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"Just up ahead, I think I see it," Justin called down to Logan. He put his leg over a stone wall and jumped over it, then held his hand out for Logan to take. Logan reached the top of the rocky staircase that led up the side of the cliff and took Justin's hand. He put one leg over and then the other, safely at the top with Justin beside him.

"So the cave Florica is in is around here, yes?" Logan asked, nudging his companion to pull out the map that Cassandra had given them. Justin pulled it out of his pocket and held it out in front of him. It wasn't a very big map as Cassandra conjured it up on a small piece of parchment. Her magic revealed the detailed path to the Dark Hollow where Florica resided.

Justin took a moment to survey it. "It's along this cliff path, further up a staircase inside the cliff, then we walk across that bridge up there..." Justin looked up at another wooden bridge much higher up. Its length shadowed over the entire land of make-believe, reaching the direct centre of it, before breaking off into four different directions.

"You have got to give the architect of this place some credit, I mean this is one hell of a town beneath a town," Logan commented as he took one look at their destination. "So after the bridge, what next? Do we have to battle a dragon?"

Justin wanted to laugh but the possibility of that seemed very real after learning more about the town he lived in and the magic that surrounded it. "I really hope not. The Hobbits might make it look easy but I bet we'd be dead in five seconds. One breath of fire and it's game over."

"Cassandra did say we would bump into the Mannequin Men on the way. So far so good, right? I haven't seen a single one."

Justin pointed below them to a far section of the town. A dozen or more Mannequin Men were looking up at them. They were unmoving, unnerving. "There they are. They're a bit behind us and probably won't catch up to us if we get our asses in gear. Probably waiting for their Costa coffee so we have a bit of time."

Logan sniggered. He led the way along the cliff path. Justin lagged behind, trying desperately to stay on the actual path. The higher they were getting, the harder it became to keep their feet on the path, hovering precariously close to the edge. Logan stopped after a minute and halted Justin.

"The path here is basically non-existent. You'll have to grab onto the rocks as you walk along. Keep your body tight against the wall."

Logan began to shuffle over. Justin couldn't see how thin the path had become until Logan started to walk along it. His heart entered his mouth. The path had now become only a few inches wide; an obvious rock slide had demolished the majority of the path.

"Are you insane? Come back!" Justin shouted over to Logan once he could find the words to speak. "There's absolutely no way I'd manage to get over that. I might be a little underweight but I'm not that thin!" The scared boy took a couple of steps back. The path behind him suddenly caved. Justin almost lost his balance but found it when he grabbed a stray rock protruding from the wall of the cliff for support.

"Justin!" Logan shouted. "Are you okay?"

"F...fine," Justin stuttered. He examined the damage his stumble backwards had caused. Now the path behind him was completely obliterated.

"Be more careful, we're about an inch from falling to our deaths," Logan shouted. He seemed annoyed yet worried about Justin's sudden lack of thinking. He stayed where he was on the slender path, keeping hold of the wall as best he could. The muscles in his arms bulged.

"I have barely any upper-body strength," Justin declared, listing reasons why progressing over something that required so much strength was a bad idea for him. "I can barely lift ten kilograms at the gym. I can do, maybe, four push-ups before my arms admit defeat. I..."

Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Read this story for FREE!