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Poor Valeria Steiner, she first thought that Anabel had killed her, and found out that Anabel was innocent. Now she is trying to think of who else might have been responsible for her death. She told me that she was killed not far from the Castle Entry, and that we should question the knight.
She needed some items from a place I had not been yet. Just past the doorway to the Forbidden Tower entrance is a room to the right, and just inside are several mirrors. Some are broken, and some have a kind of magic that makes them seem to break into several pieces when you look at them for a while. Between the mirrors, I found the items Valeria was looking for. According to those items she thinks that the knight is the culprit. "Good job", she told me. After a couple more items, she found that the knight is also innocent.
It's all very weird, she told me, she saw traces of soot where she died. Does that mean that she was burned to a crisp by the dragon living in the tower? Apparently it was the dragon that killed her. He told her that he was only defending the Mystery Chamber. He knew that she had been planning to use it for evil wishes. "Tell the dragon I've learned my lesson," she said, "It's a pity that it was my last." After that she said goodbye.
When I went back into my room, to wipe away the tears that I had shed for Valeria, I found that Mom could not see Seraphim. Destiny and Seraphim were both on my bed, and Mom could only see the little black kitten. Good, I thought, that solves one problem, but I still have to find out who is going to train this darling little winged angel so that she does not set my bed on fire when she learns to breath fire.
Oh my goodness! There is a bat in my belfry! No really, a real baby bat is in the belfry. I went up there to see if I could clean it up a little and this baby bat was flitting around me very close. I kept ducking to avoid it, but eventually he landed close by and was looking at me as if I was supposed to know what he was thinking. Soon Professor Pinfeathers came along and told me that this baby bat has travelled a long way to get here. This is where he is supposed to be. So I welcomed the little bat and thought, oh my. I am really going batty now. I need to come up with a name for this little fellow too.
What a week, I thought. First we have to get a dragon egg from the woods, then we find a little black kitten whose job it was to hatch the dragon egg, and now I have bats in my belfry. Ok, so it is only one, I'm still going batty.
This afternoon, after school, I went back to see the Wise Dragon. He told me that the atmosphere in the Midnight Castle is much better and that everybody is happy. That makes the dragon feel happy too. As he gave me the Vial of Forgotten Memories, he told me that the flow of the River of Time is distorted. He feels that evil is nearby and that we have to deal with it. He was glad, however, that the ghost of the Innkeeper, Salty Took is much kinder than he was when he was alive. That happens, according to the Wise Dragon. Go to him the dragon told me.
When Salty saw me coming, he told me that he could see that my misguided obsession with the Mystery Chamber hasn't let up. He wants the Vampire Sign and the Infusion of Suffering so that he can apologize to Valeria Steiner. Apparently she is still mad at him, and he needs more of my help. After gathering several items for him, he came back happy. He has made up with Valeria.
Salty said that there are some advantages to being a ghost, and some disadvantages too. But that it is best to stay positive. He told me that he is really busy and that just because he was a ghost, he was not lazy. I found some more items for him and he told me that I could go now, he knew that I had many important things to do. And boy is he right. I still haven't thought of a name for the little bat.
So I headed up to the belfry to see the little bat and got another surprize. Sitting in the belfry with the bat, was a little raven. I know that Professor Pinfeathers has already been to see the raven, because there, perched on his little beak, was a pair of glasses just like the professors. I know that he had to have given them to the little raven. After all, ravens are not born with glasses. Perhaps this raven is a little nearsighted. I guess I will find out eventually. Thankfully this raven has not yet learned to talk to me like the professor does. I don't know if I could take it if they both were cackling in each ear. This magic castle does seem to draw those to it who will be needed at some point. Welcome my new little raven. I just don't know what will be coming next. With the magic that this castle has, you never know what to expect.
As much as I try to avoid Lord Chamberlain, I knew it was time to go to him for his quests for today. He was in his usual snippish mood and told me that I had better be up to the task. According to him, he asks for such small favors from me. He did ask me how my "quaint" little quest to find the Mystery Chamber was going. I told him that I will eventually get there, and I thought to myself, if I can keep avoiding you, Lord Chamberlain. As my Mother had taught me better manners than that, I instantly regretted thinking that, even though I had not said it aloud. Lord Chamberlain said that although he did not want to distract me from my quest, there were some things he needed. And as his usual harshness came out again, he told me not to keep him waiting too long.
Lord Chamberlain told me that I might even be a little smarter than my uncle, but he would not say any more about him. Maybe that thought cheered him up a little because he thought it was a great day for me to run his errands for him, but that I had to be swift. After I gathered his requests, he actually gave me his thanks. Which apparently was good for a mortal. Then he thought I looked like I needed something to do, and told me to remember that all of this is confidential and said that he was pleased with me, "in a minor way". I don't know why he thinks he has to talk down to everybody. He really isn't any better than any of the other residents here in the castle. But for now, I had to leave because my Mom was calling us all in for dinner.
When I returned to Lord Chamberlain, he acted as though he was pleased to see me. He called me the seeker of the Mystery Chamber. I wondered why he kept talking about me looking for the chamber, what was his reason for doing so? Then he surprised me by telling me that this castle needs my help.
After I found more items for him, he said, "not bad, not bad". I believe that was high praise from him, and I smiled at him. Of course, he had to go and spoil it by telling me that he had better not praise me too much or I would get a swelled head. He supposed that I meant to stay on at the castle, and I nodded my head that I did intend to stay here. Then he supposed that I would want a celebration in my honor. I had never even thought of such a thing, but he was still carrying on about that. "Do you know how much food we would need for the guests?" he asked. I think he was remembering back in the olden days, when there were a lot of people coming to the castle as guests for celebrations. Then he seemed to come back to the present and after a few more quests, I returned to him and he told me that he was grateful that I didn't fail. He called me his little explorer and eventually told me that I could go back to the dragon and tell him that he was satisfied with my service.
So I went back to the Wise Dragon and told him that Lord Chamberlain was satisfied with my service. The dragon told me that it is so nice when people stop hiding their thoughts, and asked me to please accept the last vial, The Vial of Mind-blending Memories.
Professor Pinfeathers told me that the dragon has many memories but he's very disagreeable. Personally, I found that he is just very changeable. One time he is pleasant, and the next time he might be a little disagreeable. Anyway, the professor told me to combine the last vial of memories into the larger vial and use it. I did not know what he meant by use it, but I soon found out. Apparently, according to the professor, Valeria was protecting a hatch in the center of the room in the Dungeon of the Cursed. He said that we need to find the key to open the hatch, as it must lead to the Mystery Chamber. The vial of all of the memories made Valerias ghost disappear from in front of the hatch. What appeared was what the professor referred to as the Rainbow Charm of Blossoms, which will open that hatch, when it is complete. So now that I have acquired the charm, I must collect all of the pieces before I can finally get to the Mystery Chamber.
The professor says that the charm is not as simple as it may seem. Valeria sacrificed her spiritual soul to reveal the hatch. Perhaps, if I help the Iron Knight, he will find the Red Tail for me.
As I went to the knight, he told me that it was good that I was passing by, because he had a favor to ask of me. He is unable to find the Symbol of Secret Confession and the Symbol of Holy Fire. I found the first one in what was called the Binding Egg, in the Ice Rock in a tree above the human that once was Rustle, the Mountain Troll. The second item I found in the Chained Chest in the Throne Hall. The knight couldn't find them because the Binding Egg had not been there before. It appeared just as I entered the Ice Rock. Again, the magic of this castle amazes me.
The knight said that he saw Anabel and she is as beautiful as ever, but that he could not get distracted from his duties. So I found more items for him and he continued to hold and smell that rose he keeps carrying around with him. He thought I was very skillful at finding those items and asked me if I ever considered being a knight. As far as I knew, I thought knights were always men, but maybe they have decided to let women become knights too. I will have to consider this.
Now the Iron Knight needs to ask me for a favor, but he doesn't want me to tell anyone about it, especially Anabel. "Remember," he told me, "no one can know about this. I am preparing a surprise for Anabel." Okay, I thought to myself, that really is not a big surprise to me. I just wish he would give her that rose. I'm sure he already has all of the smell sniffed out of it by now. He asked me to find the Symbol of Abyss and the Nocturnal Ring for him. When I got back to him and gave them to him, he told me that now it was his turn, and he would see me later, and he just disappeared.
Surprised, but also pleased that I finally had some time to myself, I decided to take a treat up to the Belfry to the little bat and the baby raven. When I got up there, I found that they had become best friends. I don't know if that would be unusual out in the real world, but I have come to expect the unexpected within the magic of the Midnight Castle. I decided on names for them. I have picked the name Bertram for the little bat. It was going to be Batram, but I thought that was a little dumb. So when I asked the little bat if Bertram would be a good name for him, he seemed to dip his head in the affirmative.
Now for the baby raven with the glasses. He looked so earnest that I decided to name him Earnest. I explained to him why I thought that would be a good name for him and he seemed to agree with me. What I decided not to tell them, was that I probably would be thinking of them as Bert and Ernie. They were some of my favorite characters on tv when I was little. Ok, younger than I am now.
As they seemed happy in the Belfry, I left them some items they could use for bedding or nests, if they wanted them. I even hung a small blanket up on the wall, that Bertram could wrap himself into, if he got cold, but still wanted to hang upside down. Then it was time to go to see about the baby dragon. I have to find a bed for her, she is growing and is now taking up too much room in my bed. The professor suggested that I put a bed for Seraphim in the Forbidden Tower with the Wise Dragon. That way, it would be easier for the dragon to train Seraphim. The only thing that puzzles me, is that Marty no longer remembers the dragon egg and is unable to see the baby dragon. I guess that is the castle working it's magic again, and once again, I am the only one who can see Seraphim, other than the other ghostly residents of the castle.
When I returned to the Iron Knight the next day he told me that he felt odd, but he has to ignore it, as he has work to do. He asked me if I would help him, and of course, I said that I would. All of a sudden he was surrounded with this pink glow and instead of being a man, he was transformed into a werewolf! It reminded me of the time that Anabel turned into a real vampire with all her powers.
The knight asked me how he looked, and I really didn't know how to answer him. But at least we now knew why he was feeling odd. Come closer he said to me, I had not realized that I had backed away from him. Then he stated that he wouldn't bite. So I continued to find his items for him and was still in awe over the transformation in him. I guess there are some things that 7 year olds shouldn't have to explain. After getting his items, he told me I should definitely consider joining the knighthood. I was thinking that he was not really thinking clearly. I don't think I want to be a knight.
Then the Iron Knight/werewolf told me that it wasn't all bad being a werewolf, just a little hairy. Anabel finds it adorable he said, but of course she is a vampire. He told me that he feels he owes me and one day, he will return the favor. Then he told me that he thought Anabel seemed sad this morning. He wants to cheer her up with the Stardust Crystal and a Golden Watermark. He also said that whenever he sees me, he feels like howling. Apparently werewolves do not have many friends, and he considers me a true friend. He wants to help me in my search for the Rainbow Charm items and can find one of them but will have to travel far for it. While he was gone, I was able to get him the last of the items he wanted. When he returned, he gave me the Red Tail as a reward, and hopes we meet again. Shaking my head with awe and shock, I went back to my room.
When Professor Pinfeathers told me to see Henry the Archeologist, I wondered who that was. I did not know that Rustle the Mountain Troll was actually Henry the Archeologist when he came back to human form. It was Lord Chamberlain who had put a spell on Henry and turned him into a troll with no memory of who he had been. The professor said that Henry would know where to look for the Fine Flourish for the Rainbow Charm that will unlock the hatch.
When I approached Henry, he asked me if I liked him in human form. As I had not yet had the opportunity to talk to Henry like I did Rustle, I really could not give him an honest answer. He seemed a bit short with me, stating that perhaps if I did something for him, he might get the Fine Flourish for me, and that now he can focus on his work. Later, he told me, we will talk about the Fine Flourish, but first he needed to get some sleep. So I found the items he needed to get some sleep, then he told me that he now felt like helping me. When I asked him about his sleep and work, he told me that at the time, he wasn't in the mood to help before. I thought that was pretty mean of him, and so far, he was not making a very good impression on me, and told him that I felt he was rude.
Henry then told me to be quiet as the vampires are prowling around. We need to be ready, he said, so I should bring him a couple of things, including a Shield of Order and a Child's Tear. Then he told me that he had good news. He knew who has the Fine Flourish and that I needed to help him. He also needed help dealing with the rats. I found some of Dad's rat traps for him after which he gave me the Fine Flourish for the amulet.
After putting the Fine Flourish on the amulet, I remembered why the name Henry sounded familiar. There have been notes that I have picked up in each of the rooms of the castle that I have been in so far. I do not know who wrote the notes, but Valeria Steiner, Henry and his daughter Anabel were all mentioned in those notes. I will have to study them a little closer. I know they must have something to do with some of the castle residents that I have already met. I just don't know how something written so many years ago could have relevance today. How are those people still here? And what happened? The papers had mentioned that these people were looking for the Mystery Chamber. Had they found it? It does not appear that they did.
Tomorrow we are going to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving. I can't wait to see them. I can't tell them everything that has gone on in the castle, but I can tell them how much I enjoy being in the Midnight Castle. I can even tell them about some of my new pets, my kitten Destiny, the little bat, Bertram, the baby raven, Earnest, but I think I have to leave out my baby dragon Seraphim, and Professor Pinfeathers. Somehow, I don't think they would understand about them. If they had been my Dad's parents, they might have understood, but these are my Mom's parents, and I know they don't really approve of us living in a "haunted" castle. So I wished a Happy Thanksgiving to all of the castle residents, and went to my room to get ready to go.