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Just then their teacher entered the room. She was an adult emperor penguin who was surprisingly short for her age. She walked to the front of the class and spoke with a loud, confident voice.

"Good morning students. And welcome to the Antarctic Academy singing course. I am Professor Corningstone. Now, I must warn you kids. You may have all been the best singers in your town, so I guess you're pretty confident. But guess what, you're in my town now, and I am not easily impressed. My job at this academy is to make good singers great..."

Mumble saw those words as comforting to people like Gloria, or his parents, so it couldn't be that threatening, right.

"...Not make bad singers terrible."

Mumble's happy, joyful feeling was beginning to morph back to misery after she said that. So much for inspiration he thought.

"which is why I will be personally judging the exam at the end of this semester, for if you fail said exam, you will be out of the singing course."

Hearing these words made Mumble's dreams and heart sink. And to add insult to injury Johnny whispered to him "well, you're bloody done for, aren't you lad."

"Yeah, no snow, Sherlock." Mumble said sarcastically. He realised now that he had to pass that exam, no matter how much practice and studying it would take.

"Well, then" said the professor trying to get back on subject "now that we've got that out of the way, who can tell me the vocal ranges of the male singing voice?" after she said that, a confused silence fell over the class. Mumble knew this answer of course. He had read about it when he was emptying his books the night before. Although he knew the answer, his father always told him to lay low and never draw attention to himself, as that would often end in disaster. Corningstone just shook her head in annoyance and said "well if none of you know the answer, I guess that means we move to ques-

"There are four!" Mumble said very quickly and very loudly. The professor turned around and said "excuse me?"

Mumble realized he had just yelled out the answer and everyone in the class was looking at him. "Well" he said shyly. "There are four variations of the male singing voice. there's the Countertenor, the Tenor, the Baritone and the Bass".

The professor checked her booklet and said "hhmm, impressive. Mister...

"Happy Feet. Er, Mumble Happy Feet.

"Happy Feet? Wait a minute, you're not related to Norma Jean of Emperor Land, are you?"

"Yeah, she's my mom."

"Well, I should have known. I expect BIG things from you this year, young man."

"Well, I wouldn't be surprised if you were disappointed" Mumble said under his breath so she couldn't hear.

That night...

"Oh, come on Mumble, it's sign-up-club-and-sorority night. You have to go" Chrysta begged as she put on some transparent earrings and a necklace, both made of ice.

"I'm sorry, Chrysta but I need to study. I have to pass that exam if I'm gonna get my dad's respect."

"Well, at least your mom still supports you. And at least you still have your parents. Mine were killed by a leopard seal two years ago when we first moved here. All I have is my brother, but, you know, he doesn't really like me. I mean, he was just the perfect son to my parents cause he had my family's brown eyes and British accent, while I had to stray away from tradition with blue eyes and an american accent. Maybe Cliff is right, maybe I am just an ugly loser who will never amount to anything."

"No, Chrysta. Don't talk about yourself like that. You're starting to sound like me" Mumble protested. "You're not me Okay. Unlike me, you've got it easy, you know why. Because you can sing".Chrysta noticed that this topic made Mumble very uncomfortable, but he was still quite talented at hiding his emotions, as he smiled and said in a humorous manner "Now go on down to the party and have fun. But not too much fun. You really don't want a hangover on a Saturday. Ha ha."

This comment made Chrysta laugh. "Okay, I'll see you later Mumble". And with that, she set off towards the party. Before she got there, she thought about what Mumble said to her, and realized how lucky she was to have him as a friend. How she enjoyed his company; his empathy, his stylish sense of humour, his positive attitude towards learning, and his crazy tapping feet. When it came to Mumble, Chrysta thought they would be friends to the end.


Next chapter: The Ballad of Cliff Wolfsworth

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