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<span> Furello skidded to a stop. </span> <span> He stood, petrified, gaping into nothingness. Kelton s cry faded into the night. </span> <span>The unicorn could not hear anything for what seemed to him forever, and then a soft splash arose from the distant stream. </span> <span>Without a moment s hesitation, Furello leaped from the path and flew downward. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> When he found the stream thousands of feet below, he looked wildly about for Kelton. </span> <span>But the only sign of life in the stillness was the hissing and gurgling stream. </span> <span> Maybe he was swept toward the sea? Furello thought. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> He raced down the stream, his hooves lightly brushing the frothing waters. </span> <span>Furello was shocked by the water s speed. </span> <span> The stream rushed so rapidly down the mountain he could barely keep up with it. </span> <span> When the water flowed into the forest, he could not see it anymore, but he could still hear bubbling and churning. </span> <span> He flew above the great trees that spread over the stream. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> A faint call of  Help! sounded far ahead of him. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Kelton! he yelled,  I m coming! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The stream tumbled out of the forest, but grew wider and slowed as it crossed the beach. </span> <span> Furello saw that Kelton had been carried out into the lagoon. </span> <span> Catching up with the exhausted elk, he joyfully shouted,  Oh, Kelton. </span> <span>You re safe! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Kelton weakly moaned,  Oh, please help me. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> At that moment there was a sharp crack of thunder. </span> <span> Furello nervously glanced at the sky. </span> <span>The stars had been replaced by black clouds. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Kelton! he shouted, trying to be heard over the booming thunder. </span> <span>  Please try to swim. </span></p> <p> <center> <img id="image_23" src="image_s_23.jpg" onfocus="this.src='image_f_23.jpg';" onblur="this.src='image_s_23.jpg';" alt="Kelton and Furello are caught in a storm." tabIndex = 0> </center> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The water began to rise and fall as a brittle wind rattled across it. </span> <span> Kelton tried to swim toward the ships but could not make his legs kick. </span> <span>He was just too worn out. </span> <span>  It s no use, he choked. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  There is still hope, Furello encouraged him. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The young unicorn flew to Shira. </span> <span>  Please listen to me, he begged. </span> <span> Your captain is in trouble. </span> <span>We can save him only if we hurry. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Immediately the ship wheeled about and sailed toward the drowning elk. </span> <span>When Shira reached him, she flipped down her gangplank. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Kelton wearily pulled himself from the water. </span> <span>He lay half on the plank and half in the water, wheezing feebly in the windy night. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Just a little further, Kelton, and you ll be safe, Furello pleaded. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> A great fork of lightning cut the sky into ribbons. </span> <span> Numbing silence followed, only to be shattered by peals of thunder. </span> <span> Then the clouds burst above them, flooding the ships in a torrent of rain. </span> <span> When the large, round drops of water began to pound on his back, Kelton forced his way, inch by inch, up the gangplank to Shira s deck. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Snapping her gangplank back from the choppy waters, Shira spoke,  Indeed, I knew there was to be trouble tonight. </span> <span> What now, captain? </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Thunder ripped the air. </span> <span> CACKLE. </span> <span> CACKLE. </span> <span> BOOM! </span> <span> I don t know, Kelton gasped weakly. </span> <span> He had only begun to catch his breath. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Maybe we should seek shelter for the night, Furello advised. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  I don t know, Kelton repeated. </span> <span> A violent gust of wind shook the ships. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  We must flee, urged Shira. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> A web of lightning forked through the sky, followed by the steady drumming of thunder. </span> <span> Suddenly, without warning, a whirling hurricane grabbed the ships and tore them from the water. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The hurricane winds carried them through the air, but much to Furello s surprise, inside the hurricane it was calm -- much calmer, in fact, than it had been on the lagoon. </span> <span> The young unicorn was very ill at ease, though. </span> <span> With the dark clouds swirling around them, he had no idea where they were being carried. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> After floating through the sky for hours, the hurricane finally set them down. </span> <span>They landed so gently, it was as though some giant had carefully placed them in the water by hand. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> It was difficult to see because the clouds were still wrapped tightly about the ships, but dawn soon breathed the first tint of lavender for the day. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  At last, the storm is over, Kelton sighed,  and the wind has calmed. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> His words were cut short as the ship suddenly lurched forward. </span> <span> Shira raced through the water and came to an abrupt stop. </span> <span> She then turned around and sped in the opposite direction. </span> <span> Again she came to a braking halt, sending Furello and Kelton skidding across the deck. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Shira, Shira, Kelton begged the ship. </span> <span>  Please stop! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> But Shira paid no heed to the elk s appeal. </span> <span> She continued to dart back and forth. </span> <span> It was still dark enough that neither Furello nor Kelton could see the other ships until Shira almost collided with Aquarius Rising. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Watch out! Furello warned Kelton. </span> <span> The sea captain ducked just as Aquarius Rising s sail slashed the air above his head. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The ships scraped against each other, their wooden sides cracking with the impact. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Kelton s jaw dropped -- streaking toward them was Gemini. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Oh, no! he bellowed frantically. </span> <span> The ships have gone mad. </span> <span>What can we do? </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Furello watched Gemini slicing through the cloud-covered water. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Kelton, stop them! </span> <span> You are the captain. </span> <span> They will listen to you. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Kelton froze to the deck as the berserk ship bore down on them. </span> <span>  No, No! he cried. </span> <span>  They won t listen. </span> <span> They ve gone mad! </span></p> <p> <center> <img id="image_24" src="image_s_24.jpg" onfocus="this.src='image_f_24.jpg';" onblur="this.src='image_s_24.jpg';" alt="Kelton's ships have gone mad." tabIndex = 0> </center> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Yes, they will, Furello said again. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> But Kelton had grown too tense to speak. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  The compass! shouted Furello. </span> <span>  Use the magic compass! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The words  magic compass raced to Kelton s brain. </span> <span>  That s my only chance, he thought. </span> <span> He started to say the words: </span> <span>  Earth and Sea... but then he suddenly stopped. </span> <span>  It s gone! he shrieked. </span> <span>  The magic compass ... is gone! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Furello looked wildly about, but could not see any sign of it. </span> <span> A picture of the churning stream flashed in his mind. </span> <span>  It must have been stripped from you by the bubbling waters. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Kelton, he pleaded,  say the words anyway. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Kelton could not believe what he was seeing. </span> <span> He turned toward Gemini. </span> <span> The ship s bow was aimed straight at them. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Beads of sweat swam on Kelton s face as he barely breathed the chant: </span> <span> Earth and Sea, </span> <span> Hear My Plea! </span> <span> Magic Compass, </span> <span>Work for Me! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> But Gemini kept moving toward them and was only a ship s length away when Kelton repeated the chant in a louder voice. </span> <span> Gemini swerved, but not enough. </span> <span> The two vessels met with a shattering crunch. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Shira rocked to and fro, barely managing to stay upright. </span> <span>Then, tilting and swaying, she began to race toward Aquarius Rising. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Kelton had been thrown against the mast when the ships collided. </span> <span> He leaned heavily on it and kept repeating the chant. </span> <span> Each time he said it, he felt a small spark of strength ignite within him. </span> <span> Spark added to spark until it became a fire. </span> <span> When the glow burned brightly inside him, Kelton spoke in a voice so powerful that Furello wondered where it came from. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Shira! he ordered strongly. </span> <span>  This is your captain. </span> <span> I demand that you stop immediately! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Never had the ship heard her captain speak so strongly. </span> <span> She halted so quickly that her mast creaked as though ready to split in half. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Aquarius Rising! </span> <span> Gemini! Kelton boomed. </span> <span>  Avast! </span> <span> The two ships rapidly came to a standstill. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Kelton then turned to Furello and, in a softer voice, said,  I owe a great deal to you. </span> <span> If it wasn t for you I... he stopped, not wanting to finish the sentence. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Oh, what a fool I ve been. </span> <span> All these years I ve lived in fear without any reason. </span> <span> Why, I never even needed the magic compass. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> What a joy it was for Furello to hear the confidence in Kelton s voice. </span> <span> He sounded the way he imagined the voice of a great sea captain should sound. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Furello looked across the water and saw the clouds rising. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Kelton, he said happily,  it s clearing up. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> They watched the hazy shapes of Aquarius Rising and Gemini come into focus. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  The damage is not great, said Kelton. </span> <span>  I will repair them myself. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Look! Furello said excitedly. </span> <span>The rising clouds revealed land on both sides of the ships. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  I know where we are! Kelton said confidently. </span> <span>  This is the Mystic River. </span> <span>We are only a short distance from where we first set sail. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> At first, Furello was delighted with the thought of returning to his valley, but then he remembered the sad old prospector. </span> <span>  Kelton, we didn t find the answer, he said with great disappointment. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  That means I lose my ships, Kelton said sadly. </span> <span>His voice became stronger. </span> <span>  I never thought I could live without my ships, but I will manage somehow, he said bravely. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Shira, Aquarius Rising, Gemini, he ordered,  head for home. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The ships began the sail homeward, down the river. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  I have it! Kelton exclaimed. </span> <span>  The most important thing in the world is to overcome fear! </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Furello peered into the water and thought for awhile. </span> <span>  I don t know, he said doubtfully. </span> <span> The old prospector in the desert was not afraid, yet he was still missing something. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Neither spoke for a long time after that. </span> <span> They passed between grassy banks where miniature trees sprang from the ground like vividly painted flowers and brightly colored tiny birds sat in their limbs, singing merry tunes. </span> <span> Ebony-hued squirrels chattered loudly as they plucked seeds from the small trees. </span> <span> Merrily, they jumped into the air, then rolled on the ground with their tails folded around them. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> As Furello and Kelton sailed into the port where their journey began, the cloud cover burst into fragments, scattering small, coral-bottomed clouds across the dawn sky as the ships coasted to a stop. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  It is time for me to go now,  Furello said sadly. </span> <span> The prospector is waiting for me in the desert. </span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Then I will go with you, Kelton volunteered. </span> <span>  We have come this far together. </span> <span> We shall finish this mission together. </span> <span>They leaped from the ship and trotted toward the valley. </span></p> <br> <br> <br> <a href="chapter_18.html">Click here to go to Chapter 18.</a> <br><br><br> <!-- #EndEditable --></td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top" bgcolor="#000000"> <table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td><a href="http://www.host-central.net"><img src="../images/template_design_r6_c1.jpg" width="773" height="22" border="0"></a></td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> </table> </body> <!-- InstanceEnd --></html>