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his life. The equation was ready to form; the tech was eager to form it. Yet Elizar would evade the spell.

"It's time to pay for all you've done," Morden said. "It's time to learn who your masters are."

Elizar knelt beside Galen, conjured a platform beneath them. He laid a hand on Galen's back, and the Shadow skin flowed out from his fingers, gripping Galen like a giant hand. The platform carried them back the way Galen had come. "You don't want to miss the last secret of the techno-mages. You're going to love this one."

At least Elizar was taking him toward the parapet. There he must escape, reach the Eye. He had less than two minutes.

"I know how the tech is made," Galen said. "How can you plan to rebuild the mages, when the price of every mage is the death of another?"

"In time," Elizar said, "we shall find another way to make the tech. But that's not the secret of which I spoke."

The light increased as they emerged onto the parapet. Elizar raised them up over the wall and sped them across the great cavern. They passed over the towers and buildings of the city within the city, the gaping abyss beside it. Elizar was taking him toward the far end, where the pit of squirming machine people carried out the work of the Eye.

Galen suddenly wondered if the Eye contained some hidden weapon. Elizar had tried to bring him close to it before, in their initial confrontation. Was this part of the Shadows' plan for him?

A shrill screech sounded through the open space, and a shadow fell over him. He turned his head. Above, haloed by the skylight, Razeel hovered, wearing her mask of Shadow skin and illusion. She had not been entirely successful in moving Galen's spheres of destruction. One arm was only a stub, and a hemisphere had been scooped out of her side.
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