Key Thirteen: Storm:
The next night took a turn for the worse. None of Allen's team could predict the stormy weather heading their way. The first sign came with the high winds in the seventh circle.
"Maybe we should stop for now!" Kit shouted over the howling over their heads.
"We can't!" Allen shouted back, "We've already came this way!"
"It looks like a bad storm today!" the mechanic angel yelled. Small thunder rumbled over their heads as he spoke.
"Allen's right!" Grace yelled, "We can't stop now!"
"What if we get caught in the storm?" Kit asked.
"He's got a point!" Harry added, "The elements in this circle are no joke!" Another roll of thunder ripped through the sky. Allen squeezed onto Ophelia's hand.
"We'll have to work through the best that we can!" he shouted. All of his team eyed him with uncertainty. The lead angel sighed aloud.
"Fine," he said, "But we will stop when the weather gets worse. Other than that, we will keep going!" His team looked so relieved to hear him make the declaration. Allen turned his attention back to Grace.
"Lead the way," he ordered.
"Yes," she replied. The guide led Kit along with her on the trail. Allen dragged Ophelia along with him. Harry and Tyrone reluctantly followed behind. The latter of that pair glanced up at the sky. The thickening black clouds above did little to ease his nerves.
"Harry!" Allen yelled over his shoulder.
"Yeah?" the one-armed angel replied.
"Have many days will it take for us to cross this circle?" the leader asked. Harry took a moment to do the math his head.
"Three days if we don't run into any problems," he answered, "At this rate, it looks like it'll be eight days if the weather gets worse."
"I know a faster way through this circle," Grace spoke up.
"And how will that take?" Harry asked.
"Half a day," she said, "But we have to hurry or we'll get trapped in the storms."
"Let move out!" Allen commanded. Grace picked up the path again.
"Can we even trust her?" Harry asked aloud. "How can we be so sure that she's not leading us into a trap?"
"I'm not!" Grace argued back.
"We have to trust her!" Allen insisted, "She's all we have right now!" Harry snorted at that reply.
"I don't trust her," he mumbled. Grace and Allen pretended not to hear him.
"How is everyone, strength-wise?" the former asked.
"I'm good," Allen replied. He turned to the rest of the team, "How about everyone else?"
"I'm good condition," Tyrone answered.
"My legs are weak," Kit replied.
"Same here," Ophelia chimed in.
"And why do you care?" Harry asked. Grace turned around to the crew with a grin.
"Because, my friends," she announced, "We're going for a little hike through the mountain pass." The others looked at her in shock.
"Are you out of your mind?" Ophelia asked.
"The wind's really picking up, man," Tyrone pointed out.
"Which is why we should go now," Grace countered.
"It's too dangerous!" Kit argued, "What if we end up getting knocked off?" The guide turned to the leader.
"Allen, it's your call," she said, "Tell us what to do." The leader looked at his awaiting team. On the one hand, it did look rather dangerous with the wind picking up around them. However, if they could beat the storm as Grace estimated, this path could work out in their favor. It's worth a shot, Allen thought. He lifted his head.
"We'll take the mountain pass," the leader said.
"What?!" the other angels aside from Grace yelped.
"Are you crazy?!" Harry yelled.
"Don't you realize that time is the enemy here?" Allen asked, "We don't have the luxury of waiting out the storm! It's either move now or get caught!" He paused and breathed out. "Grace, please lead the way," he commanded.
"Yes," she replied, "Everyone strong enough for the mountain pass, carry the weaker ones on your back for this."
"Right," Tyrone and Allen said. They and Grace each took their partners on their back and began the walk upwards to the cold rocky path.
"Whoa, you're really strong!" Kit commented to Grace on her back. The guide gave him a little smile.
"You would be surprised at what I can pick up back when I was in Heaven," she said.
"Can we please get on with it?" Harry asked on Tyrone's back, "The storm's really picking up and it's going to look really nasty."
"Right," Grace replied, "Let's get moving." The angels picked up their walk on the icy path going upwards. Halfway up, the wind really picked up.
"It's freezing," Kit complained. He looked over at Grace. "I have a bad feeling about this."
"Don't worry about that," she brushed off, "We have to cross through this now." However, that worry only grew when a drop landed on his left cheek. The mechanic looked up to see the rain pouring down.
"Oh shit," Allen mumbled.
"Everyone ready to break into a run?" the guide asked.
"Yes!" the rest of the team answered.
"Alright, three… two… one!" Grace shouted. The team took off in a run. However, the freezing rain and slippery path caused them to all to slip and fall into the violent blowing winds carrying downwards into unknown section of the valley.
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