A/N: Thanks to Bob Wright for the idea for this story. :)
Somewhere deep in the woods of Yekaterinburg, the bodies of a middle-aged man and woman, three young women, and a teenage boy materialized. They were still dressed in the clothing in which they had died ten years previously. The six looked around in amazement and bewilderment.
"Papa, what happened?" asked Alexei.
"I'm not sure, son," Nicholas said. "The last thing I remember, we were all sitting on chairs in the basement of the Ipatiev House. I was holding you in my lap. A man was reading something from a piece of paper but I couldn't understand him. I asked him to repeat himself and then I felt a sudden intense pain in the back of my head. Then...nothing."
The others all nodded.
"Mama, where's Anastasia?" asked Maria.
"Why, I have no idea." Alexandra looked around worriedly, as did Olga and Tatiana.
"Something tells me she's with Grandmama," said Alexei.
"But where is Grandmama? Where are we, for that matter?" asked Tatiana.
"I have the feeling that we're still in Russia, close to the Ipatiev House," said Olga.
"But how did we get here? And where did Grandmama and Anastasia go?" Maria asked again.
"Hey, you know what?" Alexei cried excitedly. "Remember that necklace Grandmama gave Anastasia at the Tricentennial Ball? It said 'Together In Paris,' so I'll bet that's where they are!"
"But how would Grandmama have gotten Anastasia to Paris?" Olga asked skeptically.
"It's something I can't quite explain. It's just a feeling I have deep inside," her younger brother replied.
"I think we should all listen to Alexei. His hunches usually turn out to be spot on," said Maria.
"Not always," grumbled Olga, a bit jealously.
"First of all, we need to find our way out of the woods and back to civilization," Nicholas pointed out.
"But we don't even have a compass," Tatiana said. "The jewels that were sewn into our clothing are gone as well, so we wouldn't get far anyway."
"Well, we're certainly not accomplishing anything just standing here," Olga pointed out.
"Olga's right," said Nicholas. "We are standing beside what appears to be an abandoned mine shaft, therefore we must be near a source of water. If we can find a stream, we'll follow it and see where it leads."
Maria took the ribbon from her hair and tied it around a nearby tree's trunk to mark their starting point, and the family set out. They soon found the stream and began to follow it.
After walking for what seemed like hours and hours, they began to get hungry and went in search of berries and nuts that they knew not to be poisonous. They found just enough to take the edge off their hunger, and after drinking from the stream, they felt much better.
As the day wore on, they began to despair of reaching the edge of the woods before nightfall when they suddenly saw a small cottage and their hearts leaped with joy. Nicholas knocked on the door, and an elderly woman appeared. She looked puzzled when she saw Nicholas, then noticed the rest of the family and became frightened.
"Please don't be afraid," Nicholas told her. "We aren't going to hurt you. My family and I have become lost in the woods, and we need shelter and, if possible, directions back to the city of Yekaterinburg."
"Oh, you poor dears," the woman said. "Please come in and make yourselves comfortable. I am Valya, and my husband's name is Ilya. He has gone out hunting but will return soon. We are poor people, but what we have is yours to share."
"You are so very kind," said Maria. "My family and I thank you very much."
"Think nothing of it," said Valya. "I'm so very glad that you found our cottage before nightfall."
"I am Nicholas, and this is my wife Alexandra, my daughters Olga, Tatiana, and Maria, and my son Alexei," Nicholas told her.
"It's lovely to meet you all," Valya said. About thirty minutes later, Ilya came home carrying a gun and a large sack.
"We have guests," Valya told him. "This is Nicholas and his family. They got lost in the woods and need shelter for the night."
Ilya took one look at Nicholas, and his eyes nearly popped out of his head.