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G'Leel pulled out her gun. "You think they're going to believe that?"

"If they don't, shoot them."


Galen limped down the tunnel.

In his mind's eye, within the white room, Elizar turned on Tilar. "You hit him. You did something. Just admit it."

Tilar crossed his arms over his chest. Against the ornately decorated vest he wore, the sleeves of his shirt were a brilliant white. "I didn't lay a hand on him. You can see there's not a mark."

"There were plenty of marks on Regana."

"Are we going to go through that again? She was my teacher. It was my right to kill her however I wanted."

Elizar threw up his hand with a flourish. "You are a sadist. And a poorly skilled one, at that."

"You act like you want to wrap your arms around Blaylock and give him a big wet kiss. We're going to kill him. What difference would it make if I-" Tilar turned and delivered a vicious kick to Blaylock's head. It snapped to the side, slowly rolled back. A trickle of blood ran down his temple.

Galen reached the end of the tunnel. A second one led off to left and right, curving in both directions so he could not see far along its length. A few doors were built into the rock, controlled by keypads in their frames. They were all closed, no one in sight. Galen wondered if he and G'Leel were just lucky, or if they were walking into a trap. It had occurred to him that Rabelna's presence within the underground room might be for his benefit. Elizar could have deduced that Galen and Blaylock had followed her to the City Center. He could have scanned her and discovered the probe. Showing Rabelna that they held Blaylock prisoner would be the best way to lure Galen there. But to what end? Elizar knew that Galen held the secret of destruction. Didn't Elizar fear him?

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