The sand yacht runs into turbulence not far from Sarani - their destination - and crashes. No-one is hurt, but Miriam is unimpressed; Rua seems to be far too good at crashing things. They walk to the coast, rounding it to make it unseen to the city. In Sarani, which is the home of the Flyers' Guild, the Principal of the Guild is holding a meeting with other high-ranking Flyers. She wants to find their errant pilot, Annuin Setharan, although her reasons are a little unclear. The reports she has suggest the world is changing, and she doesn't know if the well-travelled artifact - or the people linked to it - are responsible. The three reach the city by way of the beach. It consists of a city on a massive chunk of rock floating - how, is not clear - above the city on the ground. Kites and flyers swarm around the rock, and the whole thing is pretty impressive to look at. Arram goes to Miriam's father's lab, and finds a hefty lock guarding a room with a desk and a child's bed in it. He is understandably confused. He remembers the report, including the description of a Tsiennese man seen outside the building before the murders. Miriam has left for her 'safe place' on a boat, weirdly enough. Where can she go on a boat? Rua and Rain head for the city, both rather downcast, although Rua claims it's because he hasn't been paid. Miriam is welcomed to 'Second' (what happened to 'First'?), which is a conglomeration of boats and rafts all held together, out of sight of land. It's a collection of exiled scientists, their research and their papers, and it's pretty close to paradise as far as she's concerned. She's welcomed by Maren, whose boat bears a variety of experiments including a plant breeding one. He has pink and blue plants and is trying to interbreed them to get stripy petals as described in some very old documents, but the hybrids he has are weak and don't flower. He echoes the thoughts of the Darishian scientist, suggesting the world was created and is running down, which Miriam doesn't like. Arram leaves the laboratory, having drawn a blank, somewhat discouraged and wondering where to go. As he heads down the stairs, he runs into a trio from beyond his wildest dreams - monsters, fantasies. A large, two-legged thing with a tail and an elongated head, wearing armour and carrying a long complex machine. A chitinous six-legged blue monster, and a moving metal creation. Terrified, he runs, losing his borrowed hat along the way. He's grabbed by a girl, who asks him what's up, but later claims not to have seen anything. He is annoyed by her implicit suggestion that he dreamed or imagined it. Her name is Shirin, and she is also a freelancer hired by the notaries on the same job as him. She tells him his quarries fled through Danio and the logical place after that is Sarani, and suggests they go straight there by Flyer, which he had not thought of. Of course, the Flyers would carry the agents of the powerful Notaries' Guild, and time is of the essence. In Sarani, Rua wants to return to Darishian. He doesn't want to stay in the Wind City, although Rain figures it will be full of rich pickings. During their discussion, Rain spots the man from Triaden, the same one who bought the artifact, and rashly picks the man's pocket. Surprisingly, the artifact is there - and as Rain grabs it, it gives off a shrill alarm which Rain doesn't seem to hear. Rua grabs Rain's arm and they run from the scene of the crime. The victim of Rain's pickpocketing turns round - under the hat, it no longer looks like the dark-skinned man but instead appears very similar to the chitinous creature Arram saw, although it's green, not blue. The police call the Flyers out to search for the fugitives. Apparently they went offshore, and there has long been a rumour of an offshore dwelling place. At first, the Principal refuses - the Flyers are neutral - but on learning that one of the thieves is Tsiennese, she relents - hoping, perhaps, that it's her missing pilot - and the Flyers are launched. Miriam is in the library when the Flyers arrive overhead. She is reading up on the police investigation of her father's death, and is crying quietly. Maren runs in and tells her that they've been found, and she leaves the records and follows him. The Flyers are everywhere overhead, and another scientist, Maarten, fires his newest creation, a cannon, at the Flyers, against Maren's judgement. Miriam is horrified at the use of gunpowder, which belongs firmly on the side of Forbidden Science. She backs away, and bumps into Rua, who did indeed flee to the raft, along with Rain. Angry and upset, she accuses Rua of leading the Flyers to the raft, but Maren interrupts and says they have to go now. His boat can take them all. Miriam asks about the library, but all Maren can say is that it will be lost, along with many projects. He stops and stares at a bulky object floating on the water covered by a canvas. It is his main project, what he had to leave his city for. Miriam asks what it is, but Rua replies, recognising it as a flyer. Maren says it is waterborne and will carry many people, but now it will have to be destroyed. As though it's against his wishes, Rua reluctantly admits he can fly one, and Maren excitedly gives him directions and urges him to take Rain and Miriam with him. They are to fly west across the continent to Tiermond, a city on the west coast, where there has long been an assigned meeting point, just in case something like this happened. As they take off, Rain sees the Flyers, provoked by Maarten's cannon, firing their propellant rockets at the raft. Into this confusion, Arram and Shirin's flyer arrives, although it has to wait for the others to be brought home at the order of the horrified Principal. Arram and Shirin are stunned by the chaos in town. They find out that something has been stolen - although both of them were told the same thing by numerous people, so either lots of things have been stolen, or one thing has, and many people want it. Arram has suspicions of what it is, and is also getting wary of Shirin, and doesn't say anything. Shirin wants to talk to the Flyers and find out everything they can.