Spy Glass Page 33

Valek said, “And you’re right.”

I was right? I glanced up.

“It is too vital to send another in your place, but you lack the skills for this type of occupation. Being able to work undercover and hide your intentions and emotions doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just rush off and jump right in.” He snorted with amusement. “Well, you can and you did, but that’s the fastest way to blow your mission.”

“I recognized my inexperience and sent for help,” I said. Which brought us back to the beginning. “I wanted you to keep Finn occupied, while I talked to Ulrick.”

“A reasonable plan.”

“But?”

“Think about it in glassmaking terms. You’re given the task of producing a complicated sculpture for the Sitian Council Hall. It’s a difficult job and you’re going to need an assistant. Who would you rather have helping you? Your father or me?”

My father. Why? He had over thirty years of glassmaking experience, while Valek had spent one day playing with the glass. So who would Valek sneak around a maximum security prison with? One of his corp, like Janco, or me?

I mulled over his comments. His question about my commitment now made sense. I’d been pretending, playing dress up, and in the process sacrificed my magic and gotten Janco into trouble. In order to do it right, I needed to know things—things only Valek could teach me.

Valek watched me.

“Will you teach me?” I asked.

“You’re willing to give everything up?”

I swallowed, thinking of Kade. “Everything?”

“For now. The rest of your life is on hold.”

“How long?”

“Four months. Maybe less. You did pretty well so far, considering you’re a rookie.”

“Then, yes. I’m in one hundred percent.”

Valek smiled. “Good. First, send Kade a reply, asking him not to come.” He pointed at the unopened letter on the table.

I had forgotten about it. Sealed with wax, the message appeared to be secured.

Valek shrugged. “I was bored.”

“Second?”

“We’ll review your visit to Devlen, and decide what to ask him next.”

“And the rest of the time?”

“Spy training.” He grinned.

“You don’t really call it that, do you?”

“No.”

Kade’s sweet letter almost broke my resolve. He had planned to stop in Fulgor on his way back to his home in the Stormdance lands, spending the rest of the warming season with me. In my carefully worded reply, I asked him not to come. Instead, I told him I would meet up with him at the end of the warm season for Mara and Leif’s wedding in Booruby.

One half of me expected an angry reply, the other waited for him to show up on my doorstep.

Valek moved into my spare bedroom. We boarded up all the windows on the ground floor for security and privacy, and Valek converted a window on the ground floor into a hidden exit to the alley behind the building. He also rigged a way for us to descend from the second story.

“Always have alternate escape routes. The more, the merrier,” he had said.

He brought in various gadgets and weapons and equipment for training, filling the ground floor with them. He even ordered me to fire up a kiln and return to working with glass, insisting the effort of creating would enhance my training.

I asked Faith to begin interviewing new assistants for the Councilor. In the meantime, I continued to help Tama and I joined Nic and Eve every morning. Evenings I worked with Valek, sometimes late into the night.

After reviewing my conversation with Devlen, Valek sent me to Dawnwood for another chat. It was three weeks into the warming season and the late-afternoon sun warmed my shoulders. Fourteen days had passed since my previous visit. Even though Devlen worked on the construction site next to the training yard, I hadn’t talked to him.

And since Finn and his goons hadn’t shown up at all, my security escorts had stopped. Although I was quite sure Valek tailed me just in case.

A strange little sensation bubbled in my chest as I headed toward the prison. Expectation? Dread? Worry? None of them. It was more like pleasant anticipation. Oh joy.

Some experiences you just don’t get used to; being searched was one of them. After doing the entrance dance, a correctional officer led me to a visiting room. I jerked to a stop. No bars. A square table with two chairs had been placed in the center of the small room.

“Twenty minutes,” the CO said and left.

Surprised, I scanned the room. The bare white walls appeared to be solid. Except for the door on the opposite wall, nobody could see in. Devlen entered with Pellow a step behind.

Devlen sat at the table and Pellow remained by the door.

I pulled out the other seat and perched on the edge. “New room?”

“More trust,” he said. Devlen rested his arms on the table, leaning forward. “You look tired. You shouldn’t work so hard.”

“How do you know I haven’t been hitting the taverns at night?”

He flashed me a grin. “Give me a little credit. First, you’re not the type and second, I think you’ve been playing with Gressa’s toys. Have you fired up one of her, or more accurately, one of your kilns yet?”

Alarmed, I asked, “How did you know?”

“The construction workers like to gossip. A lot. Their incessant chatter is a nice diversion from the mindless labor.” Devlen waited for an answer.

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