"Fifteen minutes," Beth called as the bus screeched to a stop. "That's all you get. Then we're rolling!"
Yawning, Ghianan stepped out into the bright sunlight. Raven followed him, his backpack hanging between her teeth.
The two slipped behind the bus and Ghianan took his backpack from the eager Cheetah. Opening it, he removed a small cloth bag full of tiny silver crystals. He dropped them on the ground and they shattered, then the particles came together in the shape of a man's face on the ground.
"Lysef," said Ghianan, "I have the girl here. This is Raven."
The face on the ground smiled up at them. "Good morning," it said cheerfully. "Why, Raven, dear, you're looking so beautiful. Even if you are a Cheetah. I know you may not remember me--"
"--She doesn't," Said Ghianon.
"--But I've been a family friend for a long time. A long time, indeed, several generations. I'm Lysef, Lord of the Elves. As you know, Ghianon is an Elven sorcerer."
"Yes," Raven murmered.
"Now, there's just one thing I need you to do for me."
* * * * *
Wheels screeched as the bus began rolling into motion. "Wait!" Pheobe turned around. "Raven's not on the bus yet!" She was surprised to find herself worried about the girl.
"I know," Ghianan replied calmly. "She had a mission. A quest, actually. She may not be back for some time."