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12. The Eleven Guesses (continued)
Slowly, softly she crept forward until her hand came in contact with an object upon a small round table. She did not know what it was, but in a low voice she pronounced the word "Ev."
The rooms were quite empty of life after that. The Nome King had gained a new ornament. For upon the edge of the table rested a pretty grasshopper, that seemed to have been formed from a single emerald. It was all that remained of Ozma of Oz.
In the throne room just beyond the palace the Nome King suddenly looked up and smiled.
"Next!" he said, in his pleasant voice.
Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman, who had been sitting in anxious silence, each gave a start of dismay and stared into one another's eyes.
"Has she failed?" asked Tiktok.
"So it seems," answered the little monarch, cheerfully. "But that is no reason one of you should not succeed. The next may have twelve guesses, instead of eleven, for there are now twelve persons transformed into ornaments. Well, well! Which of you goes next?"
"I'll go," said Dorothy.
"Not so," replied the Tin Woodman. "As commander of Ozma's army, it is my privilege to follow her and attempt her rescue."
"Away you go, then," said the Scarecrow. "But be careful, old friend."
"I will," promised the Tin Woodman; and then he followed the Nome King to the entrance to the palace and the rock closed behind him.
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