Artis scowled at the jagged spire erupting from the tunnel floor. “This is the third time I’ve seen a spire like this.”
“And?” My voice cracked. How many hours since we’d last had water? How long since we’d turned around?
“I don’t know.” He trudged around the spire. “I’m sorry, Elsa.”
“Stop apologizing. This was my idea, remember?”
“I should have brought water, at—Wait.” Artis shot out his arm to stop me. “Do you hear that?”
I held my breath. Feet pattered up ahead, swallowed by the dim recesses of the tunnel. The first foreign sound we’d heard since we entered the secret passage.
A tiny man, his beard touching his knees, strode toward us. Hair covered his feet, and he seemed prepared to walk right past us.
“Excuse me.” Artis cleared his throat. “Could you tell us the way out of this tunnel?”
The man jerked to a stop, his blind white eyes flaring their direction. “Eh? Who said that?”
“Just us.” I stepped forward. “We entered this tunnel from my garden, and we can’t find our way out.”
He frowned, turning his head this way and that. “This is a tunnel?”
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