The queen heard, and was furious.
“It’s missing a note!” she snapped, and indeed–though the clock rang with bells like roaring lions, chirping frogs, howling coyotes and crying men–something was absent. “He’s made a mocking jingle of our royal clock’s melody. Drag him out to answer!”
The guards marched into the clock tower. They paced the catwalks, poked spears into crannies, and checked that they had missed no secret exit. Drosselmeier was gone.
The astronomer was laughing when they brought him to the throne room. “He’s escaped you, rodents!”
“And left you behind,” said the Pistachio Queen, “to hang.”