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Tik-Tok of Oz

19. King Kaliko
After the King had made good his escape Files said to the dragon, in a sad voice:
"Alas! why did you not come before? Because you were sleeping instead of conquering,
the lovely Rose Princess has become a fiddle without a bow, while poor Shaggy sits there
a cooing dove!"
"Don't worry," replied Quox. "Tititi-Hoochoo knows his business, and I have my orders
from the Great Jinjin himself. Bring the fiddle here and touch it lightly to my pink
ribbon."
Files obeyed and at the moment of contact with the ribbon the Nome King's charm was
broken and the Rose Princess herself stood before them as sweet and smiling as ever.
The dove, perched on the back of the throne, had seen and heard all this, so without being
told what to do it flew straight to the dragon and alighted on the ribbon. Next instant
Shaggy was himself again and Quox said to him grumblingly:
"Please get off my left toe, Shaggy Man, and be more particular where you step."
"I beg your pardon!" replied Shaggy, very glad to resume his natural form. Then he ran to
lift the heavy diamond off Tik-Tok's chest and to assist the Clockwork Man to his feet.
"Ma-ny thanks!" said Tik-Tok. "Where is the wicked King who want-ed to melt me in a
cru-ci- ble?"
"He has gone, and gone for good," answered Polychrome, who had managed to squeeze
into the room beside the dragon and had witnessed the occurrences with much interest.
"But I wonder where Betsy Bobbin and Hank can be, and if any harm has befallen them."
"We must search the cavern until we find them," declared Shaggy; but when he went to
the door leading to the other caverns he found it shut and barred.
"I've a pretty strong push in my forehead," said Quox, "and I believe I can break down
that door, even though it's made of solid gold."
"But you are a prisoner, and the chains that hold you are fastened in some other room, so
that we cannot release you," Files said anxiously.
"Oh, never mind that," returned the dragon. "I have remained a prisoner only because I
wished to be one," and with this he stepped forward and burst the stout chains as easily as
if they had been threads.
But when he tried to push in the heavy metal door, even his mighty strength failed, and
after several attempts he gave it up and squatted himself in a corner to think of a better
way.
"I'll o-pen the door," asserted Tik-Tok, and going to the King's big gong he pounded upon
it until the noise was almost deafening.
 
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