MEANWHILE, A FEW MONTHS BEFORE IN SERRAINE …
“Ah, Master Matazumi, there you are! I went to the Onyx Tower, as instructed and here is the answer of Master Helsing. They also gave me a Flying Potion for you, how strange …” – the young gnome addressed the floating skull that was reading a book in the Great Library.
“GOOD. KEEP ALL, FORGOT MY POCKET TROUSERS” – said the dry, deep and unearthly voice of the Druji.
“Ah ah, very funny!” – well, at least funnier than the last one, that why-a-skeleton-never-climbs-a-cliff-without-a-rope, because-it-has-no-guts thing.
“NOW TAKE YOUR STUFF, WE GO“.
“Yes Master” – better never to annoy a Chief Librarian, especially if you are only a mere Apprentice, and your boss is an undead creature – thought Glimreen, taking its messy meddling box and the faithful skyhook set.
“So, Master, … what is it all this about? A digging on the ground floor, near the edge?”
“A HISTORY LESSON ON THE FIELD, YOUNG ONE: THE MECHANICIANS SAY UNDER A FEW COVER METAL PLATES THERE IS A QUITE OLD MACHINERY, THE COGS SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN PRODUCED BY ULTRAFAST COOLING OF THE CASTING, SHOWING A RAPID DENDRITIC FORMATION AND THUS ENSURING …” – the Druji continued his ramblings for a while, half-heard by Glimreen – yes, interesting but why me, there are better historians of Metallurgy, I like the Great Library and being a student there but someday I will be like Captain Topcat! Wait, what did they do?
The hole was almost at the ‘edge of the world’, like Serrainians called the borders of the flying city, with barriers and danger signals everywhere.
It was unusual to open a hole so near the border, and even stranger to take away the parapet! What did they think the wor… ehi, where did they WENT the workers?!? And the strange parasol on the border is not a parasol at all but a Bumber-Chute! 
“AH GOOD, A CLEAR SKY! THERE, FAR TO THE WEST, THE HALFLING HOMELAND, THE FIVE SHIRES. AND ALMOST UNDER US, FOUR OR FIVE THOUSANDS YARDS DOWN, A FRIENDLY PLACE, FOR YOU AT LEAST, THE GNOMISH KINGDOM OF HIGHFORGE! BUT PAY ATTENTION, THEY WOULD NOT APPRECIATE A QUICK VISIT OF YOURS!”
“Yes Master, sure!” – said the young gnome, seizing the bumber-chute and looking down – “You
INDEED – thought Matazumi, satisfied by its telekinetic push, grinning inward, always the same outward, and looking to the falling gnome, struggling to open the bumber-chute – IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF IT IS STRONG ENOUGH TO REACH THE GROUND FLOOR, PROBABLY NOT, OH WELL …
Oh no, a rip in the fabric … what do I do?!? Fu&%#ng skeleton! The potion, that BLASTED FLYING POTION! But I have the bumber in the right and the skyhook box in the left. My skyhooks … NEVER! – thought Glimreen, ready to leave the bumber-chute and search his pocket in free fall … BUMP!
Too soon for the ground – incoherently thought the stunned gnome.
He could see nothing while firmly kept inside something, still flying but horizontally this time, the only sounds the wind, stretched leather and unintelligible lamentations. He could soon see more, to his dismay, when the enormous green paw put him inside a big net along with a few horrified hins, the yellow malignant eye of the dragon, gleaming with satisfaction.
“Good, another snack for father, he will be pleased” – thought the big green reptile, flapping faster his membranous wings and turning south-east, in the direction of a big forest.
Notes: almost all notes refer to PC2 – Top Ballista D&D Official Accessory
- Matazumi is the, very unusual, Chief Librarian of the Great Library of Serraine, the Gnomish flying city.
- The Archmage Erik Helsing is the Master of the Onyx Tower, a magical school and laboratory.
- Meddling box and Skyhook Set: the two indispensable tools and most prized possessions for the gnome inventors! New inventions are designed with the Meddling box and built with the Skyhook tools, both custom made/modified and family heirlooms.
- Captain Gundal “Topcat” Lodestar is a gnome, Senior Pilot in the Top Ballista Flying Academy, “home of the finest flying aces in the Known World!”. His bitter rival for the supreme Rank of Top Ballista is the human ace Richter von Manthofen.
- A bumber-chute “looks like a large parasol and is worn on an airman’s back […] like a back-slung sword.” “They are not sold to anyone other than the Top Ballista squadrons and to senior Serraine residents.” It permits to land safely, in most cases …