"The King and his Diet"
The Royal Palace of Salador stood at the north-west corner of Max-a-million Square in the heart of Koto. It was actually five large housed cobbled together with a marble facade covering the three directly facing the square, but the Frogman didn't mind that one bit. Dressed to the nines in his yellow, white, green and purple, he was ready to move among the movers and shakers. Which, observed Trot, adjusting her oversized black hair ribbon, was exactly what the palace was doing. The outer walls pitched and swayed, and the roof heaved up and down. "Why, it's like being at sea in a squall," sighed Cap'n Bill. "Oh, do come on!," called the Frogman, who was already presenting his card to the doorman.
Inside, the little party waited in the vestibule. They could not enjoy the bits of bric-a-brack strewn about as fine art because of the huge din closing about them from all sides. Trot drew closer to her old and true sailor, but the Frogman broke away, feeling himself at last in his element. "I will go exploring," he announced, coattails swishing behind him. "No!'" called Trot, "You must wait. We are guests here." "Arr, let him go," said the Cap'n. Just then, the Royal Bottlier arrived. He looked about as if confused by some awful smell. "Eheu!," he cleared his thoughts, "I was given to understand there were three of you." "Just us two, my good man," cut in Cap'n Bill. "Verrry good then. Please fol-low me." Trot giggled, for all her tension broke. "What is is?," whispered the Cap'n. "I thought he was going to say 'Walk this way' and I was going to--" "Well it's good he didn't then, I suppose."
Through the maze of doorways and passages they tracked, until they reached the common room of one of the five cobbled houses. Here, the ceiling had been cut away to create a throne room. But what a room! Swirling papers flew from their stacks as good people and animals of Salador in all stages of fashion crowded around the throne. The Royal Bottlier cut a way through with his staff, parting courtiers and ministers, members of the diet, of the army, and of the bureaucracy, all shouting and gesturing on a stage-set sprung as if from the mind of Kurt Schwitters himself. Far off in an alcove, the Cap'n thought he saw the Frogman, speaking with what appeared to be a black bear in a frock-coat with high starched collar, pince-nez perched precaruiosly on his... "Oyez, oyez!," shouted the Royal Bottlier, his voice soaring above the turbulance. "I announce the presence of the Embassy from the Emerald City and its ruler, Queen Ozma."
All voices hushed. All eyes turned to them. Trot froze, and reached for Cap'n Bill's hand, her port in the storm. "Don't be afraid of them," he whispered, "Just do what you came here to do, for Ozma's sake." So the young lady pulled herself together, and began her speech.
Later, back an the inn, the two remaining members of the embassy sat together at supper. "Who would have thought it?," said Cap'n Bill between bites. "Yes," replied Trot, finishing her Salador stew, and wishing the dessert cart would return soon. "A king with no power! A royal figure-head." "And not a very good head at that," winked the Cap'n. "Well, we shall just have to go and see the retired king then, if he has all the power here." "And what about the frogman?" "He can stay here, as he appears to be enjoying himself. Found a pond of fish just like himself." "Yes," sighed Trot, "Perhaps he will end up negotiating a treaty."