Spy Glass Page 15

Wary, I asked, “What questions?”

“Why didn’t you tell Master Bloodgood about your immunity?”

He couldn’t use magic to determine if I lied, but he studied me with a strong intensity. Remembering what Valek had said about my poor acting skills, I kept as close to the truth as possible.

“At first, I hoped my powers would return after I healed. They didn’t. Now, since the Council and Bain are dealing with the consequences of the soon-to-be-extinct glass messengers, I wanted to keep a low profile until things settled to a point where I can tell Bain and he’ll be more receptive to figuring out a way my immunity can help Sitia.” I waited, hoping that last bit wasn’t too much.

“Why did you come looking for a job in Fulgor?” Zebb asked.

“Obviously, I can’t go to the Citadel and my hometown, Booruby, is filled with glass factories.” I lowered my gaze, not having to pretend to be upset. The hot sweet smell of molten glass fogged the streets, and the glint of sunlight from shops displaying glasswares pierced the air. It was impossible to avoid the reminders of what I had sacrificed.

“I have a few friends in Fulgor. It seemed like a good place to start,” I said.

He agreed to the truce, but also puffed out his chest and threatened to tell the Council about my immunity if I failed to keep him informed. I ignored his bluster. What concerned me more was I still didn’t know why Zebb failed to erect a null shield around Tama. Until then, I wouldn’t trust him.

Tama Moon’s confidence crept back over the next twenty days. We had weeded out the inexperienced guards and assembled a group of seasoned veterans with flawless service records. Nic’s team remained her personal bodyguards, but her distrust of magicians failed to abate despite my assurances and the lack of magic.

The taverns buzzed with general rumblings from the citizens over the mass firings of the guards, but otherwise their biggest concern was over why their Councilor hadn’t returned to the Citadel.

Sipping wine at the bar of the Pig Pen, I overheard bits of a conversation from a few people talking nearby.

“…they’re making resolutions without her.”

“…we need someone to speak for our clan.”

“First Akako and now this…maybe we should demand her resignation.”

“The Council could assign someone…”

“…they take forever to make a decision.”

When they turned to another subject, I stopped listening. Their accurate comment about the Sitian Council and the slow pace of decisions snagged on one of my own worries. What if the Council decided to execute Ulrick, Tricky and his goons before I had a chance to find out where they hid my blood? A slight risk, but still a possibility. Perhaps it was time to resume my own project.

I had planned to ask Tama to arrange a visit with Ulrick for me, but no visitors were allowed inside Wirral. And I couldn’t find any exceptions—like by order of the Councilor—to that rule. I needed an alternative plan.

“Faith, do you have a minute?” I asked from the threshold of her office.

“Sure, come in.”

Sunlight streamed in from the large glass windows behind her. I suppressed the memory of being here when Gressa had occupied the First Adviser’s position. Then I had been manacled and considered a criminal. Instead, I noted the lush carpet and rich furniture. Her office was as ornate as the Councilor’s, but smaller.

I settled into a comfortable chair in front of Faith’s desk. When she smiled at me, a prick of guilt jabbed me. Squashing all such feelings, I stayed pleasant as we exchanged small talk. Eventually, she asked what I needed.

“Tama has improved so much over the last twenty-five days, but she is still terrified of Zebb,” I said.

“That’s understandable,” Faith said.

“I know, but the townspeople are worried about her missing Council sessions and if she doesn’t return soon, there could be a call for her resignation.”

Faith tsked. “There are always naysayers out there. You can’t please everyone.”

“True, but I have an idea that might help.”

Her eyebrows arched as she waited for me to continue.

“I’m assuming her sister Akako and Gressa are in the maximum security prison?”

“Yes, they are both in the SMU along with those other men.”

“Do you know the correctional officers who work in the SMU?” I asked.

“Not personally. They’re a specially trained elite unit. In fact, there are only a handful of people allowed in the SMU.”

“Do the officers live there?” That seemed extreme.

“No.” She tapped her fingertips together. It was an unconscious habit that she displayed whenever the logic in a conversation didn’t quite add up; as if she could push all the illogical pieces together and build something she could understand. I’d spent more time with her than I realized. Tama had made an excellent choice when she appointed the practical and sensible Faith as her First Adviser.

“Do you have the names of those in the elite unit?” I asked.

“How is this related to Tama’s fear of Zebb?”

Time for a little creative reasoning. “We did background checks on all the guards in the Council Hall and Tama has relaxed. She’s afraid of a magical attack. So I thought if we did some digging into the backgrounds of the unit, she would feel better, knowing the men and women guarding those who know blood magic are trustworthy. I know I would sleep better with that information. And I think we should check into Zebb’s history, as well.”

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