Spy Glass Page 34

“I just started.”

“Good. It’ll help you heal.”

“Are you going to turn all Story Weaver on me? If so, then I have other things to do.”

“No.”

“Thank fate.” I drew a breath. “I wanted to ask you about…Hubal.”

He stiffened for a second then relaxed. “Go on.”

I glanced at the CO, then met Devlen’s concerned gaze. “I was a…guest for a number of days, and I’d like to know if there were any…extras left.” Too cryptic?

A ridge of flesh puckered between his eyebrows as he tried to follow my hint.

“Since I donated so much…money to my host, I wonder if he spent it all or had some left over.” In other words, what had Tricky done with all my blood?

Understanding lit his face followed by chagrin. “Unfortunately our host didn’t trust me with his plans. He hadn’t since I left him behind in Thunder Valley. Remember?”

“I’ll never forget.” I had thought Tricky, Devlen and the others had been safely locked away when Devlen ambushed me. I rubbed my thighs. Scars from his sword still marked them and my upper arms.

Sadness pulled the corners of his mouth down. “And when he offered me some of your money and I declined, he became even more suspicious of my intentions.” He cupped his chin in his hand as he visited the past.

He would figure it out soon. That was the problem with asking him about my blood. Devlen claimed to be on my side. This would be a test.

Dropping his hand, he said with a sudden eagerness, “That is why you’re in Fulgor. If there’s money left over, you could—”

“Don’t say it.” The possibility of me regaining my magic was slim to none. No sense getting my hopes up for a tiny chance. “Besides, I may not have any legal right to it, and what if I start desiring more? That’s too high a price to pay.” Using my blood to gain power could have the same influence over me as blood magic.

“It’s a shame you don’t have any powerful friends to help you. One that has both magical and political influence would be ideal in this situation,” he teased.

I slapped the table. Yelena! She could monitor me and ensure I didn’t become addicted by pulling the blood from me if I did. But then I sobered. Since it was my own blood, would the magic work the same? Would I have to inject it into my skin or into my bloodstream?

Devlen rested his warm hand on my fingers. “See? I’m helping you. Maybe you won’t wait so long to visit me again.” He squeezed.

Fire sizzled up my arm. I jerked my hand away in surprise.

“Sorry,” he said, as Pellow stepped forward and yanked Devlen from the chair.

“Time’s up, Dev. You know the rules,” Pellow said. “No touching.”

Devlen resisted for a moment, looking at me in pain. “I thought you were no longer afraid of me.”

I shot to my feet. “I’m not. I…”

Pellow shoved Devlen through the door. The CO glanced at me over his shoulder. “The rules are to protect you, ma’am.”

The door slammed shut. My thoughts whirled as the skin on my right hand tingled. What the hell was that? He probably just hit one of those pressure points by accident. I dismissed it.

Since Devlen had no knowledge about the location of my blood, I had, at least, accomplished my task. No need to visit him anymore. I knocked on the other entrance and my CO escorted me from the prison.

On the way home, I felt out of sorts and not happy with the way our session had ended. I wanted to reassure him. Me? Reassure Devlen? I almost laughed out loud, except another part of my brain planned to visit him again.

Unfortunately, time was a precious commodity. I kept my daily routine so I didn’t draw suspicion, but Valek kept me busy every spare minute.

He taught me about balance. We performed endless numbers of hand-eye coordination drills. He hounded me about my reflexes until I reacted to the slightest movement. I learned how to use a blowpipe, how to pick complex locks and how to climb walls, repeating exercises to a point where they ran together and my muscles shook with fatigue.

I discovered this type of clandestine operation involved the tools of an assassin. Poisons, Curare and drugs like the one Finn had used on me. The goal was to enter and leave without being seen. Too bulky and heavy, my sais would be left behind. Instead, I practiced my aim with throwing knives and darts. Valek drilled me in knife fighting. I added a dagger to my arsenal, since a longer blade would be impractical.

We discussed strategy and tactics until my throat burned. Then he led me into the streets where I learned the language of the lie—the slight glance down, the tension in the lips, the tiny shrug of the shoulders, the hand that tapped nervously against a belt. Body language, verbal cues, and clues—I struggled to keep from laughing when the lies were so clear. Everything I learned to spot, I learned to hide.

During our early forays into secured buildings, my nerves buzzed with excitement and fear. My heart performed acrobatics in my chest. But repetition was the key. Eventually, my body stilled and I could think and strategize without panicking.

A few skills were harder to perfect, and after a particular frustrating session trying to lie convincingly to him, I asked Valek why he bothered with me.

“Don’t you miss Yelena? Don’t you have better things to do?” I asked. I could think of a million other tasks I’d rather do. First I would find Kade. It had been four weeks, and he hadn’t replied or arrived in Fulgor. I worried about him and about his reaction to my message.

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