Felisa simply couldn’t stop looking around. She’d never, in her wildest dreams, imagined that she would one day be up in the sky with the birds, and once she got over her initial fear, she was utterly fascinated with looking down on the city from above as Tepic steered them toward the northern edge of New Babbage.
Once outside the city wall, they headed north and up… and up. Arnold, crouched up front, suddenly pointed up and a bit to the right. “There. There it is.” Peering in the direction of his paw, Lisa made out a large shape, with other shapes, not much smaller, swarming around it. “What are those?” she asked.
“I’m not sure…” Arnold replied, peering intently. Suddenly, he let out a startled exclamation. “Air kraken! But why are they attacking it?”
“Who knows?” Tepic said with a shrug. “But it’s a great distraction, right?”
Arnold looked back at him. “Sure, as long as the air kraken are so preoccupied they ignore us.” His sarcastic tone made clear what he thought the odds were on that, but Tepic took it at face value and began steering them closer.
Lisa, impatient with her limited view, half rose from her seat and leaned to the side, trying to get a better look at the air kraken. Unfortunately, at that moment, one of the kraken spotted them and made a beeline for the Flying Vole.
Tepic rolled the ship in an evasive maneuver, throwing Lisa off balance. Flailing, and beginning to tip out of the basket, she desperately grabbed for the end of a rope that was flapping in the wind of their passage. She managed to catch hold of it just as her feet lost their perch in the basket; the rope, which was attached to the front of the balloon, swung her forward, and her weight tipped the nose down, sending them lower and the kraken sailing harmlessly above.
“Lisa!” Tepic cried out anxiously, Arnold tried to reach out to her, but as he tried the ship tipped even worse, and he retreated back into the basket, “Are yer OK?!”
“Ye-yes,” she called back, her feet dangling below. She looked down to the ground. “But I think we’d better get to that ship soon!”
Tepic nodded and began steering them up. As they approached Lisa let out a gasp as she saw the deck of the ship above, lightning flashing out from the terrible raptors at the flying beasts. While she stared at the terror before them one of her hands slipped from the rope. She quickly wiped it on her jacket and secured her grip again.
The tiny ship approached unnoticed from the back, and Lisa gratefully landed on the metal floor beneath her. Arnold and Tepic jumped out as well, and the young fox quickly tied Lisa’s life line around a metal wing.
The three of them moved forward and stopped near the end of the wing. The deck was alive with chaotic blasts from tesla weaponry, and kraken tentacles dragging helpless clockworks off the ship.
They needed to make a clearing, and Tepic removed the ropes holding the prepared statue in place and brought it towards the side. With a mischievous grin he snuck to the first propeller on the left, and lopped it off the side of the vessel and yowled.
They had been hoping for a momentary distraction with the trick, but several raptors on the left side of the ship screeched out and leapt for the statue. They kicked helplessly as they fell short of their prey and plummeted to the ground below holding their weaponry. Surprised, Lisa and Arnold hesitated, but followed Tepic and hid behind the propellor, hoping that no one had noticed their mad dash.
The raptor’s minions were so preoccupied they remained unnoticed for the moment. Arnold thought he heard the sound of crushed wood in the direction of the Vole, but they didn’t have time to look back. The kraken filled the sky, and if the raptors saw them while armed with that weaponry they were dead.
Tepic looked about several times, and motioned them forward. They ran as quickly as they could from propeller to propeller, ignoring the fighting and the tentacles of the kraken as the ship rocked back and forth, threatening to throw them from the sky. They passed unseen to the front, and hid next to the raptor head, and then made their way to the elevator, breathing a sigh of relief as they lowered themselves into the relative safety of the flying fortress.