Ozma realized that her friends were doing all in their power to rescue her and smiled an encouragement to their efforts. Dorothy seemed a little anxious but was trying to be as brave as her companion.
After the boat had returned to the camp and Glinda was seated in her tent, working out various ways by which Ozma and Dorothy could be rescued, the Wizard stood on the shore dreamily eying the outlines of the Great Dome which showed beneath the clear water, when he raised his eyes and saw a group of strange people approaching from around the lake. Three were young women of stately presence, very beautifully dressed, who moved with remarkable grace. They were followed at a little distance by a good-looking young Skeezer.
The Wizard saw at a glance that these people might be very important, so he advanced to meet them. The three maidens received him graciously and the one with the golden hair said:
"I believe you are the famous Wizard of Oz, of whom I have often heard. We are seeking Glinda, the Sorceress, and perhaps you can lead us to her."
"I can, and will, right gladly," answered the Wizard. "Follow me, please."
The little Wizard was puzzled as to the identity of the three lovely visitors but he gave no sign that might embarrass them.
He understood they did not wish to be questioned, and so he made no remarks as he led the way to Glinda's tent.
With a courtly bow the Wizard ushered the three visitors into the gracious presence of Glinda, the Good.
The Three Adepts
The Sorceress looked up from her work as the three maidens entered, and something in their appearance and manner led her to rise and bow to them in her most dignified manner. The three knelt an instant before the great Sorceress and then stood upright and waited for her to speak.
"Whoever you may be," said Glinda, "I bid you welcome."
"My name is Audah," said one.
"My name is Aurah," said another.
"My name is Aujah," said the third.
Glinda had never heard these names before, but looking closely at the three she asked:
"Are you witches or workers in magic?"
"Some of the secret arts we have gleaned from Nature," replied the brownhaired maiden modestly, "but we do not place our skill beside that of the Great Sorceress, Glinda the Good."
"I suppose you are aware it is unlawful to practice magic in the Land of Oz, without the permission of our Ruler, Princess Ozma?"
"No, we were not aware of that," was the reply. "We have heard of Ozma, who is the appointed Ruler of all this great fairyland, but her laws have not reached us, as yet."
Glinda studied the strange maidens thoughtfully; then she said to them:
"Princess Ozma is even now imprisoned in the Skeezer village. for the whole island with its Great Dome, was sunk to the bottom of the lake by the witchcraft of Coo-ee-oh, whom the Flathead Su-dic transformed into a silly swan. I am seeking some way to overcome Coo-ee-oh's magic and raise the isle to the surface again. Can you help me do this?"
The maidens exchanged glances, and the white-haired one replied
"We do not know; but we will try to assist you."
"It seems," continued Glinda musingly, "that Coo-ee-oh derived most of her witchcraft from three Adepts at Magic, who at one time ruled the Flatheads. While the Adepts were being entertained by Coo-ee-oh at a banquet in her palace, she cruelly betrayed them and after transforming them into fishes cast them into the lake.
"If I could find these three fishes and return them to their natural shapes -- they might know what magic Coo-ee-oh used to sink the island. I was about to go to the shore and call these fishes to me when you arrived. So, if you will join me, we will try to find them."
The maidens exchanged smiles now, and the golden- haired one, Audah, said to Glinda:
"It will not be necessary to go to the lake. We are the three fishes."
"Indeed!" cried Glinda. "Then you are the three Adepts at Magic, restored to your proper forms?"
"We are the three Adepts," admitted Aujah.