Spy Glass Page 38

“No way. They’re all terrified of the warden.” I didn’t blame them. “We could transfer in from another prison. That would save us having to join the force in Fulgor and advance through to the elite unit.” And save years.

Valek suppressed a smile. “That might work. Although the paperwork would have to be forged. It will take a couple weeks to set it up.” He glanced at the windows. “It’s late. Maybe a better solution will come to us in the morning.”

When I woke the next day, no sudden insight into our dilemma occurred. I dressed in my training clothes and joined Nic and Eve for our morning session. I worked self-defense drills with Eve and sparred Nic.

“Damn, girl,” Nic said after I slipped past his block and scored a hit. “You’ve improved big-time, and I don’t think it’s because of us.”

“And you have more confidence about your fighting skills,” Eve added. She arched an eyebrow at me. “Night school?”

“I’ve been working with you for almost two seasons,” I said. “Give yourself some credit.”

They exchanged a look, and I braced for another round of questions.

But Nic shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. It’s working and I like seeing this part of you. Reminds me of the Opal from before.”

“Before when?” I asked.

Eve shot her partner a warning look, but he ignored her. “Before you lost your magic. When you came to Fulgor with fire in your eyes.”

“And it ended badly.”

“No it didn’t. No one died and you stopped a dangerous plot. I get that you have battle scars and need time to heal. I’m just glad you are finally moving past it. The fire is coming back.”

Eve and I stared at Nic in astonishment.

He reddened. “What? I do work in law enforcement. I know people.”

Smiling, Eve patted his shoulder. “We know. You’re just not usually so…eloquent about it.”

Nic preened as he and Eve filed into HQ with the other guards to report for duty. I remained in the yard. The construction crew arrived and buzzed around the half-completed extension. Masons laid bricks and the prisoners mixed mortar, delivering wheelbarrows full of the gray-colored mud.

The sun had burned off the cool morning fog. Devlen and a few others had pulled down the top of their prison jumpers and tied them around their waists. His skin had darkened from being outside, but pale scars on his back stood out.

I realized I knew nothing about his life before he became a Warper. Did he have siblings? What were his parents like? I hadn’t even seen him without a shirt. When his soul had occupied Ulrick’s body, I’d been intimate with him. But in his own body, he hadn’t tried to seduce me, just use me.

This confused my memories of being with who I thought had been Ulrick. Could I claim he raped me when I willingly slept with him? I thought he was Ulrick, but Devlen said he never pretended about his feelings toward me, even disguised as Ulrick. It had been his addiction to blood magic that had driven him to force me to search for his mentor.

Confused wasn’t a strong enough term for how I felt about him now. To avoid a headache, I returned my thoughts to the present. My gaze once again sought Devlen among the workers. He pushed the wheelbarrow around as if it was a toy, and he towered over most of the other prisoners. He had allowed his black hair to grow long. It reached past his shoulder blades.

I was about to go when Devlen caught me staring and smiled. Glancing around, he wheeled the barrow toward me. I scanned the COs, looking for his ever-present watchdog, but didn’t see Pellow’s broad shape.

“Opal, is something wrong?” he asked.

“No. Why would you think that?”

“You never stay after the soldiers leave for their shift. Did the Councilor give you the day off?”

“I wish.”

He waited.

“I’m just thinking. Something I’ve been working on isn’t panning out like I had hoped, and I need to figure another way.” I shrugged, trying to downplay my concern.

He wasn’t fooled by my act. Putting the wheelbarrow down, he stepped closer to me. “All I need to do is escape. Easy enough out here.” He gestured. No one paid us any attention. “I’ll let them catch me and they’ll transfer me to Wirral. I’ll get close to—”

“No.”

“I can help.”

“Ulrick won’t talk to you. I need to get inside.”

The shock on his face lasted a second before he grabbed my shoulders. He pulled me toward him so we were almost touching. “No, don’t. I won’t let you.” Real fear filled his eyes.

“You can’t—”

“I have heard horror stories about the conditions and the prisoners. The COs threaten us with it to keep us in line. No. I’ll go and force Ulrick to tell me. You know he’ll crack.”

I shook my head. “I need to go, Devlen.” When I realized he wasn’t backing down, I said, “I can handle myself.” And it was the truth. With Valek’s training, I had an edge.

He closed his eyes as if enduring a surge of pain, then pulled me into a hug. Startled, I froze for a moment before wrapping my arms around his bare torso. I inhaled his familiar scent—a mix of spice and sun. The same smell I remembered from when I had lain with him after… But he had been in Ulrick’s body then. Odd.

Devlen drew back to meet my gaze. “Promise me you’ll be careful?”

Prev Next