The Balloon Flight

Baron Britpop Blastfurnace • Part 44

Mark Starlin
5 min readJun 2, 2020


Cover design by Mark Starlin (royalty-free image by Andrey_Kuzmin)

The Balloon Flight

Andelbert and I arrived in the gardens shortly before sunrise the next morning. A massive crowd of spectators had already arrived. The King and Queen were in attendance, of course. So was every royal in the surrounding area, it seemed. The Montgolfier brothers were making their final preparations and filling the balloon with hot air. The balloon itself was globe-shaped and decorated with fantastic decorative paintings, including a likeness of the King’s face on the sun. A clever bit of flattery, I thought.

After paying our respects and expressing our gratitude to the King and Queen, we made our way to the ballon.

I greeted the Montgolfier brothers.

“Good morning, Jacques and Joseph. It is a good day to fly, I hope.”

“Good morning, Britpop and Andelbert. It is nearly perfect weather for flying. Cool and clear with every little wind. We should have a wonderful flight,” Jacques answered.

“I have no doubt.”

We watched as the balloon continued to fill. Once it was full, Jacques climbed up on the passenger basket. While holding onto one of the ropes that secured the basket, he addressed the crowd.

“Your Majesties, I am delighted for the opportunity to demonstrate our newest balloon. Your support in these endeavors means everything to me. My only regret is that you will not be our passengers on this flight.”

The King shouted, “A King must keep his feet on the ground. Only his head may be in the clouds.”

At which, everyone in attendance laughed.

The Queen seemed in a playful mood and followed with, “And I fear I would faint and be nothing more than a useless sandbag.”

The King looked at the Queen with a surprised look and began laughing. Which was followed by more royal laughing.

“As you wish, my King and Queen,” Jacques said. “Then I will invite Joseph and the Blastfurnace brothers to join me in the basket. It is time to…



Mark Starlin