Spy Glass Page 99

“You should ask me about the last side effect before you get too far away from me,” Galen said over his shoulder.

“Why?” I demanded.

“The test subjects felt too ill when separated more than a few hundred feet from their creators.”

That one was hard to believe. In fact, the whole situation sounded ridiculous. I tried to suppress my fear and panic. I’d been in bad situations before. However, I couldn’t keep the thought—that if Galen told the truth, then I was truly screwed—from my mind.

“Fear, panic and was that a hint of acceptance at the end?” he asked.

Frustration boiled. “Would you stop that!”

“Make me.”

If I had any chance of escape, I had to block him. Unsure how to build a barrier, I envisioned a thick glass wall between my emotions and Galen’s.

He smirked. “The first link in the chain, binding you to me.”

“Why do this to me? You could have just dragged me along with you.”

“True, but your glass magic is valuable to me and my partner. And I’m aware of your history. You won’t use your magic because I ask nice or because I threaten you with bodily harm. I guess I could have kidnapped someone you cared for, but that would complicate things. This is a perfect solution. Once the chain is complete, you’ll be my…”

Galen pretended to be deep in thought. “What should I call you? My creation? My offspring? No, they suggest a fondness between us. My victim? My dupe? My servant? No, they’re not quite right. I think the best descriptor is my slave.”

“How many times did you practice that speech?” Sarcasm and fury sharpened my tone.

I spent the rest of the trip imagining all the ways I would kill him. The depth of my creativity surprised and inspired me.

We exited the mines and entered the dark forest surrounding Ognap. A half-moon peeked out between clouds as a warm breeze rustled the leaves. “How long—”

“Two days,” he said.

I considered escape as we hiked through the foothills. Soon the lanterns from Ognap flashed between the trees. When we reached the outskirts, I bolted for town.

Galen laughed and yelled that he would wait for me on the south road. I ignored him. Instead I debated if I should report Galen to the Ognap security forces or find Nic and Eve first. Potential power throbbed inside me. With this much magic, I could contact Yelena from here.

No. No magic. I headed toward the inn. The streets were deserted at this late hour. I hit the wall about four blocks from the Tourmaline Inn. Not an actual wall, but the…force that slammed into me caused me to stumble. It seized my body and yanked. I stepped back before I realized what I was doing. Concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, I managed to go two more steps. Sweat dripped from my brow and soaked my underclothes. The miner’s uniform’s rough fabric seemed to tighten around me.

My muscles trembled and I struggled to remain on my feet as bouts of nausea and dizziness rolled through me. Unable to go another inch, I searched the pockets of the coverall for some clue I could leave behind to let my friends know I was still alive. But my switchblade and lock picks were gone. No surprise. Instead, I called Quartz. Sinking to the ground, I rolled into a ball to wait.

When Quartz trotted into view, relief soothed. Her disappearance could be a clue for the others.

Fire Lady safe, she said in my mind with pleasure.

Shock at hearing her creamy voice inside my head dominated for a moment. I pulled it together and asked, Is that my horse name?

Yes.

Why?

Quartz was confused I needed to ask. Images of me gathering a molten slug of glass flashed in her mind. Control fire.

Her choice of words reminded me of Galen. I had used magic to contact her! Did I just imagine the sound of a click in my mind? Another link in the chain? How long was the chain?

Quartz nudged me with her nose. Smell different.

I wrapped my arms around her neck. Unwilling to break our bond, I asked, Good or bad smell?

Fire brighter.

I sensed that was a positive thing.

Smell not herd.

Which meant she smelled Galen’s magic and didn’t like it. In other words, both. Either way, I needed to stop using magic.

The need to be with Galen overcame me. I couldn’t resist any longer. In a fog, I mounted Quartz. Spurring her into a gallop, we chewed up the distance between me and Galen. With each stride the horrible pain subsided until I wilted in relief.

I met up with him on the south road. Galen sat on a brown horse with white socks. Her mane had been braided. The thin braids hung from her head to her shoulders.

“I didn’t think you’d reach the inn,” he said, then peered past my shoulders, seeking with his magic. “Good. You weren’t followed. I’d hate to leave dead bodies in our wake. Come on.” He urged his horse into a gallop, heading south.

We followed. The road snaked along the Emerald Mountains foothills and ended at the border of the Daviian Plateau. Small villages and other working mines dotted the area. A tiny town called Delip was located farther south, but nothing else of note. The Warpers had lived in the plateau before they invaded the Citadel. Perhaps a few still hid there.

When the sun rose, we camped on the edge of the Avibian Plains, staying back far enough to avoid triggering the protection. Galen’s saddlebags were filled with supplies, and he even managed to obtain a set of my travel clothes. As he cooked stew, I changed behind Quartz, glad to be out of the miner’s coverall. I wadded it into a ball and stuffed it behind a bristle bush, leaving what I hoped was another clue.

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