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Adventures in Akadia

Chapter 26

Back at the Door

     "No, not yet!" Elizabeth protested.

     Aurelia smiled compassionately, understanding the reluctance in Elizabeth's voice. "Wait," Gabriela began, "are we ever coming back?"

     Aurelia placed her hand on Gabriela’s shoulder and replied, “You don’t need to worry. We’ll talk about that later. For now, it’s time to say goodbye."

     The kids' eyes were immediately drawn downward toward the Quotidians. When their eyes met, they could see that the Quotidians' eyes were already full of tears. This immediately brought up tears for the kids.

     The young Quotidians rushed the kids, hugging them from every direction, saying things like “Why go?” “No go, kiddos” and “Stay, stay!”

     Rosy and Wink emerged from behind and said, “Come, come, Quotidians, it’s time to say goodbye.” 

     The Young Quotidians snuck in one more hug before backing away a few steps and making room for Wink and Rosy to say goodbye.

     "Good job, kiddos," Rosy said with a warm smile. 

     "Very good, kiddos," Wink added, his voice filled with pride.

     The kids knelt down to embrace Rosy and Wink.

     After giving each of them a hug, Wink and Rosy took a step backward. 

     Aurelia called out, “Alright Barky, time to say goodbye.”

     Barky bounded over a group of Quotidians to now be facing the kids. The kids surrounded Barky to give him hugs and a final scratch. 

     "See ya, Barky," Lukas said quietly.

     The kids then turned to Aurelia and stood in a line. 

     "Very good," Aurelia said tenderly. "Are you ready?"

     The kids nodded, some of them too choked up to respond. Aurelia took a step to the side and motioned her arm toward the dragons, inviting the kids to climb aboard. 

     With hesitant steps, the kids approached the dragons, feeling a mix of reluctance to leave and nervousness about riding a dragon. 

     Aurelia helped each of them up onto their respective dragons. Jamari's dragon was a deep green, while Gabriela's had pearly white scales. Elizabeth's dragon shimmered in soft pink with strokes of purple, and Lukas' dragon was a gentle pale blue. 

     Once everyone was securely seated, Aurelia mounted her own dragon, adorned with silvery and reflective scales.

     "Is everyone ready?" Aurelia called out. The kids nodded eagerly in response.

     "Alright, let's go!" Aurelia exclaimed .

     As if understanding her words, the dragons leapt into the air, their powerful wings flapping forcefully. The kids felt a rush of excitement as they began to ascend, leaving the Quotidian village below. Looking back, they saw the Quotidians waving and shouting their goodbyes. Though they wanted to wave back, they had to focus on holding tightly to the dragons as they soared higher and higher into the sky.

     The ride started off bumpy, the kids being jolted back and forth with each flap of the dragons’ wings. They gripped onto the dragons tightly, feeling the rush of wind against their faces. As the dragons reached the height they were going to fly, the ride became perfectly smooth and quiet. All they could hear was the gentle rustle of the wind as it passed their ears. Slowly, the kids began to relax and enjoy the ride.

     Jamari, feeling comfortable, sat upright and even held out his arms, pretending to be a bird soaring through the air. The other kids laughed and joined in.

     Early on, they began to recognize familiar landmarks below. They spotted the swamp to their right, followed by the forest where they had encountered the fuzzywigs. Then came the breathtaking sight of the Golden Shore, glowing under the setting sun. Off in the distance was the island they had visited.

     As they continued their journey, they spotted the river where Rosy had guided them and the majestic waterfall above her village. Flying over the mountain range they had journeyed through with Wink, they couldn't believe how big Akadia actually was.

     To their left, they could now see how far the unexplored portion of Akadia stretched out before them. A towering mountain stood alone, with a castle in the distance surrounded by forests and lakes. 

     Their focus shifted back to familiar territory as they spotted Wink's village and the spot where they had celebrated Mystiboo. They knew they were getting close. Soon, Aurelia's home came into view, surrounded by its grassy field. Then the door where their journey had begun appeared before them. 

     With a graceful descent, the dragons landed softly around the door, marking the end of their extraordinary journey through Akadia.

     Aurelia assisted each of the kids as they dismounted the dragons, their hearts still racing from the exhilarating ride. 

     "Thank you, dragons," Aurelia said, patting her dragon affectionately on the head. Stepping back, she gave a slight bow, and her dragon did the same before leading the others as they soared back into the sky, disappearing from view. 

     "Aurelia…," Gabriela began, but hesitated.

     Sensing her question, Aurelia filled the silence, "You're wondering if you'll come back to Akadia?"

     Gabriela nodded, and the others leaned in, eager for Aurelia's answer.

     "Akadia will always be here when you need it," Aurelia explained gently. "But I don't know when you'll be back."

     The kids felt somewhat unsatisfied with the answer but also a sense of relief, knowing this wasn't goodbye forever.

     "Now can I ask you a question before you go?" Aurelia inquired.

     The kids nodded eagerly.

     "What did you learn in Akadia?" she asked.

     The kids pondered for a moment. Jamari spoke up first, "I learned that even if something is hard, I can make it fun."

     Lukas added, "I learned that I can ask for help, and I'll get farther when I work with others."

     Elizabeth smiled as she touched her necklace, "I learned that something doesn't have to be perfect to be good."

     Gabriela looked at her friends and said softly, "I learned that I have a new home."

     Aurelia nodded, her eyes filled with joy. "You've all done amazing here. Don't forget what you've learned. And remember, we'll always be with you."

     Turning toward the door, Aurelia lifted her arm and gave her wrist a slight flick, causing the door to light up just like before. The kids couldn't believe their eyes; Aurelia had done the magic to light up the door.

     Lukas pointed back and forth between the door and Aurelia, attempting to speak, "Did you...? Are you...?"

     Aurelia grinned and shrugged.

     Jamari managed to ask what Lukas was thinking, "Was that magic? Can you teach us?"

     Still grinning, Aurelia replied, "Maybe next time."

     Then, she opened her arms wide, inviting the kids in for one last hug. They embraced tightly, tears flowing freely.

     "Thank you, kids," Aurelia said, her voice filled with emotion, "I'm excited for when I get to see you again."

     Finally letting go, the kids positioned themselves in front of the door, with Aurelia standing a few paces behind them.

     Looking at the others, Jamari joked, "Who wants to open it this time?"

     "How about together?" Gabriela suggested.

     They all nodded and held their hands out together, each grabbing the doorknob. With a twist, the warm golden glow surrounded them once again. As the golden streams of light circled around them and the sound of rushing wind filled their ears, they heard Aurelia's voice one last time, "Remember, we'll always be with you."

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