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

They walked across the grass to where the path to the fields started.    

“Well, well, well,” Annabelle said. “That is extremely interesting.” She looked at the house, the shrubbery outbuildings, and all around her with new interest. “That explains quite a lot, actually.”

“You know,” her brother gasped, “you might be a bit more concerned next time a crazed vegetable is going to cut me with a knife.”

“Hmm? Oh, sorry. Odd sort of situation to walk into.” She thought some more. “I think we’d better find Ifan. Tell him what happened, get him to calm her down. We might have to move on after this.”

“I was curious! Curiosity is the foundation of discovery.”

“Don’t quote Adolphus to me! He just says that to get out of trouble.”

“It’s true, though. I wanted to know what was in the box. Now I know. And a lot more.”

“True,” Annabelle said. “Like why a fish had a circle of six fins and tasted of violets.”

“More of a lily, really, or an orchid,” Gerhardt said. “Monocotyledonous.”


“Monocots have parallel vein structure in the leaf, and petals come in multiples of three. Dicots have a net-like vein structure and petals are in multiples of four or five.”

Annabelle raised her eyebrows. “Goodness me.”

“Don’t you ever listen to Mother in the Greenhouse?”

“Sometimes.” Annabelle shrugged. “I like dissecting things.”

When they reached the farmer Annabelle stayed to speak to him while Gerhardt and Bettina found Claire. Adolphus and Mirabelle were working nearby and came to join them, both sensing trouble and looking for a break from farming.

“They’re plants!” Gerhardt blurted.

“We’re in a farm field, genius,” Adolphus said. “Being plants is rather the point.”

“No! Gwen and Ifan and the others, they’re plants too.” He told them what had happened, what he found in the box, and Gwen’s reaction. They considered; they argued; they theorized. They examined the evidence of carnivorous vines, six-finned fish, and corndogs. Ifan hurried to the house and Annabelle joined them.

“You know,” Claire said, looking at the sky, “violet is the color most useful to plants in photosynthesis.”

Gerhardt shot Annabelle a look. “I’m not the only one who listens to Mother’s lessons.”

“But it’s always cloudy,” Adolphus objected. “Plants need sun, right?” Of all the children, Adolphus was the least likely to pay attention to any lecture, from Mother or anyone else.

“But it is always sunny,” Mirabelle said. “That’s one of the odd things. You can’t see your shadow because the sun is everywhere.”

“The volcanic cloud cover must filter and intensify the sun’s rays,” said Annabelle, who had gotten a head start on thinking about it.

“Like a greenhouse,” Claire mused.

“Greenhouse Land,” Adolphus said. “No, that’s not good.” He muttered to himself, trying out different combinations of words. “Got it! The Hothouse Continent!”

“Good grief,” Mirabelle said. “Adolphus is already writing his memoirs.”

“Listen,” Claire said, “let’s get some work done, be extra helpful to make up for frightening Gwen so.”

“I told Ifan we’d leave if they want us to, and that we would rather sleep in a shed than cause Gwen any distress.” Annabelle said, picking up a hoe.

“Well done,” said her twin. “Very diplomatic. Unlike some boys.”

“Hey!” Gerhardt protested. “Didn’t you want to know what was in that box?”

“Curiosity is the foundation of discovery,” Adolphus said, and had no idea why Gerhardt and Annabelle found it so funny.
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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