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Brown turned toward him. "Afraid of some real technomages?"

Tilar straightened. "Only an idiot wouldn't be," he said, yet he stepped inside. Galen cut off the audio signal from the probes.

The Drakh leaned over the counter. Finding his quarry, he pointed his weapon toward Galen and Isabelle.

Galen forced his mind to focus only on the equation for the shield, to conjure nothing else.

Cadmus' shaggy moustache spread as the face beneath it grimaced. He raised the PPG to the Drakh's head at point-blank range, closed his eyes, and fired.

Being Cadmus, of course, he missed.

Detecting the high-energy discharge, Burell's probes instantly activated her spell of protection. Throughout the hotel, sonic generators blasted out sound waves so intense they vibrated the internal organs of patrons, stunning them, causing spasms, or liquefying their bowels.

Tilar grabbed his stomach and doubled over. His lips spat out a curse. Then he collapsed. Brown followed a moment later. The Drakh jerked erect, twitching. He fired into the ceiling and chunks of plaster rained around him. His body spasming, he dropped to the floor.

Cadmus' head rolled back and he slid below the counter.

The signal continued for thirty seconds. Then the spell was deactivated. Galen had no idea how long the effect would last. Burell had never said. He dissolved his shield. The lobby was quiet.

Isabelle was rigid in his arms, her eyes and mouth wide, oblivious to anything but the Shadow signal. He laid her on the carpet and stood up from behind the counter. The Drakh was twitching. The others were still. Galen moved quickly, remembering how the Shadow had used the Drakh's body before. He snatched the weapon from the Drakh's twitching fingers, took the guns from Brown and Tilar as well. He
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