"Dragonlings! I need dragonlings for lunch!" Anne shouted, joy and wind whipping her face as she called her "children" in Draconia. Three years had passed since she first became a Mother of her own group of baby dragons, watching them grow up and move on to greater tasks in school and fighting. She'd been with the dragons for eight years, ever since she had left the place above ground as a young teenager.

Young Makaz butted her playfully with her stubby horns.

What if I don't want lunch? What if I still want to play? she asked, knowing the answer.

You still have to eat it, Mak. Go on, I've got something special afterwards. Don't tell anyone though, it's a secret just for you!

Still works every time, Anne thought as she watched Makaz, now enthusiastic, bounce over to the food tables with the dragons and other Mothers. Anne could see Deb, another Mother and a good friend, chatting with Emilia, the bossiest Mother in all Draconia. She strolled over to them, tired but happy at the morning's struggle with a new baby, Drakloth.

"Anne!" Deb exclaimed when she saw her. "How's little Drakloth? You look exhausted!"

"Oh, he's doing wonderfully. He's resting with his mother for today, won't come down here until tomorrow. The trainers figured that they'd better-it was a hard birth."

"What will he think when all of the dragonlings stampede up there tonight to be with their mothers and find him?" Emily wondered.

"Don't worry about it. They put him off to the side," Anne reassured her, as well as herself.

"What'd you tell Makaz? She looks pretty bouncy, and she doesn't like to eat much," queried Emily. Anne grinned.

"My secret," she replied smugly, and Deb laughed.

"You have a 'surprise' for her, don't you? Oldest trick in the book!" she exclaimed again, always the most excited of the group.

Emily looked a little taken aback.

"Anne...there's a question I've been meaning to ask you," she said, trying to change the subject. Deb's face fell slightly.

"Shoot," Anne replied, seeing that the dragonlings were nearly finished eating and hoping that Makaz had forgotten as usual so she wouldn't have to think so fast.

"You didn't grow up with us, did you? Were you born Above?"

Anne's face turned chalk white. Her eyes turned steely and red, and she marched over to the dragonlings and practically threw them into bed for their naps. She locked the door to her private quarters, and left her competent assistant, Marie, in charge for the afternoon.

All afternoon, she thought, and it all came back to her, driving Draconia to the darkest corner of her mind. Jason haunted her, telling her she didn't love him, Michael haunted her, her brother in his cell, Stephanie angry for "stealing" Michael, her parents lying under the dirt and grass and worms.

That night, when everything was dark, she had already made her decision. She slipped out of her room and dashed across the commons, away from her dragonlings, and up the steep hill to the Fighting Academy, where many dragons she had nursed and cared for as children now lived. She looked in the teacher rooms for Austox, the dragon who had first brought her from her life Above, and called him.

Anne! What-

Take me back. Take me back above. I must go again; I can't hide from my problems forever.

Anne, I-

Please.

The dragon looked around hastily, and finally gestured for her to clamber on astride him. Together they flew high into the blackness, leaving drowsy peace below.


Author's Note: In fact, I wasn't originally planning to do a sequel to "Anne," but I got so many good reviews (thank you SO much to everyone!) that I decided to. These stories are based on personal experience, somewhat (for I haven't gone to live with dragons-yet!), and I just want to help people who are going through the same things. The last story was *not* very good, I thought, and I hope that this one showed more of what I was trying to say.

Please, review this one again and tell me what you think. Should I write another one? What would you like to see more of?

Thanks a million, everybody; it means more to me than you know to have you review this story with positive and helpful comments. Peace be with you!