Spy Glass Page 5

We had traveled far enough into the plains to trigger the Sandseeds’ magical protection.

Valek studied me as the power swelled then died. I hadn’t decided what I should tell him, but it seemed my unconscious mind chose for me.

He waited. When the magic didn’t cause me to panic and insist we were lost, he asked, “Are you related to the Sandseed Clan?”

“Not yet.” Once Mara married Leif, a distant cousin to the Sandseeds, I would be connected to them if they considered marriage a legitimate relationship. Or perhaps not. In that case and with enough time, everyone in Sitia would be allowed to roam the plains at will. “I don’t think so.”

He chased the logic. “Do you have special permission to travel the plains?”

“Without Quartz, no.”

“I see.” His gaze turned inward. “Does the Sitian Council know?”

“Nope.”

Understanding flashed on his face. “Ah…the reason for Yelena’s request. Who else knows?”

“Zitora, Leif and Kade.”

“My advice, don’t tell the Council about your immunity. Instead, come work for me.”

3

WORK FOR VALEK? A COMPLETE SHOCK AND NOT A course of action I had ever considered. Stunned silence built, but I couldn’t form a coherent response. He remained serious and he seemed in no hurry for a reply.

My emotions thawed from surprised to flattered that he had asked me to be a part of his corp. Curious, I asked, “What would I do for you? Spy on Sitia?”

“No. That’s my job.” He grinned. “I would like you to protect the Commander from magical attacks when I’m away. And to help with any incidents that are tainted with magic.”

“That’s rather vague.”

He shrugged. “Dealing with magic is unpredictable, and each time it’s been an…education. It also doesn’t match my schedule, so magical problems tend to arrive when I’m out of town, leaving Ari and Janco to handle them.”

I laughed at Valek’s queasy grimace. Janco hated anything magical. I became his new best friend the minute I could no longer access the blanket of power that surrounded our world and gave magicians their abilities.

“Is the Commander attacked often?” I asked.

“No. He hasn’t been in years, but I still worry. And you know the old cliché. Better safe…”

Than sorry. A good motto. One I should heed more often. While Valek’s offer tempted me, I knew deep down in my heart my new immunity should benefit Sitia. My home. And despite my troubles with the Council, their goals to keep Sitia safe matched mine.

Valek watched me. “You’ve made a decision.”

“I’m honored for the invitation, but will have to decline.”

He nodded as if expecting my answer. “If you change your mind, let me know. There is no time limit.”

Good to know. “Thank you.”

“What are you going to do then?”

“Tell Master Bloodgood and see what he recommends.”

“He’ll inform the Council and it could go one of two ways,” Valek said. “They’ll debate for seasons or they’ll quickly figure out how useful you are and put you right to work. Either way—” mischief danced in his eyes “—I may request your special help from time to time. Through Liaison Yelena of course. Wouldn’t want to upset the Council…for your sake.”

“As in you’d gladly upset them for another reason?”

“Of course. I like it when they’re buzzing in concern and arguing with each other. Don’t tell Yelena that or I’ll be in trouble.” He winked.

“Don’t worry. I’ll keep it to myself.”

We turned around, heading back to the house. Halfway there, he asked, “Are you planning to tell your family and friends about your immunity?”

I considered. “I’d need to minimize the number of people who know in order to be more effective when I help the Council.”

“It’s a valid strategy, but as soon as you interact with a magician, he will learn of your immunity. Inevitably the word will spread. If you remain in Booruby, then you can probably keep your secret. Another thing to think about is, if you get sick or are injured, a healer can’t help you.” The downside.

Valek crossed his arms and drummed his fingers. “I would suggest you send me a message if you’re in really bad shape. If you can.”

“Why?”

“I’ll send a medic down to help you. They are quite competent in healing without magic. Your healers are useless if their magic doesn’t work.”

His comment drove a point home. Because the Commander had forbidden magic in Ixia, the Ixians studied medicine in a way my own people didn’t. I hadn’t fully contemplated my new situation. “What else should I be aware of?” I asked.

He scanned the horizon. The rolling terrain of the plains covered the landscape like a blanket. Quartz grazed, munching on the long stalks of grass. Every so often she would glance at us, but she remained on the hillock as if she sensed I didn’t need her.

“Frustration.” Valek finally answered my question. “Knowing magic is being aimed at me, but not knowing what type drives me crazy.”

“Why?”

“In a few situations, I didn’t know if a magician was trying to kill me, warn me off or trying to help. It’s important for deciding on my response. Sometimes it’s obvious what they’re attempting. If the person next to you suddenly freezes, it’s not hard to figure out. It’s when I’m alone that it’s harder. Another frustrating aspect is not being able to pick up where the magic is coming from. Unless the magician is in the room, I can’t determine a source. Perhaps you’ll have better luck.”

Prev Next