Spy Glass Page 36

By the time I met up with Nic and Eve at the Pig Pen, the evening rush had subsided.

“’Bout time,” Nic complained.

Eve plucked a horse hair from my cloak. “She’s been hanging out at the stables.” She peered at me. “What else have you been doing at nights?”

“Breaking and entering, petty theft, shoplifting and drunk and disorderly until I pass out,” I said. All true except the D and D, and I returned everything I stole.

“Funny,” Nic said, but he didn’t smile. “Maybe we should switch our schedule and start working nights. Sounds like quite the party.”

“I thought you did work nights,” I said.

“Not anymore.” Eve shook her head. “You’ve been distracted during our morning training. Nic gave you three good openings to slam him yesterday, but you missed them. Obviously you’re not paying as close attention at work as well. Councilor Moon has her own guards now. All trustworthy and with excellent records.” She swigged her ale. “We’re assuming your attention is focused on something more important. Your side project?”

“Sorry I’ve been distracted.”

“Should we be worried?” Nic asked.

“No. Everything’s progressing well.” I waved Ian over and ordered a meal. “What are you doing now? Patrolling the streets?”

“Sometimes,” Eve said. “Our unit tends to fill in where needed, depending on what’s going on.”

“Today we got to watch prisoners build a wall at HQ. Here’s to another thrilling day on the job.” Nic raised his mug as if making a toast. “One inmate actually tried to talk to me. Gasp.”

Despite the sarcasm, I sensed another current under Nic’s words. “What did he want?”

“He asked about you, Opal. Seemed concern about your welfare.”

Devlen. “That’s was nice,” I tried.

“Yeah, downright decent of him. Something you don’t see too often in convicted criminals.”

“Okay, Nic. Spit it out,” I ordered. “What’s really the matter?”

He bunched up his napkin and tossed it onto the bar. “I don’t like being kept out of the loop, and when I meet a prisoner who knows more than I do about someone who is supposed to be my friend, I get a little testy.”

“He does know more about me than you, Nic. Probably more than anyone except Kade.” And Valek. There was no hiding with Valek. Yelena may be the Soulfinder, but he was the Soulseer. “That prisoner was one of the men at Hubal.”

Nic looked surprised. “What’s he doing in Dawnwood? He should be at Wirral.”

“It’s complicated, but he redeemed himself in the end.”

“Is that why you’ve been visiting him?” Eve asked.

Alarmed, I asked, “Have you been following me?”

“No need.” A half smile played on her lips.

I groaned. “The gossip network strikes again. I forgot you have friends who work at Dawnwood.”

“And it upsets them when the Councilor’s assistant starts visiting a prisoner,” Nic added. “I suggest you stop.”

An unpalatable thought. “I can’t.”

“Why not?” Eve seemed curious, but Nic glared.

“He’s the only one who understands how it feels to suddenly be without magic.”

“We understand. We don’t have magic—”

“And you never did. It’s different, Nic.” I sighed. He didn’t quite comprehend. “Look at it this way. You’re a strong man. You can lift heavy things and swing that hunk of metal you call a sword with one hand. What if I took away your strength? You can’t carry a barrel of water on your shoulder or draw your sword to defend yourself. Who would you identify with? Your brother, who can still heft a casket of wine, or Eve, who never could, or me, who also lost it?”

The lines on his face smoothed. “All right. I see your point. I still feel like I’m out of the loop. Like one of those neighbors.”

My turn to be confused. “What neighbors?”

“The people who live next to a crazy psychopath and tell us, ‘He was such a good neighbor. Quiet. No trouble,’” Nic said in a high squeaky voice.

“How about if I promise to tell you about the bodies buried under my factory before security digs them up? Will that make you happy?”

“Ecstatic,” he deadpanned.

Eve changed the subject and we were soon laughing and joking. As the evening drew to a close, they walked me home.

“Are you watching prisoners tomorrow?” I asked.

“Sort of,” Eve said. “We’re escorting a trio from the Greenblade Clan from our holding cells to Wirral.”

“Best part is seeing them gape in horror when they realize what their future holds,” Nic said. “Some break down and bawl.”

“I’d cry, too,” I said as a chill zipped along my spine.

“Don’t feel too bad about those three. They discovered a way to extract the venom from Greenblade bees. They sold the poison to others. At first, the murders appeared to be accidents. Poor man, stung by a lethal bee.” He tsked.

“How did they catch them?” I asked.

“Greed and stupidity,” Eve said. “They sold the venom to anyone who could afford the price, without thought to where the murder would be committed. After the second bee sting in the middle of the city where there are no bees, the authorities became suspicious.”

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