"That was better than fighting," said Ozma, when all our friends were assembled in the palace after the exciting events of the morning; and each and every one agreed with her.
"No one was hurt," said the Wizard, delightedly.
"And no one hurt us," added Aunt Em.
"But, best of all," said Dorothy, "the wicked people have all forgotten their wickedness, and will not wish to hurt any one after this."
"True, Princess," declared the Shaggy Man. "It seems to me that to have reformed all those evil characters is more important than to have saved Oz."
"Nevertheless," remarked the Scarecrow, "I am glad Oz is saved. I can now go back to my new mansion and live happily."
"And I am glad and grateful that my pumpkin farm is saved," said Jack.
"For my part," added the Tin Woodman, "I cannot express my joy that my lovely tin castle is not to be demolished by wicked enemies."
"Still," said Tiktok, "o-ther en-e-mies may come to Oz some day."
"Why do you allow your clock-work brains to interrupt our joy?" asked Omby Amby, frowning at the machine man.
"I say what I am wound up to say," answered Tiktok.
"And you are right," declared Ozma. "I myself have been thinking of this very idea, and it seems to me there are entirely too many ways for people to get to the Land of Oz. We used to think the deadly desert that surrounds us was enough protection; but that is no longer the case. The Wizard and Dorothy have both come here through the air, and I am told the earth people have invented airships that can fly anywhere they wish them to go."
"Why, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't," asserted Dorothy.
"But in time the airships may cause us trouble," continued Ozma, "for if the earth folk learn how to manage them we would be overrun with visitors who would ruin our lovely, secluded fairyland."
"That is true enough," agreed the Wizard.
"Also the desert fails to protect us in other ways," Ozma went on, thoughtfully. "Johnny Dooit once made a sand-boat that sailed across it, and the Nome King made a tunnel under it. So I believe something ought to be done to cut us off from the rest of the world entirely, so that no one in the future will ever be able to intrude upon us."
"How will you do that?" asked the Scarecrow.
"I do not know; but in some way I am sure it can be accomplished. To-morrow I will make a journey to the castle of Glinda the Good, and ask her advice."
"May I go with you?" asked Dorothy, eagerly.
"Of course, my dear Princess; and I also invite any of our friends here who would like to undertake the journey."
They all declared they wished to accompany their girl Ruler, for this was indeed an important mission, since the future of the Land of Oz to a great extent depended upon it. So Ozma gave orders to her servants to prepare for the journey on the morrow.
That day she watched her Magic Picture, and when it showed her that all the Nomes had returned through the tunnel to their underground caverns, Ozma used the Magic Belt to close up the tunnel, so that the earth underneath the desert sands became as solid as it was before the Nomes began to dig.
Early the following morning a gay cavalcade set out to visit the famous Sorceress, Glinda the Good. Ozma and Dorothy rode in a chariot drawn by the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger, while the Sawhorse drew the red wagon in which rode the rest of the party.
With hearts light and free from care they traveled merrily along through the lovely and fascinating Land of Oz, and in good season reached the stately castle in which resided the Sorceress.
Glinda knew that they were coming.
"I have been reading about you in my Magic Book," she said, as she greeted them in her gracious way.
"What is your Magic Book like?" inquired Aunt Em, curiously.
"It is a record of everything that happens," replied the Sorceress. "As soon as an event takes place, anywhere in the world, it is immediately found printed in my Magic Book. So when I read its pages I am well informed."
"Did it tell you how our enemies drank the Water of 'Blivion?" asked Dorothy.
"Yes, my dear; it told all about it. And also it told me you were all coming to my castle, and why."
"Then," said Ozma, "I suppose you know what is in my mind, and that I am seeking a way to prevent any one in the future from discovering the Land of Oz."
"Yes; I know that. And while you were on your journey I have thought of a way to accomplish your desire. For it seems to me unwise to allow too many outside people to come here. Dorothy, with her uncle and aunt, has now returned to Oz to live always, and there is no reason why we should leave any way open for others to travel uninvited to our fairyland. Let us make it impossible for any one ever to communicate with us in any way, after this. Then we may live peacefully and contentedly."
"Your advice is wise," returned Ozma. "I thank you, Glinda, for your promise to assist me."
"But how can you do it?" asked Dorothy. "How can you keep every one from ever finding Oz?"
"By making our country invisible to all eyes but our own," replied the Sorceress, smiling. "I have a magic charm powerful enough to accomplish that wonderful feat, and now that we have been warned of our danger by the Nome King's invasion, I believe we must not hesitate to separate ourselves forever from all the rest of the world."
"I agree with you," said the Ruler of Oz.
"Won't it make any difference to us?" asked Dorothy, doubtfully.
"No, my dear," Glinda answered, assuringly. "We shall still be able to see each other and everything in the Land of Oz. It won't affect us at all; but those who fly through the air over our country will look down and see nothing at all. Those who come to the edge of the desert, or try to cross it, will catch no glimpse of Oz, or know in what direction it lies. No one will try to tunnel to us again because we cannot be seen and therefore cannot be found. In other words, the Land of Oz will entirely disappear from the knowledge of the rest of the world."
"That's all right," said Dorothy, cheerfully. "You may make Oz invis'ble as soon as you please, for all I care."
"It is already invisible," Glinda stated. "I knew Ozma's wishes, and performed the Magic Spell before you arrived."
Ozma seized the hand of the Sorceress and pressed it gratefully.
"Thank you!" she said.