The Land of the Changing Sun
The two men watched it for several minutes; all the time it seemed to be growing larger
and brighter till, after a while, they saw that the light came from something shaped like a
ship, sharp at both ends, and covered with oval glass. As it slowly rose to the surface they
saw that it contained five or six men, sitting in easy chairs and reclining on luxurious
divans. One of them sat at a sort of pilot-wheel and was directing the course of the
strange craft, which was moving as gracefully as a great fish.
Then the young men saw the man at the pilot-wheel raise his hand, and from the water
came the musical notes of a great bell. The vessel stopped, and one of the men sprang up
and raised an instrument that looked like a telescope to his eyes. With this he seemed to
be closely searching the lake shores, for he did not move for several minutes. Then he
lowered the instrument, and when the bell had rung again, the vessel rose slowly and
perpendicularly to the surface and glided to the shore within twenty yards of where the
"Could they have seen us?" whispered Thorndyke, drawing Johnston nearer the side of
"I think so; at all events, they are between us and the outlet; we may as well make the
best of it."
The men, all except the pilot, landed, and a dazzling electric search-light was turned on
the spot where Thorndyke and Johnston stood. For a moment they were so blinded that
they could not see, and then they heard footsteps, and, their eyes becoming accustomed to
the light, they found themselves surrounded by several men, very strangely clad. They all
wore long cloaks that covered them from head to foot and every man was more than six
feet in height and finely proportioned. One of them, who seemed to be an officer in
command, bowed politely.
"I am Captain Tradmos, gentlemen, in the king's service. It is my duty to make you my
prisoners. I must escort you to the palace of the king."
"That's cool," said Johnston, to conceal the discomfiture that he felt, "we had no idea that
you had a kingdom. We have tramped all over this island, and you are the first signs of
humanity we have met."
He would have recalled his words before he had finished speaking, if he could have done
so, for he saw by the manner of the captain that he had been over bold.
"Follow me," answered the officer curtly, and with a motion of his hand to his men he
turned toward the odd-looking vessel.