Chapter 14

Chapter 14

A Chapter by Havatara

The castle was huge!  It was bigger than the other castle they had been in, that’s for sure.  It even had a moat!  Jane wondered if it had alligators or piranas in it, and Eric wondered how long it had taken to build it.  The stones of the castle were pale and kind of yellow from being in the sun so long.  The castle looked like you could happily spend the rest of your life there without ever leaving its walls.

“This is amazing, Flora!  I can’t believe you live here!” Jane said, running across the draw bridge so she could see the inside of this amazing fortress.

“Yes I do,” Flora giggled.  “I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never grown tired of it.  Do you want to eat now or later?”

“Food!” Bem replied energetically.

“What’s for dinner?  We’re all hungry,” Eric confirmed.

“I hope you have some carrots,” Mr. Robert put in.

“Or some lettuce,” Mr. Lou added.

Flora smiled.  “We have everything you’d ever want here.  Why don’t I show you to your rooms so you can get settled in while my cooks prepare our food?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Eric replied.

Suddenly Jane called, “Eric, you’ve got to see this.  They have a fountain here!  It’s so pretty!  Do you think I should swim in it?”

“You don’t have your swimsuit!” Eric called back, walking to see what all the fuss was about.

Jane was standing next to a fountain with a huge statue of a mermaid on it.  Eric thought his eyes were playing tricks on him, but the mermaid looked really sad.  Jane said, “So what?  I’ll swim in my clothes.  They dry off fast.”

“Not fast enough.  You’ll get sick,” Eric said.  “Why don’t we have Flora show us where our bedrooms will be here?  I’m sure ours will be big.  It might even have a canopy bed.”

Jane looked up from the fountain.  “Really?  Will it be pink?”

“Maybe,” Eric replied.

“Let’s go!”  Jane raced off to where Flora, Bem, Mr. Lou, and Mr. Robert were waiting for them.

As they were walking out of the courtyard with the fountain in it, Flora explained, “My family has lived in this castle for many years.  My grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather and his friends built it.”

“That’s a lot of years ago,” Eric said.

“Yes it is.  It took them fifty years to build it!  But it’s so nice, so it was worth the hard work.”

Jane nodded.  “It’s so pretty here.  Everyone in the world should live here!  But I haven’t seen anyone else.  Where is everyone?”

“They’re in the kitchen, cooking for you.  You’re just so important that they wanted to make sure you’re fed good,” the princess explained.

Eric was confused.  “But we didn’t know we were going to come here.  If those ogres hadn’t attacked us this morning, we wouldn’t be here at all.  How could they know to cook for us?”

Jane replied before Flora could, “She must have seen us land on her beach, and sent someone ahead to get ready for our arrival.”

“Yeah.  That’s what happened.  Sure,” Flora said quickly.  Eric stayed quiet.  He was still suspicious of her.  She was acting really weird.

Jane didn’t notice at all.  “When are we going to see our bedrooms?  We’re so tired and hungry after all that’s happened to us today.”

“I would be, too!” Flora said.  “Here, we’re almost there.”  The group had been walking down one long hallway filled with portraits and sculptures, and they turned a corner and walked down a shorter, plainer, one.  “These are the rooms for guests.  They’re kind of far away from everything, but they should be nice and cozy.”

“I’m sure they’ll do just fine,” Mr. Lou replied, walking slowly to one of the rooms.

It only took a few minutes for everyone to get settled in their small, sea colored rooms, since their belongings were still on the boat.  Jane had been disappointed that the rooms weren’t pink, but when she realized that the bathroom had real see shells in it, she was happy.  She said to Eric, “I wonder how long we’re going to stay here.”

Eric shrugged.  “However long it takes to fix the boat.  Do you want to go to dinner now?”

“Food!” Bem shouted from where he was sitting at the end of the hallway.  Jane and Eric looked at each other and laughed before following him to a dining room right by the kitchen.  The sun was setting in the tall windows all around the rooms, and Jane said, “Look!  The walls are pink!”

Eric sighed.  “They’re not really pink, Jane.  They’re dark red.”

“It’s still kind of pink,” she said as they quietly sat down in the plush chairs.  Eric found that strange.  If they were by the kitchen, and all of the people in the castle were in the kitchen, wouldn’t it be noisy?  Why couldn’t they hear anything, then?

Flora was sitting down at the end of the long oak table and smiling.  “Welcome!  Please, have a seat and make yourselves comfortable.”

“Where is everyone?  Didn’t you say they were in the kitchen?” Eric asked her.

She nodded.  “They were.  But they were so tired after making your fantastic meal that they went to bed early.  We’ll have to do without them.”

“Are we going to meet them any time soon?” he asked.

Flora shrugged and replied, “I don’t know.  You’ll be very busy tomorrow.  I have lots of fun stuff planned for you.  I’ll tell you about it during dinner.  Why don’t I get us our food?”

As soon as she was gone, Jane asked Eric?  “Why would everyone in the castle be tired?  Wouldn’t someone be energetic?”

“You noticed that she was acting strange, too?” he asked.

Mr. Lou nodded for her, and Mr. Robert said, “I wonder what she’s going to make us do tomorrow.”

Jane shuddered.  “I bed it’s going to be something horrible!”

They couldn’t discuss this further, because just then Flora came out carrying a huge tray of food.  The tray contained chicken, ham, potatoes, carrots, dressing, juice, water milk, and chocolate cake.  It looked so delicious and they were so hungry!  As soon as Flora set it down on the table, Bem went straight for the ham, spilling the water and making everyone laugh.  They completely forgot that Flora was weird.

Dinner went by very quickly.  They were having too much fun.  Before they knew it, two hours had gone by and it was almost time for bed.  Lora said, “Tomorrow, I was thinking that we could go on a picnic.  It’s supposed to be really nice and sunny, and I wanted to show you this one waterfall.  How does that sound?”

“That sounds perfect!” Jane replied.  The rest nodded in agreement.

Flora flashed a smile.  “It’s all settled them.  I think it’s time for bed.  It’s getting really late.”  She yawned as if to emphasize what she had just said.

Everyone else starting yawning, too.  Mr. Robert said, “It seems you’re right, Flora.  We’ve had a very long day.”

“I’ll see you later, then,” she said, starting to clear away the dishes and pack up the leftovers.  The rest got up and walked to their rooms.

It was really hard, too.  Their rooms were so far away, and they were so tired.  It happened so sudden, too!  Before any of them knew it, their feet were dragging, and Bem was flying in his sleep.

“I’m so tired!  I wasn’t this tired before dinner,” Jane said sleepily.

“Neither was I,” Eric replied.  “Maybe we just ate too much.”

“Maybe.”  They were at their rooms now.  Almost as soon as they had brushed their teeth and gotten in their pajamas, they were asleep in their beds.  Meanwhile, Flora was up and about, getting this ready for the next day.

Bem’s eyes popped open abruptly, and he got up from where he was sleeping in Jane’s closet.  He was very confused.  Where was Jane?  She wasn’t in the closet, and she wasn’t in her bed either.  He couldn’t find Eric, Mr. Robert, or Mr. Lou either.  Where could they be?

WIth his super strong dragon eyes, Bem could see movement at the end of the hallway.  Thinking that it might have something to do with Jane, he changed into his cat form and quickly went to see what was going on.  It was still dark, and whoever it was should have been in bed.

As he got closer, Bem could see that it was only one person.  It was Flora.  She should have been sleeping so she wouldn’t be tired for the picnic tomorrow!  What was she doing?

Flora turned the corner before Bem could catch up to her.  When he was getting closer, Bem could hear that she was talking to someone.  He stopped just behind the corner so he could listen without being seen.

“The food made them sleepy, just like you asked for, Princess Flora,” Bem heard a man’s voice that he didn’t recognize say.  He guessed that it was one of the people that had gone to bed early.  Why wasn’t he still in bed?

“Did they stay asleep when you moved them?” Flora asked.  Now Bem was even more confused.  Why would Flora have someone move them from their beds?  It was the middle of the night!

“Yes, and they’re in the dungeons now.  What do you want us to do with them?”  Bem gasped.  The dungeons!  They were so dark and scary, he didn’t know why anyone would want to go there.  Why would Flora want the others to go there?  Wasn’t she their friend?

“Leave them for now.  That goblin will be here tomorrow.  He’ll know what to do.  Did you have any problems?”

The voice that Bem didn’t recognize paused before saying, “The rabbit almost woke up, but thankfully he didn’t.  That would have caused a lot of problems for us if he had.”

“He didn’t really eat very much at dinner, did he?  I guess rabbits don’t eat much.  What about the turtle?  And the children?” Flora asked impatiently.

“We had no problems with them,” the man replied.

“And the dragon?  Did you find it?”

The man paused again, like he was thinking about how to say something.  Finally he said, “We couldn’t find it.  We checked all over their rooms.  We were thinking that maybe he’s hiding somewhere.”

Flora shouted, “How could you do that!  The dragon is important!  We have to get the dragon before anyone else does!  Do you know how powerful we would be if we had a dragon under our control?”

“But, Princess Flora, he’s just a baby.  He’s not very powerful yet.”

“He’ll grow to be powerful, you dummy!”  Bem gasped again.  Flora was being very mean!  She didn’t seem that mean earlier!  “So we have to capture him now before he has a chance to find his mom.”

Bem couldn’t believe it.  She wanted to capture him and keep him away from his mom!  He definitely didn’t want to stay there any longer.  But where could he go without the others?  They were trapped in the dungeons!

He thought about it for a minute.  He was going to have to break them out.  But how?

He looked around the corner to see what he could find.  Looking around at the sculptures, he saw that Flora and the man weren’t there anymore.  They were almost at the other end of the hallway!  He was going to have to hurry to catch up to them.  He ran as quietly as he could so they wouldn’t hear his kitty claws click-clacking on the floor.

They walked to the kitchen that Flora had talked about before.  It wasn’t a very big kitchen.  Bem was surprised.  How could all of the people in the castle fit in that small room?  It wasn’t even as big as a classroom at school!  Wouldn’t there be a lot of people in a castle?

Flora and the man walked up to one of the cupboards and opened it.  It was a tall cupboard, so they could fit in it like it was a door.  As Bem got closer, he realized that it was a door.  It was a hidden door that led down to the dungeons.

Bem followed Flora and the man down a flight of spiral stairs.  They were very damp and dark, and he didn’t like it very much.  Thankfully, they didn’t go very far down.  Soon they were in the dungeons.  That wasn’t much better than the stairs, though.  It was still damp, but there were more lights, so it wasn’t as dark.

“The prisoners are in the cells down at the end, Princess Flora, and the keys are hanging up on the hook,” the man said.

“Very good.  I’m going to bed now.  I don’t want to be tired when the goblin comes,” Flora said, turning around to go back upstairs.  The man followed her.  Bem slipped into the shadows they couldn’t see him.

As soon as they were gone, he slipped down to the end of the dungeons, trying to find his friends.  He clicked down the hallway, his eyes searching.

“Who’s that?” he heard someone say.  He was immediately happy.  It was Jane!

“It looks like a cat,” Mr. Lou said slowly.  Bem raced up to the cell they were in, changing into his dragon form.

Jane gasped, her green eyes lit up with excitement.  “It’s Bem!  I knew you would find us!”

Eric snorted.  “No you didn’t. You thought we were going to be stuck here forever.”

“Shush.  Bem doesn’t have to know that.”  She looked down at the small dragon and smiled.  “But you did find us, and for that I’m happy.  Do you think you can get us out of here?”

He nodded excitedly and looked around.  Didn’t the man Flora was with say that there was a key on a hook?  Looking up, he found it!  Bem flew up and took it down, but he wasn’t able to put it in the keyhole of the cell.  His hands were too jittery from excitement.

“Here, let me do it,” Jane said, taking the key from him.  She easily put it in and turned the key, unlocking the door.  They were finally free!  Jane raced up to Bem and hugged him, saying, “Thank you so much for saving us!  I have no idea what we would have done without you!”

They could hear a clatter on the other end of the dungeon.  The man was coming back to check on them!  Jane whispered, “Oh no, what are we going to do?”

Eric whispered back, “I think I see a staircase on the other end.  If we take those, maybe we can get out without being caught.”

“That sounds like a great idea.  We’d better get going!” Mr. Robert said.  Together they ran to the stairs, hoping the man didn’t see them.

As soon as they were around the corner, the man got to their cell and gasped.  “They’re not here!  How did they escape?  Where did they go?  I’d better tell Princess Flora right away, before they get very far!”

While he was telling the princess, the escapees were running throughout the caste.  Mr. Lou asked, “How can we get out of here?  It’s so big!”

“Maybe if we find our bedrooms or the kitchens, then we’d be able to figure it out,” Jane offered.

“That’s a good idea,” Mr. Lou replied.  They turned a corner and saw a bunch of statues and other artworks, and he said, “I recognize this!  We’re on that one long hallway before our bedrooms!  We can find our way from here.”

All of a sudden they heard a girl yell, “Stop them!  Don’t let them get away!”  They turned around and saw Flora and the man running towards them.  Bem looked around and made a noise.  Jane looked down and saw that he was pointing to a door she recognized as the door that led to the sad mermaid fountain.  She said, “Everybody follow me!”  They ran and ran and ran, and soon they were almost to the village of sick looking people from before.

Flora yelled to anyone that would listen, “Don’t let the dragon get away!  I don’t care about anyone else, just don’t let the dragon escape!”

“She’s after Bem!  How are we going to get him away from here?” Jane asked, continuing to run.

Eric was panting from running for so long.  “I don’t know.  All I know is that I don’t want to run anymore.

Then they saw a boy come out in the path in front of them.  Thinking that it was someone who wanted to capture them and take them back to Princess Flora, they started to run in the other direction, but the boy said, “Stop!  I want to help you!  You can hide from Princess Flora in my barn.”

Mr. Robert stopped running.  After taking a few moments to catch his breath, he asked, “How do we know that this isn’t a trick to keep us from escaping?”

The boy shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I guess you’ll just have to trust me.”

Mr. Lou looked back and saw that Flora was hot on their heels.  He said, “I think we should go with him.  It would be better than getting captured by Flora again.”

“Follow me!  I know a shortcut,” the boy said, going off the track.  Jane and Eric exchanged a quick glance.  Their parents told them that they shouldn’t go off the track because they could get lost that way.  But then they decided that it would be better to just follow the boy.  They went off the path and into the forest, hoping for the best.

© 2011 Havatara

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Added on February 2, 2011
Last Updated on February 2, 2011



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