The children seem quite unperturbed about flying on dragonback, and soon
asleep in the cribs into which they have been strapped and which have been
fastened to the dragon. Astra sits perched behind Sigin's neck, and
worries about Fred's safety for the time being as she enjoys the
exhilarating feel of the wind in her
hair. She doesn't know how fast they are going, but it seems much faster
than a galloping
horse, the quickest thing she is familiar with. "I may be the only person
in the world
who has flown on a dragon," she thinks.
The dragon flies at a height of some thirty feet or so, low enough for Astra to be able to make out shoals of fish swimming just below the surface. After a couple of hours, she hears the dragon's voice inside her head (the most practical way for him to talk to her whilst they are in the air). "What happens next may seem rather alarming," he tells her. "Don't be frightened." "Frightened? Me!" she thinks back in mock indignation, hoping that the mental communication is two-way. From Sigin's amused chuckle in her mind she discovers that it is.
The dragon dives down towards the sea, and Astra cannot help flinching as it seems inevitable that they will hit the water. At the last second, however, a hollow seems to appear below and just ahead of them, into which they fly. As they fly into it the hollow deepens into a hemisphere, and then more than a hemisphere. Looking up, Astra sees that the water is coming together again above their heads, and soon they are at the centre of a large bubble of air.
They continue to head downwards at an angle of thirty degrees or so, and it gradually grows darker as the depth of water above them increases. "Time to switch on the light, I think," comes the voice in her head, and they are suddenly illuminated by a soft white light that comes from no obvious source. The Atlantian city is a long way down, so the descent to it takes thirty minutes or so. The air bubble is large enough to ensure there is no shortage of oxygen, and remains the same size even though the water pressure outside it increases as they go down. Sigin has told Astra something about the Atlantian city's method of keeping out the water, so she wonders just how they are going to get inside. Will even Sigin's magic suffice?
6/19/1999 11:59:22 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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