Chapter 5:

FIVE – The Abandoned Castle.

The Girl With A Secret

The girl was in a disguise. Griselda, the Enchantress had cast a spell on her. She had turned her into a boy. The girl was astounded by the Enchantress’ trickery. The group’s next objective was to get into the Flying Turtle Tavern. It was the closest building to the abandoned castle. A real, giant turtle with white wings was flying around the tavern. It was the colour of a blood orange, dark red and orange. The daughter of the music shop owner cried that she had to stay behind with the Enchantress who promised to take care of her and the shop. Theodore would help her out as well. A crimson red bridge connected the floor and the flying tavern. The sun had switched her place with the moon. The air felt thick. The ambience had changed. It felt ominous, as if something sinister was awaiting the group. The old man Amadeus told the boy and the others to wait. He whispered something to the grey goat who was standing on his hind legs like a human. The goat was guarding the bridge from troublemakers. A nod from him confirmed that the group was allowed to pass. Other customers were hurrying inside as well. A social gathering was happening. It was the anniversary of the tavern. The owner, a very muscular but small man greeted everyone at the entrance. He got a little suspicious after glancing at the girl who was disguised as a boy. The old man Amadeus lightly pushed her back and into the arms of the boy. The muscular man’s facial expression changed. He was delighted to see his old friend.

“Amadeus, what in the frog’s kettle are you doing here? I haven’t seen you in ages.”

The old man Amadeus gestured with his hand to the boy to move forward. The rest of the group followed the boy into the tavern. It was filled with the city’s people. Beer and food were being passed around. Yelling and laughter filled the big, four story building. The crowd was big and unruly. The waitresses were struggling to provide everyone with refreshments. The woman grabbed the girl’s shoulders and pushed her forward. The boy led the way through the congested forest of people and creatures. He was holding the girl’s hand firmly.

“Luna, what a surprise to see you here! You don’t drink. Has the wind swept you in?”

A talking mushroom approached the group. The woman hinted to the boy to go ahead. The girl overheard the mushroom ask about her as he had never seen her before. The woman brushed it off and invited him to another round of drinks. The girl sprinted up the stairs with the others. They had three more staircases to go. It was a square tower. Every floor was occupied. A group of drunken friends passed the girl. One of them bumped into her and she consequently bumped into a table. The table trembled and a glass fell to the ground. It shattered into pieces. The girl apologised and touched a piece of the broken glass. The boy was occupied with the drunk and was unaware of what the girl was doing. The pumpkins told the girl to be careful but to their amazement, the glass was already fixed again.

“That is a very neat trick. You did not even say a spell. Boy, tell me. Who are you? I have never seen you before.”

“Look at that. How is that possible?”

“He only touched the glass and it fixed itself.”

The girl could feel the peeping eyes on her. The noises around her turned into loud whispers. The crowd was shuffling around to have a closer look at the girl. The pumpkins started to panic, and the boy was flustered. He stood next to the girl and told her to stay calm. A shadow was casted on them from above. The old man Amadeus’ familiar was hanging upside down from the chandelier. And not long after, the old man Amadeus himself walked through the crowd. His granddaughter was with him. The surroundings had fallen into complete silence. A man’s laughter shattered it. One after another, the customers started laughing out loud. They were joyous at the sight of the old man Amadeus. He was a man of notoriety, well-known to the entire city. The woman told the girl and the others to follow her quietly as the attention had shifted away from the girl. The familiar, Blacktaeil followed them. The door to the rooftop was locked with a chain and a padlock. The woman unlocked it with a small key that was given to her by the old man Amadeus. It was raining. The sky was dark. Thunder clouds were hanging above the building. The voices from downstairs were drowned by the raindrops. The fox howled and the toy pointed towards the sky.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. Ah, so persistent.”

The boy sighed out loud. Men in uniforms were approaching in propeller airplanes. Everyone tensed up. Time was running out. The girl wanted to help but then remembered the old man Amadeus’ words. He had warned her not to use her magic too much when they had first met. The boy had said the same thing to her; and to believe in him. The girl was confident that even without using the magical gem, everything would work out. Her heart was telling her the same thing.

“Everyone, get ready!”

The old man Amadeus came out of the door and started chanting something. He was swiftly moving his hands and writing something in the air. The boy and the girl stood at the edge of the rooftop, ready to jump when the time would come. The old man Amadeus’ familiar shot up into the sky and flew straight towards the airplanes that were too close for comfort. The two pumpkins were forced to follow Blacktaeil by the old man Amadeus. The woman gave the girl a hug.

“Make sure to come back. Mimi and I will be waiting.”

Several platforms out of wind appeared in front of the girl that led to the flying abandoned castle. The boy grabbed the girl’s hand and the fox climbed on her shoulder. The toy looked scared but joined the girl, nonetheless. All together, they took a jump of faith. The girl’s foot left the edge of the rooftop and landed safely on the first platform. They were shot up into the air and had to catch their footing on to the next platform. The platforms were like jump boards, giving them a lift each time they stepped on them. The girl looked back to see the old man Amadeus smiling. The soldier’s airplanes were on top of them. She heard explosions and saw a lot of smoke. Her heart became worried. The boy told her to look forward and to trust them.

“Amadeus doesn’t look like it, but he is strong. And so is his granddaughter. They will be fine.”

Only a couple of platforms were left before they would reach the grounds of the abandoned castle. The toy noticed the last platform becoming unstable and grabbed the girl and the boy. The moment they leaped off the next platform, the last one disappeared in front of them. The toy, Mr Button threw the girl, the boy and the fox with all its might towards the abandoned castle. It was a rough landing for all three of them. The boy fell on his face and the fox on top of him. The girl cushioned her fall with her arms. She stood up and ran towards the edge, seeing the silhouette of Mr Button falling and disappearing in the rain. The boy grabbed her from behind.

“Don’t worry. The toy will be fine. Your magic will protect Mr Button.”

“No, it won’t. Something is wrong. I believed and wished for Mr Button to come back, but it’s not working.”

The boy gently placed her hand on top of the girl’s head. The fox howled.

“It’s probably because of this place.”

The girl’s appearance had turned back into her usual self. The boy tried to use his magic and it worked. His familiar appeared. He introduced it to the girl and made it go search for Mr Button.

“Kuro will find him, but we have to get away from here to a save place.”

The courtyard was covered in green moss and brown, dried up leaves. The trees were dead. Vines were growing on the walls. It was as if the girl had entered another world. The rain had stopped, and the sky was a sad, off-white colour. The fur of the fox was standing up and it kept hissing at something. The boy picked the fox up and told it to be quiet. The door to the inside of the castle was already half open. The interior was a mess. Rooms, hallways and staircases were crooked. The boy told the girl to stay close while they were inspecting the inside of the castle. The hallways and rooms were empty and covered in the same moss and vines as the outside of the castle. The unsettling silence was making the boy shudder. The girl moved further inside and discovered the main big hall. The roof was made out of glass panels, but no sunshine was coming through it. There was no sun in the sky to begin with. It was just a bleak and empty sky. The boy called it a distortion of time and space, caused by magic. His gut was telling him that someone or something was watching them carefully. A shadow silently moved closer to the boy from behind. The girl noticed it and turned around to see the boy’s familiar carrying the toy on his back. Mr Button was fine. The girl felt relieve and helped the toy get down by holding it by its hand.

The boy was still uneasy. And his feeling was correct. The floor opened up and swallowed the entire group. They fell through a long, black shaft and were pulled away from each other. The girl flew into the opposite direction as the boy. She felt something soft underneath her. It was the fur of the boy’s familiar. She had landed on him. The girl got off him and thanked him for protecting her. The familiar, Kuro made a soft growling sound. It was dark around them but thanks to the familiar’s glowing horns, the girl was able to make out her surroundings. It was a big hall like the one above but with different, intricate drawings on the floor. The girl could hear her name echoing through the darkness. It was the boy’s voice. The familiar stayed by her side despite hearing his master’s voice. The girl was flattered. She walked towards the sounds the boy, the fox and the toy were making. The boy managed to find her and his familiar, but they were torn apart again. Multiple walls started coming out of the ground. The girl pushed the boy away from her as one wall came out of nowhere between them. The last thing she saw were the boy’s concerned eyes before being closed in by the big, stone wall. This time, the girl was all alone. Within the silence. Within the darkness.