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Chapter 10 Under Water

  • When night fell all the interior of the Great Dome, streets and houses, becam_ighted with brilliant incandescent lamps, which rendered it bright as day.
  • Dorothy thought the island must look beautiful by night from the outer shor_f the lake. There was revelry and feasting in the Queen's palace, and th_usic of the royal band could be plainly heard in Lady Aurex's house, wher_zma 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 the_o a pretty room with comfortable beds and wished them a good night an_leasant dreams.
  • "What do you think of all this, Ozma?" Dorothy anxiously inquired when the_ere alone.
  • "I am glad we came," was the reply, "for although there may be mischief don_o-morrow, it was necessary I should know about these people, whose leader_re wild and lawless and oppress their subjects with injustice and cruelties.
  • My task, therefore, is to liberate the Skeezers and the Flatheads and secur_or them freedom and happiness. I have no doubt I can accomplish this i_ime."
  • "Just now, though, we're in a bad fix," asserted Dorothy. "If Queen Coo-ee-o_onquers to-morrow, she won't be nice to us, and if the Su-dic conquers, he'l_e worse."
  • "Do not worry, dear," said Ozma, "I do not think we are in danger, whateve_appens, and the result of our adventure is sure to be good."
  • Dorothy was not worrying, especially. She had confidence in her friend, th_airy Princess of Oz, and she enjoyed the excitement of the events in whic_he was taking part. So she crept into bed and fell asleep as easily as if sh_ad been in her own cosy room in Ozma's palace.
  • A sort of grating, grinding sound awakened her. The whole island seemed t_remble 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 swayin_ontinued. Then they rushed into the living room of the house and found Lad_urex, fully dressed, awaiting them.
  • "Do not be alarmed," said their hostess. "Coo-ee-oh has decided to submerg_he 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 whic_overed all the village, and they could see that the island was indee_inking, for the water of the lake was already half way up the side of th_ome. Through the glass could be seen swimming fishes, and tall stalks o_waying seaweeds, for the water was clear as crystal and through it they coul_istinguish even the farther shore of the lake.
  • "The Flatheads are not here yet," said Lady Aurex. "They will come soon, bu_ot 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 wa_uilt so that the island could disappear. I think," she continued, "that ou_ueen fears the Flatheads will attack the island and try to break the glass o_he 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," claime_ady Aurex. "I cannot tell you all our secrets, but this island is full o_urprises. 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 th_hree Adepts never would have done."
  • By this time the top of the dome was quite under water and suddenly the islan_topped 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 figure_ould 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 reache_he shore of the lake just as the top of the island's dome disappeared beneat_he surface. The water now flowed from shore to shore, but through the clea_ater the dome was still visible and the houses of the Skeezers could be diml_een through the panes of glass.
  • "Good!" exclaimed the Su-dic, who had armed all his followers and had brough_ith him two copper vessels, which he carefully set down upon the groun_eside him. "If Coo-ee-oh wants to hide instead of fighting our job will b_asy, for in one of these copper vessels I have enough poison to kill ever_ish in the lake."
  • "Kill them, then, while we have time, and then we can go home again," advise_ne of the chief officers.
  • "Not yet," objected the Su-dic. "The Queen of the Skeezers has defied me, an_ want to get her into my power, as well as to destroy her magic. Sh_ransformed 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 ou_nto the water. The door instantly closed behind it and the dark objec_leaved its way through the water, without rising to the surface, directl_oward 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 kep_n little rooms in the basement under our village. When the island i_ubmerged, the Queen uses these boats to reach the shore, and I believe sh_ow intends to fight the Flatheads with them."
  • The Su-dic and his people knew nothing of Coo-ee-oh's submarines, so the_atched with surprise as the under-water boat approached them. When it wa_uite 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, standin_p in the bow and holding in one hand a coil of magic rope that gleamed lik_ilver.
  • The boat halted and Coo-ee-oh drew back her arm to throw the silver rop_oward the Su-dic, who was now but a few feet from her. But the wily Flathea_eader quickly realized his danger and before the Queen could throw the rop_e caught up one of the copper vessels and dashed its contents full in he_ace!