FictionForest

Chapter 10 – Under Water

L. Frank BaumOct 05, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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When night fell all the interior of the Great Dome,
streets and houses, became lighted with brilliant
incandescent lamps, which rendered it bright as day.
Dorothy thought the island must look beautiful by night
from the outer shore of the lake. There was revelry and
feasting in the Queen’s palace, and the music of the
royal band could be plainly heard in Lady Aurex’s
house, where Ozma and Dorothy remained with their
hostess and keeper. They were prisoners, but treated
with much consideration.

Lady Aurex gave them a nice supper and when they
wished to retire showed them to a pretty room with
comfortable beds and wished them a good night and
pleasant dreams.

“What do you think of all this, Ozma?” Dorothy
anxiously inquired when they were alone.

“I am glad we came,” was the reply, “for although
there may be mischief done to-morrow, it was necessary
I should know about these people, whose leaders are
wild and lawless and oppress their subjects with
injustice and cruelties. My task, therefore, is to
liberate the Skeezers and the Flatheads and secure for
them freedom and happiness. I have no doubt I can
accomplish this in time.”

“Just now, though, we’re in a bad fix,” asserted
Dorothy. “If Queen Coo-ee-oh conquers to-morrow, she
won’t be nice to us, and if the Su-dic conquers, he’ll
be worse.”

“Do not worry, dear,” said Ozma, “I do not think we
are in danger, whatever happens, and the result of our
adventure is sure to be good.”

Dorothy was not worrying, especially. She had
confidence in her friend, the fairy Princess of Oz, and
she enjoyed the excitement of the events in which she
was taking part. So she crept into bed and fell asleep
as easily as if she had been in her own cosy room in
Ozma’s palace.

A sort of grating, grinding sound awakened her. The
whole island seemed to tremble and sway, as it might do
in an earthquake. Dorothy sat up in bed, rubbing her
eyes to get the sleep out of them, and then found it
was daybreak.

Ozma was hurriedly dressing herself.

“What is it?” asked Dorothy, jumping out of bed.

“I’m not sure,” answered Ozma “but it feels as if the
island is sinking.”

As soon as possible they finished dressing, while the
creaking and swaying continued. Then they rushed into
the living room of the house and found Lady Aurex,
fully dressed, awaiting them.

“Do not be alarmed,” said their hostess. “Coo-ee-oh
has decided to submerge the island, that is all. But it
proves the Flatheads are coming to attack us.”

“What do you mean by sub-sub-merging the island?”
asked Dorothy.

“Come here and see,” was the reply.

Lady Aurex led them to a window which faced the side
of the great dome which covered all the village, and
they could see that the island was indeed sinking, for
the water of the lake was already half way up the side
of the dome. Through the glass could be seen swimming
fishes, and tall stalks of swaying seaweeds, for the
water was clear as crystal and through it they could
distinguish even the farther shore of the lake.

“The Flatheads are not here yet,” said Lady Aurex.
“They will come soon, but not until all of this dome is
under the surface of the water.”

“Won’t the dome leak?” Dorothy inquired anxiously.

“No, indeed.”

“Was the island ever sub-sub-sunk before?”

“Oh, yes; on several occasions. But Coo-ee-oh doesn’t
care to do that often, for it requires a lot of hard
work to operate the machinery. The dome was built so
that the island could disappear. I think,” she
continued, “that our Queen fears the Flatheads will
attack the island and try to break the glass of the
dome.”

“Well, if we’re under water, they can’t fight us, and
we can’t fight them,” asserted Dorothy.

“They could kill the fishes, however,” said Ozma
gravely

“We have ways to fight, also, even though our island
is under water,” claimed Lady Aurex. “I cannot tell you
all our secrets, but this island is full of surprises.
Also our Queen’s magic is astonishing.”

“Did she steal it all from the three Adepts in
Sorcery that are now fishes?”

“She stole the knowledge and the magic tools, but she
has used them as the three Adepts never would have
done.”

By this time the top of the dome was quite under
water and suddenly the island stopped sinking and
became stationary.

“See!” cried Lady Aurex, pointing to the shore. “The
Flatheads have come.”

On the bank, which was now far above their heads, a
crowd of dark figures could be seen.

“Now let us see what Coo-ee-oh will do to oppose
them,” continued Lady Aurex, in a voice that betrayed
her excitement.

* * * * * * * *

The Flatheads, pushing their way through the line of
palm trees, had reached the shore of the lake just as
the top of the island’s dome disappeared beneath the
surface. The water now flowed from shore to shore, but
through the clear water the dome was still visible and
the houses of the Skeezers could be dimly seen through
the panes of glass.

“Good!” exclaimed the Su-dic, who had armed all his
followers and had brought with him two copper vessels,
which he carefully set down upon the ground beside him.
“If Coo-ee-oh wants to hide instead of fighting our job
will be easy, for in one of these copper vessels I have
enough poison to kill every fish in the lake.”

“Kill them, then, while we have time, and then we can
go home again,” advised one of the chief officers.

“Not yet,” objected the Su-dic. “The Queen of the
Skeezers has defied me, and I want to get her into my
power, as well as to destroy her magic. She transformed
my poor wife into a Golden Pig, and I must have revenge
for that, whatever else we do.”

“Look out!” suddenly exclaimed the officers, pointing
into the lake; “something’s going to happen.”

From the submerged dome a door opened and something
black shot swiftly out into the water. The door
instantly closed behind it and the dark object cleaved
its way through the water, without rising to the
surface, directly toward the place where the Flatheads
were standing.

“What is that?” Dorothy asked the Lady Aurex.

“That is one of the Queen’s submarines,” was the
reply. “It is all enclosed, and can move under water.
Coo-ee-oh has several of these boats which are kept in
little rooms in the basement under our village. When
the island is submerged, the Queen uses these boats to
reach the shore, and I believe she now intends to fight
the Flatheads with them.”

The Su-dic and his people knew nothing of Coo-ee-oh’s
submarines, so they watched with surprise as the under-
water boat approached them. When it was quite near the
shore it rose to the surface and the top parted and
fell back, disclosing a boat full of armed Skeezers. At
the head was the Queen, standing up in the bow and
holding in one hand a coil of magic rope that gleamed
like silver.

The boat halted and Coo-ee-oh drew back her arm to
throw the silver rope toward the Su-dic, who was now
but a few feet from her. But the wily Flathead leader
quickly realized his danger and before the Queen could
throw the rope he caught up one of the copper vessels
and dashed its contents full in her face!

 

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