Spy Glass Page 93

My name had been written on the file folder’s tab, and inside was an accounting of expenses. The list included prices for forged documents, bribes, the purchase of drugs and weapons. Damned expensive, but worth every piece of gold, was scrawled under the total. And farther down it in big letters, Success! Junior pulled it off again.

23

FINALLY A CONNECTION! JUNIOR HAD TO BE VASKO’S son and Pazia’s older brother. And from the list of prison officials Junior had bribed, he had to be Finn. He was the right age and had attended the Keep. I did another quick search of Vasko’s office, but uncovered nothing to implicate him. They hadn’t used my blood for the super messengers. So where was it? Locked away?

“Find anything interesting?” a male voice asked from the doorway.

I stifled a yelp and grabbed my switchblade. The snick of the blade cut through the quiet office.

“Easy, Opal. It’s me.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Same thing you are, looking for clues.”

“I meant why here in Ognap?”

“Oh, that.” Janco entered the office. He wore a skintight black coverall and had darkened his face.

“We linked Finn to Vasko Cloud Mist and I’m playing miner, hoping he’ll show up. But no luck so far.”

“And the message to me that you found Finn is en route to the Citadel?”

“I didn’t find him,” he said. “He’s Vasko’s oldest son and he has dropped out of the gossip network. None of our…informers have been able to tell us where he’s been for the last half year.”

I showed Janco the file of expenses. “Why would Vasko send his son undercover? It doesn’t make sense.”

“From what I’ve been hearing, Vasko doesn’t trust many people outside his immediate family. And he kept his children out of the spotlight. Perhaps for that reason.”

It made sense, which was unexpected, considering the source. “Since Finn’s not here, maybe he’s at the Citadel with Vasko.”

“Then Finn’s in for a nasty surprise. Valek’s there, as well.” He grinned. “I would love to see the two of them fight. Finn’s not as good, but he’d hold his own.”

Unless he cheated and used a null shield. “Where’s Ari?”

“Fulgor. It’s the only major city between here and the Citadel.”

“Finn would avoid it. The Sitian authorities have an arrest warrant out for him.”

Janco snorted. “No offense, but the Sitians are way out of their league on this guy.”

“None taken.” I returned the folder to Vasko’s hidden drawer. “Any news on my blood?”

“It’s not in the compound. This is my last building.”

“I’ve been through it. No luck.”

“Did you check the safe?” Janco asked.

“I didn’t see one.”

He tsked. “He’s a paranoid patriarch with trust issues and the richest man in Sitia. He has a safe. Actually, I already found two in his private residence.” A superior little smirk twisted his lips. “But no blood.”

Even though I was impressed by his ability to bypass a dozen guards, I wouldn’t say so. Instead, I tugged on all the wall art as Janco searched through the bookcases. I found a safe hidden behind an oil painting of sand dunes.

Safecracking hadn’t been included in my training. Janco quickly set to work and pulled the heavy metal door open.

“Remind me never to store my valuables in a safe,” I said.

“They are effective for the most part.” He rummaged inside and removed a tray of gemstones. “Too bad I’m not a thief or I could retire.”

“Anything else?”

“Just more files. Sorry.” Janco tried to cheer me up. “We know who Finn is now. It’s only a matter of time before we catch him.”

I pointed at the tray. “Have you heard or seen anything about those black diamonds while working in the mines?” I asked.

He picked one up, and rolled it between his fingers. “It doesn’t look like a diamond. Are you sure? It feels weird.” Dropping it into my palm with distaste, Janco rubbed his hand on his shirt.

A familiar stickiness clung to the stone. “It’s real. And it’s charged with magic. You don’t have any power, but you’re sensitive to magic. Aren’t you?”

Janco scratched his goatee. “I’m not sensitive. I’m allergic.”

The next morning at breakfast, I asked Pazia about her older brother again. By the way she frowned, they weren’t close.

“I haven’t seen him in ages,” she said.

“Sounds like you don’t get along with him.”

“He’s a bully, but he stopped bossing me around once my powers came in.” She smiled. “My magic was stronger than his and it galled him!” Then the humor dropped from her face. “Now I’m not worth his time. We avoid each other. It works for me.”

“What’s his name?”

“Phinnegan. Why all the questions?”

Yes! I kept my voice steady. “Just curious. I didn’t even know you had brothers until I met Walker.” I changed the subject even though I wondered just how long ages was.

Pazia escorted me to the command center, but she stopped outside the building. “Galen said a guide would be waiting for you at the mine entrance. Come to the glass shop when you’re done.”

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