“I take that as a no.” Devlen reached for my collarbone.
My situation hadn’t improved. Not surprising, but I could hope. When I woke for the second time in my room, I was attached to the wall. Once I managed to get my weight on my feet—rather difficult with ankles hooked to the wall clasps, I glanced up. My wrists sported the same metal cuffs. I tugged both arms and legs to no avail. The clasps had been securely fastened to the wood.
I was completely vulnerable. Memories from being in this same spread-eagle position boiled up from the depths. Then I had been staked to the ground. The number and location of all the pain spots on my body scrolled through my mind. What had he called them…? Pressure points. He had also used metal C-shaped clamps wide enough to fit over various parts of my body, leaving them there so his hands wouldn’t tire.
Panic simmered. I wanted him to stop even before he started. But I couldn’t agree to help him. Or could I? He knew my dreams led to the glass prisons. I’ve been dreaming about snow and ice. Kaya said Kade was in northern Ixia. If I told Devlen the prison was near Icefaren Station, we would go there. He would have to figure out how to cross the border and travel through Ixia without being caught. During that time, I might get an opportunity to escape, or send a message to Zitora or anyone at this point. If not, when we reached northern Ixia, I could trick Devlen into searching for Kade instead of the prison.
A nasty little worry that Kade might already be dead tried to speak up. I slapped it down and continued plotting. Once I found and freed Kade, we could search for Ulrick.
There were so many ifs and unknowns, but I didn’t have any other options and now I had a plan to focus on. I rolled my shoulders, easing the pain. The worst part would be convincing Devlen I had given in. He would be suspicious if I agreed too soon. I had to endure his torture longer than before. But this time, I had a goal in mind. I had a measure of control. A tiny one, but it was enough.
When the door swung wide, I centered my thoughts on my goals. He held two clamps. Save Kade. Save Ulrick. The words echoed in my mind.
“Will you help me?” he asked.
Save Kade. “No.” Save Ulrick.
His mouth pressed into a grim line as if the prospect of torturing me was unappealing. “I need to hurry things along this time.” He waved both clamps in front of me. “Something new for you. Two.” He ran his hand along my right leg. “Let’s see, where was that spot you particularly hated.”
My leg jerked when his finger found the location on my upper thigh. He positioned the clamp and twisted the screw. Every muscle in my body spasmed, but there was no preparing for the waves of burning pain that would not stop. I writhed and bucked, but no position eased the torment.
Distantly, he mentioned the second, and as he pushed against me with his body an additional center of stabbing pain exploded from my left shoulder. My stomach heaved, trying to expel the agony. Too much, I couldn’t draw breath and I hovered at the edge of passing out.
“Oops.” He fiddled with one of the clamps.
I sucked in great gasps of air, quite conscious. He left. Save Kade, I thought as each wave of agony slammed through my body. Save Ulrick. Save Kade. But eventually the words just buzzed in a haze of unrelenting pain. I rocked and moaned, wishing for it to stop.
When it did stop, I sagged in my restraints. Joy was in the relief. And gratitude.
Devlen nodded. “Two gets the job done faster. Before you lasted three days.” He frowned. “I wasn’t planning to do this. If you had kept taking Leif’s potion, I’d still be trying to romance the location from you.”
I shoved the romance comment into my glass heart and focused on the details. “Leif’s potion?”
“It wasn’t Leif’s. It was more blood magic. I mixed my mentor’s blood with a sleeping potion to help your dreams become more specific as to where his prison is located. It was working until you switched potions. Then I had to go to Plan B.”
Did I even want to know? Better to keep him talking than the alternative. “Plan B?”
“Lure you away from the Keep and…” He waved a hand at me.
“So the diamond merchant they stopped at the border?”
“I made it up.”
“Believes you’re going to help that Stormdancer with his sand search. Why do you think I arranged everything? And wouldn’t let you mention business at the dance?”
“Because I’m an idiot.”
“No. You’re not an idiot at all. I’ve been watching you since we had the fight in Thunder Valley, waiting for you to trust someone other than Master Cowan and that Stormdancer. Both too powerful for me to trick. Ulrick, however, was easy to convince. He wanted magical power more than he wanted you. I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He has taken the first step to becoming a Warper.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Or is it you don’t want to believe me? How much did you care for Ulrick before I came along?” He stroked my face.
Jerking back from his touch, I banged my head.
“Ulrick’s thoughts and emotions were easy to read. Frustrated, disappointed, craving more from you, but feeling he received more warmth from a glass statue. His memories showed me everything. A couple of kisses, was it? All you gave him before cooling in his arms. Not nearly enough from you for him to refuse my offer.” He leaned into me. “You certainly gave me much more than a kiss.”