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His eyes are shot; his arm is broken; the magic has left them all. But Alex takes a stance from eidetic memory and snarls:

“I know kung fu.”

Quan-Ti, immortal, hesitates.

Behind Alex, Amadeus Faust steps out from nothing and opens his femoral arteries with a circular blade. In the cage, the Chosen Ones scream.

A snap of the cloak; the sorcerers vanish. Alex, on his elbows, crawls toward the lever that opens the door. His face is white-green, his blood an empty bucket. He gets a grip with one hand. Then the other.

His body pulls it down.