Spy Glass Page 55

“I would like to visit them before I leave. Do they live nearby?” I asked Ink.

“Don’t bother them,” Sarrah said. “They have no wish to see you. Believe me.”

Lovely. Kade’s mother blamed me for their deaths. I wondered if Nisha and Kamlesh did, as well. At least Sarrah couldn’t pin her daughter Kaya’s death on me. It was one of the reasons I had become involved with discovering who had sabotaged the orbs. Through that mission I had met Kade.

As Sarrah bustled around, I studied her. She had lost a child a little over a year ago. My mother had been devastated when Tula had died, but I couldn’t remember if she had been angry, as well. The man who had killed my sister had been caught, and so had the people responsible for Kaya’s death. Kade had helped capture them. Did Sarrah also think I was responsible for getting him involved? He had been caught and forced to harvest the energy from the blizzards in Ixia. I shied away from thinking about my role during that time.

I remembered Kade had been just as walled off as his mother. But he had found a little peace since his sister’s death. Why? I sorted through my memories. Kaya’s soul had been trapped in a glass orb, existing with a storm’s energy. After escaping Sir and Tricky, Kade had set her free. He had said goodbye.

“Did you have a good harvest this year?” I asked Ink.

Once again Sarrah jumped in. “Why do you care? Look at those drab-colored clothes you’re wearing. We only produce vibrant and beautiful ink here.”

I bit my tongue before I could make a nasty comment about her brown pants and tan shirt. I really, really didn’t want to argue. Since anything I said would be misconstrued by Sarrah, I kept quiet.

Kade returned. He wouldn’t look at me, and he didn’t notice the tension in the room.

Supper was painful and I almost wished to be back at Wirral. Almost. Sarrah steered the conversation and I kept my temper in check. She reminisced over Kade’s and Kaya’s childhoods. I noted the lack of embarrassing stories. Lucky Kade.

He, on the other hand, hardly said a word.

“They did everything together,” Sarrah said. “Even school. Kaya hated to be in the younger class, so she studied hard and was promoted to Kade’s group.”

Finally Ink managed to change the subject. “You mentioned your sister, Opal. Who’s the lucky man?”

“Leif Zaltana.”

Ink glanced at his son. “Is he the one who ate your mother’s entire cobbler by himself?”

“Sounds like him,” I said, smiling despite myself.

“Yes. He stopped by for a visit on his way back to the Citadel,” Kade said.

“A powerful magician,” Sarrah said. “He should marry another Zaltana. Concentrate the power for his children. When people marry outside their clans, it dilutes the blood.”

Did she say that on purpose? If I had hackles they would be up. “Leif is marrying Mara for the right reason. Love.”

She dismissed my comment. “Silly sentiment. Sitia needs more magicians. We’ve lost two Master Magicians and you gave your magic away. Love is nice, but it’s selfish.”

I sputtered. Gave mine away? Before I could say something I’d regret, I excused myself from the table and bolted outside. Once there, I inhaled deep breaths to calm the fury. Was she trying to get a reaction from me? Why did she dislike me so much? My guilty conscience replied that she sensed I’d hurt her son. At least I kept my temper. Fighting with Kade’s mother would only upset him further.

By the time I returned to his parents’ house, Ink and Sarrah sat in the living room. Lanterns blazed, pushing the darkness to the far corners. Sarrah kept sewing, ignoring me. Ink glanced up from his paper. A pair of reading glasses was perched on the end of his nose.

I stood awkwardly in the threshold. Kade wasn’t in sight. “Where’s Kade?” I asked Ink.

“Checking on the horses.”

Sarrah tsked. “He wastes too much time with that animal. Doesn’t he know as soon as a dignitary from Ixia visits, or the Council realizes their mistake, they’ll take that Sandseed horse back?”

Her tone of voice clearly indicated that she didn’t want an answer, but I stepped into the room to give her one regardless. “No one can take Moonlight from Kade. No one.”

She wouldn’t look at me so I moved closer. “Moonlight decides who he stays with.”

“He doesn’t need a horse. He was fine without one.”

“Moonlight’s been a big help around here,” Ink said then ducked his head when his wife glowered at him. “Er…sit down, Opal. I’ll go make up Kaya’s bed—”

“Absolutely not,” Sarrah said. She jabbed her needle at me. Panic flared in her eyes. “She can sleep on the couch. She’s not allowed in Kaya’s room.”

And then all the clues clicked into place. Sarrah was afraid Kade had replaced his love for his sister with me. At least she would be happy when Kade tells me it’s over.

Ink started to protest, but I touched his arm. “The couch is fine. After ten days on the road, anything soft will do.”

Kade still hadn’t returned by the time Ink and Sarrah retired for the night. I squirmed into a semicomfortable position on the couch. The pale moonlight slipped in through the small gap in the windows. Shadows from the curtains flickered on the floor’s wooden beams.

Unable to sleep, I watched the fabric billow and sway with the cool night breeze. After a few minutes the curtains would settle and then blow in and part as if announcing the arrival of the wind.

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