Voyage of the jaffa wind, p.1
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       Voyage of the Jaffa Wind, p.1

           Tony Abbott
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Voyage of the Jaffa Wind

  Title Page


  1: Follow the Spinning Ball

  2: Friends and Foes!

  3: The Crew Gets a Little Bigger

  4: Treasure and Something Else

  5: The Thing About Legends

  6: Battle on the Black Waves

  7: A Visit to the Big House

  8: Big Bad Evil Mountain

  9: The Room of Kahfoo

  10: Into the Underworld

  The Adventure Continues …

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  “Kick the ball! Kick it now!”

  Eric Hinkle was running on the soccer field at school when a light flashed behind his eyes and he stopped dead.

  “Kick it, Eric!”

  Eric knew the soccer ball was coming his way, but it didn’t matter. He was having a vision.

  When he closed his eyes, he saw a small glowing red ball spinning around inside his head.

  He had seen that ball before.

  It was called the Ruby Orb of Doobesh.

  And it came from Droon.

  “Eric-c-c-c!” called his friend Neal.

  Droon was the world of amazing creatures and astonishing places he and Neal and their friend Julie had discovered under his basement.

  One of the first ­people they met in Droon was Keeah. She was a very cool princess and amazing junior wizard. Then there was Galen, the five-hundred-and-forty-three-year-old first wizard of Droon. And Max, the funny spider troll.

  Zzzz-zzzt! The Ruby Orb spun faster and faster in Eric’s mind. He remembered how they had discovered the Orb on their last adventure in Droon, and how Galen had said he would study it in his magical workshop.

  In fact, Droon was a land filled with magic and wonder. It was a world of strange secrets and mysteries. A realm of endless excitement and danger!

  “Watch out! They want the ball!” Neal cried.

  Most of the danger came from a sorcerer named Lord Sparr. He was wicked beyond belief. With his chubby, red-faced Ninn warriors, Sparr wanted to conquer Droon for himself.

  Zzz….The Orb was beginning to fade now and as it did, Eric heard a dull cheering noise behind his back.

  “Oh man, will you stop dreaming!” Julie yelled.

  That was just the problem. It was harder and harder for Eric to stop dreaming. Because when Keeah once used her wizardry to save his life, Eric accidentally became a wizard, too.

  Yes! A wizard! With magical powers! Well, a few.

  “So far,” he mumbled, “I can speak into ­people’s brains, make my fingers spark, see weird visions, and make jelly doughnuts appear. I can even send lightning bolts around —”

  “But you can’t win a game,” shouted Julie, running to him. “The other team just tied it up!”

  The spinning Orb had faded completely. When Eric blinked and looked downfield, he saw the other team jumping up and down.

  “Never mind the game,” he told Julie. “We’ve got to get to Droon right away. I just had a vision —”

  Neal rushed over. “There’s a minute left before halftime. Could we at least break the tie?”

  Eric looked at his friends. He grinned. “Why not? A little silent teamwork might do the trick!”

  The play began with Julie kicking off. She passed the ball to Eric.

  Neal, move left! Eric said silently to his friend.

  Hearing the words, Neal drifted left just as Eric passed the ball to him. Neal stopped it under his foot and dribbled it downfield.

  Eric grinned. “It’s working….” He turned to his right. Julie, go all the way down the other side. Neal, pass it back to me. I’ll shoot to Julie.

  Neal doubled back, dodged two red uniforms, spotted Eric in the open, and shot the ball to him.

  Eric dribbled it forward, then turned.

  Julie, here it comes! Ready … now!

  She shifted to the right as Eric’s kick sailed through a gap in the other team straight to her. And in!

  Julie blasted the ball.

  Wham! It shot straight to the net for the score.

  “Yes! We lead!” cheered Neal, jumping up and down as the referee blew the halftime whistle.

  “We’ll be back in a minute!” Julie called out.

  “And we will, too,” Neal added. “Adventures in Droon don’t take any time at all.”

  “Let’s go,” said Eric.

  In a flash, they were across the school yard and through several backyards to Eric’s house.

  Racing through the kitchen and down to the basement, the three friends quickly pulled away some boxes hiding the closet under the stairs. Julie opened the small door and they crowded in.

  Eric turned. “You guys, I know I used my powers a little, but we were pretty awesome out there today. It’s all about teamwork.”

  Julie nodded. “We definitely are the best. Well, at least pretty good!”

  “So let’s have an adventure!” Neal hit the light. The room went dark for a moment, then —

  Whoosh! The gray floor became the top step of a staircase. It shimmered in a rainbow of colors.

  “I always get chills when that happens,” said Julie. “I wonder what Droon will be like today.”

  Eric grinned. “There’s only one way to know.”

  Together, the three friends went down the stairs, clinging to the railing on the side. As they did, the sky below lit up with bright fireworks.


  Pink-and-blue explosions filled the air.

  “Hey, someone’s having a party!” said Neal. “I wonder if they heard about our last awesome goal.”

  The staircase circled down over the calm harbor outside a great walled city.

  “Jaffa City,” said Eric. “Keeah’s hometown.”

  “And there’s her boat,” said Neal, pointing.

  “It’s a ship — not a boat,” said Julie. “I’m pretty sure.”

  Bouncing lightly in the sparkling water was the Jaffa Wind, Keeah’s royal sailing vessel. It had broad sails, a blue smokestack, and two wings sweeping back from the front to the rear. The kids had sailed on it once before.

  “Hello, friends!” sang a small voice from the deck. Friddle, the frizzy-haired royal inventor, waved the children over from the staircase.

  “The ship is so beautiful,” said Julie.

  “Boat,” said Neal. “The boat is beautiful.”

  Friddle blushed a deep red. “You are too kind. But swift as a falcon, she is, with not only sails, but a steam engine and oars. Truly, she is a fine oceangoing vessel, if I do say so myself!”

  “I’d like to take a cruise someday,” said Eric.

  “Me, too,” said Neal. “As long as there’s plenty of food on board.”

  “It happens that the king and queen will take just such a cruise around Droon!” Friddle said. “Everyone wants to see the queen after so long.”

  For years Keeah’s mother, Queen Relna, had been cursed to wander through Droon changing from one animal shape to another. Now the curse was broken and she was back to her normal self.

  “Up here!” called a familiar voice. The kids looked up. Leaning out of the highest window of Galen’s nearby tower was Princess Keeah, wearing her bright golden crown. Max, the spider troll, sat next to her, waving two of his eight furry legs.

  “Come up!” Max chirped happily. “Come!”

  Saying good-bye to the busy Friddle, the children rushed to the tower.

  Galen’s workroom at the top of the tower was cluttered with all sorts of odd-looking magical objects, curled maps, rolled-up carpets, thick old books, and stack upon stack of yellowing paper.

  “I love this place,” said Neal. “It’s the only place messier than my room at home.”

; “What are all these papers?” Eric asked.

  “My master is writing his history of Droon,” Max said, scampering to a bookcase and pulling a small brown pot from the highest shelf.

  “The Chronicles of Droon by Galen Longbeard,” said Julie, reading the title page. “I guess being five-hundred-and-forty-three years old, a wizard has lots of stories to tell.”

  “And more ­every day,” said Max. “Soon Galen and I will hunt gizzleberries in the woods. He loves my gizzleberry pie. It’s quite tasty and fat free!”

  On Galen’s worktable, Eric spotted the glossy red ball he had seen in his vision.“I saw this in my head today,” he said, turning to Keeah. “It was spinning all around. I don’t know why.”

  “The Ruby Orb of Doobesh is very old,” said Keeah. “No one knows what its purpose is, except that Sparr was going to use it for something. I’ve been reading Galen’s papers, but I haven’t found anything about it yet.”

  “Look,” chirped Max, hanging out the window. “There they are!”

  The children rushed to the window. The courtyard was filled with ­people who had come to see their king and queen off on their cruise.

  Keeah’s father, King Zello, stepped proudly from the palace. Zello was a warrior who always wore a helmet and carried a club, but he was also a kind man.

  Next to him strode Queen Relna in a long silver gown. Like Keeah, her blond hair was encircled by a narrow gold crown.

  Galen himself stood behind them, wearing his tall hat and blue robe covered with silver moons.

  “The queen is radiant!” sighed Max, leaning out next to Keeah. “And look what I’ve made her — a scarf! I wove it myself.”

  He gave Keeah the brown pot, then pulled from it a long colorful scarf. It was woven with a complex pattern of colors and textures, from thick deep blues to fine bright yellows.

  “It’s ­really beautiful,” said Julie.

  Max blushed. “One hundred percent spider silk,” he said. “I was quite a weaver in my day. Hats, coats, every­thing. Now, a box for it!”

  When Max spread the scarf on the table to fold it, he accidentally sent the Ruby Orb rolling off the table. But instead of falling to the floor, the Orb floated slowly up to the ceiling.

  And it started to spin.

  “Hey, look!” said Eric. “That’s just like my vision … but … oh, my gosh!”

  Without warning, the red Orb began to flash. Then it hissed and sparked as if it were alive.

  “Wh-wh-what’s … happening?” Max stammered.

  Before anyone ­could make a move, the red Orb shot out a stinging beam of light. It struck Max on the nose and his orange hair flew straight up.

  “Whoa, Max,” said Neal. “You’re getting … um … smaller …”

  “But I’m small enough already — oh, dear!”

  Max was shrinking. His legs, body, and face grew smaller and smaller until he was no larger than a mouse.

  Max squeaked in fear. “Oh! Help! Fetch Galen quickly. Tell him I — I — oh!”

  An instant later — thluuurrrp! — Max was sucked right into the spinning Orb.

  “Max!” Keeah screamed. “Max!”

  But the spider troll ­could not answer.

  The Orb spun around the room, then shot out the open window. It circled the courtyard three times, then raced across the sea, where it vanished into the dazzling light of dawn.

  Keeah dropped the pot to the floor with a thud. She gaped at Eric. “What should we do?”

  Eric felt as if his blood had turned to ice and his legs to stone. He ­couldn’t speak. Max’s chatter, which moments before had filled the room, was suddenly gone. Now only silence remained.

  Blam! The door of the tower room burst open and Galen stormed in with Friddle. “Max? We’re all waiting for you — Max?” He looked around, his eyes widening in terror. “Where is Max? ”

  “The Ruby Orb,” Julie said. “It just … took Max away!”

  Galen stared out the tower window, then thundered, “Max — stolen by the Orb of Doobesh? This is a spell of Lord Sparr!”

  All at once, Eric felt that strange sensation of light flashing in his head. Then he saw something. He slumped to the floor. “I … I … see him … yes … It’s Max —”

  “Tell us!” Galen said, leaning close as if he wished to see the vision himself. “Eric, tell us every­thing you see.”

  “Max is inside the Orb,” said Eric, his eyes shut tightly. “There are waves … the ocean …”

  “Is he hurt?” asked Keeah.

  Eric shook his head. “No, no. But he’s traveling very fast. I can’t tell where … or why —”

  The images in Eric’s mind flickered and disappeared. “Sorry,” he said. “That’s all.”

  “So,” Galen muttered. He took a deep breath and turned away from Eric. “Max, kidnapped. Thirty years we have been together … ah, me!”

  Keeah grasped the wizard’s hand. “We’ll find him. We’ll cross all of Droon if we have to!”

  Friddle jumped. “My princess, if I may suggest, the Jaffa Wind is ready for such a voyage.”

  Galen flicked away a tear and nodded sharply. “So be it. We shall assemble the best crew in all of Droon. And we shall find our Max!”

  The great celebration in the city was put aside.

  Instead, Queen Relna and King Zello ordered prep­ara­tions for the voyage to be made at once.

  It was decided that Galen would captain the crew. Keeah would be second in command. Friddle, the great inventor and builder of the ship, would serve as steersman. Batamogi, the keen-eyed, fox-eared king of the Oobja, who had come for the celebration, would be the lookout in the ship’s high crow’s nest.

  Neal, Eric, and Julie volunteered to help hoist the sails and to shout when they saw land.

  When the great ship was ready, King Zello rang the city bells. Everyone met at the dock to wish farewell to the brave crew.

  Galen quietly and quickly jumped on board.

  “Keeah, be careful,” said the queen, hugging her daughter tightly. “Be well.”

  Zello shook hands with Batamogi, Friddle, and the children. “Find our friend, and hurry back safely to our city, all of you.”

  “Oh!” said Keeah. “I just remembered something.” She scuttled off. A moment later she was back with a bulging sack. “Supplies!”

  With that, Galen gave a nod and Friddle shouted, “Launch the Jaffa Wind!”

  The ship’s blue smokestack puffed out a big cloud of steam, the sails billowed with wind and, cheered on by the crowd, the Jaffa Wind powered away from the royal city.

  The morning sun hit the sails and they blazed with color, at first pink and white, then yellow and red, as the wind filled them to bursting.

  “Max ­could be anywhere in our wide world,” said Galen, scanning the sea ahead. “Friddle, set a course for Lumpland. We’ll ask our old friend Khan, king of the Lumpies, to join our voyage. His nose can sniff danger anywhere.”

  “Aye, aye!” chirped the inventor. With a turn of the wheel, the ship headed south over the sea. “Roll out the backup sail!”

  Following Batamogi, the children quickly climbed the rigging and unfurled the large second mainsail. It bellied full of warm breezes.

  Clutching the ropes tightly, Neal found himself smiling. “Is this cool, or what?”

  “Definitely, the coolest,” said Julie. “It’s sure strange how we got our cruise after all.”

  “It’s more like a voyage to rescue a friend,” said Eric. He turned to Keeah. “And we will rescue Max. We’ll find him. I don’t know how, but I know he’s okay.”

  The princess pointed. “Galen is not so sure.”

  Down below, the old wizard stood silently at the bow, looking out across the waves. In his hand, he clutched a small version of his magic mirror. Now and again he stared at it.

  Keeah sighed. “I was reading some of his writing. Max and Galen have been through so many adventures together. Galen’s heart is broken.”

ugh the wind was warm, Eric felt a sudden chill. “Let’s talk to him….”

  Both of them clambered down the rigging and edged over to the wizard.

  “Galen,” said Keeah.

  He did not move.

  “What are you thinking about?” she asked.

  Without taking his eyes off the rolling sea ahead, the wizard answered, “Gizzleberries.”

  Keeah and Eric looked at each other.

  “I’ll be right back,” she whispered.

  Eric stepped up next to Galen. “I’m sure we’ll find Max. Maybe it’s part of the vision thing I have. But I’m pretty sure he’s okay.”

  Galen turned to him, the sea spray wetting his cheeks as if it were tears. “But, Eric, we don’t know where Max is. I fear Lord Sparr is behind this, but my mirror tells me nothing. I feel helpless. Yes, helpless and powerless and … old!”

  Eric had never seen the wizard so sad. He had to say something. “But being old is what makes you so terrific. I mean, you know every­thing! You’ve been around forever!”

  Galen smiled. “Well, not quite for­ever …”

  Thud! Keeah was suddenly back, dropping her bulging sack on the deck at their feet.

  “Here’s what we need,” she said.

  “Supplies?” asked Galen. “What supplies?”

  Keeah opened the sack. It was full of papers. “It’s your history of Droon!” she said. “Maybe there is something about the Ruby Orb in here. Something long ago that maybe you forgot. Something that will help us find Max.”

  The wizard looked at the papers, then at the children. He suddenly blinked and threw his arms around them. “Yes! My Chronicles! There must be something! By gosh, you are right!”

  At that moment, Neal shouted, “Land ho!”

  “Hey, I’m supposed to say land ho,” said Julie. “Land ho!”

  The high white bluffs and sandy beaches told them they had reached the shores of Lumpland, home to Khan, king of the purple Lumpies.

  Galen breathed in the fresh air, suddenly himself again. “Keeah, you and the others find Khan, and tell him what has happened. In the meantime, I shall pore over my papers. We will find a way to save Max — oh, yes, we shall!”

  Keeah and Eric were the first to jump down the landing planks and cross the beach to the rolling dunes of Lumpland. Not far away they spotted a little pillow-shaped creature, riding a shaggy, six-legged pilka.

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