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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.
Needless to say, I was so excited to put the last decorative piece in place on the cover of Valeria Steiner's diary. Now, we were going to get to read whatever she wrote in there. I was literally dancing on my toes as I opened the diary! Oh my gosh, all that is in there is a vial. Reading a little note, I found that this is no ordinary vial. Of course it isn't ordinary. This is the Midnight Castle where everything is magic, but only for those who can see it. I was so disappointed when I saw that I must fill the Vial of Memories from castle residents.
All of a sudden, instead of standing in the Castle Entry, I was transported to the Dungeon of the Cursed. Professor Pinfeathers was excited. Look he told me, we woke Valeria Steiner herself. Well, almost as good, it was the ghostly form of Valeria who appeared. The professor said that she may know some secrets of discovering the Mystery Chamber that may help you. That Vial of Memories is Valeria's vial and hers is the Vial of Sad Memories.
Valeria Steiner's ghost looked rather bad. I realize that ghosts don't normally look normal, but she had such sad eyes and dark circles around her eyes. I felt really bad for her.
Valeria said that she needs revenge on whoever killed her. She seems to think that Rustle the Mountain Troll is the culprit. She said that there must be a reason that the troll hides in his Ice Rock. But she thinks she can thaw him out. She wants me to get the Symbol of Sacrifice from the Ice Monster and the Mandrake Root from the Drunken Skeleton. Ice Monster? I head into Ice Rock and there standing as tall as a tower, is a giant statue carved out of the ice. Or at least the top half of him was. He had red glowing eyes and horns that almost looked like a crown going from his eyes to the top of his head. It was amazing! You give him two sets of Shackles of Chaos and one Ice Crown, and he blinks his eyes twice then squeezes his arms to his chest, then gives you the item you need. It was fantastic.
Well I got the Symbol of Sacrifice from the Ice Monster, and the Mandrake Root from the Drunken Skeleton for Valeria, supposedly to make the Mountain Troll confess. But he did not. Valeria thinks that it was Rustle who killed her but she can't punish him because she is a ghost. She said that it is sad to be in this gray world between life and death. No wonder she looks so sad to me. She told me that she would not be a distraction, her memories have left her. She wants to know where to find her Vial of Sad Memories and despite her attempts, her investigation has gone south. She said that the ghost of a decrepit man told her something important, and also made fun of the poor innkeeper. She needs the Call of Adventure and the Roaring Lion to use as a bribe. She said that when she was killed her friend lost faith. Now he hangs around the castle waiting. She does not know what he is waiting for, but if I can get these items for her, she will think of a way they can be used.
I went to the inn and when I walked in, I stopped dead in my tracks. My mouth hung open in astonishment. There, hanging from the ceiling was a monkey. It is a good thing my Mom can't see him, she would not want him "hanging around". I had to give this monkey 3 rings to get the Call of Adventure from him, and as I was there in the inn, I got the other items Valeria needed. When I took them to her, she said that she can now see that these items won't bring the innkeeper to life. She has, however, found her Vial of Sad Memories in the Ice Rock. She asked me if I had lost hope of finding the Mystery Chamber of Wishes and I told her that I had not lost any hope of finding it. She told me that I kept hope alive, and called me her friend. Then she gave me her Vial of Sad Memories with her thanks. I poured her Vial of Sad Memories into the Vial of Memories and sealed it tight. It was time to find out who else has a vial of memories for me.
When I am in school, I have a lot friends who want to see the "Haunted Castle". I keep trying to tell them that it isn't haunted, it just needs a lot of work. And my Dad is working at it as fast as he can. There is this one group of kids that are always nagging at me to come to Midnight Castle. Their leader, Dbinamen, is so funny. They all keep me laughing all the time. One of these days, I am going to have to bring that group to the castle. And maybe I'll see if the Kraken is available too.
Professor Pinfeathers told me that if I perform the innkeeper's tasks, he should give me the Vial of Old Memories. That kind of seems fit as I always call him Old Salty.
Salty greeted me saying that he heard rumors that Valeria Steiner's ghost was back in the castle. I told him that the rumor was true and that I had met her. Salty looked at me and said that there is no time for rumors, we need to explore the Frozen Treasures. I have long since learned that "we" means "I". He impressed upon me that I needed to spend less time on ghosts and more time on the important things. To me, what could be more important than one of the ghosts in my Midnight Castle?
So I headed in the direction of the Ice Rock, where Salty said the Frozen Treasure was. Suddenly, and without any sound, the ice seemed to carve into itself a nice big niche. This was almost directly below the Ice Monster. Inside this cave like niche were all sorts of treasures. Of course, I was the only one who could see the treasure within. My Dad said to be careful, since a hole had appeared in the ice, the ice may be weak and collapse. But I knew that it would not collapse. It was just showing me another area where I can find items that my castle residents want.
Old Salty said that I need to move forward in life like a shark. I guess that means I have to keep moving, because I know that sharks must keep moving. At least I hope that is what Salty meant. I sure don't want him to mean that I have to bite somebody. As I was gathering items he needed for his guests he asked me if I ever wondered if there is life after death. I had never thought about this before, but considering I am seeing all kinds of ghosts, I guess there must be something besides just becoming a ghost and living between the live and the dead, like Valeria said she was.
Salty had me go to the Dungeon of the Cursed. One of the open areas on the right, that I had noticed before was an inset filled with skulls. I know the skulls were not there on my previous visit to the Dungeon. There are iron gates that are open, and may have once held prisoners. Among the skulls was a shield. I thought that would be a perfect present for my brother Marty. I will have to come back later to see if I can get it for him.
When I gave Old Salty the items he wanted, he called me pal, and told me that he was in danger. He wants me to remember Old Salty Took as a good man. I told him that I already did. He apparently has been having bad dreams, he said that all those doubts, nightmares and shadows lurk in dark corner, waiting for him. He thinks that the Live Potion will give him strength against the nightmares. He drank some of the potion, and said that he had been poisoned. That was low, inhuman, and now he was a ghost. I did not tell him he already was.