Hidden Truths, Hidden Hearts

The first in the Hidden Truths trilogy.
Maria always knew she was different. From when she was a child she could do things she couldn't explain and had a power she couldn't understand. Then she meets Zac who changes her life forever. Together they embark on a journey that presents dangers, reveals long forgotten truths and brings them together in ways they could never imagine.

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20. A New Friend

The sun rose quickly that morning, as if eager to start the day. Maria awoke to Harmony tugging at her top, the fabric grasped tightly between her teeth.
"Hey, get off you!" Maria couldn't conceal a smile as she brushed Harmony away.
Harmony nipped playfully at her fingers. Her slender tail swishing excitedly and her wings flapping.
Maria got to her feet as Harmony began running round in circles, for a small hatchling she was a bundle of energy. She leapt onto Maria's shoulder as they left the cave to taste the morning together. Droplets of sparkling dew hung from the leaves of the bushes and trees, clinging to spider webs like tiny diamonds. The air felt cool and crisp, the smell of the flowers and dew filled their nostrils. Harmony gave a small sneeze sending a plume of smoke into the air.

They emerged from the trees out to the beach. The water reached up to them before retreating back over the white sand. Harmony jumped down from Maria's shoulder and bounded into the water like an overexcited dog sending spray everywhere.
"Harmony!" Maria called as the little dragon disappeared.
The only reply was the sound of the waves rolling onto the sand.
What are you doing? she thought to herself.
Suddenly Harmony burst out of a wave as it crashed onto the sand, two large fish clamped in her jaws. She bounded up to Maria and dropped the wriggling fish at her feet.
"At least I don't have to worry about food."
It didn't take long for the fish to go limp. Harmony hit them with her tail just to make sure. She was a born hunter. Maria patted her scaly head and she purred softly.

They had breakfast on the beach. Maria collected some firewood and lit it by rubbing two stones together. Although she had tried, Harmony was unable to produce a flame herself. The fish went down very well. It was slightly salty but satisfying. Harmony wolfed hers down, letting her lips when she finished. Feeling full, Maria tossed her the head, tail and bones. Harmony quickly had those too. When she was finished she trotted over to a nearby rock and began sharpening her claws.

Maria lay on her back while the fire slowly died. Harmony bounded round jumping about and flapping her wings furiously. Each time she landed she growled furiously.
"What is the matter with you?" asked Maria sitting up suddenly.
Harmony slowly walked back to her hanging her head. She leapt onto Maria's lap and curled into a ball, a strange whining sound coming from her throat. Maria could sense an air of sadness from her.
"Harmony, are you trying to fly?"
Harmony raised her head, her yellow eyes sparkling like her deep red scales. Maria sighed she gently stroked Harmony's head. She heard Harmony sigh and saw her lower her head again. Zac had told her that she must learn to ride her dragon. But Harmony was far to young to fly. Her wings would not be strong enough to keep him in the air. Harmony immediately began running round the beach again, her wings extended and flapping furiously. It was hard watching her try and fail so many times.
Until she stopped.
Maria looked up to a little yelp. Harmony was flapping her wings fast but had managed to stay off the ground by a couple of metres. Merely seconds later she fell into the sand again. It was a small step forward. She then immediately began trying again. The sun seemed to focus on her like a spotlight as she tried again and again. She wanted to use magic but she was forbidden until she could learn to control her powers. She couldn't interfere with nature either. As she kicked the sand Harmony leapt into her arms again.
"I guess we're both prisoners." she sighed.
Harmony shook herself then looked to the sky again. Smiling, Maria lifted her up (she was surprisingly light) so she could sniff the air. Something seemed to flow between them in that moment. Maria started to run. Arms outstretched she held Harmony carefully, occasionally throwing her a little into the air. Harmony flapped her wings hard, giving a low growl with the effort.
"You can do this!" Maria cried as the adrenaline flowed through her veins.
She tossed Harmony into the air again. Once again the little dragon fell back into her arms. But neither was giving up. Maria broke into a sprint, her head going light, her heart racing, breaths coming hard and fast. Harmony flapped her wings hard as she could. Maria then threw Harmony into the air hard as she could, holding out her arms just in case.
But Harmony didn't fall.
Her wing-beats slowing, becoming smoother, she stayed in the air. Maria slowed to a walk as she watched Harmony rise higher and higher. Harmony looked back, something like a smile forming on her face. She was flying!
She did a couple of vast circles around the beach then began rising again. Higher and higher. But she didn't come back. Soon she was no more than a tiny dot in the sky. Minutes felt like hours. She did not return. Maria was alone with the waves.
"She's really gone." she said to herself turning back towards the shade of the trees.
A thunderous roar shook the trees to their roots. Maria dived behind a bush in shock as a shadow darkened the white sand. A dot in the sun grew bigger and bigger as it got closer. Maria slowly emerged from the bush as the creature flew silently closer.
"Harmony?"
It couldn't be. But it was. Except she was bigger, much bigger. Leaving as a chick she had returned seemingly fully grown. Her wings spread wide, teeth and talons glowing white, beautifully slender curved horns, scales glittering blood red, the familiar golden yellow eyes.
"Is it really you?" asked Maria gingerly stepping forward as the dragon landed on the beach.
The dragon bowed its head, Hello, Maria. Yes, it is me.
Maria recoiled in shock.
I can hear your thoughts and you can hear mine. You are my rider, together we are one. I am both your friend and your ally. I will serve you and only you.
Harmony lowered her slender neck so her head was level with Maria's. Maria cautiously stroked the dragon's nose. She felt the same connection. The same bond.
I can help you control your magic and teach you to fly. I know you want to see Zac again. I can help you make that happen.
"How much time has passed since I last saw you?"
Helping me to fly strengthened our bond. This allowed me to reach my true form. You are one step closer to assuming complete control over your powers.
"Prove it. Prove we are one."
What do you want me to do?
   "Roar. Show Loreanor true love can't be broken."
Harmony broke the connection bowing her head low. Raising her head high she pointed her nose to the sky. The roar was deafening. Maria felt it to her very core. A light wind blew and Maria could hear, We are listening. on the wind.
"You say we are one, Harmony. I believe you."

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