Spy Glass Page 41

“Something wrong?” she asked.

“No, but I wanted to ask a favor.”

Eve grinned conspiratorially. “One you don’t want Nic to know about?”

“Exactly.” I summoned my courage and handed her a sealed letter. “If I don’t return from Hubal by midseason, can you deliver this to First Adviser Moon?”

She peered at the envelope. I had worded the letter with care just in case Eve or Nic decided to read it before giving it to Faith. If I was caught, then all of Fulgor would hear the news. However, if Finn discovered me first, I could become a permanent occupant of the prison without anyone the wiser. I hoped it would be my insurance.

“I wish you would trust us,” she finally said.

I gestured to the letter. “I am. And I trust you to do your jobs. I never wanted to compromise your positions on Fulgor’s security force. That’s not being a friend.”

“But we want to help you. We don’t mind breaking the rules for a good reason.”

“Eve, if it was critical to Sitia or was to protect the Councilor then I would have included you right from the start. This is a selfish mission, benefiting only myself. No reason to risk your jobs.”

She frowned and opened her mouth as if to argue, but snapped it closed and nodded. “You better be back by midseason,” she ordered.

I gave her a mock salute. “Yes, sir!”

Eve hurried to HQ. The empty yard matched the feeling in my chest. Last time I had gone on a mission by myself, I had gone about it the wrong way. This time I would do it right. My plan was based on strategy and planning with the best spy in Ixia and Sitia. I had confidence in my abilities. I hadn’t lied to Eve. I needed her and Nic to do their jobs.

So why couldn’t I be content? Why the worry? Why couldn’t I be like Valek and focus on the logic? No emotion needed. Perhaps it was my lack of experience or the personal nature of the mission.

I pushed those thoughts aside and waited for the construction crew. It didn’t take Devlen long to find me.

“You’re leaving,” he stated.

No surprise he could read my mood. As I had told Nic, he knew me inside and out. He reached. I stepped. Devlen wrapped me in his arms. Resting my head on his chest, I listened to his strong heartbeat.

“If you don’t return, I’ll come for you,” he said.

“Wait until the heating season. I have another plan in place, but it could fall through.”

“That’s alarming.”

I leaned back. “Alarming?”

“It’s the first time you agreed with me. You must be worried.”

“I’m being smart.”

“Good. When you find your blood, you’ll need me.”

And if I didn’t, I’d need him. No one else would understand.

He followed my thoughts. “I’ll be here. Regardless.” Then he kissed me. Devlen drew away, trailing his fingers along my arms.

Goose bumps raced along my skin, sending a shiver up my spine.

“Do you remember the pressure points?” he asked.

The pleasant tingle fled, replaced by a sudden wariness. “Why?”

A slight cringe creased his brow at my tone, but he gestured to his torso. “If you run into trouble, there is a point that you can reach when your hands are manacled behind your back.” Grabbing my hand, he placed my fingers on a spot near his waist. “If you jab here with two stiff fingers, the person’s stomach muscles will cramp bad enough to cause them to bend over in pain. It lasts a few seconds. Long enough to follow up with another strike or to run away.”

I moved my fingers, trying to memorize the location.

“It’s about two inches to the left of the belly button,” Devlen said. “Practice if you have time.”

“Thanks.”

He squeezed my hand. “I’m already missing you.” With a slight wave, he returned to the construction site.

Again no one appeared to notice except Pellow. Since Nic hadn’t lectured me about my illegal visits with Devlen, I assumed Pellow hadn’t been gossiping. I wondered why as I hurried home.

Quartz and I left for Hubal the next morning. Bright sunlight lit the countryside. The cool temperature was just right for Quartz. She stretched her muscles and jumped anything she could find, including a sleeping cow. The half day’s ride ended too soon as we approached the small town by early afternoon.

Slowing Quartz to a walk, we navigated the streets of downtown. I waited for my unpleasant memories to attack. The scars on my arms itched, but once I reached the Dolomite Inn, my mind filled with recollections of the generous innkeeper instead. He had endured the invasion of my family and friends for half a season, and had allowed my mother to take over his kitchen.

He greeted me with a wide smile and open arms. After Quartz was settled in the inn’s stables, I joined him in the common room. He looked the same. His bushy white eyebrows were the only hair above his big ears.

“There was such a to-do after you left,” he said. He flagged down one the servers. “Bring Miss Opal a bowl of our marble soup,” he ordered.

“Yes, Mister Paul,” she said.

“Marble soup?” I asked.

He chuckled. “The masons like it when I name dishes after the stones they carve. It brings in more customers and doesn’t cost me a thing!”

The waitress delivered a bowl filled with a steaming white liquid. The unmistakable scent of oysters reached me. I stirred the soup with a spoon and discovered long green strings. The soup resembled the white marble streaked with green veins that was mined in Hubal. Every government building in Sitia had been built with that particular marble.

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