Steampunk Family

To the Palace

March 26, 2011
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

The view of the palace from the hill was quite pleasing, however. It was an extremely large shrubbery grown in five wings, laid out like the petals of a flower. Some of it was open to the violet sky, but there were pale roofs covering parts. The children later saw that these were woven reed mats. The palace was surrounded by lush gardens, elegant and symmetrical, with every color of flower they had ever seen and several they had never before found in nature. The children wished they could stay on the hill and admire it, rather than descend and face whatever fate awaited them there.

When they reached the palace they discovered that a briar hedge, a tall and vicious tangle of wicked long thorns, surrounded the lovely gardens. Guards patrolled outside the briars. The sun (wherever it was) must have been setting, for the atmosphere was as gloomy as the children’s mood. Even Adolphus was quiet.

They passed through a gate in the hedge after brief discussion between the gate guards and their own guards. They all wore the same uniform, had the same high cheekbones and black eyes. One of the gate guards ran ahead of them into the compound.

Once inside the briars they dismounted, and the flower-horses were lead away by short, green-skinned fellows with papery husks where their hair should have been. Claire leaned towards the twins and whispered, “Tomatillos.”

They continued on foot through the gardens, where luxuriant flowers gleamed in the dimming light. At last they entered the palace shrubbery. The pale roofing they had seen was made of woven reed mats, which were hung as walls as well. They passed more people in the halls, some guards but more servants, hustling about with trays and cloth and baskets. Many of them resembled tomatillos, like the stable hands, others of them looked like the farmers they had met, the potato people.

As they walked, the lead guard gave them instructions.

“You will fall to your knees before the Queen. If you would beg for mercy, grovel before her. Let your pale faces be darkened with the sacred soil beneath her feet.”

“No, really? Grovel?” Adolphus shook his head. “I don’t know that I’m much for groveling. Can I try charming first?”

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” Gerhardt said. “Isn’t that what they say?”Gerhardt von Hedwig

“That’s not what Mother says,” Claire said.

“Mother says, when in Rome, try the espresso,” Annabelle finished her sister’s thought.

Gerhardt swallowed. “If we meet any coffee, I’ll ask him for help.”

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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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