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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12. Hirador

There was a slightly awkward silence as they drove back to Zac's house. As they entered the driveway Maria drew a breath. It was stunning. A white farmhouse surrounded by rolling fields leading back to a dense wood. To the right were rows of horse stalls with a large barn further back. A pure white horse grazed in the nearby paddock and looked up with pricked ears when he saw the car pulling into the driveway.

"That's Pegasus my white stallion. He's a five year old Lipizzaner and a great jumper." Zac explained. Pegasus cantered in a large circle before trotting up to the fence.

"He's beautiful." Maria said blinking back her tears from earlier. She wanted to forget about earlier. She wished it was a nightmare that she could just wake up. But this was real. A dream she couldn't wake up from.

They went up to Zac's room which looked out over the paddock and stables. A chance to be alone for a while. It wasn't a large room. Just a cosy size. There was a desk piled high with textbooks, notebooks and random drawings tucked away in a corner. A bed beside the window neatly made. A noticeboard covered notices and a wardrobe built into the wall with posters stuck to the doors. On the bedside table sat a lamp, a novel and an empty photo frame.

Maria studied the frame quizzically, "Isn't there supposed to be a photo in there?"
Zac sat on the bed, "There used to be."
Sensing tension in his voice, Maria sat down beside him.
"I'm not sure what you want to call what this is between us but that photo-frame used to contain me and my ex-girlfriend."
"You broke up?" Maria felt a little guilty asking.
Zac looked at her, she could see a hint of sadness in his eyes, "She cheated on me to make me jealous. Wanted me to appreciate her more."
"If she did that, you are clearly too good for her. She doesn't deserve you."
Zac smiled, "She was the first one. I never dated another since. I want to look for the one now."
Maria couldn't help smiling back, "I hope you find her."
Zac seemed a little nervous, "I think I already have."
A surge of heat coursed through her entire being. She felt light as air.
"But we can just be friends if you want." said Zac quickly.
"No, I want this. I can't begin to say how much."
He gently took her in his arms and held her close. She could hear his racing heart within his chest. For just a moment, she closed her eyes and listened to the beats. They felt comforting.

"I hope this has cheered you up. I want to show you something once I can get my mum out of the way." he whispered in her ear.
"More secrets?" she laughed feeling him relax knowing she was happier. She was able to forget about Jennifer for now.

"Mum! Maria and me are nipping out for a bit!" Zac called.
"Oh, need a bit of time alone do we? Have I interrupted something?" his mum teased coming into the hall.
Zac tried to hide his annoyance, "I'll see you later."

The sun was bright and warm as they stepped outside. Zac gently took her hand.
"Follow me."
They ran towards the forest, like two infants running toward a playground. There was a thrill of excitement spurring them on. Maria did not know what it was, but from Zac, it was infectious.

Sunlight drifted down through the leaves on the trees giving the soft, mossy ground a speckled appearance. A bright, green canopy above them sheltered them from most of the sun. The sound of running water could be heard just through the trees ahead. A river?
Sure enough, there was a small stream just through the trees in a small clearing. A cave was beside it just hidden out of sight. It was empty when they went in. Inside was dark and quiet.
"That's odd," commented Zac, "He's not normally out at this time."
So they were meeting someone. Or something.
Suddenly, there was a rush of wings and a thunderous roar. Maria jumped up from the rock she had been sitting on as Zac looked to the sky from the entrance. A large shape was swiftly flying down towards them. It was a lizard like creature with golden yellow eyes, razor talons and broad, scaly wings. Its scales shimmered a deep blue.


Maria felt a chill run down her spine as adrenaline raced through her body.
"Is that...is that..."the words were stuck in her throat.
Zac laughed, "I anticipated you might react like this. This is Hirador."
The creature landed at the mouth of the cave and eyed them both intently. As she stared in both awe and fear the words finally freed themselves.
"Is that a dragon?"

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