The first part of the climb was fun. The crooked trail led upward through the forest, where Sasha kept chasing rabbits and chipmunks. The boys grabbed her when they spotted some deer. She would have scattered the flock in a moment. After watching the deer for a few minutes, they continued upwards, munching on homemade cookies and blueberries growing along the trail.
Suddenly the trail divided in two, and Colin wasn't sure which way to go. "Let's try going to the left," he finally suggested. "It looks wider. They probably both lead to the same place anyway."
"You mean to your country?" Tom felt a twinge of fear. Maybe they should turn around. But he didn't want to say it.
Colin didn't answer, so they just kept climbing. Their path became steeper and steeper--and the blueberries were long gone. Now only Sasha seemed to enjoy the climb. The more tired Tom felt, the more he thought about home. "It's getting awfully late," he said.
"Yeah. Maybe we'd better turn back," said Peter.
"I agree," said Tom. "I don't think we're going to find Sasha's cabin."
"Come on. It's just a little bit further to the top," said Colin. "There we can see the other side. And the path ahead is smoother and easier to climb."
Silently, they continued upward. But each time they thought they were almost at the top, they saw another part of the mountain up ahead. Finally even Colin agreed to turn around.
The boys scampered and slid down the stony area. But when they came to the end of the smooth slope, they couldn't find the trail. Everything seemed different now that they were looking down instead of up. Besides, the sun was quickly disappearing behind the mountain.
"Come on, you guys," shouted Colin, trying to sound brave. "We'll just make our own way. Follow me!"
Sasha scampered ahead. The boys followed as fast as they could. They didn't know what else to do. But the fun had faded and they had no more food.
"My stomach is growling," said Peter.
"We should have saved some of our snacks," answered Tom. He thought about the dinner he had missed.
"I didn't know we'd be gone all day," said Peter. "I sure wish we were home!"
"But since we're not, we'd better try to put on that armor the King talked about," said Tom. "Then at least we'll be safe, even if we have to stay on the mountain all night."
Go to Chapter 6