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I'd worry about you constantly."

Galen nodded, hoping an explanation would come.

She sighed, realizing he still didn't understand. "I have- things-inside that are not intended for anyone else to see. You must give me your word that you will tell no one what you find."

Her research, he realized. She must be doing even more than the mages knew, work that many would condemn if they discovered it. "I give you my assurance. No one will know."

"Good." She extended her hand, and the door to the penthouse apartment opened. "Welcome."

Burell entered first, in the wheelchair illusion she had created after she'd parked her ship in a private hangar at the spaceport. She had agreed to the deception that Galen had come back with them because she was in ill health. But she had refused to let the people between the spaceport and her apartment see her true condition. Galen had still not seen it himself, though he understood from Isabelle that Burell was very ill. The trip to Soom had made her much worse; Isabelle hoped that returning to Burell's place of power would improve her health.

At the spaceport, Burell had altered her usual, glamorous image to create a greyish pallor, lank greasy hair, and a quite unpleasant odor. The odor sold the illusion, Galen could see as they passed through customs. The officials left her alone, speaking in hushed voices with Isabelle. Burell acted the role with gusto. On the tube ride home, she had gone into a fit of wet, phlegm-filled coughs that made it sound as if she might drop dead right there.

Galen followed Burell inside, Isabelle coming last and closing the door behind them. Galen was relieved to find Burell's odor immediately vanished. The pallor and greasy hair went as well. She appeared healthy, wearing a tight-fitting red dress,
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