Spy Glass Page 80

“Expensive?”

“Outrageous. Only a few people in Sitia will be able to afford them.”

I motioned for the cube. She handed it to me. I studied the dark tear-shape nestled inside. “It doesn’t have facets. Are you sure it’s a diamond?”

“Unless we dig it out, it’s hard to say for certain. But I can’t deny the magic it holds.”

No missing the power, but a sense of familiarity tugged at my heart.

“Besides, why would Vasko lie?” Irys asked.

Rich, powerful and well connected, Vasko didn’t need to lie.

Unless he purchased it on the black market.

Unless he paid Finn a ton of gold for it.

Unless it was my blood trapped inside.

Was it even possible? Valek had said blood magic was potent.

“Irys…” My voice cracked.

“What’s wrong?” She pressed a cool hand to my forehead. “Are you sick?”

“I need…” I leaned forward and drew in deep breaths. When the room no longer spun, I sat up. “Remember when I mentioned those wrinkles about magic.”

A stern gaze replaced her concern. “Go on.”

For a moment I transformed into a first-year student who had misbehaved, waiting for the Master Magician’s punishment. Nothing I could do, I confessed my suspicions about Vasko.

She said nothing.

The silence was unbearable, and I rushed to apologize for keeping her in the dark about my search for my blood. “…didn’t know he would use—”

“Opal, that is a serious accusation.”

“It’s a serious crime. He stole my only chance to get my powers back!” A devastating anger rumbled through me until I shook. I thought I had prepared myself for this possibility and had almost accepted it. Guess I lied to myself.

“Calm down, Opal. You don’t know that for certain. He only made a few messengers. Besides, someone else may have taken your blood.”

Unable to sit still, I surged to my feet and paced. She could be calm, standing there with all her powers intact. I slowed. It wasn’t her fault. I had been so close and then Finn had snatched it away. I needed for this to be over. Either I find my blood or it’s gone. End of story.

I mulled over our conversation. “You weren’t surprised I was searching for my blood. You knew?”

“Of course. Yelena kept me informed of your progress. Plus we had Zebb’s reports on your involvement with Councilor Moon.” She cocked her head to the side. “We would have been very happy if you had recovered your magic.”

“You and Bain or the Council?”

“You would have earned their trust…eventually. And you have a champion in Councilor Moon. She returned to the Citadel yesterday, and she’d like you to visit her. I would have told you sooner, but Vasko dropped this little bomb on us right after the Council meeting.”

“Does the Council know about the new messengers?”

“Not yet. Vasko wanted us to verify them first.”

I chewed on my bottom lip. Yet more information being withheld from the Council. “What happens if he is using my blood?”

“He would be arrested. However, what to do with the messengers will be problematic. If your blood is inside them, do we siphon it out? What happens if that doesn’t work? Or if you can’t recover your magic from your blood? Did he use all your blood? There will be a million questions to consider.”

“And the Council will argue over each and every one, taking forever.”

Irys frowned. “They are cautious. It’s an excellent trait.” She gave me a pointed look. “The Council works best when they have all the information. Bain and I will arrange to get a tour of Vasko’s messenger operation.”

“I should go. It’s my blood.”

“Undercover?”

I thought back to when Janco and I had been searching for Ulrick in Ognap. Janco considered sneaking into the ruby mines a challenge worthy of him. If I could get into Wirral, the mines shouldn’t be as hard. “I could steal into the mines on my own. But why go to all that trouble? Pazia and I are friends. How about I pay her a friendly visit?”

“Vasko’ll see right through that.”

I shrugged. “He probably expects you and Bain to investigate. It can be an open secret, but once I’m there, I can snoop around.”

She crinkled her forehead. “Vasko’s intelligent. He’ll ensure you don’t see anything out of the ordinary.”

“Vasko’s also overconfident. Right now he thinks I’m a washed-up magician with no prospects. Play it up. Hint that you asked me to visit Pazia out of pity. Tell him how devastated I was over these new messengers.” I paused as I realized that one wasn’t very far from the truth. “Make sure he knows you gave me this assignment to make me feel important. Ask him to indulge me. I’ll act the part and he’ll underestimate me.”

“You believe this ruse will work?”

“No doubts.”

While Irys arranged a meeting with Vasko, I prepared for my trip to Ognap. Reema was my biggest concern. Healer Hayes would discharge Teegan soon, and Irys had offered to train him until the new school year started at the beginning of the cooling season. The Citadel practically shut down during the hot season. The Keep’s students returned home and the Council dismissed for their annual recess.

Reema’s comments about hiring a sitter circled in my mind, but who could I hire? I was sure Fisk would know someone trustworthy, but Reema would be suspicious of anyone working for him.

Prev Next