The King of the seas summoned a current running fast and deep to guide the Rambling Man and the pirate ship through the vast ocean to a distant city of glimmering gold. It took them three days and three nights of sailing before they arrived at the shimmering port.
The dawn shown clear through scattered clouds, shining down with radiant sunlight onto a cyan ocean glimmering bold like jewels. Rising up from the ocean waves loomed a great and marvelous wall, lined with immense towers and ramparts, all of which cast entirely of glittering gold.
The golden city was a hubbub of noise and going-ons as the pirate ship pulled into dock. Cory the little monkey sat tall upon the Rambling Man's shoulder, his eyes wide with curiosity as they approached the city on foot. The little monkey chirped and chattered away at all the sights leaving the Rambling Man to wonder if the man trapped beneath the monkey's skin was a talkative fellow.
The Rambling Man stroke down the docks of golden boards while the pirates secured the ship from behind him. Before him approached four tall guards dressed in blues and golds--each of them handsome and strong with piercing eyes and carved features.
Old Man Durward caught up to the Rambling Man just as the four guards reached him. "Greetings, fair travelers," addressed one of the guards, his voice kind and welcoming. "Please, allow us to show you around our great city."
And they did as such, leading Old Man Durward, little Cory, and the Rambling Man down the golden streets of the city. Never had the Rambling Man seen such sights--every wall and structure of the city blazed with the sun's reflection cast off of more gold and jewels than could be counted. And from all around came the cries of happy people: laughter, music, and singing.
"If ever there was such a thing as a perfect city," spoke Old Man Durward, his voice in awe and his eyes wide, "surely it be this one."
"Perhaps so," said the Rambling Man--though his senses were not so enthralled as the old man behind him. He cast his eyes about the city and was left squinting--so many glittering surfaces flashed the sunlight directly into his eyes, threatening to blind him. "But more likely the gold is only upon the surface of the city. Deep down, I'm confident that it has its problems like any other city in the world."
At his words, the guards escorting them suddenly halted in their tracks. They turned to face him, looking down at him from their perfect frames and flowing hair--their faces darkened in shadow as the sun beamed down behind them, into the Rambling Man's eyes.
"There are no problems here," spoke one of the guards. "The city belonging to the Prince of the Sea is a perfect city in every way."
The Rambling Man considered them a moment--their features, their stature, their suddenly solemn faces--then looked up at them with the brightest smile he could muster. "Of course," spoke the Rambling Man. "I see it now. The sun had blinded me momentarily. Of course you are right--this is the fairest and most perfect city I have ever witnessed upon all my travels."
The guards smiled sincerely down upon him and turned, resuming their tour through the city. The Rambling Man dared a look over at Old Man Durward, who looked back at him just the same.
They kept walking through the city.