Elemoont/Chapter 31

tells how the Cat saved the Elemoont then the Elemoont saved the Cat, but at the first, they both saved themselves.

The tracks stretched out into the distance without any bends as if Mr. Moonswitcher (our friends already had no doubts as to tracks were Mr. Moonswitcher's ones) walked laying the ruler before him. The Elemoont directed their gruntler–scooter straight along the tracks and increased velocity. Suddenly the Cat said, "Look! There is a sign in front!"

"What sign?"

"It seems it's simply a sign of the road," said the Cat remembering that such kind of explanations is not fitted the Elemoont. There are no any roads on the Moon and there are no any signs of the road there. However, the Elemoont already himself saw the pole and the board with an inscription on it, "Take care! Mirage–traps!" The sign did not sweep past them when it had happen with a usual sign of the road, but it flew several seconds before the gruntler–scooter as if it was in a doubt: did they notice it? Then the inscription flashed and the sign melted in vacuum (of course, in a vacuum, because where any air spring from in the interstellar space?)

"I know what things are mirages," said the Cat, "Mr. Red used them in his tricks. However, what things are the ‘mirage–traps’? In all probability they are very dangerous things."

"There are mirages on our Moon," added the Elemoont, "And there are traps also, but they exist separately: here you are mirages and here you are traps! But both mirages and traps together…What can it be?"

Our friends have no time to consider that question because some strange sounds (it was very strange sounds for outer space!) attracted their attention. At first both the Cat and the Elemoont could not understand what kind of sounds it was, but the sounds appeared and soon became clearly heard, "Khruck, khruk, khruk…" Gentle grunting were heard on all sides.

"It's the Cosmic Gruntresses!" guessed the Cat. "Look! Here they are!"

Really, sweet pink creatures surrounded the gruntler–scooter and all around get pink shade because there were many Gruntresses and many other ones continued to fly from the depth of the space. Gently grunting they became softly thrust their snouts in the Elemoont's sides. They paid no attention to the Cat obviously fearing that his fur would tickle their nostrils (all Gruntresses, even cosmic ones, always sneeze if something tickles their nostrils), but the Elemoont's sides fell in their taste and every Gruntress strove to apply its snout to the Elemoont.

"Why do they thrust me?" was bewildered the Elemoont.

"I don't know," answered the Cat, "But you have to be careful. They can to jostle you!"

"Really?" exclaimed the Elemoont and increased the velocity thinking that the Gruntresses dropped behind them. Not at all! The number of Gruntresses had grown, grunting and hits continued and although the hits were gentle, the Elemoont's sides ached a little

"What do they want?" asked the Elemoont.

"I think they want to get their gruntler–scooter that was taken away by the pirates," said the Cat.

"You are right," agreed the Elemoont, "But how can we give them back their gruntler–scooter and imperceptibly retire? I'm worry with their excessive friendliness."

"We must suddenly stop," said the Cat after thinking a little, "The gruntler–scooter will stay here and we fly by our own momentum. The Gruntresses, of course, stay here with their scooter."

"It' excellent idea!' approved his thought the Elemoont.

"But at first we must untie the Computer from the carrier," added the Cat, "If Gruntresses will know that it serves pirates, it will be very bad to it."

"Thank you," muttered the Computer that keep silence all the time obviously fearing that the Gruntresses can recognize it. And only the Computer said ‘thank you’ the Gruntresses stopped grunting and stared at it with suspicious. Ominous silence had gone. The silence was broken by the Cat who said, "We are ready, brake!" The Elemoont sharply applied the brakes and the gruntler–scooter came to a standstill as if it rooted to the ground. Our friends were threw out of their seats and rushed further with former velocity. The Cat firmly held the Big Cylindrical Computer (fortunately, it was named so not because of its large sizes but because of its large memory) in his pads. Joyful grunting was heard again far behind. The Gruntresses recovering their gruntler–scooter had dropped behind.

'We have flown very well," said the Elemoont, who liked his feeling of free flight. However, everybody can fly infinitely in the infinite space, and this thought slightly worried the Elemoont. Suddenly his attention was attracted by the thing that he did not expect to see here. It was a smart sofa.

"A sofa!" exclaimed the Elemoont.

"A sofa!" sweetly replied the Cat.

"Not really!" protested the Computer, "There are no any sofas in the outer space!" (All computers think very logically).

"But I see the sofa!" said the Cat.

Then he arched his back and jumped.

In an instant, the Cat already lay on the sofa curling up in a ball and peacefully purring.

"Get up, lazy bones!" said the Elemoont, "We must hurry!"

"Why must we hurry?" asked the Cat half-slip, "The aim of any journey is lying on a sofa. I'm already having been lying."

"But it is a very suspicious sofa," exclaimed the Elemoont, "It must not be here!"

"Yes, any sofas and cushions must not be here!" confirmed the Computer.

"And nevertheless they are here!" answered the Cat.

"You should not forget that we have to prejudice Mr. Red's success. He wants to cover the whole Universe with his top hat!" reminded the Elemoont.

"All right! It makes no difference to me. I get ready for sleeping!" said the Cat and yawned.

"Then he drives you from the sofa away!"

"But let him doesn't deceive himself into thinking that it will be easily to do."

"And we have to prevent the great Magician Mr. Moonswitcher to switch all moons off," reproachfully said the Elemoont, "Think! If he do it, it will very dark in the space!"

"It's just in time, I'm going to sleep."

"What's the matter with you?" asked the Elemoont. "I haven't recognized you!"

"The sofa, probably, is spell-bound," added the computer.

"Of course!» said the Elemoont. "It is not a sofa, it is an image! A mirage–trap for tiger–cats!"

The Elemoont made his run and flopped on the sofa near the Cat. The sofa broke like a balloon under an elephant's leg.

"What do you do?" exclaimed the Cat. "Where is my sofa?"

"It was not a sofa, it was a trap. I never think that tiger–cats are such simpletons!"

"But the sofa was like a real one!" said the Cat guiltily. "It was better a real sofa! I want to lie on it a thousand years!"

"Of course!" said the Elemoont. "Somebody, who left here that mirage–trap, knew perfectly well what all cats are lazy–bones!"

"That's enough," begged the Cat, "It the sorcery affected me. Really I am not a lazy–bone."

"And you want Mr. Red never cover the Universe with his high silk hat, and Mr. Moonswitcher turned out all moons, don't you?"

"Of course! We all not admit it!"

"Then, forward!" gave a command the Elemoont.

"Forward!" agreed the Cat.

"Attention! A danger!" said the Computer.

The Elemoont turned round and…