How long had they been at this? How deep had they delved into the bowels of this stupid mountain? After their party had skirted the pulsating column of luminous green, Paign had been trudging along behind Tiny for what felt like days. But now Paign was getting hungry, and when he was hungry Paign knew he could be unreasonable. Just about everyone had told him so. Right now, he didn’t much care.
“Look.” He stopped so abruptly that Freida walked right into him. “How long are we going to keep at this? Not sure about your lanterns, but I think mine has to be at about the halfway mark for kerosene!”
Tiny sat down farther along the tunnel, just within range of the cast lamplight, his tongue lollygagging off to one side.
“Hm,” replied Anders, catching up to them. “Any reason we needallof our lanterns going at the same time? Why not just use one at a time? Our eyes will adjust well enough to one lamp, I should think. Could conserve fuel for, well, later, I suppose.”
Frieda, annoyed that Paign didn’t seem to care about stopping so carelessly, was also getting hungry. Nevertheless, she appreciated Anders for his straightforward way of presenting things.
“Well, no,” Freida said, glaring at Paign. “There’s no reason we need all lanterns going at the same time.” Then she realized that didn’t answer Paign’s question, but Anders’s. “As far as how long…I don’t rightly know. Why don’t we stop for a snack break? I’m pretty hungry, and I expect you are, too. Do you have enough food left over to make something of it?” she asked the cousins.
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