Spy Glass Page 48

When the distinct sound of a key shoved into a lock reached me, my heart jumped. I chanted the word relax in my mind, but I still froze with fear when the warden entered his office. His diatribe trailed off as he noticed me. The COs who had been enduring a dressing-down gasped.

For a moment we all just stared at each other. Then the officers moved toward me, splitting up to go around each side of the desk.

“Stop,” the warden ordered.

They halted mere feet from me. Furious glares promised I would pay dearly for my escape.

“Is this the prisoner you seek?” the warden asked.

“Yes, sir,” the guard on the left said.

“You’re certainly a bold one,” the warden said to me.

“I just did what you wanted, Grogan.”

He glowered, and I suppressed the urge to sink under the desk.

“Explain,” he ordered.

“You issued me a challenge to find anything wrong with your officers or prison. I sneaked in disguised as a prisoner and escaped. I’d say that qualifies as something wrong.”

“You didn’t fully escape,” he said.

“Doesn’t matter. You said anything.” I leaned back in his chair, exaggerating the motion. “Besides, if I wanted to leave, I could have ambushed you when you entered your office and used you to escape.”

He laughed. “Wouldn’t work. We all know our lives are forfeit if we’re taken hostage.”

I shrugged. “I still managed to get into the SMU before coming up here. And I found other problems.”

As I talked, color rushed into his face. “Get Finn. Now,” he ordered the COs. They bolted.

Not good. I swallowed. “Finn isn’t reliable. He’s been torturing the SMU prisoners.”

“He’s my right-hand man. I’m sure he can explain your allegations.”

I stood. “They’re not allegations. They’re facts.”

We glared at each other until one of the COs burst into the room, panting.

“He’s…gone, sir.” The guard motioned to me with his hand. “She was…in the wing…knocked every…one out.”

Lamar and Carrl entered behind the guards. The gas in the glass ball didn’t last near as long as the sleeping juice.

Grogan aimed his anger at them. Carrl blanched, but Lamar…Janco kept his face neutral. Although a spark of humor flashed in his eyes when he met my gaze.

“Where is Finn?” the warden asked them.

“She must have done something to him,” Carrl said.

“I’m impressed that you think I’m strong enough to move an unconscious man.”

“When we woke, sir. Finn was not among us,” Janco said. “I believe he was working here under false pretenses.”

And then it hit me. Finn had overheard Ulrick and knew where to find my blood. I caught Janco’s attention. He understood my sudden need to leave.

“Why wasn’t I informed?” Grogan bellowed.

“Truthfully, sir. Finn is scarier than you,” Janco said.

Carrl nodded in agreement, but he still appeared nervous. “Do you think he’s gone for good?”

“If not, he will be,” Grogan promised.

I edged toward the door.

“Should I escort our…guest out?” Janco asked.

“Not until you get details on how she managed this…” He swung his arm wide, indicating me and the room. “I want a full report on my desk in one hour.”

“Yes, sir,” Janco snapped.

He held my arm and we left. The warden’s loud orders to Carrl followed us until the door closed.

Janco and I raced down the stairs.

“Think you’ll have time for that report?” I asked.

“Doubtful. Too bad, I live to write reports.”

Unfortunately, we were stopped a few times by COs. Janco informed them the prisoner had been captured and to return to their regular duties. Even though I wore a CO uniform, a few squinted at me with suspicion, but Janco was a hotshot and therefore outranked them. Handy.

We reached the street and ran to the nearest stables.

“How long?” I asked.

“Finn has about an hour head start.”

Damn. We arrived at the stables and roused the owner, renting his two fastest horses. The man would have an interesting tale to tell.

As the horses chewed up the miles to Hubal, the sun rose. We didn’t slow when we reached the downtown. People scattered and cursed at us. The trip to Ulrick’s glass factory located in the woods passed in a blur. We rushed around the back of the building and dismounted. The sandpile had been removed, but evidence of where it had been remained along with more recent activity.

My world tilted and I sank to my knees. Dirt piled next to a fresh hole in the ground. My blood was gone.

Janco crouched near the hole. He scooped a handful of dirt and sniffed it. Scenting the wind as if he were a dog, he scanned the area. He put a finger to his lips and drew a dagger from his boot.

I jumped to my feet and followed him toward the abandoned factory. The back door was locked. Janco pointed and I popped the lock in a few seconds with my picks. Impressed, he raised his eyebrows. My speed had improved while working with Valek.

Turning the knob, I eased open the door. Janco rushed in without making a sound. I stayed right behind him. We stopped in the main area. Finn stood in the middle of the empty room with a sword in his right hand and a large glass bottle filled with a bright red liquid in his left. They had drained more blood than I thought. From the color, I knew the blood had been preserved by magic.

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