Spy Glass Page 72

“Yes, I am.”

Bold. I liked this girl. “Then let me prove it to you. Come with me.”

She stepped back as if I had brandished a weapon. “Why should I trust you?”

“Because you don’t have anyone else left to trust,” I guessed. “And you came to me. Why?”

“You were the only one…” She swallowed. “My brother pushed everyone out. Even me.” She glanced at the stuffed dog as a glassy sheen coated her eyes. “No one could get into the building. Except you.” Stabbing an accusatory finger at me, she asked, “What did you do to him?”

“I kept him from dying.” A light touch of power brushed my skin. She was too young to have magic, let alone be able to control it. I glanced around. No one was within sight. Perhaps it came from the Keep.

She nodded. “Now you’re telling the truth. Can I see my brother?”

“One condition.”

Instantly wary, she checked the street as if planning her escape route. “What is it?”

“You tell me your name and your brother’s name.”

“That’s two.”

I grinned. “All right, then on two conditions.”

“What do I get in return for the extra condition?” she asked.

“My name.”

My offer didn’t produce much enthusiasm from her.

“And a bowl of soup,” I added. “Do we have a deal, Miss…?” I extended my hand.

After the slightest of hesitations, she clasped it for one quick shake. “Reema.” She yanked her hand away. Her long thin fingers had felt brittle in mine. She would need more than one bowl of soup.

“And your brother?” I asked.

“Teegan.”

I led her past the Keep’s guards and to the infirmary. Healer Hayes stood outside Teegan’s room. Concern creased his face as he whispered to Irys. The words null shield filled me with an icy dread. An automatic reaction. Reema sensed my unease and slowed her pace.

A null shield would be necessary to keep Teegan alive. Waking in an unfamiliar place surrounded by unfamiliar people, he could pull magic and risk flaming out again.

Irys and Hayes ceased their conversation as we neared. No surprise touched the Master Magician’s face, but Hayes stepped toward me.

“Something wrong, Opal?” he asked. “Are you ill?”

“I’m fine. I’ve brought a visitor.”

He raised his eyebrows and I realized Reema hid behind me. I moved aside.

“Ah… It’s a little late for visitors.”

“She’s Teegan’s sister.” I introduced her.

He crouched down to her level. “Your brother is gaining more strength each day. What is your clan name?”

Reema pressed next to me. “Why do you need it?”

“I can create a stronger bond between us. Teegan’s been unconscious since he arrived and I can only reach him on a subconscious level. The more I know about him the better.”

Hayes had said the wrong thing. I felt her stiffen. Before she could bolt, I laid my hand on her bony shoulder.

“Let’s visit with Teegan first, and I promised Reema some soup.” I gave Hayes a pointed look.

He straightened. “Of course. I’ll send one of my assistants to the kitchen. I’ll also have an extra bed brought in. It’s too late for Reema to go home.” He hurried away, calling to one of his helpers.

Irys had been studying the girl, and I willed the Master Magician not to scare her off. She met my gaze and nodded with approval. “Let me know if anything changes,” she said before leaving.

I pushed open Teegan’s door. The lantern by his bedside cast a weak light. White blankets covered a small lump on the bed.

Reema climbed up, put her stuffed dog down on his pillow and shook him hard. “Tee, it’s me. Wake up.”

“Easy.” I tried to pull her away, but she shrugged me off.

“Come on, Tee. Wake up.” This time, she straddled him and bounced.

I grabbed her around her skinny waist and yanked her off the bed. She fought me, but she didn’t have the muscles or the stamina to break my hold. One benefit to the ruckus, Teegan opened his eyes.

“S’okay, Ree.” He glanced at me. A wispy thread of magic grazed my face. Before I could raise an alarm, it disappeared.

“Stay with Fire Lady, Ree. S’okay.” His eyes closed.

Reema had stopped struggling. I let her go. This time, she sat on the edge of his bed and held his hand. Her stubborn pout dared me to make her move. Instead, I plopped into the chair as weariness flowed through my body.

“Is this Fire Lady a friend of yours?” I asked her.

“No.”

“A relative?”

“No. We don’t have any relatives.”

“Yes, you do. You’re part of a clan, and if you dig far enough back into history, you’re distantly related to all the members in your clan.”

“Our mother told us not to tell anyone our clan name. She said no one would know it.”

Progress. “Where is your mother? She should know about Teegan.”

“She’s buried under a red rock in the Courtyard of Souls.”

“I’m sorry—”

“Shut up. Tee and I are just fine. Once he gets better, we can take care of ourselves.”

Such confidence. With her small stature she could pass for six years old, but I guessed she was closer to eight.

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