Day 76

Sannier bolted the opposite direction, working against the flow of fleeing citizens. The foundation shook and rumbled, causing those very citizens to scurry like frightened cats. The twins took hold of Zane to keep him from tumbling over.

“Put the children on my back. They’ll be safer up here.” Glue Pot bent down to allow Tipper and Digitalis to heave Zane and Lila onto the centaur’s back.

“The caves may begin to collapse. We have to hurry.” Agile waved the company over with a grim expression. Slowly but surely, Agile had rounded up not only the children, but the frightened citizens as well. The guard was grim faced as they navigated the winding tunnels to emerge at the designated emergency exit. An elf with bulging muscles and fierce yellow eyes was in charge of moving the great slab of rock down a near fatal drop to deposit elves to the evacuation warren below. She waved the next group over.

“You can pack a few more on,” the magical elf insisted. Adriei, who had attempted to wait for the next ride down, sighed and squeezed onto the already full moving rock. The elf woman nodded and sent the company down and down until the rock thunked into place. Agile again took lead. They walked into a hive network of rooms and tunnels that one would believe to look uncomfortable, but really weren’t. Sub-queen Faeley, even during the worst of times, would not allow her people to live in dank caves. The floors were clean and laid with bricks. The walls had been magically smoothed out. There was even the scent of what could have been blueberries in the air. Small comforts for such big trouble.

“Here we go. You’ll be safe here,” Agile commented. They had brought the company to a small room inlaid with blue stones. “Sub-queen Faeley has enchanted this warren to keep from crumbling. They’re smaller than the mountain and easier to use magic on. However, if you take one step out, then that may be your last.”

“But, you’re leaving, aren’t you?” Digitalis asked.

“I need to bring the sub-queen back. She’ll end up defending the mountain and the people with her last breath, and Queen Inana needs her. We still have the problem of disappearing villages, and sub-queen Faeley’s magic may help.” Agile smiled sadly. “Don’t worry. The Queen’s Guard do not die so easily.” With that, Agile and Adriei bolted out.

“What do we do now?” Zane asked.

Alastair and Lila exchanged looks. They could talk about what happened. Lila’s ability to fly and Alastair’s sudden trick of stopping time. Yet now was not the moment to speak of such things. There was a real sense of danger permeating the air. Back in Indiana, Alastair and Lila were told how to run into the basement if they heard the air alarms outside. Those alarms meant a tornado was nearby and could possibly chew up their house and spit it out into toothpicks. They felt the same sense of impending danger now as they felt huddled down in their basement with their mother and father.

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