As the Royal Carriage approached the edge of the forest, Jenny could make out more and more of the huge, White Dome. It was like a giant moon, rising up beyond the trees, bigger than the whole Castle of Raggedy Lyme, and stretching right over the top of it, like an enormous arch was an even bigger rainbow. It was spectacular! The Queen’s Carriage flew around the outside of the Dome and then up and over the rainbow. Jenny had never imagined that she would one day be looking down on a rainbow. She said its colours in her head:
Red … Yellow … Green … Blue … Indigo … Violet
Then she frowned. Was that right? Six colours? But now Grandma Lily was signaling to the Witches to park their chairs outside the Dome. And Jenny could hear Molly telling her they were about to land, so she picked up her backpack and watched through the window as the Dragonflies flew lower and lower. And finally landed. Jenny stared in amazement. Looking down on it, the White Dome had seemed to be very big but now, looking up at it from down on the ground, it looked enormous. Huge and White. But with no doors or windows.
The Raggedy Knights were already waiting, and two of the King’s Men had stepped out of the Dome to greet them. Jenny and Molly jumped out of the carriage and several Witches hurried over to help Grandma Lily and Queen Peony step down. Witch Hazel and Witch Eyebright’s faces were almost as White as their cloaks. The King’s Men had told them that it was a little crazy inside the Dome and that it might be better if Queen Peony waited outside until things had been put into better order. A large swarm of Fairies immediately flew down and buzzed around the Queen. But Queen Peony shooed them away and shook her head: ‘Please thank the King’s Men for their concern, but I intend to see for myself.’
‘Your Majesty,’ said Witch Hazel. ‘Shall I summon the Bubble-carriages?’
‘No. We will pass through the Dome on foot. Please arrange for the Royal Carriage to be waiting on the other side. Grand Witch Lily, you will walk beside me. Sister-witch Jenny Berry, Princess Molly Berry, you will stay close by us.’
The Queen beckoned Sir Lucas to her side: ‘Sir Lucas, my Raggedy Knights will accompany me on foot. Instruct your horses to meet you on the other side of the Dome.’
Sir Lucas touched his sword and bowed: ‘Your Majesty, will the White Witches accompany us?’
‘Yes, Sir Lucas, I feel they will be needed inside. Please instruct the King’s Men to open the Hidden Door.’
Sir Lucas marched away and moments later a strange humming noise could be heard coming from the Dome. Then, slowly, part of the White wall in front of them began to slide open. The Raggedy Knights marched through the wide opening, and everyone followed them inside.
And the door closed behind them.
The first thing Jenny noticed was that, although she had not been able to see into the Dome from the outside, now that she was inside the Dome, she could see everything that was outside. She could see the flying chairs parked neatly in rows, the Raggedy Knights’ Green horses, the Royal Carriage and the Dragonflies. But Jenny was more interested in what was inside the Dome. She looked around her. She was standing in a wide street. There were buildings down either side, with hedges of gooseberry bushes between them. The buildings were all the same apart from their coloured doors. The door nearest them was Blue with large Black writing that said:
Gloves (including mittens)
Boots (including Wellingtons)
Jenny thought that perhaps her Red mitten had spent a little time hiding behind that door. Then one of the King’s Men stepped over and informed the Queen that the Blue and Pink Hiding Places were still quite well-organised and that, according to Prince Sorrel’s Boy Fairies, it was further in that the muddle began.
Jenny looked at the Pink Door opposite. She couldn’t quite make out the writing because it was also Pink. So she whispered to Molly:
‘What’s in the Pink Hiding Place, Molly?’
‘Handbags, purses, wallets, briefcases, umbrellas,’ whispered Molly. ‘Things like that.’
‘Oh,’ said Jenny. ‘I think my see-through umbrella might have hidden in there.’
Grandma Lily looked at her and smiled. Then the Queen called for everyone’s attention. She turned to the King’s Man: ‘We will go straight to the next Hiding Place. Would you remind me what usually hides behind the Yellow Door?’
The King’s Man answered straightaway: ‘Your Majesty, the Yellow Hiding Place has books and maps. But the Knave Prince Sorrel has sent the two Alphabet Fairies on an errand, so now everything in there is in the wrong place and nobody can find anything. If you would all care to follow me, you may see for yourselves.’
He led the way to the Yellow door. Sir Lucas and two of the Raggedy Knights hurried over to walk beside the Queen. Their hands were firmly on their swords. Jenny wondered what they were expecting to find behind the Yellow Door. But as it opened the first thing Jenny saw were two sets of long, skinny fingers and a small, skinny face with two beady, Black eyes, peering round the door. Jenny gasped.
‘It’s one of Prince Sorrel’s Book Fairies,’ explained Molly.
‘He’s very … thin!’ whispered Jenny.
‘All the Book Fairies are thin. Because they spend so much time reading that they forget to eat,’ said Molly. ‘But he looks very worried.’
The Queen waited for the Door to open properly and then Sir Lucas and his two Knights accompanied her inside. She invited Grandma Lily and Jenny and Molly to join her. The skinny Book Fairy walked backwards, bowing and keeping his distance.
‘My Goodness, what a mess!’ exclaimed the Queen.
And it was! The room was full of shelves and books. But, the shelves were mostly empty and the books were mostly over the floor.
‘Why are these books not arranged on the shelves?’ demanded the Queen.
The Book Fairy backed even further away, so far away that Jenny could only just hear what he was saying.
‘Please, Your Majesty, I do not yet know my alphabet, so without the Alphabet Fairies I cannot put these books in their rightful places on the shelves.’
Jenny and Molly looked at each other and tried not to laugh. Grandma Lily frowned at them. Then she whispered in the Queen’s ear. The Queen nodded and turned to her Witches, who were peering in through the doorway.
‘Witch Willow,’said the Queen, ‘you are very good at alphabetical things. You will choose a dozen Fairies that know their alphabets, and you will all remain here and help this unfortunate Book Fairy tidy up this mess. Although I cannot imagine why Prince Sorrel would not insist that ALL his Fairies learn their alphabets!’
Straightaway Witch Willow started to choose her Fairy helpers. Jenny looked at the Queen and frowned: ‘Your Majesty, may I ask the Book Fairy about the Alphabet Fairies’ errand?’
The Queen said that sounded like a good idea, so Jenny asked the Book Fairy about the errand and he told her that the Knave Prince Sorrel had been reading a story and he didn’t like the ending, so he had sent the Alphabet Fairies to find a better one.
Jenny looked at Molly and rolled her eyes: ‘Everything I hear about Prince Sorrel is worse than the thing before,’ she said.
‘I do agree,’ said Queen Peony. ‘But, now, let us remind ourselves where the next door leads us.’