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"

Elizar's dark blue gaze fixed on Kell. "Leave us," he said.

"Hey, it's my turn," Bunny said.

Elizar turned on her and Tilar, and his voice rang with authority. "Leave us. Now."

"This wasn't part of the plan," Tilar said.

Yet it was. Bunny and Tilar were incorrect; the plan had been torture, then Elizar questioning Kell alone, and then, if necessary, telepathic interrogation. Bunny and Tilar knew this. They were lying, she realized.

Anna opened the door briefly so that the others could leave. Then Elizar and Kell were alone.

"Anna," Elizar said, "release him."

Anna withdrew her tendrils, her fingers, leaving only the conventional shape of a chair. Kell wiped the sweat from his eyes with a shaky hand. His dark gaze followed Elizar.

"If you came with the intention of killing me," Elizar said, "I am sorry to disappoint. I will not be killed."

"That was not my intent," Kell said softly. His heartbeat was becoming more regular, his breath slowing.

"Then why did you come?"

"I had to see whether it was true. Whether you had truly betrayed the mages."

"I killed Isabelle. Was that not proof enough?"

"For one who loves you? No." Kell straightened. "I knew the difficulty of your position. I put you in it."

"What do you..." Elizar rested a hand against the wall, bowed his head. For a long moment he was silent. Then, haltingly, he continued. "You incited me to break into your place of power. You allowed me to access your files. You wanted me to discover your secrets."

"I acted alone. The others knew nothing."

Elizar shook his head. "You sent me as your unknowing agent to gather information from the Shadows. And all the time I thought you had betrayed us, by hiding all you knew. How could you keep such secrets? The Shadows..." Elizar's
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