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But now for the next chapter I need something fancier than high-temperature ropes and pullies to lower stuff into the caldera. Maybe a hot-air balloon powered by the upwelling gases? C and I will both be grateful for any ideas.

For those who care, Queen Ernestine -- along with the magic spatula and the magic frying pan -- is a long-running character in C's bedtime stories. The far she's been a sailor, ship captain, short-order cook, defended her throne against a couple of coups and her country against invasions, dealt with the economic and culinary complications you might imagine would arise with a magic frying pan and spatula, and generally seen the world. But now the frying pan has gotten a rust spot and can only be re-seasoned by heating in The Polar Volcano. The first expedition was mostly a failure, but I have hopes for the second.

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