Spy Glass Page 76

I told him about Reema. His anger transferred from me to those who had scared her.

“I’ve been dealing with these nasty rumors. The Helper’s Guild is a very profitable business. After I pay my members a small allowance, I use the rest of the money to buy housing, clothes and food for them. But there is another group trying to form their own guild so they can keep the profits.”

“And the children?”

“You saw where Teegan and Reema were living.”

For an instant Fisk let his exhaustion show as he drooped. The responsibility of caring for his guild weighed on his shoulders and lined his face. I had to remind myself he was only sixteen.

“How can I help?” I asked.

“You can’t…”

I waited.

He brightened just a bit. “You can convince Reema we’re the good guys.”

If she’d let me.

I moved my meager possessions to the apartment as soon as the deed was signed. Even though I spent most of my day at the Keep, it was a relief to leave at night. Teegan’s heath improved and my concern about Reema grew. I kept walking into my extra bedroom and just standing there, straining to find a solution or a way to help the girl. Life in the guild was better than on the streets, but life in a home would be ideal.

But my apartment wasn’t a home for me, nor was my factory in Fulgor or my parents’ house in Booruby. Kade’s cave? I didn’t know! If my blood was recovered and if I regained my powers, everything might change.

Leif and Mara returned from their vacation all glowing and silly. Yelena also stopped by, but she picked up Kiki and was gone before I could talk to her.

“If you do that one more time, I’m leaving,” I said to Mara. I sat in their small kitchen, sipping tea. They had decided to stay in Leif’s quarters at the Keep for now, but when I had told them about my new place, they planned to talk to Fisk.

“Do what?” Mara asked, attempting to appear innocent.

“Get all kissy and lovey-dovey. Can you at least stop pawing each other while I’m here?”

“Jealous, Opal?” Leif asked.

“No. Nauseous.”

They broke apart and sat on opposite sides of the table. “Happy?” Mara asked, but she still made moon eyes at Leif.

Newlyweds! Not fit for company for… Well, longer than the fourteen days it had been since their wedding.

“So what’s going on around here?” Leif asked.

I filled him in about Teegan, Reema and the First Magician’s decision not to inform the Council about my immunity.

“Bain’s been under a ton of pressure lately. With Zitora’s retirement and no other students showing potential to reach master level, he’s been grumpy.”

Leif was kind enough not to mention how both those problems were my fault. Pazia Cloud Mist had been the first student magician in ten years to be strong enough to take the master-level test. Until I had siphoned most of her magic, during an experiment. She had attacked me with all her power, intending to harm me, but I should have had more control over my response.

“Opal.” Leif swatted my arm. “Snap out of it. Zitora and Pazia made their own choices—whether good or bad. You didn’t cause Bain’s problems.”

“I thought you couldn’t sniff my moods.”

Leif’s unusual magic allowed him to smell emotions, read people’s intentions and determine their prior deeds. Handy for interrogating criminals.

“I don’t need magic to read your mind. You get this little crinkle between your eyebrows when you’re feeling guilty.”

I rubbed the spot with two fingers, smoothing the skin. Even if I claimed I was among family, Valek would still fuss at my betraying body language. “I don’t know how Bain plans to keep my immunity a secret. If I hang out here long enough, any magician interacting with me would discover it.”

“Unless you claim you have a null shield woven into your clothes for protection. No, that won’t work.” Leif tugged his shirt down, looking guilty.

“Does the Council know how malleable null shields are?” A sick feeling roiled.

“No.”

“Why not?”

He fiddled with the fabric of his sleeve. “The Master Magicians decided to keep it quiet for now. Plus the Councilors are protected by magicians who can create null shields when needed.”

“But wearing shielded clothes would give them protection all the time.”

“Yes, but…” Leif’s gaze swept the room, avoiding mine.

“Eventually another magician is going to discover how to graft shields onto fabric and walls. You know it’s inevitable, and once the Council finds out, they’ll be upset.” An under-statement. They would be livid, feel betrayed and be suspicious of Bain and Irys, but if all the Councilors were shielded by Bain’s magicians… I followed the logic. Those magicians reported everything to Bain. “Master Bloodgood’s wading in dangerous waters.”

Leif rubbed the back of his neck. “I know. He says it’s temporary. Knowing how blood magic can switch people’s souls, Bain is worried another person might try to take over one of the Councilors’ bodies. If they’re shielded all the time, he can’t tell if that has happened. With a magician guarding each Councilor, he knows—”

“Everything. The magicians are loyal to Master Bain and are spying on the Councilors for him.” But Zebb hadn’t informed Bain of my immunity. He cared about Councilor Moon enough to keep his bargain with me. As for the others, there would be no way to tell.

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