Pinch paused, awaiting a grand and awestruck audience response. When none came, he continued his rambling speech. “My crew and I have traveled many leagues to reach your city. King Altern sends regards.” Still no response. Pinch grew frustrated and insecure. Yet, he continued, “As you know, the good King is quite interested in welcoming Tiskaloo to the kingdom.”
“None wish for such welcome,” called one of the water-folk.
“Where is the child?” cried another.
This caught Pinch off-guard. He hesitated for a moment before leaning over to chirp orders to a waiting urchin. This urchin turned to chirp orders behind and so the urchins relayed Pinch’s message along the manta’s back until it got to Adam, who was calmly waiting for his cue to make an appearance. A tiny, bright-purple urchin rolled to his feet and piped, “Admiral Pinch needs you.”
Adam floated off and swam toward the urchins up front. Pinch saw Adam approaching and yelled loud enough for all to hear, “Hurry, hurry, dear child. Your people are anxious to see that we have safely delivered you home.” Adam paused for a moment then continued to swim forward and into view of countless Tiskaloons and their bubbly, eruptive hurrahs.
The Underwater City
Adam examined the crowd of water-folk. Their faces were grim and determined, proud and ancient. They waited patiently for Adam to speak. Adam turned to Pinch. Pinch just looked at Adam and then back to the crowd.
“Hello,” Adam finally spoke and his voice was the call the Tiskaloons were waiting for. Immediately, a brigade of water-folk riding atop over-sized seahorses spurred their steeds to action. The water-folk hastily swam up to form a line in front of Adam, Admiral Pinch, and the Urchin Army.
“We will take the child,” spoke one of the water-folk, his long, blue hair flowing freely about his head.