“I didn’t then, but it looks like you were right about the Eye restoring power,” Owen said. “I assure you, that was entirely unintentional.”

“Wow, this is like something out of a Shakespearian tragedy,” I said with a grin. “The thing you did to stop something you feared would happen turned out to cause the thing you feared. If you’d left Owen alone, he might have just put the brooch in the box and never learned that it could restore his powers. Not to mention the fact that we were so near the blast because we were saving your life.”

If I’d expected undying gratitude or an apology, I’d have been sorely disappointed. “You should have let me die,” Raphael said morosely, hanging his head. “I turned out to be as weak as anyone. I, too, fell under the sway of the Eye and lusted for power.”

I went over to him and patted him on the shoulder. “Hey, nobody’s perfect. It was the Eye. I’m not sure anyone could have resisted it. Even my own grandmother tried to take it away from me.”

“And I’m no weakling,” Granny said. “Come on,” she added, nudging him with her cane. “Everything will look better after you’ve had a good meal.”

“We’d all better get back to the office so we can let the healers at you two,” Sam said. “I sent for a car. It ought to be here by now.”

“This is where we part ways,” Thor said with a bow. “I got payment for our work and saw to it that the brooch didn’t fall into the wrong hands, so my work is done.” All of us glanced at each other with some amusement, since he’d had very little to do with protecting the brooch and had even injured Owen while trying to get it for himself. But it seemed rude to quibble at a time like this. Thor took Granny’s hand and added, “It has been an honor fighting at your side, good lady.” Then he headed off into the concourse.

Rod took charge of Raphael, and we all started to leave the platform, but someone behind us cleared his throat. We turned to see Earl standing there, looking sheepish. “I don’t suppose you’re hiring,” he said. “I probably don’t have a job after attacking my boss, and I think I blew my cover as a spy in his court. I may even need to hide for a while if he figures out I tied him up before he woke up.”

“So, that’s why he didn’t join the party,” I said.

“I’m sure we can work something out,” Owen said. “Come with us. Merlin will want to talk to you.” He paused and smiled. “He may even want to listen to you. He’ll want more information about what Sylvester’s been up to.”

It was probably a good thing I was too tired to think much about what had just happened to me or I’d have been like a kid on Christmas morning with a complicated new electronic toy that had come without instructions. I’d have wanted to play with my new powers, but I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea how to use them or what to do with them.

I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me, and I didn’t know what Owen having his powers back meant for him, since it would make people even more suspicious of him and it would stop his research on the Ephemera. But I figured we could worry about all that the next morning. Make that next week. It was already very early Friday morning, and we deserved a break. I suspected even Owen would take the whole weekend off.

It was too bad my grandmother had come to stay. It was the first time in ages when Owen didn’t have any pressing problem to work on and would likely be under orders to stay home and rest. We were both too tired to get up to anything interesting, but it would have been a great time for a good, long cuddle and some privacy. The glance we exchanged on the way to the car told me he felt the same way. A warm tingle flowed upward from our joined hands as he laced his fingers through mine.

If this was what was possible when we shared a magical connection, then it appeared that I had a lot to look forward to—whenever my grandmother finally left town.
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