Spy Glass Page 53

Since she was a fancy Sandseed horse, she had no trouble understanding me and finding Kade by his smell. He hunched over a tall green plant, cutting leaves off. His shirt lay on the ground in a heap and sweat shone on his back. His skin had tanned in the sun to a deep golden color.

Another nice perk with a fancy Sandseed horse, she didn’t make any noise when walking on dirt so neither Kade nor his father heard us approach.

I hesitated to call to him. After his mother’s cold reception, I worried he would frown or ignore me. But Quartz wasn’t shy. She neighed a loud hello. Both men stopped and turned around in surprise. I held my breath as Kade squinted into the sunlight in confusion. I tugged at the short strands of my hair. Would he even recognize me?

Moonlight whinnied and ran up to us, happy to see Quartz. I dismounted and removed her saddle so she could spend time with the big black horse—another Sandseed.

And then Kade smiled. My world brightened and I didn’t hesitate this time, rushing to him. He pressed me to his chest for a moment, then tried to pry me off, claiming his sweat would stain my shirt, but I clung a little longer, breathing in his scent. Even this far inland he smelled like the sea.

“I’m guessing this is Opal,” his father said.

I finally stepped away to greet Kade’s father. Shorter than Kade, he had a full beard streaked with white, and a mess of white hair that fell to his shoulders. His stocky build was the opposite of his son’s thinner frame.

Kade said, “Opal, meet my father, Igarian.”

“Call me Ink.” He shook my hand. “Everyone else does.”

“Why?” I asked.

He swept a hand out, indicating the plants. “Because of my job.”

Kade coughed. “He’s being modest. He’s known for the quality of his indigo. Most of his fellow farmers claim he has ink in his veins instead of blood.”

Ink dismissed Kade’s comments. “My boy likes to exaggerate. It’s easy to raise indigo when it always rains just when the soil dries out.” He beamed at Kade with a proud smile. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get these leaves into the shed.”

When Kade moved to help, Ink shooed him away. “I can do it, boy. Spend some time with your friend. Give her a tour of the farm.” Ink whistled for Moonlight. The horse trotted over and let him hitch the cart full of leaves onto his harness.

My opinion of Ink rose. Moonlight liked so few people. He drove the Keep’s Stable Master crazy by refusing all the students. So far, he tolerated Janco and Ulrick, before Ulrick became addicted to blood magic. And, I realized Devlen had also been able to ride him when his soul was in Ulrick’s body. I wondered if Moonlight would let Devlen ride him now.

Quartz followed Moonlight as he headed back toward the house. I watched her until she was gone from view. Without Ink and the horses, an awkward silence formed between us.

“I didn’t think you’d come,” Kade said.

“I would have come sooner…” Would I? “Your letter was…delayed.”

He wiped his brow with a rag and shrugged his shirt on. “Delayed how?” he asked.

“It’s a long, complicated story.”

“Will it explain your hair?”

“Yes.”

“Then we’ll take the extended tour.” A hint of a smile quirked and humor flashed in his amber-colored eyes.

Relieved by his reception, I returned his smile. The sunlight glinted from the gold and red highlights in his brown hair. It had grown long enough to be pulled into a ponytail.

As we walked through the indigo fields, I told Kade of my adventures in Fulgor and at the prison, including Valek’s and Janco’s involvement and about visiting Devlen, but not about kissing Devlen.

Kade had remained silent during the whole story. “Opal, why do you want to reclaim your magic? It has given you nothing but trouble.”

He had a point. “I’m lost without it,” I admitted. “I feel useless.”

“Your immunity—”

“Is worthless.”

“Only this Finn knows. And besides, don’t you think you’ve done enough? You almost died and those who know how to use blood magic are gone.” He took my hand in his. “After Mara’s wedding, stay with me. Come to the coast and make orbs with Helen. We’ll take long walks on the beach. I know a few isolated coves.”

Tempting. “What about Finn?”

“Let Valek and his people hunt him down.”

“I can’t. I need to be involved. At least until I know if I can either reclaim my magic or not.”

“And then?”

“I don’t know,” I said. Seeing the pain in his eyes, I stopped and faced him. “You said I came into your life like a hot season squall. Do you really think I’d be content to take long walks on the beach?”

“If we are to be together, Opal, I want to be with you, spending as much time with you as possible.”

I thought of Valek and Yelena. He had said no amount of time or distance could break them apart. Was it too much to expect the same from Kade? Then there was Mara and Leif. They kept together for most of the year.

“Why?”

“You ground me. When I’m on the coast—” he gestured to the western horizon “—and dancing, I can easily lose myself in the storm’s energy and personality. I wanted to do just that after my sister died, but you kept me connected. You give me a reason to come back.”

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