Spy Glass Page 52

“I guess we’ll need to experiment when we have some time.” Valek tapped the map. “First we need to find Finn. The three of us are going to split up, and search all the cities we can reach between here and Booruby.”

“Three? Booruby?”

“You need to go home to help your mother.” He slowed his words as my confusion continued. “And we’re going to meet you there for the wedding.”

“Mara!”

Valek laughed. “Even spies take time off for weddings.”

I groaned aloud. “I don’t have a gown or a date. I asked Kade. But he never replied, so I’m guessing it’s a no. How am I going to explain his absence to my mother?”

The humor dropped from his face and an emotion I’ve never seen on him replaced it. Guilt? Chagrin? Hard to tell with Valek.

He pulled a letter from his pocket. “Been meaning to give you this. It’s from Kade.”

14

I SNATCHED THE LETTER FROM HIS HAND. FOLDED multiple times, its worn edges looked as if it had been in his pocket for a while.

When I frowned at him, he said, “Er…it came a while ago. I didn’t want to distract you from your training.”

“You’re evil. Did you know that?”

“So I’ve been told.”

Instead of wrapping my hands around his neck, I left the kitchen to find a private place to read Kade’s letter. I returned to my room and sat on the edge of the bed. Unfolding the paper, I braced for anger, sarcasm, rejection or perhaps all three. He had the right to be upset. But there was no hint of any of them.

What melted my heart was his sadness. He wanted to understand why I ran off to Fulgor and why I asked him not to join me there, but he couldn’t. If I really wished for him to be at Mara and Leif’s wedding, I needed to explain my reasons in person. He would wait for me at his parents’ indigo farm until the heating season. Then he would be on the coast to harvest the storms blowing in from the sea.

Reading between the lines, I realized if I didn’t go, our relationship would be over. The thought of not being with Kade struck me like a hard slap to my cheek. It cleared my head. I didn’t want to lose him.

Calculating how long I had until the wedding, I rushed to gather my things. Twenty-five days until the nuptials. I needed ten days to reach the heart of Stormdancer lands, leaving me fifteen days to talk to Kade and arrive in Booruby with enough time to avoid giving my mother a heart attack. It would be close.

As I raced to pack my saddlebags, I wondered exactly what I would say to Kade. At least I had ten days to think it over.

After a hurried goodbye to Valek, Ari and Janco, I saddled Quartz and spurred her into a gallop. All the things I left undone in Fulgor would have to wait. I owed Nic and Eve an explanation. Councilor Moon should be informed about Wirral and her new assistant. Devlen… Unlike my feelings for Kade, confusion about him twisted inside me. I planned to unknot my emotions and sort it out on the way to Kade’s.

As I traveled around Fulgor, I sent a message to Nic and Eve. I assured them I was fine, informed them that Tama’s assistant worked for Finn and asked them to tell Devlen I was okay.

I discovered traveling by yourself for an extended period of time was lonely and it was easy to lapse into bouts of self-pity. Stopping at inns along the way, I listened to the gossip in the common room, hoping for some useful information. Perhaps even a clue to Finn’s location.

The major complaints centered on the Council’s inability to deal with the glass messenger crisis. I almost choked on my food when a man sitting nearby used the word crisis. They thought a Sitia-wide search for another glass magician should be launched and they grumbled over having to go back to the old way of doing things.

Good thing no one recognized me with my short, dirty blond hair or I would be worried for my safety. Janco’s comment about half of Sitia hating me replayed in my mind. And who hated me enough to pay so much for my blood? During the trip, I couldn’t name anyone. Well…anyone alive.

I also couldn’t prepare for what I needed to say to Kade. And I failed to decide about Devlen. Without them with me, I couldn’t make a connection. Logic said one thing, but being in their presence had a different effect. I hoped I would find the proper words.

After ten long days on the road, I found the lane to Kade’s parents’ farm. The two-story wooden house had been painted blue at one point. The roof sagged in the middle and rocking chairs filled a large wraparound porch.

Fields of indigo plants spread from the house on both sides, and what appeared to be a workshop or factory sat behind it. The place felt deserted, but as I guided Quartz to the porch, a woman stepped out.

Tall and lean, her resemblance to Kade was undeniable. She dried her hands on her apron, which covered a pair of dark brown pants. Her tan shirt was peppered with blue stains.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

I dismounted and approached. “I’m looking for Kade. You must be his mother. I’m Opal Cowan.” I smiled and held out my hand.

“Uh-huh.” She glanced at Quartz. “I see you have one of those fancy Sandseed horses, too. Something wrong with a dependable and hardworking Stormdance horse?” She didn’t wait for an answer. Hooking a thumb, she indicated the field to the right. “He’s out harvesting with his father.” Without another word, she returned to the house.

I lowered my hand, wondering what Kade had told her about me. Scanning the field, I saw no signs of Kade or his father, but the land rose in the distance and then dropped from sight. I mounted Quartz and patted her neck. Then I asked her to find Kade.

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