Falcon swam to the crevice’s edge and hauled himself out. “Come on, let’s go!” shouted Raven, pushing a group of smaller kids to the edge. Tracer grabbed the collars of two distressed boys and towed them over as well. As space at the cliff’s edge filled up, Falcon led a group of teens further back. Something hard bumped his knee. “Ouch! What was that?” he shouted to nobody in particular. Water was now sloshing around their ankles. Someone replied, “It’s a giant boat! Get in!” Orange light erupted from the staff as Raven guided the remaining groups towards Falcon and the vessel. Working in pairs, they packed the youngest kids together like sardines in one seat, then another. Some tried unsuccessfully to keep it from lurching. Yelps that the boat had started moving downstream arose. Progress stalled.
“There’s too many.” Gator surged through waist-deep water to Falcon. “We can’t get them all in.” He grabbed the boat edge to stabilize it, dragging his feet. Tracer held the other side as he tried to anchor it.
“Five seconds to self-destruct.”
“Wanna bet?” asked Raven. He raised the staff like a baton, and everyone not in the boat was floating above it.
They fell in, between seats and on each other. Falcon felt the boat pick up speed.
Raven shouted from the bow, “Hold on!”
The boat tipped forward and shot down the trench into darkness.
Falcon couldn’t hear the countdown end, but he felt it. In the midst of the splashing and screaming, there was a shuddering jolt through the tunnel. A whooshing, rushing noise of a bomb exploded behind them. The heat of dragon fire chased them down, down, down the turns of the tunnel, luring them away in a sweaty, breathless sleep in the jolting twists of darkness.
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