Back in the palace


The beginnig of the 17th chapter:


“How long will it take until we get back to the palace?” asked Rhoda as soon as Belshazzar was steady on the route that Mee has showed him.

“I think that a short while after noon we will be there, your majesty.” Said Mee.

“And do you think that there will be someone there that I can ask to make me the parrot?” asked Rhoda. At least for the meantime, she didn’t want to think about anything serious. Mee’s story about King Solomon made her feel deeply uncomfortable. That is, Rhoda wanted to feel that she can trust Mee with her eyes closed, and it seemed that there was a good reason that made her able to really trust her. But she would have liked the reason to be that she, Rhoda, was a beloved queen, and not because the option that the demons will not be able to live normally – was worse. She thought about this a few minutes, trying to understand what really made her feel so bad about what Mee has told her. What in the things Mee said made her feel so uncertain? At first Rhoda couldn’t think of any reasonable explanation. But then she grasped that, actually, what Mee said to her suggests that if someone will come, and the demons will think that he will be more cooperative with them than her, and will allow them to do tricks again, maybe they will switch him for her. Rhoda decided that she will not take the ring off her finger, just in case.

“Of course there will be someone there who will do it, your majesty.” Said Mee.

For a minute Rhoda didn’t understand what was Mee talking about. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she thought Mee was saying that of course there will be someone who will replace her as queen of the demons. But then she remembered their talk of the parrot and nodded. Rhoda had the impression that Mee didn’t suspect the kind of feelings her story had aroused in Rhoda. It seemed as if she didn’t even remember the thing they had spoken of not so long ago. Rhoda thought that it was better that way, and decided to change the subject of their discussion.

“I want you to teach me the names and uses of other trees and plants that we will see.” She told Mee, and Mee pointed, from time to time, at a tree or a bush that they hadn’t seen yet, and told Rhoda its name and the things that could be done with it.

They kept on flying until the sun stood at the top of the sky and it hurt Rhoda’s eyes to look outside of the canopy. She told Mee that she wanted to sleep, closed her eyes and fell asleep almost immediately.

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