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The next morning the professor told me that The Iron Knight had heard I was collecting memories. He told me that he has a few of those. He doesn't remember where he left the Vial of Valiant Memories, but he will think about it. He asked me if I needed a favor from him, and if so, not to let his proud bearing put me off. He knows that I will find the Mystery Chamber. So I left him to think about where he might have put the vial of memories.
When I came back, he was hoping that I was Anabel. He said that he would give his sword to know what she thinks of him. I think he should just go and talk to her. That would be easier than just standing there smelling a rose and wondering. He said that one fortune teller he knew could tell the future using the Sphere of Night, and that he is ready to read tea leaves too and that the Lucky Clover could help. I keep telling him to go talk to her, but I think he is afraid to. Imagine, a mighty knight like that afraid to talk to a girl! Okay, so maybe she is a vampire, but still he should just go and talk to her.
When I came back with the items he requested, he asked me if I saw how Anabel smiled at him. His face turned a little red and he said that he was not blushing, he was just a little flushed. Well, I just found out that the knight can fib a little.
The Knight stated that he was still astonished at how many mysteries our castle hides. He should see it from my point of view. I am totally in awe of the mysteries of my Midnight Castle. He also said that I am becoming indispensable. We are two people who go forward with their goal with unflinching courage. He's especially fond of me when I bring him things, and he said that I am performing honorably. He does wonder sometimes if he was misguided in always being loyal to the owners of the castle. Maybe he should have been a farmer, he mused. I don't think he would have done well as a farmer, and as he said, you can not regret the past as there is so much hope for the future. He composed a poem about the tenderness in a tough soldier, and read it to me. While I don't think he would make it as a poet either, at least he tried and said that it felt good to express himself. We worked well together, he told me, and then gave me the Vial of Valiant Memories.
I went to Professor Pinfeathers to ask him which resident is the next one I should talk to about more vials of memory. Boy, did I get a surprise. Instead of telling me to talk to Rustle, or the Wise Dragon, he told me to go out to the woods and get an egg. An egg!! I told him that my Mom had eggs in the refrigerator, but he said that was not the kind of egg he wanted me to get. This egg was very old, he told me. Long ago, the humans used to hunt and kill dragons. Of course, back then, the dragons would set the human's houses on fire and kill the people.
He told me that before she was killed, this mother dragon, hid her egg in a hole in a tree in the woods and although it has been a couple of hundred years the egg is still there. Since the Midnight Castle has come back alive with it's magic, it is time to retrieve the egg and hatch it. Hatch a dragon egg? How on earth do I do that? The professor was a bit impatient with me and told me that once I had the egg safely back in the castle, he would tell me what to do.
Since my brother, Marty, has been all through those woods, I asked him to help me. He laughed at me when I told him that I had to get and bring back a dragon egg to the castle. But he finally agreed to help me. Professor Pinfeathers told us that he would direct us to the right tree, and then lead us back to the castle, so we wouldn't get lost. The tree he took us to was way back into the woods. It is a good thing I got Marty to come with me, because the trees were so thick in that area that they totally blocked out the sunlight. And there was something else, it seemed that something was watching us. I was almost sure it was the trees themselves, and they were making sure that we were not there to harm the egg.
When we finally found the egg, the professor put his ear on the egg. "Yes!", he said, "the egg is just about ready." We took the egg back to the castle and on our way, Marty said that he would build a box for the egg and fill it with leaves, and straw as a soft bed for the egg to lay on. The professor said that we must keep the egg warm at all times or the egg would not hatch. I kept thinking what are we going to do with a baby dragon if the egg does hatch? I remember when I first saw the Wise Dragon breathing fire. All I could think of was a baby dragon trying to breath fire on everything and burning everything up, like I have seen on some cartoons on TV. What will Mom think? We have to hide it!
We got the box Marty made and filled it with soft material. We decided that leaves and straw would not be good in the castle. There might be bugs in them. So some soft blankets and some of Mom's cotton balls, (actually we used all she had) and now we had a nice soft warm place to put the dragon egg.
Mom called us downstairs and we found her there with something dark all wrapped up in a soft towel. She said that she found it in the Castle Entry crying. It was a little black kitten! Oh, how cute she is. She had been hungry, wet from the rain last night, and shivering cold. Mom dried her off, fed her and cuddled her until the shivers stopped. But now she wanted us to take care of the adorable kitten. Marty and I looked at each other, knowing what the other was thinking. What will this kitten do with a dragon egg? We took her upstairs to our rooms and decided that Marty would keep the egg in his room and I would keep the kitten in mine. But apparently the kitten had other ideas.
She jumped from my arms and before we could grab her, she hopped into the box with the dragon egg. I was just holding my breath hoping that she would not destroy the egg before we could get to her. Instead of destroying the egg, she seemed to know that the egg needed warmth too, so she pulled the egg up gently against her body, and wrapped herself around the egg and went sound asleep.
Marty and I both breathed a sigh of relief. But I thought that I should let Professor Pinfeathers know about this new development. After all, Professor Pinfeathers was a bird, and well....we all know what cats can do to a bird.
I found that the professor was already aware of the situation. I should have known that, there is not much around here that the professor doesn't know about. He told me that he would have a chat with the kitten after she woke up, but that it looked like it was going to be okay.
All I could think of was, wait until that poor kitten finds out what she is hatching!
As I get ready to go and do my chores, both Mom's and the Midnight Castle resident's, I take a look at the little black kitten in the box with the dragon egg. She had already been downstairs to eat, and was washing up, getting ready for her morning nap. I keep trying to come up with a name for her and keep shooting down the usual, blackie, midnight, ebony, and shadow. For that particular cat, those are far too common names, we need something unusual for an unusual cat. Something that fits her, like hatcher, or something. I will have to continue to think about it.
Professor Pinfeathers told me that Lord Chamberlain has the Vial of Royal Memories. When I approached him and told him what I needed, Lord Chamberlain said that he has lived for centuries and humans still amaze him. He felt that there are a lot of silly rumors around about vampires. He even said that I might be good enough to be a vampire in training. I don't think I really want to be a vampire though. I rather like being a human being, although from what I have seen so far, I don't think that being an adult human is much of a picnic.
Lord Chamberlain told me that the High Council of Vampire Clans promises to raise his rank and he needs my help to get items that may be of use to him in his quest. He said that the Steel Hive should help, and the Glinting Earrings are a gift. Once I was able to get these items for him, he actually said "Good Job". Can it be that our Lord Chamberlain is softening? Probably not, because in the next sentence he said that the High Council these days are so slow, and that Anabel keeps getting in the way.
I obtained a few more items for him and he said that it was enough, and he told me that I had done well. When I asked again about the Vial of Memories, he became his usual self and said that I wouldn't leave him in peace. If I got him a couple more items, he would give me the vial. He said that he is busy with the situation in the council, but gave me the Vial of Royal Memories, and told me that we will meet again later. So I ran to put Lord Chamberlains Vial of Royal Memories into the larger vial, which already held the other vials.
This morning, Professor Pinfeathers asked me to check with the troll about the Vial of Odd Memories. When I reached Rustle, the Mountain Troll, he told me that I am a promising candidate to be a trolls friend, but not yet. The only way I could become his friend was to do everything he wants. When I had collected several items for him, he told me that my tasks were very well done. He said that I was a valuable fr...assistant. He almost said friend, and I had to hide my smile at that. He wanted to know if I still wanted to be a trolls friend, and of course I said I did. After gathering more items for him, he told me that I was the first one to help a troll. He really could not believe that I wanted to be friends with him. He said that he kind of likes this friendship thing. Then he told me that because I was his friend, he would not eat me. Again, I had to hide my smile and thank him for not eating me. But he would like a small favor in return. So I went about collecting the next batch of items that he wanted. "One last favor", he said. "I always wanted a Rune Stone and really want the Live Potion". Now that he had everything a troll might want, even a friend, he gave me the Vial of Odd Memories. I went ahead and poured that into the larger vial that already had other memories inside.
Today was Marty's birthday, so we all went downtown to the Pizza For All. Marty had all of his friends there and received many nice presents. I was glad to see him so happy. There was an arcade there also, and my Dad helped me play a tournament game that other people were also playing. I could not believe it!! I won some of those pretty blue stones, other people called them diamonds but Mom said they weren't real diamonds like on her rings. I also won one of those masks that look like a circus strongman. I was so surprised that I had won anything. This was really a great day!
I made a friend of the troll and now have won a place in the tournament at the arcade. I wish the mask was of a girl, but I just was happy that I won anything at all. I really did not expect to. Yea!
I headed for the Wise Dragon, as Professor Pinfeathers had told me to go and see him. When I got there, he called me their adventurer, then told me that he has been having trouble sleeping. It was what he said next that really had me in a tizzy. He said that the possibility of my murder is getting to him. Getting to him? Geesh, what about me? I don't want to be murdered. He did not offer any suggestions as to how to keep from getting murdered, or even who might want to kill me. But he wanted me to craft him a Crafty Leprechaun and find a Night Orchid in the Carnivorous Lily for him, so he can sleep. Maybe I should get some, I am sure I will not be able to sleep now. He said that the general atmosphere of the castle affects his dreams. He wants me to go and distract the troll as he might be bored.
Rustle, the Mountain Troll complained that if he had that cart of food, he wouldn't have to hunt for two days. He wanted an item that was in a place I had not heard of yet. In the Forbidden tower, under a heavy curtain was the Writing Corner, where I found the Sign of Penance he wanted. He also wanted the Symbol of the Abyss, that should be around somewhere. I finally found it in the Stone Chaps. He was very glad I could find those items for him, so that now, he wouldn't starve. I don't think he was going to eat these items, they did not look like they were very edible, but knowing Rustle, you never can tell what he will be doing with them.
The troll said that someone had challenged his delicate sensibilities and he has called for a duel. For the duel, he needed the Fangs and Claws for around his neck and the Battle Horn to wake the battle spirit. He told me that while I was looking for these items, he would be polishing his club. When I returned with the items for him, he said that the cowards ran away as soon as they saw him in his battle armor.
Then he asked me if I knew the story about the beauty and the ugly troll and how after she kissed him, he became normal again. Actually, I had heard the story as a Princess kissing a frog, who turned into a prince, but I did not tell him that. Some old sorcerer had put a curse on him and he wanted me to help him. He wanted the Demonic Ring but was afraid to go near the Astral Lamp, although he said that trolls are not afraid of anything (that they would admit to, I thought). He was happy that I was helping him, he said that I never leave a friend in need.
One of the items that Rustle, the troll, needed was a Symbol of Holy Fire. This was not something that I had seen yet, and after some asking around, and searching, I found that there was a chest that had been covered before. This chest was in the Throne Hall across from the doorway to the Forbidden Tower. I had to offer the chest 5 items in exchange but once inside the chest I found the Symbol of Holy Fire .
Rustle told me that he didn't need a human girlfriend, a lady troll would be better for him. He thought that she would be less demanding and would dream of the demon's eye. Then he said for me to not be scared, because he needed to practice his roar. And roar he did. Poor Rustle, he is sad because no one talks to him but me.
He wants a pet goblin but would hate to feed him humans, but he needs to trap one first. So I helped him find the materials for a trap. While he was putting it together, he told me that I am a true friend. He also stated that an alchemist says he can cure him. Rustle said that if that alchemist lied, he would be crushed, and, I believe, so would the alchemist. For the ritual to cure him, Rustle needs the Book of Resignation and the Heavy Brass Cup.
Right before my eyes, Rustle the Mountain Troll has turned into a human. He was so happy, he told me that he owed me one. Now he needs the Pedestal of Wit and the Chimeras Mask, as they are his human family artifacts. He said that his head has been spinning since becoming human again, but wants to know how he became a troll.
I could not believe that I saw Rustle, the Mountain Troll just turn into a man. Apparently the alchemist and the items that I retrieved for Rustle did the trick. They removed the curse from him! Rustle said that there is more he needs however. He is growing the blue crystal and hopes there won't be an explosion. He said that he has an idea about who turned him into a troll. He know things that belong to this person.
After getting him the odd books, the Volume of Fury and the Blood Volume, he finally has an image of the traitor. That should stir his memory, he told me. And now he knows, it was the Chamberlain who cursed him! Then he told me to tread carefully with Lord Chamberlain.
I knew that Lord Chamberlain was not someone to mess with, but considering the curse on the troll, and The Wise Dragon thinking that I will be murdered, I know that the less I have to do with Lord Chamberlain, the better. I had better watch my back with that one, He could be very dangerous.
So I went back to my room in the castle. The little black kitten was still caring for the dragon egg. That was when a name for her popped into my head. Destiny! It was her destiny to come to the castle. It was also her destiny to keep that dragon egg warm. I was happy that she was finally going to get a name that she deserved. My little kitten, Destiny. I would loved to have held her and petted her, and played with her, but she would not leave her egg. I have a feeling that we do not have long to wait for our baby dragon. So I just petted her while she was keeping the egg warm. I told her that her name was now Destiny and it seemed that she agreed with that name. She dipped her head, and blinked her eyes, then licked my fingers that were petting her. I am glad that she likes her name. And when I touched the egg, I thought I could have felt some movement in the egg!
Today it was time to see the Wise Dragon. I needed to talk to him about the dragon egg that Destiny was hatching. I knew that today would be the day, because the way the egg was moving around, you could actually see the poor little kitten, bouncing around on the egg as she kept it warm. But the dragon would not let me speak. He told me to go see Valeria Steiner's ghost as she was burning for revenge.
When I greeted Valeria, she asked me if the dragon sent me to her. When I said that he had, she told me that any help will do. Suddenly the fountain that was on the right side of the Dungeon of the Cursed, disappeared. In its place was a hole that she called a Battle Pit. No wonder I had seen a poor concrete job next to the fountain before. It was covering up the Battle Pit.
Valeria still doesn't know the details of her death. Ghosts have no memories, but I can help her, she told me. She wants to find the villains who did this to her. She has been to the inn, she told me, and thought that Salty Took is now more humane. As I gathered the items she wanted, she complimented me on being fast and reliable. She thinks that Anabel envied her, and wants me to find proof of her guilt. The more items I gathered for her made her think that Anabel had a hand in her death. But the investigation must continue. She was complaining that it was difficult to be a detective when you can't pick anything up. Progress, she told me. She has now learned that Anabel is blameless. Now she doesn't know who to suspect.
I went to see Professor Pinfeathers on my way to my room. He was very aware of the egg about to hatch, and told me not to worry about it. He would tell me what to feed the baby dragon, and what to do right away for it. What he didn't tell me was how to hide the dragon from my Mom.
When I got to my room I saw that the dragon had broken it's shell and was peeking out of the egg. The kitten, Destiny, Professor Pinfeathers and I watched in amazement as the dragon continued to come farther out of the egg.
Oh what a cute angel she is! The baby dragon has finally arrived and she is an adorable angel. I have to find a name for her, Angel would be nice but I really don't think that Angel really fits a dragon. So I thought about it all day at school. This dragon needs a really unusual name. MarMarty wanted to call her Raptor, but I told him that Raptor is a dinosaur, not a dragon. As I was talking to my friends at school, I noticed that Diane was looking up a word on the computer. Looking over her shoulder, I saw that she was looking up the word Seraphim, and that it meant winged angel. Oh, I thought, that is a perfect name for my baby dragon. Thank you Diane, that was great! Of course, I couldn't tell her that I was using the name for a dragon, she would think I was nuts. I just told her that I thought Seraphim was a beautiful and unusual name. She said it was in one of her books she was reading.
When I got home, I told Destiny, Professor Pinfeathers, the Wise Dragon, and the baby dragon, that her name will be Seraphim. The professor was a little doubtful about the angel part, but agreed to the name. The Wise Dragon thought that it was an excellent choice, and Destiny and the baby dragon nodded that it was a good choice. So Seraphim it is.
I knew I needed to go back to Valeria Steiner's ghost, and when I got there she said that she wished she had my problems. She wants my problems? I inherited a castle that is full of magic, the inhabitants and all of their problems, I still have to go to school, and have homework and in my spare time, I have to help all of the inhabitants with their wants and desires, and now I have a baby dragon that I don't know what to do with or how to hide her from my Mom and Dad. Of course, I am not dead, nor am I a ghost, with no memory of who might have killed me.