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dragon passed us only a minute ago.

That wasn't my dragon.

That wasn't Alwyn ahead of them. An illusion then, he thought eagerly. Created by whom? Elizar?

He ceased G'Leel's forward movement. He knew he should stop as well, but he didn't want to. Instead he continued a few more steps, the steps necessary to bring him around the curve and carry him into confrontation with his enemy, to reveal the trap that had been laid.

Drakh lined both sides of the passage, their weapons trained on him. Straight ahead, just a few feet away, stood the illusion of Alwyn.

Galen could see the quality of the illusion was very good- reproducing Alwyn's thin hair, the bags beneath his eyes. Too good to be created from a distance. Someone was within the illusion, either Elizar or Tilar. He must know which.

Several things happened very quickly.

Alwyn smiled. "Fire!"

With the whisper of silk, a shield slipped down over Galen. Blaylock was protecting him. A platform pushed up against his feet. Blaylock was going to pull him back down the tunnel.

At this short distance, Galen could finally detect mage energy from the figure before him. He had sensed this energy before. It held the distinctive signature of a chrysalis.


Galen visualized the screen in his mind's eye, imposed the spell of destruction upon it. The tech's response was instantaneous. The energy struck out, seized Tilar. As hot plasma sprayed yellow across Galen's field of vision, a spherical area around the false Alwyn began to redden and darken. Galen glanced at the roof of the tunnel, cast the spell of destruction within the rock there.

Blaylock's platform began to pull him back around the curve, while within the sphere the false Alwyn dissolved, revealing Tilar beneath. The silvery chrysalis on
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