Elemoont/Chapter 19

tells how the mosquito and the Hunter found their way out of the Lunar Labyrinth and the elephants–for –hunters displayed their skill in shooting by cherrystones.

"In chase! In chase!" cried lunatics and loudly stamped their feet. The footsteps resoundingly spread along the caves and corridors of the Lunar Labyrinth and it seemed to the Mosquito and the Hunter that the lunatics were nearer and nearer with every their step. Therefore popping out on the surface of the Moon they at first put the stone in its place, close the entrance in the Lunar Labyrinth and only after doing this deal got their breath back. "Phew!" said the Hunter erasing sweat from his forehead, "Thank you very much, Mosquito! You see, lunatics wanted I learnt by heart all twenty–five million chapters of their history! Otherwise they threaten gave me to lunar caterpillars. But for you I was transformed from the Hunter to a pitiful grinder!" "Ah! Uh! Oh! Phew!" said the mosquito. (Just such words pronounced all Martian mosquitoes when they want to recover their breath), "Forget all those things! All troubles are at the back!"

"At the back? Khah–khah!" suddenly said somebody in the same loud and terrible voice from which they ran away into the Labyrinth not long ago. "They are around you!"

The Mosquito and the Hunter gave a start and looked round. Of course, lunar elephants stood around. Some of them were ordinary ones (if only exist the ordinary lunar elephants!) but some not. These strange elephants had everyone two trunks instead of one, and they leveled their trunks like double–barreled guns at the Mosquito and the Hunter. "Probably they are the very Elephants–for–Hunters," guessed the Hunter–for–Elephants. "You are right, said the Oldest Elephant (who was also the biggest one), "Precisely they are those special elephants I told you. Now you may hunt one against another as much as you like!"

"The hunting will be short," remarked one of two–trunked elephants, "It's enough to launch only one cherrystone at each."

"Take it into their heads to frighten me cherrystones!" muttered the Hunter.

"Keep silence!" whispered the Mosquito, "You don't know what sort of cherrystones exists on the Moon."

"And what sort of cherrystones are here?" asked the Hunter who did not whish to fear any cherrystones on principle.

"On the Moon they are high–explosive, armor–piercing, and jet ones."

"Jet cherrystones? It is nonsense!" pronounced the Hunter. (For all that, he was on the moon for the first time). "There are no any jet cherrystones!"

"Show they to him," said the Oldest Elephant.

One of the two–trunked elephants lifted his astonishing trunks up, puffed his cheeks and "Bah–bakh!" Two missiles with long tails of fire sped away into the sky.

"They had gone well," said one of the elephants, "Probably, a good weather will be."

"Bang! Bang!" Two missiles exploded strewing bright sparkles about the firmament.

"Are you fully confident that they were cherrystones?" the Hunter asked.

"No doubt," replied the Mosquito, "Martian cactuses needles exploded more strikingly but they flew not so high."

"Oh!" said the Hunter, "If of this place elephants decided to cover us with jet cherrystones isn't it better to return to the Lunar Labyrinth and settle down to learn all twenty–five million chapters the History of lunatics?"

"The History of Lunatics?!" exclaimed lunar elephants all together, "But it's a rubbish!"

"But it doesn't explode!" snapped up the Hunter.

"It gives wrong idea about the history of the Moon!" said the Oldest Elephant, "Perfectly wrong!"

"What difference does it make!" answered the Hunter, "What difference does it make if you want to cover us with fragmentation cherrystones!"

"We can postpone doing it," decided the Oldest Elephant, "If only you'll give up your main thought that you are the Hunter–for–Elephants."

"Well, let I will be The Hunter–for–not Elephants," said the Hunter.

"No!" made a noise the elephants. "It isn't enough! Let you'll be ‘Not the Hunter–for–Elephants’."

"I'll not be ‘not the Hunter–for–Elephants!" became argued the Hunter "It's sufficient the fact that I am the Hunter–for–not Elephants."

"Well," unwillingly agreed the elephants, "All right. However, what the Martian Mosquito will say? He also had flown to the Moon for hunting. Does he want to hunt elephants? Incidentally, where is the Mosquito?"

The Hunter looked around and rooted to the soil: there was not the Mosquito anywhere.