Magic Shifts(Kate Daniels,book 8)(31) by Ilona Andrews
“I’m not talking to you as a member of the Oracle,” Sienna said. “I’m talking to you as a woman whose life you saved. I look into your future, Kate. For obvious reasons.”
The witches were worried that I would move against the covens. Me and all of my great power that I had no idea how to access or use.
“In the past I saw your futures. They were many and varied. Lately I’ve been having the same vision over and over. I see a man standing on a hill. The day is full of sunshine. The sky is bright and blue and the grass under his feet is emerald-green. His face is a smudge and every time I try to concentrate on it, I meet a wall of resistance. He is holding something—I can’t see what it is, but I know it’s vital—and then he turns and walks away. I think the man is your father. I can’t think of anyone else connected to you with enough power to deliberately obscure my vision.”
On that we agreed. “Any hint at all at what he might be holding? How big is it?”
“It’s . . . a blur. It feels like a weapon, Kate. It frightens me.”
Great. “Thank you. Will you tell me if you see anything else?”
“I will consider it.”
I hung up. Curran glanced at me. Shapeshifter hearing surpassed human, and he would’ve heard the entire conversation. Whatever my father was cooking up, it would be bad for us. Catastrophically bad. I so didn’t need this right now.
The downstairs bathroom door opened and a thin man stepped out. His hair was pure white and his eyes, bright blue, were like the clear sky—not a single thought in sight. Oh no.
Christopher saw me. His eyes sparkled. He smiled as if given a precious gift and uttered one happy, quiet word. “Mistress!”
• • •
I SLUMPED AGAINST the wall. Christopher used to be brilliant. He also used to work for my father. We never got the whole story out of him, but something he had done displeased Roland, who punished him and then gave him to Hugh d’Ambray, who put him into a metal cage and was slowly starving him to death when I got him out. Christopher referred to himself as shattered, and that’s exactly what he was. His mind floated about, broken into a thousand shards, and you never knew which particular shard was in control. Sometimes he was so smart, it hurt; at others, he was childlike; and then occasionally he did things like climbing to the top of one of the Keep’s towers and trying to take flight. He was convinced he used to know how to fly and that he still could, if only he remembered. Usually it took me or Barabas to talk him down.
We had left Christopher behind at the Keep. It was the safest place for him. He knew how to make panacea, a vital medicine the shapeshifters desperately needed to keep from going loup, and the Pack would guard him and see to his every need. He couldn’t really be left unsupervised.
I turned to Julie. She shrugged. “He was sitting on our doorstep when Derek dropped me off.”
“Mistress,” Christopher said happily.
Oh boy. “Hi, Christopher.” I made my voice as gentle as I could. “How did you get here?”
Walked. The Keep was almost two hours away by vehicle. How in the world did he even find us?
Christopher kept smiling, his alpine lake eyes blissfully empty.
“Why don’t you stay for dinner?” I told him.
• • •
IT TOOK ME fifteen minutes and two handfuls of shampoo to get the spider gunk out of my hair. It also gave me time to think. Tomorrow I needed to take the glass to an expert. Unfortunately any private lab analyzing magically amazing sand would have a waiting list, and taking it to the cops would accomplish nothing. Eduardo was a grown man, a shapeshifter, and he had issues with his alpha. From an outsider’s perspective, it was entirely possible that he’d simply put some time and distance between him and his problems. They would look for him, but he wouldn’t exactly make it on the priority list.
There was one person in the city who might be able to analyze the glass on short notice. Going to see him would make Curran’s hair stand on end and it would cost me an arm and a leg. But it had to be done. Time was short.
The kindjal offered another place I could dig. The silver work on the scabbard was elaborate but not exactly unique, but the blade was a dead giveaway. The inscription had been written via the koftgari method, where the smith scratched the blade, hammered fine flat silver wire into it, and then heated it to help the silver stick. Koftgari didn’t stand up well to prolonged use and the kindjal didn’t look like a refinished antique, so it had to be a recent purchase. There were two smiths in the city who could produce a weapon of that quality, and only one of them used koftgari. The other favored inlay, cutting deep grooves into the blade and filling them with wire. I would go and knock on Nitish’s door tomorrow. I had bought weapons from him in the past. He wouldn’t like it, but he would talk to me.
I wished I could’ve spoken to Mitchell tonight, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. Mitchell survived because Biohazard hid him from the general public. I could only see him at their convenience. Pissing off Biohazard wasn’t in my best interests, no matter how much I wanted to know about the ghouls.
Aside from that, there weren’t a lot of paths we could take. A few years ago I would’ve tried a locating spell, but they’ve been thoroughly discredited now. The magic behind them misfired most of the time, sending you on a wild-goose chase and wasting time.
I dried off, patting the towel gently over my scrapes, and looked at myself in the mirror. My back had developed a lovely plumlike color. Twisting to look at it in the mirror hurt. Another day, another wound.
I dressed and went downstairs to have dinner.
An hour later dinner was over and I was putting away the dishes Curran had washed. Since Julie had cooked, she was off kitchen duty. She spread her homework out on the table and Christopher sat next to her, leafing through her textbooks.
I dried a plate with a towel. “I’m going to see Saiman tomorrow. I need him to analyze the glass we found. It’s going to be expensive.”
Curran’s eyes turned dark. “Take Derek with you.”
“No. I’m going to see Saiman without a babysitter.”
“I don’t like it.”
Christopher quietly got up and walked out of the kitchen.
“Do you trust me?”
The line of Curran’s jaw went hard. “I trust you,” he said. “I don’t trust that degenerate with your safety.”
“I know. But Eduardo needs him. Any other lab will take too much time.”
“I still don’t like it.”
“If Saiman tries anything, I’ll take him apart.”
Curran looked at me. I looked back. I meant what I said. If Saiman got out of line, I would do whatever I had to do to get him back behind it.
“While you’re doing that, I’m going to swing by the Guild,” Curran said. “You don’t stalk someone you don’t know. Eduardo and the man who watched him crossed paths somehow, and while we can’t look at the logbooks, I have his scent now. If he’s been to the Guild in the past week, I’ll recognize it.”
“If Eduardo was being stalked, would he talk to anyone in the Pack?” I thought out loud.
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