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Elemoont/Chapter 24

in which the Elemoont sees at last the Moon but discovers that it is a very strange Moon.

When the Elemoont woke up, he saw that all around was flooded with the lunar light. "At long last!" exclaimed the Elemoont, "So, Mr. Moonswitcher had no time to switch off the Moon. Soon I'll be at home!" and he became to call the Tiger–Cat who was sleeping comfortably rolled up himself into a ball and purred in his slumber. "Get up, sleepyhead!" cried the Elemoont, "I have seen the Moon!"

"Ah? What?" asked the Tiger–Cat waking, "I nearly caught the tiger–mouse in my slumber but you wake me."

"I say! The tiger–mouse!" said the Elemoont, "But I had a dream about the Elemontopotamus that was an antediluvian elemoont. He said me that the great cosmic magician Mr. Moonswitcher decided to switch off the Moon."

"What the Moonswitcher yet?" was surprised the Cat, "And why he want to switch off the Moon?"

"The Elemoontopotamus did not tell me about it. But he said we must prevent him from doing it!" answered the Elemoont, "This thing is more important than some tiger–mouse."

"You should not think so about the tiger–mice," took offence the Cat, "Only one tiger–mouse can disperse a whole herd of elephants!"

"If it will be elephants, it may be," stated the Elemoont, "But nobody can disperse any herd of elemoonts!"

"I have my doubts…I have my doubts," said the Cat jawing and stretching himself, "I think you simply did not meet any tiger–mouse on your Moon. Where is it, by the way?"

The Elemoont silently showed the direction.

"Hmm…" said the Cat. "Of course, I am not the specialist but it seems to me…"

"What does seem to you?" asked the Elemoont that also had some doubts to that moment. Something had seemed to him but he cannot understand what it namely was.

"Mm? Really it begins to disturb me," answered the Cat, "I always think that the Moon is a round heavenly body…"

"Of course!" confirmed the Elemoont and dragged the map of the Moon out of his pocket.

"Here you are the Moon! There is the Sea of Cold on the north where we keep our food product. To the south the Sea of Rains is placed, it's better to have an umbrella when you'll take a walk there."

"Is it pouring all the time really?" asked the Cat that even did not take a look at the map and as before continued to examine the Moon.

"What is pouring?' did not understand the Elemoont.

"A rain."

"The meteorite rains don't pour, they fall," remarked the Elemoont. "To the east the Sea of Serenity stretches. All elemoonts go there when something is vague to them. Then they come down to the South in the Sea of Tranquility. Yet farther to the South lie the seas of Nectar and Fertility. You can refresh there. Here, in the West, is the Ocean of Storms. It will be better if you avoid it."

"Really such high storms?" absently asked the cat.

"There no any storms! However, you see, its name is troubled. Here is the Sea of Moisture and the Sea of Clouds. It is very beautiful country," continued the Elemoont, "Incidentally, our round native land, the Moon, is beautiful and it is sweet to every elemoont's heart!"

"So, your Moon is a round heaven body," said the cat in the affirmative.

"Without any doubt," confirmed the Elemoont, "Here, on the map, it is also round. And it is the very precise and original map."

"The Moon is round on the map," repeated the Cat with a thoughtful air, "But in the sky it is a square one."

Only at that moment, the Elemoont understand what namely seemed to him. It seemed to him that the Moon was some kind of a strange Moon.

"The square Moon!" said dumbfounded Elemoont, "And I thought what is wrong here? It turns out the Moon is a square one! And the light from that Moon is a square light!"

As soon as the Elemoont mentioned the light, the Moon — click! — and became dim. It was as if somebody invisible turned off the electric bulb (if, of course, there are any square electric bulbs in outer space).

"That a nice thing!" exclaimed the Cat, "It isn't strike me as curious that the Moon is square one; but some mystery contains in that fact that it became dim like an electric bulb!"

"There is no any mystery in that fact," raised an objection the Elemoont, "The Great Magician Mr. Moonswitcher could do it. But I cannot understand why the Moon has a square shape?"

"It's very simply," explained the Cat. "From Mr. Red's Cylindrical Universe we had fallen into the Universe of Square Moons."

"Does such Universe exist?"

"You see it."

"But I don't see anything," said the Elemoont. "It's dark here!"

Really, it became far darker after the square moon was switched off.

"We have to come up to any source of light," decided the Cat, "There we can take a look round."

The Elemoont looked at the starry sky and said, "It seems to me that silver little star is nearer. Steer to it!"

"It's all very well to say: ‘Steer to it!’" replied the Cat, "But how can we drive this pile of scraps?"

"It's very simply!" said the Elemoont having very vague idea of navigation. "How do all captains do it? They cry loudly ‘Right rudder!’ or ‘Left rudder!’"

"It's not enough…" became to argue the Cat, but here a click was heard and somebody pronounced in hoarse voice." I don't understand where the helm to?"

"The Computer remains!" was astonished the Cat, "I thought that all cracked and dispersed when the Big Cosmogrunt grunted."

"Chief, you wound my feelings!" stated the Computer, "We, the Big Cylindrical Computers, are very strong. Although I must say the most part of my operational system disappeared after that incredible grunting."

"Nevertheless, can you carry out the orders ‘Left rudder!’ and ‘Right rudder!’" inquired the Elemoont.

"Only not simultaneously!" protested the Computer. My roof will slip in that case."

"Stop speaking like a pirate!" said the Cat severely, "What a roof yet? Can you carry out our commands in turns? For example, at first ‘Left rudder!’ and then ‘Right rudder!’ or the wrong way at first…"

"Say better where fly to?" interrupted him the Computer which evidently did not want to fly zigzags."

"There," showed the Cat, and they had flown. Where they come, I will talk you in the next chapter.