Then Jack said slowly: "I don't see that we can do anything else. I don't want to stay here all my life." "I wants a chance t' wear some of them sparklers," put in Washington. "Then we will make the attempt," the professor added. "Now all aboard for the place where the water shoots up!" Questioning Hankos, the professor learned how to reach the strange place.
"Hankos says he used to steal out nights and take what food he could get, and he also mentions some one, answering to Mark's description, who nearly discovered him once as he hurried back into the apartment. "However, it seems to be true, since Mark confirms it.
At any rate Hankos stayed in hiding, and made the entire trip with us, and, just as we all became overcome with the strange gas he escaped, having begun to expand to his original giant size, and being unable to remain any longer in his cramped quarters." "That's so, he did!" cried Mark. "I saw him come out of the place just before I lost my senses.
"What good did it do us to get all those diamonds and that gold?" asked Mark in a sorrowful tone. Hankos began to speak again, using his gestures which were almost as eloquent as words. The professor watched and listened intently. Then there seemed to come a more hopeful look to his face. He nodded vigorously as Hankos went on with what seemed to be an explanation.
The real one, not the hiding of Hankos in there, which you imagined to be the cause of my desire to keep something hidden. When we planned a trip to this underground world I had a dim idea that we might meet with trouble. So I planned and made a cylinder lifeboat." "A cylinder lifeboat?" repeated Mark. "Yes," replied Mr. Henderson. "I have it in the storeroom.
Henderson, "they would not receive him at first, believing him to be an impostor. But Hankos convinced them of his identity and was allowed to don the golden armor, which is the badge of kingship. He had only been in office for a little while when he heard of the arrival of the strange thing, which turned out to be our ship.
It was a terrible sight, and none of you would believe me when I told you some of the occurrences afterward." "You must forgive us for that," the professor said. "We have learned much since then." "What did Hankos do after he left the ship when it landed in this country?" asked Jack. "He traveled until he came to this village, which is the chief one of this country," replied the professor.
"It's worth trying, at all events!" the scientist exclaimed. "It is our only hope!" "What is?" asked Jack. "Friends," began the professor in solemn tones. "I must admit our plight is desperate. At the same time there is a bare chance of our getting back to our own earth. As you remember, Hankos went from this place to the upper regions through the upward spouting column of water."
He has given orders that we are to go wherever we like, and none will molest us. He tells me the land is a wonderful one, compared to our own, and urges us to make a long journey. He would like to go with us, only, now that he has resumed his natural size, he can not get inside the ship." "Hurrah for King Hankos!" cried Jack and the others joined him in a hearty cheer.
"Hankos told me it was on top of the highest mountain in the land, and this must be it, for it is the loftiest place we have seen. But we must be careful, for there is danger down there." "What kind?" asked Mark. "The place was long ago deserted by the giants," Mr. Henderson went on.