The Sea Fairies
21. King Joe
As they swam out of Anko's palace and the doll-faced fishes left them, Aquareine asked:
"Would you rather go back to our mermaid home for a time and rest yourselves or would
you prefer to start for Giant's Cave at once?"
"I guess we'd better go back home," decided Trot. "To our own home, I mean. We've
been away quite a while, and King Anko seemed to think it was best."
"Very well," replied the Queen. "Let us turn in this direction, then."
"You can say goodbye to Merla for us," continued Trot. "She was very nice to us, an'
'specially to Cap'n Bill."
"So she was, mate," agreed the sailor, "an' a prettier lady I never knew, even if she is a
mermaid, beggin' your pardon, ma'am."
"Are we going anywhere near Zog's castle?" asked the girl.
"Our way leads directly past the opening in the dome," said Aquareine.
"Then let's stop and see what Sacho and the others are doing," suggested Trot. "They
can't be slaves any longer, you know, 'cause they haven't any master. I wonder if they're
any happier than they were before?"
"They seemed to be pretty happy as it was," remarked Cap'n Bill.
"It will do no harm to pay them a brief visit," said Princess Clia. "All danger disappeared
from the cavern with the destruction of Zog."
"I really ought to say goodbye to Brother Joe," observed the sailor man. "I won't see him
again, you know, and I don't want to seem unbrotherly."
"Very well," said the Queen, "we will reenter the cavern, for I, too, am anxious to know
what will be the fate of the poor slaves of the magician."
When they came to the hole in the top of the dome, they dropped through it and swam
leisurely down toward the castle. The water was clear and undisturbed and the silver
castle looked very quiet and peaceful under the radiant light that still filled the cavern.
They met no one at all, and passing around to the front of the building, they reached the
broad entrance and passed into the golden hall.
Here a strange scene met their eyes. All the slaves of Zog, hundreds in number, were
assembled in the room, while standing before the throne formerly occupied by the wicked