Merlin's School for Ordinary Children - The Grail and Back Again #3 ... ISBN -

Fantasy/Adventure for all the family (paperback 326 pages)

BLURB - It is the third year since the strange castle, known to the residents of Calder Cove as Merlin's School, appeared in the seaside town. They are still viewing it with trepidation, more so this year as things that had been accepted - though odd - suddenly become dark and dire when a teacher is killed. Students are now more than ever reluctant to enter the confines of the building, but their choices are removed by an enchantment that draws the selected few in.
Will they find out who the murderer is? Or will the the murderer find them first?

Excerpt

‘Well there’s your smoke and your so-called camp,’ Orion said sarcastically.

     ‘Yeah,’ Allan said dreamily. He was studying the pale-skinned animal with sheer delight as he was sure now, that Orion’s wild guess was correct after all. Allan’s father had designed the most amazing dragons when he’d been alive and working with the TV station, but this magnificent reptile surpassed any of the boy’s wildest dreams.

     It was beautiful beyond compare. Its scaly skin covered its body from head to toe and when it partially stretched one of its wondrous wings, the translucent skin shone like a web of fine silk along its long length. The creature also had a line of barbs that travelled the ridge of its spine from nose to the tip of its tail, but they did not detract from the incredible sight in any way. In fact, this picture would normally scare the bejeezus out of most people … but Allan was in love. His eyes sparkled and gleamed at the sight of the dragon, until the boy realised it was chained by its feet, to large tree stumps.

     ‘It’s being held captive,’ Allan said angrily, taking a step closer.

     ‘There could be a really good reason for that,’ Ernest remarked sensibly. He was staying where he was. He wasn’t too keen about getting nearer to the beast. He had this strange feeling, like he wanted to go running off, screaming like a big soppy girl, in any direction that took him away from it.

     Orion was cemented to his side. Silent and rigid!

     Allan didn’t care what the other boys felt about the situation. He could see the dragon was in distress; the life seemed to be draining out of its huge body and its eyes were muted and dull. Its head was slumped on the ground between its front claws.

     ‘It’s dying,’ Allan cried, taking several more steps forward.

     ‘You might be the one to die,’ Orion finally spoke up, ‘especially if you get within biting distance.’

     ‘Nonsense,’ Allan responded. He wasn’t feeling quite as fearless as he sounded, but he couldn’t just walk away from the beautiful animal and just let it fade into death.

     The dragon lifted its head again and looked at Allan. It seemed to be pleading with him. Allan moved a little closer … cautiously … but ever nearer. Soon he was close enough to touch the creature. He stretched out his hand and softly stroked its nose.

     The dragon snuffled and Allan whipped back his hand. ‘Sorry,’ he said gently.