As the train chugged toward Lucidia, Tom lay dazed on the shaking floor of the car. The steady noise of the engine muffled all other sounds. Slowly, the strange events of the last two days began to flow through his mind. He and Peter had walked right into enemy territory--in spite of the King's warnings. Now they were caught. How did it happen?
It began so simply. He found the dog--or did the dog find him? Sasha led them to Colin, and Colin led them in search of Sasha's owner. They hadn't asked their parents, and they didn't listen to the King's warnings. If only he had heard...
What did the King say that morning? Something about the enemy pretending to be good--pretending that all could live together in peace... Trying to trick people away from the King to follow the Baron.
"I'm so sorry, dear King," Tom whispered. Then he remembered something very important!
The King is stronger than the Baron! He has forgiven me--and He is here with me!
Suddenly Tom felt a wonderful peace inside. "That's it!" he shouted. "That's the sandals of peace. I just put them on. Thank you, King, for helping me remember."
Was someone moaning? Tom could barely hear the new sounds over the noise of the train. He turned his head to the right, but all he could see was black darkness. He crept toward the sound until he felt a foot with a worn-out sneaker.
"Peter, is that you? Are you hurt?" he yelled.
"Ow, ow," cried Peter. "I think my hand is broken!"
"How did it happen?"
"I fell on it when that mean guy pushed us in here."
"Just lie still, Peter. We'll get help soon." Tom didn't feel nearly as confident as he tried to sound. Would anyone in Lucidia care about Peter's broken hand?"
"Colin, are you here?" he shouted as loud as he could.
"Yes!" yelled Colin from another corner of the car.
"Where are they taking us?"
"I don't know. But I'm sure we're in deep trouble!"
It seemed like hours before the train stopped. Tom heard voices and footsteps outside, then somebody yanked the door open. "Get out!" yelled the man who had pushed them into the car.
"My friend is hurt," began Tom, but the man interrupted impatiently, "Hurry!"
Tom jumped out quickly, then reached up to help Peter. Colin crawled out last.
"Where's the dog?" yelled the man.
The dog? Was Sasha here? Tom climbed back up and looked inside.
There she was! Now he could see a little white bundle of fur lying still by the back wall. He rushed over, picked up the limp shape, and held the black nose close to his own. Yes, she was still breathing. "Thank you, King," he whispered as he hugged the soft little body.
A big man shaped like a wrestler led them toward a large stone building. He wore a purple scarf around his neck. As the icy wind blew the scarf straight out to the side, Tom noticed a symbol he had seen on one of those boxes in the tunnel. It was a pyramid with a big eye inside.
The man walked so fast that Tom barely had time to look around. He just noticed a few bare trees and the freezing wind that blasted their faces with icy sleet. Not like the soft snow that falls in the Kingdom, thought Tom.
The little troupe marched solemnly down a steep stairway inside the building.
"Wait here," said the man. He left them in a cold basement room and locked the door behind him.
Tom laid Sasha on a bench and stroked her gently. Her eyes opened and she tried to lick him.
"I bet the train hit her," said Colin. The others didn't answer. Peter's face looked pale and his hand was red and swollen.
"You'd better sit down," said Tom. Peter sat on the stone floor, leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. Colin sat next to him.
About an hour passed in silence. What could anyone say? Tom thought about the King, but he felt too discouraged to try to remember the armor.
Suddenly a door opened and a pretty woman dressed in a long purple gown came in. She smiled. "I'm Rama, and I've come to help you."
Tom breathed a sigh of relief. At least there was one friendly person in this country.
"Odin told me that someone was hurt. Which one?" Tom and Colin both pointed to Peter. Rama looked at his hand and covered it with some ointment. Then she made a sling from a bright colored cloth.
"Come with me. I'll take you to a more comfortable room."
Up the stairs they went--and halfway down a long hallway. Once again, Tom was carrying Sasha, but this time he felt more hopeful. Rama led them into a room with a sofa, cushioned chairs, dreamy paintings on the walls--and eerie, hypnotic music.
The boys leaned back in their chairs, while Rama talked to them. Her gentle words seemed to float on the mystical sounds of the music. She talked about universal love and global oneness, about working together, and about peace between Lucidia and the Kingdom.
She led them on an imaginary trip into a beautiful meadow where they could talk with animals and experience harmony with nature. There, they imagined meeting a wise woman in shining robes who talked to them about living together in peace and love.
Tom liked what the woman said. She talked about peace and unity between the two lands.... Could that be true? She seemed so sincere and kind. And some of what she said sounded like the King's messages. Tom yawned.
He tried to remember the King's warning, but his mind was getting too sleepy to think or remember anything. He relaxed and just listened to Rama's soothing voice painting lovely pictures in his mind. His eyes wouldn't stay open anymore. It felt so good to sleep.
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