Another full moon night finally arrived. I went down to wait about 20 minutes before 10 at night. Again the moonlight cast the entry hall in an eerie light. I turned to the picture of the castle. The moon did not reach it yet and it looked normal. As I watched the moonlight creep over the picture, it changed. The stormy scene with the knight appeared.
I drew closer wanting to find out more details. A flag blowing in the wind stood on top of another turret. It had a blue background with a design in gold. The design looked like the necklace Caden gave me. I touched the necklace tracing the design with my finger. Drawing closer I could see something written below the design. I just could not understand it.
Footsteps sounded behind me and I turned around to see Caden approaching. Glancing back to see the moon still illuminating the picture, I waved him towards me asking, “Caden, do you see that flag?” I pointed to the upper left corner.
Drawing alongside me, Caden sighed, “Cassie,”
Interrupting him, I pressed, “Do you see the flag?” When he nodded, I asked, “Can you read the words written there? I can’t tell the language or anything.”
“Cassie,” Caden sighed again, “It’s just a painting.”
“Well, yeah,” I agreed, “A mysterious painting that only shows when a full moon shines on it. You have to admit that’s curious. I just want to find out who painted it and how he or she did it.”
Caden chuckled, “You and your curiosity.”
I flashed him a smile, “Duh. So can you read it or not?”
Giving a long-suffering sigh, he returned his attention to the painting, but the moon had moved on. “Nope,” he replied, “it’s gone.”
Lightly pushing his arm, “Well, yeah, you took too long arguing.” He shrugged and I continued, “Just a warning, I will ask you the same question next month if I still haven’t found any information about it.”
“Fine, but for now we have a hunt to lead.” Caden took my arm, turning me around to face the students joining the hunt. More people had joined us this time, including a few young men.
“Same rules,” Caden announced, “Stay together and anyone that wanders off will not be able to join the hunt again.”
The students nodded. Caden slipped his hand down, took my hand, and led us outside for the hunt. The students wanted to go to the beach to look for a door among the caves so we did. We spent about an hour scrambling among the rocks. Caden and I wouldn’t let anyone enter the caves tonight as that would not be safe. The young men boasted their lack of fear, but I noticed they did not argue a lot about not entering the caves.
Finally, we returned to the castle and escorted our students to their rooms. Caden left me on my floor to escort the young men to their rooms. After making sure each girl made it back to their rooms and the lights turned off, I returned to my room.
Closing the door, I locked it and climbed into my bed. Five minutes later, I saw someone turn my doorknob. Seeing it locked, I heard them enter a key and unlock it. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes as the door quietly crept open.
I could hear footsteps approach my bed and sensed someone looking at me. Taking deep, slow breaths, I pretended to sleep.
Luckily, I had experience pretending from my childhood or I would have given away the whole game as soon as I heard the whisper “Good she’s sleeping. Sleep well, Cassie,” Then the person with Caden’s voice leaned down kissing me softly on the cheek.
When I heard the steps lead to the door, I quietly peeked open my eyes to see that the voice did indeed belong to Caden, before closing them once more, in case he decided to look again. Once I heard the lock click and the footsteps walk away, I sat up. After another five minutes, I sneaked out of my room. I wanted to enter the mysterious door. I hoped Caden would go to bed now that he thought I was sleeping.
Quietly, I moved through the hallways to the backdoor. Finding it unlocked, I entered the stairwell, let my eyes adjust to the dark, then quietly crept up the stairs. As before, a carved wooden door stood in the wall. Taking a few minutes, I noticed the carving matched the flag in the painting, which matched my necklace. The words from the flag were carved about the tree.
“Darn,” I whispered, “I should have brought a paper and pencil.” Staring at the words, I tried to commit them to memory. After a bit, I reached out and turned the doorknob, slowly pushing the heavy door open.
Suddenly, someone grabbed my waist, lifting me up and yanking me from the door, and slamming it shut. I flailed my arms and feet trying to hit the person holding me.
“Cassie, stop it,” Caden hissed, “You’ll hurt yourself.”
I stilled, “Caden?” I questioned.
Putting me on my feet, Caden used my shoulders to spin me around and trap me against the wall. I could feel the cold stone seeping into my back. I looked up at Caden. His blue eyes flashed angrily at me as he watched me. Feeling slightly guilty and not knowing why I returned his stare.
“What do you think you were doing?” Caden ground out.
“Trying to see what was behind the door,” I responded in the same tone.
“I told you what was there,” he replied, releasing my shoulders but still crowding me against the wall.
“That was a lie,” I returned, rolling my eyes.
“Not at all,” he defended, “it is dangerous behind the door.”
“Possibly,” I allowed, “but it doesn’t lead to the roof.”
“Yes it does,” he argued.
“Fine,” I agreed, “but not just to the roof. The door disappears in the morning!” I exclaimed.
Running a hand through his blond hair, Caden strode to the other side of the hall and leaned against the wall facing me. “So you decided to trick me so you could enter the door.”
“Yeah, how did you get a key to my room? Esther said she had the only other key.” I asked.
He chuckled, “Answer me first.” he demanded.
Glaring at him I acquiesced, saying “Well, yeah, I pretended to sleep. I knew you wouldn’t let me in if you knew.”
“Cassie, I’m just trying to protect you,” he protested, seemingly hurt at my deception.
“I know,” I explained, “But I’m an adult. I can take care of myself. You don’t have any right to tell me what to do.”
“Oh, yeah?” he questioned. Seeing my nod he asked, “Well who does have the right to tell you what to do?”
“My parents,” I answered.
He chuckled his eyes starting to calm down, “So your spouse or boyfriend have no say?”
I smiled, “Well, as I don’t have one it does not matter, but,” I raised a hand forestalling his question, “if I did then the answer is I would hope they respect me enough to make my own choices, though I would probably discuss most decisions with him.”
Pushing up from the wall, Caden held out a hand, “Come on Cassie, it’s time we went to bed.”
Rolling my eyes, I took his hand letting him pull me up. “You could just let me see inside,” I mused, “then I would stop trying to trick you.”
Tugging my hand, he answered, “Not tonight, let me think about it.”
Giving one last glance at the door, I nodded and let him lead me back to my room.
Once we reached the room, I pulled him in and closed the door. When his eyebrows raised in question at me I said, “You never told me how you have a key to my room.”
He smiled, “I’ll let you in on a little secret.” He leaned close whispering in my ear, “I have a copy of keys to all the rooms.”
“How?” I asked him.
“Because,” he said, kissing my cheek and putting a hand on my doorknob, “I own this castle,”
My eyes swung to see his twinkling at me, “Do you promise not to go back to the door tonight?” he asked.
I nodded, still processing the new information. He owned the castle?
“Goodnight, My Lady,” he whispered before walking out. I stood staring at the closed door as I heard him lock it, not able to move until his footsteps faded away.