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that?" Vir said. "I thought you said the comm system wasn't working."

The message vanished, and the comm screen went black. Vir's penlight revealed only the faintest hint of Londo's silhouette against the darkness.

"It isn't," Londo said. His voice had grown soft, uncertain.

"Was that from..."

Londo's dark figure turned on Vir. "Stop asking so many questions, and get back to work. I need to get out of here. Things may be looking up."

Vir turned back to the wall. The door opened.

"At last!" Londo cried. He passed Vir, slapping him on the back. "Good work."

"But Londo..."

But Londo had already disappeared down the corridor.

Fed was nodding his head, a growing smile twisting at his beard. "You, Elric, are the king. It's all happening just like you said. If I didn't know better, I'd think you had all of these guys under some kind of mind control."

Yes, Elric had anticipated Morden inserting himself into the conflict between Londo and the mages, and he had anticipated Londo accepting Morden's help. But the meeting that was about to take place was another unknown in Elric's plan. He could not listen to their conversation. In the gardens where they now went to meet, there were no security cameras. And Morden would be accompanied by the Shadows. They might well detect any probe, any mage close enough to listen. They must have no idea that Elric knew of their connection to Londo. They must have no idea that Elric anticipated the plan they would now propose.

And if Elric was wrong, all those in his care would die, and the deception would fail.

* * *

The bed was hard as rock. Galen shifted in the dark room, his body sore all over. His leg throbbed. He threw off the coat that covered him, hot.

Moving slowly, he slid his legs over the
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