Spy Glass Page 22

Finn whistled. “Wow. You must be a good customer.” He nodded to a couple of people as we claimed the stools. I made sure to sit between Finn and Nic.

“Have you been here before?” I asked him.

“No, but I know a few of Fulgor’s security forces. All part of the job.”

Hoping Nic and Eve wouldn’t blow my cover by mentioning Kade, I introduced them to Finn. Nic sized him up and gave me a questioning look before Eve elbowed him in the ribs. If Finn noticed he didn’t react. Two bowls of stew appeared in front of us, and I turned Finn’s attention to Ian. When Finn made the connection between the brothers, I felt a strange sense of pride.

“Is he the reason you’ve missed four training sessions?” Nic asked me.

“I’ve been busy with work.”

“No excuses,” Nic said. “It’s too important. Does Kad—Ow!”

“Time to go,” Eve said, standing. She pulled Nic off the stool. “Nice meeting you, Finn. We’d love to stay and chat, but we’re on duty tonight. Opal, we’ll see you in the morning.” Her pointed gaze warned me she would question me thoroughly.

Eve hustled Nic out the door. Confusion creased his face, but he followed his partner.

Finn and I ate our stew. He pushed his empty bowl aside and drank his ale. “You’re right. It is the best in town.”

The food revived me, and cleared my mind. “It’s better than my mother’s, but don’t tell anyone I said that or she’ll disown me.”

“Your secret is safe with me. Although I could blackmail you with it.”

I smiled at his teasing tone. “You could try.”

“You never did answer my question.”

“Which one?”

“If you think you can beat me with those sais of yours?” He touched my arm, resting his warm fingers on my forearm. “Think about it. You did miss a few training sessions.”

“How much training have you had?” I asked.

“Ten years.”

I had gotten serious about improving my own skills only a year ago. “I doubt I could win a match against you.” Unless I cheated and used those pressure points Devlen had inadvertently taught me.

“You may surprise yourself. From what I hear, you’re rather resourceful.”

“What have you heard?”

“There wasn’t much information in the gossip loop, and you didn’t give me a whole lot, either.”

“I hardly know you.” Yet I didn’t pull my arm away.

“True. But you’re in a powerful position, working so close with the Councilor and the First Adviser.”

I couldn’t argue with him without telling him why I took the job. “And?”

“And I knew someone in security had to know something.” He leaned his elbow on the bar with a smug casualness.

“Who ratted me out?”

“Do you know a Captain Alden?” He gestured to the still-empty stools. “Your friends’ boss?”

“I’ve met him once or twice.” Nic and Eve had reported everything they witnessed in Hubal to him. Their report had lacked a few important details. “How do you know him?”

“Friend of a friend.”

“Are you proud of yourself?”

“Of course. Plus I feel better knowing you are with the Councilor, and I can tell the warden good things about you.”

“The warden asks you because…?”

“I know everyone in town.”

“You didn’t know Alden.”

“Miss Logical. I see you’re going to keep me on my toes. I didn’t know Alden personally, but if I passed him on the street, I could tell you his name, rank and his position on Fulgor’s security force.”

We talked about random things until I steered the conversation to the SMU and the hotshots.

Finn leaned close. “I know why you’re so interested in them.”

“You do?” My mouth felt dry, and I resisted the urge to gulp my ale.

“No one is escaping from the SMU, Opal. No one. Stop worrying. Those men who stole your magic won’t hurt you ever again.”

Covering my face with the mug of ale, I tipped it up and took a long drink. Did he know about the file on my desk? I decided to tone down my focus on the hotshots in Finn’s presence for now, and pretend he had guessed everything right.

I placed my hand over his and gave it a light squeeze. “Thanks.”

Our conversation returned to more mundane topics. When I couldn’t stifle a yawn, Finn stood. “Time to go. I have an early day tomorrow.”

“Me, too.” I grimaced. Nic would be extra hard on me and Eve would pepper me with questions. Ugh.

Finn grasped my hand when we reached the street. Our footsteps echoed along the empty road. I hadn’t realized how late it had gotten.

“The day after tomorrow is my day off,” he said. “Would you like to go riding with me?”

I hesitated. Quartz would love the exercise, and I hadn’t taken any time off since I arrived.

“There’s a pretty little waterfall in the forest north of the city,” he said.

“Sounds fun.” But guilt welled. I tried to rationalize my actions by reminding myself of my goal—finding my blood. If Finn’s feelings were hurt in the process then I would apologize and move on.

“Great. I’ll meet you at the inn’s stables after your morning training.”

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