A Stranger in Your Own Home

We walked up to the huge, oaken door that lead into the castle. I went inside,but Elliot refused to cross the threshold. 

"Why are you stopping?" 

He looked up at me sheepishly. "Slaves can not enter the castle without permission."

Of course. I remembered that my father had put that law into place when Mother's jewelery was stolen. They had never been able to trace it back to the slaves, though.

"Very well. We will have to take the long way." I turned to the right and began to lead Elliot down a maze of forgotten corridors. After a few minutes, Elliot spoke up.

"How do you..."

"Know this path? Sarah and I traced it to keep Father from catching us."

Sarah... My heart caught in my throat. Then I heard the sound of echoing footsteps.

"Someone is coming!" Elliot ducked behind a curtain. I motioned for him to move over, but he shook his head.

"You're a ghost, remember?"

I had forgotten that no one could see me. I stood beside the curtain feeling completely exposed. Two maidens came into view. Each carried a heavy basket of laundry and they were chatting excitedly. Somehow, I wished that they would see me, that they would stare with looks of amazement on their faces. But neither spared a glance in my direction. I sighed and told Elliot to come out of hiding.

We got to the throne room without incident and I noticed two guards at the door. I recognized one as Orion, the head of the guard. He had been given to us by the king of Inji, a kingdom far south of Coran. He had the distinctive dark skin and great height that the Inji possess, and was one of the few in the kingdom. I noticed that Elliot hadn't moved and elbowed him. It passed right through, but it still had the desired affect. He yelped and walked over to the men.

"I-i would l-like to r-request an audience with the k-king." Orion looked at him and gave a short laugh.

"Not permitted."

"But..."

Orion put a hand on the handle of his sword. "If you don't get out of here now I'll give you a little taste of my blade."

Elliot quickly walked away. I came up to him.

"He wouldn't really..."

Elliot looked me straight in the eye and I realized that he really would have done something. Slaves meant nothing here. But we still had to get into the throne room. I looked around and noticed a pair of identical vases, each one just outside of the short corridor the led to the throne room's gilded door.

"Wait here."

"Where..." He his words petered out when he noticed the two guards look at him in surprise, probably wondering who he was talking to. I walked over to one of the vases and gave it a push. My hands went straight through. I punched and pounded, but it was just about as effective as a gentle breeze.

"Confound it!" I punched it angrily as it fell to the ground with a crash. The guards looked up sharply and one walked over to investigate. But Orion remained at the door. It jogged over to the other vase and pushed it down as well. Orion tried to peer around the corner, but finally he left his post. Elliot ran to the door just as the other guard was coming back. 

"You! Stop!" But Elliot had already disappeared into the room and I followed suite.

The End

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