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slipped away as the equations became entangled. Galen cursed himself.

The lint ball popped out of existence. The first ball raced down the side of the hall and slammed into the rock wall with a burst of flame; the second bounced off the thatched ceiling at an angle and came screaming toward them.

Galen frantically formulated the quenching spell that would dissipate the energy of the ball, unmake it. But the spell had to be matched with the position of the object, which was now shooting past his face and heading straight for Elric. Why didn't Elric override his control of the chrysalis, as he always did when things went awry?

Galen focused desperately on the ball's position, inserted the position into the equation. About two inches from Elric's eye, the ball's pinkish surface flashed in a glittering wave and abruptly dissolved.

Galen looked away, breathing hard, exhausted from the exertion. Beneath his black robe, his skin ran with sweat. Elric released his hold on the chrysalis so Galen could turn to face him. Reluctantly, Galen turned.

Elric's figure, as always, was severe: plain black robe with high collar, scalp scoured hairless in honor of the Code, lips in a thin straight line. His posture was erect, his hands at his sides.

His gestures, when he made them, were as controlled and powerful as his words. His face generally showed one of two expressions: disappointment or grave disappointment. The difference was the number of frown lines between his eyebrows.

Disappointment had two; grave disappointment, three.

He had three.

"Why didn't you-shut me down?" Galen asked, still breathless. The chrysalis was designed so that a full techno-mage could override its functions at any time, erase all active spells instantly and completely. A mage held onto
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