The clan of boys ran down the dark, craggy hall, past the rooms glowing with weird lights and filled with more mysterious concoctions, and down the steep steps of the forgotten mine. Raven led them on, guiding them with the glimmering red stone on his tiny, thin chest. They reached an overpass tunnel with windows on both sides and came to a screeching halt. Falcon stared down into the room below.
“What the heck?”
“Where is everybody?” asked Gator breathlessly. They looked out both sides of the tunnel. The massive assembly-line room that they’d fled through not a day before was completely vacant.
Kael turned to Raven. “Well, kid? Where are the slaves we’re supposed to be rescuing?”
Raven’s face drained of what little color it had. “Oh, no,” he murmured, eyes darting through images in his mind. “Come on!” he yelled and bolted down the tunnel. They had no choice but to race after him.
No sooner had they rounded the corner at the end than they ran face-first into a patrol unit. Swords slashed, fists bashed, and a moment later, the six young men stood with their chests heaving over the knocked-out soldiers.
“Well, that was fun,” grumbled Gator sarcastically. “Let’s just leave a trail of dead guys for them to follow us with.”
“Shut your face, man. They’re only out of order,” snapped Tracer. Before another brawl could break out, Raven sprinted down another passage, waving his staff–sling hybrid, calling them along. There were only a few encounters with some unlucky soldiers, each brief and to the point. By the time the six boys had trouble recalling where they were going in the first place, they tumbled over a pile of rocks, wood, and scrap metal in an abandoned room.
“This…this is the refining room,” gasped Raven. “I know a…passage that takes you to…to this cave place. That’s where they have everybody. I just know it.”
“How?” moaned Wayk. “There are a million caves in this mine.”
Raven stared at them with the cold, hard knowledge rarely seen in a child.
“There’s only one chock-full of fire powder.”
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