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was swaying slightly. He looked over the city and watched the swaying pass in a wave from one building to the next, radiating outward. As it approached them, a low rumble grew out of the ground. Then it passed by, moving toward the outskirts of the port. Burell had said her place of power was underground. It must have been destroyed.

Ahead of them, the hangars of the spaceport came into view. When they had arrived, Burell had parked her ship in a private hangar, which was protected against intruders. Now it, too, was consumed in a whirlwind of blue flame.

Galen found an empty alley near the spaceport, formulated the equation, brought them down. He dissolved the platform too soon. They dropped a few inches to the ground. Galen caught himself on hands and knees on the dirty, wet pavement. His scarf dangled into a brown puddle.

He had energy; he had boundless, surging energy inside of him. But his body was exhausted. His limbs quivered with the effort of keeping balance on the platform. And more than that, his mind was tired, tired of the endless, ferocious focus required to maintain control.

The alley stank. Isabelle was pulling Burell away from the puddle, straightening her limbs. Galen wanted only to sit here with her, to be still and try to forget how his foolishness and failure had led to Burell's death. Yet he had a duty, a duty to the Circle.

He tried to concentrate. "We need passage out of here. We need false identification. We need to disguise Burell's body."

Isabelle straightened Burell's head as if she hadn't heard. Galen seized her wrist.

She looked up and it seemed as if she really saw him for the first time since she had discovered Burell's body. She pulled in a breath, and her face tightened, regaining its focus. He was shocked at how relieved
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