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could learn what that meant, could discover the source of Tilar's chrysalis. The Drakh had said it was only a matter of weeks before their provocations began. If he and Isabelle could uncover the Shadows' plan, perhaps they could stop the war before it started. Besides, the Circle had not yet declared their task completed, so wasn't it their responsibility to continue?

"They've destroyed all our probes," Galen said. "We can't see what's going on in there."

"The probes won't record the complete transmissions anyway," Isabelle said. "We have to go there in person. We have to get close enough that our sensors can pick it up."

"Close enough," Galen said, "is three feet."

Isabelle's gaze met his, intent, and he could see her already trying to figure out a way to make it work.

"If Tilar is there," Burell said, "he may be able to sense your presence."

The sensors on a chrysalis weren't nearly as good as those on a mage, but if they were close, he might detect them.

"If Tilar is there," Isabelle said, "he will regret it."

Galen remembered Elric saying the Circle needed evidence beyond doubt. Elric believed they had gotten that, yet he had still seemed uncertain that the rest of the Circle would be convinced. Some might believe the Drakh's claim that he had been lying. They might doubt whether war was truly coming. They might even doubt that the Drakh's words had been forced into his mouth by a Shadow, which appeared only as static on their recording. If doubt remains an option, Elric had said, some will stubbornly cling to it.

Galen had vowed not to fail the Circle, or Elric. He and Isabelle could secure absolute proof now, and perhaps gather intelligence that would help the mages fight the Shadows. With Isabelle's discovery, they had an incredible opportunity.
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