chapter 4

The first meeting with her future classmates did not impress Rachel in the slightest.  The saying "big fish in a small pond" came to mind almost instantly.  Everyone of them had a sort of arragonce--like they were the elite, the smartest, the most capable, when most of them would be straddling the fence between mediocure and faliure in a lager school.

She spoke to none of them.  Not even during the longest bus ride of her life.

When they piled out the Great Yellow Cheese Wagon, Rachel orbited on the outermost fringe of the group; she didn't want their company, she wanted to see a dragon.  But bit by bit, the gravitational pull lessened, and she drifted farther and farther away.  It wasn't until the ice beneath her broke that she realized how seperated- and off the trail- she had become.

Rachel gripped her ankle and bit back a sob, her startled shrieks still echoing of the walls of the cavern.  The pain quickly resided, so it wasn't broken or twisted; just bruised.  Another deep breath and she stood to see what she'd fallen into.

The cavern was about the size of small classroom, but went up about two stories in the center and sloped down to just an inch above her head.  She'd fallen through at one of the shortest points into a fairly large snow bank.  Boulders  littered the floor in a semicircle, the largest againsted the icey walls, the stones abrutly becoming less dense and more irregularly placed closer to the center, almost like the seats in a theatre and the set of a stage.

Wading through snow barely four inches high, she hit some thing small and solid at exactly "center stage".  Groping around at her feet she fished out a medallion of white crystal in the shape of a rose, nearly as big as her fist.

The End

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