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to use his chrysalis without Kell present, perhaps, if he was upset enough, he would. A skilled mage could detect lies through his sensors, monitoring heartbeat, respiration, blood flow to the skin, pupil size, voice stress. Some mages could regulate these functions, and so mask their lies. Galen had failed at this thus far; he didn't know the extent of Isabelle's skills. Yet for Elizar even to be monitoring her-for one mage to suspect another of lying-would show how far the conversation had deteriorated. And he didn't understand why.

Elizar's hand curled inward; his thumb began its circular course around his fingertips. "You and Burell are quite the pair. You claim to have the ability to understand the tech through scientific inquiry, yet what have you found? By the time you discover anything useful, it will be too late."

Elizar knew of a threat-a threat not only to us, but to everyone, he had said-and he was desperate to find some weapon to fight it. But his urgency did not make sense.

He acted as if the threat were here, now. Yet if that were so, the other mages would have to know about it. Galen found himself breathing hard, his system racing. The chrysalis echoed his anxiety.

Elizar's angular face turned toward Galen. "What spell did you conjure this morning in the training hall?"

Galen wanted to help his friend, but he couldn't. The spell was too destructive. It could never be used. Galen shook his head. "I... I don't really know."

"That's impossible, Galen!" Elizar yelled. "You always know. I told you this very morning of secrets being kept from us. Now you are keeping one of those secrets. Why would you do that? Why are you both keeping secrets from me?" Elizar looked from Galen to Isabelle, his chest heaving, mouth open, caught between fear and
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