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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
26. How Ozma Refused to Fight for Her Kingdom
|Page 1 of 5||
Ozma was in her rose garden picking a bouquet when the party arrived, and she greeted all her old and new friends as smilingly and sweetly as ever.
Dorothy's eyes were full of tears as she kissed the lovely Ruler of Oz, and she whispered to her:
"Oh, Ozma, Ozma! I'm SO sorry!"
Ozma seemed surprised.
"Sorry for what, Dorothy?" she asked.
"For all your trouble about the Nome King," was the reply.
Ozma laughed with genuine amusement.
"Why, that has not troubled me a bit, dear Princess," she replied. Then, looking around at the sad faces of her friends, she added: "Have you all been worrying about this tunnel?"
"We have!" they exclaimed in a chorus.
"Well, perhaps it is more serious than I imagined," admitted the fair Ruler; "but I haven't given the matter much thought. After dinner we will all meet together and talk it over."
So they went to their rooms and prepared for dinner, and Dorothy dressed herself in her prettiest gown and put on her coronet, for she thought that this might be the last time she would ever appear as a Princess of Oz.
The Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and Jack Pumpkinhead all sat at the dinner table, although none of them was made so he could eat. Usually they served to enliven the meal with their merry talk, but to-night all seemed strangely silent and uneasy.
As soon as the dinner was finished Ozma led the company to her own private room in which hung the Magic Picture. When they had seated themselves the Scarecrow was the first to speak.
"Is the Nome King's tunnel finished, Ozma?" he asked.
"It was completed to-day," she replied. "They have built it right under my palace grounds, and it ends in front of the Forbidden Fountain. Nothing but a crust of earth remains to separate our enemies from us, and when they march here, they will easily break through this crust and rush upon us."
"Who will assist the Nome King?" inquired the Scarecrow.
"The Whimsies, the Growleywogs and the Phanfasms," she replied. "I watched to-day in my Magic Picture the messengers whom the Nome King sent to all these people to summon them to assemble in his great caverns."
"Let us see what they are doing now," suggested the Tin Woodman.
So Ozma wished to see the Nome King's cavern, and at once the landscape faded from the Magic Picture and was replaced by the scene then being enacted in the jeweled cavern of King Roquat.
A wild and startling scene it was which the Oz people beheld.
Before the Nome King stood the Chief of the Whimsies and the Grand Gallipoot of the Growleywogs, surrounded by their most skillful generals. Very fierce and powerful they looked, so that even the Nome King and General Guph, who stood beside his master, seemed a bit fearful in the presence of their allies.
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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