Missed the beginning? Start here.
“Wow,” said Sabrina as she looked around Juniper’s home. “This is absolutely amazing!”
“Do you really like it?” asked Juniper.
“Truly!” said Sabrina. “I’d never thought about a cave as being warm and inviting, but that’s just what this is. I love all the wall hangings. They are just beautiful. And the bright green cushions are so comfy.”
Earthstone said, “I’m glad you like our home. You are welcome to stay for as long as you like.”
“Thank you,” said Sabrina. “I really don’t know where else I could go as I can’t get home again, but I am also very happy to be here and to have found Juniper.”
“Let’s all get comfortable here and then we do have some things to explain to you,” said Alfred. Seeing a look of alarm crossing Sabrina’s face he went on quickly, “It’s nothing bad. Truly. Just some things you need to know so you can make the decisions that are best for you.”
“OK,” said Sabrina a bit hesitantly.
Once they were all comfortable, Alfred began. “Many centuries ago, dragons lived in your world, along with humans and many other life forms. Gradually, as humans grew in numbers and began evolving, many of them lost their connection with other life forms. They began thinking of themselves as the only intelligent life. They took whatever they wanted without any regard for others. Dragons became feared and were hunted nearly to extinction.”
Alfred paused and Sabrina said, “I’m so very sorry.”
“You’ve seen some of the worst examples of this mindset in the village where you helped rescue Roger’s family. Anyway, to continue the story, our ancestors found an opening into an alternate world. All dragons as well as a number of other life forms decided to leave your world and set up homes here in this new world. Over the centuries, the thin curtain between the worlds has remained, although the location is shifted periodically. The dragons control the curtain and we can see those who are approaching the barrier. We then decide whether or not to let someone through into our world.”
“So you saw me in that cave and decided that I could enter your world,” said Sabrina. “I feel really lucky!”
“Yes,” said Earthstone with a smile. “You are certainly someone we would honor and treasure as a part of our community. You have a good and loving heart.”
“Thank you,” said Sabrina.
Alfred went on. “Unfortunately we aren’t always right in our assessments. When the mayor and his group found the curtain, they were a persecuted minority and we wanted to help them. So we allowed the entire group to enter. Thankfully, we made sure they settled on the other side of the river as a precaution. But now we have a real problem on our hands. Let’s leave that for the moment and get back to you.”
“Me,” said Sabrina.
“Yes. You should know that through the centuries we have had other travelers who came and spent time with us for a variety of reasons. Some stayed with us, but others chose to go back to their world and try to fix some of the problems that exist there.”
“You mean I could go back,” said Sabrina.
“Yes, and the choice will be yours. If you return to your world, then you will have to keep our secret. But you will be able to visit us in your dreams and we will always be here to support you. In addition, if you are fortunate, you may just meet some kindred spirits who have also visited here.”
“Wow,” said Sabrina. “My head is spinning. I never dreamed about all this. Do I have to decide right away?”
Earthstone laughed and said, “No, you can make the decision anytime within the next few weeks. If you wait much longer, then we won’t be able to send you back, and the choice will be made for you.”
“I see,” said Sabrina thoughtfully. “And if I go back, what will I say about where I’ve been?”
“We have the ability to send you back to the very moment you left your backyard, so no one need know anything except that you were going for a walk,” said Alfred.
He paused and then said, “I know this is a lot to process and it is a big decision. Why don’t you live with us for a couple weeks. Go to school with Juniper and meet others, humans, dragons, gryphons, everyone in our community. Get to know us and let us get to know you. Then, I’m sure you will be able to make the choice that will work best for you, knowing that we will support whatever decision you make.”
Sabrina sighed and looked at Juniper. “Well, at least we will have two weeks to be together whatever I decide.”
Juniper nodded and said, “I really want to have you meet those bullies!”
Earthstone said, “Yes, Juniper. We’ve talked with the teachers and the students and tried to impress on them all that just because you have a bent wing doesn’t mean that you don’t have a true dragon nature. But you will be able to show them much better if you head back to school with the confidence you have gained and the knowledge that you saved lives.”
“Yeah,” said Juniper. “That’s right isn’t it!”
“And I want to see what happens to the mayor,” said Sabrina.
“OK, that’s enough discussion for now,” said Earthstone. “You girls get settled and then we’ll have dinner. Tomorrow is a school day so you need to get to bed at a reasonable time.”
“I guess,” said Juniper with a sigh. “But first, let me show you my things and where you can sleep.”
With that, the two friends raced out of the room.