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Upon seeing the giant demoness combust, Lin Kuei did look toward the ceiling and shout something in Cathayan. Whereupon, his flying horsehair carpet did soar down to where we stood, atop Skogul's head, like the honey buzzard that had borne us, earlier. Upon arriving parallel to us, Lin Kuei did reach out his left arm...and push me before him!

Almost simultaneously, did we land upon the carpet. Whereupon, we did fly past Skogul's eyes, so that we could get her attention.

"Follow us!" he did cry out, upon doubling back: "For, whilst in hiding, I did discover that the trappings of this place are not of polished brass. But, frozen honey! And, when it melts, we will be buried beneath it, if we do not hasten ourselves away!!"

Whereupon, the carpet did take off. With Skogul following us; her father strewn lengthwise across her shoulders, like a water bearer with a two-bucket yoke. While, behind us, the flame-ridden empusa giantess did utter outcries of pain louder than the trumpetings of a hundred thousand elephants!

As we flew, I did see that Lin Kuei had been telling the truth. For, the walls of the corridors we traversed did begin to dribble and run like amber from a conifer. And, this effluvium did converge and congeal behind us. Almost literally upon Skogul's heels!

Not once along the way, however, did we encounter any Korybantes. Either they had already fled; or, in their slavish devotion, they were vainly trying to protect Ovaria's loyal acolytes. In any event, we soon began to ascend. Reversing the corkscrew pattern of our much-earlier descent!

Upon reaching the entrance hall, we found that vacant, as well. So, we exited, unopposed.

"If nothing else," I shouted to the Cathayan: "...at least that ungodly effluvium will bury Ovaria's accursed fruit!"

I did point to the dragon's eye peach trees we flew over.

"I fear we shall be buried along with them," he grimly replied: "Unless, of course, you still have some of that bone ash."

He smiled when I did show him the Venetian glass vial. But, that smile vanished, just as rapidly as it had appeared, when he saw the spot where we had first come into this realm. Instead, a look of utmost concentration replaced it, on his face, as he willed the carpet to land.

The moment we regained our feet, I did hear the crunching of wood behind us. I looked and beheld (with utmost relief) the Valkyrie of Jomsburg crashing through the orchard straight towards us. Svyatogor still safely lodged upon her shoulders.

Upon reaching us, she did shrink herself down to normal human-size. Her father automatically doing likewise, as a result. Following this, there was a shrill cry from directly overhead. Whereupon, the honey buzzard did alight atop the conical rice frond hat worn by Lin Kuei!

The latter did briefly grin. Then, he looked back up the hill, toward the castle-hive, before turning back to me and shouting:

"Now!! Use it now!!!"

Whereupon, I did throw the remainder of St. Nicholas' ash before us. And, once more, the white circle of light did appear!

Skogul and Svyatogor leaped through first, upon my insistence. Followed by Lin Kuei and the honey buzzard. Then, lastly, myself. And, none too soon! For, as I jumped, I did smell something sweet (and hear something bubbling) behind me.

When my vision had cleared, again, I was overjoyed to see that we were once more upon Avar-aral. Once again...on Earth!

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