"Then," said Glinda, "my task is half accomplished. But who destroyed the transformation that made you fishes?"
"We have promised not to tell," answered Aurah; "but this young Skeezer was largely responsible for our release; he is brave and clever, and we owe him our gratitude."
Glinda looked at Ervic, who stood modestly behind the Adepts, hat in hand. "He shall be properly rewarded," she declared, "for in helping you he has helped us all, and perhaps saved his people from being imprisoned forever in the sunken isle."
The Sorceress now asked her guests to seat themselves and a long talk followed, in which the Wizard of Oz shared.
"We are quite certain," said Aurah, "that if we could get inside the Dome we could discover Coo-ee-oh's secrets, for in all her work, after we became fishes, she used the formulas and incantations and arts that she stole from us. She may have added to these things, but they were the foundation of all her work."
"What means do you suggest for our getting into the Dome?" inquired Glinda.
The three Adepts hesitated to reply, for they had not yet considered what could be done to reach the inside of the Great Dome. While they were in deep thought, and Glinda and the Wizard were quietly awaiting their suggestions, into the tent rushed Trot and Betsy, dragging between them the Patchwork Girl.
"Oh, Glinda," cried Trot, "Scraps has thought of a way to rescue Ozma and Dorothy and all of the Skeezers."
The three Adepts could not avoid laughing merrily, for not only were they amused by the queer form of the Patchwork Girl, but Trot's enthusiastic speech struck them as really funny. If the Great Sorceress and the famous Wizard and the three talented Adepts at Magic were unable as yet to solve the important problem of the sunken isle, there was little chance for a patched girl stuffed with cotton to succeed.
But Glinda, smiling indulgently at the earnest faces turned toward her, patted the children's heads and said:
"Scraps is very clever. Tell us what she has thought of, my dear."
"Well," said Trot, "Scraps says that if you could dry up all the water in the lake the island would be on dry land, an' everyone could come and go whenever they liked."
Glinda smiled again, but the Wizard said to the girls:
"If we should dry up the lake, what would become of all the beautiful fishes that now live in the water?"
"Dear me! That's so," admitted Betsy, crestfallen; "we never thought of that, did we Trot?"
"Couldn't you transform 'em into polliwogs?" asked Scraps, turning a somersault and then standing on one leg. "You could give them a little, teeny pond to swim in, and they'd be just as happy as they are as fishes."
"No indeed!" replied the Wizard, severely. "It is wicked to transform any living creatures without their consent, and the lake is the home of the fishes and belongs to them."
"All right," said Scraps, making a face at him; "I don't care."
"It's too bad," sighed Trot, "for I thought we'd struck a splendid idea."
"So you did," declared Glinda, her face now grave and thoughtful. "There is something in the Patchwork Girl's idea that may be of real value to us."
"I think so, too," agreed the golden-haired Adept. "The top of the Great Dome is only a few feet below the surface of the water. If we could reduce the level of the lake until the Dome sticks a little above the water, we could remove some of the glass and let ourselves down into the village by means of ropes."
"And there would be plenty of water left for the fishes to swim in," added the white-haired maiden.
"If we succeed in raising the island we could fill up the lake again," suggested the brown-haired Adept.
"I believe," said the Wizard, rubbing his hands together in delight, "that the Patchwork Girl has shown us the way to success."
The girls were looking curiously at the three beautiful Adepts, wondering who they were, so Glinda introduced them to Trot and Betsy and Scraps, and then sent the children away while she considered how to carry the new idea into effect.