Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Beth Madden would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Amphibian Rivalry

By Beth Madden All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Fantasy

Amphibian Rivalry

As day was to frigid, treacherous night, so was the young cultivator to his employer.

'What kept you?'

The manager of the amphibian emporium scowled raucously when the young man - he could hardly be called a man; Yulian was a boy smooth-chinned and still chaste - appeared moments after he was clicked for. Taking him by the elbow, the manager hauled him forward and deposited him before their prospective patron. The young cultivator kept his feet and arranged himself appropriately before the customer, bending his spine deeply on seeing the tall hat, gold-tipped cane, and refined expression of a high-born gentleman.

'You're to tour our guest around the tanks,' the manager ordered with a leer before turning to his customer with a far more respectful smile. 'Any questions you have as to our wares or the rudiments of our trade, Gospodin Vasin, Yulian can answer.'

Though made nervous by his rank, Yulian addressed the stately customer properly as the manager returned to the shopfront, leaving the two alone.

'If you would kindly follow me, Gospodin.'

'You are a junior cultivator here?' Gospodin Vasin asked as Yulian led him beneath the emporium. The air quickly grew cool. A few lanterns flickered carefully-dimmed light that reflected off numerous polliwog and frog tanks, all arranged in orderly, tabular fashion. Quiet croaks were the only sound down there, apart from their own voices, footsteps, and intermittent soft splashes.

'I am the only cultivator, Gospodin,' Yulian informed him, ducking his head with timid pride as Gospodin Vasin read the labels on each tank. From polliwog to fully-grown, they were arranged in rows: anaesthetic, analgesic, sedative, antipyretic, antitoxin, and analeptic.

'Your training must have been extensive,' Gospodin Vasin commented, examining a tank of week-old polliwogs. They swam about contentedly, butting their growing heads and wriggling their tails as they raced. 'I've not seen polliwogs perkier than these.'

'You've seen many polliwogs, Gospodin?' Yulian asked in mild surprise. Most of their customers were pharmacists and physicians. They purchased the amphibians' medicinal secretions by the bucket load, but most had never even seen a frog, save for tiny black hoppers that took over the gutters in heavy rain. Those pests caused many of the diseases their carefully-bred frogs were employed to ease.

'I know enough to now understand why I was hired,' Gospodin Vasin replied, beckoning Yulian forward. Given the height of his hat and the glint of his cane, Yulian had been sure the gospodin was his own manager. Puzzled, the young cultivator joined him by a tank of mature frogs currently secreting anaesthetic.

'My employer's wares have been made redundant, you see. All his customers have found better elsewhere. He owns such a respectable emporium. Imagine his chagrin on learning it was not a bigger, more reputable shop that claimed his patrons, but this dingy little dump enjoying an unlikely windfall of prosperity. This luck, I envisage, began when you were hired.'

'I ... have an affinity with amphibians, Gospodin,' Yulian trod carefully, unsure where Gospodin Vasin headed with his talk. But the young cultivator's skin crawled at the gentleman's tone; the slimy texture of his frogs had never caused him to even twitch. 'They like my being nearby.'

'Is that so?' Gospodin Vasin said softly, hearing clearly as frogs began to croak more cheerily with Yulian's close proximity.

Yulian's throat dried out. He swallowed, eyes darting to the door. It was all the way across the underground room and up the long, steep stairs.

'Do you have any questions for me, Gospodin?'

'No,' the gentleman replied, examining a frog ventured to the top of the open tank, apparently absorbed. Yulian's shoulders slumped in relief, his speeding heart slowed.

Then there was a splash. All of a sudden, Yulian had a frog halfway down his throat.

'At first, my employer believed he must modify how he grooms his cultivators in order to compete with you,' Gospodin Vasin said as he struck Yulian hard with his cane, forcing him to the cement and squeezing the frog tight in his fist, undiluted anaesthetic oozing from its pores down the hapless cultivator's throat. 'That approach did not yield satisfactory results. Now he believes he must modify how he acquires his cultivators.'

Choking on the thick, bitter sludge and the thrashing amphibian, Yulian lost all feeling in his limbs before he could resist more than seconds. Colours waltzed gaily before his blurring eyes before he lost sense to darkness, entirely unaware as Gospodin Vasin hefted him, as limp and heavy as a flour sack, over his shoulder.

Moving purposefully, the abductor knocked through a boarded-up doorway behind a supplies shelf and spirited Yulian through a centuries-old passage to a waiting car by the building across. He threw the senseless boy into the backseat and locked the door.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Beth Madden
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

Dessie Williams: loved the book. the plot the characters all just great.I think it's a must read. once you start this book it's hard to put down. hope it gets published....I think this book is a must read.great job!!!!

Laraine Smith: You are a true artist! You should do this for a living! I love the imagery here! It is magical! You are magical!

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

tsolaidowu: I want a continuation dammit....I loved this book and the 1st one. I can't believe this is it. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Jeff and Lorie; and the gang. Great book and storyline. You're a genius Madelyn.

Krupa Kataria: the detailing is really awesome ....the characters, ur plots jst too Awsm ,m waiting for the further chapters please do complete it ...like m really craving for those ones ...great job with words too ..please complete the further parts ...

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...

Shubh Guru: when i'm reading this novel, I remember all my school days, all i feel like i m back to my old days, all the misery come to "bay" and how she come back like a shinning star are so good...this is my first book and i love this because it contains all the thing, love ,betrayl,losing some one who lo...

More Recommendations

makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...

spec4huff: Thank you for creating this world. I am a 6'3" veteran that thinks himself tough. But the piece of literature you have created made me misty eyed on a number of occasions. I want a love like this. Thank you again, I would totally buy this book and hopefully the sequels to this ever enchanting lov...

jessiehs: This was absolutely amazing. I loved how it went back and forth between perspectives. I actually cried at the end I was so happy. This was amazing. I can't even think of another word to describe it. Thank you for writing his.

Grapes Are Juicy yes!!!: I give this novel FIVE STARS ! This novel is worth reading from the beginning to the end! The plot and conflicts in this story are very smartly integrated. The language facility is a little odd , but i guess this was done on purpose, given the novel's set era. Other than that, this should definit...

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.