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in it before he fell.

"There is a reason," Elizar said, "that healing is the most difficult thing for a mage to master."

Galen had to concentrate to make his mouth form the words. "They both need immediate help. They're in shock."

"I cannot do anything for them," Elizar said, "until you and I talk."

Bowing his head as if in weakness, Galen looked for the gun. He must find it, and he must regain his equilibrium.

Elizar brought over a second chair, placed it opposite Galen's. He appeared unarmed. A sign of his arrogance. Still, Galen was in no condition to overpower him without a weapon.

"You don't know how glad I was to find you were here," Elizar said.

"The feeling was mutual."

Elizar sat. "You're injured."

Galen met his gaze. "Your plan is to kill us all, is it not?"

"Not if you will join me."

Galen couldn't help it; he started to laugh. His side spasmed like a fist and he clutched it, gasping. He supposed he was in shock too. "How can you possibly imagine that I would ever, ever join you?"

Elizar leaned forward, his dark blue eyes intent. "Do you remember when we spoke before? You were right. You said I must tell you what I uncovered. That I must give you evidence. I could not tell you then. But now I can."

Galen breathed lightly. "You mean you didn't want to tell me then. Unless I swore loyalty to you."

"I feared you would tell the Circle. I didn't want Kell to find out all I had learned. If only I'd known that he had contrived for me to learn it." He wiped a hand over his mouth. "In any case, I am permitted to tell you now."

"It serves your purpose to tell me now," Galen said.

"The evidence that what I say is true," Elizar said, "exists within your own body, in the very fact that your tech is no longer under your control.
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