Spy Glass Page 3

My father poured drinks and everyone settled in for a cozy chat. I listened to the small talk in amazement. Valek’s infamous reputation didn’t seem to bother anyone but me. And I should know better. Why would the Commander order my assassination when it was well-known my glass magic was gone? Unless he knew about my immunity? Only one other person in the world could make the same claim. And he sat next to me, sipping my uncle’s cognac.

But Yelena had promised not to tell anyone about my protection. Besides Kade, Zitora and Leif, no one else knew. Not my parents or siblings or friends. Not Valek. I trusted Yelena. Then why was he here? No idea. I would have to wait.

An eternity later, my mother finally stopped offering Valek our guest room when he promised to return the next day to tour the factory. I escorted him outside and down the lane to the gate.

“Spill,” I ordered.

Amusement flashed in his blue eyes as a smile quirked, softening the sharp features of his face. His pale skin almost glowed in the moonlight, an obvious contrast to the mostly darker-skinned Sitians, including me. Wearing a nondescript short gray cloak and black pants, he didn’t quite blend in, but he didn’t stand out, either. I gathered from his lack of disguise he wasn’t working undercover.

Valek scanned the empty street before he answered. “Yelena sent me to help you.”

“Help me with what?”

“No idea. All she said was you needed help. Are you on a mission for the Council?”

I laughed. “No. Unless you consider wedding planning an act of espionage.”

“Hmm… My napkin folding skills are renowned. I can make a swan in seconds.”

“Don’t tell my mother or you’ll be folding napkins for days.”

“Days?” Valek’s left eyebrow rose.

“The guest list is up to five hundred names with more being added hourly.”

“Sounds like quite the party. However it’s not the reason Yelena sent me.”

I suspected why, but wanted to make sure. “What were her exact words?”

“She said, ‘Opal needs your help.’”

“That’s it?”

He nodded.

“You’ve traveled all this way without asking her for more details?”

“Of course.” His tone implied I lacked intelligence for asking such a question.

So sweet. He had absolute faith in his heart mate.

When the silence lengthened, he asked, “Does this have anything to do with losing your magic?”

I suppressed my immediate annoyance over the word “losing.” Why did everyone insist on using that word? Losing something implied a potential to find it again. Same with “lost.” So sorry you lost your magic, Opal. As if all I needed to do was search for it. No. It was gone. Never to return. Unless I used blood magic and that I wouldn’t do. Besides being illegal, it was far better to be without power than be addicted to it. Than to kill for it.

“Opal?”

Valek’s voice snapped me back to the problem at hand. Yelena sent him for a reason. She hadn’t shared my secret with him, but she thought I should. “I need some time. Can we talk tomorrow?”

“Of course.” He bade me a good-night and disappeared into the shadows.

My night was far from restful. The decision to inform the Sitian Council about my immunity to magic flipped from yes to no and back again. My past dealings with the Council were rocky at best. Magicians who graduated from the Keep usually worked for the Council, but I had broken that tradition by going out on my own. This wouldn’t have been too big a problem, except I took my glass messengers with me.

The glass messengers that allowed magicians to communicate with each other over great distances in an instant. The glass messengers I no longer had the power to create, rendering a whole network of relay stations obsolete.

My new immunity could benefit the Council if they trusted me and if I trusted them. Big if. My tendency to keep certain abilities to myself had caused major trouble, resulting in the retirement of Master Magician Zitora Cowan, which left the Council with only two Master Magicians and the eleven elected members. One for each clan in Sitia.

The best course of action would be to stay far away from the Council. But what would I do? No glass magic and no desire to craft vases, bowls and tumblers. Planning Mara and Leif’s wedding for the next two and a half seasons would be torture. And I would know, having had personal experience with torture.

I had to face it. I couldn’t make this decision alone. Yelena had already figured it out, but why didn’t she come to help me? She was the liaison between Ixia and Sitia—a neutral third party and my friend. Instead, she sent Valek. The most dangerous man in the world.

A strange notion popped into my head. Was I the most dangerous woman in the world? I laughed. My few past attempts at stealth had mixed results—almost caught and almost killed. Not an impressive track record.

By morning, no sudden insight had flashed. Guess I would rely on my instincts. A truly terrifying prospect.

Valek arrived on time and was the perfect gentleman as my father showed him the factory and his laboratory. The half-completed experiments in the lab fascinated Valek. He asked many questions, and, by the end of the tour, Father helped Valek gather a slug of molten glass to play with. Wielding the metal tweezers in competent fingers, Valek shaped the slug into a lifelike daisy. I had forgotten Valek’s sculpting skills with rocks.

Blue eyes lit with enthusiasm, he said, “Opal, you never told me how extraordinary glass is.”

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