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By Paula E. Downing

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He looked at her unhappily, quite unconvinced. ” Her shoulders sagged; in his way, Ian was as stubborn as Sieyes. “I appreciate it,” she said, defeated. He gave her another quick kiss and smile. “Have to go now, back into the fray. ” She sat down on her bunk and shivered. I don't understand; I don't understand anything. She rubbed her hands slowly over her face, then let them drop into her lap. I wondered what kind of guards they would raise to keep me: why bring me along at all if they still insist on their gilded cage?

Yeah, naive, I admit, but what the hell. Listen, we don't have much time out here—let's not press our luck and give Dr. McGill too much to defend—but before we go back, let's catch Hillary and go over to the plaza. ” He called to Hillary and they tramped through the darkness down another path through the warm moist air. Medoret sniffed appreciatively, smelling the cool moist earth, the multiple scents of the vegetation, the occasional aroma of orchids overhead. Though she had visited the arboretums on Ariadan and knew the smells of such a profusion of living things, a cultured garden wasn't the same as a real forest.

Sieyes looked at her with contempt. ” Medoret stared back at him bleakly. “I gave specific orders,” Sieyes continued when she said nothing. ” Medoret turned away from him and walked to her bed and sat down, then studied her hands in her lap. She had learned many forms of denial over the years. Now the posture fitted the slow beat of despair that caught at her breath. I'll never get free, she thought. ” She raised her head and looked at him, and felt a flush of defiance wash through her body. I am the Jaguar Sun, she thought.

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