Part Thirty-One:

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Part Thirty-One:

Alex was walking behind Sammy. They were heading down the cliff that Kelli's army had jumped off via a steep path which was extremely narrow and exposed. Rocks tumbled off the path at every step, the air was hard to breathe and Alex was wondering if they were being followed. Well, she usually always thought about that but it was still a good thought to consider.

Zoe was in the lead, clutching the map her mother had given her which had been marked with most of the locations and possible places where Tartarus might be. According to the map, they needed to go down the cliffside and cross the river Cocytus, even though they could just walk down alongside it until they reached where it met with the Phlegethon, but the group had already observed from the top of the cliff the rocky ground in between the two rivers which would make it impossible to walk down there, so instead they would try to cross the river twice, and hopefully their plan would work, but Alex was still in doubt.
Well, at least, that was the best idea that any of them had come up with. How they would actually cross the river was a completely different problem which they had no solution to solve it. Zoe said that she was prepared to swim if they got desperate, even with all of the stories they had heard about the rivers of Tartarus.

Behind Alex, Michael stumbled on a few rocks, and some scattered over the edge.

"You okay?" Alex asked, pausing her descent and turning her head slightly to look at Michael whose face was deathly pale with fear.

"I'm fine." Michael replied.

Alex turned back around and continued on. But in the back of her mind, she wondered why Michael looked so fearful. Was he scared of something? If so, then what?

Further thoughts would have to wait, as Alex needed to focus on the task at hand.

•••

It took each of them half an hour to reach the bottom of the cliff. And when they did, they were faced with another problem.

Deep trenches littered the red terrain. The ground was extremely rocky, but there were areas large enough for them to walk through single file, yet there were still places where they had to be careful not to step on a pointed stalagmite.

Alex watched Sammy stop in front of her and turn to his right. The path was cut short three feet from the ground so they had to jump off the path. Sammy gracefully leapt down, but when it came to Alex's turn, she jumped and stumbled on some of the smaller rocks. Sammy placed his hands on her arms to steady her and she quietly thanked him.

Once they were all on the ground, the group continued on and walked as a tight pack down long slopes and up miniature hills. To reach the river took them a while, as most of the ground was dangerously sloped, but when they reached the point where they couldn't continue, they stopped. Now was the time.

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