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ships. We're watching all departures, as you ordered."

The probe on John's neck revealed that the captain was twirling the orange blossom absently between thumb and forefinger. It remained as fresh as when Elric had given it to him. "They said they were leaving. I think you're right; I think it's soon, whether there's a record of it or not. I need you to get word to their leader, Elric. Have him meet me here in an hour."

"Yes, sir."

"Thank you, Mr. Welch. Good work."

In Down Below, Londo at last gathered the nerve to step into the corridor where runes glowed on the walls. "Hello? Hello?"

Fed was handling all the conjuries this time. Elric had told him it was because he'd proven himself with Vir's visit. Although that was true, Elric would still have preferred to do the work himself, but he was simply too tired. He had to save what energy remained to him.

A dim red glow spread from the cross-hallway ahead of Londo, and the ambassador looked anxiously toward it.

Londo had come to apologize. Elric had accurately deduced at least that much of the plan that had been hatched within the station's hedge maze. This was Morden's misdirection: lead the mages to believe that Londo had been beaten, so they would be unprepared for him to strike back. The hypocrite Londo would have no trouble going along, while revenge remained his final goal.

Londo spoke nervously into the silence, extending his hands. "I admit perhaps my enthusiasm for-for a personal meeting was excessive."

The red light grew brighter, and a low growl echoed down the corridor. Beneath it rumbled the sound of massive movement. Though Elric was not there to smell it, he imagined the stench of rotten meat on the air.

Londo's hands rose, as if trying to ward off whatever might come. "And certainly-certainly
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