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It all began with a comment from Cee_For "I'm no scaredy cat!" Others were very quick to say they were not either. So it was decided that - they would show their bravery by having a story-telling session - telling ghost stories - in a gloomy, spooky place. The Ancient Park with its Weeping Stone Fairy/ Headstone & Sad Gargoyle was declared the ideal place so the intrepid little group trooped off. Once at the Ancient Park, they decided to have a look around first.
Prickles Hedgehog found a rusty chest in the reeds along the edge of the Overgrown Pond and Sebastian Seal found a rusty chest in the Overgrown Pond.
Hoppy Tiger went up to the Stone Fairy & asked why she was crying? The Fairy was so relieved someone wanted to talk to her that she gave Hoppy a gold chest.
Steffany Squirrel scampered up the tree to check out the Tree Face. It suddenly opened it's mouth & there was a gold chest - Steffany quickly grabbed the chest & scooted down the tree before the Tree Face could change it's mind & close it's mouth.
Fireball Phoenix had a little chat to the Headstone statues & using a little 'persuasion', he was given a gold chest! Honestly that boy!
They were preparing to have the scary story session when it started to rain. They all dashed inside the Chapel, pulling up short when a ghostly apparition appeared in front of them. It was Valeria's Spirit and she welcomed the company. Soon the brave little group was seated around Valeria listening to "live" ghost stories from a "real" ghost.
Count Vesnik Returns
SURPRISE! For me! A uncle I never knew has returned - Count Vesnik, the original owner of the Castle. He disappeared many years ago while searching for his lost wife & daughter. Now he is back (on his own) & has taken up residence in the Throne Room. The Lord Chamberlain/Bat has been relegated to a shelf. So some of the pets & I go to welcome him home.
Pup Puppy is the first one to spot the Count. He gives an excited yip & makes a mad dash towards the Count, trips on his ears, slides across the floor & lands in a heap at the Count's feet. Pup gets up, shakes himself & gives his big goofy grin. The Count laughs & bends to scratch Pup behind the ears. "You are a funny one!" he states. Pup does a 'happy dance' with his tail wagging furiously. He is rewarded with a silver chest.
Next Mandy Manticore approaches, offering the Count some cookies she has made. The Count is delighted with this show of welcome & gives her a silver chest.
Hoppy Tiger politely compliments the Count on his colourful, dapper outfit made of crushed velvet & satin & inquires as to who the Count's tailor is. Pleased with this polite & gentlemanly young fellow, the Count gives Hoppy a silver chest.
I welcome the Count home. He said he would like a tour to see the condition of the Castle. He was not happy when he saw the wall between the Throne Room & the Tower. "Who did that!" he roared.
Deciding to face the music, Emerald Dragon owned up. She introduced herself & said she was the niece of the Wise Dragon in the Tower. She apologised for losing control of her flame when she hiccupped. Deciding he like her honesty - a rare trait in young people nowadays - the Count accepted her apology & gave her a silver chest.
We depart to allow the Count to settle in & have a rest before I take him on that tour.
Repairs badly needed! Sooo much to do!" groaned the Count after I took him on a tour of the Castle. He decided he would start in the Throne Room. The burned wall & door between the Throne Room & the Tower would have to come out & he was getting a stone wall & archway put in. In order for work to start, the Dead Ambassador needed to be moved & a new hiding pace for his chest needed to be found. The Count ordered that the Ambassador be buried with all due respect. While they were at it, they also buried the 3 skeleton prisoners from the Dungeon & the one from the Prison Cell hanging on the Castle Wall. Fireball Phoenix, Happy Turtle & Cuddles Panda helped move all the skeletons & inter them. For their assistance the Count gave them each a silver chest. Perdita Pegasus & Sebastian Seal paid their respects to those being buried & were rewarded with a rusty chest each.
As Emerald Dragon was at fault with the Throne Room wall, she had to remain in the Throne Room & clean up after the stone masons finished. Pup Puppy, due to his past escapade with the skeletons, was not allowed to attend the funerals so he remained in the Throne Room & helped Emerald clean up. The Count was very pleased with the finished result & gave both Emerald & Pup a silver chest each.
More changes are on the way. Already I can feel the positive vibes starting in the Castle. The pets & I have much to do.
Summer has arrived in the Castle - the Winter Garden is now the Summer Garden. Flowers are in bloom. Birds have nested, hatched their young & are now feeding the hatchlings. A squirrel now keeps the Lady Reader company. "A SQUIRREL!" shouts Steffany Squirrel. She is off to meet the new arrival. Following (at a somewhat slower pace) is Gabbi Griffin & Prickles Hedgehog. Cee_For Cat trails behind - he is going to check his stores in the Frozen Treasure???
Steffany quickly make the acquaintance of the new resident - called SG (short for Summer Garden) Squirrel. They happily chatter away.
Prickles sees another hedgehog & tries to make friends with it. However it is a 'here today/ gone in a click' type animal & so Prickles dips out on a new friend. He is filled with a sense of Bitter Loss. Gabbi gives Prickles a Pendant of Sympathy & together they explore the Summer Garden. Gabbi finds a wooden chest while Prickles finds a rusty one.
Cee_For did not go to the Frozen Treasure, instead he is stalking the mama bird feeding her hatchlings. Steffany spots him & raises the alarm. The Lady Reader gets very angry with Cee_For & threatens to put Cee_For in the rusty chest she thrusts at him. "GO!" she says "And don't come back until you can behave!" Cee_For flicks his tail in disdain & stalks off.
For her part in avoiding a minor crisis in the Summer Garden, the Lady Reader gives Steffany a gold chest. Steffany is pleased to have both a gold chest & a new friend.
The trio hurry home to tell everyone all about the lovely new garden.
The RedBird Moves In
Noting the empty cage hanging on the Castle wall, Fireball Phoenix went in search of the Count. He told the Count that a relative on his mother's side - a Red Firebird (called RedBird) - was currently homeless & searching for some place to live. Fireball politely asked if RedBird could make his home in the empty cage. The Count was agreeable. On the day that RedBird moved in, Fireball went to visit at the Castle Gates. Perdita Pegasus also went along as did Pup Puppy.
Perdita was looking for her ribbons to hold back her flowing mane. The last time she could remember having them was at the Broken Well when one snagged on the well edge. So Perdita was going to see if she could find them. While Pup was going just because he did not want to be left behind.
Perdita was searching the ground around the Broken Well while Pup ran around the Well rim peering inside to see if they had fallen into the well. Overbalancing, as he usually does, Pup fell into the Well. Luckily, the Well was dry & full of "stuff". Pup dug through the "stuff" & found Perdita's ribbons. He also found a silver chest & a rusty chest which he was not leaving behind. The trick was getting out of the Well with his 'finds'. After several attempts, he had to ask Perdita to help. Perdita had to take the chests before she could rescue Pup. Pup gave her the silver chest & kept the rusty one for himself.
Meanwhile Fireball introduced himself to RedBird - a rather large bird with a 'frosty' manner. Off-put by the 'frosty' manner & stern look, Fireball made his visit short & sweet. For finding somewhere for him to live, RedBird gave Fireball a gold chest as a thank you gift.
Pleased with their haul, the three pets headed home.
‘Bon Voyage’ Wise Dragon
I have some sad news to impart. The Wise Dragon in the Tower is going on an extended business trip & he is not sure when or even if he will return. While he is gone, Anabel & her knight will be in charge of keeping the Mystery Chamber safe. They will move into the Tower. It will be very odd without him here.
As a thank you for all he has done for the Castle & to wish him a safe trip, we are having a 'Bon Voyage' party in the Tower. It is just some nibbles & a few drinks - nothing grand but that is the way the Dragon wanted it. All the pets were invited. The Dragon told them "At times, you have infuriated me & at other times, you have entertained me so I have planned a surprise for you pets. It's a treasure hunt in my Tower. I have given the bulk of my fortune to the Count to help restore the Castle & have left enough resources to aid Anabel in her duties. But I kept 19 chests just for you pets." Have fun looking!
Cee_For Cat, Snazzy Snail & Gabbi Griffin headed for the Scroll Storage. Cee_For sweet-talked the cherub into parting with a wooden chest while Gabbi & Snazzy found a wooden chest each on the shelves. They returned to the dragon to show off their 'finds'.
Heather Hippo investigated the top of the staircase while Petunia Pig looked under the stairs. Heather found a rusty chest & Petunia found a gold chest. They went back to the Dragon. The Dragon was vastly amused watching the pets hunt his domain. Fireball Phoenix slipped in behind the Dragon & found a cannon. In its barrel was a gold chest. "Mine!" said Fireball.
Pauly Parrot & Hoppy Tiger went to check out the Mosaic Panel. Hoppy tried to make the acquaintance of the tiger face in the corner but was ignored. While Pauly was disappointed to find the parrot was only a stained glass picture. They did, however, find a rusty chest each. Happy Turtle & Hooter Owl joined them - more to check out the big snake but they, too, found a rusty chest each.
Steffany Squirrel & Bright-Eyes Lemur scooted up onto the portcullis. They looked all over it & each found a silver chest. Excitedly they returned to everyone else.
Cuddles Panda, Emerald Dragon & Sebastian Seal went up the stairs to see if the Book of Evil had anything hidden. While Cuddles & Emerald hunted all around the gargoyle Bookstand, Sebastian dived into the Book of Evil. He found a silver chest. Meanwhile, the gargoyle gave Cuddles & Emerald a silver chest each.
Only 4 pets to go. They went to the Writing Corner. Pup Puppy, in his usual 'klutzy' fashion, knocked over a chair & a pile of books. Mandy Manticore picked everything up. While doing so, she found a silver chest. Prickles Hedgehog crawled under the table & found a silver chest. Perdita Pegasus found a silver chest inside the table opening. All 3 trooped back to the party.
Pup was most dejected when he went back to the Dragon. The Dragon laughed & moved his foot to reveal a silver chest for Pup.
All pets had their treasure & had had fun hunting for it. The pets were all in high spirits as we went home.
Moving Into The Mystery Chamber
The Keeper of Wishes summoned me to the Mystery Chamber. She was so fearful for her existence that she had decided to go into hiding. Before she left, she had one last wish to grant - my wish. The Keeper asked if I would give my wish to the Count and as I knew how lonely my uncle was for his family, I agreed to give my wish to Count Vesnik. He promptly wished for the safe return of his wife & daughter. The Keeper slipped away. When his family arrived, he wanted to move out of the Throne Room as it was not secure enough for his wife & daughter. Now that the Keeper was gone, he decided to move into the Mystery Chamber. Some of the pets were roped in to clean the Mystery Chamber prior to the move.
Cuddle Panda found a Secret Slab which he cleaned. He found a gold chest hidden in its depths. Meanwhile Hooter Owl revisited the Wise Owl in the Tree of Knowledge. Together they cleaned their area. The Wise Owl gave Hooter a rusty chest as a thank you. (Note to self: I really must get Hooter to see that eye doctor.)
Steffany Squirrel & Bright Eyes Lemur washed down the Column of the Fallen after having a game of tag up & down it. The Column was grateful for the clean-up job but not at all impressed with being a raceway for spirited youngsters. He ended up giving both Steffany & Bright Eyes a rusty chest each.
Prickles Hedgehog cleaned, tidied & polished the Shining Split until it was - well - shining! For his efforts he received a gold chest.
Gabbi Griffin flew up to the Chained Eagles & had a great time chatting as she helped the eagles tidy their area. A rusty chest was her reward.
Rusty chests were also given to Mandy Manticore, Pup Puppy, Sebastian Seal & Happy Turtle who all bustled around cleaning & tidying the Chamber itself. However they all left the Heart of the Chamber alone. It was too hot to touch.
The Count was very pleased with the clean-up & he thanked the pets for a job well done! He then moved his family into the Mystery Chamber. We left them alone to settle in.
A Visit To City Square
I took Hooter Owl to the eye specialist who prescribed tinted (one yellow lens & one pale red lens) glasses for his colour blindness. While the optician was making Hooter's Ocular Protection, some of the pets visited the City Square. Christian the Bard was no longer there. In his place was a cloaked figure named Chris Arwin. He claimed he was an assassin.
Mandy Manticore, ever the Peacemaker, went over & talked to Chris. Appreciating the gesture, Chris gave Mandy a silver chest.
Hooter flew up & sat on the City Clock. This triggered a mechanism which opened the clock face to reveal a rusty chest.
Pauly Parrot, disappointed he couldn't have another 'jam' session with Christian the Bard, landed on the Flower of Sufferings which heaved a sigh & opened up. "Bloody Heck!" squarked Pauly in surprise. In the opening sat a rusty chest.
Emerald Dragon made the acquaintance of the dragons on the roof above the Doll Showcase. She found out that they were "foreigners" (from Russia) & had lost their way. She gave them directions & wished them well if they decided to leave. Liking the friendliness shown to them, they gave Emerald a silver chest.
Pup Puppy happily ran around the City Square chasing all the leaves drifting down. When he had a little pile, he plopped down in the middle sending all the leaves flying. So Pup started chasing them again. Chris Arwin found Pup's antics funny & gave Pup a silver chest.
Cee_For Cat checked out the Antique Shop. He liked the Antique Crown Wearer and the Aristocrat's Sign but found he could not afford them. The young girl in the shop took pity on Cee_For & gave him a wooden chest containing coins.
At last Hooter's glasses were ready. However we found we had a problem getting them to stay on Hooter's head. We finally resorted to super-glue but that means Hooter can not take his glasses off or he will have a baldy patch where we glued. Oh, well!
Carrying their 'spoils', the pets headed home.
Oh, dear! A very demanding creature has appeared at the Castle Gates. He says he is Oberon - King of the Elves. He is arguing with Oeland Silver Mane - leader of the Werewolf Clan - about an Artifact. Oberon has bought his bodyguard & his Secret Service with him. The Secret Service elves have spread throughout the Castle & the Town. You can see where they have been by all the vines, etc they leave plus in places, you can see them watching. It really is not safe for the pets to be out & about. However several of the pets are getting "cabin- fever" so I decided to take them to the Inn to visit Salty.
When we get there, we can hear growling & roaring. It was the Armoured Bear & he was frightening all the patrons - even Salty was not game to go near him. Taking a deep breath, Fireball Phoenix barrels over to the Armoured Bear & asks "What's the matter?" It turns out a sharp piece of bone is caught between the bear's teeth causing not only a toothache but cutting the inside of the bear's mouth each time he tries to close it. Fireball worked the piece of bone loose much to the bear's relief. Salty was so grateful that he gave Fireball a gold chest.
Happy Turtle met up with his friend, the Drunken Skeleton & together they reminisced about old times. As a thank you for visiting, the Drunken Skeleton gave Happy a silver chest.
Hoppy Tiger was most indignant when the unruly Monkey dropped a rusty chest on Hoppy's head.
uddenly there is a loud squarking & we saw a brightly coloured parrot flapping his wings furiously trying to dislodge a crab that has grabbed hold of Pauly Parrot's tail. Apparently Pauly had been wandering round on the dice table when he went too close to the crab's waving pincers. Salty had a good laugh at the spectacle. He gave Pauly a silver chest as compensation after we rescued him.
Singing a jaunty tune, we passed the Secret Service elves on our way home.
Thank goodness!! The King of the Elves has finished whatever he came to do & has taken his bodyguard & Secret Service Elves & gone home. All those vines, etc have disappeared also. A person can move around the Castle now.
Cuddles Panda with Hooter Owl on his shoulder & Hoppy Tiger alongside go for their morning jog. They notice that the Fairy Sculpture in the Castle Entry has changed to the Elfish Bas-Relief but are not game to investigate further because Oeland Silver Mane is in the Castle Entry & he is muttering about WAR with the elves. OH, dear!
So they head for Cuddles' old stomping ground - the Castle Vicinity or simply the Road to the Castle. The members of the Broken Carriage Bamboo Eating Contest welcome Cuddles back & SURPRISE! He is still the reigning Champ. With the disruption caused by the elves, there is no contest organised but Cuddles is happy to talk to his old friends. Outside the Carriage, they find a rusty chest & give it to Cuddles as a reminder to come back soon.
Hooter flew up onto the Road Sign. This, too, had changed because the elves damaged the original sign. The gnomes had to replace it with a new one - now known as the Gnome Road Sign - fancy, it is too! Opening the barrel, Hooter found a rusty chest. Trust the gnomes to keep the best.
Hoppy Tiger took 2 Murderer's Eyes from the Crypt & went over & opened the Iron Chest - to find a gold chest. "Scored! My hunch paid off," thought Hoppy!
Feeling energised & happy, the pets continue their jog but not around the Castle - instead they jog home.