Stormchaser (The Edge Chronicles, No. 2)
Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell
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Since his childhood in the DeepWoods, young Twig has always longed to soar above the forest canopy and explore the sky. Now a crew member on his father’s sky pirate ship, the Stormchaser, his dream seems fulfilled. But a much higher destiny awaits Twig. The lofty city of Sanctaphrax—built on a giant rock, floating high in the sky—is at the point of disaster. The city’s future is dependent on stormphrax—a valuable substance available only from the heart of a Great Storm. And only the Stormchaser, with Twig onboard, could risk entering a storm. . . .
should attempt to dupe, deceive or double-cross us, we shall not rest until you have been hunted down and destroyed. Do you understand?’ Spleethe stared back grimly ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I understand. But be aware, Xintax, that what is true for the woodboar is also true for the sow. Those who cross me do not live long enough to tell the tale.’ Back in the stuffy room behind the bar of the Bloodoak tavern, a mood of optimism held sway. Once business had been concluded with the flurry of
wind, as if the entire wasteland had been transformed into a vast ocean. And there, to complete the illusion, was a ship. ‘Except It’s not sailing,’ Twig muttered as he squinted at the distant shipwreck. ‘And probably never will again.’ As the Stormchaser sped onwards, Twig realized that the ship had not been abandoned. There was someone there: a tall, thin figure, brandishing his fist at the sky. As colourless as his surroundings, he was well camouflaged. Twig wouldn’t have noticed him at all
paper tearing, like hands clapping. Twig raised his head sharply and stared ahead. Protruding from the base of the purple storm was a point of brightness. ‘Here it is!’ he exclaimed. ‘The bolt of lightning. The stormphrax itself!’ Longer and longer the jagged shaft grew, yet impossibly slowly as if the clouds themselves were holding it back. Twig was starting to wonder whether it would ever be released when, all of a sudden, a resounding CRACK! echoed through the air. The bolt of lightning had
fetch the animal-quack,’ he muttered. ‘Get it stitched up again.’ He looked at Twig, as if seeing him for the first time. ‘Are you trustworthy?’ he asked. Twig nodded. ‘Hmm,’ Flabsweat mumbled. ‘Well, since you’re still here, would you mind watching the shop while I’m gone? There could be something in it for you.’ ‘That’s fine,’ said Twig, trying not to sound too eager. The moment Flabsweat was out of earshot, the eater-bird immediately asked once more to be set free. But Twig was adamant.
building in all of Sanctaphrax, the place where they always took to in an emergency. The crowd arrived at the hall, angry and loud. They poured inside and were outraged to discover that even this ancient place of sanctuary had not been spared the consequences of the terrible shaking that had gripped their floating city. Fallen blocks of stone littered the cracked marble floor; a pillar lay on its side while a second one looked ready to topple at any moment. And, as they watched, a jagged crack