While they stood talking and congratulating one another outside of the castle, the Red Rogue of Dawna appeared among them. He had heard the noise of the smashing of his great mirror, and had come running downstairs from his hiding-place to find his cunning had all been for naught and his captives were free.
A furious anger then took possession of the Rogue, and forgetting his personal weakness he caught up a huge battle-ax and rushed out to hurl himself upon Prince Marvel, intending to do him serious injury.
But the prince was not taken unawares. He saw the Red Rogue coming and met him with drawn sword, striking quickly at the arm that wielded the big ax. The stroke was as sure as it was quick, and piercing the arm of the giant caused him to drop the ax with a howl of pain.
Then Prince Marvel seized the Red Rogue by the ear--which he was just tall enough to reach--and dragged him up the steps and into the castle, the big fellow crying for mercy at every step and trembling like a leaf through cowardice.
But down the hall Marvel marched him, seeking some room where the Rogue might be safely locked in. The great curtain that covered the second enchanted mirror now caught Prince Marvel's eye, and, still holding his prisoner by the ear, he reached out his left hand and pulled aside the drapery.
The Red Rogue looked to see what his captor was doing, and beheld his own reflection in the magic mirror. Instantly he gave a wild cry and disappeared, his body becoming absolutely invisible, while his coarse red countenance stared back from the mirror.
And then Prince Marvel gave a sigh of relief and dropped the curtain over the surface of the mirror. For he realized that the Red Rogue of Dawna had at last met with just punishment and was safely imprisoned for all time.
25. The Adventurers Separate
When Prince Marvel and his friends had ridden away from the castle the savage followers of the Red One came creeping up to listen for their master's voice. But silence reigned in every part of the castle, and after stealing fearfully through the rooms without seeing any one the fellows became filled with terror and fled from the place, never to return.
And afterward the neighbors whispered that the castle was haunted by the spirit of the terrible Red Rogue, and travelers dared not stop in the neighborhood, but passed by quickly and with averted faces.
The prince and his party rode gaily along toward the Kingdom of Heg, for Nerle had invited them all to visit his father's castle. They were very happy over their escape, and only the little Lady Seseley became sad at times, when she thought of her father's sad fate.
The Baron Neggar, who was Nerle's father, was not only a wealthy nobleman, but exceedingly kind and courteous; so that every member of Prince Marvel's party was welcomed to the big castle in a very hospitable manner.
Nerle was eagerly embraced by both his father and mother, who were overjoyed to see him return safe and sound after his wanderings and adventures.
"And have you been cured of your longing for something that you can not have?" asked the baron, anxiously.
"Not quite," said Nerle, laughing; "but I am more reconciled to my lot. For I find wherever I go people are longing for just the things they can not get, and probably would not want if they had them. So, as it seems to be the fate of most mortals to live unsatisfied, I shall try hereafter to be more contented."
These words delighted the good baron, and he gave a rich and magnificent feast in honor of his son's return.
The High Ki of Twi, after passing several pleasant days at Nerle's home, now decided that they had seen enough of the world and would be glad to return to their own kingdom, where all was peaceful and uneventful, and rule it to the end of their days. So the baron furnished them an escort of twenty men-at-arms, and these conducted the High Ki and the aged Ki safely back to the hole in the hedge.
And after they had entered the Land of Twi, the first act of the High Ki was to order the hedge repaired and the hole blocked up; and I have never heard that any one, from that time forth, ever succeeded in gaining admittance to the hidden kingdom.