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A surge of adrenaline shot through Galen. His heart pounded, and the pounding echoed back to him from the chrysalis with anticipation and readiness.

"Let me see the readings," Elizar said, extending his hand. "Perhaps I can find the time to look at them."

Galen took a step back.

"What's this?" Elizar's voice broke.

"It's too dangerous," Galen said.

Elizar gave a truncated laugh, throwing up his arms with a flourish. "Too dangerous. You have no idea what's going on. Most of them don't. They do their petty stage-magician tricks and pat themselves on the back. They have no idea what our true potential is." He leaned over Galen, enunciating his words with frightening intensity. "We have greater powers, Galen, than we know. If we are to survive what comes, if we are to make a difference, if we are to restore the glory of the techno-mages, we must know the full extent of that power. We must learn the secrets of the tech. If we don't find out..."

Elizar's hand clenched into a fist. "When I discovered the Circle-and Kell-withholding such information... I felt as if I had lost my parents. And now you. I've no one to trust here. No one at all." He strode away, stopped, turned back to face them, a pale figure against the darkness. "You want power for yourselves, is that it?"

"No," Galen said.

Elizar's eyes narrowed. "Of course not, how could you. You haven't the ambition, or the imagination. You are a technician," he spat at Galen. "You," he said to Isabelle, "a frustrated scientist. You bury your noses in study and play at being wizards. You keep your secrets. You do what the Circle tells you. You crawl when you could fly. But you know what happens to those who crawl? They are crushed."

Elizar cupped his hands around his mouth. A sustained syllable
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