... and Maia was comforted to know that her little dragon friend was still with her.

She had been so unhappy with her boring, unadventurous life, and now she was surrounded by new, amazing friends ~ and she had magical powers! It was almost too much to believe.

As Delia had said, she must learn to be careful.

If she could change the weather with her thoughts, and take on the soul of a Shaolin warrior when in danger, then she must be very powerful ~ and she knew that she must treat her powers with responsibility and respect.

Her powers were new, thouugh. Never before had anything like this happened. It must have been connected to her recent birthday, when she became 18.

If she had had powers before, then surely, even as a baby, she could have rejected the evil ones. She could have prevented that fire, which had destroyed her home ~ and almost destroyed the kingdom. She could have kept her parents from their clutches.

She was beginning to feel calm now. The snow had melted and the sun was shining again.

She must focus ~ focus on the woman in the shop, and the potential dangers that she might encounter. She would have to go back, she was sure of that, but not yet ..

What should she do?
She suddenly knew; she must draw, and let her subconscious mind guide her. But her paper was ripped and her pencils broken!

"Is this what you are looking for?
It was Delia, holding her pad, her pencils and her drawings. All were in perfect condition.

"Let's sit down here", she suggested.

Maia smiled.
They sat down on a little knoll and ...

"The secret of success is constancy to purpose" - Benjamin Disraeli.