Spy Glass Page 81

The next morning, Irys stopped by my training session. She watched me spar a third-year student. I blocked his practice sword with my sais, hooked the sword with the hilt of my right sai and yanked it from his hands. Match over.

“Impressive,” Irys said.

“I couldn’t use that move on an apprentice,” I said. Or Sarn. The big brute would have unarmed me in seconds.

“But you would have used another tactic for an apprentice.”

“True.”

“You’ve gotten quite the reputation out here.” Irys gestured to the training yard. Students practiced drills and sparred each other. “Has anyone beaten you besides Captain Marrok and Sarn?”

I searched my memory. “No. But they’re students. I wouldn’t last long in a fight with Valek or Yelena.” Or Finn. Considering how short that list was, I straightened a bit.

“Then it’s a good thing they’re your friends. And, speaking of friends, Pazia is looking forward to your visit.”

“Great. When is Vasko leaving?”

“He isn’t. He has more business to attend to in the Citadel.” She met my gaze. “You were right about him. He’s very confident, but he could have good reason to be.”

“As my father would say, only one way to find out.”

“Make sure you visit Councilor Moon before you go. And take someone with you for backup, just in case,” Irys ordered. “How about Leif?”

“And listen to him moan about missing his new wife? No thanks. I’ll find someone else.” But Leif’s name triggered another question I had for Irys. “Do you remember a student who probably came through the Keep around the same time as Yelena, maybe with Leif?” I described Finn to Irys. “He’s powerful enough that I think he would have stood out among the class.”

She drummed her fingers on the wooden fence. “There were a number of strong students. And with Yelena taking all my attention I wasn’t as involved.”

“How about a graduate who didn’t stay and work for the Council? I couldn’t have been the only one to branch out on my own.”

“There have been a few. Vasko for one, his children and probably a bunch of his nieces and nephews. They’re all invested in the family business and too rich and powerful to work for the Council. And since they’re all so worried about their children being kidnapped, many of the kids came through here under different names.”

“But you knew about Pazia and now Walker.”

“The family informed the Master Magicians, but no one else. Pazia thought her father was paranoid and refused to go undercover. It’s the same with Walker. Although the boy is keeping a low profile. Unlike his sister.”

Except with me.

Irys continued, “I’ll go through the records while you’re gone. Maybe a name will jump out at me.”

I thanked her and hurried to the bathhouse.

After a quick bath, I headed to the glass workshop to talk to my sister. Mara worked in the mixing room. She poured sand onto a scale, weighing ingredients. Her loose golden curls had been pinned back from her face.

Mara finished measuring the different types of sand. She poured them into the drum mixer. The device resembled a wine barrel lying on its side. She spun the barrel a few times, then she added lime and soda ash—all the ingredients to make glass.

“New recipe?” I asked.

She startled then admonished me for sneaking up on her. “I brought a batch of Crimson sand back from our vacation. I’m hoping it produces a nice red-colored glass.”

“I’m surprised you left the cottage long enough to notice the sand. Unless the beach was softer than the bed?” I smirked.

She threw a towel at me. “Are you here for a reason or just to bug me?” Mara returned to the mixer and cranked the handle. As the barrel rolled, the metal fins inside blended the glass components together. The mixer rang like a steady rain on a metal roof.

“Actually I have a proposition for you?”

She stopped. “This ought to be good. And it better not involve Leif running off on some crazy mission with you.”

I held up my hands in surrender. “Leif stays.”

“But you’re leaving?”

“Yes, Irys needs me to look into something for her.”

“Something. How vague. Should I worry now, or when I get the message that you’re on the edge of dying and I should come?”

“It’s not like that. You sound like Mother.”

“No. Mother would tell you to slow down and think!” She tapped my temple with two fingers. “You do have a brain. I’ve seen you use it. Do you need me to introduce you to it?”

Wow. Her sarcasm was impressive and scary. “Marrying Leif has changed you. What happened to my sweet sister?”

“She was left home to worry and wait too many times.”

“This trip is not dangerous. I promise. I’ll be back by the hot season at the latest.”

She failed to look convinced. “And your proposition?”

“Would you and Leif like to stay in my apartment while I’m gone?”

“Are you worried someone would break in?”

“Ahhh…no. Remember when I told you about Teegan and his sister?”

She smoothed the apron over her skirt. “Opal, just spit it out.”

I asked her to watch Reema for me.

She opened her mouth, closed it and appeared to search for words.

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