Spy Glass Page 20

When she called for her guards to arrest me, I realized the magic must be influencing her. Zebb’s way of getting rid of me? Seemed complicated, but I could have underestimated him.

The two guards rushed over. Nic and Eve were off duty. Bad timing for me, but not for the magician. With panic building in my chest, I touched Tama’s wrist, hoping my immunity to magic would somehow cover her and break the spell. No luck.

She shrieked and yanked her arm back. The guards grabbed my shoulders, pulling me away. My mind raced through my five years of magical instruction at the Magician’s Keep, searching for something, anything that would help.

“Wait,” I said to the guards. “She’s being influenced by magic. If we don’t break it, it’ll be just like before when Akako took control of the clan.” They hesitated.

“Trust me.” I snagged an idea. “Don’t let go of me. Keep hold, but let’s walk in a circle around the Councilor. We don’t have to get close to her. She’ll be in no danger.”

“No. Arrest her for espionage and for attacking me,” Tama ordered.

“You’ve been guarding her for half a season. Something isn’t right. Trust yourselves,” I said.

“Once around and then down to the cells,” the guard on my left said.

“No tricks,” the other said.

Wedged between them, I stepped to the side, keeping the Councilor in front of me. I reviewed my plan. Magicians pulled threads of magic from the blanket of power surrounding the world. They aimed these strings of power at people or objects. Since the magic around Tama wasn’t from anyone in the room, I needed to find the direction of power. After that, it would be pure guesswork.

She glared at us as she turned to follow our progress. I hoped the magician wouldn’t spread his influence to the guards. In that case, I would be screwed.

Three-quarters of the way around, I started to worry. What if the magician was in the room above or below? And when did I decide it wasn’t Zebb?

After a few more steps, I entered a stream of magic. It pushed against my back. I stopped.

Confusion spread on her face. She reached toward me. “Opal? What…”

The magic moved and she jerked. “Get her out of here!” she yelled. “She’s a spy and should be locked up.”

“I blocked it for a moment,” I said. “You saw her change! I need to get closer.” I dragged the guards three feet and I stepped left and right, searching for the stream. Once again the magic slammed into my back.

The Councilor sagged into her desk chair. “Listen to Opal,” she said in a weak voice.

When the magic moved, I stayed with it. “Get Zebb,” I ordered the guards as I shrugged them off. “Hurry!”

I expected Tama to protest, but she pulled her knees to her chest and hugged them, making herself into a smaller target either by instinct or intelligence. It didn’t matter. By this time, I stood close to her and shielded her with my body.

The magical pressure increased and I used every bit of energy to keep from being flattened. Where was Zebb? Gasping for breath, I strained against the attack. My calf muscles burned with the effort. Sweat stung my eyes.

When the door banged, I yelled, “Null shield!” without bothering to see if it was Zebb.

Two things happened at once. The onslaught stopped, and Zebb’s magic pushed me away from Tama. I staggered and dropped to the floor, panting with relief.

“What the hell was that?” Zebb asked.

I let the guards explain. “This is exactly why I need to be near the Councilor at all times,” Zebb said. “I knew you’d endanger her.”

He continued to rant about her safety, but I tuned him out. I wondered again if the magician had been after her or me.

When I felt stronger, I climbed to my feet. “Zebb, shut up.” I resisted smirking when he listened to me. See? I could be mature. “Can you sense another magician nearby?”

“No, but I was on the first floor.”

“How about when you entered the room?”

He shook his head.

I sighed. “Help me out here. Where would a magician need to be to reach her?”

“It depends on how strong he is.”

I noted his pronoun choice. Habit or did he know more than he was telling me? “Can we narrow it down to inside or outside the building?” I asked in exasperation.

“Outside. No one with powers can get by me.”

Ignoring his boast, I asked, “Can you take a few guards out to search?”

He sneered. “I know you’re used to hanging out with the Master Magicians and the Soulfinder. They can walk the streets and sniff out any magicians. The rest of us can’t.”

“But you just said—”

“Line of sight. Everyone coming into the Council Hall has to pass by me. If I can reach their thoughts, they don’t have any power.”

I thought it through. “Then the magician who attacked the Councilor is stronger than average. He didn’t need line of sight.”

His lips parted in surprise. “But he would have to know she was in her office.”

We both turned to the picture window at the end of her office. Sunlight streamed through the large pane of glass. Tama had located her U-shaped desk close enough to it so she could enjoy the view while she worked.

I moved closer, looking outside. Her first-floor office was a mere twelve feet above the street. Below, townspeople strolled or hustled by either on horseback or on foot. Wagons bounced along the cobblestones. From this distance, I could see clearly. No one seemed interested in the window. No one lurked in the shadows. At least not now.

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