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Chapter 3 Two Bad Ones

  • Kiki turned around and saw a queer old man standing near. He didn't stan_traight, for he was crooked. He had a fat body and thin legs and arms. He ha_ big, round face with bushy, white whiskers that came to a point below hi_aist, and white hair that came to a point on top of his head. He wore dull- gray clothes that were tight fitting, and his pockets were all bunched out a_f stuffed full of something.
  • "I didn't know you were here," said Kiki.
  • "I didn't come until after you did," said the queer old man.
  • "Who are you?" asked Kiki.
  • "My name's Ruggedo. I used to be the Nome King; but I got kicked out of m_ountry, and now I'm a wanderer."
  • "What made them kick you out?" inquired the Hyup boy.
  • "Well, it's the fashion to kick kings nowadays. I was a pretty good King—t_yself—but those dreadful Oz people wouldn't let me alone. So I had t_bdicate."
  • "What does that mean?"
  • "It means to be kicked out. But let's talk about something pleasant. Who ar_ou and where did you come from?"
  • "I'm called Kiki Aru. I used to live on Mount Munch in the Land of Oz, but no_'m a wanderer like yourself."
  • The Nome King gave him a shrewd look.
  • "I heard that bird say that you transformed yourself into a magpie and bac_gain. Is that true?"
  • Kiki hesitated, but saw no reason to deny it. He felt that it would make hi_ppear more important.
  • "Well—yes," he said.
  • "Then you're a wizard?"
  • "No; I only understand transformations," he admitted.
  • "Well, that's pretty good magic, anyhow," declared old Ruggedo. "I used t_ave some very fine magic, myself, but my enemies took it all away from me.
  • Where are you going now?"
  • "I'm going into the inn, to get some supper and a bed," said Kiki.
  • "Have you the money to pay for it?" asked the Nome.
  • "I have one gold piece."
  • "Which you stole. Very good. And you're glad that you're wicked. Better yet. _ike you, young man, and I'll go to the inn with you if you'll promise not t_at eggs for supper."
  • "Don't you like eggs?" asked Kiki.
  • "I'm afraid of 'em; they're dangerous!" said Ruggedo, with a shudder.
  • "All right," agreed Kiki; "I won't ask for eggs."
  • "Then come along," said the Nome.
  • When they entered the inn, the landlord scowled at Kiki and said:
  • "I told you I would not feed you unless you had money."
  • Kiki showed him the gold piece.
  • "And how about you?" asked the landlord, turning to Ruggedo. "Have you money?"
  • "I've something better," answered the old Nome, and taking a bag from one o_is pockets he poured from it upon the table a mass of glitterin_ems—diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
  • The landlord was very polite to the strangers after that. He served them a_xcellent supper, and while they ate it, the Hyup boy asked his companion:
  • "Where did you get so many jewels?"
  • "Well, I'll tell you," answered the Nome. "When those Oz people took m_ingdom away from me—just because it was my kingdom and I wanted to run it t_uit myself— they said I could take as many precious stones as I could carry.
  • So I had a lot of pockets made in my clothes and loaded them all up. Jewel_re fine things to have with you when you travel; you can trade them fo_nything."
  • "Are they better than gold pieces?" asked Kiki.
  • "The smallest of these jewels is worth a hundred gold pieces such as you stol_rom the old man."
  • "Don't talk so loud," begged Kiki, uneasily. "Some one else might hear wha_ou are saying."
  • After supper they took a walk together, and the former Nome King said:
  • "Do you know the Shaggy Man, and the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman, an_orothy, and Ozma and all the other Oz people?"
  • "No," replied the boy, "I have never been away from Mount Munch until I fle_ver the Deadly Desert the other day in the shape of a hawk."
  • "Then you've never seen the Emerald City of Oz?"
  • "Never."
  • "Well," said the Nome, "I knew all the Oz people, and you can guess I do no_ove them. All during my wanderings I have brooded on how I can be revenged o_hem. Now that I've met you I can see a way to conquer the Land of Oz and b_ing there myself, which is better than being King of the Nomes."
  • "How can you do that?" inquired Kiki Aru, wonderingly.
  • "Never mind how. In the first place, I'll make a bargain with you. Tell me th_ecret of how to perform transformations and I will give you a pocketful o_ewels, the biggest and finest that I possess."
  • "No," said Kiki, who realized that to share his power with another would b_angerous to himself.
  • "I'll give you TWO pocketsful of jewels," said the Nome.
  • "No," answered Kiki.
  • "I'll give you every jewel I possess."
  • "No, no, no!" said Kiki, who was beginning to be frightened.
  • "Then," said the Nome, with a wicked look at the boy, "I'll tell the inn- keeper that you stole that gold piece and he will have you put in prison."
  • Kiki laughed at the threat.
  • "Before he can do that," said he, "I will transform myself into a lion an_ear him to pieces, or into a bear and eat him up, or into a fly and fly awa_here he could not find me."
  • "Can you really do such wonderful transformations?" asked the old Nome, looking at him curiously.
  • "Of course," declared Kiki. I can transform you into a stick of wood, in _lash, or into a stone, and leave you here by the roadside."
  • "The wicked Nome shivered a little when he heard that, but it made him lon_ore than ever to possess the great secret. After a while he said:
  • "I'll tell you what I'll do. If you will help me to conquer Oz and t_ransform the Oz people, who are my enemies, into sticks or stones, by tellin_e your secret, I'll agree to make YOU the Ruler of all Oz, and I will be you_rime Minister and see that your orders are obeyed."
  • "I'll help do that," said Kiki, "but I won't tell you my secret."
  • The Nome was so furious at this refusal that he jumped up and down with rag_nd spluttered and choked for a long time before he could control his passion.
  • But the boy was not at all frightened. He laughed at the wicked old Nome, which made him more furious than ever.
  • "Let's give up the idea," he proposed, when Ruggedo had quieted somewhat. "_on't know the Oz people you mention and so they are not my enemies. I_hey've kicked you out of your kingdom, that's your affair—not mine."
  • "Wouldn't you like to be king of that splendid fairyland?" asked Ruggedo.
  • "Yes, I would," replied Kiki Aru; "but you want to be king yourself, and w_ould quarrel over it."
  • "No," said the Nome, trying to deceive him. "I don't care to be King of Oz, come to think it over. I don't even care to live in that country. What I wan_irst is revenge. If we can conquer Oz, I'll get enough magic then to conque_y own Kingdom of the Nomes, and I'll go back and live in my undergroun_averns, which are more home-like than the top of the earth. So here's m_roposition: Help me conquer Oz and get revenge, and help me get the magi_way from Glinda and the Wizard, and I'll let you be King of Oz foreve_fterward."
  • "I'll think it over," answered Kiki, and that is all he would say tha_vening.
  • In the night when all in the Inn were asleep but himself, old Ruggedo the Nom_ose softly from his couch and went into the room of Kiki Aru the Hyup, an_earched everywhere for the magic tool that performed his transformations. O_ourse, there was no such tool, and although Ruggedo searched in all the boy'_ockets, he found nothing magical whatever. So he went back to his bed an_egan to doubt that Kiki could perform transformations.
  • Next morning he said:
  • "Which way do you travel to-day?"
  • "I think I shall visit the Rose Kingdom," answered the boy.
  • "That is a long journey," declared the Nome.
  • "I shall transform myself into a bird," said Kiki, "and so fly to the Ros_ingdom in an hour."
  • "Then transform me, also, into a bird, and I will go with you," suggeste_uggedo. "But, in that case, let us fly together to the Land of Oz, and se_hat it looks like."
  • Kiki thought this over. Pleasant as were the countries he had visited, h_eard everywhere that the Land of Oz was more beautiful and delightful. Th_and of Oz was his own country, too, and if there was any possibility of hi_ecoming its King, he must know something about it.
  • While Kiki the Hyup thought, Ruggedo the Nome was also thinking. This bo_ossessed a marvelous power, and although very simple in some ways, he wa_etermined not to part with his secret. However, if Ruggedo could get him t_ransport the wily old Nome to Oz, which he could reach in no other way, h_ight then induce the boy to follow his advice and enter into the plot fo_evenge, which he had already planned in his wicked heart.
  • "There are wizards and magicians in Oz," remarked Kiki, after a time. "The_ight discover us, in spite of our transformations."
  • "Not if we are careful," Ruggedo assured him. "Ozma has a Magic Picture, i_hich she can see whatever she wishes to see; but Ozma will know nothing o_ur going to Oz, and so she will not command her Magic Picture to show wher_e are or what we are doing. Glinda the Good has a Great Book called the Boo_f Records, in which is magically written everything that people do in th_and of Oz, just the instant they do it."
  • "Then," said Kiki, "there is no use our attempting to conquer the country, fo_linda would read in her book all that we do, and as her magic is greater tha_ine, she would soon put a stop to our plans."
  • "I said 'people,' didn't I?" retorted the Nome. "The book doesn't make _ecord of what birds do, or beasts. It only tells the doings of people. So, i_e fly into the country as birds, Glinda won't know anything about it."
  • "Two birds couldn't conquer the Land of Oz," asserted the boy, scornfully.
  • "No; that's true," admitted Ruggedo, and then he rubbed his forehead an_troked his long pointed beard and thought some more.
  • "Ah, now I have the idea!" he declared. "I suppose you can transform us int_easts as well as birds?"
  • "Of course."
  • "And can you make a bird a beast, and a beast a bird again, without taking _uman form in between?"
  • "Certainly," said Kiki. "I can transform myself or others into anything tha_an talk. There's a magic word that must be spoken in connection with th_ransformations, and as beasts and birds and dragons and fishes can talk i_z, we may become any of these we desire to. However, if I transformed mysel_nto a tree, I would always remain a tree, because then I could not utter th_agic word to change the transformation."
  • "I see; I see," said Ruggedo, nodding his bushy, white head until the point o_is hair waved back and forth like a pendulum. "That fits in with my idea, exactly. Now, listen, and I'll explain to you my plan. We'll fly to Oz a_irds and settle in one of the thick forests in the Gillikin Country. Ther_ou will transform us into powerful beasts, and as Glinda doesn't keep an_rack of the doings of beasts we can act without being discovered."
  • "But how can two beasts raise an army to conquer the powerful people of Oz?"
  • inquired Kiki.
  • "That's easy. But not an army of PEOPLE, mind you. That would be quickl_iscovered. And while we are in Oz you and I will never resume our human form_ntil we've conquered the country and destroyed Glinda, and Ozma, and th_izard, and Dorothy, and all the rest, and so have nothing more to fear fro_hem."
  • "It is impossible to kill anyone in the Land of Oz," declared Kiki.
  • "It isn't necessary to kill the Oz people," rejoined Ruggedo.
  • "I'm afraid I don't understand you," objected the boy. "What will happen t_he Oz people, and what sort of an army could we get together, except o_eople?"
  • "I'll tell you. The forests of Oz are full of beasts. Some of them, in th_ar-away places, are savage and cruel, and would gladly follow a leader a_avage as themselves. They have never troubled the Oz people much, becaus_hey had no leader to urge them on, but we will tell them to help us conque_z and as a reward we will transform all the beasts into men and women, an_et them live in the houses and enjoy all the good things; and we wil_ransform all the people of Oz into beasts of various sorts, and send them t_ive in the forests and the jungles. That is a splendid idea, you must admit, and it's so easy that we won't have any trouble at all to carry it through t_uccess."
  • "Will the beasts consent, do you think?" asked the boy.
  • "To be sure they will. We can get every beast in Oz on our side—except a fe_ho live in Ozma's palace, and they won't count."