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Chapter 1

Wisp stretched out in the remaining sunlight, thoroughly exhausted. "I'm so tired. Why does Ifrit insist I have to train so hard? None of the others do."

"Cause you're not a dragon, and your sixteenth birthday is just around the corner," the little dragon laying next to her chimed in.

"Thanks for reminding me about the obvious. But it's not like anything bad is going to happen."

"You never know. It might. Anyway, I'm tired, too. I had to train, too."

"I know." Wisp tried for a while to think of something else to say, but eventually gave up. The two friends sat in silence for a while, watching the sun sink below the clouds. Eventually the last few rays were gone, and one by one, the stars started to appear.

"We should go and try to get some rest. I'm sure Ifrit has more planned for us tomorrow."

"You're probably right." Wisp reluctantly got up. "I guess let's go then." She started heading in the direction of their house. The little dragon got up, too, and started walking beside her. "It's really nice here, but... sometimes I wish I could leave. I want to see what the rest of the world is like, too. Is that bad?"

"No. I don't think so, at least. Sometimes I wanna see the world, too. But I know it's dangerous. But the older dragons getta go down there all the time, anytime they want. So maybe we'll get to go, too! Maybe when I'm big enough that you can ride on my back, and we can go together. That'd be great."

Wisp opened the door and walked inside. "Yeah, that's a nice thought," she said, watching as Ember followed her in before closing the door. "Scintilla used to tell me stories of down there when I was little. You were there for a few of them. Do you remember?" Wisp walked over and sat down on the bed.

"Hm... vaguely? I kinda remember her being here and telling stories, but I don't really remember any of the stories anymore." Ember jumped up onto the bed, flapping her wings to give her jump a little extra height since the bed was almost twice her height. "What did she say about it?"

"Well, there are other humans. You know, kinda like me. Not dragons. There apparently mostly aren't ever any dragons down there, but there are all kinds of other animals all the time. And there are different kinds of plants everywhere, and trees that are hundreds of feet tall." She stretched her arms as high as she could, sort of demonstrating just how big the trees were, before just tipping backwards onto the bed. "She told me lots of other things, too, but I can't remember a lot of them anymore. It was like, ten years ago or something now. You used to be so tiny back then. I used to have to help you onto the bed," she said, yawning and making the last part almost unintelligible.

"It sounds like a nice place. I sorta remember them a little better now. And being small. Everything was so hard to reach. Didn't you used to have some sort of box you'd push around for me? Where'd that go?" She looked around.

"I dunno. I kinda remember that. Might not have it anymore, or maybe it's under the bed or something. There's a lot of space down there." Wisp yawned again. "I'm so tired."

"Maybe if we can remember we can look around tomorrow if we have more time or something. But sleep does sound like a pretty good idea. So maybe we should sleep and then we won't have to be tired." Ember walked over and climbed on top of Wisp.

"Yeah. Sounds like a plan." Wisp put her arms around Ember, and moved so she was completely on the bed, instead of having her legs hanging off. She kinda pulled the blanket over them, and the exhausted pair quickly fell asleep.


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