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.
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.