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to hold against his return. Then he knew what to give. As he thought of the object, Galen was relieved. With Fa was where it belonged. He felt uneasy with its custody. He had faced the ring last night; he would not be hiding from himself now if he gave it away. And it seemed fitting that, as he left, they should reverse the ritual they had performed so many times. Instead of her giving him the ring, he would give it to her.

He palmed the star, visualized the equation to create an image of it, then set the image snaking up into the air. "It's blowing away. Catch it, Fa."

She ran after it, and he sent it behind Elric and Isabelle. Quickly he unsealed the valise, retrieved the ring from its grass box, and resealed the valise. He cast the spell to access the ring's probe through the tiny transceiver built into it. He added a new program to the ring. Cupping it in his hand, he drew the illusion of the star back toward him. Fa followed, arms extended upward. The star suddenly toppled downward, and Galen reached out and appeared to grab it.

Fa regarded him skeptically. "Odd wind."

"An object of great magic must not be abused," Galen said, keeping his fist extended in front of him. "It must only be used in great need."

Fa was looking at his hand with great interest now.

"One who controls such an object must be wise. She must not call on it lightly."

Fa came close to his hand, her eyes shifting from it to Galen's face.

"If she does not abuse it, it will watch over her always. And if ever she is in great need, she may call my name three times, and I will come."

Fa looked at him with such hope, such dreams. While her attention was on his face, he dropped the ring into her pocket, quickly reclosing his fist.

"Say the words now, and never say them again
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