Spy Glass Page 91

Another thought struck me. Even if I recovered my blood, no one would want my little glass animals when Pazia’s super messengers could do so much more. Except for the cost. “Has your father decided on a price?”

“No. But he plans to be…egalitarian about them. He’s going to give one to each Master Magician for free, and then anyone can purchase one. He’ll work out payment plans. If you think about it, you could buy one and then charge a fee for others to use. Once the messenger is paid for, you could make money. I’m sure businesses will capitalize on that.”

The possibilities were endless. The richest man in Sitia would be even richer. What would he do with all that gold? I’d purchased a number of things with mine, but besides the wedding, none of them touched the emptiness inside me. Devlen’s Story Weaver mumbo jumbo about it being filled had been wrong.

Pazia returned the messengers and drawer of diamonds to the safe.

Trying to see all angles, I thought if I did regain my powers, my animals would be much cheaper and they would compete with Vasko’s, especially if he had only a few super messengers. Would he steal my blood to keep that from happening?

I pointed to the safe. “Is that all the diamonds?”

“No. The vein is pretty thick.”

I considered. I’ve never seen a black diamond before. So why did they feel familiar? “Can I see the vein?”

“I’ll have to ask my uncle.”

We left the factory and searched for her uncle. He worked in a building that Pazia called the command center. She explained it was an old family joke that stuck.

Hans Cloud Mist stood up as soon as we entered his large office. His resemblance to his brother Vasko was uncanny, and I wondered if they were twins. Hans insisted he was not only the younger brother but also the smarter and better-looking one, as well.

Pazia rolled her eyes. “Just humor him. He thinks he’s funny.”

Hans pretended to be hurt, but his pout lasted less than a second. “Did Pazia show you her factory?” he asked me. “She’s quite proud of it.”

She blushed and quickly changed the subject, asking about a tour.

“You’ll have to get permission from Galen.” He glanced out the window. “He should be overseeing checks now.” She frowned.

“Another uncle?” I asked.

“No. My father’s right-hand man and I don’t need his permission.”

“Are you going to be her tour guide?” Hans asked.

Pazia shivered. “No.”

“And I don’t know where the vein is, so it’s Galen or nothing.”

She grumbled, but didn’t argue. I followed her from Hans’s office.

“Why can’t you take me?” I asked.

“I can’t stand being in the mines. I’m claustrophobic.” She stopped. “Are you?”

“Afraid of small spaces?”

She nodded. “And the dark?”

“No lanterns?”

“Plenty of light, but sometimes an errant wind blows them out. We pump air down into the shafts to keep it fresh.”

I thought of my various adventures, being hidden in a box under a pile of sand, swimming through a tunnel in a cave and spending a couple weeks chained in a dark cell. “I’m not claustrophobic.”

“Good.”

“Do you know the location of the vein?” I asked her.

“No. I think only Father and Galen do. They tend to get all paranoid when they make a new find. Both of them know every shaft below. I don’t even think there are any maps.” She shook her head and continued.

Pazia led me to the lowest level of the command center. Rumors about the main entrance to the mines hadn’t been too far off. Instead of being in the basement of his house, the doorway for the miners was deep under the command center.

I waited with Pazia as the day shift’s personnel streamed in from the large cavern. Under the keen gaze of another group, the workers stripped off their jumpers, stood under spouts of water and were searched before they donned clean clothes. The process reminded me of Wirral. Except they seemed more worried about what might be smuggled out of the mines than in. Mirrors lined the wall opposite the search area and I suspected they were two-way ones and observers lurked behind them.

When the last worker left, Pazia told me to wait while she slipped behind the mirrors. It didn’t take her long before she returned.

“Come on,” she said, almost running from the underground entrance. She finally slowed when we exited the building.

“I hope you’re not in trouble,” I said.

“Not at all. Galen just gives me the creeps. He practically lives in the mines. In fact, I haven’t seen him in seasons, which is fine by me. But when I do see him, he acts like he’s in charge.” She smoothed her skirt. “He gets away with that attitude because my father trusts him.”

“What does he do?”

“Whatever my father wants.” She took a breath. “I know I shouldn’t be so down on him. He’s dedicated to our family, and he was the one who found the black diamond vein. And Galen promised to find someone to give you a tour tomorrow.”

I accepted her offer to stay in their guesthouse, but convinced her to join me at the Tourmaline Inn for supper. Pazia made the proper appreciative noises over the large pink tourmaline the inn’s owner, Carleen, wore around her neck.

Carleen remembered me, but since I had paid in full before Janco and I had made our sudden departure, she welcomed me back. She led us to a nice table and served us each a heaping portion of beef pie. Pazia and I chatted about our days at the Keep.

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