The Gate Thief shook his head. "He used to be clever," said Wad. "You made him stupid."
"I made him believe that he was stupid," said Anonoei, "and then told him how to be clever. I hardly need to be a manmage to do that—learned people do it all the time."
"But I saw your manmagery all the same," said Wad. "He practically worships you."
"Most men do, if I want them to," said Anonoei.
"Will he kill his father?" asked Wad.
"He'll try," said Anonoei. "And because he really is clever, he'll probably succeed even without our help."
"But you intend to help him."
"Kill the man who defeated and humiliated Iceway? Yes, I think I will, unless you stop providing me with gates."
"Remember how few of them I have," said Wad.
"So passage through the Great Gate didn't increase their number?"
"It increased how long they last, how strong they are, my ability to manipulate them, my sense of other gates and where they lead. But no, passage through a Great Gate does not add any new gates to my store."
"Nor, apparently, does it make people any smarter."
"It didn't improve your intelligence or mine," said Wad, "but we were already as clever as we needed to be."
"As is Frostinch," said Anonoei.
"Yet it didn't occur to him that he should find out what your magery is."
"I didn't let him think of it," said Anonoei. "That's elementary. Whenever he became curious about me, I distracted him. Again, I barely needed magery to control him."
"When he is Jarl of Gray, he won't be any smarter."
"I don't want him smarter," said Anonoei. "I'm not going to use him to defeat Bexoi. Manmagery doesn't let me add new powers to my clients—they are what they are. He will be my puppet, but no match for Bexoi."
"Who is?" asked Wad.
"You," said Anonoei. "But I don't expect you to face her down, either. You're still too much in love with her."
Wad recoiled at that. "She murdered my son."
"The son you made with her. Remember what I am, and believe me, Wad. However much you hate Bexoi, you still have love enough for her that it will make you hesitate at the last moment, and she'll destroy you."
"How will you bring her down, then? How will you defeat her? Do you think that you're manmage enough to make her your servant?"
"Watch and see," said Anonoei. "When it's over, you'll be the only one who knows what I have done. But you'll agree that my victory was perfect and complete. I could find no better way to punish her."
"And you won't tell me now?"
"You would prevent me," said Anonoei, "even though you think you wouldn't. I'm not controlling you, but I do need to use your talents. Not knowing, you'll continue to help me, even though you know that if you knew my plan, you wouldn't."
Wad smiled. "Or so you think."
"You think that you would approve, and so you help me," said Anonoei. "I don't have to use manmagery on people who are sure they're wiser than they are."