Spy Glass Page 50

“The food’s fine. My companion needs to start explaining why I had to endure the whole prisoner experience when he was already one of the hotshots?”

“Think about it, Opal. You already know the answer,” Valek said from behind me. He and Ari joined us.

“Wonderful,” I muttered. “The gang’s all here.” I eyed Ari’s white-blond hair. He’d also ditched his disguise. “Won’t Devlen miss his buddy, Pellow?”

Ari shrugged. “He’s made friends with half the COs in the joint.”

I wanted to savor my foul mood, to let it ferment and turn into an all-out temper tantrum. But these men didn’t act without a plan and I should focus on the positive.

“Finn’s truth serum didn’t work, and Janco couldn’t get Ulrick to talk? So you needed me,” I said.

Valek nodded in encouragement.

“Why didn’t you tell me he was there?” I asked. No one answered, letting me puzzle it out on my own. I could have been captured and forced to expose Janco, ruining months of undercover work. Plus my actions in the prison might have been different if I knew Janco was there. Working under the impression I was on my own, I couldn’t relax or be lazy. I grudgingly agreed with his strategy.

As Ari ordered enough food to feed the whole table, I reviewed all that I had learned. I should have spotted Janco when I read through the hotshots’ files. Who else would escape from Wirral in record time? He even beat a magician.

After the server left an array of steaming plates, I said, “You had Janco in place before talking to me about my blood back in Booruby. Why?”

“They used blood magic,” Valek said. “And could again. I didn’t trust the Sitian Council to deal with them properly or in a timely manner.”

“You were going to assassinate them?” I gaped at Valek. “Until you found out about my blood, then decided not to.”

“It is always a good idea to wait and watch. Unless Yelena is around at the time of death, it’s hard to interrogate someone once he’s dead.”

I looked at Janco. He didn’t strike me as the assassin type. “Could you…?”

“No,” Valek answered for him. “That’s my job. He was there to gather information only.”

Which reminded me. “How did he manage to fool Finn? He’s a powerful magician.”

Janco pulled a necklace from under his shirt. A large round pendant hung from the chain. He took it off and handed it to me. The white circle was sticky with magic.

“Ivory?” I asked.

“No. Bone.” Janco looked queasy.

“Animal?”

His grimace answered my question. Not animal. Human. I set the pendant down carefully. “How?”

“Yelena found a…volunteer, willing to help disguise Janco’s real thoughts,” Valek said.

“A soul.” I swallowed. Yelena had channeled a person’s soul into the bone pendant. It was amazing and creepy at the same time.

“Lamar Krystal died in the line of duty,” Janco recited as if from memory. “A prisoner in Compton killed him with a shank. Yelena found him wandering in the shadow world unable to find peace.”

I studied my friend. Janco hated magic and yet he had lived with a soul near his heart for seasons.

“And the poor guy hasn’t found much peace hanging out with Janco,” Ari said, breaking the sober mood.

“If he’d been with you, he’d have been bored to death,” Janco countered.

“That’s impossible. He’s already dead,” Ari said.

“Souls can cease to exist, and therefore die,” Janco said.

Ari laughed. “That’s ridiculous.”

I tuned out their argument over dying souls. My thoughts returned to Valek’s earlier comment about assassination being his job. Even though the mission hadn’t gone as planned, Ulrick had revealed the location of my blood.

Cold fingers of realization touched me. There was no reason for Valek to wait any longer to go through with his original strategy to assassinate them.

I met Valek’s flat gaze. He’d watched me while I had sorted through the information.

“Wait. Please,” I said to him. My response surprised me.

He didn’t react. “By the time the Council decides to do the right thing, more damage could be done.”

“But—”

“We’ve shown the prison is easily infiltrated.”

“But—”

“The officers can be compromised.”

“But—”

“We were lucky Finn only desired your blood and didn’t want to learn how to perform blood magic. We won’t be so lucky next time.”

“It’s not your decision,” I shouted.

Ari and Janco ceased their bickering.

Unperturbed, Valek said, “I disagree.”

“Besides,” I said into the ensuing silence, “they’ll need to be incarcerated in glass like the Warpers from before. You’ll need Yelena.”

“No they don’t. They have no magic. The Warpers still had the magic they were born with. If you had discovered your siphoning powers back then, we wouldn’t have needed those glass prisons at all.”

I wilted. Valek’s argument made sense when viewed with cold logic, but on the emotional level, it was all wrong. Then horror swept through me.

“What about Devlen? Him, too?” I asked.

Valek glanced at Ari.

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