Coral and the Pearl Diver (Bella Sara Series #9)by Felicity Brown, Jennifer L. Meyer
Journey to the world of magical horses . . .
A beautiful water horse, Coral is destined to meet a special girl in need of her guidance. Coral must lead the young girl to important discoveries that will change the course of their destinies forever.
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Bella Sara #9: Coral and the Pearl Diver
Twelve-year-old Miki Vann adored everything about her native home, the tropical island of Awdi Salaca. But her absolutely favorite thing was the school of lively green water horses who lived in the sea around nearby Bahura Reef.
After an unsuccessful day of diving for luna pearls with her family, Miki was hanging out with the other island children in the late-afternoon sun. Later that night, they would celebrate the biggest festival of the year. Miki sat beside her best friend, Lealoni, on Silver Rock, a huge, shiny stone ledge that hung sixty feet above the aquamarine ocean.
Silver Rock was the best spot on Awdi Salaca to watch the water horses frolicking in the surf. Too bad the horses kept their distance from humans . . . Miki longed to play with them and get to know them better.
Lealoni pointed to a water horse. "It's the red one!" she squealed. "I told you I saw her this morning. There she is! See?"
"I see her," Miki replied, smiling at her friend's excitement. Lealoni was only eight, and some of the other kids teased Miki for hanging around with a girl younger than herself. But Miki loved Lealoni's constant enthusiasm.
Miki and Lealoni watched as the red filly launched herself out of the water in a beautiful breach. The water horse spun and twisted in the sky before slipping back into the sea with the smallest of splashes. As a practiced diver herself, Miki was impressed with the filly's athletic technique.
Lealoni sighed happily, toying with a tiny luna pearl that hung from a cord around her neck. "I bet I could twist just like that if Idived off this cliff," she said. "You wish!" said someone from behind them. Miki glanced back and saw that it was fifteen-year-old Shad, surrounded by a group of younger boys. Shad looked muscular and tough, but Miki had known him her whole life and knew he was more sensitive than he seemed.
"Shrimp, you'd be squashed like a jellyfish on the rocks," Shad mocked Lealoni. The boys around Shad laughed.
Miki glared at Shad. "You're just a jumbo shrimp," she told him. "You can't dive from this high, either."
"And you can?" Shad challenged. "Go on then, I dare you!"
Miki considered the dare. She felt a little scared, even though she was confident in her diving abilities. Silver Rock was the highest point on Awdi Salaca's coast. It would be easy to get injured.
"Of course Miki can dive from here!" Lealoni piped up. "She's the best diver on the island!"
Miki shot a pained glance at Lealoni. It was great that her friend was so loyal, but now Miki would look like a wimp if she didn't take up the challenge.
"So, prove it," Shad said to Miki with a shrug.
With a deep breath, Miki stood up. "No problem," she said, and all the kids cheered.
Miki stepped closer to the edge. She peered down at the swirling blue-green water far below. She wasn't afraid of heights. The water was deep in the bay below Silver Rock, so there was no chance of being hurt by hitting the bottom. She'd seen adults dive from this location many times. But still—diving from this height, she'd hit the water hard. It would take all her skill to pierce the surface of the water safely.
Letting herself relax, Miki stared across the water at the spectacular scenery of Awdi Salaca. The island was a tropical paradise. It was roughly butterfly-shaped, with a cove cutting into both the north and south sides. The cliffs along the shoreline were broken by sloping pinkish or black sand beaches, along with the occasional waterfall. Tall, solitary rock formations called sea stacks jutted from the surf. Awdi Salaca was forested by bluish palms and tangled jungle vines, speckled with giant red and yellow flowers.
In the center, looming over all the natural beauty, was Mount Salaca, the active volcano that had created it all. Smoke wisped out of the caldera, the hot mouth at the peak of the volcano.
Miki concentrated on her dive, focusing on the spot in the sea she planned to hit. A tremor of fear churned in her stomach, but then the red filly breached again at the edge of Miki's vision. Seeing the water horse leap so gracefully gave Miki the courage to launch herself off the cliff.
She soared out from Silver Rock. For a long moment she felt as though she were hanging motionless in the sky, defying gravity like a winged horse.
But then gravity yanked her toward the ocean. Her long hair whipped in the rushing wind as she plummeted.
Miki tucked her legs, rolling into a neat somersault. Then she extended her body, twisting it like the whorls of a conch shell. Before she hit the water, she arched her back, making sure her legs were straight behind her and her hands were splayed wide in front of either side of her head.
Her hands smacked the ocean, breaking the hard surface of the water and creating a hole for her head. The entry was smooth—she knew she'd barely left a splash.
As she arced underwater, Miki's whole body tingled in excitement. A dive from that high was such a rush!
Now she could feel the sting on her hands, the sides of her arms, and the tops of her feet where the water had slapped. She settled underwater and let her smarting skin cool. Miki could hold her breath a long time—a skill she'd learned from diving for pearls almost before she could walk. As always, the silence underwater filled her with a sense of deep peace.Bella Sara #9: Coral and the Pearl Diver. Copyright (c) by Felicity Brown . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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