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|Athropolis: Iceberg - the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots. Copyright © 1994-2002 Athropolis Productions Limited.|
"Double-click" any unlinked word in the story and a new window will open with the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at
First Leader handed Ludi his ice telescope and pointed down to the snow outside the castle.
Ludi could see the Throps running out onto the ice. The guards - shields, clubs and snowballs at the ready - formed a protective barrier between the Squallhoots' new tunnel entrance and the castle walls. Their eyes were fixed on the entrance - except for quick glances over their shoulders to watch the sun sinking below the horizon. It was almost danger time!
Just before the sun rose and just after the sun set - that was danger time! It was still light enough for the Throps to see, but not light enough to keep the Squallhoots in their caverns. Danger time was twilight time - and time to run for the safety of the castle walls!
"Those Squallhoots are up to something - something that is NO GOOD!" First Leader slammed his fist onto the battlement. If they didn't make the wall higher and stronger before sundown, they'd be attacked - he was sure of it! He and Toot started for the stairway. "Ludi! We're going outside!"
"How can we make the wall strong enough when nothing will freeze?" wailed Ludi. "This is TERRIBLE!"
There was no time to lose. Throps rushed about with ladders and ropes. Splinters of ice flew everywhere as they frantically cut and shaped blocks of ice. When the blocks were finished, they were tied to the ropes and hauled, one by one, to the top of the wall and stacked into place.
"Pull! Pull!" First Leader shouted his orders. "Hurry! Hurry! Faster! Faster!"
Behind him, Toot watched the sun fearfully. "Night is coming - and the Squallhoots will be coming too! Hurry! Hurry! Only two more blocks and the wall will be high enough!"
At the other end of the rope at the top of the castle wall, Ludi nervously jumped up and down. "Quickly now! Pull! Pull! Good! Now we need only ONE more block - just one more to fill the last space at the top of the wall."
"Here comes the last block!" First Leader shouted from below as the block of ice began its climb up the wall.
The sun had almost disappeared. Ludi, looking through the ice telescope, could see glowing green eyes gathering inside the tunnel entrance. "I SEE THEM!" he shouted to the Throps below. "They're just waiting for the sun to go behind the ice!"
"Pull! Pull harder! Pull faster!" First Leader shouted.
"Watch out! Watch out below!" shrieked Ludi as the ice block plummeted downward.
The Throps scrambled for safety as the block crashed to the ice. Splinters of ice flew everywhere as it tumbled down the embankment and smashed - with a loud shattering explosion - right into the Squallhoots' tunnel entrance.
Snort jumped so high he hit his head and dropped his icicle club. An attack? Was that what it was? The Throps were shooting big chunks of ice at them! "Where's my club? Where did it go? How can I bop a Throp if I don't have a club?" He scrambled to his feet and ran deeper into the tunnel where he found the other Squallhoots - quivering behind blocks of ice.
"WHAT? HIDING? Come out of there, you cowards!" He snatched a club from the hands of a cowering skulk. "We're being ATTACKED! This is WAR!" He stomped back to the entrance. "BRING THE SECRET WEAPON!"
From the cave entrance the Squallhoots could see the last edge of the sun disappear behind the ice. The mist weapons were ready. Helmets were adjusted and every furry hand was filled with a club or a snowball.
"Oh, this is PERFECT!" Drizzle peeked out from behind Snort and rubbed his hands together in glee. "We can go outside now - and those pesky little Throps are still outside the castle walls! How could they be so stupid?"
"We'll teach those treacherous little savages a lesson they won't forget! Get ready! Get ready to release the GOOGLIUM MIST!"
"Soon we'll see backwards talking Throps! Heh, heh, heh, heh!"
Ludi hung over the castle battlements. "Why? Why did the block land right in the Squallhoots' tunnel! How could we be so unlucky?" he moaned.
The children strained to see. The Squallhoots were getting into position behind the ice. Snowballs were already starting to fly.
"Look! There's a Squallhoot - and there's another!" Sara pointed below. "Jason! Kevin! Do you see them? They look like - Abominable Snowmen!"
"Where? Where's the bomnibbles?"
"I see them! And look! More are coming out of the cave! Jason wrote furiously in his notebook. " White - furry - green eyes..."
Crystal screamed in panic. "And THROPS ARE STILL OUT ON THE ICE!"
Ludi was horrified. "WE'RE BEING ATTACKED!" he shouted. "This is going to be the big WAR!"
The importance of the battle suddenly hit Jason like a thunderbolt.
"War? NO! It CAN'T be a war!" How could Athropolis be saved if the Throps and Squallhoots didn't work together? Sara was RIGHT! They couldn't have a war! They didn't have TIME for a war!
"It's too late! Nothing can stop it now!" Ludi knew it was war.
"They're not gettin' ME!" Kevin grabbed a handful of snowballs and hurled them over the wall. "Bombs away!"
First Leader jumped nervously from side to side - snowballs seemed to be falling all around him! They were trapped! What were they going to do? Suddenly, his eyes widened with a great idea. "LUDI!" he called from below. "Bring your SECRET WEAPON! Bring the BOOHEMIUM MIST!"
"Yes! That's IT! My secret weapon! I'm coming!" Ludi shouted over the wall.
Jason desperately tried to stop Ludi as he ran to get his bottles of mist. "If the Throps and Squallhoots fight each other - Athropolis will NEVER be saved," he shouted.
"And we'll never be rescued!" Sara added.
Jason didn't know what to do. "We're - wasting time - while everything melts away!"
Crystal understood, too. "That's right! We'll be fighting over - nothing! We'll be fighting - ON nothing!"
"I've got to stop this war!"
"But how, Jason?" asked Sara. How could anyone stop this war?
"I don't know!" Jason looked at Kevin with a very frustrated look. "I know - I don't know AGAIN!"
The air was thick
"Look! Down there! It's the mist weapon!" shouted Sara, as snowballs flew up over the wall. "Watch out!"
Kevin hollered down to the battlefield. "Hey! Stop fighting, you furry Squallhooter guys - or I'll - I'll bop you with a bergy bit!" He looked around for something to throw.
Sara ducked again as a snowball whizzed by. "Jason! Can't you - we - do something? Somebody's going to get hurt!"
"Yeah!" Kevin shouted over the wall. "You'll have to call the vet - you fuzzballs!"
Jason couldn't stand by any longer. "I've got to stop this war! I've just got to!" he shouted as he ran down the stairs.
Fourth Leader spun around as Jason disappeared into the stairway. "Stop! You can't go down there! Come back here!" he yelled as he gave chase.
The yellow cloud of Googlium Mist stopped somewhere between the Squallhoots and the Throps. Ludi tested the wind - it seemed to be perfect and he released his Boohemium Mist. The wind had changed and the blue cloud was now drifting toward the Squallhoots.
"We'll get you, you blundering Throps!" shouted Snort.
"We'll get you back, you bungling Squallhoots!" answered First Leader.
"We'll get you back getting us back!"
"We'll get you back getting us back getting you back!"
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