Secret Children 1: Hidden Castle

By Desert Mouse

The air was filled with the sweet scents of a nearly completed supper. It gave an aura of warmth to the normally cold stone of the forgotten castle. Generations ago it had been built by a man, through the hard work of his people that wanted a place to retire after he gave his kingdom to his son. Or if the worst case happened he wanted a place to hide and regroup if the war did not go well. After his death the castle was abandoned for many years. Now it is home to only the twelve.

Sapphire who was only fifteen was still one of the older members of the castles residents. She is joined by only a couple others of the same age, beaten by two small years by a single person. The castle's oldest resident, stood tall at a mere seventeen. Sapphire was keeping herself busy putting plates on the large rounded table, one for each of the girls now living in this lonely castle. She was being helped by two others, Rose and Diamond while a forth girl watched them with a steady glare. It would have been pointless to ask Marigold to help, and Sapphire knew it so she tried to assign a different task to the watcher.

"Can you go get Violet and Crystal? I think she's in Emerald's room again." Sapphire asked. The other fifteen year old grumbled a bit but refused to move until Diamond, who was the oldest of the girls spoke up.

"Do as you are asked or I'll see to it that Holly withholds your portion."

"Fine." Marigold growled and left the room. She had her own ideas about where Violet might be hiding herself at this time of day.

"Thank you Rose and Diamond." Sapphire said with a warm smile.
"I can take it from here if you two would like to sit down before supper." She offered. There was something in her voice that almost compelled the other two to take a rest.

"Don't sit down yet, Rose can you please ask Lily to come down? I think she's locked herself in her room again." another girl asked. The voice belonged to Holly who was emerging from the nearby kitchen with a couple pots full of food. She didn't receive a verbal response, but Rose nodded her head and left the room after finishing the few utensils she had in her hand.


"You wish for me to find someone as well." the older girl interrupted.

"Yes please, I would appreciate it if you could go get Ruby." Holly said.

"Very well." Diamond replied. She set down the butter and went looking for Ruby. The younger girl was never easy to find, she liked to roam around the castle by herself and find her way into places that she wasn't supposed to be.

In another part of the castle, Ruby wasn't alone. She stood with two strange little creatures that looked like mirror images of each other. The ten-year-old twins, youngest of the girls in this castle were human cats named Neko's.

"Do you Really think you can open it?" Jade asked twitching her tail. She looked at her sister Sakura standing quietly. She didn't seem like she was interested in the large door Ruby wanted to show them.

"See that discoloured brick? The one near the top?" Ruby asked pointing. Jade had to strain to see what she was talking about. Eventually however she thought she saw a section of the stone wall with a slightly darker tint.

"I think it's a switch, I've come across another one in the castle." Ruby insisted.

"How are you going to reach it?" Jade asked. Beside her Sakura started to giggle at Ruby and the switch.

"I'm still working on that." Ruby replied confidently.

"I suggest that you not bother. You girls know that you should not be hanging around this door." Diamond interrupted them. Sakura ran up to her and tried to give her a hug but the older girl stopped her.

"It is time for supper, please report to the dining room. I will discuss this later with the three of you." Diamond said simply.

"Leave Sakura out of this." Jade protested.

"GO!" Diamond commanded. Jade glared at her but reluctantly left with Ruby and Sakura. However she had no intention of letting her sister be around when Diamond returned to the subject of that door.

"Why do they insist on trying to open this forbidden door?" Diamond asked herself hesitating a moment. She looked at the large wooden door that marked the castle's entrance. If it could be opened it would mean freedom for the twelve girls, but ten years ago it had been sealed. It could not be opened.

Lily sat alone in her room staring unfocused out her window that overlooked the castles courtyard. There wasn't much to the view but she wasn't paying attention to it anyway. She was holding a silver pendant in her hands, gripping it like a source of strength while she tried to ignore the dreary castle that was her prison.

Lily was different then the other girls, the name outside of her door wasn't really her own. There was a time when she had a different name. She remembered that she was happy back then.

A knocking at her door shattered the pleasant haze of her memories. She looked at it with discontent, waiting for the intrusion to show itself. She didn't have to wait long because Rose didn't wait for a response before opening the door. She knew that she would receive none.

Lily looked at Rose, or rather she looked past her. She liked Rose, she was the only girl in this castle that never called her by the fake name that had been forced on her ten years ago. Rose smiled at her and pointed to the door indicating that she wanted Lily to follow her. Without speaking a word she motioned with her hand like she was picking up a fork and eating.

"Its that time already?" Lily thought noticing for the first time that she was hungry.
"Thank you." She said in a small voice. With a great amount of effort she was able to stand up and follow Rose back to the dinning room, still holding onto her pendant.

The last two to take their seats at the table were Marigold and Violet. Emerald arrived with Crystal several minutes ago but Marigold had a few delays getting the second of her charges. When they did arrive the other girls didn't fail to notice that Violet's right check was a bright red.

"What happened to your cheek?" Emerald asked. She was about to get out of her seat and take a closer look but Violet stopped her.

"Its ok, Marigold was just a little impatient waiting for me to finish tonight's story." She explained. A sparkle flashed across her eyes.
"Lily would you join us tonight for the story? I think you will enjoy this one." She begged.

"Don't bother, she's not interested in anything except that stupid locket of hers." Marigold grumbled.

"Back off her, it's been hardest on Lily being here." Emerald spoke up

"We are all in the same situation, prisoners in this castle. What makes her so special?" Marigold asked.

"She was part of a happy family when she was brought here, and she remembers them." Emerald insisted

"Settle down, we won't get anywhere fighting with each other." Holly interrupted. She smiled at Emerald.
"How did Crystal hurt herself this time?"

"It was nothing serious, she tripped on the hem of her dress and hit her head." Emerald said looking over to her most common patient.

"I'm sorry, I'll make her next one a little shorter." Holly suggested.

"I wouldn't worry about it." Emerald said. The girls ate in silence for several minutes before the next one spoke up. This time it was the questioning voice of Jade.

"Sakura is wondering what your story is going to be about tonight?" she asked.

"Your just going to have to wait and see." Violet grinned back at the twins. She always kept her stories firmly locked inside her head until it was time to tell them in front of the grand fireplace. Every night Violet entertained the girls, with her stories, with music or by making up new games for them to play.

"She always comments on how much fun your stories are." Jade smiled, anything that made her sister cheerful was good.

"Tell you what, if you can help Rose get Lily to come tonight. I'll give you a special story later." Violet promised looking at Sakura. On the other side of the table Rose motioned to herself with surprise.

"You are the only one she listens too." Violet pointed out with a shrug. Rose smiled at them but she seemed uncertain about it. Finally she looked at Sakura and nodded her head, she would join the child and try her best.

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