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Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin Cover

 

 

Excerpt

CHAPTER SIX, All Fall Down

Nancy put away her radio and looked at Jack and Annie. “I dont know how you two got past me.”

“Were sorry,” said Annie.

“This is unbelievable!” said Nancy.

Jack couldnt believe it, either. How did they mess up so badly?

“Im so sorry I brought you here,” said Nancy.

“No, no, its our fault,” Jack said again.

“Its mine, all mine, oh . . . ,” said Nancy. She seemed near tears. “Youre just little kids.” Not so little! thought Jack again. Gee!

A snowmobile rumbled outside, its engine warming up.

“Oh, dear,” said Nancy. “Ive got to lead the group up a safe route to the crater, or theyll be in trouble. But Pete should be back here in just a few minutes. Will you be okay by yourselves till then?”

“Well be fine, dont worry,” said Annie.

“Good,” said Nancy. “Here, sweeties.” She poured some water into two cups and gave them to Jack and Annie. “Drink.” While they drank the water, Nancy spread a blanket on the floor and turned on the small heater.

“Lie down here,” she said. “Just rest.” She patted the blanket.

Jack and Annie lay down. Nancy covered them with another blanket. “If you get thirsty, drink more water,” she said.

“Thanks,” said Annie. Jack was too embarrassed to say anything. He felt like a preschool kid being put down for a nap.

“Okay!” Nancy said with a big sigh. “You kids nearly gave me a heart attack,” she repeated half to herself as she left the hut.

“Sorry,” said Jack.

But Nancy was gone.

Soon the roar and rumble of the snowmobiles filled the air as Nancy led the scientists and journalists up the mountain.

“We really messed up our mission this time,” said Jack, lying under the blanket.

“And we were doing so well, too,” said Annie. She sat up. “Can I see Morgans rhyme, please?”

Jack pulled the rhyme out of his pocket and handed it to Annie.

“Okay,” said Annie. She read aloud:

. . . then all fall down,

Till you come to the Cave of the Ancient Crown.

“I wonder if this counts as falling down?” said Annie. She put the rhyme into her pocket.

“I dont think so,” said Jack. “I dont know what that means. And theres no ‘Ancient Crown in Antarctica. Its all science and research and rules and helicopters and snowmobiles. . . . Its the real world. . . . His voice trailed off.

“Well, I know one thing: I dont want to waste time lying around here,” said Annie. She threw off the blanket and stood up. “At least I can take a few pictures while we wait for Pete.”

“You really feel like doing that?” said Jack.

“Not really, but Im going to try,” said Annie.

“I dont think you should,” said Jack.

“Dont worry, Ill be back soon,” said Annie. “Maybe Ill see an ancient crown.”

“Yeah, sure,” said Jack.

Annie put on her goggles and ski mask and headed outside.

Jack reached into his pack and pulled out their book. He took off his glove and looked up ancient crown in the index. He wasnt surprised to find it wasnt there.

Jack put the book back in his pack and took out his notebook. He read over his notes:

Go slow!

Stay with others!

Cracks in ice!

Never touch wildlife!

Jacks hand was cold, so he put his glove back on. He put away his notebook, and then laid his head back down and closed his eyes. He just wanted to sleep. The heat from the small heater felt good. The sound of the snowmobiles was fading into the distance. As he started to fall asleep, his notes ran through his mind: Stay with others! Cracks in the ice!

Oh, no! thought Jack. He sat straight up. He tossed off the blanket. He threw on his pack and rushed out of the hut.

The wind was blowing the snow into icy clouds. Jack pulled up his ski mask and lowered his goggles. “Annie!” he shouted.

“What?” Her voice came from the distance.

Jack caught sight of her. She was aiming her camera up the slope at the smoking crater of the mountain.

“You have to come back now!” he shouted, walking toward her. “You shouldnt be walking around by yourself!”

“Okay, okay.” Annie put her camera in her pocket.

“Come on,” said Jack. He took Annies hand. They held on to each other and walked through the blowing snow, toward the hut. “Remember Nancys rules?” said Jack. “There are deep cracks in- AHHH!”

Before Jack could finish, the ground beneath him gave way and he and Annie crashed through a thin layer of snow into a deep crack.

Jack and Annie landed on a ledge of ice. Clumps of snow fell on top of them. Silence filled the air. A thin shaft of light came from the opening they had fallen through. It was at least ten feet above them.

“You okay?” Jack said.

“I think so,” said Annie.

They both sat up slowly. Annie peered over the edge of the ledge. “Uh-oh,” she said. “Look.”

Jack looked. He and Annie were on the ledge of a ravine that plunged thousands of feet down into darkness.

“This must be one of those hidden places in the mountain Nancy talked about,” said Jack, “the ones made by the lava and hot gases.”

“Its incredible,” said Annie. She reached into her pocket for her camera.

As soon as Annie moved, Jack heard the ice crack. “Dont move!” he said.

Annie froze.

“Forget pictures,” said Jack. “Were facing serious danger here. If we move, the ice might break under us and well fall thousands of feet.”

“Got it,” said Annie. She took a deep breath. “Maybe we should use the wand.”

“We cant,” said Jack. “The wand wont work. We can only use it for the good of others, not just ourselves.”

“Darn,” said Annie.

They were both still for moment, listening to the immense silence around them.

“Okay,” said Annie. “The way I see it, if we dont use the wand, well be stuck here forever. Soon well make the wrong move and fall.”

“Right,” said Jack.

“So well never find the secret of happiness for Merlin,” said Annie. “Merlin will fade away completely from sorrow. And Camelot will lose his magic forever.”

“Right,” said Jack.

“So maybe in this case, rescuing ourselves isnt just our good,” said Annie. “Our good is also the good of others, like Merlin.”

“Good thinking,” said Jack. “Lets try it.” He carefully twisted around and took off his backpack. Then he very slowly reached inside and pulled out the Wand of Dianthus.

“Okay. Five words . . . ,” Jack whispered. “I guess Ill just wish for it to save you and me and Merlin. Hey, why didnt we make that wish a long time ago?”

“We couldnt,” said Annie. “We hadnt tried our hardest yet.”

“Right. Get ready . . . ,”said Jack. He closed his eyes, held up the gleaming silver wand, and said:

“SAVE ANNIE, MERLIN, AND ME!”

Jack waited a moment. Then he opened his eyes and looked around. “What happened?” he said.

“Nothing,” said Annie.

“So I guess it didnt work,” said Jack. He turned to put the wand away. “I guess the rules must-”

CRACK! The ice broke! The ledge gave way!

“AHHH!” called Jack and Annie as they fell through the twilight, down through darkness,

down,

down,

down,

down into blackness.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780739372906
Publisher:
Listening Library
Subject:
Historical - General
Read by:
Osborne, Mary Pope
Read:
Osborne, Mary Pope
Author:
Osborne, Mary Pope
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Children s-Historical Fiction-General
Edition Description:
One CD
Series:
Magic Tree House: Merlin Mission
Series Volume:
40
Publication Date:
20080931
Binding:
COMPACT DISC
Grade Level:
from 1
Language:
English
Dimensions:
5.90x5.10x.60 in. .20 lbs.
Media Run Time:
060
Age Level:
08-12

Related Subjects

Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » General

Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin
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