The island takes two weeks to travel to Turkey. Along the way, the group enjoys various pursuits to pass the time. Lady Ming goes over troop movements, supplies, and equipment levels to help organize the revolution. Leah spends her time in horticulture and caring for (and talking to) the island's animals and mythical creatures. Chandra learns Atlantean and researches other forms of magic in the library. Elizabeth researches magic and the political history and social history of Atlantis. John Powers, Yaqoob, and Erik spend time flipping coins and working on their understanding of Entropy. Powers also practices marksmanship and partakes of his drug habit. (Elizabeth has a very stern talk with him about it, so he agrees to teetotal for the remainder of the voyage.) Erik practices his violin and composes, and has the Hermetic captain teach him how to better fight with a knife. Yaqoob dances fourteen hours a day. Chandra and Erik finally get a chance to meet one another, and have a talk about their paradigms.
When the island gets within reach of land, the group sets out on crystal ships to get to land early. When they arrive at the Ottoman Empire, there is a gentleman in local attire waiting for them on the docks. Yaqoob greets him in Arabic and says that he has completed his mission and collected the group, though he lost two along the way. Now they are his to do with as he wishes. The group, however, doesn't understand his Arabic. The man then speaks to the group in French, the language of diplomacy, and invites them to speak to some of the local diplomats.
The group moves to the palace, where they are expected. Each one is introduced by name (though most have not introduced themselves previously!), Leah as the ambassador from Atlantis. They meet directly with the emperor, who appears to be a straightforward and quirky fellow. She says they are interested in visiting and establishing diplomatic and trade relations, and is received warmly. While Atlantis does not have a lot of raw material exports, she says, they have much else to offer. After the audience, Leah meets with the Ottoman economic advisers and they hash out the basics of a treaty.
Yaqoob reveals that the man that met them is an old teacher of his in the magical arts. When asked about the local mage organization, he explains that the Ahl-i-Batin maintain a web of control that covers every Muslim-cultured area. Yaqoob introduces Lady Ming to some local mages. Erik wanders some of the streets and meets some street musicians, and plays for some of the populace. Lungshen heads off on his own, saying he'll be back.
That night there is a state dinner, with all the standard political subtexts. Afterward, the group retires to more private quarters, a heavily warded room with all mages in attendance. Discussion ensues about the differences between the east and west. Finally one of them informs the group that they are being chased by English ships, ones that may well have been retrofitted with much more advanced technology than anyone was expecting. Erik suggests that this may well be a splinter group created by the merger as they had feared, meaning that members would have had access to the arms-race technology. They are indeed affiliated with the East India Trading Company. This presents a problem.
The Ottoman mages suggest that the group might not leave the island here long for fear the pursuers may catch up and be able to do some serious damage this time. Plans ensue for moving the island to China. They suggest going to the south of China, where they have contacts and unrest is not so prevalent. There is also the possibility of Thailand. They offer their assistance if necessary.
Suddenly, one of the mages starts yelling in Arabic. When Erik asks Yaqoob quickly what happened, he gets a terse response: "A ward fell." Indeed, one of the wards on the door of the room has just fallen; lifesigh reveals one man on the other side. Suddenly, the door blows open, and Lungshen is standing behind it in formal court clothing, looking dramatic. The group begins to put their weapons away to disarm the situation, but the other mages have already relaxed - they have met Lungshen before. "Next time you make them vanish off the maps, let me know first," Lungshen says testily - he had been coming to rescue the group when all of his magic couldn't locate them.
Lungshen says he's well acquainted with these gentlemen, having met them both here and in China previously. He has been off gathering information. The group informs him of the pursuers. He says he has made some arrangements in China as well as for protection along the way. It would be best to leave in the morning, so they will need to arrange the emperor's tour tonight and secure his permission to fly across the country. They approach the emperor and explain. He says he would like to see the island in the daylight; it would be preferable to see it the next day and have Lungshen bring him back.
Yaqoob goes to the mosque and prays all night, meditating on the web and learning what's been going on since he left the area. This mixed with his dream gives him a lot of information. In the morning he joins the detachment who will be with the emperor. The emperor comes to the island for his tour. He is very much entranced with the phoenixes. He asks some questions on how the island works, but the group is not so willing to say. When it's time to leave, Lungshen dramatically picks him up on a chariot of clouds and takes him back to the palace.
The island heads to China, and a discussion ensues about how to deal with the pursuers if they do catch up. Some are in favor of simply crushing them; others feel they ought to be merciful as best as possible. The best solution seems to be to start with fireworks as a warning shot to spell out a message to the pursuers. The important constraint here is the shield - it cannot be lowered or the pursuers could touch the group with their spells. Others of the group also work on taking the wind out of their sails, improving the shield, and powering up the weapons system of the island, which turns out to take two days to warm up.
"Besides, she has Bard's Tongue. She doesn't have Bard's Arm." - Lyric
"[on his drug habit] Eventually, it will destroy you."
"... I use a very dilute solution." - Elizabeth, John Powers
"Well, first a few simple questions. Do you consider yourself a warlike nation?"
"Then I think we can be friends." - Ottoman Emperor, Leah
"Why does my turkey have flippers?" - Jon
"My rod of derailment cannot be resisted!" - Ze
"Uncle Sammael wants YOU!" - Lyric