"That's nothing," declared Dorothy. "I've never been 'specially proud of myself, but I'd rather be the way I was born than anything else in the whole world."
The Glass Cat, although it had some disagreeable ways and manners, nevertheless realized that Trot and Cap'n Bill were its friends and so was quite disturbed at the fix it had gotten them into by leading them to the Isle of the Magic Flower. The ruby heart of the Glass Cat was cold and hard, but still it was a heart, and to have a heart of any sort is to have some consideration for others. But the queer transparent creature didn't want Trot and Cap'n Bill to know it was sorry for them, and therefore it moved very slowly until it had crossed the river and was out of sight among the trees of the forest. Then it headed straight toward the Emerald City, and trotted so fast that it was like a crystal streak crossing the valleys and plains. Being glass, the cat was tireless, and with no reason to delay its journey, it reached Ozma's palace in wonderfully quick time.
"Where's the Wizard?" it asked the Pink Kitten, which was curled up in the sunshine on the lowest step of the palace entrance.
"Don't bother me," lazily answered the Pink Kitten, whose name was Eureka.
"I must find the Wizard at once!" said the Glass Cat.
"Then find him," advised Eureka, and went to sleep again.
The Glass Cat darted up the stairway and came upon Toto, Dorothy's little black dog.
"Where's the Wizard?" asked the Cat.
"Gone on a journey with Dorothy," replied Toto.
"When did they go, and where have they gone?" demanded the Cat.
"They went yesterday, and I heard them say they would go to the Great Forest in the Munchkin Country."
"Dear me," said the Glass Cat; "that is a long journey."
"But they rode on the Hungry Tiger and the Cowardly Lion," explained Toto, "and the Wizard carried his Black Bag of Magic Tools."
The Glass Cat knew the Great Forest of Gugu well, for it had traveled through this forest many times in its journeys through the Land of Oz. And it reflected that the Forest of Gugu was nearer to the Isle of the Magic Flower than the Emerald City was, and so, if it could manage to find the Wizard, it could lead him across the Gillikin Country to where Trot and Cap'n Bill were prisoned. It was a wild country and little traveled, but the Glass Cat knew every path. So very little time need be lost, after all.
Without stopping to ask any more questions the Cat darted out of the palace and away from the Emerald City, taking the most direct route to the Forest of Gugu. Again the creature flashed through the country like a streak of light, and it would surprise you to know how quickly it reached the edge of the Great Forest.
There were no monkey guards among the trees to cry out a warning, and this was so unusual that it astonished the Glass Cat. Going farther into the forest it presently came upon a wolf, which at first bounded away in terror. But then, seeing it was only a Glass Cat, the Wolf stopped, and the Cat could see it was trembling, as if from a terrible fright.
"What's the matter?" asked the Cat.
"A dreadful Magician has come among us!" exclaimed the Wolf, "and he's changing the forms of all the beasts--quick as a wink--and making them all his slaves."
The Glass Cat smiled and said:
"Why, that's only the Wizard of Oz. He may be having some fun with you forest people, but the Wizard wouldn't hurt a beast for anything."
"I don't mean the Wizard," explained the Wolf. "And if the Wizard of Oz is that funny little man who rode a great Tiger into the clearing, he's been transformed himself by the terrible Magician."
"The Wizard transformed? Why, that's impossible," declared the Glass Cat.
"No; it isn't. I saw him with my own eyes, changed into the form of a Fox, and the girl who was with him was changed to a woolly Lamb."
The Glass Cat was indeed surprised.
"When did that happen?" it asked.
"Just a little while ago in the clearing. All the animals had met there, but they ran away when the Magician began his transformations, and I'm thankful I escaped with my natural shape.