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|Athropolis: Iceberg - the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots. Copyright © 1994-2002 Athropolis Productions Limited.|
"Double-click" any unlinked word in the story and a new window will open with the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at
Wrapped in clouds, Athropolis rocked gently back and forth in the choppy ocean. Falling chunks of ice, loosened from the weakened and broken walls by the movement, disturbed the otherwise peaceful morning with thuds and thumps. The rain fell steadily, and after completing its work of slowly and gently wearing away the ice and snow, the water scurried into the cracks and crevices.
Sharp crisp edges were becoming rounded and smooth, and flat shiny walls were beginning to look wavy and rippled. This cast an unusual reflection to anyone walking by. Fat Throps became thin, and then fat again. Short Throps would appear unusually tall, much to their delight, even if this appearance only lasted until they moved along. Then they would become short again, or fat, or perhaps just very wiggly looking.
Story carvings were
beginning to melt!
And the beautiful story carvings on the walls throughout the castle were beginning to melt and change - drip by drip by drip. What would the history of Thropdom become if the stories melted and then refroze into new stories? Past heroes could become villains or fools! Great events could become disasters!
But Kevin was puzzled. Where was Jason? He was the curious one - was he off exploring the castle? Had he gone on an early morning patrol with the Throps? Sara did not appear to be very concerned, but it wasn't like Sara to be so quiet, and it certainly wasn't like Jason to go off without telling anyone where he was going.
Finally, as midday neared, Sara could keep quiet no longer.
"Kevin! I can't keep quiet any longer! Jason went out during the night - alone! I'm getting worried. Something must have gone wrong!"
"ALONE? WRONG?" Kevin shouted. "I should have gone with him! Without me to protect him - those Squallhooter guys will get him!"
"What are we going to do?"
Kevin was already running out of the room. "We've gotta get help fast! C'mon! Let's find Ludi!"
Ludi and Crystal walked down the stairs from the south tower of the castle. At least it was the south tower a few moments ago, but as Athropolis drifted, it also turned. This morning's south tower could very well be this afternoon's east tower, or west tower. Would the trouble never end? First an ice-quake, then a war, and now the castle was spinning in the rain!
"Will the rain never stop? Everything is melting in this drownpour!" Ludi looked out the window. "The direction signs can hardly be read!"
Crystal shrugged her shoulders. "They don't work anyway - we don't know where we are."
That's right! What was he thinking of? They were still lost. "We need a plan, fast!"
"The - the peller thing!"
"Yes! The propeller! Let's find Jason! Where can he be?"
Sara and Kevin rushed down the hallway. "Ludi! Crystal!" they called as they slid by, unable to stop on the icy floor.
"What's wrong?" asked Ludi as he spun around.
Sara slid to a stop and caught her breath. "Jason is - huff - huff - GONE!"
"GONE?" Ludi had now forgotten all about the plan. "But WHERE?"
"And WHY?" added Crystal.
"He went to find the Squallhoots!" Kevin blurted out.
"THE SQUALLHOOTS?" Ludi and Crystal shrieked out together - their eyes wide with horror.
"Yes," said Sara, now becoming even more worried.
"He - he'll - he'll be eaten! Or WORSE!" Ludi sputtered. Why would Jason want to go and find Squallhoots?
Crystal jumped up and down and couldn't stop talking. "But we TOLD YOU about the Squallhoots! They'll gobble him up in JUST ONE BITE! They'll eat on his head! They'll spit out his bones! They'll..."
There was no time to lose. Ludi rushed down the hallway. "SOUND THE ALARM! SOUND THE ALARM!"
The shouts echoed in the passageways as the Throps shouted the alarm throughout the castle.
"WHOOOOP! WHOOOOP! WHOOOOP!"
Scrambling feet clattered up the stairs. First Leader and a troop of Throps stood in the doorway. Fourth Leader shuffled along behind.
"The General is here! Huff! Puff! What's wrong? What happened?"
"What? The who?" Ludi looked at First Leader - and then around First Leader - then behind First Leader. "Where's the 'General'?" he asked, bewildered.
|"I'M the General!"|
"But..." Ludi began.
Sara didn't wait for him to finish. "Jason is gone! He..."
Crystal didn't wait for Sara to finish either. "He went to find the Squallhoots!"
"He WHAT?" The General couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Why - those greedy Squallhoots will be fighting over his bones! It'll be chomp - chomp - spit - spit - and NO MORE JASON!"
Sara was terrified by the General's words. How could he even THINK that! "Don't SAY that!" she protested.
"They - they wouldn't dare!" Kevin shouted.
Fourth Leader turned his head to hide the evil grin that was spreading across his face.
"Attention Throps!" commanded the General. He turned to the troops standing by the doorway. "Send out the searchers! Quickly now!"
The troops jumped to attention. "Yes, Sir! Right away, Sir!"
The General glared at his troops. "What did you say?" he bellowed.
"Right away - GENERAL!" shouted the Throps all together.
"Much better! Now GO! GO! GO!"
The General was very happy with his new name.
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