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Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


Pileloops’ Festival. Part III
Written by Natalie Kurtog,
illustrations by Nika Harrison

Chapter 12 A Tragedy

The boy stood in the middle of the field. He was stupefied, as if in the middle of a dream.

Pileloop flew up to him, he was happy and carefree.

“Thank goodness that everything turned out well, without any surprises,” he said. Then he noticed that Peter was about to burst into tears. “Oh, did I miss something? I had to show Black Pileloop home, he lives such a long way away.”

Only then did the old man look round.

“And where are the others? What exactly has happened here, Peter? You cannot cry! If you get your body wet you won’t be able to fly! I know, you are upset because you had to part with Rose Pileloop?

Peter frowned deeply and then opened his eyes. He always did that when he wanted to cry, but he needed to hold back his tears.

“He took her along with the others,” he eventually blurted out.

“Who?” the old man flew closer to the boy.

“Some kind of dark cloud. I don’t know who or what it was.”

“So,” Pileloop said, scratching his beard. “Looks bad. I’ll take you home and then I’ll come back and look for them.”

“No no, I’m coming with you!”

“Impossible! If you don’t go back by tomorrow, you’ll stay a Pileloop for ever, and you will live in the attic of your grandmother’s house.”

“We still have time!” Peter insisted. “I lost a friend, I must save her! I am flying with you!”

“OK,” the old man gave in and shook his head. “But this is going to be really dangerous; you are risking an awful lot.”

Pileloop took off, the boy followed.

But then the heavens opened and rain poured down. Pileloop grabbed the boy and dragged him under an old bough of a tree, but the torrent of water was so strong that they both turned into mud. Peter had never felt so uncomfortable. He felt like a wet rag.

“The important thing is not to let hold of me, otherwise we can lose each other, and that will be really…!”

He didn’t manage to finish his sentence because another surging stream surfaced and ran down the road, taking everything with it in its path. The stream of water picked up the friends and carried them a long way between the grass and bushes.

The boy felt that he couldn’t control his body in the way that he was able to when he flew. He felt his strength running out of his body. He already found it difficult to keep on gripping on to his friend, who was also getting weaker. The friends held on to each other with all the strength they could muster, but the water weakened them.

“We need… find… somewhere dry... meet…field…” That was all that Peter could make out.

Chapter 13 A Crow Flight

The boy was somehow tossed up onto the side of the stream. The water retreated and didn’t seem so threatening. The ground and the sun was soaking it up

Peter tried to pick himself up, but his body didn’t listen to him and he remained stuck to the grass. It felt as though he would never be able to move again. He wanted to cry from helplessness, but remembered that tears are harmful. And anyway, he is a man, and should be strong to find his Pink Pileloop. These thoughts gave the boy strength, and the sun helped him. He relaxed in the sun’s rays and felt his strength returning.

At first he could move his arms, a few minutes later he could sit up. Then he felt his body become light and he could fly again.

Feeling the tree branches above him, Peter looked round, hoping to see Pileloop.

There was a flock of crows just above him. He moved the branches away and grabbed hold of one of their feet, hoping to maybe see where his friends were from a high vantage point. He had to use all his strength to hold onto the bird because it was flying so quickly, and the head winds were very strong.

Seeing a familiar clearing in the woods, Peter let go of the bird and flew down.

He looked round, and there was Pileloop, imitating being a crow.

“I didn’t know that you fly like a crow!” Pileloop said.

“Pileloop! My dear friend! You are alive!” Peter shouted, flying over to his friend and hugging him.

“I saw how you grabbed hold of a crow and flew off. It was difficult for an old Pileloop like me to keep up with you.”

“I thought you were dead”.

“Didn’t I tell you that we Pileloops are immortal? Wind can blow us, water can dampen us, but we always return to where we were driven away from. It’s useless to fight with dust,” the old man smiled cunningly.

“So Pink Pileloops can’t die?”

“I wouldn’t be so sure. Female Pileloops can. She’s very tasty for bees, butterflies and even birds.”

“So she can be eaten?” Peter was shocked.

“She can, but there’s no danger of that now. Whilst I was drying out some Sand Dust told me who took away Pink Pileloop and the others.”

“Who?” Peter jumped up.

“Cave Dust. Let’s go, I’ll fill you in on the way! They are waiting for us.”

Chapter 14 Incarcerated by Cave Dust

The flower Pileloops, including Peter’s friend were inside a tightly closed crystal sphere, inside a dark cave on a rocky ledge.

“What’s he going to do with us?” Pink Pileloop asked Blue Pileloop.

“The same thing as he did with them,” he answered pointing at the stalactites and stalagmites

“You can guess how Cave Dust painted the ice.”

“Why did he paint the ice?” Pink Pileloop shook with fear.

She didn’t manage to answer when in the darkness two glowing eyes appeared. Pink Pileloop sank back into the crystal sphere. A dark massive figure appeared behind the eyes, this was Cave Dust. He came up to the sphere and started to look closely at the flower Pileloops.

“I have already finished with the gold and silver paint,” he squeaked. Now I’m going to chuck the flower dust into the water. One day scientists who discover some dust in underground lakes will think that they have made a great scientific discovery. People will come in crowds to my kingdom! I will frighten them and hear their fairy tales and legends, which they will tell their friends and tourists about me. I am so lonely, life is so boring!”

“Are you kidding, can he really be serious! NO!!” shouted Pink Pileloop.

“It’s useless! He’s deaf, he can’t hear us,” said Yellow Pileloop. “The only thing that can talk to him is an echo.”

Suddenly they heard some voices:

“We are here! We will save you!”

“Peter!” The girl was overjoyed and looked up.

Cave Dust opened up the lid of the crystal sphere, thrust his hand down inside trying to grab hold of the flower dust.

“Sand Pileloops! Ahead!” shouted Pileloop.

Sand scattered onto Cave Dust’s head.

“Who dares to disturb my peace?” he said indignantly, spitting out dust and wiping his eyes.

The prisoners flew out of the sphere, which had already half filled with dust.

Cave Dust lost his temper and fumed steam. The cave filled with humidity. The Pileloops, flying through the air, felt heavier and heavier and finally fell down.

A loud roar filled the cave. Peter looked round.

“The Sand Pileloops have got angry. Great!”

The old man pressed Peter closer to the wall. A real sand storm started.

Cave Dust gradually found it harder and harder to shield his head from Sand Dust. Covering his head with his hands, he retreated further and further away into the depths of the cave. But he hadn’t given up! He threw a huge stone and water gushed into the cave.

“A flood! Everybody out!” Pileloop shouted and made a bee-line for the exit.

“Pink Pileloop!” Peter shouted out, not expecting to hear a familiar voice.

“I’m here!” a voice called from the depths of the cave.

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