Chapter Twenty-Five, Part II

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"Did you see that?" were Malía's first words to Tesa and Maira when they dismounted from their dragons.

Maira nodded gravely. "Storm's coming."

Tesa had noticed the dark clouds as they flew, too, but hadn't thought much past noticing them. She found it hard to imagine Saldive in any kind of bad weather; it had been warm and sunny almost every day they'd been here. When it had rained, it had been hard but brief, nothing like storms she'd experienced in her home mountains. From Malía and Maira's expressions, though, they expected more than just some rain.

"Of course it would storm now," Malía said, almost under her breath. Then, louder, she said, "This will alter our plans. We can't go to the island until the storm passes."

"Maybe it will give us cover to retrieve the eggs," Maira said.

"We can hope."

Orrie swayed a bit, and Tesa put a hand to his shoulder.

You okay? she asked him.

If I stay up here, it won't get worse, he said.

Just hang in there until we can get to the island.

Orrie fluttered his wings in agreement.

Despite their worries about the oncoming storm, the sun still beat down upon the ground in the center of the spires, and Tesa herself began to feel faint.

Let's find some water, and some shade, she said, and began to walk toward the camp under one of the overhanging ledges.

Malía was ahead of her, already calling out orders to the people she passed. She seemed to have a plan in mind. Near the camp, in the shady alcove where the healers worked on the sick dragons, Amina and Derol approached. Tesa smiled at the sight of her friends, wishing she had had more time to spend with them before everything began to happen.

"Did I hear that somebody was in need of a boat?" Amina asked.

Malía stopped in her tracks.

"How did you know that? I haven't told anybody yet."

Derol's jaw dropped and he swung around toward the area he'd just come from. When Tesa saw who he was staring at, she realized what had happened. She put a hand on Malía's arm.

"Everything has happened so fast, I haven't had a chance to tell you yet. Astrid can speak to the dragons too, like me."

Malía huffed a bit, as though she wanted to scold somebody, but she only sighed. She put her hands on her hips and glared at Gira, who hung his head and folded his wings close to his body.

"So what is the plan for the boat?" Amina asked.

"To be honest, I don't have much of one yet. I just thought, since the eggs came to the temple in a boat, maybe we could get them out that way."

"And then what?" Maira asked.

Malía put her fingertips to her forehead and shook her head. "All I can think is to get them to that island, and figure it out from there." She gestured toward the camp in the caves. "Let's go discuss this. All of us," she added, including everyone present with a sweep of her arm.

Tesa fell in behind Malía and Maira, and ended up walking next to Derol.

"So how did you get pulled into this?" Tesa asked him as they headed toward the caves.

"On the way down, I learned how to drive a boat."

Tesa turned to him and grinned. "That's perfect! Wait, don't they use magic to control their boats here?"

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