Spy Glass Page 30

We finished out the practice time with a few self-defense moves, breaking a front choke hold, an arm grab and a rear choke hold. Even though I had broken these holds a thousand times, the response to an attack needed to be automatic, almost instinctual, and the only way to achieve that was by mind-numbing repetition.

Nic and Eve filed into HQ with the others to change and report for work. Since HQ was across the street from the Council Hall, they trusted me to arrive there without trouble.

I picked up my cloak. Instead of leaving, I ambled over to the construction site and stood to the side. At this point, there wasn’t much to see. Workers shoveled dirt into wheelbarrows which were dumped in a back corner of the training yard. Others strung ropes to mark future walls.

Bored, I turned to leave and a familiar voice called my name. I grabbed the handles of my new sais and spun around, stepping into a fighting stance.

My heart lurched when I met his blue-eyed gaze.

Devlen.

9

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” WE ASKED IN UNISON. He laughed. I didn’t.

“I thought you were in Wirral,” I said.

He set the wheelbarrow he had been pushing down. “I thought I would be, too, but they sent me to Dawnwood for five years.”

When I thought of all he had done while addicted to blood magic, five years wasn’t near enough. But after I had stolen his magic, he tried to make amends, claiming his obsession for power had driven him to do those vile deeds. He had saved Zitora’s life and helped in capturing Ulrick and Tricky. But still…

“Why are you here?” he asked.

The strong features of his face had haunted my nightmares. Just a glance at his powerful build and the scar on his neck had sent me into a panic. Those cold, killer eyes had burned into me despite the distance from him.

Yet, that same face smiled at me, pleased. Humor and kindness radiated from between those long eyelashes and softened his sharp nose. He had pulled his long black hair into a braid. Sudden warmth pulsed through me when I remembered his goodbye kiss.

I snapped back to reality. “I’m training with the guards, keeping in shape.”

“I meant here in Fulgor.”

I debated, and decided to tell him part of the truth. “I’m helping Councilor Moon.”

“As an Adviser?”

“No. Her assistant.”

I expected him to chuckle at my new job, but the humor dropped from his face. “You’re better than that, Opal. You should be—”

“What? I have no magic. The Council has no use for me.” My tone sounded harsher than I wanted. “I’m needed here.”

“The Councilors are idiots. Just because you have lost your magic doesn’t mean you are no longer valuable,” he said.

“I stole your magic and here you are, moving dirt.” I gestured to the full wheelbarrow.

“You see it as moving dirt. I see it as a worthy project. A way to help atone for my misdeeds.”

“Even after you’ve spent time in prison?”

“More so, because I would rather be here than sitting in my cell with nothing to do.”

I pished. Silver lining and all that nonsense—he could deceive himself. I preferred to look at my situation more realistically.

“Back to work, Devlen,” a big guard called as he hustled over.

“Come on, Pellow. She’s a friend,” Devlen said.

“You know the rules. Go on or I’ll report you.” He rested his hand on the hilt of his sword.

Devlen turned to me. “He’s all bluster, but I don’t want him to get into trouble.” He grabbed the handles of the wheelbarrow, then shot me a look I had never seen on his face before—vulnerable. “Visit me?”

Unable to speak, I nodded. He beamed and delivered his load of dirt to the growing pile.

“Ma’am, you’re not allowed to fraternize with the prisoners. It’s against the rules,” Pellow said.

I glanced at the guard. As tall as Devlen, his oversize muscles strained the seams of his uniform, but his doughy face contrasted with his solid build. I wondered if the Dawnwood COs had nicknames for their positions, as well. Would Pellow be called a babysitter?

A hardness in his gaze belied his pleasantness. “And it’s dangerous. We’re not in a controlled environment.”

“Is any environment truly controlled?” I asked him.

Pellow conceded the point. “Better to stay away altogether.”

Sound advice, yet as I moved through my day, my mind kept returning to Devlen. The shock of seeing him wore off by nightfall, and then I realized my stupidity. I could have questioned him about my blood. He had been with Tricky and Ulrick, he might know if they had saved a vial.

Guess I would visit him after all.

Not quite a strip search, but the female CO ran her hands all over my body—an unpleasant experience. I had already surrendered my weapons, and my identity had been verified. Dawnwood’s prison walls didn’t press down as hard on my shoulders as Wirral’s, and I could breathe in here. The brightness and cleanliness masked the buildings true purpose for a little while, but the double sets of solid doors still slammed with a tone of finality.

Visiting hours spanned late afternoon to early evening each day. After completing my tasks for the Councilor, I had practiced with Nic and Eve and walked home with them. I had waited until they were out of sight before heading to the prison.

Once through security, I was escorted into a visiting room. Iron bars separated the square space into two sections. On my side, an uncomfortable-looking chair faced the bars. But on the opposite side, a sturdy metal chair had been bolted to the floor.

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