Spy Glass Page 70

“You can puff and blow to start one, but thumbing is easier,” I said. “And once you have a starter bubble, it’s not hard to expand it.” Working with the glass, I created a dolphin.

“How do you make a vase?”

“You need to transfer the piece to another rod. It’s more complicated and you’re not ready yet.”

“How do I get ready?”

Oh yes, she had the fever. “Practice, practice and more practice. Make sure you keep your first efforts. You’ll be amazed how much you improve in only half a season.”

“Then you’ll show me the next step?”

I hedged. “If I’m around.”

“Great! Thanks for your help.” She extended her hand. “I’m Keelin.”

I shook it. “Opal.” I hurried away before she could recover from her shock. The story of my adventures in Hubal had reached the Keep via the lightning-fast gossip network. According to Mara, the students had marveled over my “ultimate” sacrifice and the topic had been endlessly debated.

After a full night’s rest, I ate breakfast and joined Captain Marrok in the training yard on the east side of the Keep. Dark clouds covered the sky, threatening rain. Marrok had a difficult time beating me during our match, but he still claimed my skills had lost their edge. He assigned Sarn as my sparring partner for the rest of the gray morning.

I was glad to see a familiar face, but Sarn could wrestle a couple of bulls and win. He was in his fourth year of study and his magic could move objects and people.

“Hiya, Opal!” He beamed. “I missed you.”

“Tired of picking on first-years already?” I teased.

“Yeah. They’re no fun. Not a single one of them can break my hold.” He shrugged his massive shoulders. Muscles wrapped around his thick arms and legs. Despite all his bulk, he was flexible.

But not fast. I could outrun him if I escaped. Big if. “Can anyone in the Keep break your hold?”

“Only one.”

“Just one? Who?”

Sarn’s eyes about popped out. “Did losing your magic mean you lost your memory?”

I thought back to my last bout with Sarn. “You can’t count that. It was cheating.” I had used a pressure point on him.

“Oh no, it wasn’t. It was a perfect move. How many other defenses leave no bruises or stop hurting immediately? None. It’s great for fending off drunks who pick fights, and people you don’t want to injure, but you want to warn them you could hurt them.”

Except if a person kept the pressure on the point, it was unbearable torture. With my firsthand experience, I had learned almost all the sensitive places on a body.

“I found one of the spots,” Sarn said.

Great. Yet another one of my mistakes coming back to bite me. “Have you taught it to anyone?”

“Not yet.” He peered at me in confusion. “What’s wrong with teaching it? You used it on that Cloud Mist whelp the other day.”

Interesting how I hadn’t even hesitated to use the move on Puppy Dog or the guard in the prison, and I had felt no remorse. Not like the time I had broken Sarn’s grip. Then I had been upset.

Before, pressure points and Devlen equaled evil. Now. Not so much.

“Sarn, what happens when that defensive move is learned by the wrong people?”

“I wouldn’t use it in a real fight.”

“Why not?”

“Come on, Opal. Basic self-defense. Hit and git. I’m not going to play nice with an opponent who wants to hurt me. When I hit him, my plan is to knock him down so he can’t get up and chase me when I git.”

“Using pressure points is playing nice?”

“Yep.”

“I’ll remember that when we’re sparring.”

He grinned. “I don’t intend to let you get that close.” Staying true to his promise, Sarn launched an in-and-out attack,

His speed had improved in a year. Outrunning him was no longer an option.

After the grueling workout with Sarn, I aimed my bruised body toward the bathhouse. Soaking in the warm water, I enjoyed a moment of peace. The students were attending their second morning session so the place was empty. I didn’t miss going to class at all. But I missed Kade. We had so little time together.

Six days remained in the warm season. Then Kade would be busy with the heating season’s storms. And what would I do if I traveled to the coast? Keep Kade company, search the beach for treasures with Heli and help Helen with the glass orbs?

I longed to talk to Devlen, as well. Changing into clean clothes, I headed to the market.

“Lovely Lady, can I assist you with your shopping today?” A thin boy, who looked to be ten years old but acted more like twenty, asked.

“No, thank you. But can you deliver a message to Fisk for me?” I slipped the boy a copper.

He flashed a smile. “I can, but I can’t guarantee an answer.”

“Fair enough. Please tell Fisk, Opal is in need of his special services.”

He saluted and disappeared into the Citadel market’s crowd. I marveled at the bustling stands and shops. Even though rain dripped onto shoppers, no one seemed to mind. Members of the Helper’s Guild carried armfuls of packages, haggled with stand owners, or dashed from place to place, leading confused customers to the perfect store.

The market was located in the exact center of the Citadel. Businesses and factories ringed the vast space, emanating out in concentric circles like ripples on a pond. Packed full of sellers hawking their wares, the market breathed as if alive.

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