Chapter Two: Welcome to the Academy

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        "Cami... Cami! Wake up you butt!" Callie screams, shaking me awake. "We're here, sleepyhead!" I sit up and look outside.

        "Woa...." I say, my jaw dropping."It's gorgeous!" My mother smiles and looks back at me. "Why didn't you tell me it was this beautiful?"

        "I wanted it to be a pleasant surprise," she says. When we were choosing my freshman classes for the school portion of the academy, she wouldn't let me see the campus. We have four core classes we have to take for freshman and sophomore year -  one math class, one English class, one history / social studies class, and one science class. I chose Algebra I honours, English honours, US History open, and astronomy honours. We also had to choose two electives, or as students call them, 'fun classes'. There were so many to pick, but I ended up choosing 3D art and culinary. For riding classes, I chose cross country as my main discipline and show jumping for my secondary class.

        "Cams, come with me to sign you and Little Red Rocket in," Father says, pulling up to a building that says 'Student Support'. I walk in and instantly smell the sweet scent of leather and oil. A kind looking woman sits at the main desk and she smiles when she sees me, her teeth white and her long brown hair pulled into a braid.

        "Hello! Welcome to Maple Stream Academy! I'm Laura, one of the dorm counselors. What  is your name honey?" She kindly asks me.

        "I'm Cameron Taylor," I say with a smile.

        "Do you own 'Little Red Rocket?'" She asks.

        "Yes," I reply. "Her stable name is Raquel.'

        "Great, thanks. Um, for Raquel's name plate in the barn, would you like her show name or her barn name?" Laura asks.

        "Barn name," I say. Laura nods and hands me a folder she grabs from a drawer behind her.

        "Okay, read the first page of the green packet," she says. I open the folder and grab the green packet. I read it carefully. "What house and barn are you?"

        "I'm in the Pine barn and dorms," I say with a smile.

        "Oh! Those are my dorms and barn. Nice to meet you, Cameron. I'm you're counselor for the next nine months," Laura replies, shaking my hand."I'll show you around the barn first, and I'll help you get all of Raquel's things into her cubby in the tack room. You're a bit early, but only by forty-five minutes." She says checking her watch. It's 11:12. "It's more of an advantage. You're the first student here! You get assigned a dorm room with a roommate, but you get to choose your own stall. You get first pick."

        "Awesome!" I say, following Laura outside to the barn.

        "Not only are you the first student here, but you're also in the newest barn and dorm. If you want to choose a stall now, that would be great." We walk into the barn and my eyes widen in shock. It's gorgeous, stalls neatly made and the beautiful woodwork of bare wood stands out against the cobblestone pathway.

        "In each dorm, there are twenty students. Each dorm gets a twenty-two stall barn and an eleven room dorm, just in case," Laura says. "So, what stall would you like?"

        I look around and find the perfect stall. It's on the right side of the barn, three stalls in. "This one," I say stepping inside of it,

        "Okay, did you bring feed buckets? Or should I supply you with some?" Laura asks. 

        "I brought two. What about water bins?" I ask, slightly panicking because I didn't bring any.

        "Check this out," Laura says, guiding me to the back of the stall. "Twist this lever to the left and it fills up the water trough." 

        "Oh, I didn't see that trough earlier. That's really cool though!" I say.

        "Yeah, I really enjoy that feature about this barn. The other barns don't have it," Laura says, laughing. "Shall we go get Raquel?" 

        "Yeah, let's go grab her," I say. Dad had left minutes before to bring the truck to the barn. Now I see the truck slowly backing up towards the barn. I give him a thumbs up, saying that he was close enough. I slowly lower the trailer door, revealing Raquel in her trailer boots.

        "Oh no!" I cry. "Mom, I forgot Raquel's blanket!"

        "Nope, I have it," Callie says, pulling Raquel's plaid maroon blanket from under the truck's seat. "Oh wow, this barn is gorgeous!"

        "Oh wow, thanks Callie, you're a life saver. And yes, this place is remarkable," I say, opening the 'butt bar' and slipping into the trailer, unhooking Raquel. I slowly back her out, and she purposely rubs her legs together in an attempt to get the boots off. "Hold on, girl, I'll get them off in a minute."

        Callie and Laura get to work getting her boots off while I hold Raquel still, which isn't a very easy job. She's not disobedient, just very active. When her boots are off, I lead her to her new stall.

        "This is your new home for the next nine months," I tell her, stroking her face

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