The Mountain is a place in a story. The people on the mountain aren't real, and there is no real King of the Mountain game where people kill for the crown. There is no Song or Sky Clan, and there is no Howl, her rival on the Mountain to become King. There is no place where people really have fights to the death between the champions who want the crown for them and their followers. Their is no place where you are either a slave, or a fighter. There is no place where the only way to become King and be free of the Mountain is by killing the current one.
At least, that's what Toby always thought, and exactly what Alexis Song wanted him to think.
Toby met Alexis three years ago online, and he has been talking to her ever since, talking about her and her novel and the mountain, and the people she made up. One day, at the park, he started talking to her, and looked up to notice a strange woman sitting atop the monkey bars, watching children play king of the mountain, and typing at the same time Alexis did.
As she was leaving, he decided to gather the courage to talk to her, but as he goes to where she was heading, the woman is gone.
The next day, he sees her, and decides to say hi to her.
Little does he know, he probably never should have met her if he wanted to stay alive.
After a few weeks of running into her and her vanishing, Toby starts to realize that Alexis is a very deadly and dangerous person to know, and her every thought is consumed with that and the Mountain. She is usually hurt, and will not tell him how she gets injured. He sees that while she refuses to let him in, she readily lets a stranger into her life, a Cherokee named Joseph Running Water. After getting out of English Class, Toby sees her, and notices that she has a new wound on her face, and as she turns, a mysterious force tugs on her shirt, revealing badly treated injuries on her back. In a struggle to get her to talk to him, Running Water intervenes. They try to get Toby to let go, yet he refuses. An odd feeling comes over him, and he finds himself not in the hallway at his college anymore, but in the coming darkness on the Mountainside.
Shocked, he finds himself surrounded by the characters in Song's story, and realizes that his Alexis is the main character. Whatever he had thought before, he discovers that the Mountain is a very real place, and every bit of the fight to become King of the Mountain is real. Now, he must choose whether to help Song win the title of King Of the Mountain, or run away to the woods to hide.
“And, and if I don’t know what the hell we’re fighting for or dieing for, then how am I supposed to know what we’re supposed to live for?”