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arrogant face. Hatred sent a blaze of new heat through Galen's burning body.

It had been a month and a half since they'd last faced each other, but it felt, at this moment, as if no time at all had passed. From Elizar's cupped hands had emerged the long, deadly spike, from his lips the breath of air that had shot it toward them. The spike had snaked up her spinal cord, severing nerve roots and artery branches, killing her inch by excruciating inch. Now it was time for him to die.

"Galen," he said. His skin seemed paler than it used to be, his shoulders slightly curved. For some reason Galen was reminded of Elric and the other mages who had destroyed their places of power. But Elizar had no place of power. Though Galen had destroyed the small piece of chrysalis on his ship, that shouldn't have had any significant effect.

"What a lovely nonsurprise," Tilar said. He was crouched on the floor to one side, Blaylock's body propped against him. His bloody hand pressed a gun into Blaylock's cheek. "Come in, Galen. A pleasure to see you again." Blaylock's hands lay, palms up, against the floor. They were two masses of purplish red, blood pooled around them on the white floor. "I'm betting I can fire this gun faster than you can kill me. Want to take that bet?"

Galen was surging with energy, incandescent. Rabelna stood to the left of the door, and Bunny sat behind her, head bent to the side, regarding him with mild interest.

He stepped into the room.

The relentless, racing energy vanished. The burning incandescence died. The gravity-or something-within the room seemed strange. He stumbled, disoriented, caught a glimpse of the door closing behind him. G'Leel jammed the gurney in the doorway. Galen couldn't recover his equilibrium. Part of his mind, part of his body,
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