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11. The Nome King (continued)
"This is the most sensible thing any of you have suggested," declared the Nome King. "It is folly to threaten me, but I'm so kind-hearted that I cannot stand coaxing or wheedling. If you really wish to accomplish anything by your journey, my dear Ozma, you must coax me."
"Very well," said Ozma, more cheerfully. "Let us be friends, and talk this over in a friendly manner."
"To be sure," agreed the King, his eyes twinkling merrily.
"I am very anxious," she continued, "to liberate the Queen of Ev and her children who are now ornaments and bric-a-brac in your Majesty's palace, and to restore them to their people. Tell me, sir, how this may be accomplished."
The king remained thoughtful for a moment, after which he asked:
"Are you willing to take a few chances and risks yourself, in order to set free the people of Ev?"
"Yes, indeed!" answered Ozma, eagerly.
"Then," said the Nome King, "I will make you this offer: You shall go alone and unattended into my palace and examine carefully all that the rooms contain. Then you shall have permission to touch eleven different objects, pronouncing at the time the word 'Ev,' and if any one of them, or more than one, proves to be the transformation of the Queen of Ev or any of her ten children, then they will instantly be restored to their true forms and may leave my palace and my kingdom in your company, without any objection whatever. It is possible for you, in this way, to free the entire eleven; but if you do not guess all the objects correctly, and some of the slaves remain transformed, then each one of your friends and followers may, in turn, enter the palace and have the same privileges I grant you."
"Oh, thank you! thank you for this kind offer!" said Ozma, eagerly.
"I make but one condition," added the Nome King, his eyes twinkling.
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