Previously: As Yi Fan and Cole conspired to bring down the Czar, Twain and Digger descended into the cave. And now…
As Yi Fan disappeared into the darkness, Digger turned away from her to look down the passage they were following. A moment later, Twain swung his flashlight around to illuminate their way.
â€œWait,” Digger said. â€œTurn it off.â€
â€œWhy?â€ Twain asked.
â€œI thought I saw…â€ Digger trailed off without finishing.
Twain shut off the light, plunging them both into utter blackness. â€œWell, this was a great idea,â€ Twain said.
â€œWait for it,â€ Digger said.
And slowly over the next couple of minutes, Twain saw what Digger had meant. The blackness gradually became less black, like the hour before dawn. It was so dim that Twain had trouble even perceiving it directly. When Twain was a kid, heâ€™d had an old TV in his room. He would stay up late watching old monster movies, and when he turned the TV set off, the screen would glow just like this, so dimly that he could only perceive it by looking away from it and sensing the glow in his peripheral vision.
He turned the flashlight back on. â€œCome on,â€ he said and set off down the passageway, expecting to come upon the mysterious light source around the next bend.
But they encountered nothing unusual around the next bend, or the next. Twain switched off the flashlight again and the glow grew more quickly and more intense.Â [blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”]They continued further down the tunnel, and this time when Twain turned off the flashlight, he had no need to turn it back on, because the glow was light enough to maneuver by…[/blockquote]
â€œThis is it,” he said, walking down the passageway illuminated by the pale blue glow. He rounded a last bend and gasped.
The jeepâ€™s springs sighed with almost human relief as the Cobalt Czar climbed out of the jeep. He took in the bodies and wreckage scattered around the compound. â€œWhere are they now?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know,â€ Yi Fan said above the clatter of soldiers rushing to take up guard positions. â€œThey were gone when I got here.â€
The Czar looked at the fance, with the missing bit where Metalord had unraveled the wire. It looked as if it had been partially eaten. â€œTheyâ€™re in the cave, obviously.â€
He took two steps toward the cave and found Yi Fan falling into step beside him. â€œI donâ€™t think so,â€ she said. â€œThe tracks look like they meant to enter the cave, but left. Scared off by the sound of your convoy, perhaps.â€
â€œSo where do you believe they are,â€ the Czar asked.
â€œHard to say,â€ Yi Fan said. â€œBut the tracks say they went that way.â€
She pointed off northeast into the trees. The Czar considered for a moment, then nodded. â€œWell, then, by all means, letâ€™s pursue.â€
He turned away from the cave, then snapped his fingers. â€œOh yes, I remember now. I knew there was another reason to go into the cave.â€
Yi Fan paled as he turned back toward the entrance. The Czar must not enter the cave at any cost!
Will Yi Fan be able to stop the Czar from entering, or at least stall him until Cole gets there? Don’t miss our next episode!
To read from the beginning, click here…
An embarrassing cluster of typos in this chapter. Can’t remember what I was drinking when I wrote it. Sorry.