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an illusion that the stone wall was in front of them rather than behind them, that the curve of the passage was slightly sharper than it actually was. "Be silent," he said.

From their point of view, the illusory wall was no more than a dark screen. G'Leel turned her head anxiously from side to side, looking for whatever Galen had heard. A few seconds later, several aliens came into view, traveling in the same direction Galen and G'Leel had been. They were clearly soldiers, protected by black body armor and carrying heavy-duty weapons of an unfamiliar design. After a moment, Galen recognized them as Drakh.

They were not the same type of Drakh he'd seen before; they had no protuberances on the backs of their heads. These were the second Drakh type described by the mage Osiyrin in his ancient treatise, those who did not speak. Their eyes glowed brilliant red. Jagged white exoskeletons covered most of the grey skin of their heads. They were shorter than the other Drakh, more muscular. Osiyrin had said they were soldiers and workers.

More came down the passage, about two dozen in all, and they passed by Galen and G'Leel, disappearing around the next curve. The Drakh were not trying to keep them from the room where Blaylock was held; these soldiers were here to ensure that they reached it.

Galen looked back the way they had come, saw no more Drakh. He was about to dissolve the illusion when he picked up a hint of static. A sharp-edged shape came into view, moving in the same direction as the Drakh, following at a safe distance. Its silhouette crawled with white dots of interference. The static shifted with that same suggestion of scissor-like action he'd sensed before. He could almost make out legs, ahead.

Beside him, G'Leel shifted, and he realized that she believed
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