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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9. The Secret Cave

Maria held her breath and shut her eyes tight as they dived. The water felt cool and soothing.
A voice whispered, "Open your eyes."
Opening them slowly, she gasped intaking a mouthful of water causing her to choke. Beneath the water was like a whole new world. Brightly coloured fish swam towards them then quickly darted away like arrows. Clumps of seaweed swayed like dancers as the water flowed peacefully overhead. It was as beautiful than the land above. Elvira seemed to move even more gracefully underwater. One flick of her slender tail and they were gliding along smoothly. As they passed a group of sharks, Elvira bowed her head respectfully. Maria and Zac did the same. The sharks swam on past glancing at them just once. Elvira quickly sped on as if afraid of them. They were heading for a small, dark cave. Much like the one they had entered in the park where they found this place.


"This is the entrance to the grotto of the Four Dragons." Elvira explained, "There is a steep climb. Hold on tight."
With that said she flicked her tail and dived into the cave. Within seconds all daylight vanished. They were experiencing complete cave darkness. Then a dim light appeared like a gentle candle. Maria looked around. The cave walls seemed to shine like glass. The sand on the cave floor glistened gold. Elvira slapped the ground with her tail whipping up clouds of gold-dust. As they came to the back of the cave Elvira looked up then began to rocket upwards. Maria gripped hard as she could and prayed she wouldn't fall. 
They slowed down and broke the surface. Elvira bobbed a little allowing Maria and Zac to slide off her back. Maria slid down expecting to hit water. But instead her feet touched on solid ground.
"Thank you." said Zac.
Elivira bowed her head low again, "I hope we will meet again. Good luck."
Then she disappeared below the surface. The water rippled a little then went completely calm. Maria looked around. They were still in the cave seemingly near an opening. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. Zac glanced at her.
"You nervous?" he asked.
Maria realised she was trembling slightly. "Just a little."
"Don't be. They're not as scary as you might think. In my dream, they spoke to me with pure, gentle voices." he said reassuringly.
She smiled but couldn't slow her racing heart.
They walked slowly towards the light. It was so bright it was nearly impossible to see. Holding her free hand over her eyes she tried to peer through the beam as they passed through it. About a minute later the light disappeared and Maria gasped in wonder at the sight left behind. They were standing in some sort of enormous throne room. Everywhere was silvery white. To their left sat an empty throne long abandoned. A golden crown sat on top. Four piles of different precious stones glittered in front of them. One was red rubies, another was yellow ambers, a third was black jet and a fourth was pearls. Behind these piles was a view over the valley they had just travelled through. It seemed the Four Dragons knew they were coming.
"Where are they?" Maria asked gingerly.
Zac looked at her and grinned, "Wait."
Suddenly there was thunderous roar. Four large shapes began swooping towards the throne room. Each one a different colour. Red, yellow, black and pearl. She looked at Zac questioningly, he nodded. As the creatures landed and settled on their own pile they looked at Maria and Zac with interest. Maria observed them with wonder and awe. Four large snake like Chinese dragons. Each one had a long scaly body, golden yellow eyes, sharp fangs and talons but no wings. Their noble heads had stag like horns and two feelers sprouted from their noses.
"Welcome Maria, welcome Zac." said the red, "Welcome to the palace of Igondia and the grotto of the Four Dragons."

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