The Sea Fairies HTML version

19. King Anko To The Rescue
The great magician Zog never slept. He was always watchful and alert. Some strange
power warned him that his prisoners were about to escape.
Scarcely had the four left the castle by the broken window when the monster stepped
from a doorway below and saw them. Instantly he blew upon a golden whistle, and at the
summons a band of wolf-fish appeared and dashed after the prisoners. These creatures
swam so swiftly that soon they were between the fugitives and the dome, and then they
turned and with wicked eyes and sharp fangs began a fierce attack upon the mermaids
and the earth dwellers.
Trot was a little frightened at the evil looks of the sea wolves, whose heads were
enormous, and whose jaws contained rows of curved and pointed teeth. But Aquareine
advanced upon them with her golden sword, and every touch of the charmed weapon
instantly killed an enemy, so that one by one the wolf-fish rolled over upon their backs
and sank helplessly downward through the water, leaving the prisoners free to continue
their way toward the opening in the dome.
Zog witnessed the destruction of his wolves and uttered a loud laugh that was terrible to
hear. Then the dread monster determined to arrest the fugitives himself, and in order to
do this he was forced to discover himself in all the horror of his awful form, a form he
was so ashamed of and loathed so greatly that he always strove to keep it concealed, even
from his own view. But it was important that his prisoners should not escape. Hastily
casting off the folds of the robe that enveloped him, Zog allowed his body to uncoil and
shoot upward through the water in swift pursuit of his victims. His cloven hoofs, upon
which he usually walked, being now useless, were drawn up under him, while coil after
coil of his eel-like body wriggled away like a serpent. At his shoulders two broad,
feathery wings expanded, and these enabled the monster to cleave his way through the
water with terrific force.
Zog was part man, part beast, part fish, part fowl, and part reptile. His undulating body
was broad and thin and like the body of an eel. It was as repulsive as one could well
imagine, and no wonder Zog hated it and kept it covered with his robe. Now, with his
horned head and its glowing eyes thrust forward, wings flapping from his shoulders and
his eely body--ending in a fish's tail--wriggling far behind him, this strange and evil
creature was a thing of terror even to the sea dwellers, who were accustomed to
remarkable sights.
The mermaids, the sailor and the child, one after another looking back as they swam
toward liberty and safety, saw the monster coming and shuddered with uncontrollable
fear. They were drawing nearer to the dome by this time, yet it was still some distance
away. The four redoubled their speed, darting through the water with the swiftness of
skyrockets. But fast as they swam, Zog swam faster, and the good queen's heart began to
throb as she realized she would be forced to fight her loathesome foe.