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

Reaching the wall, Adolphus doubled back, creeping along the hedge until he was only yards from the guard’s back. He heard voices.

“Why can’t he speak for himself?”

That was the queen, shrill with excitement.

“My beloved Queen and cousin,” soothed an oily voice, “it is for your own protection. The magic is so strong in him that it slips out if he speaks above a whisper. Anything might happen.”

“Let him whisper to me!” She sounded petulant.

“Majesty! You as brave as you are beautiful,” the oily voice replied. “But I am sure your dedicated advisors-” He paused. “And all who love you must beg you to deny yourself that particular terror. Just last week, Great Lady, the Magician spoke too hastily into my ear, and turned all the hair on my head into snakes.”

Adolphus heard exclamations from the queen and a man. He deduced the gasp came from the chamberlain or some other functionary; the Capsicum Chief was too stoic to gasp. He did not recognize the oily voice, and harbored dark suspicions about the one who refused to speak aloud.

“He was able to restore me, of course,” Oily continued, “but not before one of them bit me.”

“If his magic is so dangerous, we cannot expose Queen Drysi to it.” Dash it! Adolphus recognized the voice of the Capsicum Chief.

“The Magician and I agree wholeheartedly, noble sir, and have devised a plan whereby my royal cousin may enjoy the benefit of magic without exposing her cherished person to danger. Majesty, if you will give the Magician a space to work here at the palace, he will produce objects imbued with his magic for you, like the knife he has already bestowed upon your protector. You will have riches and power beyond-”

Adolphus was grabbed by the collar and hauled onto his feet.

“Hello, could you help me?” He gave the guard his most charming smile. “My ball seems to have rolled into the shrubbery.”

The guard looked at the ground, nudging the ball with his foot. Adolphus had left it behind him.

“Oh there it is. Thanks!”

The guard smiled in return, but it was more a nasty smile than a charming one. The firm and despised voice of the Capsicum Chief boomed through the shrub wall.

“Bring him in, Braith.”
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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