Margaret Peregrine is a high school sophomore. Most of the time, she's either at school, at the school robotics club, at the school chess club, or doing schoolwork. Today, she's cleaning out her late great-grandmother's attic.
Deep breath. Adjust backpack. Check that nobody's looking. Knock knock?
"I'm not looking for a bathroom, I'm looking for the Avalon."
"The Avalon. Where the people without medallions live and the people with them go to visit."
"Neither do you, right this minute. Doesn't mean we aren't."
She sticks a hand in it. "I know about pegasi and perytons and bugbears and stuff. What more do you want?"
"Ugh, I hate doing this. Look down." Once he's looking: Shoe. Claws. Shoe again.
She smiles at him as she goes by, but makes sure to get a ways past before she starts gawking like a normal person.
There is some legitimate-looking electrical equipment, and a long narrow stairway lit by flickering fluorescent lights that goes down at least three or four stories, and another door at the bottom.
Past that door, there is a whole little village in a vast open cavern lit with faux sunlight, bright enough to feel warm and real. To her left and right, little rowhouses, duplexes, and small apartment buildings with cramped gardens line narrow cobbled streets clearly intended for pedestrians first and foremost. The stairway lets out onto a main street leading straight ahead; it's a bit broader but not by much, and lined with shops and restaurants and such.
Some of the people walking around look human and wear necklaces. Some of the people walking around are entirely shaped like whatever they really are under that - deer with wings, griffins, multiple variants on "weird creepy horse", satyrs, centaurs. Some people are going around with partial transformations - wings, tails, faces, fur, all changed but leaving them the convenience of hands and bipedalism.
It's good that some of the people look human; means she doesn't look weird for doing the same. She gawks a little bit, then starts walking down the main street looking for the library. As she goes, she tries to observe everything at once. Do the restaurants serve the same kind of food as human restaurants, or are there other kinds of food too? Are there any shops you wouldn't see ones of outside? What does the age distribution look like, are there kids around?
The restaurants look pretty conventional - diner, pizza, tacos, burgers, buffet, fried chicken, barbecue, French bistro, pancakes place, sub shop, Chinese food, coffeehouse, pub, bakery, sushi, steakhouse, a little mom&pop that seems to serve only specials and have no regular menu. Conventional except the buffet serves bugs and the French one has a weird amount of tartare variations on its menu, and the specials at the place with the chalkboard include "Grass Salad" in between "Turkey Breast with Rice Pilaf" and "Lentil Soup". The proportion of restaurants to houses is weird; one could get the impression that most people who live here eat out for every meal.
The shops mostly look pretty normal, though she can spot some oddities - the hardware store advertises a farrier, the haircut place is having a sale on full fur coat grooming.
There are kids - almost all miniature creatures up until about sixth grade age; at that age some of them look human.
The restaurants look tasty; she'll probably get lunch here today. The tiny critter kids are adorable, even though growing up without the ability to turn human has to kind of suck.
They don't seem to mind.
There's enough clearance in the Avalon for flying creatures, especially kids, to take off, but not to do much; there's enough space to get over the typical building, but the place is indoors, and there's not much wind, updraft, or headroom. Being a flying creature in here is a little like being a bird stuck in a grocery store.
That's sad, but try being a flying creature stuck in a human body because even the myths think you're a myth. Maybe she should tell her parents everything in the hopes of a road trip to the middle of nowhere next summer. But that can wait; right now she's looking for the library.
If it's small then reading every single book in it before graduation is totally feasible. Or at least all the ones that mention magic at all. What sections have they got?
Magic section first, it's more likely to have theory stuff and the possibility of magic other than critters and medallions is awesome. She will read every title and grab whatever looks introductory or theory-ish.
She can't decide if this is feast or famine. Checking all of them out at once would probably be rude, so she'll start by sitting in a corner and reading Artifacts. And taking copious notes.