Spy Glass Page 95

If he had been joking about the diamonds, it failed to amuse me. I clutched the stones in my fist. The sharp edges dug into my palm, but the pain wasn’t enough to distract me from the situation. The lantern’s flame stayed steady. No breeze, but before I worried about running out of air, I remembered a fire couldn’t burn without it.

Waiting was torture; I decided to continue up the shaft until I reached a junction. I reasoned that Galen would still be able to find me. The next intersection resembled all the others we had passed on our descent. At least there was a little more room for me to move. I turned a circle, searching for an airflow. Nothing stirred.

Resigned to wait, I sat on the ground, crossing my legs under me. My thoughts kept trying to imagine all types of horrible scenarios. I clung to one piece of logic. This wasn’t part of Vasko’s revenge for Pazia. He needed me to confirm the legitimacy of his messengers to Irys and Bain. Besides, Pazia, Nic and Eve knew I was down here. No. I wouldn’t contemplate this as a murder attempt.

Instead, I examined the black diamonds. The rough uncut gemstones lacked beauty, but held an incredible amount of magic. Too bad I couldn’t use it to communicate. Then again, what would I say? I’m stuck at the intersection of Rock Boulevard and Rock Street? Come get me.

I was being silly, but it gave me an idea. I looked on the walls of the connecting shafts, searching for directional markings. The miners had to get lost from time to time. Wouldn’t it make sense to name the shafts or at least indicate an exit? An array of scratches lined all the walls. Perhaps the miners could read them, but I couldn’t.

Focusing my energy on what I did know, I mulled over a reason Vasko would lie about where the black diamonds had been found. Perhaps he discovered them in a more accessible or even public location, and didn’t want his competitors to find out. Unlike my glass messengers, these super ones didn’t require any special magic. Any magician could charge the diamonds and any glassmaker could encase them in glass. Therefore keeping the location secret was key.

If he imported them from Ixia, Valek might already be suspicious. Before, he had Ari and Janco investigating General Kitvivan’s illicit operation. Except this time all three of them have been here in Sitia helping me.

Fisk might know if any of the blacks have gone through the underground market in the Citadel. He had been the first to discover Kitvivan’s diamonds and had kept track of the pearls. Thinking of Fisk, I remembered my promise to investigate the Bloodrose Clan.

I shot to my feet as my brain made a connection. My helmet tumbled to the ground as I raked a hand through my hair, pulling all the clues together. It was a huge leap of logic. But I believed the reason the blacks looked so familiar was because I had seen them at the Bloodroses’ complex.

The second building where Walsh’s men had captured Quinn. Instead of oyster shells and long tables filling the space, boxes with mesh screens like the ones I had seen in Vasko’s sorting building, mounds of sand and black rocks littered the area. I had been so worried about Quinn flaming out I hadn’t given the strange contents a thought.

Walsh’s actions against the other oyster farms made more sense. Not only could he affect the pearl prices, but he could keep the others from discovering that those black rocks are actually diamonds.

But once I considered it fully, there were more than a few holes. Those rocks could indeed be rocks. If they weren’t, then how did Walsh figure out the rocks were diamonds? I remembered the sea glass Heli had found. The pieces had been scratched, and there were only a few substances hard enough to scratch glass. Diamonds being one of them.

But why would Walsh team up with Vasko? Even with these questions, a visit to the Bloodrose Clan was overdue.

One problem. Galen hadn’t returned. I checked the oil level in the lantern. Half-full. I settled back on the ground. Devlen had been right. Waiting wasn’t easy. And how long should I stay here before trying to find my own way?

The diamonds still clutched in my hand could scratch a mark into the wall. Perhaps I should explore—

A rumble rolled through the shaft. The lantern jiggled and small stones rained down. I donned my helmet as dust filled the area.

Then a blast of fresh air cleared the cloud. Unfortunately, the wind extinguished the flame.

The complete absence of light was a unique experience to me. Even at night there was always the moon or a distant fire or a lantern. Without any real hope, I waited for my eyes to adjust. The darkness clung and pressed, feeling tangible like magic.

Perhaps the coveralls I wore had matches in the pockets. This had happened before. Pazia had warned me about the lanterns.

Relaxing my grip on the diamonds, I opened my fist. A dim orange light glowed from my palm. I blinked a few times to clear my vision, but the weak radiance remained. Teegan had said I shimmered when I touched magic. Probably why he called me Fire Lady. Unable to see it for myself, I didn’t really believe him. At least it was useful in this situation.

I searched the pockets, and only found the items I had taken from my pack—my lock picks and switchblade. Waiting was no longer an option, I turned in a circle and stopped when I felt the breeze full in my face. The air had to come from somewhere and I planned to find the source. I scratched an arrow pointing in the direction I traveled and walked into the wind.

At each intersection I marked my route. I ignored the doubts and worries bubbling on the surface of my mind. When I reached a shaft with lanterns hanging from hooks, the pressure eased in my chest. The glass was still warm, which meant these had been lit before the blast of air.

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