Steampunk Family

On the Hunt

December 30, 2010
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

Meanwhile, a thousand miles away, the children’s mother screamed and stamped her foot. Captain Captain Eve CharetteCharette, performing sensitive adjustments on her dirigible’s engine, looked up, hefting a spanner.

“Trouble?”

Herr von Hedwig answered her.

“Anger.”

“Frustration,” his wife corrected him. “The trail was so clear for miles and miles and now we’ve lost them!”

They were standing miles below the surface of the earth in a volcanic tube, an almost perfectly round tunnel shaped by the action of ancient lava. They were following the trail left by Gerhardt as the children negotiated the tunnels between their fall through the Great Himalayas to their current, as-yet-unknown location. The last mark had been a sketchy painted arrow. Here the tunnel split into three paths, and there was no mark anywhere.

“They must have run out of paint,” Herr von Hedwig said. He was searching the walls and ceilings for scrape marks, but found none. “I’m afraid Claire was piloting. She’s far too careful to scrape her airship. If Adolphus had been flying we might have a sign.”

“Oh no, do you think anything has happened to him!”

“No, my love, no. I’m sure they’re all fine. Most likely, Gerhardt and the twins sat on him to keep him from flying. After that last incident…”

“I’m sure you’re right. I’ll check down this way.” Hera von Hedwig entered the far right fork. This tunnel smelled of mildew, and had a wide vein of flaking shale comprising the left wall. The damp air of the tunnel wore away at the fissile shale, leaving chunks and crumbles underfoot. Madame stepped on a recent flake, breaking it into crumbles, unaware that Gerhardt’s chalk arrow had been scrawled upon it. She searched nearly a mile of the tunnel, but found no sign.

When she returned, her husband had finished his search. Captain Charette had much better luck adjusting her racing dirigible’s engine than the discouraged parents had in searching.

“Well,” she said, “which way to go when we don’t know the way?”

“The right tunnel is damp and most unpleasant,” Madame said, “I think they would have avoided that way. What do you think, darling?”

“The left fork appears to go down. Presuming that they dumped everything out of the ship back when it first evened out in order to gain lift, I think they would be looking for a way up. I think we should try the middle.”

Agreed, they boarded the sleek red racer and chased down the middle tunnel, away from the path their children had found.

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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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