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gained strength. "We should go back. We need to tell Elric all we've discovered."

Isabelle was shaking her head, scanning ahead.

"We need to check on Burell."

She turned sharply, her face flushed and hard with anger. For a moment Galen thought she might attack him. The wind whipped through their robes. Then her eyebrows rose, and he saw, in an instant, her anger turn from Tilar to herself. "What have I done?" she said.

She had rejected the only chance to save Burell. She had made the right decision. But what could he say? Galen reached for her hand, but it was encased in her shield. With a slight tingling, his fingers slipped away.

They flew back to the station. Only when the tube came did Isabelle dissolve her shield. Then she took his hand.

She remained silent on the ride home, her hand in his. Twice he heard her release a heavy breath. She was trying to calm herself to face Burell. Galen needed to do the same, to still that wild energy. He began a mind-focusing exercise, but found he could not concentrate.

The tech was closely guarded by the Circle, the secret of its creation held only by them. How, then, could one cast away by the Circle, one found unfit, still have access to it? How did Tilar have a chrysalis?

You are already divided.

The Shadow had let them go. Tilar, speaking for the Shadows, had offered them alliance. Did the Shadows think that Galen and Isabelle would join them because Tilar had? Or were other mages involved?

Tilar had known their secrets, had known just what to say. Galen had thought he and Isabelle were investigating the Shadows. But now it seemed the Shadows were investigating them. The mages were not safe.

And the Drakh had said it would be only a few weeks before the Shadows took the first steps toward war.



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