The end of the 16th chapter
“So, the punishment he gave you is that you can’t rule yourself?” asked Rhoda. It seemed to her to be a very reasonable punishment for their theft of the kingship from King Solomon, and didn’t think there was anything problematic with it.
“It is only a small part of the punishment, your majesty.” answered Mee. “The really despicable part of the punishment is that we have to have someone, a human being, to rule over us in order for us to be able to really live.”
“But you did go on living, and you could have gone on following the ring, so in what sense did you not live?”
“There are so many things that we couldn’t do as long as the ring hasn’t come to your finger, your majesty, that there is no point even trying to start telling you about them.” said Mee. “It resembles living with plaster all over your body, in your bed, when you are sick. You are presumably alive, but what kind of a life is that? You can imagine how glad someone will be, who can at last be free of his plaster, and can start going around again.”
“And how can I know that none of you is setting me the same trap that you set to King Solomon?” asked Rhoda. “How can I trust you?”
Mee smiled understandingly.
“You just have to remember that you have the ring, your majesty. Since it was not such great fun to be encased in plaster, you can be sure we will not cause ourselves such harm anew, and we won’t make you lose your rule over us. We prefer that you, and after you all of your descendants, will rule over us, than the ring rolling in the world again. That is our insurance against the plaster…”
“Oh” said Rhoda, though she wasn’t sure that the explanation felt satisfactory to her. But she couldn’t explain to herself what exactly she didn’t like in the explanation.
She sat, sunk deeply in thought for a few minutes, and then the smell of hot food getting cold on her plate reminded Rhoda how hungry she was. She was so hungry, that she immediately turned to eat, and until she finished eating, Rhoda didn’t even think about what she heard from Mee. After finishing, Mee served her with a steaming glass, full to its brim with a fragrant drink. Rhoda drank the glass to its end, and when she finished, felt certain tiredness. She told Mee “I want to get going, I want us to manage to get back today.”
“Your will shall be done, your majesty.” Said Mee with a smile, turned her face, and in no time all the things were back on Belshazzar’s back, Rhoda was sitting comfortably in the canopy, and Belshazzar was flying through the sky at a comfortable height to watch from.
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