The Skywheel burst like a bubble over a crowd of swaying, cheering Meerie, and
dropped its passengers in their midst. Hoisted high on the Meerie’s shoulders, Brola
appeared to be riding the crest of a giant green wave.
“See the Skywheel!” she shouted proudly. “And there are more! I found them all!
I found the Dome! Me, Brola!”
“–didn’t the Gyzols attack you?”
“–didn’t they try to poison you?”
“They tried,” retorted Brola, “but they couldn’t stop me!”
“Shameful! Bomb them with Greengrass! Horrible Gyzols! Dirty thieves!” cried
the Meerie all together in rustling confusion, their Greengrass puffing up like the fur
on a troop of angry cats.
“Hang on!” yelled Donal over the din. “Listen! The Gyzols aren’t thieves!”
Scores of black eyes blinked at him.
“–oh yes, terrible thieves, they stole the Skywheels and the Dome–”
“No, they didn’t,” cried Donal. “They were never stolen! They were buried in a
sandstorm. And it wasn’t Brola who found them – it was Ulan Nuur!”
“He can’t have them!” squealed Brola.
“Certainly not,” said Ulan Nuur with dignity. “A dreadful mode of travel. I much
prefer to walk.”
But Donal was furious. “Ulan Nuur saved your life back there in the desert!” he
shouted. “Without him, you’d be a bundle of bones on the sand! How dare you be so
mean and – and ungrateful?”
He might have well have saved his breath for all the attention the Meerie paid
“Brola’s our heroine!” they cried. “Hurrah for Brola the brave!”
“Brave? She spent half the time hiding under my raincoat!”
Brola glared at him furiously, but the other Meerie were too busy chanting to hear.
“Kill the Gyzol cowards! Sow the Greengrass! Cover their land!”
Ulan Nuur cleared his throat loudly. The Meerie hushed as he stepped forward to