“They have one bargaining chip, and that’s the alliance we want,” Chroma said, examining the vegetables they’d been given. Most were whitish or brown roots served cold, others cooked mushrooms. “That’s an all-or-nothing. Each side loses that bargaining chip as soon as they reject us, or the other side swoops in and takes it. That’s what gives us the power. They can’t deny us our alliance without losing us entirely.” … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 12
Chroma held one edge of the tray and spun it lightly counter-clockwise. When the swing had twisted as far as it would go and threatened to spin back the direction it had come, Chroma thrust her hand out to grab it. She scanned the available fruits now in front of her and picked a plump purple one.
“I think the idea is that when you pick a bigger one, you’re less likely to bite off the whole pepper,” Flor told her. “And the game gets steadily spicier as we dwindle down to the small ones.”
“You seem surprisingly fine, Flor,” Chroma commented, “for having nearly died twice in one day.” She took the largest bite of the purple fruit as possible. Her face twisted in pleasure at the peachy taste, quickly turning to curiosity and then to panic. She held a hand to her mouth, as if about to spit something out, but ended up swallowing (both the food and large gulps of air).
You know what I hate about the Copenhagen Zoo? Nothing, it was a delightful experience.
I always felt like I was spoiled with zoos and museums growing up, having access to the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural History. Obviously they’ll be outclassed by the San Diego Zoo and the Smithsonian, but I wasn’t expecting the Copenhagen Zoo to be any better than Houston’s. Heck, I was expecting a repeat of the Central Park Zoo, which I remember having very small enclosures (it’s in the middle of a city) and even inaccurate informational posters.
One of the indoor elephant enclosures
But even though the Copenhagen Zoo is in Denmark’s capital, the exhibits were absolutely enormous. The Zoo only has 27 acres of land (compared to Houston’s 55 and San Diego’s 100), but the enclosures for any given animal seemed about three times the size of Houston’s. No animals were pacing except for the wolves (granted, it’s difficult to give wolves enough space). The polar bear had five separate enclosures, not including the water sections. Even the tiny red panda and Capuchins had two different exhibits they could walk between, using mesh tubes that spanned overhead. And the elephants? Jesus Christ. Not only did they have the usual large outdoor sandlot, but they also had three separate indoor enclosures (though one was exclusively for the bull elephant).
And it really seemed to show. The animals all seemed a lot happier and more active — not to mention fertile, as there was hardly an exhibit without babies. The macaques, elephants, giraffes, hippos, Capuchins, and bears all had offspring following them around. … More A Review of the Copenhagen Zoo
The last rope bridge sloped downward, but not enough to bring it all the way to the forest floor. Instead, it sloped downward just enough to rest among the branches of a tree as wide as it was tall. The diameter from the northernmost to the southernmost leaves must have matched that of a small town. The massive tree formed an expansive clearing beneath it, holding back competing trees and blocking sunlight to the plants below.
Between its boughs, countless meshes of planks and organic matter formed platforms where people lounged, worked, and played. The central crook of the tree was in sight, and had been partially hollowed out and lined with stones to form a large fire pit, above with hung a collection of spits as long as a hull of the Gladiator.
The color orange was everywhere: in the watercups that grew along the branches of the tree; in the paint coating the wood and various wooden bowls, toys, and instruments of Klima; in every single person’s clothing; and in the large banners hanging from the side of each bridge leading to the town. … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 9
Patcha dreamt that the Time of Chaos had arrived, and there was no Flood in sight. The dried-blood sky during the Time of Chaos seemed distorted like water, brittle like wood, and shiny like marble. Strange entities and gods roamed the sunless region above, made visible now that blue or black skies no longer separated Kai from Hanan. She was atop the Capital Volcano, with nothing but deformed skeletons surrounding her. The buildings themselves were rotting, and the ice and lava of the volcano rolled around her feet. Below her, rivers were dry, plants were decaying, and no animal, big or small, fierce or tame, was anywhere to be spotted. The only movement was of the black earth, beneath which the Lavakoomas were stirring. She saw great mounds of earth the size of entire villages move below her, guided by the Lavakoomas. The upturned earth, which smoldered with the fires of Uku, formed symbols that only Patcha could read. Each and every one of them read: Revenge. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 5: The Shack of Power and Games
You dare leave your fellows during the Time of Chaos? the voices boomed. Though they did not grow louder, their tone grew harsher.
We have to. There’s a quest. My sister’s been summoned.
Yet you have not, Kooteeck Mapa Ango Char. Does your family not need comfort during this perilous time? Are you so impertinent to suggest you know what is best for them?
No, Kooteeck conceded, deciding to remain silent for some time. But the Hwaca still did not respond. Please, Hwaca of Raua, I humbly ask your permission to embark on this quest. My sister needs my help. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 4.5: The Hwaca
Emerging one by one from the large mouth of the cave, they stood on the inward side of the mountain. As Klyra and Chroma blinked repeatedly, desperately, the scene unfolded in front of them. Like a rolling sea, a homogenous sea of treetops stretched just below them. The clouds spilling over the lower mountain pass to their right were letting a curtain of rain fall even as they watched, making it look like the gray bodies were smearing downwards. A few rainbows caught the yellowing light of the afternoon from behind the tips of the mountains, forming colorful bridges down into the treetops. A flock of birds took flight from just beyond the storm, and the girls watched as they began making their way around the gigantic bowl as large as their entire home island.
“The bridge is down there,” Yim said, starting her trek down a steep, grass-coated path towards a decrepit, fallen tree that was connecting the middle of the canopy to their mountainside.
“I kind of wish Flor was here to see this,” Klyra breathed.
“Yeah, if she was here we’d have time to stop and see it,” Chroma agreed, beginning to follow Yim down the less-dense path that was evidently too steep for anything to grow.
“I — I can’t believe my eyes,” Klyra said, not budging from where she was.
Chroma glanced behind her, and then back at the view of the entire inner island of Klima. “Yes, it’s far better than the sketches my uncle used to bring me. Our journey’s going to be full of sights like this.”
“Aren’t you the least bit impressed?” Klyra demanded, half-laughing. There were tears in her eyes.
Chroma glanced away. “Like I said, I’ve seen sketches before. Being a princess has its perks. Now come on, we’ve got a teammate to save, and we’ve got plenty of time to come back here. You need to watch where you put your feet.” … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 7
“This can’t be a coincidence,” Mawnco told her. He glanced over at Chusku. He was trying hard to light a pile of wood atop the temple to signal the other villages nearby to send a Runner. He had apparently expended all of his energy searching for the boys, and so was attempting to light the wood with red magic.
“I apologize ahead of time for whatever consequences there might be, but I officially recruit you on my quest,” Mawnco said to Patcha. “Both of you. I need your knowledge of the symbols if I’m going to find them.” … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 4: The World is Shaken
When they rounded the trunk, they found themselves at the maw of a brown-stoned cave. A few lichens were creeping partway to the entrance, and a few vines draped over rocks near the inside, but the place seemed otherwise devoid of sunlight and life. It was as if someone had taken a torch, shoved it into the plants, and burned a hole in the jungle.
“Some of these tunnels lead directly to town,” Yim told them.
“We’re going through the gaping dark hole instead of the well-known pass with a lovely river?” Chroma asked emotionlessly.
“The Greens are likely waiting for you there. But when they figure out we’re taking the tunnels, they won’t know which one I lead you down. That’s why we’re not using torches.”
“I wasn’t complaining,” Chroma responded. “I’m just glad that if we get separated we’ll be in a dark labyrinth with no idea where the light of day is.” … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 6
The child turned around and dove into the foliage as Chroma frantically followed. The shouting behind them faded almost instantly as Chroma followed the child’s path through the growth, slightly uphill. Finally, between the brown and green brushes snagging at her body and hair, they came to a grove overtaken by the shade of the canopy of a single large tree. The ground was flatter, and Chroma had no trouble sprinting after the child as it deftly leapt between the gray, low-hanging branches to reach the safety of the bows. Chroma clambered up with ease and then held still as the child covered her mouth with a single, tan hand. … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 5