Steampunk Family
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

To Madame vonHedwig’s surprise, Adolphus returned to searching the next morning, joined by Mirabelle and Annabelle.

“How very helpful of you to join us,” she said, “when I am sure you have projects of your own requiring your attention.”

“We’d thought we’d give Gerhardt a turn in the lab this morning,” Annabelle said.

“And we have so much to learn about geology!” added Mirabelle.

“How interesting,” Mother said.  “Let’s to it, then.  Would anyone like to review the features for which we search?”

This offer politely declined, Mother, Ulrik, Claire, Adolphus, Annabelle, and Mirabelle each found window space to call his or her own, and the day’s search began in earnest.  If Mother noticed that the youngest searchers kept their eyes down at the rubble-strewn cliff base, rather than the shear face above, she said nothing.

Adolphus noticed though, and cornered the twins at lunch.

“Your not looking for Mother’s beastly rock, are you?”

“No more than you,” said Mirabelle.

“What are you looking for?  Good sledding ground?”

Annabelle rolled her eyes.

“What are you looking for?” Mirabelle countered.

“If I tell you, will you tell me?”


“Got to be for sure, or I won’t tell!”

The twins conferred in the language they shared, one unknown to any of their shipmates.  It was not, as is sometimes the case with twins, an invented language, but a learned language.  At the age of three, replete with the tales of Madame d’Aulnoy, Andrew Lang,  Asbjørnsen and Moe, Joseph Jacobs, and George MacDonald, the girls had asked to learn the language that faeries spoke.  Their parents responded by bringing a Welsh tutor on board.

“Honor bound?” Annabelle asked.

Adolphus held out his hand, and the girls each one of theirs, one under, and one above.  All three nodded together.  Ritual satisfied, Annabelle spoke first.

“We’re looking for the bear-man.  We saw him yesterday.”

“Or her!” Mirabelle said.

Adolphus leaned towards them and whispered. “Me too.  But it’s not just any bear-man, it’s the Yeti.”

Annabelle looked around the room to make sure they were not overheard.

“What’s a Yeti?”

“It’s a giant, man-eating, ape-bear sort of thing one finds up in these mountains,” Adolphus explained with all the authority of one who had spent nearly an hour in the library. “Major Waddell found tracks in 1889, and in 1832 a couple of them attacked the British representative to Nepal. The natives see them all the time, I expect, but they don’t seem to write any books about it.”

“Well,” said Mirabelle, “well, well.  I think I’d like to meet one of those.”

“Go on!” her brother objected.  “No one meets a Yeti and lives to tell the tale.”

“Oh no?” Annabelle answered.  “Then who tells these tales?”

Adolphus had no answer, but needed none, for luncheon was served and their presence required at the table.

The afternoon passed with discovery by neither those searching for rock strata, nor those searching for Yeti.  After dinner, Adolphus and the twins called a conference, inviting Claire, Gerhardt, and Bettina to hear their evidence.

“Bear-man go boom?” Bettina asked.

“No, love,” Claire said, “the Yeti does not explode, because the Yeti is a myth.  Some people just don’t have the discipline to look at rocks.”

“I say!  At least I found something!” Adolphus glowered at his older sister.

“You imagined something.”

“We saw it too!” the twins chorused.

“I hope you won’t bother Father and Mother with this nonsense,” Claire sniffed.  “Some of us have serious research to think about.” With that, she swept from the children’s lab without a backward glance.

“What’s wrong with her?” Gerhardt asked.

“She’s a pill,” Adolphus said. “She’s always been a pill.”

“No she hasn’t,” Mirabelle said. “It’s mostly since Philomena went to the Academy.”

“That was ages ago!” Adolphus said.  “Her first year’s nearly over.”

“True,” said Annabelle, “but she has been different with Philly gone.  It got better for a bit in the rainforest, but then Philly called her a child in that letter and it got worse again.”

“Girls are ridiculous,” Adolphus exclaimed.

Mirabelle snatched a crossbow from the nearby workbench, and Annabelle plunged her hand into her pinafore, revealing a pocketful of marshmallows.  They chased him all the way to his room. Gerhardt followed slowly, collecting spent ammunition, and only occasionally eating it.

This story began with On Grandmothers. The last episode is The Sorrows of Chef and the next is Meanwhile, Back in the Lab.
Entries in this series:
  1. On Grandmothers
  2. With A Bang!
  3. In Search of Ancient Angiosperms
  4. Assault on the Galley
  5. The Sorrows of Chef
  6. Faeries, Helpful Siblings, and other Mythological Creatures
  7. Meanwhile, Back in the Lab
  8. A Day of Discovery
  9. The Children’s Hypothesis
  10. A Research Date
  11. Aboard the Schmetterling
  12. The Cave
  13. The Cage
  14. Knee of the Yeti
  15. Kidnapped!
  16. A Clue
  17. The Yeti and the Comb
  18. Fighting the Count
  19. Fighting the Yeti
  20. Falling
  21. Breadcrumbs
  22. The Search is On
  23. Flight to Saigon
  24. On the Streets of Saigon
  25. The Sad Man
  26. At the Grandiere Club Aeronautique
  27. If you Give a Count a Cookie
  28. Out of Cookies
  29. Stuck!
  30. Airships Float?
  31. Where is Claire?
  32. Drowning
  33. Into the Drink!
  34. Boat!
  35. Mushroom Trip
  36. Ambush
  37. The Variegated Strangler
  38. In a Strange Land
  39. Hand over Hand
  40. The Last of the Gouda
  41. An Unusual Breakfast
  42. Downstream
  43. What's for Dinner?
  44. Axe and Fire
  45. Meanwhile, Back at the Airship
  46. Over the Gobi
  47. Return of the Grandmothers
  48. Warning from Huang
  49. Anxious Hours
  50. Ulrik Prepares
  51. Destruction by Dawn
  52. Finding Philomena
  53. No Luck in Pekin
  54. The Children Rescue...Something
  55. Corndog Liberation
  56. The Fate of Corndogs
  57. Have you Tea?
  58. Antafrican Hosptitality
  59. Onion Porridge
  60. Homesick
  61. On the Hunt
  62. Farm Living
  63. Singing for Supper
  64. You Say Potato...
  65. Curiosity is the Foundation of Discovery
  66. An Awkward Position
  67. Trouble Comes Riding
  68. Capsicum Capture
  69. To the Palace
  70. The Death of the Lincoln
  71. War Wings
  72. A Long Way Down
  73. Enter the Lightning
  74. Before the Queen
  75. You are a Tomato!
  76. A Sunken Ship
  77. Eglantine Aubergine
  78. Children of the Soil
  79. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  80. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  81. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  82. The Price of Popcorn
  83. Ulrik and Chef
  84. Fire!
  85. Claire's Bluff
  86. Tomato Queen and Aubergine
  87. It's Going to Blow!
  88. Rhodri in the Gardens
  89. The Servant's Fountain
  90. History Revealed
  91. Fight at the Fountain
  92. Repercussions
  93. Father Discovers the Yeti
  94. Aboard the Lucy Stone
  95. Summoned
  96. The Queen's Accusation
  97. The Queen's Rage
  98. The Khan
  99. The Last War Wing
  100. Eglantine Departs
  101. Thumping Rhodri
  102. Bad News from the Boys
  103. Where's the Count?
  104. In Search of the Count
  105. Spying on the Queen
  106. Confronting the Count
  107. Orphaned?
  108. Orphaned?
  109. Montesanto's Experiments
  110. Montesanto's Experiments
  111. The Queen's Tantrum
  112. Bettina's Tantrum
  113. The Flaming Queen
  114. Uprising!
  115. Uprising!
  116. Escape
  117. On the Run
  118. The Mysterious Coach
  119. Red Racer!
  120. Revolution Reset
  121. By the Acid Sea
  122. Farewell Antafrica
  123. Home Again!
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