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"The fastest way to Camelot would be for the Quische to carry us by air to the East Gihon," Blue continued. "The dolphins can carry from there. The Quische himself will have to travel by air since the slight salt content of the river would dissolve his gelatin-based body. Or I could simply teleport him to Camelot."

"I'd rather you didn't," Iffley replied. "I'd like to see him again."

"Well then, it's decided."

"I don't trust him," Taft whispered to Iffley.

"I don't trust you, either," Iffley countered.

"Come now," said Adena. "We began a truce and it's not over yet. Let it end when we're all returned to our lands."

"Agreed," said Blue. Iffley nodded, and Taft grimaced but didn't argue.

The Quische then turned into a giant helicopter and the group flew to the Gihon where the six dolphins of the spectrum were waiting. The dolphins had no trouble carrying the passengers up the slight incline past Tokyo and Atlanta up to Dallas. At Dallas, the dolphins took the private canal directly to the monarchial district of Camelot. The Quische was waiting, decked out in medieval dress as were the rest of the royal guards and servants.

"Welcome to my humble establishment," said Blue with a grin. "I hope you like the nostalgia. I guess I'm a romantic at heart."

"Most of us are," replied Adena. "I know Iffley is."

"Humph!" muttered Iffley. "Not me!"

Blue led the way through the castle to the dinner room.

A small salad lay at each place on the table. As they sat down, Pierce looked up in suprise. "What is this?" he cried, flustered.

Blue laughed. "It's lettuce. The coloring is due to the replacement of chlorophyll by melanin. It tastes the same and it's not poisonous. It will taste better with dressing, though. Take your pick of ranch style, Italian, thousand island or the house specialty, bleu cheese." The bowls appeared on the table as he mentioned them. The guests smiled at the repitition of the color blue in all forms. They smiled less at the blue salad.

The meal went quickly. It was a unique time for the monarchs to learn about each others' personalties instead of their reputations and powers. The meal itself was an eight course dinner, one course from each district of the island.

After the meal, Blue led the group into the next room. The walls were made of alternating blue and black marble and the floor was covered in obsidian veneer. The only object in the room was a table containing five compartments in a star formation

Blue announced, "As a token of my hospitality, you are each to taka a gift from one compartment. Go ahead. It won't kill you."

The rulers were suspicious, but the mention of a "gift" convinced Taft. He stepped up and opened a compartment. An onyx stone sat in a ring of gold rose on a psychokinetic field and slipped itself on his finger. He stepped back, nonplussed. He stammered, "Thank you. It's beautiful."

"It's a gift from the Matterhorn region," Blue replied. "Next."

Bronson was delighted to oblige. His ring was also gold but with an emerald. It also fit on his ring finger automatical1y.

"The emerald is from the Orient, north of the Matterhorn."

Iffley motioned for Adena to go ahead but she declined. Iffley and Pierce stepped forward simultaneously. Pierce's ring contained a ruby, while Iffley's had a diamond. "The diamond is from Safaria, west of here, and the ruby comes from Vinland, as did the wine you all enjoyed earlier," said Blue. "Only one left."

Adena smiled and stepped forward to the last compartment. The ring which rose was silver and contained a brilliant sapphire. Adena gasped in delight as the ring slipped onto the finger of her left hand.

Jonathon said wryly, "It seems this 'game of chance' has been fixed. The only ring that would fit a woman was conveniently chosen by Adena."

"Yes," said Iffley. "It seems we've been used to present Adena a gift an ultimate worth to Blue."

"I guess you owe him something now, don't you?" asked Bronson. "Will you repay him?" A mixture of envy and resentment crossed Bronson's face as he looked at the Belt.

"Yes," said Taft, "what are you giving him in return, Adena?"

"The timing is dreadful, but my gift is my troth," said Adena.

"What?" thundered Iffley.

"Yes," said Blue triumphantly, but with concern for the wizard. "Adena and I are engaged to be married!"


 © 1984, 

L. Charles, D. Conrad, A. Duncan, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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