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or reality. The wind drove him along.

He knew Fa's house, though as he approached the back of it, he realized he had never been inside. She had always come to him; he had never gone to her. He was still a stranger in this place, among these people, after eleven years of living here. He had never opened himself to them, or to Fa, and now there was nothing of him left to open. He was transparent, empty.

He heard her voice coming from one of the windows. He imagined his mind as a blank screen, carefully visualized an equation written upon it. The spell gave him access to the probe in the ring he'd given her, his father's ring. The image appeared in his mind's eye.

She was staring right at him, right at the stone in the ring. Below the curly white wisps of hair that covered her face, her skin was the deep pink it became when she was excited. Her eyes were wide, bright, engaged in play. Her head turned back and forth as she studied the ring.

Seeing her in his mind's eye was like peering through a telescope at some impossibly distant past. It was a past to which he could not return.

"Make me great flowers of light in the sky," she said in the language of the Soom. The probe's image turned away from her, swooping over the stone walls of her room in dizzying circles as she waved her arms and twirled, imagining the flowers falling around her. Of course the ring would do no magic for her.

"Pretty, pretty flowers." She again held the ring up to her face. "Blow all the flowers to Gale. Tell him not to be sad anymore. Tell him to be happy. Tell him not to go away."

Galen turned, nearly starting for home. He did not want to think. He did not want to feel. Yet he had taken the easy path and ignored her for too long. He must say good-bye.

"Turn me into a great lady
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