Missed the beginning? Start here.
Sabrina heard cheering as she, Juniper, Betsy, and Harriet walked into the hidden camp. Georgette came right over to them and said, “What a wonderful job you all did!! No one even noticed that we rescued Roger and his family! We were out of the village with them and no one even looked our way.”
Just then Sabrina noticed a tall man with brown hair approaching, with one arm across the shoulders of a woman with long blonde hair. She was carrying a tow-headed toddler, and a small boy with light brown hair walked next to the man. As they approached, Georgette said, “Let me introduce you to Roger, Anne, Millicent, and Benjamin.”
Roger said, “How ever can we thank you? You were wonderful!”
Sabrina looked down at her shoes, turning a bit red in the face from embarrassment. Juniper tried to move behind Betsy but Benjamin yelled, “A dragon!”
Roger and Anne started to move back away from the group when Betsy said, “Yes, Benjamin, and she helped rescue you. Would you like to meet her?”
Benjamin looked up at his father and then looked back at Betsy saying, “Will she hurt me?”
“Of course not, silly,” said Betsy. “She’s just a kid herself and besides, dragons don’t hurt people. That is just a nasty rumor. Now, come on. You’ll love Juniper.”
Benjamin looked back at his parents who nodded, a bit tentatively at first but then with more confidence as Anne said, “Let’s all meet her.”
Sabrina stood next to her friend with a hand on her neck as the family approached. “I’m Sabrina and this is my best friend, Juniper,” she said and soon everyone was chatting away.
Once everyone had gotten introduced, Georgette said, “Now we need to plan our next moves. The first thing that must happen is to get Roger and his family along with Sabrina and Juniper over to the other side of the river where they will be safe.”
Tom nodded and said, “That definitely is the first priority. But I also think it is time to start figuring out how to stop this cult that has such a stranglehold on our village.”
The others nodded in agreement and Harriet added, “Many people will starve this winter, now that the granary has been destroyed, without assistance from the dragons. And I know the dragons are very happy to help. We need a change in leadership.”
Loud cheers accompanied Harriet’s remarks and when the group quieted down, Georgette said, “I agree and that will take planning from both sides of the river. Right now, I want to know who will take this group,” she motioned to Roger, his family, Sabrina, and Juniper, “through the tunnel to the dragons?”
Betsy looked around and then spoke up. “I’d like to do that if you don’t need me for something else.”
Georgette nodded. “What do you think about staying on that side of the river for a bit as our representative? I know you prefer to stay on your own mountain, but we really need you.”
Betsy thought for a moment before answering, “There are still a few more weeks before I begin my winter nap, so yes, I’ll stay with these young ones and see them settled.” With that, Betsy went to stand beside Sabrina and Juniper.
“Thanks, Betsy,” said Sabrina and Juniper nodded in agreement.
Then Tom said, “I think all of us villagers need to get back into the village before we are missed and help with the clean up. We can also start canvassing the villagers more seriously to see just who really supports the mayor and his henchmen and who doesn’t.”
“I agree,” said Harriet. “And we need a way to communicate with those on both sides of the river.”
“I wondered when someone would get to me,” said Henrietta from one of the trees. As she swooped down, she said, “I’ll be happy to be the messenger as I frequently fly across the river anyway.”
“Thanks, Henrietta,” said Georgette. “OK, for now, all you villagers get back to the village, and you know the drill. Go in singly and just melt back into the fabric of village life. And Jerome,” she added looking at the raccoon, “Would you be willing to check in with Tom and Harriet each evening? You could bring any messages from them to me or Henrietta.”
“Sure thing,” answered Jerome.
And with that, the villagers headed out of the camp. Georgette looked at Roger, Anne, their children, Sabrina, and Juniper. “Now you will be entrusted with our biggest secret. Under no circumstances can you let anyone know about this escape route. Do you understand?” and she glared at little Benjamin, who scurried behind his father as he nodded. When everyone agreed never to reveal the escape route, Georgette continued.
“Many years ago, the dragons succeeded in excavating a tunnel right under the river. We have used this tunnel to smuggle across the river any who were in danger or who were fed up with the way the village was being run. Now it will be your turn. Betsy will take you to the entrance and cross with you. Henrietta will fly across the river to alert the dragons on the other side who will welcome you when you get there. Roger, you and your family will find a warm welcome and a lot of assistance from the humans on that side of the river. They will help you get started with a new life. Juniper, you will be re-united with your family, and if I’m guessing at all right, Sabrina, you will be staying with Juniper and her family until we can figure out how to return you to your world.”
Sabrina hugged Juniper and said, “I’m so glad I’ll be with you.”
“Is everyone ready?” said Georgette.
They all nodded.
“Then, Betsy, off you go, and good luck!”
With that, the group headed out, following Betsy through the woods toward the river.
A tunnel that goes under the river, thought Sabrina. I sure hope it is safe.