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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
26. How Ozma Refused to Fight for Her Kingdom
|Page 2 of 5||
Now a still more formidable creature entered the cavern. It was the First and Foremost of the Phanfasms and he proudly sat down in King Roquat's own throne and demanded the right to lead his forces through the tunnel in advance of all the others. The First and Foremost now appeared to all eyes in his hairy skin and the bear's head. What his real form was even Roquat did not know.
Through the arches leading into the vast series of caverns that lay beyond the throne room of King Roquat could be seen ranks upon ranks of the invaders--thousands of Phanfasms, Growleywogs and Whimsies standing in serried lines, while behind them were massed the thousands upon thousands of General Guph's own army of Nomes.
"Listen!" whispered Ozma. "I think we can hear what they are saying."
So they kept still and listened.
"Is all ready?" demanded the First and Foremost, haughtily.
"The tunnel is finally completed," replied General Guph.
"How long will it take us to march to the Emerald City?" asked the Grand Gallipoot of the Growleywogs.
"If we start at midnight," replied the Nome King, "we shall arrive at the Emerald City by daybreak. Then, while all the Oz people are sleeping, we will capture them and make them our slaves. After that we will destroy the city itself and march through the Land of Oz, burning and devastating as we go."
"Good!" cried the First and Foremost. "When we get through with Oz it will be a desert wilderness. Ozma shall be my slave."
"She shall be MY slave!" shouted the Grand Gallipoot, angrily.
"We'll decide that by and by," said King Roquat hastily. "Don't let us quarrel now, friends. First let us conquer Oz, and then we will divide the spoils of war in a satisfactory manner."
The First and Foremost smiled wickedly; but he only said:
"I and my Phanfasms go first, for nothing on earth can oppose our power."
They all agreed to that, knowing the Phanfasms to be the mightiest of the combined forces. King Roquat now invited them to attend a banquet he had prepared, where they might occupy themselves in eating and drinking until midnight arrived.
As they had now seen and heard all of the plot against them that they cared to, Ozma allowed her Magic Picture to fade away. Then she turned to her friends and said:
"Our enemies will be here sooner than I expected. What do you advise me to do?"
"It is now too late to assemble our people," said the Tin Woodman, despondently. "If you had allowed me to arm and drill my Winkies, we might have put up a good fight and destroyed many of our enemies before we were conquered."
"The Munchkins are good fighters, too," said Omby Amby; "and so are the Gillikins."
"But I do not wish to fight," declared Ozma, firmly. "No one has the right to destroy any living creatures, however evil they may be, or to hurt them or make them unhappy. I will not fight, even to save my kingdom."
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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