It was Tuesday when the army of Ix started upon its second march into Noland. With it were the witch-queen, King Bud, Princess Fluff, and Aunt Rivette. At evening they encamped on the bank of the river, and on Wednesday the army was ferried across and marched up the side of the mountain that separated them from the valley of Noland. By night they had reached the summit of the mountain, but they did not mount upon the ridge for fear they might be seen by the Roly-Rogues.
Zixi commanded them all to remain quietly behind the ridge, and they lighted no fires and spoke only in whispers. And although so many thousands of men lay close to the valley of Noland, not a sound came from them to warn the monsters that an enemy was near. Thursday morning dawned bright and pleasant, and as soon as the sun was up, the Roly-Rogues came crowding around the palace kitchen demanding that old Tollydob hurry the preparation of their soup.
This the general did, trembling in spite of his ten feet of stature, for if they were kept waiting, the monsters were liable to prod his flesh with their thorns. But Tollydob did not forget to empty the contents of the Silver Vial into the soup as the dog Ruffles had told him to do, and soon it was being ladled out to the Roly-Rogues by Jikki, the four high counselor, and a dozen other enslaved officers of King Bud. And the dog Ruffles ran through the city, crying to every Roly-Rogue he met, "Hurry and get your soup before it is gone. It is especially good this morning!"
So every Roly-Rogue in the valley hurried to the palace kitchen for soup, and there were so many that it was noon before the last was served, while these became so impatient that they abused their slaves in a sad manner. Yet even while the last were eating, those who had earlier partaken of the soup lay around the palace asleep and snoring loudly, for the contents of the Silver Vial had the effect of sending all of them to sleep within an hour and rendering them wholly unconscious for a period of ten hours.
All through the city the Roly-Rogues lay asleep, and as they always withdrew their heads and limbs into their bodies when they slumbered, they presented a spectacle of thousands of huge balls lying motionless. When the big kettle was finally empty and the lord high general paused to wipe the perspiration from his brow, the last of the Roly-Rogues were rolling over on their backs from the effects of the potion which the witch-queen brewed and placed in the Silver Vial.
Aunt Rivette had been flying over the city since early morning, and although the Roly-Rogues had been too intent upon their breakfast to notice her, the old woman's sharp eyes had watched everything that took place below. Now when all the monsters had succumbed to the witch-potion, Aunt Rivette flew back to the mountain where the army of Ix was hidden and carried the news to the witch-queen.
Zixi at once ordered her generals to advance, and the entire army quickly mounted the summit of the ridge and ran down the side of the mountain to the gates of the city. The people, who saw that something unusual was taking place, greeted Bud and Fluff and the witch-queen with shouts of gladness, and even Aunt Rivette, when she flew down among them, was given three hearty cheers.
But there was no time for joyous demonstrations while the streets and public squares were cluttered with the sleeping bodies of the terrible Roly-Rogues. The army of Ix lost no time in carrying out their queen's instructions, and as soon as they entered the city they took the long ropes they carried and wound them fast about the round bodies of the monsters, securely fastening their heads and limbs into their forms so that they could not stick them out again.
Their enemies being thus rendered helpless, the people renewed their shouts of joy and gratitude and eagerly assisted the soldiers of Ix in rolling all the Roly-Rogues outside the gates and to a wide ledge of the mountain. The lord high general and all the other counselors threw away their aprons and symbols of servitude and dressed themselves in their official robes. The soldiers of Tollydob's army ran for their swords and pikes, and the women unlocked their doors and trooped into the streets of Nole for the first time since the descent of the monsters.
But the task of liberation was not yet accomplished. All the Roly-Rogues had to be rolled up the side of the mountain to the topmost ridge, and so great was the bulk of their bodies that it took five or six men to roll each one to the mountaintop, and even then they were obliged to stop frequently to rest.
But as soon as they got a Roly-Rogue to the ridge, they gave it a push and sent it bounding down the other side of the mountain until it fell into the big river flowing swiftly below. During the afternoon all the Roly-Rogues were thus dumped into the river, where they bobbed up and down in the water, spinning around and bumping against one another until the current carried them out of sight on their journey to the sea. It was rumored later that they had reached an uninhabited island where they harm no one except themselves.
"I'm glad they floated," said Zixi as she stood upon the mountain ridge and watched the last of the monsters float out of sight, "for if they had sunk, they would have filled up the river, there were so many of them."
It was evening when Noland at last became free from her terrible tyrants, and the citizens illuminated the entire city that they might spend the night in feasting and rejoicing over their freedom. The soldiers of Ix were embraced and made much of, and at all the feasts they were the honored guests, while the people of Noland pledged them their sincere friendship forever.
King Bud took possession of the royal palace again, and Jikki bustled about and prepared a grand banquet for the king's guests, although the old valet grumbled a great deal because his six solemn servants would not assist in waiting upon anyone but himself.
The Roly-Rogues had destroyed many things, but the servants of the palace managed to quickly clear away the rubbish and to decorate the banquet hall handsomely. Bud placed the beautiful witch-queen upon his right hand and showed her great honor, for he was really very grateful for her assistance in rescuing his country from the invaders. The feasting and dancing lasted far into the night, but when at last the people sought their beds, they knew they might rest peacefully and free from care, for the Roly-Rogues had gone forever.