At your will. There you will find the ancient knowledge of the techno-mages. There you will find the materials you need to complete your studies. And there you will find the way to save your mother."
Inside the sphere, Burell's image appeared, her face broken, deformed.
Isabelle gasped. "You bastards!" Before Galen knew what was happening, she had conjured a fireball and hurled it at the figure in the mouth of the tunnel.
A dim blue glow enveloped the dark figure just before the fireball hit. Fire splashed out, and at the site of the impact the flames sank into the shield, interacting with the top layers, spreading outward in a yellow-red wave. In the illumination of that fleeting circle of light, the face of the figure flashed into stark relief.
Mouth open in startled terror, eyes wide-it was Tilar. On his head was fastened a chrysalis. The yellow-red wave overran his face, growing dimmer as it diffused. At last only the blue remained. Tilar's shield had held. The dim blue glow vanished, and Tilar faded into the blackness.
Isabelle conjured a flying platform and shot off after him. Galen quickly followed. In the mouth of the tunnel they conjured globes of light, but there was no sign of Tilar. They used sensors in case he was disguising himself, but still nothing.
Galen didn't understand how this could have happened. How had Tilar acquired a chrysalis? And how had he known of Galen's secret, and Isabelle's dream? They hadn't told him.
Isabelle prowled deeper into the tunnel, shaking her head. "That bastard. That bastard. That bastard."
Galen turned. A breeze was blowing down the tunnel. "Isabelle. The train is coming."
"That bastard," Isabelle said again. "That bastard!"
Galen formulated the equation of motion, sped to her side. The breeze