26. A Double Escape
Soon Zann was in the girls' room, showing them the message moth and telling them about the password. Darb was with him, yawning and confused.
"I don't understand," Gliss said sleepily. "Who sent you this message?"
"I bet it was Yog." Perda rubbed her eyes. "I think he wants to help us."
"But if it was Yog, why wouldn't he have just let us out earlier?" Darb wondered.
"Who cares?" Zann said. "Let's see if the password works!"
"Are you crazy?" Gliss said, sounding more awake now. "If we use magic, Morb will be able to track us!"
"Only if he's still paying attention," Perda argued. "Don't you remember what Yog told us? He said the trolls aren't zapping their Red prisoners away anymore. Maybe that means Morb used up all his power when he captured the king and queen."
"Or maybe he didn't." Darb looked thoughtful. "We really have no idea why the trolls are keeping people at the zoo."
Zann released the message moth and turned back to his friends. "I know one thing—we're not going to find Boz's Magic Master friends if we're stuck in the palace. And we need their help. I'm willing to take a risk and use magic to get out of here."
"Me too," Perda said. "But we should hurry. Yog will be here soon to make our breakfast."
Zann nodded. "Yeah, and if he's not the one who sent us the password, we don't want to be here when he arrives."
Gliss hesitated. "I want to find my parents. But I think it might be better to just stay here and let the grown-ups figure out what to do." She shivered. "Plus I'm still worried that Morb might catch us."
"Maybe she's right," Darb said.
"He hasn't caught us so far," Zann pointed out. "Anyway, isn't it worth a little risk to find Boz's friends? Boz was always telling me stories about them, especially Teplo, who's supposed to be some kind of magical genius. A guy like that is much more likely to have a good plan than Slib."
"Right," Perda agreed. "I say we go for it!"
"Well . . ." Gliss still looked uncertain. "If you think we can get out of the palace without getting caught, I guess I'll go."
"We'll be fine," Zann assured her. "But to play it safe, let's split up. Morb probably can't track all of us if we zap to different places. Then we can meet up on foot."
"Split up?" Gliss said anxiously. "I don't want to go alone!"
"You can take Darb with you," Zann said. "It's better if I zap alone anyway. Because if Morb is going to come after anyone, it will probably be me."
"Smart plan," Perda agreed. "What do you say, Gliss?"
Gliss bit her lip. "Okay," she said in a small voice. "I'll do it."
"Good. Perda, Gliss, here's where you should focus on landing . . ." Zann described two spots in his old neighborhood.
They all got dressed and then gathered again in the main room. Darb held on to Gliss' elbow while she, Zann, and Perda formed a circle. Zann touched one palm to Perda's right hand and the other to Gliss' left. Soon sparks were flying.
"Focus on the places I told you about," Zann reminded them. "Zipflower!"
"Oh man!" Zann moaned, looking down. He'd planned on landing at the corner near his old house. Instead he landed a short distance away in a fountain.
But he forgot about his wet feet when he heard a loud grunt. Two huge trolls were charging right toward him!
Leaping out of the fountain, Zann took off running. The trolls thundered after him, grunting to each other in their own language.
Zann dashed out of the park and down a side street. Behind him he could hear the trolls getting closer with every step. Even though trolls were big and heavy, they could run fast when they wanted to.
But they didn't know this neighborhood the way Zann did. He dashed down an even smaller street and vaulted over a garden wall before the trolls rounded the corner. He could hear them grunting with anger and confusion as he tiptoed across the garden and out the gate on the far side.
As soon as Zann was sure that he'd lost the trolls, he jogged to the meeting spot. It was a quiet alley where nobody was likely to bother their little group. When he turned the corner, he saw Perda standing there, looking anxious.
"Zann! You made it!" she cried, her face relaxing into a smile. "I was just starting to worry."
Zann nodded. "Did you have any trouble with trolls when you landed?"
"No," Perda said. "Did you?"
"Yeah. I thought maybe they'd tracked our magic after all." Zann shrugged. "But Yog said there are trolls all over the city. It was probably just bad luck that they spotted me."
"Probably," Perda agreed. "Now that we're out of the palace, we should try to find new disguises for you and Gliss."
"You're right. And we should figure out how to get Zing back," Zann said.
Perda nodded and then pointed. "Look! Here comes Darb."
"Good." Zann glanced at Darb, who had just rounded the corner. "We did it!"
Their excitement quickly disappeared though when they realized that Darb was alone. Zann's heart skipped a beat. Where was Gliss?
When Darb got closer, Zann could see that his friend was completely terrified.
"They got her!" Darb cried out as he reached them. "The trolls got Gliss!"