held the chrysalis up to Galen as he visualized the association command. This time Galen scooped the limp chrysalis gently from the liquid. He brought the bell-shaped section to the top of his head, letting the extension trail down his back. He visualized the equation.
The chrysalis leapt from his hands and seized his head and spine in a powerful grip. Its body rippled against his, adjusting itself quickly to his curves and contours to maximize contact. The connection echoed through him, creating a subtle vibration of energy. He wiped the liquid from his forehead.
As he rushed through the thick, brilliant white mist toward the hall, it crossed his mind that with the chrysalis, he could try out the new spell he'd discovered before facing Elric. Then he would know what it did. Casting spells without his teacher was forbidden, though. And surely giving apprentices the ability to do so before initiation was a test, a temptation. He would not fail. Besides, what good would it do to see what the spell did? He had nothing else to offer.
And he was late.
Galen was surprised to find a number of mages and apprentices standing outside the hall. Then he realized all the apprentices must be using the hall to train this morning. More would be inside. That meant his session with Elric wouldn't be private, as he had expected. Galen stopped, imagining his spell failing while everyone watched. The chrysalis returned a faint echo of his anxiety.
Federico, Herazade's apprentice, approached. "Hey. You look like you just swallowed a rock." As Galen tried to erase the anxiety from his face, Fed jerked a thumb over his shoulder at the others. "Nothing like a little pressure, eh?"
Though Galen knew Federico liked to be called Fed, he was uncomfortable with the familiarity of the