Spy Glass Page 79

She turned and gestured to the room. “Are you rich?”

Reviewing our shopping trip, I shouldn’t be surprised by her question. I debated. Naked truth versus it’s-none-of-your-business. “Yep.” I braced for her follow-up question and she didn’t disappoint me.

“Then why can’t I stay with you? You can afford it.”

I knelt down so I was eye level. “I may have to leave suddenly for a season or more at a time.”

“So? Hire a babysitter.” She put her hands on her hips.

A touch of magic brushed my face.

“Didn’t think of that, did you?” She dared me to correct her.

I hadn’t considered a sitter, but what concerned me more was the magic. Either a magician hid in my apartment or the power came from Reema.

“How did you know what I’d been thinking?” I asked.

She wilted a bit. “I guessed. I’m good at guessing people’s moods, but you’re the hardest person to read! Did you win all your money from playing poker?”

I laughed. “I wish.” If she was already displaying power at age ten, then she could be a powerful magician like her brother. I needed to talk to Irys.

“Then how did you get rich?”

“Another long and complicated story. One I’m still trying to figure out. It’s why I can’t make any plans for the future.”

“Then stop hanging around with me and go sort it out. I’ll wait.”

I peered at her. “Are you sure you’re not older?”

“My mother hated indecision. She told us she always let others decide for her until she became pregnant with me. She didn’t want us to be punished for her mistakes, so she took Teegan and ran away.”

Now I understood. “That’s why you won’t tell me your clan name. You’re afraid of them.”

“Mother made us promise to never tell anyone.”

“And you should always listen to your mother,” I said. “Do you?”

“No.”

“And?”

“Mixed results.”

She giggled, but then turned serious. “What would your mother say about your complicated future?”

“She’d tell me to stop procrastinating.”

“You should listen to your mother,” Reema said.

Easy to say, so hard to do.

“Come in, Opal,” Irys called before I could knock on her office door.

“How did you know I was there?” I asked as I entered.

She sat on the front edge of her desk. Her hair had been swept up and she wore a green tunic and pants. “Didn’t you feel my magic?”

“In the Keep, I’m always encountering magic. This place is saturated with it.” In fact, a bright bubble of it pressed on me at the moment.

“When you approached my door, I felt the…absence of magic, which tells me either you or Valek are in the hallway. Since Valek was last seen in Mica…” She swept her hands out as if to say “ta da!”

“Do you need something?”

“I wanted to talk about Reema.” I explained about her power.

“Interesting. We’ve been so focused on the boy. Are you sure? She hasn’t reached puberty yet.”

“And how many times have we discovered a new wrinkle with magic?” Both good and bad. “Good point.”

“Can you test her?”

“Of course.” She laced her fingers together. “Anything else?”

The magic in the room pulsed, but I sensed it came from behind the Master Magician. “What are you hiding?” I asked.

She sighed. “Something we were debating about telling you, but you’d find out eventually anyway.”

Irys stepped to the side, revealing an orb. Magic oozed from it.

“What is it?” I asked.

“You tell me. Go ahead, pick it up.”

Upon closer inspection, it wasn’t an orb. Orbs were bigger, and either hollow or filled with a storm’s energy. This was a solid cube of clear glass. I hefted the palm-sized object. Trapped inside was a dark thumbnail-sized substance shaped like a drop of water. “The magic is coming from inside.” The shock of recognition hit me like a bolt through my chest. My legs turned to mush, and I handed Irys the glass before I dropped it. “Is it…?”

“Yes,” she said in a gentle tone. “It works just like your glass messengers. Sit down.”

I perched on an invisible chair. My peripheral vision had shrunk to encompass only that single item in Irys’s hands. “Who? Why?” Questions formed and popped.

“This came from Vasko Cloud Mist. He says his daughter invented it.”

“But Pazia has little magic.”

Irys tapped the sphere. “That’s not Pazia’s magic in there. Vasko told us he found black diamonds in his mine.”

“Black?”

“Extremely rare. The Commander of Ixia has only found two in the Soul Mountains in twenty years of mining. Vasko says he mined dozens.”

The mention of diamonds triggered a memory of the time Pazia and I had tried to encase a regular diamond charged with magic in glass. It had worked as a super messenger, but the diamond had cracked after she used the magic.

I told her about the experiment.

She nodded as if that explained something. “These don’t crack after the magic is used, and they can be recharged and reused, which helps when you consider the cost.”

Prev Next