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The Missing Star

Note: I'm sorry, but I'm still unable to get punctuations done. I hope you don't mind.

 

Hyaku-Legger s

                                  Balto

                        A wolf-dog and his friends

 

                                                CHAPTER TWO

                                                The Missing Star

 

One day after the big storm, things seemed to return to normal for the inhabitants of the town of Nome, Alaska. The adults had shoveled all the hills of snow off the streets (much to the childrens disappointment) and the movement and trade returned to what it used to be.

A short distance out of town, sitting on the barnacle-covered rocks along the shore, a grouchy but good-natured goose was giving a grouchy but good-natured yelling at his nephews, two polar bear cubs, but these two were taking it as praise.

Yourrre doing it wrrrong! Dont viggle the strrring like that! Youll scarrre avay the fishies!,said Boris Goosinoff as he tried to teach his nephews to fish with a pole and line.

Muk and Luk each had a little fishing rod made from a branch in their front paws and they were bobbing the bait up and down to see if the fish jumped out of the water and caught the bait in midair. And Boris was insisting that they should wait quietly for the fish to come and bite the bait.

But, Uncle Boris,said Muk, the smaller one,The fishll never guess the baits here if we dont announce it!

Aye, laddie, you might be rrright. And theyll neverrr bite the bait at all if you keep bobbing it up and dovn like that!,said Boris.

The cubs were having a lot of fun, so Boris decided to let them have their fun and that he would fish properly. That was until Muks line got caught and tangled with Boris, and Muk took the tugging as a fish bite.

Uncle Boris, I caught something!,said Muk, tugging the line,And its big!

VAIT! YOU FOOL!,said Boris, pulling back at his own line.

Luk left his pole and helped Muk pull, with all their might.

One two three, PULL,Muk said, and they gave the line a tremendous tug.

The next thing they knew, Boris went zooming overhead and crashed into a mound of snow behind them.

Boys, Ive got a betterrr idea,said Boris from under the snow,Lets just forrrget fishing and collect mussels instead. They keep still in the vater and dont have to be fished to catch. A lot saferrr, Id say.

Ooh, yeah! Lets go, Uncle Boris,said Muk. Luk pulled Boris out of he snow from the feet and they ran off to collect mussels.

 

Meanwhile, in the town, three female canines were walking along the streets, watching the movement of humans.

Sylvie, tall and woolly, Dixie, small and furry, and Jenna, intermediate and with brick-red and cream-colored fur. Sylvie tongue was wagging madly about someone, and Dixies face was going from surprise to indignation to sympathy to disbelief and back to surprise, and Jenna was looking at random things, trying to divert her attention away from the gossiping pair. Jenna did like them, no doubt, but she was also a little fed up with their gossiping, for she knew that they also gossiped about her and about the others without mercy.

Jenna suddenly caught sight of a flash of gray turning a corner.

Balto?!,she said out loud and the two looked at her. She ran over to the corner and lookedbut it was just a gray fur coat that a lady was wearing. Not Balto.

A bit chest fallen, Jenna returned to the group. Dixie and Sylvie had strange faces.

What did you see, Jenna?,asked Dixie, even though she already knew. Gossip had its process, anyway.

Oh, nothing,said Jenna brushing the subject off,Just thought I saw something.

Or someone?,Sylvie said grinning.

Jenna didnt answer, she just entertained herself with the snowy ground.

Was it, say, Balto, perchance?,Sylvie insisted.

Jenna just looked somewhere else, but Sylvie looked with triumph as Jennas cheeks started changing color. Dixie just looked from one face to the other.

We know you and Balto are frequenting each other a lot, Jenna,said Sylvie,In fact, everyone in the town knows that. He did stay in your house for the night less than twenty four hours ago, and dont you deny it because I heard it from a highly trustable source.

Dixie looked at Jennas face and saw that her cheeks made it clear that it was true. She was spellbound with surprise.

So, Jenna, did you enjoy the stormy night together by the fire, or did your owner place you in separate rooms?,Sylvie said mischievously.

Jenna turned around and faced Sylvie straight on.

If you want to know, Balto slept over because we got caught in the storm and didnt have anywhere else to go,said Jenna,Thats simple to understand, isnt it?

Yes, and no,said Sylvie,Simple to understand the meaning, but difficult to understand the hidden meaning that you conceal, Jenna.

Well, I have nothing else to say,said Jenna,Take it as you wish.

Oh, I will, deary, I will,said Sylvie.

Jenna didnt look at her for the rest of their walk. When she got home she muttered something that sounded like bye and at the same time sounded like die, and she went into her yard, escaping from her partners.

Jenna decided to follow their voices from the inside of her yard, so she followed them from behind the fence until they were too far to listen to.

The said something that Jenna did resent a little. Odd, that Jenna, odd indeed, fancying Balto when there are a hundred burly males in town to choose from. That was what Sylvie had said.

What Sylvie perhaps didnt realize, or maybe did and didnt care, was that all the males in town that pulled sleds were burly and muscular because they practically live off steroids and artificial hormones and vitaminic-protein complements to be like that. And they were all airheads, show offs and vulgar scum.

Balto was naturally big and muscular, he didnt need any foul chemicals to be like he was. And he was a lot more than any of the empty fools that pulled the citys dog sleds.

Whats theyre problem,Jenna spoke to herself,Cant they just leave me be?

Jenna wanted to tell someone about her problems. For it wasnt just Dixie and Sylvie, all the town had some kind of problem with her and Balto being together. Everyone, except the Elder. He seemed to be the only one that saw Balto for who he was really. He had been a sled dog in his younger days, and he seemed to have gained knowledge and experience from his voyages. The sled dogs nowadays only seemed to want to pull sleds to prove themselves more macho or something. They were all idiots, Jenna thought.

Jenna knew just what to do. She would go over and talk to Balto about it. He would know exactly what to say and he would undoubtfully give her some useful advice..and hopefully a kiss to go with it, Jenna thought, going rather scarlet on the cheeks.

Jenna left her house once more and walked to the edge of the town, walking away from all the hustle and bustle of its inhabitants.

She felt happy as she saw Baltos ship-home, looming over the snowy landscape. She skipped and pranced along the way happily, thinking of what she would say to him when she saw him.

As she got to the entrance of the ship, Jenna saw Boris, Muk and Luk in the front. Actually, she only saw half of Boris because the other half was buried in a considerably large mound of mussels.

Im telling you boys, forrr yelling out loud, this it too much!,said Boris reproachfully,We vont finish all these mussels in a month! Just leave half of them and take the otherrr half back to the vater.
Yeah! Come on, lets see who can toss mussels farther!,said Muk, and he and Luk took the excess of shellfish back to the shore to chuck them into the water.

Jenna came close to Boris, who was busy getting mussels beards out of his feathers.

Uh, excuse me,she said,Hello Boris.

Boris looked up and saw Jenna.

Vell, if it isnt the young lady,said Boris,What brrrings a nice young lass like you to our humble home, eh?

Well,said Jenna,I..I was looking, for Balto. Is he home?

Baltos up in the hills, gatherrring veeds for his uncle to veave some morrre baskets,said Boris,My nephews have used the old vuns as sleds to play yesterrrday in the snowy slopes, and needless to say theyrrre quite out of shape. Youll find him up therrre, m dearrr, just follow his trrracks.

Thank you very much,said Jenna smiling, and she set off to look for Balto.

His trail was easy to navigate. Those big paws left unmistakable tracks and his scent was easy to pick up too.

After about fifteen minutes of walk, Jenna suddenly spotted something gray moving between some dry reeds. And sure enough, she saw him.

Jennas heart gave a happy skip when she saw him. He had not noticed her yet.

Jenna quietly hid behind some trees. She picked up a small lump of snow and tossed it in the reeds. The noise caught Baltos attention, and he moved over to the spot to investigate. That was her chance. Jenna leapt our from behind the tree and jumped onto him from behind.

Surprise!,she cried.

Balto let out a yelp as he felt someone jump onto his back and pin him to the ground. He turned his head and, to his surprise, he saw who it was.

Jenna! Oh boy, you sure scared me!,said Balto,I thought it was the Wendigo or something, coming to take me away!

Jenna laughed. She was still laying full length on top of him as Balto got up and walked them out of the reeds.

As Jenna got off his back, Balto pulled his bundle of dry reeds towards him and sat down on the snow.

So, hows everything at the town, Jen?,Balto asks,Anything new after the storm?

Not really,said Jenna as she sat down facing him,The storm seemed to be just a passing thing for them. The humans are all the same, and the dogs are as well..and, er, thats what I came here for, Balto.

Balto was all ears.

Any trouble with the dogs, Jenna?,he asked.

Sort of,said Jenna,Its just the gossip. Everyones talking about us. Some how they found out you spent the night at home and theyre making up things about it.

Oh, so thats their gossip subject now, eh?,said Balto.

Yeah,said Jenna,They just cant leave us alone. Whats it to them if we spend time together, anyway? Youre a hero, they should accept you already, damn it.

Balto placed his Gargantuan paw on her shoulder, looking at her comfortingly with his big yellow eyes.

You shouldnt worry about those old gossips, Jenna,said Balto,I know its difficult not to heed their wording, but just look at them? Theyre emptier than a flour barrel at the end of winter.

Jenna smiled as she tilted her head and pressed her cheek against his paw, feeling so much better.

Yeah, youre right,said Jenna,I just felt bad because it was you they were talking about. Perhaps Im a bit too defensive when it comes to you.

Balto smiled.

Well, that proves how much we mean to each other, doesnt it, Jenna?,said Balto.

It sure does,said Jenna.

Without warning, she got up and sprang on Balto, tossing him to the ground playfully.

Balto looked at the playful expression on Jennas face, crouching there on top of him as she pinned him to the ground.

Your good,said Balto,But..

He lifted his paws, secured Jenna around the waist and flipped over, now pinning her to the ground.

..Im good too,said Balto.

Yeah,said Jenna,But, Im tricky!

She flicked her tongue out and licked his face, and as he recovered from the surprise, she wiggled out from under him and jumped onto him once again.

The two had a lot of fun playing and rolling around in the snow. Jenna soon forgot all about the gossiping episode and concentrated on trying to get Balto pinned to the ground and powerless so she could kiss him without mercy. But he was too clever, and the one that ended up being kissed without mercy was her. She enjoyed herself so much.

At last, Balto was getting a little out of breath, and this time he couldnt do anything. Jenna was laying full length on top of him, shifting all her weight to trap him between herself and the ground.

Ive got you now, big guy,said Jenna,Any last request?

Yeah,said Balto,Ive got one. Have no mercy.

Request granted,said Jenna.

She kissed him as much as she pleased. Soon Baltos face was very moist from all the kissing, and Jennas tongue was getting a bit numb (for a dogs tongue to get tired, it takes a lot!), so she just let her tongue rest for a while and nestled comfortably, enjoying Baltos warm fur.

That was fun,she said softly.

Yeah,said Balto as he closed her eyes and hugged her a bit tighter.

Jenna was so happy. She could feel Baltos heart beating close to her own, and this feeling never got old for her.

After a long time of warm togetherness, Balto remembered the reeds he had to take to Boris.
I think wed better get going, Jenna,said Balto,Boris might be worried.

Jenna opened her eyes and nodded in response.

She got off him and he straightened up, picked up his bundle of weeds and thick grasses and they both headed back to the ship.

Boris was glad to see Balto. He had been waiting for him at the front of the ship as he watched Muk and Luk make little snow statues of themselves, Boris, Balto and Jenna in the snow. They even found a scrap of red cloth and placed it on the snow Jennas back.

Good, yourrre back Balto,said Boris,Lets get starrrted vith those baskets.

Boris weaved baskets in a flash out of those dry weeds and grasses that Balto had brought him. Soon, there were three pretty-looking baskets on the snow beside the doorway, and Boris looked very pleased indeed.

Nothing like veaving some baskets to keep the eyes sharrrp,said Boris.

Jenna and Balto had sat down on the snow to talk while the bears played and Boris weaved his baskets. Jenna looked at the town and remembered that mornings happenings, but now they were totally unimportant for her.

Balto noticed some movement in the town. A congregation of dogs.

Say, whats that all about,asked Balto.
Gossip convention, like always,said Jenna.

But Balto saw the Elder among them, and something told him that it couldnt be a gossip reunion.

Jen, I think you should go and check it out,said Balto,It might be important.

Jenna understood what he meant.

Yeah,said said, getting up, Lets go, Balto.

Huh? Me too?,Balto asked a little unsure.

Yeah,said Jenna, smiling,After all, you are part of the town too.

Balto smiled.

Come on, sweetheart,said Jenna,Lets go check it out together.

Yeah,said Balto.

They got up and walked a short distance in the snow, until the reached the little group of dogs. The crowd suddenly fell silent, and watched the pair approach. It was evident that they were still not completely used to having Balto around the town with them.

Jenna walked up and sat down with Balto close to the Elder. She sat really close to Balto and inclined her head until it touched his shoulder, purposefully so that the others would see that she didnt care in the least what they said about their relationship.

The Elder saw Jenna and grinned when she saw that she was totally uninhibited with Balto by her side.

He went on talking.

For those who have just arrived, I shall repeat the few things I said before,said the Elder,We have a very sad situation. One of our sled dogs has disappeared after the big storm. He has not been seen and has not returned with his owner and most of us coincide that he was probably swept away by the strong winds.

Who?,asked Balto, a bit alarmed.

Star,said the Elder,That foolish youngling, probably went outside when the storm had calmed and got caught in the eye, and the winds blew him away into the unknown terrain.

Balto was concerned. Star had formed part of the team which had helped him bring the antitoxin to the town when the epidemic attacked. He could have easily been taken away by the winds because he was small and light. He could be dead..but maybe not.

Ooh, what will we ever do,moaned someone in the crowd.

What can we do?,wailed another.

We have to make him a proper memorial,said yet another.

We have to make him a nice grave,said another.

We have to remember him always,said yet another.

We have to declare this day a holiday in his memory,said another.

We have to decorate the places where he stood,said another.

We have to find him,said Balto loudly.

Balto got up, and everyone looked at him a bit surprised.

Kaltag, a flat-headed ugly sled dog, looked at him a little unpleasantly.

Find him, as if bringing back his remains?,he said rather skeptical.

No, find him and then confirm is hes dead or alive,said Balto,He has enough chance to be alive as he has to be dead. So we have to go out and search for him.

Balto, youre out of your mind,said Nikki, another sled dog,You cant go out there and risk your neck on a probability of one in ten.

You said it yourself,said Balto,Theres a probability that hes still alive.

Balto, youre insane,said someone,Its dangerous outside the town lands.

Theres danger everywhere,said another,Wild animals, hunters, another storm

Im not asking you to come with me,said Balto, turning around and walking slowly away,Im just telling you what has to be done.

Balto walks back to his ship. He is determined to find Star, no matter how difficult it may be.

As he was just arriving, he heard Jennas paws running towards him.

Balto!,she called out.

Balto looked back as she came to a stop beside him.

Balto, that was wonderful,said Jenna,You were great out there!

Balto grinned.

Gee, thanks,said Balto,Just doing what I was supposed to.

He and Jenna walked together towards the ship.

So, youre going to go and find him Balto,said Jenna.

Yeah,said Balto,I have a few things in mind that might make it easier to track him. First of all, the wind was blowing to the northwest, so he probably blew in that direction.

As he exposed his theories, Jenna listened intently.

Balto had finished speaking, they were now at the entrance of the ship.

Boris,said Balto as the goose came to greet them,I need you to get me some jerky ready. I have to go on a quest, to find a lost sled dog.

Boris started saying how crazy and dangerous it was, but then he gave up and went into the ship to get a bundle of food for him.

Balto invited Jenna inside to sit in the family room of the ship, where they had stayed during the storm. Jenna, sitting down beside Balto, made up her mind.

Balto,said Jenna, looking determined.

Yes?,Balto answered.

Im going too,said Jenna,Ill go with you too and help you on your journey.

Balto was a bit taken aback.

Jenna, its deadly dangerous,said Balto,I dont want anything to happen to you out there. I will be able to take care of myself, but Im not sure I will be able to take care of both of us, Jenna.

Well be careful, Balto,said Jenna,We have enough experience already.

You could die, Jenna,said Balto.

I wont die,said Jenna smiling.

Balto looked at her, uneasily.

I wont die,said Jenna,Because youll be with me. And I know that as long as were together, I wont die, Balto.

Balto looked at her, and..he smiled.

He sat closer to her and gave her a hug.

Thank you Jenna,said Balto,I know I can always count on you.

Jenna hugged him too and let out a contented sigh.

Boris came back with the bundle of jerky for them.

Balto, ve have to be verrry carrreful now,said Boris.

We?,asked Balto.

Yes, ve,said Boris,Did you think Id my nephew just rrrun off into the voods vithout help?

Balto grinned.

You two are a great help,said Balto,Thanks a lot.

As they got prepared for their quest, Muk and Luk watched and wondered where they were going.

I dont think you should come this time, boys,said Boris,Its not a holiday. Verrre going to look forrr something lost in the voods. So stay home and get some frrresh fish, vhy dont you do that, eh?

They beamed and headed off to the shore to do as their uncle said.

Balto, Jenna and Boris started their quest, following what Balto had said, the way the wind had blown last and the direction where they supposed Star would have been blown off in.

                                   *                      *                      *

After walking half the day, Boris suggested it was a good time for a break. Jenna and Balto sat down together and Boris passed them suitable amounts of jerky.

Cowards, the town dogs,said Jenna as they ate,None of them even thought of going out to search for him. And you Balto, who only saw him once in a while and usually to get mocked at by, you risk your life to rescue him.

Balto grinned.

Well, I guess someone must do the correct thing,said Balto,If theyre too cowardly to do it, I will.

Aye, yourrre made of tougherrr stuff, arrrent you, lad?,said Boris.

Balto grinned.

The storm had made a lot of trees fall over, and there were assorted obstacles along the way, but out friends found a way around every one of them.

However, there came an obstacle that would trouble them a bit.

It was a low crevice which bared a shallow but strong river. The water was half frozen, several chunks of ice floated by at moderate speed.

Vell, ve have a prroblem, now,said Boris.

We cant go into that water and risk getting ill,said Balto,Isnt there any bridge?

They looked around and saw that the only bridge had been wasted away by the years of disuse. Only the ropes remained.

Well, then,said Jenna,Theres only one way. Hopping across on the ice chunks.

Balto knew this was very dangerous, because ice was slippery and hopping on it was playing your fate, but they had no choice.

Boris had no trouble to fly across the crevice. He did so and took their supplies with him. Jenna and Balto hopped onto the first chunk and waited for the next to come close enough. Twice they almost fell into the icy water, but them managed to help each other keep their balance. Once they got to the other side they walked up the crevice and sat down for a while to relax.

That was scary,said Jenna,I hope we can find a better path on our way back.

Balto smiled. Jenna was so optimistic. She had already thought about the way back, even if they had a chance on not coming back at all.

After getting their breath back, the three got back in movement.

Jenna had a strange feeling as she, Balto and Boris walked under the long shadows of the pine trees. She sometimes thought she heard things, and sometimes she actually did hear things, but it turned out that it was just a muskrat or a tern up in the trees.

Twice Balto told them to stop, seeing a moose bull in front of them and knowing that moose bulls can be aggressive if they moved into their land. Once they even saw a moose calf with the mother farther ahead. It was a cute sight, but they had to go on so they went around them at a safe radius.

Night came, and Balto told them that it was best to keep going for a while more at least. It was an unusually dark night though, very difficult to see more that a few feet ahead.

There came a point in which they relied on their scent to get around because nothing could be seen, and Boris decided to hitch a ride on Baltos back.

It was dark as dark could be, until the moon came out and shined its light through the trees, casting ghostly shadows. It was indeed a very creepy place to be, but Jenna was glad that she had Balto and Boris beside her. She wouldnt want to be here alone.

Suddenly in the distance, Balto spotted something outlined in the darkness.

Do my eyes deceive me?,he said,Or is that a cave?

There was indeed an entrance to a cave in the bare rock. It was so inviting in the dark night.

Balto decided that they would have to sleep there until daybreak. But Boris wasnt sure.

Vhat if therrres a bearrr in that cave?,he said shivering.

There isnt,said Jenna as she approached the entrance,I cant find any animals scent anywhere.

Come on, Boris,said Balto,Well be fine.

Boris accepted, but was still rather wary.

Everyone walked into the cave and Boris settled down in a corner close to the entrance so he could get a quick escape in case the cave was already inhabited.

Jenna and Balto walked farther down and suddenly it felt warmer, they didnt know why. Suddenly Jenna yelped. She had stepped on something wet and warm, something like a puddle of water.

Balto, look at this,said Jenna.

Balto got closed and to his surprise, they were looking into the pool of a natural hot spring that led to an underground stream.

Its a hot spring!,said Balto,We can sleep beside this and well be nice and warm for the night.

He turned around and called to Boris.

Hey Boris, theres a hot spring here, dont you want to come?,asked Balto.

Boris just smiled.

Thanks aplenty, laddie, but no,said Boris,Im varrrm and comforrrtable enough rrright herrre.

Jenna smiled.

The water is so warm,said Jenna,Balto..lets have bath in it.

Balto was glad to because he was indeed cold from the chilly night.

Jenna stepped into the pool of warm water and gave a contented sigh. Balto followed. He sat down in the warm pool and felt the water take the cold away from his bones instantly.

Its great, huh?,Jenna said.

Yeah,said Balto closing his eyes and relaxing.

When he opened them again, his vision was blocked by a mass of brick-red color. It was Jenna, who had stepped closer to him and had pressed her cheek against his nose. Almost as if instinctively, Balto flicked out his tongue and kissed the soft furry cheek, which, for some reason felt, even warmer than the water.

            *                                 *                                 *

Jenna settled down close to Boris, and Balto stood in the entrance for a while to make sure everything was okay.

I think everything is in order,said Balto walking towards his friends,Lets get some sleep.

But just then, they all heard something

It was a moaning!

AHHHH!,Boris yelled,Its a ghost!

Thats not a ghost,cried Jenna aghast,Its the Wendigo!

Balto, startled as he was, followed the sound with his ears.

Its coming from the woods,said Balto,It sounds like some animal.

I TOLD YOU!,Boris said,This cave is alrrready inhabited by some vild beast.

Balto grimaced, and suddenly went out of the cave and into the dark night.

Jenna and Boris were startled.

BALTO!,they both cried desperately.

A minute passed..two..three..they were getting very nervous.

After what seemed like ages, Balto returned to the cave with something limp across his back.

Quick!,said Balto,Boris bring some jerky, Ill take him to the hot spring.

Him?,Boris inquired.

Questions later,said Balto,Jerky now.

Balto carried whatever he was carrying to the hot spring and gently placed it in the shallows where it would warm up.

As Boris brought the jerky and Jenna came closer, Balto rubbed the thing with his paws to keep its blood flowing.

Jenna and Boris were looking expectantly. They were a bit startled by the sudden presence of this seemingly living being, but they were even more startled with the being talked.

Th..thank you,said the being.

Dont speak, just save your strength,said Balto.

Boris got closer with the jerky. Balto placed some of it on a rock close to the newcomer.

Have some,said Balto,You must be hungry.

The newcomer ate and thanked them every few minutes for the food.

Balto sat down on the edge of the water and waited for the newcomer to recuperate from his ailing.

After about half an hour, the newcomer stood up and opened his eyes. They were all impressed.

He was a coyote. A young coyote, probably no more than a year old. His fur was sandy-colored with golden strands, his muzzle was long and elegant, and his short and pointed ears were perked and alert.

He looked at the three friends and bowed.

Thank you very much for saving my life, kind wolf,said the coyote,You and your friends have done a very great thing, and I am sure that the Lord above will be very pleased with your kindness.

Balto grinned, Jenna smiled and Boris looked proud. They were pleased to hear this.

So, vhats yourrr storrry, lad?,asked Boris.

The coyote spoke.

My name is Kendall,said the coyote,I come from the Southern mountains and I have been migrating for a month now. I was heading towards the town of Nome because there was an inhabitant from there that got lost and wanted me to tell his friends that he was alive but trapped. But the weather was very bad and my fur wasnt thick enough to withstand the cold. It was a good thing that you found me, or I would freeze to death and fail my mission.

Baltos ears suddenly perked up.

An inhabitant of Nome?,he asked.

Yes,said Kendall.

What was he like?,asked Jenna.

Well, he was short,said Kendall,And he had two bite marks on both ears, and big eyes, and a collar..like a sled pullers collar.

They all jumped up when they heard this.

Its Star!,said Jenna.

I knew he had to be alive,said Balto.

Vell done, laddie,said Boris and he gave Kendall a pat on the shoulder, Ve vere on our vay to save this mutt. Its a good forrrtune ve found you on ourrr vay.

Do you know him?,asked Kendall.

Yes,said Jenna,Hes a sled dog who got blown away with the storm a few days ago.

No one in the town dared to come and look for him, so we came,said Balto.

They were all very comforted by this good news. They were going the right way.

Oh, I believe we havent introduced ourselves yet,said Balto, My name is Balto.

And Im Jenna,said Jenna.

And Im theirrr Uncle Boris Goosinoff,said Boris.

Oh, you are a Cossack?,asked Kendall.

Aye, yourrre rrright laddie. Im frrrom Mother Russia,said Boris solemnly.

Kendall smiled.

Please to meet you all,said Kendall.

Same with us,said Jenna.

So, where is our friend anyway?,asked Balto.

Hes about ten miles south from here,said Kendall,We can get there in a few hours, but theres no light.

Well leave at daybreak,said Balto,Its going to be best because well need all our strength for tomorrow.

Yeah,said Jenna,Wed better get some sleep.

And so, with new hopes and a new companion for their voyage, the three settle down for the night. What perils away them in their way, only time will tell. But with Kendalls help, they will surely go the right way.

But what did he mean with trapped? Was there someone keeping him from escaping, or was he on a ledge hanging over a steep ravine? Time is running out for Star.Will Balto and his friends make it on time?

The moon was giving out its light, silently glowing over the barren land.

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED.