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Just when you think the guards are out of sight, you look back at the castle. It really is very pretty...

And then suddenly, it hits you! You look deeper into a large patch of overgrowth, and see that there is indeed a door there! You can't see where the door leads, but you decide to take a chance anyway.

"So anyway, last night there was..."

You hear the guards' voices coming down. Quickly! Before they find you!

You push back the overgrown plant - which by the way is incredibly heavy - and you hide behind it, just as the guards pass by.

"You hear that?" one of them said in response to the rustling plants. He takes a step closer. Damn it, you're doomed for sure! Your breathing becomes heavy, rapid and shallow. You hear the guards' husky, alcoholic breaths in your nose and your ears.

"Nothing there," the guard then reports, bringing you to a whole new plane of relief. They walk away, the sounds of their boots ringing on the stone roads. You breathe a tremendous sigh, and start flailing your arm around on the hard surface for the doorknob. 'Where is it...'

Then, you feel it. You grab it, and twist it, and suddenly you are flung down.

"AAAHHHH...!" you scream, but then your screams are silenced by the sudden rush of cold water. You are chilled to the bones by both surprise and cold. Bobbing to the surface of the well you fell in, you look around. You seem to be in a spring or well of some sort, as there is a stream of golden light coming from above you.

"Thank god..." you sigh as you look around the dark rocky place. You feel around the walls, and you find that the rocks have some footholds in them. You start climbing.

Soon, you are at the top of the rocky vertical tunnel, and are on the sun-baked stones of the courtyard. And who other than the king himself would be there?

At least you THINK he's the king. The enormous crown at his side may have been a dead giveaway, but you weren't so sure. Besides that, he seemed to be no older than you were, and was dressed in dark attire, despite the heat.

"Who are you?" he asks.

"I'm...I, uh..." you stutter, but no words can be formed.

"Eh, good enough for me," he says. "So what are you doing here?"

"I don't know, I just sorta wanted to explore," you say with vigor. "After all...this castle...it's so beautiful! And the forest around it - it's magnificent! I don't believe I've seen anything more beautiful."

The king sort of blushes; "Thank you, I always thought it to be a work of art." You nod in reply.

"Say, are you going to Gedah Elur?"

"The historical city?" you say; "Hmm, I might be!" He reaches into his pocket and takes out a pink ivory disk. It is an irregular circle, and very shiny.

"If you are, then show this to a worker there and ask to speak with Xai Qelah*."

"Alright then," you say. "I really should go then, should I?"

The king shrugs; "Whatever suits you." You prepare to dive back into the well.

"Goodbye!" you call to him. The king's farewell is drowned under the heavy splash in the deep well.

x


*pronunciation: ch'AI sheh'Lah.

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