Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 18 (The End)

Missed the beginning? Start here.

They all got back to Juniper’s home really late after relocating the mayor and his group, so Earthstone and Alfred let both girls sleep in. But once they were up and had had their breakfasts, Earthstone said, “Let’s all go into the living room so we can hear your decision, Sabrina.”

Alfred began, once everyone was comfortable. “So, as you know, Sabrina, today is your last chance to return to your world, so you must decide now whether you will stay with us or return to your father and sister. Whichever you decide will be fine and you will have a wonderful life either way. Do you have any questions?”

Sabrina shook her head and said, “No, I understand the choice and it is certainly a difficult one. But the bottom line, I guess, is that I wouldn’t feel right about staying, even though that is what I’d really like, because it would feel too much like running away. And I do miss my father and my sister and I don’t want my sister to have to grow up alone.”

Sabrina looked down at her hands in her lap as her tears started to fall. “Life here is so wonderful and I’ve learned a lot, but I think I must go back.”

Earthstone moved closer to Sabrina and gave her a big hug as she said, “We honor your decision. And remember, you and Juniper will grow stronger in your telepathic skills and Betsy will always be your guide. I know it isn’t the same as being with us all, especially since you won’t be able to tell anyone about your time here, but it is a lot more than you had before you came here. You won’t be so alone when you return.”

Sabrina nodded, unable to speak as the tears rolled down her cheeks.

Alfred stood and said, “We will fly you to the cave entrance, and Juniper, you may come as well. Sabrina, be sure you take everything that you brought with you when you arrived.”

Sabrina went and packed her backpack and Juniper helped. Then Juniper held up a small smooth blue rock. “I want you to have this to take back. It will give you something to hold on to if you are scared or worried.”

“Thanks, Juniper. And we’ll be able to talk telepathically, or at least I hope so,” said Sabrina.

It didn’t take long to reach the ledge by the waterfall. “As we mentioned before,” said Alfred, “we will take you back in time to the moment you left your yard and we will place you right at the edge of the yard but out of sight of the house so you won’t be spotted.”

“Right,” said Sabrina, nodding to show she understood.

“And once you are through the gateway, we will move the link between our worlds for the safety of both worlds. Neither you nor Juniper will know where the new portal is. OK?” said Earthstone.

Again Sabrina nodded. All too soon she was getting hugged by the three dragons for a last farewell, and then she was standing at the edge of her backyard.

Wow, she thought. They really did it. Well, I’d better get back before anyone notices that I was going to run away.

The next morning Sabrina headed off to school as if nothing had changed, but she was determined that things would be different. Her father had told her at breakfast that she wouldn’t be taking French any longer. She would be allowed to take woodshop, which she loved, for the remainder of the school year and next year she would switch to Latin.

It will be nice not to have to suffer through French at least. Still, there is gym. Maybe I can change things there too.

Sabrina was shocked when she heard Juniper saying, I know you can! Can you hear me?

Yes, I can! Oh, you are with me and I’m with you! Betsy was right. I feel much more confident already.

When she walked into gym class she saw that once again, Miss Smith had decided to have teams for dodge ball. And once again, Kari was stuck with Sabrina. But that is when things changed. Before Kari could open her mouth to criticize and bully Sabrina, Sabrina said, “I know you aren’t happy that you have me on your team and honestly, I can see why. I’m lousy at sports and always have been. But I’d like to propose a truce and something that might help us both.”

“What,” sneered Kari.

“Well, as you have accurately stated, I’m no good at sports. But I also know that you are having trouble in math and science. What I’d like to suggest is that we work together.”

“Be seen with you? Never!”

“OK, suit yourself. But if your grade point slips you won’t be allowed to stay on the basketball team. And before you think that I want to be friends or come over to your house or hang out or anything, I don’t. I wouldn’t like that any better than you would.”

“So what do you mean,” said Kari.

“I would be willing to help you with your math and science homework as long as you promise me that you and your friends will stop bullying. And I don’t mean just me. You are to stop bullying anyone. It is hurtful and it harms you as much or more than it harms to other person. So as long as you aren’t bullying, I’ll help you study for math and science.”

“Well,” said Kari, “maybe. But where, when? And what about my friends? Will you help them too?”

“Sure,” said Sabrina. “How about at lunch? A lot of students study at lunch so it wouldn’t be hard to set up a group for math and science.”

“What’s in it for you,” asked Kari suspiciously.

“One, my day will be much more pleasant without all the snide comments. And two, maybe you could help me be less of a klutz.”

“Not sure there is any chance of that,” said Kari, but this time Sabrina noticed that she had a smile on her face, just pleasantly joking.

As they shook hands on the deal, Miss Smith called the class to order. Sabrina didn’t do well at dodge ball, but Kari was reasonably pleasant about it and even commented positively on the one and only good play Sabrina made. After class, Miss Smith called Sabrina over. Once everyone else had left, she said, “I was very impressed by your handling of a difficult situation. Nice job.”

“Well,” said Sabrina, “I’ve thought about the issues around bullying a lot lately and I just figured it was worth a try.”

“It certainly was. See you tomorrow!”

As Sabrina was walking to her next class, she chatted with Juniper. Can you believe it? I’m going to be tutoring Kari and her friends but at least they won’t be bullying anyone.

That’s fantastic, answered Juniper. I knew you’d come up with something. I can’t wait to tell Miss Ingrid, and mom and dad, of course.

Say hi to everyone for me! Talk to you soon!

And with that, Sabrina headed into biology. Maybe I can have both worlds, she thought as she opened her book.

THE END

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Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 17

Missed the beginning? Start here.

The remainder of the week whizzed by much too quickly as far as Sabrina was concerned. She and Juniper spent every spare moment working on telepathic communication. At first nothing worked, but after a couple of days they succeeded in chatting telepathically as long as they were near each other. The only good thing about that was that they could talk all through the school day and not get into trouble for it. By the weekend, they were really comfortable with being in each other’s head.

“But what happens if I leave,” said Sabrina, who was still trying to decide.

“Betsy says it will work,” said Juniper. “We have to trust her.”

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear. Sabrina and Juniper were up early helping with the preparations to fly to the village across the river. Sabrina would be riding on Earthstone and Juniper on her dad.

“I sure wish I could fly,” said Juniper, turning her head to look at her bent wing.

“I know,” said Sabrina. “It must be really tough.”

“Maybe when I’m full grown. The doctors say there is a chance,” said Juniper. “Anyway, it is a beautiful day and we’ll get to see Georgette and Henrietta and Harriet and everyone!”

The flight over the river was uneventful and Sabrina thought, as she looked down from the back of Earthstone, that she’d never seen such a large, wide river! They landed at the edge of the village where they were met by Betsy and Tom.

“Georgette is in the village organizing everything. I am happy to report that the majority of the villagers seem really glad that the mayor, his family, and his cronies are leaving. I think things will be much more pleasant here once they are out on their island. And who knows, maybe they will one day have a change of heart,” said Betsy.

“What’s the plan?” asked Earthstone.

“There are twenty-two people to be taken to the island. And let’s see, there are nine dragons here,” said Betsy after doing a quick count. “If you could divide up the people between you, do you think you could get them all there in one trip?”

Alfred looked at the others and then said, “I’d think so. A few of us will have to take three, but there are children among the group, so yes, that should be fine.”

“Great! That will give them time to look over their new home while we then bring over their supplies. Come on, then. Let’s let the villagers see you.”

Betsy led the dragons into the village square and Sabrina noticed how quiet everything got. Then the major said, “I’m not getting on one of those horrible things.”

Georgette glared at him and after a moment said, “Yes, you will. If you don’t go willingly, we’ll bind and gag you and tie you on.”

After much grumbling and a lot of hateful comments, the mayor was seated on Alfred, with his oldest son behind him. The others were much less trouble and soon all nine dragons had passengers.

“OK, Alfred, you’re free to take off. We’ll be ready for you when you return,” said Georgette.

As soon as the dragons were out of sight, Georgette called the remaining villagers together.

“We need you to help us organize the supplies that will be going off to the mayor to sustain them through the winter. Once we have them set up, we’ll be back to bring you plenty of food to replace what you lost,” said Georgette.

“When will we get to see Roger and the others who left for your side of the river?” asked one woman.

“Don’t worry. Once we have the mayor and his bunch settled, we’ll work out all the details and we’ll also show you the tunnel that goes under the river so that we can have regular visits between the groups. I know you were raised to think that animals aren’t intelligent, and are only good for food. I know you have some trust issues about your own safety. But let me reassure you yet again. No one is going to hurt you and we believe in working together so everyone has what they need,” finished Georgette.

It took the dragons two hours to fly to the island and another two hours to get back again after which they needed to rest. By the time the dragons were ready to go, all the supplies had been packed. Betsy was the biggest help loading the packs onto the dragons, but Sabrina noticed that a number of the villagers, once they became a bit more comfortable around the dragons, also helped.

Sabrina notice one woman talking with Earthstone. “So you have schools and everything?” the woman asked.

Earthstone said, “Yes, and our schools are open to all. Both Sabrina and Juniper go to classes together. Sabrina has yet to decide if she is staying in our world or returning to her own, but the school has many different species and they all learn together.”

“Amazing,” said the woman as she finished tying down the last of Earthstone’s packs.

Earthstone looked at Sabrina and Juniper. “You two help Betsy and enjoy your day here. Maybe you could talk to the villagers and let them know what life is like on our side of the river. It will be late by the time we get back. And, Sabrina, once we are back, we’ll fly straight home. Remember, tomorrow is the day that you have to make your decision about whether to stay in our world or return to your own.”

The girls nodded and Sabrina said very glumly, “Yes, I know.”

Betsy came over and put a paw on each of their shoulders. “Don’t worry, Earthstone. I’ll be working with these two today so that Sabrina can make an informed decision.”

With that, the dragons took off again. As Sabrina watched them flying high she wondered, Will I ever see dragons fly again?

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 16

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Betsy woke the girls before dawn. “I wanted to talk with you both but I also have to leave to get things ready in the village.”

The girls sat up quickly and wiped the sleep from their eyes. “That’s OK,” said Sabrina. “We really want to hear what you have to tell us.”

Juniper nodded and so Betsy began. “I’ve been watching the two of you and you have formed a powerful bond. When this kind of bond exists, then some new possibilities open up. I wanted to share those with you before any decisions are made about staying or leaving.”

The girls nodded and Betsy continued. “Sabrina, what do you know about religion?”

“Nothing really.” She hesitated before going on. “My father says that religions are for the weak who can’t manage on their own.”

Betsy nodded. “I suspected as much. What do you know about spirits or what we call the spirit world?”

“Nothing,” said Sabrina shaking her head.

“Again, that doesn’t surprise me. In our world we have a very close connection to the world around us. We believe (well except for the mayor across the river, that is) in the sanctity of life. We believe in the natural rhythm of life and believe that each and every one of us is connected. That is why, when we hunt, we hunt only what we need for our own survival and we give thanks to the plants and animals which sustain us.”

Sabrina nodded, still looking a bit confused.

“So this means that we are closer to what I call the real world. We can feel the spirits of others even when we aren’t right next to them. And we each have a spirit guide to help us through our lives. To cut to the bottom line, I believe that the bond that you and Juniper share will allow you to communicate telepathically, even across the boundary between our two worlds.”

The girls looked at each other as Betsy went on. “Unfortunately, I have to leave now, so I can’t begin teaching you, but I have been following you even when I haven’t been visible to you, and I believe that I am meant to guide you, to be your spirit guide.”

“Wow,” said Juniper. “My parents have told me all this and said that I’d find my guide when I came of age, but to have you, that’s the best!”

Betsy laughed and then went on, “What your parents told you, Juniper, is the natural order of things, but Sabrina’s landing in our world, and more importantly, the bond that the two of you have formed, has changed things. I have talked with your parents and they are very supportive of this rather different way for you to receive a spirit guide. As a result, your right of passage to adulthood will be a bit different, but I’m not concerned with that now.

“I really wanted you, Sabrina, to know this as you make what has to be a very hard decision. I wanted you to know that even in your world, I believe you and Juniper will be able to communicate in more than just dreams, as wonderful as that is. I also wanted you to know that I will be able to be your spirit guide in your world as well. We can work on the details and I can teach you even after you return to your other home, if that is what you choose. I am very familiar with your world, and you aren’t the first human I have served in this capacity, so I know it will work. Your decision should be based entirely on what path you feel will be best for you rather than thinking you have to choose your sister or Juniper. I think you have a saying that ‘You can’t have it both ways,’ but in fact, at any meaningful level, you will be able to have both worlds.”

“That’s a lot to think about,” said Sabrina.

“Yes, it is. But since we are all going to be pretty busy over the rest of the week relocating the mayor and his cronies, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that if you go back, you won’t be going back without friends. The decision is still yours to make, and whichever way you decide will be fine. Neither path is better; they are just different,” concluded Betsy.

“Can we do anything now,” asked Juniper.

“Yes, for now, try to sent thoughts back and forth just using your minds. It won’t work right away, so don’t get discouraged. Right before you fall asleep is the best time as your minds are relaxed and open. And I’ll talk with you both again before Sabrina has to decide. But now, I need to get out of here. See you in a few days,” said Betsy, giving each of them a hug.

Once Betsy had gone, Sabrina looked at Juniper and said, “What do you think?”

“I’m excited. I know of several beings who can communicate telepathically. My folks can do it, for instance. But I never thought I’d be able to, much less that I’d be able to do it with a human and even across the boundary between our worlds.”

“Well, I don’t know anyone who can do it, at least for real. There are plenty of charlatans who claim they can but the only ones I know about have been proven to be frauds. Still, I know that Native Americans have a shamanic tradition that I think is similar to what Betsy said about honoring all life, giving thanks to the animal that was killed for nourishment, and having spirit guides. I guess our world has just lost way too much contact with the natural world,” said Sabrina.

Just then they heard Earthstone calling. “Hurry up, girls, or you’ll be late for school.”

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 15

Missed the beginning? Start here.

The next morning Earthstone made sure that both Sabrina and Juniper ate a good breakfast even though both girls were too nervous to care. Then she walked them to school and introduced Sabrina to the teacher, a gorgeous blue dragon named Miss Ingrid.

“Welcome to our school,” said Miss Ingrid. “You won’t be the only new student today as young Benjamin has just arrived as well. Please come in and I’ll see that you get settled.”

Earthstone said, “Have a great day and I’ll be eager to hear all about it when you get home.” She then gave each of them a hug before she left.

Sabrina walked into the classroom and realized that this was a very different school. The building was a lot smaller than her school back home and it just had one big room. However, it was more than the fact that it was a one room school. As she looked around she realized that the students weren’t all dragons, which she’d thought they might be, or even all dragons and humans. There were all kinds and ages of students. She saw a raccoon working diligently at one desk and a bear cub reading in a nook on the far side of the room. There were desks and chairs, but there were also things that looked like bean bags, and there was even a tree growing right up through the roof.

“Wow,” said Sabrina in amazement.

“Do you like our school?” asked Miss Ingrid.

“Yes! It is fantastic.”

“Well, come on up to the front and we’ll get you properly introduced,” said Miss Ingrid. “Benjamin, can you come here too?”

“Do I have to also,” said Juniper.

“Yes, you do,” said Miss Ingrid, as she looked down at Juniper. “But it will be fine.”

Once Miss Ingrid had called the class to order she began. “We have already discussed the heinous actions which led to Juniper’s being stranded on the ledge above the waterfall.” She paused for a moment and looked at a pair of dragons at the back of the room. “But today I would like to let you know how that incident turned out and what it revealed about your classmate, Juniper, as well as our two new students, Sabrina and Benjamin.”

“Juniper was trapped, and naturally scared. The only way down would take her to the far side of the river and you all know what dangers that would hold. Just as she was going to try to find a different route, Sabrina walked into our world. The two young women became friends and together, with the help of others they met along the way, they managed to find their way down the mountainside.”

“Big deal,” said a brown dragon in the back.

“Yes, Jeff, it was a big deal, and I’ll let them share the harrowing details of their descent with you if they want.”

“If she were a proper dragon she could have flown and wouldn’t have needed a human girl.”

“Jeff, you are way out of line. If you wish to stay in this school you will have to learn that every living creature has value. Dragons are no better than humans or any other species. The sooner you get that through your head the better off you will be. Otherwise, you are no better than the mayor at the village across the lake. Now, if I may continue,” said Miss Ingrid.

“Jeff does have one thing right,” she said as she went on. “While the descent down the mountain was very difficult and daunting, Sabrina and Juniper had help and they were very fortunate in that. The real courage in their story was shown when the plight of Benjamin and his family was revealed.

“Sabrina and Juniper were going to be helped across the river using the escape tunnel but before that could happen, Benjamin and his family were arrested by the mayor and sentenced to be hanged the next day. Benjamin had trusted a friend to keep his secret, that he had been rescued by Jerome. Benjamin had broken his leg and Jerome got help for him. But Benjamin’s friend told the mayor and that’s why the entire family was arrested.”

“Jerome is my uncle,” said the raccoon in the corner. “He’s a great guy.”

“Yes, Hildegard, he is and he also helped in this rescue. Now, this is where Juniper showed her true nature. The rescue group needed a diversion and Sabrina and Juniper volunteered. Juniper showed herself on the other side of the village so that the mayor and his soldiers would see her. Then she and Sabrina ran, as the mayor ordered them to be shot. They managed to lead the troops away from the village, with the result that others were able to rescue Benjamin and his family. Without Juniper’s efforts and Sabrina’s help, the rescue might never have happened or at least never happened without injuries. Furthermore, if Juniper were able to fly, her task would have been much easier. The fact that Juniper managed this in spite of the fact that she wasn’t able to fly makes her feat even more remarkable.”

Miss Ingrid paused to let that sink in. She knew that each and everyone in the room knew the dangers that the mayor posed.

“Juniper may never be able to fly. We have no idea at this point just how much she will be able to do to accommodate her bent wing. But what she has clearly demonstrated is her courage and her sense of justice. Jeff, you tried to say that Juniper wasn’t a real dragon. Well, that is so far from the truth as to be ludicrous. You and others have made the mistake of judging based on appearances or physical attributes alone. Juniper has proven what most of us have always known, that she is a true dragon with all the right instincts.”

With that the class burst out in applause and Sabrina was pleased to notice that even Jeff clapped, even if he did it with less enthusiasm than some others.

Once the class was quiet again, Miss Ingrid continued. “Sabrina has also had a big adjustment to make, landing in our world. She’d never seen a dragon before and she’d never known that other species are sentient as well. In her world, humans are the only ones who speak.”

“That’s horrible,” said the bear cub.

“I agree,” said Miss Ingrid. “We are very lucky to have learned how to work together. I count on each and every one of you to help Sabrina learn about our world. She has a very tough decision to make in the next few weeks. She will have to decide whether to stay with us forever or whether to return to her own world. She needs all the information we can provide so that she can make a well-informed decision. She also deserves to have a good experience here, especially after all she has already done to help our world.”

Once again the students applauded.

Miss Ingrid then said, “And we want to welcome Benjamin into our school and our lives. Many of you have been rescued from the other side of the river, so I know I can count on you to help him with the transition as he learns about our ways.”

The students shouted out, “Welcome, Benjamin!”

“OK, enough on the introductions. It is time for math,” said Miss Ingrid.

Soon the students were hard at work and Sabrina was given a desk next to Juniper’s workstation. Sabrina thought, This is the coolest school I’ve ever seen. I’d sure hate to leave it. What should I do? And with that, she looked at the algebra book that Miss Ingrid had given her.

Part 15:

Each day was a new adventure and the time just seemed to fly by. Soon Sabrina was going to have to make her decision. She and Juniper talked with Miss Ingrid about the issues of bullying and Miss Ingrid was really helpful. If I do go back, thought Sabrina, I’ll at least have a better idea of how to cope with Kari and her friends.

Just then Earthstone came into her room. “We’ve just heard from the village across the river and I think you will be interested in the news. Want to come to the meeting we are going to hold tonight?”

“Yes, please,” said Sabrina.

Juniper came in just as her mother left. “Did you hear? We get to go to the meeting tonight. I wonder what is happening.”

“Something good, I hope,” said Sabrina. The girls spent the rest of the afternoon doing their homework so that they would be ready for the meeting.

After dinner, Sabrina and Juniper washed the dishes as Earthstone and Alfred tidied their large living room. Earthstone had also made some dessert snacks that looked really good. Soon the living room started to fill with dragons, humans, and a few other interested parties. Sabrina and Juniper gave yells of delight as Betsy ambled in.

“Betsy! It is so good to see you,” said Sabrina as Betsy gave each of them a big hug.

“I’m happy to see you two also. I insisted on coming to this meeting so that I could talk with the two of you as well. We’ll have a chance to catch up in the morning and I have some really interesting information for you both.”

“Great,” said Juniper just as her dad called the meeting to order.

“Thank you all for coming out tonight. I’d like to introduce Betsy, whom I believe you all know, who has some really great news to share. Betsy, take it away,” said Alfred.

“Thanks, Alfred, and thanks for opening your home to us all,” Betsy began. “I’m sure you all know about the latest rescue. It turns out that when Roger and his family were captured, there were many folks who thought that the mayor had gone too far. Tom and Harriet did all they could to fuel the discord, and also to discover just how many supporters the mayor actually had.”

“What did they discover,” asked Alfred.

“Turns out that Sabrina and Juniper aren’t the only ones who have had to deal with bullies. The mayor has been using bullying tactics, pitting one person against another, withholding rations, or severely limiting them if people didn’t vote for him and other heinous acts. This last episode was the final straw for many.”

“And with winter coming on,” said Earthstone, “I imagine the diminished supplies are also adding to the mayor’s burdens.”

Betsy started laughing. “You got that right. His plan is to creep across the river and raid us!”

Everyone got a good laugh out of that idea. Betsy continued, “To make a long story shorter, Tom and Harriet convinced enough people to stand up against the mayor and demand a new election. The mayor agreed a bit too easily and that’s when Harriet discovered that the voting boxes were rigged. She and Tom fixed that and a fair election was held. The mayor only got 3 votes, his own, his wife’s, and his oldest son! He was livid! The night after the election the mayor convinced some of his henchmen (who obviously hadn’t voted for him but they claimed they had and that the count was off) to capture and kill Tom and Harriet.”

“No,” cried Sabrina and Juniper together.

Betsy held up a paw and said, “Not to worry, girls. Everyone was expecting something like this. The villagers stood with Tom and Harriet and the end result was that the mayor and his henchmen have been banished from the village.”

“But won’t they be back to cause more trouble,” said Alfred.

“For sure and that’s one reason why I’m here. Henrietta says there is an island off the coast and that it is big enough to sustain the exiles. It is also far enough out to sea that they wouldn’t be able to get back, especially since there are no materials on the island to build even a raft much less a boat. What the villagers want to ask is if you dragons would be willing to fly the mayor, his family, and his henchmen to the island. We would also send plenty of supplies for the first winter, as well as seeds for spring planting. The island has a large rock quarry so they will be able to build perfectly fine houses. We’ll send tents with them for their use until such time as they can build their homes.”

Alfred looked at Earthstone and the other dragons and after a few moments, they all nodded. Alfred then said, “This seems to be an excellent plan. And we can check on them from time to time to see how they are faring and to discover if they ever have a change of heart.”

Betsy smiled. “That’s just what we figured. Henrietta flew in just before the meeting to say that the mayor and company were already heading back to the village. Tom, Harriet, and Georgette will capture them this time and put them in the jail that they used for Roger. We’ll then start gathering materials and we’ll plan on executing Operation Mayor Removal in a week. Does that sound OK with you all.”

“Yes, but let’s do it in five days, if you can, so that whatever Sabrina decides, she can see the end of the caper she walked into,” said Alfred as he looked fondly toward Sabrina.

“Thanks so much,” said Sabrina.

“Well, there is lots to do, so let’s enjoy the snacks Earthstone prepared and then get some sleep. Betsy, will you stay here tonight? We’d be honored to have you as our guest,” said Alfred.

“Thanks, I’d like that. I have to get an early start, but I want to talk to these two before I go. And you and Earthstone as well. I’ve learned something that might make Sabrina’s decision a lot easier.”

“What,” said Sabrina as Juniper jumped up and down.

“Now, now, I’m not saying anything until the morning so no use your begging,” said Betsy as she reached for one of the snacks.

“What could it be?” whispered Juniper to Sabrina.

“I don’t know, but it is going to be hard to wait until morning,” whispered Sabrina.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 14

Missed the beginning? Start here.

The next morning Earthstone made sure that both Sabrina and Juniper ate a good breakfast even though both girls were too nervous to care. Then she walked them to school and introduced Sabrina to the teacher, a gorgeous blue dragon named Miss Ingrid.

“Welcome to our school,” said Miss Ingrid. “You won’t be the only new student today as young Benjamin has just arrived as well. Please come in and I’ll see that you get settled.”

Earthstone said, “Have a great day and I’ll be eager to hear all about it when you get home.” She then gave each of them a hug before she left.

Sabrina walked into the classroom and realized that this was a very different school. The building was a lot smaller than her school back home and it just had one big room. However, it was more than the fact that it was a one room school. As she looked around she realized that the students weren’t all dragons, which she’d thought they might be, or even all dragons and humans. There were all kinds and ages of students. She saw a raccoon working diligently at one desk and a bear cub reading in a nook on the far side of the room. There were desks and chairs, but there were also things that looked like bean bags, and there was even a tree growing right up through the roof.

“Wow,” said Sabrina in amazement.

“Do you like our school?” asked Miss Ingrid.

“Yes! It is fantastic.”

“Well, come on up to the front and we’ll get you properly introduced,” said Miss Ingrid. “Benjamin, can you come here too?”

“Do I have to also,” said Juniper.

“Yes, you do,” said Miss Ingrid, as she looked down at Juniper. “But it will be fine.”

Once Miss Ingrid had called the class to order she began. “We have already discussed the heinous actions which led to Juniper’s being stranded on the ledge above the waterfall.” She paused for a moment and looked at a pair of dragons at the back of the room. “But today I would like to let you know how that incident turned out and what it revealed about your classmate, Juniper, as well as our two new students, Sabrina and Benjamin.”

“Juniper was trapped, and naturally scared. The only way down would take her to the far side of the river and you all know what dangers that would hold. Just as she was going to try to find a different route, Sabrina walked into our world. The two young women became friends and together, with the help of others they met along the way, they managed to find their way down the mountainside.”

“Big deal,” said a brown dragon in the back.

“Yes, Jeff, it was a big deal, and I’ll let them share the harrowing details of their descent with you if they want.”

“If she were a proper dragon she could have flown and wouldn’t have needed a human girl.”

“Jeff, you are way out of line. If you wish to stay in this school you will have to learn that every living creature has value. Dragons are no better than humans or any other species. The sooner you get that through your head the better off you will be. Otherwise, you are no better than the mayor at the village across the lake. Now, if I may continue,” said Miss Ingrid.

“Jeff does have one thing right,” she said as she went on. “While the descent down the mountain was very difficult and daunting, Sabrina and Juniper had help and they were very fortunate in that. The real courage in their story was shown when the plight of Benjamin and his family was revealed.

“Sabrina and Juniper were going to be helped across the river using the escape tunnel but before that could happen, Benjamin and his family were arrested by the mayor and sentenced to be hanged the next day. Benjamin had trusted a friend to keep his secret, that he had been rescued by Jerome. Benjamin had broken his leg and Jerome got help for him. But Benjamin’s friend told the mayor and that’s why the entire family was arrested.”

“Jerome is my uncle,” said the raccoon in the corner. “He’s a great guy.”

“Yes, Hildegard, he is and he also helped in this rescue. Now, this is where Juniper showed her true nature. The rescue group needed a diversion and Sabrina and Juniper volunteered. Juniper showed herself on the other side of the village so that the mayor and his soldiers would see her. Then she and Sabrina ran, as the mayor ordered them to be shot. They managed to lead the troops away from the village, with the result that others were able to rescue Benjamin and his family. Without Juniper’s efforts and Sabrina’s help, the rescue might never have happened or at least never happened without injuries. Furthermore, if Juniper were able to fly, her task would have been much easier. The fact that Juniper managed this in spite of the fact that she wasn’t able to fly makes her feat even more remarkable.”

Miss Ingrid paused to let that sink in. She knew that each and everyone in the room knew the dangers that the mayor posed.

“Juniper may never be able to fly. We have no idea at this point just how much she will be able to do to accommodate her bent wing. But what she has clearly demonstrated is her courage and her sense of justice. Jeff, you tried to say that Juniper wasn’t a real dragon. Well, that is so far from the truth as to be ludicrous. You and others have made the mistake of judging based on appearances or physical attributes alone. Juniper has proven what most of us have always known, that she is a true dragon with all the right instincts.”

With that the class burst out in applause and Sabrina was pleased to notice that even Jeff clapped, even if he did it with less enthusiasm than some others.

Once the class was quiet again, Miss Ingrid continued. “Sabrina has also had a big adjustment to make, landing in our world. She’d never seen a dragon before and she’d never known that other species are sentient as well. In her world, humans are the only ones who speak.”

“That’s horrible,” said the bear cub.

“I agree,” said Miss Ingrid. “We are very lucky to have learned how to work together. I count on each and every one of you to help Sabrina learn about our world. She has a very tough decision to make in the next few weeks. She will have to decide whether to stay with us forever or whether to return to her own world. She needs all the information we can provide so that she can make a well-informed decision. She also deserves to have a good experience here, especially after all she has already done to help our world.”

Once again the students applauded.

Miss Ingrid then said, “And we want to welcome Benjamin into our school and our lives. Many of you have been rescued from the other side of the river, so I know I can count on you to help him with the transition as he learns about our ways.”

The students shouted out, “Welcome, Benjamin!”

“OK, enough on the introductions. It is time for math,” said Miss Ingrid.

Soon the students were hard at work and Sabrina was given a desk next to Juniper’s workstation. Sabrina thought, This is the coolest school I’ve ever seen. I’d sure hate to leave it. What should I do? And with that, she looked at the algebra book that Miss Ingrid had given her.

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