{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
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 copies left
You can choose from our best books below
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

allisonflin: Without a doubt the most well written story that I have read on this site. Informative, discriptive, well punctuated. Then we have the story itself, which by the way I am waiting on the edge of my seat for part two of, the characters are more than likeable, you feel them and their emotions...

Lauren Sanby: This is an excellent story. Very gripping and keeps your attention throughout. Hoping the author is writing a sequel because I'd love to read more about Rhi and Andreas and find out what else Rhi is able to do with her powers.

emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...

Alkira Joan: I omg I am honestly speechless I couldn't stop cry it's so sad I wish it had a better ending and they would all be happy and the end is their going to be a second book?thanks for the amaZing story xoxox

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...

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Caryn Moy: Love this series! Very well written, great plot and characters! I love time travel mysteries and this was different from anything I've read in the past! Bring on the sequel!!! I need to see the Compact get squashed!

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 ...

brettylee: The narrative is slick yet punchy. Life, Family and Friends I believe is the core message so it’s easy to relate to. It’s surprisingly action packed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing. Just when you think all is right, whack, the unexpected happens. The dialogue is energetic and ...

More Recommendations

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

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...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...

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.