Chapter Nine, Pelanca

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Bennie instantly envied Gemini's ability to fly. Smooth and fast, like a fancy car. Sean was a skilled enough flyer, especially for someone who had to shape-shift into the form and learn in a short period of time, but with Gem it felt more natural, easier, and Bennie wasn't surprised.

Though they got through the tunnels remarkably fast considering the obvious distance, Perce was leaning up against the wall of the large cavern they had landed in when Gemini and Bennie arrived like he'd been there for ages, waiting. Sean gave away the ruse as he straightened himself up after transforming back into his human form.

"It took you guys long enough, we've been here about—" Perce looked at his stopwatch. "—Forty-two seconds longer than you. Hah! My lucky number. You've slowed up a bit, Gem."

"I had a passenger, which is unusual for me," Gemini said and left whatever competition there was at that.

Bennie walked toward the sunlight coming out of the cave mouth. She couldn't really call it sunlight. While it was yellow-white in color it looked different from any daylight she'd ever seen.

"Welcome to Pelanca, Bennie!" Sean said just as Bennie looked out from the mouth of the cave.

Bennie gasped slightly. Now that she could see Pelanca it took her breath away, and she stared and stared, taking in as much as possible.

In the valley below the mountains their cave opened in, a beautiful city gleamed. It was vast and diverse, made of thousands of different kinds of buildings. Some looked very old, others very new, but all looked well cared for. The mass of buildings stretched beyond sight, domes and spires, glass, steel and stone. The architecture ranged from familiar modern and Renaissance to foreign and unthinkable designs.

The "sun" was just rising, setting the city afire, and it shone off the silvery lakes and streams Bennie saw about. Green meadows surrounded the city and rose to meet the unmarked hills footing the tall, distant mountains of the next range, lined with endless thick forest.

There were no cars as she knew them, only odd, quiet pod-like vehicles that flew as well as drove and sailed on the water. There were dragons—dragons—in the air, some flying alone, others carrying passengers or cargo. Some fairies flew themselves above the city, which teamed with people, far below. There was no typical urban racket though, only the quiet hum of life, and no haze of pollution in the air.

It was beautiful.

"Man, I love to finally see someone else' first reaction to this city," Sean said. "We should get new classmates more often!"

Bennie blinked in surprise and laughed. "Was I really drooling that much?"

"Your jaw was on the floor!" Sean teased.

They set off down the slope into the city.

"So tell me, where is this Pelanca city, exactly?" Bennie asked. "I know it's on another world but I'm still hazy on what that world is, and where. We've never really gotten to discuss the issue, like," She turned to Gem, "I know you're not from Earth but you never got to tell me where you are from."

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