said then addressed me. “Are you planning on staying with us for long?”

Time to drop my final surprise. “Yes. We hoped to visit for the rest of the season. All four of us. If that’s okay?”

My mother brightened. “Of course! You know me. I love a house full of friends and family.” She peered behind us. “For sand’s sake, Opal. Did you abandon them outside in the hot sun?” She tsked. “Where are your manners?”

“They’re giving the horses water,” I said.

Devlen offered to check on them.

When he left the kitchen, I said, “Before you fuss about not having enough to eat, I also brought plenty of food.”

“Thoughtful of you,” she said in a flat tone. “But you can’t bribe me. You will tell me everything, including what was so important at the Citadel that you had to go there first.”

I hung my head. “Yes, Mother.”

Devlen returned with Reema and Teegan in tow. The siblings hovered near the door, one shy and uncertain and the other getting a feel for the situation.

After a few seconds of silence, my mother grinned at the kids. “Come in, come in. Nothing to be afraid of in here. Unless you don’t like my cooking. Then you have to do the dishes!”

Teegan laughed. “I’ll never have to do the dishes.”

Reema stepped closer to her brother. She would be harder to win over. Spirals of blond curls hung down from a once-neat knot on top of her head. Being out in the sun had reddened her cheeks.

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