Spy Glass Page 89

Proud I didn’t panic, I asked, “What if I recover my magic and am sent on missions for the Council?”

“I’ll provide backup.”

“What if I decide to join Valek’s corp?”

“I’ll sign up.”

“What if I decide to stay in Fulgor and make glass?”

“Just tell me if you need a slug gathered on a pontil iron or a blowpipe.”

“What if I decide to stay with Kade on the coast?”

He didn’t flinch. “I’ll respect your decision.”

“And?”

“I’d find a job here. I do enjoy helping others, and maybe I can put my Story Weaver skills to use. Perhaps Nic’s captain would hire me.”

“He’d be an idiot not to.” I wondered if I would be an idiot to walk away from someone who would be content being with me no matter what. But I didn’t quite understand why. “I get that you want to make amends. But don’t you want a life of your own?”

“I already did the life of my own and I did horrible, terrible things. As I said before, you inspire me to be a better person. I fell in love with you while I was disguised as Ulrick. Even through the haze of addiction, I saw your willingness to sacrifice for others. And even with your search for your blood you still gave up precious time to help Councilor Moon, Reema and Teegan. Any one of those delays may have cost you the return of your magic. Do you regret doing them?”

“No.”

“That’s why I want to be with you. And perhaps, someday I will deserve your kindness. And eventually I might even earn your love.” Unable to wait for my reaction, he asked, “Have I scared you away?”

“It would be easier if you did.” I joined him on the couch, and tucked my feet up under me. “I do admire your calm acceptance of your life and how you know exactly what you want.”

He wrapped his arm around my shoulder. “You will, too, Opal. Give it time.”

“I need to find my blood.”

“And that will solve all your problems?”

“Yes.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“Yes. But before you go all Story Weaver on me, it also isn’t an excuse to avoid making decisions.”

“Why not?”

“Because once I either reclaim my blood or I know it’s lost forever, then I’ll know who I am.”

“I see.” His tone implied otherwise.

“I’ll either be Opal Cowan, the glass magician, or Opal Cowan, the antimagician.”

“Antimagician?”

“You know…” I gestured. “Immune to magic. Yelena occasionally uses it to describe Valek.”

“Interesting. But why can’t you be Opal Cowan without a descriptor?”

I closed my eyes for a moment, then tried to explain. “A person’s actions define who they are. It doesn’t matter what he says, or what he wishes he could do. It all comes down to…”

“What she sacrifices,” he said.

“I miss it, Devlen. More than Kade, more than…anything. I miss the way my glass pieces sang to me. The magic connected me to the world. I feel cut off. Isolated.” All my energy fled. I had worked hard to suppress those feelings. To not admit it to myself, let alone another. I didn’t want to dwell on the grief, but to focus on fixing it because there was only one cure.

“Your anger is gone. And you’ve filled the emptiness.”

I pulled away. “Haven’t you been listening? I haven’t. It’s what I’m trying to do.”

“I’ve been paying attention. You haven’t. But you will.”

“Another Story Weaver inanity. You have it easier.”

He shook his head. “Waiting is never easy.”

After five days on the road, I arrived in Ognap alone. Nestled in the foothills of the Emerald Mountains, Ognap buzzed with activity. The town’s main income centered on the gemstones mined from the mountains. Factories charged with transforming the raw uncut stones into sparkling gems lined the busy streets. Well-protected caravans of loose stones headed west toward the Jewelrose Clan where they would be set into various types of jewelry and goods.

Nic and Eve planned to enter town this evening and rent a room at the Tourmaline Inn. Finding Vasko Cloud Mist’s extensive compound proved harder than I had expected. My inquiries were met with suspicion. Finally a servant employed by Vasko recognized my name and led me to the gate. Hidden by the rolling terrain east of the city, Vasko’s manor house had been built into the side of the Emerald Mountains. The tall spires overlooked a valley filled with buildings.

Vasko trusted no one with his rubies. According to the locals, the mine entrance was in the basement of his house and all the stones were sorted, sized and cut on-site before being sold.

As I waited at the gate, I noted the thick wall that surrounded the compound on all sides. The location and arrangement of the buildings suggested someone took care with their placement. An army would have trouble invading Vasko’s home. I guessed that was the point.

Pazia arrived. Genuine welcome shone on her face as she embraced me. Even though she was a few inches shorter than me, Pazia gave the impression of being taller. Her long hair had been pulled up and braided. The thick loop of hair resembled a crown on her head. Add in the way the guards deferred to her, she oozed royalty.

Pazia asked about my trip as she escorted me through her family’s grounds. The well-groomed walkways flowed past ornate gardens. Flowers burst from baskets and workers tended to the landscape. Nothing within sight suggested a mining operation.

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