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After lunch I went back to the Castle Keeper to see if he needed more of my help yet. He said that he did indeed need my help again. He told me that the Castle will fall without my help. I don't really understand what he means by that, unless it means that everyone in the castle needs me to gather items for them. I am curious as to why they need these items now, and what did they do before I got here? Was everyone in a state of suspended animation? Or did the castle have it's own time period for when there is no owner in residence? But of course, I did not dare ask the Keeper these questions. I am finding that when I have a question, the answer is usually revealed to me later on. What a fantastic magic castle this is!
Anyway, the Keeper needs the Bow and Arrow of Stoppage and wants me to find the March of the Undead in the cauldron. I did not remember seeing a cauldron anywhere and he told me I would find it in the Underground Grotto. When I went to the Underground Grotto, the cauldron magically appeared before me in the passage to the Ring of Runes, close to the Stone Bowl. It was like a magic cupboard in that you put things into it and something else comes out of it, but inside the cauldron is a liquid that I would not like to touch, and the items that come out of it are always dry.
When I took the items back to the Keeper he said that this should buy us time. He told me that it is more and more difficult to hold back the creatures of the night. He asked me to help as time is slipping away. We will be safe if I can just manage to hold on he said to me. Start searching he said to me, he needs a way to break the chains and the ritual cannot begin until I return with the items he needs. I went as quickly as I could and returned to him, and as he performed the ritual, he told me that we are one step closer to eliminating the shackles of evil. And he now knows how to get the Rune of Cruelty for the Ring of Runes. As he gave it to me, he thanked me for my help, and I had a feeling that it wasn't just for the items I found for him.
The professor said that he was sure that the Ring of Runes should be no problem for me. He also knows where I can find 2 more runes. One of them is at Henry's in the Ice Rock and the other one is at the Wise Dragon's in the Forbidden Tower.
So off I trotted to the Ice Rock to see Henry and when he saw me, he thought that I might be able to help him. He has been having these terrible dreams about being turned into a troll. He feels that he owes me, and many other people, but he is broke right now. But he has an idea that he can sell some of the items that I can find for him. I also need to find the ingredients he needs to get rid of his terrible dreams. In the meantime, he is going to look in his chests for other treasures.
When I brought him the bad dream ingredients and some other treasures for him to sell, he told me that he had heard that I was looking for the Rune of Cold Calculations. He could try making it for me, but it won't be easy. He will get things ready while I am out collecting the ingredients for him. When I got back, he found it incredible that I actually managed to find those things. But now, he needs time to go through his scrolls. Oh, and one of his troll friends is having a birthday. Henry saw it on Facebook, and he does not have anything for him. Would I mind finding something for him to give to his troll friend. And I can also find something for Henry's necromancer who had a birthday too. He will have to give him a belated gift.
As I was looking for gifts for Henry to give to his troll friend and necromancer, I noticed a stained glass window in the right side of the Frozen Treasure in the Ice Rock. I wondered if perhaps the area outside of that had been a garden of sorts and there was still a path leading out of that area, but since so many things had crumbled and tumbled down, the path was impenetrable. That made me wonder a few other things about the castle. How did it get so run down? And why was the Castle Keeper locked in that room with the heavy chains and huge lock that took 8 keys to open? And for that matter, who locked him in there? I suppose that eventually I will get some answers, but Caroline Vesnik does not give up just because she doesn't have all the answers. I may only be 7 but apparently, the Midnight Castle was okay with that.
After I had found the gifts that Henry wanted to give to his troll friend and his necromancer, I took them back to him. He was very pleased with them, and when he gave the gift to the necromancer, he said that the necromancer had forgotten that it had been his own birthday, so the present was a happy reminder.
Unfortunately, when Henry was resting some goblins broke into his hut, and ransacked it. He decided to hire a guard, but he demands some special payment for his help, so I went looking for some payment for the guard and brought it back to Henry. It seems so strange to me for someone to be paid in items when in the real world, it takes real money. Henry thanked me for the items and told me that he felt I was such a good friend. Even though Henry gets a little strange sometimes, I really like him too. So Henry was going to clean up his hut and asked me to come back later after giving me a list of items he needed to fix a special machine in his hut. I took my time looking for the items, to give him the time he needed to clean up his hut. Then I went back with the items he needed to fix the machine. Now he could make the Rune of Cold Calculations for me, and gave it to me as soon as it was finished. I ran to the Ring of Runes and placed the Rune of Cold Calculations into it. Now there was only 6 more to go. I have to hurry and get them all in there so I can make my Mom well again.
I went straight from Henry the Archeologist, to the Wise Dragon. Of course, I have kind of gotten used to the way he talks by now. He quite often speaks philosophically. "Only one can stand alone against a crowd", he said, "but which one? and which crowd?" I don't know what it means but I'm sure he does. He wants me to do him a favor, but instead of asking me for something, he was lamenting the fact that there is not another creature who is his equal. He knows that I couldn't hold a candle to him, and he said so in the nicest way of course. Then he gave me my list of chores for him.
When I came back with the items he had requested, he told me that was excellent, and that he is starting to really appreciate me. Then he asked me if I was ready for my next trial, otherwise I would be toast. I knew that these chores and favors were the castle residents testing me, perhaps even the castle itself was testing me.
Although I don't always understand what he means, I have found that I like the Wise Dragon and quite often he has good advice for me. Don't get blinded by the light mortal, he said to me. Can I change the course of events? Perhaps not, I am only a mortal, but I can still help him. After finding more items for him, he told me that I have proved myself worthy so far. Although he has the Rune of Arrogant Pride, he would like me to find a Celestial Hunter and Chastening Power first. It took me a little while to get them together but I finally did and took them back to the dragon.
He told me that I deserve the Rune of Arrogant Pride and to use it wisely.
Professor Pinfeathers said that I should not let those runes ruin me now. If runes grew on trees, we wouldn't have to go to all this trouble. Then he told me that Anabel once told him that she had the Rune of Tenderness. Tomorrow I will go to see Anabel.
In the meantime, since I had time before supper, I decided to go exploring some more in the Underground Grotto. It was amazing how that island with the Altar just appeared out of the water. Then that Cauldron appeared near the Stone Bowl. Okay, I know that they were actually there all the time, but the Midnight Castle would not let me see them until it was the time to see them.
Then I headed past the witches tent towards the wall where the Ring of Runes will go when I get it completed. While I was looking at the strange looking wall where the runes will go, I noticed just to the right of that, an opening that I had not seen before.
Oh my goodness! What a beautiful scene I saw when I just looked through the entryway without going in. A beautiful lake and I could just see a little bit of some poor boat that had been moored there quite some time ago. I wanted to see more so I stepped inside the entryway. Wow! It was exactly as my brother Marty had described! And if I had seen that first, instead of seeing Anabel and the Iron Knight, that day so long ago, I would have been scared to death too!
I had finally found Marty's Kraken. It was perched on an old ship, like he owned it, and maybe he did now. It looked like he was using it as his home. When I went closer to the Kraken, what he did made me scream and back away. The Kraken had a big round mouth, with two teeth on top and three teeth on the bottom of his mouth. When I went too close to him, he lunged forward, taking a swipe with one of his octopus like arms, and growled. His many arms were similar to an octopus with the suction cups on them, but the ends were pointed like barbs. He didn't just growl though. It was very loud and menacing and when he growled, you could see fire in his mouth. But the eyes, that was what was so scary (as if fiery teeth weren't scary enough). The eyes actually lit on fire when he growled and the light from the fire spread throughout his head. And speaking of the head, when he growled, the top of his head moved as if he had no skull and it was full of jelly.
When I backed off a little, I could look at him, and he could look at me without the growling. I understood then that he was just protecting what was his. He was protecting his home. Well that is one ship I will never get on, I thought. Wow! I was so excited to finally see the Kraken, that I did not realize how much time had passed until I heard Marty yelling that supper was ready.
As the professor had said that Anabel had the Rune of Tenderness, I headed to her the next morning. She told me that she will look for the rune in her collection while I gather a few things that she needed. She wanted the Stone Base, and she told me that it was in the Pirates Tent. She told me that it was at Mirror Lake, just to the right of the place when the Ring of Runes will go. I knew that was where the Kraken was, and was praying that I wouldn't have to get too close to the Kraken. So I headed for the lake and suddenly there appeared a pirate ship moored or run aground at what appeared to be steps to the right of the Kraken's ship. Up on a cliff, above the pirate ship was a tent.
I was sure that neither the pirate ship or the tent was there last night when I saw the Kraken. He watched me enter the cave but did not growl at me or try to take a swipe at me. Apparently I was okay as long as I didn't get too close to his home. So I went up to the tent, and as with many of the places in the castle, there were several different items in the tent. I finally found the Stone Base for Anabel and headed back to her, I also had to pick up some Fungus Amongus as she was making soup. She offered me a taste and I apparently turned green, because she then said that a friend had given her suggestions on how to improve the soup, but now she needs more ingredients. She couldn't use carrots or celery like my Mom does, no she needs a Smashing Rune and a Seal of Courage. Well, I could see that you would need courage to taste her soup!
Anabel said that she values our friendship, and that I am so helpful to her. She was about to give me the Rune of Tenderness when someone had stolen it. She promised me that she would find it and get it back.
Anabel said that she has found the thief and he has been taken care of, vampire style. Then she told me that if I see a new vampire around to watch my things, because as she said, he is a bit of a klepto. Which I think means he steals things. She has just about located where the thief hid the Rune of Tenderness, she just needs a few items to further her search. She said that the Stone of Wild Nature and the Spyglass will help her find it. So I found her items for her and she told me that I was really useful. I came back a little later and she told me that she had found the Rune of Tenderness but forgot to bring it. So I did a few more errands for her and she gave me the Rune of Tenderness when I returned to her.
Now Professor Pinfeathers wants me to help the witch. She may repay me with the Rune of Inner Beauty.
When I reached Arabella Scales in the Underground Grotto she said that the Chamberlain needs our help. After finding some of the items she told me that she was spellbound by my tiny victories. They sure don't feel tiny to me. I am kept running all around the castle. Then she told me that Alchemy isn't a hobby, it's a calling, and if I bring her the ingredients she can show me. I was able to find all of the items on her list and brought them back to her. "That was quick", she told me, "you are a spirited one". No more news from the Chamberlain as to what he wants so she can go back to her favorite potions. But she needs me to help find some of the ingredients and I have to hurry because the poison in the potions can fade. Yuck! Poison in the potions, that doesn't sound nice.
Now the Chamberlain wants Arabella to bring him the Charm of True Feelings and the Wing of the East in the Rune Altar. After using up several of her ingredients, I have to go and replenish them for her. She said that it was bewitching how I do what I am told. She also said that the Chamberlain will be happy with what I have brought to her. When I returned, she was glad I was back because she needed someone to admire her new shoes. So I did. I didn't know if they were the style but they were pretty. Oh no, now her gargoyles are ill. Please would I help her cure them. Gargoyles or not, I don't like to see an animal suffer so I helped her cure her gargoyles. She thanked me and told me that although she may be a witch, she still has responsibilities to the Chamberlain. Then she gave me the Rune of Inner Beauty. Great, I thought, only 4 more to go.
It was only when I had completed Arabella Scales requests that I realized that the pirate ship had a hole in it's side. You would think I would have noticed when I went inside the ship for a couple of items, but either I was mesmerized by the Kraken, or afraid of the witch, because I didn't notice. I know that when I went to the Tent above the pirate ship, the hole was not in the side of the ship. It looked as though the cannon on the shore had shot a hole in the side of the ship. But after looking at the cannon, I realized that there was no way that cannon was in working condition. Once again, the Midnight Castle has let me see only what it wants me to see, and even then, only when it wants me to see it. This place is totally amazing for a seven year old. I would imagine that it would have a few surprises for an adult too.
The Professor was rather stern when he told me to go to the innkeeper and demand the Rune of Endless Greed. While he said to demand it, I will only do so, if nicer tactics doesn't work on Old Salty.
Salty told me that it really wasn't that bad to be a ghost, but since he can't touch anything, he needs my help to find and create some items for him. When I came back with the items, he told me that I did well, and he could sell these items on the open market. Actually he started to say black market, but I don't want anyone to think badly of Old Salty. He has had a hard time of life since he came here. He said that he was just thinking about Valeria today, and how they had been so good together. But right now he has other things to worry about. So he sent me for a couple more items. When I returned, he was glad I was back and that the job was very well done.
Now he has found some high rollers (I guess that means that they will pay a lot for items), so he is looking for pricey items. The problem is, he doesn't have any and he hopes that I will help. I was able to get the Infernal Armor for him, but now I have to wait until the castle can make more of the Links of Steel in order to make the Binding Fate for Salty. So I guess I will check the Belfry tomorrow to see if the castle had been able to put two more of them in there yet. Then I will be able to finish that task for Salty. But I am sure he will have more for me yet.
I found the Links of Steel to use in the Dead Ambassador so that I can create the Binding Fate for Salty this morning. Salty seems a bit greedy this morning. He says we work well together and maybe he should make me his partner, but then he thinks that I would want a cut of his proceeds. Actually I don't, but I won't tell him that.
The Chamberlain has got it in for him and he needs to protect himself with the Vultures Claw and Steel Hive. So I start looking around for the items that I will need to create these items for him.
He told me that gossip around the inn says that I am looking for the Rune of Endless Greed. He said that if I help him out, he will tell me where to find the rune. One of the tradesmen mentioned the Rune of Greed, but he's one of the Chamberlain's henchmen. But Salty will see what he can do. As a ghost he's starting to lose his clients. Apparently they are not comfortable with the non-corporeal he thinks. To show his good will he wants me to find the Emerald Tablet (which no one can read) and the Demonic Whip as well, and to come back later when I have it all for him.
Now Salty has a plan, he's offering the deal of the century and his clients love it. He'll soon have my Rune of Endless Greed, he promises. He also said that I am real good for business. As soon as I can get the Vulture Statuette and Mask of Pursuit, I will get the rune. I had to wait for the castle to make another Glowing Darkness in the Battle Pit so I can get the Symbol of Doom from the Book of Evil. This is needed to build the Vulture Statuette. Sometimes it seems that the Midnight Castle gives you what you need right away and sometimes it seems like it makes you wait forever. But I eventually got what I needed and gave them to Salty, and for all my effort, he gave me the Rune of Endless Greed.
I think Professor Pinfeathers is as excited as I am to get these runes. He keeps saying that the Mystery Chamber gets closer with every rune. Only 3 more runes to go. He has done a bit of sleuthing on this own and has information that will help. He told me that Skull Pete knows where to find the Rune of Infinite Wisdom. And, he said, I will likely get the Rune of a Knight's Honor from the werewolf knight.
Even while I have been helping the Midnight Castle nobles find the items they need, and the items that are needed to get to the Mystery Chamber, I have also been trying to help some of the gnomes. Today was Librander the Archivist. They have such interesting requests.
When I got to Skull Pete at Mirror Lake, I was a little surprised to see the skeleton of a pirate leaning against a pole. It was Lord Chamberlain's curse that he remain a skeleton forever. When Skull Pete spoke, it was a little unsettling to talk to a skeleton, and have him talk back. Pete needs help to remove the curse, he said to me. He needs the Mirror of Embarrassment. And rumor has it that there is also an item at the Bar Counter that will help. When I went to get the Mirror of Embarrassment, a Pirate Standard appeared in the water just off the shore. Just like the magic cupboards, you put items on the Pirate Standard and it gives you a different item.
Then Skull Pete said that if I was looking for the Rune of Infinite Wisdom, to keep looking. He also said that people get rattled when they see him. I'll say, I sure got rattled when he spoke to me. Since we are trying to reverse the curse, he asked me to bring him the Heavy Hops and Stone of Peace. He said that he would look a lot happier if he had any flesh. What he wouldn't give to be a pirate again. I brought him the "loot" as he called the items, then he told me that the Rune of Infinite Wisdom is his greatest treasure. For another try at reversing the curse, he wanted the Bone Whip from the Road Sign and the Punishing Hand. For that I had to go back to the Underground Grotto and there, attached to a tree, next to the witch Arabella Scales, was another magic cupboard. But this one was a little different. It had an animal called Six Paws inside it and knew what to give by the tone of the bells that sounded when you inserted two Glowing Darkness and one Insight Ring.. Apparently I came back quietly because he called me a stealthy one and asked if I had ever thought of becoming a pirate. It sounds fun.