Phil Phorce: The Castle Under the Cloud

Sorry about this, people, but I really have no time.  Make do with chapter four of… the Phil Phorce.

Quirk flew in the right claw of Gologer, Percival in the left.  Phume was behind them sandwiched between the two back claws.  Flying behind Gologer was one of his cousins, who hadn’t given his name.  In his claws were Phoenix, Sebase, the old lady, Phoenix carrying Sam and Steve as agreed.

According to the calculations of Feiron and Liam, the cloud with the castle should have been over Miami, Florida, about two hours ago.  That meant that the cloud would be somewhere over the Midwest, due to prevailing winds in that region.  Maybe.  Liam had also mentioned an outboard motor of sorts, so the dragons would have to fly in large circles until they found the cloud.

Quirk would have complained about the entire plan to anyone who would have listened, but it’s a fact that in high winds like the ones they were experiencing, words weren’t altogether wise.

At last they found the cloud.  It was hard to miss, really, since it was many times larger than any they had flown by before.  And of course, there was the castle seemingly hanging on to the base of the cloud, almost about to fall off.

Gologer flew around it once to get a good look at the structure.  The castle was grey, the same color as the cloud itself.  It almost seemed to be a part of the cloud, but that was foolish.  Wasn’t it?  It had turrets like any other fairy-tale castle that you might see in Disney, and a huge tower sticking right out of the middle of the castle.  Instead of a drawbridge, however, it seemed to have a large set of automatic sliding doors made of frosted glass.  They didn’t fly under the castle due to what they had seen happen to a candy bar wrapper Quirk had dropped earlier; it had been sucked into a whirlpool of winds and was torn apart within seconds.  That had been the candy bar that Quirk had needed scissors to open.

After the first time around, Gologer began decreasing his distance from the castle, looking for a wide spot of cloud to drop the Phils off on.  It couldn’t be too close to the castle or they might be seen and annihilated in a rather unpleasant fashion.

Gologer found a suitable spot.  He hovered under the cloud, waiting.  Quirk, since he was the leader, went first.  He convinced himself that yes, centrifugal force existed, and yes, that clouds were solid.  Suddenly he shot out of Gologer’s hand, falling toward the cloud.  He slammed hard into the cloud, which was solid as he had believed.  He stood up and was surprised to see an orange-and-purple dragon hovering above him, upside-down.  He waved to the others to follow him.

.

Percival was having a little trouble convincing himself that centrifugal force was real.  He was a knowledgeable person, but he did know how to adapt to fantastic twists in what he thought was reality.  After all, one of his best friends was a dragon.  But centrifugal force being real?  It was a bit much, even for a fantasy guy like him.  He closed his eyes and concentrated on it.

Suddenly he was falling out of Gologer’s claws.  He opened his eyes and saw himself falling away from Gologer, who appeared to be upside-down.  Had it worked?  Of course it hadn’t!  Centrifugal force was a myth!

All of a sudden he changed directions.  He saw the rest of the Phils walking upside-down on a cloud above him, and Gologer flying away below him.  He was falling, and he didn’t have a parachute.

His phone buzzed.  “Hello, Percival Tospockingtonham here,” he said.  “Oh, hi Liam.  Yes, we’re doing fine, except for the little fact that I’m falling toward the earth quite quickly.  Oh, yes, it worked until the laws of physics came into play.  Well, if I could do that, I wouldn’t be falling toward my death, now would I?  Okay, I’ll try it.”  He closed his eyes and concentrated again.  This time he wouldn’t open his eyes until he was safely on the—Ow.  He opened his eyes.  He was safely on the cloud.  It was firm, but soft.

“Glad you could finally join us, Percival,” said Quirk sarcastically.

“Me too.”

Quirk didn’t know how to respond to an actual answer, so he turned to Phume.  “How should we go about getting over those walls?”

“The way we did it in my day was to bring a battering ram and a siege tower.”

“Ah,” said Quirk.  “Anyone have a battering ram on them?”

“I’ll do it,” said Steve from Phoenix’s pocket.

“Just use a rope,” sighed Percival.

“Yes, that would work,” admitted Quirk.

“Or we could burn through it, if we wanted to be seen,” said Phoenix hopefully.

“But we don’t want to be seen, so let’s use a rope,” said Quirk.  “Did anyone bring a rope?”

Everyone shook their heads.  Percival buried his face in his hands.  Looking at the tower, he had an idea.  “See you all on the other side,” he said and started running.  It was a long way to the castle, but he made it there eventually.  He jumped straight at the wall when he was about ten feet from it, convinced himself that gravity existed, fell over the wall, and convinced himself that centrifugal force existed.  Now that he had done it a few times he was getting the hang of it.  He landed hard on the other side of the wall, and stayed down.

A few minutes later, Captain Phume landed on top of him, then the rest of the Phils.  “Should have moved,” muttered Percival, but he crawled out from under them and stood up.

Quirk bounced up beside him.  “Wow…”

It was a city of kids.  Everywhere you looked, kids were scurrying.  Most of them were snoring, a few were drooling, and more were sucking fingers or thumbs and holding blankets.

“They’re all asleep,” gasped Quirk.

“It’s nighttime in Asia,” said Percival.  “And probably every kid who goes to sleep during nap time in kindergarten comes here too.  Don’t worry about stealth,” he said, raising his voice to include the rest of the Phils.  “Their eyes aren’t open, since they’re asleep.  And if you run into anyone, wake them up and they’ll disappear.  Probably.”

Everyone nodded, and the Phils made their way to the tower at the center of the city.

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6 Comments

  1. Hmmm… very interesting! Quick question – how does Percival see the tower while he has his face in his hands? 😉

    Reply
    • I saw that too, but I figured the reader would know that he would have to take his face out of his hands before he saw anything. It would be awkward to say “He buried his face in his hands, then dug his face out again, breaking Quirk’s best shovel. He saw the tower…” Maybe not!

      Reply
  2. Would not have thought of switching between centrifugal force and gravity to get over the wall. revelC. I’m sorta addicted to the whole backwards thing now…

    Reply
  3. Robyn Hoode

     /  March 1, 2013

    I liked the way they got over the wall. That was clever.
    “…Percival buried his face in his hands. Looking at the tower…” there’s something not right about those two sentences. Shouldn’t Percival “then he looked up” or something? Or he should be looking in between his fingers… see what I mean?

    Reply
    • Already noted, but I don’t edit these things except for small typos. I noticed that the first time I posted it, but I didn’t change it.

      Reply

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