ome time, several towns, many miles, and a few days later, Geoffrey, Beeg, and I were nearing the capital. Geoffrey and Beeg were arguing about some abstract point about living in the forest, and I was plodding along with some bitterness about the blisters forming on my ankles, when we entered the city.
I looked around, suddenly feeling at home after this strange adventure.
Geoffrey and Beeg were still arguing. The whole city was trimmed and neat, but what really drew my eye was the palace in the center of a sparkling moat. It looked as if it was made of a thousand glittering prisms.
Just then Geoffrey and Beeg came around from their argument. Their reactions were more like awe and amazement. After all, neither of them had been here before. "Well what're we waitin' for?" exclaimed Beeg, so we headed towards the palace.
The University, located on the other side of the capital, couldn't be seen from where we stood, but there was a strange greyness about the air above the place I knew it to be that sent chills down my spine. You may think it odd that we were headed to the King for an explanation, when the University was so close by.
Let me tell you now, never, never bother a magician when he is concentrating on a spell! If you think being turned into a frog is bad you don't want to know what will happen to you. Besides it is the King's job to take care of his people and reassure them and answer their questions about their kingdom. And the three of us had some pretty big questions.
As we entered the Great hall I looked around me in awe. Even I had never had reason to question the King before. It was unlike anything in my, as it seemed to me then, minute experience. It had tall dripping candles illuminating crystal statues and complex tapestries.
Unfortunately the short pale man who confronted us was well within my experience, being of the type who reminds you of a weasel that has just eaten the prize hen in your hen house.
"Greetings travelers." He hissed, not even blinking an eye at Geoffrey and Beeg.
I wondered for a moment why it was that I seemed to be the only person who was surprised by the appearance of a purple dragon and an orange chicken with a green spotted tail.
"What is your business?"
"We want to see the King if you please," replied Geoffrey.
"The King is a very busy man. I could not possibly bother him with such an unimportant request."
This guy was starting to nettle me, and it was apparent that Geoffrey and Beeg shared my feelings. "Please feel welcome to come back at a more convenient time."
"And when might that be?" I asked as politely as I could. The weasel (as I had begun calling him to myself) surveyed me and gave me an unpleasant grin.
"How about next year."
Just then a tall man in extremely extravagant robes strode into the hall. When he spoke I was surprised to find that he sounded a lot like a teacher from the University. "Grumble, what are you doing?"
"Your Magnificence, I was merely trying to keep your work from being interrupted by these fine gentlemen...... and lady." The weasel groveled.
"You are dismissed," he said quietly.
Geoffrey coughed politely and spoke. "We are three humble travelers seeking your gracious help in a most troublesome difficulty."
"Go on," said the King. And so Geoffrey proceeded to tell the whole tale (with a little help from Beeg and I) about how I was kidnapped and all the towns names had been changed and the Oracle killed.
The King was silent for a moment as though pondering on our tale and an unkind thought occurred to me. The King had not appeared surprised by any of our tale, not even the assassination of the Oracle, by a man who could have been working for him. After all, who ever heard of the King assassinating Oracles?
Then he spoke again. "I have a fair suspicion as to who was responsible for your misfortunes,"
I was relieved for this would explain why he had not appeared surprised, then he shouted "Guards!" The world faded into blackness for me a second time, and that was the last I remembered for quite a long time.