"That was an awful big quake," replied Zeb, with a white face.
Zeb shook the reins and urged him to go, but Jim was stubborn.
Then she looked at Zeb, whose face was blue and whose hair was pink, and gave a little laugh that sounded a bit nervous.
Dorothy and Zeb looked at one another in wonder.
Zeb gave a shiver.
"We've got to come to the bottom some time," remarked Zeb, with a deep sigh.
But don't let us worry over such things, Zeb; we can't help ourselves just now, you know, and I've always been told it's foolish to borrow trouble.
Jim the horse had seen these spires, also, and his ears stood straight up with fear, while Dorothy and Zeb held their breaths in suspense.
"It's all wrong," said Zeb, gravely.
Zeb drew back with a shiver.
"I don't know," said Zeb, who was still confused.
Dorothy and Zeb jumped out of the buggy and ran after them, but the Sorcerer remained calmly in his throne.
A balloon meant to her some other arrival from the surface of the earth, and she hoped it would be some one able to assist her and Zeb out of their difficulties.
"Who did you say it was?" whispered Zeb to the girl.
So he followed the Prince into the great domed hall, and Dorothy and Zeb came after them, while the throng of people trooped in also.
No one did, because the Mangaboos did not wear hats, and Zeb had lost his, somehow, in his flight through the air.
Dorothy and Zeb now got out of the buggy and walked beside the Prince, so that they might see and examine the flowers and plants better.
No one now seemed to pay any attention to the strangers, so Dorothy and Zeb and the Wizard let the train pass on and then wandered by themselves into the vegetable gardens.
"That's true," said Zeb, thoughtfully.
With this he began walking in the air toward the high openings, and Dorothy and Zeb followed him.
"Why, there seems to be no night at all in this country," Zeb replied.
The little man, having had a good sleep, felt rested and refreshed, and looking through the glass partition of the room he saw Zeb sitting up on his bench and yawning.
Just then his eye fell upon the lanterns and the can of kerosene oil which Zeb had brought from the car of his balloon, and he got a clever idea from those commonplace things.
The Wizard carried his satchel, which was quite heavy, and Zeb carried the two lanterns and the oil can.
"That's the way I feel about it," remarked Zeb, rubbing his wounds.
Zeb struck a match and lighted one of the lanterns.
"It's good, anyway," said Zeb, "or those little rascals wouldn't have gobbled it up so greedily."
"How funny!" exclaimed Dorothy, who with Zeb and the Wizard now stood in the doorway.
As he spoke the voice came so near to Zeb that he jumped back in alarm.
Oh, I guess Zeb could fight if he had to.
Couldn't you, Zeb? asked the little girl.
The Wizard got out his sword at once, and Zeb grabbed the horse-whip.
As soon as he trotted out upon the surface of the river he found himself safe from pursuit, and Zeb was already running across the water toward Dorothy.
Zeb hitched Jim to the buggy again, and the horse trotted along and drew them rapidly over the smooth water.
All three got into the buggy and Zeb picked up the reins, though Jim needed no guidance of any sort.
"Suppose the stairs get steeper?" suggested Zeb, doubtfully.
So they began to ascend the stairs, Dorothy and the Wizard first, Jim next, drawing the buggy, and then Zeb to watch that nothing happened to the harness.
"Are they real?" asked Zeb, in an awed voice.
These birds were of enormous size, and reminded Zeb of the rocs he had read about in the Arabian Nights.
The stairs had become narrower and Zeb and the Wizard often had to help Jim pull the buggy from one step to another, or keep it from jamming against the rocky walls.
"The Country of the Gargoyles is all wooden!" exclaimed Zeb; and so it was.
Unhitch those tugs, Zeb, and set me free from the buggy, so I can fight comfortably.
"Wish I had an axe," said Zeb, who by now had unhitched the horse.
Zeb ran and picked up one of the Gargoyles that lay nearest to him.
Before this crowned Gargoyle had recovered himself Zeb had wound a strap several times around its body, confining its wings and arms so that it could not move.
The wooden things wound their long arms around Zeb and the Wizard and held them fast.
"I feel sleepy myself," remarked Zeb, yawning.
"That," said Zeb, "explains why this house is used by them for a prison.
Then the line was let down again for Zeb to climb up by.
The girl sat in the middle of the seat, with Zeb and the Wizard on each side of her.
Quick Zeb, help me pull off these wooden wings!
Inside the archway were several doors, leading to different rooms built into the mountain, and Zeb and the Wizard lifted these wooden doors from their hinges and tossed them all on the flames.
At such times Dorothy, Zeb and the Wizard all pushed behind, and lifted the wheels over the roughest places; so they managed, by dint of hard work, to keep going.
"How old are you?" enquired Zeb, who stared at the yellow eyes as if fascinated.
"Never mind," said Zeb, "we don't want to get back, anyhow."
"And there is no way to go back," added Zeb, with a low whistle of perplexity.
"And were you?" asked Zeb, astonished at what he heard.
"Your friends sound like a menagerie," remarked Zeb, uneasily.
"Was Ozma once a boy?" asked Zeb, wonderingly.
"Nothing seems to happen," said Zeb, doubtfully.
The cab-horse gave a nervous start and Zeb began to rub his eyes to make sure he was not asleep.
"Where is Dorothy?" enquired Zeb, anxiously, as he left the buggy and stood beside his friend the little Wizard.
So Zeb unharnessed Jim, and several of the servants then led the horse around to the rear, where they selected a nice large apartment that he could have all to himself.
Zeb was also escorted to a room--so grand and beautiful that he almost feared to sit in the chairs or lie upon the bed, lest he might dim their splendor.
"Oz can do some good tricks, humbug or no humbug," announced Zeb, who was now feeling more at ease.
Jim and the buggy followed, the old cab-horse being driven by Zeb while the Wizard stood up on the seat and bowed his bald head right and left in answer to the cheers of the people, who crowded thick about him.
This made Zeb laugh, in turn, and the boy felt comforted to find that Ozma laughed as merrily at her weeping subject as she had at him.
"Go!" cried Zeb; and at the word the two horses leaped forward and the race was begun.
Zeb also wanted to see his home, and although he did not find anyone morning for him, the sight of Hugson's Ranch in the picture made him long to get back there.
"Where is she?" asked Zeb, rather bewildered by the suddenness of it.
Then Zeb brought out Jim, all harnessed to the buggy, and took his seat.
It's Zeb--and Jim, too! he exclaimed.
"Why, in the world, Uncle," answered Zeb, with a laugh.