When night fell all the interior of the Great Dome, streets and houses, becam_ighted with brilliant incandescent lamps, which rendered it bright as day.
Dorothy thought the island must look beautiful by night from the outer shor_f the lake. There was revelry and feasting in the Queen's palace, and th_usic of the royal band could be plainly heard in Lady Aurex's house, wher_zma and Dorothy remained with their hostess and keeper. They were prisoners,
but treated with much consideration.
Lady Aurex gave them a nice supper and when they wished to retire showed the_o a pretty room with comfortable beds and wished them a good night an_leasant dreams.
"What do you think of all this, Ozma?" Dorothy anxiously inquired when the_ere alone.
"I am glad we came," was the reply, "for although there may be mischief don_o-morrow, it was necessary I should know about these people, whose leader_re wild and lawless and oppress their subjects with injustice and cruelties.
My task, therefore, is to liberate the Skeezers and the Flatheads and secur_or them freedom and happiness. I have no doubt I can accomplish this i_ime."
"Just now, though, we're in a bad fix," asserted Dorothy. "If Queen Coo-ee-o_onquers to-morrow, she won't be nice to us, and if the Su-dic conquers, he'l_e worse."
"Do not worry, dear," said Ozma, "I do not think we are in danger, whateve_appens, and the result of our adventure is sure to be good."
Dorothy was not worrying, especially. She had confidence in her friend, th_airy Princess of Oz, and she enjoyed the excitement of the events in whic_he was taking part. So she crept into bed and fell asleep as easily as if sh_ad been in her own cosy room in Ozma's palace.
A sort of grating, grinding sound awakened her. The whole island seemed t_remble and sway, as it might do in an earthquake. Dorothy sat up in bed,
rubbing her eyes to get the sleep out of them, and then found it was daybreak.
Ozma was hurriedly dressing herself.
"What is it?" asked Dorothy, jumping out of bed.
"I'm not sure," answered Ozma "but it feels as if the island is sinking."
As soon as possible they finished dressing, while the creaking and swayin_ontinued. Then they rushed into the living room of the house and found Lad_urex, fully dressed, awaiting them.
"Do not be alarmed," said their hostess. "Coo-ee-oh has decided to submerg_he island, that is all. But it proves the Flatheads are coming to attack us."
"What do you mean by sub-sub-merging the island?" asked Dorothy.
"Come here and see," was the reply.
Lady Aurex led them to a window which faced the side of the great dome whic_overed all the village, and they could see that the island was indee_inking, for the water of the lake was already half way up the side of th_ome. Through the glass could be seen swimming fishes, and tall stalks o_waying seaweeds, for the water was clear as crystal and through it they coul_istinguish even the farther shore of the lake.
"The Flatheads are not here yet," said Lady Aurex. "They will come soon, bu_ot until all of this dome is under the surface of the water."
"Won't the dome leak?" Dorothy inquired anxiously.
"Was the island ever sub-sub-sunk before?"
"Oh, yes; on several occasions. But Coo-ee-oh doesn't care to do that often,
for it requires a lot of hard work to operate the machinery. The dome wa_uilt so that the island could disappear. I think," she continued, "that ou_ueen fears the Flatheads will attack the island and try to break the glass o_he dome."
"Well, if we're under water, they can't fight us, and we can't fight them,"
"They could kill the fishes, however," said Ozma gravely
"We have ways to fight, also, even though our island is under water," claime_ady Aurex. "I cannot tell you all our secrets, but this island is full o_urprises. Also our Queen's magic is astonishing."
"Did she steal it all from the three Adepts in Sorcery that are now fishes?"
"She stole the knowledge and the magic tools, but she has used them as th_hree Adepts never would have done."
By this time the top of the dome was quite under water and suddenly the islan_topped sinking and became stationary.
"See!" cried Lady Aurex, pointing to the shore. "The Flatheads have come."
On the bank, which was now far above their heads, a crowd of dark figure_ould be seen.
"Now let us see what Coo-ee-oh will do to oppose them," continued Lady Aurex,
in a voice that betrayed her excitement.
The Flatheads, pushing their way through the line of palm trees, had reache_he shore of the lake just as the top of the island's dome disappeared beneat_he surface. The water now flowed from shore to shore, but through the clea_ater the dome was still visible and the houses of the Skeezers could be diml_een through the panes of glass.
"Good!" exclaimed the Su-dic, who had armed all his followers and had brough_ith him two copper vessels, which he carefully set down upon the groun_eside him. "If Coo-ee-oh wants to hide instead of fighting our job will b_asy, for in one of these copper vessels I have enough poison to kill ever_ish in the lake."
"Kill them, then, while we have time, and then we can go home again," advise_ne of the chief officers.
"Not yet," objected the Su-dic. "The Queen of the Skeezers has defied me, an_ want to get her into my power, as well as to destroy her magic. Sh_ransformed my poor wife into a Golden Pig, and I must have revenge for that,
whatever else we do."
"Look out!" suddenly exclaimed the officers, pointing into the lake;
"something's going to happen."
From the submerged dome a door opened and something black shot swiftly ou_nto the water. The door instantly closed behind it and the dark objec_leaved its way through the water, without rising to the surface, directl_oward the place where the Flatheads were standing.
"What is that?" Dorothy asked the Lady Aurex.
"That is one of the Queen's submarines," was the reply. "It is all enclosed,
and can move under water. Coo-ee-oh has several of these boats which are kep_n little rooms in the basement under our village. When the island i_ubmerged, the Queen uses these boats to reach the shore, and I believe sh_ow intends to fight the Flatheads with them."
The Su-dic and his people knew nothing of Coo-ee-oh's submarines, so the_atched with surprise as the under-water boat approached them. When it wa_uite near the shore it rose to the surface and the top parted and fell back,
disclosing a boat full of armed Skeezers. At the head was the Queen, standin_p in the bow and holding in one hand a coil of magic rope that gleamed lik_ilver.
The boat halted and Coo-ee-oh drew back her arm to throw the silver rop_oward the Su-dic, who was now but a few feet from her. But the wily Flathea_eader quickly realized his danger and before the Queen could throw the rop_e caught up one of the copper vessels and dashed its contents full in he_ace!