In the previous episode, Celia was presented to the Prince, who promptly ran away. Readers decided that Celia, unsure of what to do now, will discover and follow a secret passageway within the castle.
Celia stood, dwarfed by the three thrones, contemplating how to comfort the distraught Queen. Suddenly two guards appeared on either side of her, one fat, one thin, red tassels hanging from their tall metal hats. Celia glanced up at the Queen, who was still wailing and talking to herself animatedly, her voice getting shriller and shriller. She blotted at her eyes with a lacy handkerchief, paying no attention to Celia as she was escorted out of the audience hall. The guards then deposited Celia at the foot of the grand staircase, bowed, and left.
Celia looked around for the old woman, but the cavernous entryway was as silent as a church. I’ll return to my chamber, she thought, perhaps the handmaids will know what to do.
She soon realized however that this task was easier said than done – the mirrored hallways twisted and turned, staircases spiraled every which way, and soon Celia was hopelessly lost. Sighing in frustration, she slid down to the floor, leaning against the mirror-paneled wall. What was her purpose in coming here? To be rejected by a sullen Prince? She had been so sure, leaving the caravan, that she was headed towards her destiny. Striking out on her own, heeding Rupert’s warning – was it meaningless?
All of a sudden, Celia began to fall backwards. Whirling around, she saw that part of the mirrored wall had opened and she was looking into a dark passageway, leading down as far as she could see. Celia peered into the darkness and thought she saw a bat flutter by. What was this? A secret passageway – she could feel the flutter of curiosity beginning in the pit of her stomach. She looked furtively up and down the hallway then crept into the passageway and out of sight. The wall clicked shut behind her leaving nothing but an expanse of smooth stone and Celia took a deep breath before starting down the tunnel.
The walls were lit by flickering torches which elongated and distorted Celia’s shadow as it curved around each corner. She hurried along, downwards for ages, then up steep steps and across flat stretches that seemed to go on for miles. Finally she came to a small, carved wooden door, barely big enough for her to fit through. There were markings carved into the door, some language she did not know. Celia pushed and the door swung open, and as it did she lifted a hand to shield her eyes from the bright sunlight that came streaming in.
As her eyes adjusted she realized she was looking out at a mountaintop. Cautiously she stepped out of the passageway and, letting the door swing shut behind her, Celia looked around. The sky was a clear blue, and the sun was shining brightly. She was standing in a meadow on the side of a mountain, and for as far as she could see there were snow-capped peaks, rocky cliffs, and flowery fields. Celia was stunned at the beauty, then she began to smile and ran across the meadow feeling the purity of the air and the wind on her cheeks. As she reached the other side of the meadow she saw a wide stream, bubbling and rushing down over the rocks. She started towards it when she spotted a person sitting on the opposite bank, drinking from the cool clear water. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.