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After they slept for what seemed like days, Poutachi appeared again. She gently woke them and showed them where they could wash up. Then she led them to a walk-in closet where extra garments were kept in all shapes and sizes. They cleaned themselves and dressed in regal green gowns. Next, Poutachi took them on a tour of the city. Everywhere they went they were greeted by warm smiles and gentle nods from the other Baba.

That night, they were the guests of honor at a banquet given by King Lotiglow and his wife, Queen Thoni, who told the party that they were welcome to stay as long as they wanted.

"Well, tell them they are very kind," said the Horse, "But politely inform them that we must be on our way at daybreak tomorrow. We're on a mission that cannot be delayed."

"Yoni sila tonla tona. Chingi si tok rem la linga. Teka si va fo," said the Cow.

"Indo lin soni tin toan," said Queen Thoni.

"Though it breaks our heart, we understand," said the Cow.

"Toni lon soli chingon," said Lotiglow.

"The Nua Stone is yours to keep," said the Cow.

"Flonta lon fano vlor," said Queen Thoni.

"You will always be welcome here," said the Cow.

"Inda lo tin yoga fo Poutachi con dinga doala," said Lotiglow.

"Poutachi will take you to the forest's edge in the morning," said the Cow.

"Jo ado ind kan finla fila!" said Lotiglow.

"But tonight we feast with friends!" said the Cow.

They stayed up late into the evening drinking delicious chilled drinks and eating delectable warm food. The next morning, Poutachi woke them and took them to the elevator. As they descended, they noticed that the entire village was out on the balconies watching them depart. The party waved goodbye and the village waved back.

Tom felt a sense of loss as they left the gentle villagers who were so kind but so badly misunderstood by the outside world.

When they stepped off the elevator, it was immediately raised and it disappeared into the thick tree branches above. The city was gone. It had disappeared into the forest.

"The vanishing city," said the Cow. "I wish I could make my debts disappear so easily."

After being led down another hidden zigzagging trail by Poutachi and walking several nocks east, they begin to wonder if Yordu had really existed at all. Tom clutched the Nua stone, which was hanging from a leather cord around his neck, just to make sure it was real.

They traveled most of the day, and when the eastern edge of the forest came into view, their hearts rose. Poutachi stopped and said it was time for her to return to Yordu. She told the party to exit the forest here and turn north when they hit the Anglia River. They were to travel twenty nocks north to Huton's Bridge and then they were to cross it and follow the road to Whitestone.

The Horse was familiar with the bridge and he thanked Poutachi for her kindness. They all said goodbye and the party watched quietly as Poutachi scrambled up a tree and began swinging her way back home.

They traveled another nock east, and before they knew it, they had left the forest and were standing in a lush green field and squinting in the bright sunlight.

"Ohmygosh!" exclaimed the Cow, "It's been so long since I saw the light I feel like taking a sunbath!" She started doing a crazy dance in the sun and singing Yo-ta-do, la-ti- doo!

"I think it must be the sun that makes that Cow crazy," said the Horse. "But we all need to go a little crazy every now and then." And to everyone's surprise the horse began a jolly dance in the sun with the Cow. Tom laughed at what fools they were being and then he joined their mad dance in the sunlight.

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Greg Loumeau ||    External Homepage · 

Greg is a web comic artist. He enjoys creating funny web comics for the Internet. It makes him happy to do humorous comics about fish. Webcomics are great, fun, and some of the best comics out there! ... full profile