Dumbee unwrapped the sphere in his arms and let his black cloak fall to the ground. What he held in his hands was the most delicate and fragile thing that he had ever held before. It felt as if he were holding nothing at all: its glistening glass skin was as thin as a bubble.
He looked at the girl inside, and she was very peculiar. Her glow had dimmed, perhaps because of the contrast with the sunlight, but she also seemed to have frozen in place. Not a flame on her yellow-orange head flickered.
Suddenly the bubble floated up into the air out of his hands and burst. He shielded his face from fierce white light, and heard a giant ‘Crack!’ from above. A girl flopped onto the ground as the light faded.
Dumbee looked down at her. Her eyelids were fluttering rapidly. “Oh, it’s me,” she murmured.
“She’s beautiful,” Idior said rapturously.
Dumbee narrowed his eyes at his stupidly grinning face. “—She shall be my queen,” Dumbee announced suddenly. He gazed at her hair spread across the grass like rays of sunlight. Although she seemed quite human, there was still something in her eyes which resembled flickering candle-flames. He took a string from his trouser pocket and reached down for her wrist.
As soon as his fingers touched her wrist he shrieked and jumped back in agony. He clutched his splotchy red burnt hand to himself in shock. “Idior,” Dumbee said in a low voice through his teeth, “bind this girl.”
Idior shrugged and calmly reached down for her wrist. He helped the blinking girl to her feet. “Come along,” he said cheerfully to her as Dumbee and Cilious turned and walked away.