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

Their lead guard bowed even more deeply. “Your Highness, great were our struggles, as for many days and nights without sleep we tracked the vicious criminals-”

The Queen hissed and Gwydderig stopped, suddenly. He braved a look at his commander on the dais and spoke again.

“These are the raiders who disrupted your popcorn harvest, oh Great Queen.”

She laughed. It was not a nice laugh. Nervous tittering rose up throughout the hall like an echo, but stopped when she stopped.

“Even the little ones?”

Bettina did not like to be called little unless there were extra cookies involved. She particularly did not like being reminded of her size when she was feeling small and afraid, as she was now. She looked the Queen in the eye.

“You are a tomato,” she said. Claire gasped and Adolphus looked at the guards and the Queen, nervous smile frozen on his face.

The Queen laughed again, but this time no one tried to echo her.

“What does it say?”

With relief, Claire realized Bettina had spoken in German, not Welsh. She hissed at the twins – “Help me with the words,” and addressed the Queen.

“Most noble and gracious Highness,” she said. “My sister spoke out of turn only because she is so amazed by your beauty and grace elegance.” Claire was trying to speak and listen to the suggestions of both the twins at the same time, and was bound to get a few things wrong.

“We are strangers to your kingdom, travelers from far away. We did not understand your customs, or know that the little dog creatures were yours. We are very sorry for hurt/break/trespassing on your… stuff.”

Bettina scowled. The pale lady stood just behind the Queen’s shoulder and smiled at Bettina, raising her eyebrows. Bettina pouted a moment more, then followed the lady’s lead, and smiled.

The Queen questioned the children. Where were they from? How did they get here? Who are their parents? Of what clan are they?

The last question gave them some trouble. Claire answered with “von Hedwig” but the Queen was not satisfied with that. That was the name of their parents, what was their tribe? She used several different words to make her meaning clear, but Claire did not understand.

Gerhardt had been listening and fiddling with his frayed cuffs. He had been shooting furtive glances at his crossbow and stone axe, which their captors had laid at the Queen’s feet. Now he looked from the Queen to Claire.

“She wants to know what kind of vegetable we are!”
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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