from his head, but the emptiness remained, pushing outward, pressing at the backs of his eyes, his forehead. How could he have allowed Galen's life to be endangered? How could he have let Galen go to the Shadows? Would Galen be sent back to them, flayed? Or would they hold him and tempt him with what he most wanted? And when he listened to the Shadows, what poison would he hear?
It was near dawn when Galen and G'Leel approached the demolition site behind the City Center. The streets were quiet now. The not-darkness of night was being replaced by the not-light of day. Columns of black smoke rose to obscure the sky.
They slipped into an alley, unobserved. His breathing rapid and shallow, Galen unwrapped from around his head the scarf, which he had used as a crude disguise. He pushed it into his pocket.
Dark spots danced before his eyes, and he rested for a moment against the side of a building. His leg had turned into a mass of pain. He hadn't dared use a platform to reach the City Center, and as they'd hurried through the maze of streets, it had swollen until he could no longer bend his knee. The skin was hot and tight, and with each step the grating in his shin set off a brilliant detonation of sensation.
He was racing with energy-burning with it. He had felt that way ever since he'd heard Tilar speak Elizar's name. The tech was ready for his command. Yet what good was it if the Shadows would detect him the moment he used it? He must make do with his broken body a little while longer.
He started down the long alley after G'Leel. They must hurry. Even now it could be too late.
It had been forty-five minutes since he'd awoken in G'Leel's hotel room. In his mind's eye, Galen watched the bright white room deep underground through the probe