THE BOYS PICKED THEIR WAY through the northern edge of the forest. Wearing a camouflage of sticks, leaves, and muddy clothes, they hiked most of the afternoon and evening. They might’ve looked like very small trolls from a distance. Tracer guessed from the position of the moons that it must be around eleven or twelve, and as proof of the lateness of the hour, his face was overcome by an enormous yawn.
“Hey! Shush!” scolded Kael.
“Sorry,” he whispered, glancing around the foliage for any ninja Guards. Tracer was glad to see there weren’t any. “It’s okay, there’s nobody here but us,” he whispered. “Or are there?” inquired Gator mysteriously. His face cracked into a very big, but very sleepy, grin. They worked their way further into the forest, stumbling and bumping into the dark things around their feet. Raven lost his balance and caught himself with Emma’s staff. He couldn’t quite think of it as his yet.
“Wait, so where are we going?” Gater asked.
“The mine, you numbskull!” Kael answered.
“Well, which part? I don’t know where the entrance is. Heck, I don’t even know where we are right now!” Gator grumbled, rubbing his hands together. He’d lost his gloves during their escapade.
“I know where we’re going,” assured Raven. Suddenly, there was more than moonlight hitting his face. A small, red glow emitted from the necklace, and they felt the cool, damp air move slowly around them.
“What’s that sound?” Wayk breathed.
Falcon looked up the side of a tree. “It’s moths. Beamers.”
It was like a shower of stars coming out of the tree itself. The beamers flapped gracefully around the group of boys, a slow current of golden petals, and flew past Raven.
“It’s a trail, isn’t it? They’re showing us how to get there,” said Wayk. They stood looking between Wayk and the glittering path through the forest.
“Well? Let’s go already!”
Kael took his turn leading, and they filed after him into the not-so-dense underbrush. The red necklace warmed Raven’s chest.
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