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But he did not want to be the cause of their deaths.

He must get to the gun. Galen removed his hand from his side, straightened. He didn't dare move his leg until he had to. Without the aid of the organelles, the pain had been intensifying steadily the entire time they'd been speaking. And the leg had swollen up even more than before, his pants digging into it.

Galen took a shallow breath, focused. He was a poor liar, but he had to try, at least, to convince Elizar that he was considering the proposition. "You're right that I hate you. But I'm not blinded by it. Your plan is our only chance. Yet how do I know that saving the mages is your true goal? Once you learn the hiding place, you can kill me, and you will have the rest of the mages at your mercy. I've no sensors to tell me whether you speak the truth. You must give me a sign of your good intentions. Restore my tech. Show me your trust, and I will show you mine."

Elizar stood. "And how do I know you won't destroy me, as you've destroyed so many in the tunnels? You've killed many more than I, Galen."

And he'd just been getting started.

Elizar brought his hand down sharply. "I've told you more truth than anyone else in your life. Tell me what you know of the mages' hiding place. Together we can save them. Together we can gain their freedom. You know that's what I want. And I know it's what you want. We once shared noble dreams. Reality has tainted them, but still there are great tasks left for us to accomplish. Show me your goodwill. Then I will restore your tech to you."

Galen looked down, trying to appear uncertain. He needed Elizar to move away from the gurney. He needed Elizar not to see the gun.

"Are others here with you and Blaylock?" Elizar asked.

Galen met his gaze. "No. The rest are on
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