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The next day, after school was out, I hurried home to finish Old Salty's requests. He found out that the crook wants the Binding Fate and the Blind Justice in trade for the Golden Wing. The Binding Fate was difficult to find and put together. Among other things, I needed to find 3 books. One was in the armored bear, another was in the Iron Chest, and the third one was to be found in the chest of the Dead Ambassador. These books were like nothing I had seen before. One was the Book of Resignation, which Salty said that it teaches self-sacrifice, which must be why no one reads it. The Volume of Fury, he told me, was not exactly a manual for an anger management course. Then, the weirdest book, was the Blood Volume. Salty explained that the book was inked in blood. After we put the books with the other items needed for the Binding Fate, we found the Blind Justice, and Salty was able to pass these items on to the crook and obtain the Golden Wing for Valeria Steiner's diary, and I placed it on the cover of the diary.
Professor Pinfeathers then asked me to craft the Card of Destiny. He said that everyone has a purpose and that I just needed to find mine. I don't know what the card said about my destiny, but the Professor then gave me the Golden Vignette. It looks like Valeria was very keen on gold and gems by the look of the diary. He then said that I needed more of the items for the diary, which was easy to see by the outlines of the rest of the missing items. He told me that Valeria Steiner knew something and that her diary should reveal it. Then he said that the Mountain Troll, Rustle, would have the round Ruby.
As I approached Rustle, he asked me where I had been. He has so many errands piling up for me. Goodness! Rustle needed me to make the Wings of Darkness to scare someone off, and that the Knife of Peril would be helpful too. He stated that he had been asked to guard the tavern but thinks he will tell them he came down with the troll flu. It sounded like me, when I wanted to skip a day at school. But since he told me that I worked as hard as a troll, I decided to help him find the Bemusing Potion. He said that anyone would look sick with that. Off he went to the tavern to tell them he was sick, and when he came back he said with a grin, that he looked so bad the innkeeper thought he was sick too! He then gave me the only red gem left from that book, with his thanks.
After Rustle gave me the gem, I found out that he was not quite finished with my help yet. He thinks that he is getting kinder, but in my opinion, giving me the gem and not letting me go to put it on the cover of the diary is not kindness, it is torture! I am sure that he did not mean it to be that way.
Rustle told me that his master is looking for him. He needs to find somewhere to hide. Then he came up with the idea of getting a disguise that would work to hide him. So we crafted the Orb of Moonlight and the Card of Destiny. He thinks he looks like a fortune teller now, and that no one will recognize him as a troll. Personally, I think he looked like Rustle the Mountain Troll with a deck of cards, and a funny looking crystal ball. I did not think that the disguise was going to work.
He went out of my sight, and almost immediately came running back complaining that the disguise did not work. Now poor Rustle was going to have to go back to threatening people and even growling. He wanted us to craft a Blood Flow Potion. He said that it makes growling sound even more vicious.
As he said his goodbyes, he told me to be careful with that red gem. He was afraid that it was so tiny that it could easily be lost. I waved goodbye to Rustle and went to get the book, so that I could place another gem on the cover of Valeria Steiner's diary.
Professor Pinfeathers now wanted me to go to see the Iron Knight for the Round Emerald. The knight said that he would ask around, but in the meantime, a useful item fell into the Fire Fountain. He said that he believed the item was the Ice Crown. Prior to this, there had been just a pile of junk on the floor. Now, before my very eyes appeared a non-working fountain. The fountain was full of the items that had been on the floor before. A Phoenix appeared, looking like he was on fire, sitting on the edge of the fountain. My Dad saw me looking at the Phoenix and said that he had added some feathers to the old bird that had been there, and lit him up from the inside for more of the Halloween decorations. Dad may have said that he did the fire bird, but I know that the Phoenix, turned his head and looked at me with eyes that were alive. More of the Midnight Castle magic I presumed.
The Iron Knight told me that there are people in the castle who owe him favors, and he will ask them about the Round Emerald. After helping him retrieve some of the items he wanted, he told me that he had good news. He has discovered how to get the emerald I seek. He is unable to skip work to find a jewel and he is running out of time. He can not look for the Round Emerald today, as he is currently on watch and must stay awake until the morning.
The next morning he asked the Chamberlain about the emerald. The Iron Knight said that Lord Chamberlain seemed unusually annoyed by the question. The Chamberlain wants the Iron Knight to bring him the Winged Amulet, and The Fungus Among Us, which seemed very out of character for him. But when the knight took the items to him, he looked very pleased, but the Iron Knight knew better than to mention the emerald to him again.
The Iron Knight discovered that one of the servants had found the Round Emerald. He agreed to sell it for a price. The Soul Harvest and the Murderers Eye just happened to be his price. The knight told me that surprisingly the servant actually meant what he said and gave the knight the emerald. The Iron Knight then held out his hand with the Round Emerald in it and told me to take it. I thanked him for his help, and went to put the emerald on the cover of Valeria Steiner's diary. Just a few more pieces, I thought. Then we can open it.
The Professor said that Lord Chamberlain must know something about the Heraldic Dragon decoration for the diary. I went to Lord Chamberlain to ask him about it, but it seems that he is upset about something.
Although no one else was in the room he was yelling something about it is not a High Convention - it is an assembly of fools! He needs to do something! "Bring me the Royal Stone and the Strangled Ruby", he said, "I will pick up the Vengeful Weapon".
As we removed another curtain in the Throne Hall I saw another magic cupboard. This was just across the room from the doorway into the forbidden tower, where the dragon is currently staying. Lord Chamberlain called this cupboard, the Flag. I have to think that it is called this because to open it you need 2 Banners of Loyalty and 2 Shields or Order. When this is all put together it looks a lot like a flag with the banners and shields on it. This cupboard, or the Flag, gave me the Royal Stone, and I had the Strangled Ruby and gave both items to Lord Chamberlain.
"Keep up the good work, but don't get in my way." he said. He was still upset and told me that those old men in the Council are plotting against him. He then said that he has a plan of his own. After getting him a couple more items, he told me that things are improving, but not for me. He then told me that I should stop sneaking around and do him this favor. I decided that I needed to stand up to Lord Chamberlain and told him that I have not been sneaking around! I decided that I had fetched and carried for Lord Chamberlain enough for one day. I will go back to him tomorrow and see what else he needs. I sure hope he is in a better mood tomorrow.
Today I went back to Lord Chamberlain not knowing whether he was going to be grouchy or his usual humorless self. But he greeted me with almost a smile. That kind of has me worried, the only time he does that is when, as my Dad puts it, the smile is on the other side of his mouth. I think that means that the smile is not for me, but for himself.
He told me what a timely visit this was. They are in the middle of the Council elections and he could use some help. He wants me to find the Charm of True Feelings, and the Stone of Peace. He said that he had not expected to see Anabel in the Council and he thinks we can give her a little gift. It sounded to me like he wanted to bribe Anabel into voting for him for something.
He wants me to find the Web of LIes and Sun Amber, and he will give them to Anabel himself. Afterall, he told me, he has always felt a fondness toward her. After I gave him the items he wanted for Anabel, he actually gave me a compliment. He admitted that I am talented. Then he asked me if I was here because of Valeria's diary. He stated that we should share information. Personally, I really don't think that is a good idea. I have a feeling that he would like to find the Mystery Chamber for himself. But he gave me the Heraldic Dragon and I raced to affix it to the diary cover.
Professor Pinfeathers commented that I had done a lot in a short period, and that it was incredible. He told me not to give up, called me his friend, and told me that he believed in me, that I could do this. He said that Salty might have the Golden Star and the Wise Dragon might give me the Golden Wreath if he got fired up about it.
I sure hope the dragon doesn't get too fired up, I have seen him breathe fire.
As the Professor said, it was time to see Old Salty again. As I approached him, he said that he had heard that I was getting close to finding the Mystery Chamber. For some reason, he is not happy to hear that. I did not argue with him about it, it is not for the wish that it will grant, according to the story, but merely to see more of the Midnight Castle. I want to see and experience all of it. So without saying anything I found the Roaring Lion from the Flag and the Grave Blade from the chest in the Rock Garden for him. After receiving the items, he said that he was inspired, that I remind him of himself. He was in a good mood and trying to sing his requests to me. I thought, but did not say, don't give up your day job. That was something that I heard my Mom say to my Dad when he was trying to sing. He did not sing very well. But to be nice I complimented Salty on his singing and he said that one can't kill the song in your heart, and thanked me for the compliment.
He said that I had seen what detestable visitors he had before me, and that I am an angel in comparison. As the only visitors I had seen were the skeletons sitting at the game table, the skeleton playing dice, and the drunken skeleton on the stairs, I had to agree with him. Now Salty seems a little sad, maybe he wanted a better class of skeletons around him. So he needs the Child's Tear from the drunken skeleton, and something pretty to cheer him up, maybe the Stardust Crystal. So I got the Tear, and made the Stardust Crystal and when I gave them to him, he told me that I had made an old man happy. He said, "I might wish you luck in finding the Mystery Chamber, but I won't".
Although he says he doesn't mind, Salty said that no one ever asks how he's doing, and that on days like this, he would rather close up the inn and go back to his palace. Palace? Salty has a palace? Boy, would I like to see that! Then he back tracked and said that I was to pretend he never said that. How can you forget something like that. One day, I will get him to show me his palace.
It is another new day and I need to stop by and ask Old Salty if he needs anything more from me. As I walk in, he surprised me by the good mood he was in, compared to yesterday. "What a sunny day! I knew you would come" he said. He said that he only needed a couple of things and could I find him a Nocturnal Ring. As I told him that I would find one for him, he also stated that he hoped I could help him get the Steam Tool from the Road Sign. After I gave him the items he wanted, he told me that he was getting to like me, sort of. Rather than question him why only sort of, I thanked him as he gave me the Golden Star for Valeria Steiner's diary.
Since Professor Pinfeathers asked me to visit the Wise Dragon after I finished with Salty's requests, I headed for the Forbidden Tower. Every day that I walk through the Midnight Castle, I am surprised by the amount of changes that have taken place. When I first visited the castle, I only saw Anabel at the Castle Gates, and behind her in the Castle Entry, the Iron Knight. So many new residents of the castle, as well as the changes within the castle. It still amazes me.
When I arrived at the tower and spoke to the Wise Dragon, he did not seem to recognize me. He said that I looked oddly familiar. He stated that he was doing an experiment and maybe after the experiment his memory will return. He told me that the Vampire's Palm was missing from the experiment and that I might find it in the Fire Fountain. Oh and he also needs the Shackles of Chaos. For that, I have to go back to the inn.
On a counter beside Salty, there suddenly appeared a lot of different foods. As usual, Mom and Dad could not see any of this food, It apparently was for my eyes only. I found the Shackles of Chaos there on the counter and with the Vampire's Palm, made my way back to the dragon. I guess I must have startled him, because he said that he did not expect me back so soon. He seemed a bit distracted because he mentioned something about me to never mind about the blue reflection in the red mirror. I did not see a red mirror, let alone a blue reflection in it. But I guess it is not good form to question the Wise Dragon. He wanted the Shield of Order and a Polestar. He told me that I am beginning to deserve his respect. He thinks I will be able to help him. It appears that the Dragon has a very long list for me. We decided to put the rest off until tomorrow.
When the Wise Dragon asked me to get the Celestial Pendant from the Winter Garden, I had to ask where that was. I had not seen a winter garden yet, but if I had to guess, I would think it would be somewhere in Ice Rock, as that is the only place I had seen so far that would be cold enough to have something that would be winter like. He confirmed that it was indeed in Ice Rock. As I got there, It looked like my Dad had been busy removing ice from an area with a statue of a woman sitting in a garden. I could see part of what used to be a very large door, leading into what might have once been a solarium or a hallway of sorts. It looked as though you could see all the way to the back, and see trees on what used to be the outside. I don't know how you can have winter in one area, and fall in the other areas outside of the Midnight Castle. But I think that is another area of the magic of the castle. After I brought him the items he needed, the Wise Dragon needed to think, and told me that Anabel had been looking for me.
As I approached Anabel, she told me that her senses told her that I will soon need to descend to the dungeons. She wanted to help me but she can not conduct the ritual without the Bemusing Potion that had been lost. She also needed the Vampire Sign and the Binding Fate. The Binding Fate needs those three strange books that I came across before, and she can't help me until I find them. Once I had the items she needed, she told me that the ritual is working, and thanks to my help, she has discovered the Bemusing Potion.
I cant help but wonder what these rituals and potions are supposed to do for me. I get tired out trying to find all of the items that everyone needs and I wonder if they are just testing me or if these items are really needed. I need to ask Old Salty about all of this. But I don't know if I can, as he is against me finding the Mystery Chamber and I don't know why.
I think I got too much sun yesterday when we went to the beach. I had a frightfully bad headache. But I am much better today and ready to check with the Wise Dragon, to see what we need to do next.
The dragon told me to find a way to examine the Stone Chaps. But as I had not seen any Stone Chaps, he told me to look behind the throne. As I came out of the Forbidden Tower, into the Throne Hall, I saw Dad trying to move the throne. All of a sudden that old throne just fell apart, and behind it were stairs leading down into the Dungeon of the Cursed. With candles and torches lit, looking around the dungeon was a little eerie. I could see heavy chains with shackles attached to them hanging from the ceiling. There were a couple of skulls and two different openings on my right. A little farther along that same wall was a fountain that looked as though someone had tried to repair either the fountain or the floor, as there was a glob of concrete on the floor. Whoever did the work was not very good at it..
On my left, there appeared to be what I thought might have been barrels, or half barrels, with wood sticking up out of it. I don't know what any of that might have been for. All in all, the hallway was a very strange and disconcerting place. It was dark and dingy and felt like someone was watching you every step you took. It was the eeriest place I have been in, since I have been in the Midnight Castle.
At the end of the passageway on the floor, was a curious looking round metal disc with eight sharp points sticking up. All of these points were going from a round ring in the center of the disc. On the back wall were huge statues of men and chained to the back wall was the Stone Chaps that I was looking for. This has a series of locks that took three items to open. Well, I found the Stone Chaps, but it was the rest of the dungeon passageway that held my attention and, I must add, just a little bit of fear. This is the first time I have felt any fear here, and I hope it is the last.
I got the Cuirass of Flame for the Wise Dragon, and hurried out of the dungeon. That is one place that gives me the creeps. The dragon told me that I had surprised him again, and that I was a good helper.
Then the dragon got strange again and said that he wondered why the dragons would need princesses, and asked me if I knew. Not being a princess myself, I don't really know why dragons need princesses. Now he realized that he had gotten himself distracted and decided to send me on another task.
After retrieving his items for him, he stated that it was perfect. He told me that it was a pleasure to deal with such a helper. Thanks to me, he said, he is very close to the puzzle solution. The calculation was right but he must replace some of the components. The Symbol of Love and the crafted Glinting Earrings. Yes, he told me, that was exactly what he needs. And it was at this point that he gave me the Golden Wreath, the final item needed for Valeria Steiner's diary.