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Much Ado About Magic


Page 19




He made it sound like an accusation. I shrugged. "I'm not the one to talk to about how magic works. I just see hands waving and feel the tingling. You'll have to ask Owen what he did."
Ramsay turned to Merlin. "I'd be interested in hearing Owen's viewpoint."
Not looking at all happy about it, Merlin nodded and stood up. His shoulders were stooped, like they carried a great weight, as he went to the phone and called Kim to have Owen come up. I'd never seen Merlin act like this. If this Ramsay guy bothered him so much, why was he putting up with him?
"What's your take on these incidents, Katie?" Ramsay asked me. "Maybe what we need here is an outside perspective."
I wasn't sure how much I really wanted to share with Ramsay. "Advertising those protective charms is a good strategy for Spellworks," I said. "No matter what's going on with these incidents, they now look like they're the ones to save us from all the chaos."
"And meanwhile, MSI looks ineffectual," Ramsay concluded. "That is a very good point, Katie. I can see why you're so valuable to this company. I wish I'd had you on my side when I was in charge here." Although it sounded like praise, I got a funny feeling from the gleam in his eyes as he looked at me that what he'd left unsaid was something along the lines of, "so I could have done away with you before you became a problem.

"
The door opened and we all glanced over to see Owen come in. Ramsay got up to shake his hand and clap him on the back in greeting, as though he hadn't just been questioning Owen's actions. "Good work this morning, son," he said. "Too many of these guys have been getting away, so it was good to get a couple in custody." He guided Owen to the conference table with a hand on his back. "Now, maybe you could help us understand a few things."
Owen looked as confused as I felt. "I'd be glad to help," he said.
"What did you do to stop that spell affecting the armored car?" Merlin asked before Ramsay got a chance to take over the discussion.
"Nothing special. I just blocked all spells coming from that direction until I could tell who was doing it. I didn't really counter the spell."
"How close are you to having some good counterspells?" Ramsay asked.
"Not as close as Spellworks, from the looks of things. I don't have any protective charms ready to go on the market, if that's what you're asking.
But then I'm at a disadvantage, since I didn't create the bad spells in the first place."
"That's what you think they've done?"
"I know they created some of these spells because I have the original spells they sold, back when it was an underground enterprise. And now they're selling the charms. It's pretty obvious, even if they're now playing innocent."
"That's a big accusation to make," Ramsay said, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the conference table.
"And one they're sure to deny," Merlin added.
Ramsay propped himself on one elbow while gesturing with his other hand. "I've got to tell you guys, this doesn't look good. The Council is concerned. They're wondering why MSI should get the position of prominence when you can't deal with this situation.
You're losing customers left and right. Not to mention the fact that the mundane world is starting to ask questions. I got a call from our person in the mayor's office just this morning." I was totally at sea here. I'd never heard of this Council.
"Our customer conference should help with our image," Merlin said. "How is that progressing, Miss Chandler?"
Oh, great, I thought. Now my event was being viewed as the key to stopping a catastrophe I didn't understand? "I've decided on a venue. That's the first step. Then we'll need to decide what we want to announce or showcase."
"I would be happy to help if you need any suggestions or feedback," Ramsay said.
Merlin's lips thinned, and when he spoke, he faced me instead of turning to Ramsay. "I am sure Miss Chandler is quite capable. Now, unless you have any additional Council gossip to share, Ivor, we should all return to our duties."
If Ramsay felt chastised or took offense, he didn't show it. He just grinned as he stood and said, "Don't worry, I'll keep you in the loop on anything I hear from the Council world."
This sudden dismissal took me by surprise. I'd been sure they were suspicious about Owen's use of unauthorized magic, but they hadn't brought that up at all. What had the interrogation been about, then? It was like Ramsay wanted to see how much we knew, or let us know how much he knew. Whatever it was, my instincts told me there was something fishy going on with Ramsay.






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