Spy Glass Page 46

A slight hesitation. “And?”

“The Fulgor security force is worried they will demand certain prisoners to be released. The details are all here…” I stepped closer.

He reached for the paper and I pricked him with a dart.

“Hey!” Grabbing my arms, he dragged me toward him. “What did…?” He swayed.

I steadied him. “Sit down before you fall down.”

He plopped into the chair and slumped over the desk, sound asleep. I silently thanked Valek’s fast-acting sleeping juice. The last barrier between me and Ulrick remained. This would be difficult.

The steel gates into the SMU could only be opened from inside. I pounded on them. After a few moments, a small panel slid to the side.

A hotshot peered through the opening. “What?”

Relief that it wasn’t Finn or one of his goons spread through me as I pointed to the side. “Your man is sick, and he can’t go to the infirmary by himself. I’d take him for you, but he won’t leave his post unmanned.”

“What are you doing up here?”

“Delivering a message.” I held up my paper and explained about the Councilor.

“What’s the word?” he asked.

“Scratched.” One of the benefits of the silence rule in the Black Widows’ wing—learning today’s password.

The panel slid back into place. I crossed my fingers as my heart did calisthenics. A series of snaps and clicks sounded before the gate swung out. The hotshot nodded to another behind him and glanced at the sleeping man. He sighed. “Deggan, stay in the unit. I’ll cover until a replacement shows.” He cleared the threshold. “Let me see the message.”

When I handed the paper to him, I poked a dart into his hand. He flinched.

“Sorry, my ring must have—”

He turned away. “Deggan, lock down!” he yelled before collapsing onto the floor.

Damn. I jumped over him and rushed Deggan, who tried to close the gate. Tackling him to the ground, I jabbed his leg. Not the smoothest move, but it worked. He remained still. Another victim of Valek’s juice. Two darts left.

I tried to drag the men into the SMU wing to hide them, but they were too heavy. Plus the lack of time. Once my CO was discovered missing, escaping the prison would be impossible. Right now, I had a fifty-fifty chance.

The cells in this wing had no bars. They had solid metal walls, and steel doors with slots for food trays and a window like the one on the gate. Only a couple lanterns had been lit.

Hurrying through the wing, I counted cells. From various overheard conversations, Valek had determined Ulrick’s location. Although, considering his recent comment about being able to get into the prison, I wondered if he’d already been inside.

I skidded to a stop in front of number ten. Sliding back the cover on the window, I peered into the cell. Darkness spilled out between bars. I would have to trust Valek.

“Ulrick,” I whispered through the opening. Nothing. “Ulrick, it’s me, Opal,” I called louder.

A rustling sound reached me and Ulrick appeared. “Opal?”

He met my gaze and I gasped. Haggard, hollow-eyed and looking years older, he blinked at me without emotion. The fire gone from his green eyes.

“Nice try, Finn,” he said. “But you don’t even look like her.” He sighed. “Which means you lied about seeing her in Fulgor.” He turned away.

“Wait! It’s me. I’m disguised as a CO.”

Returning to the window, he said, “That’s a new one. At least you got the voice right.”

“Ask me something only I would know.”

“Nope. Not playing your games anymore, Finn.”

Frustrated, I peeled the putty from my face, yanking off the padding around my nose. “It’s me!”

He considered. “What are seeds?”

“Bubbles in the glass.”

“Too easy. What killed the leader of the Storm Thieves?”

“I did.”

An incredulous laugh burst from his lips. “It is you! Only Opal would blame herself and not the Greenblade bee for his death.” Then he sobered. “Why are you here? Did you come to gloat?”

“Of course not. I need information.”

His eyes narrowed. “Why would I tell you anything? You’re the reason I’m here.”

Sudden fury welled. “No, I’m not,” I snapped. “Your own selfish actions led you here.”

“You stole my magic!”

“It wasn’t all yours. Most of it was mine, and you left me with no other choice than to suck us both dry!” Anger burned through me and I didn’t care if I shouted. “Take responsibility for your own actions, Ulrick. Admit your mistakes and make amends.”

“Like Devlen? Don’t tell me he’s still conning you? How stupid can you be?”

“I’m smart enough to avoid the lure of blood magic. It made you greedy for power.” Nic’s comment about greed and stupidity being the downfall of many criminals replayed in my mind.

“You think you can resist blood magic? Overcome the addiction?” Ulrick asked.

“Of course. And I don’t have the time to argue with you. I need—”

“I know what you came for, Opal. What do I get in return?”

“I can appeal to Councilor Moon and the rest of the Sitian Council to not execute you.” My offer had an unexpected effect.

Instead of looking relieved, Ulrick blanched. “No deal. I’d rather die than be in this hell for the rest of my life.”

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