Well, this chapter is at least a bit better than the last one, although not as action packed as the dragon scenes. This chapter wades through some emotional angst, gives a little sneak peek to Dora's past, and throws a whole other factor into the confusing mix that this plot has turned out to be. So hopefully, it'll be a little more interesting than the last.

I would like to thanks all the reviewers for last chapter, especially since there were only three of them: divinedragon7, The Adversary, and katiesparks.

What the heck happened people? Was it a bad time to post or was that chapter just particularly bad? I'd really like to know!

Shameless Advertising: If some people would read my other DP stories, it would make me oh so happy…

Disclaimer: This is the sixteenth chapter, incidentally; this is also the sixteenth disclaimer (I think). All of you could probably guess in your sleep what I'd say.


Death's Castle

Ch. 16

Outside the castle walls, a layer of gray fog blanketed the landscape. The angry purple clouds up in the sky shattered any hopes that a light could disperse it. The trees had no leaves, their spindly branches poking up to the sky like spears, as if trying to pierce the sky above.

It was like the land was in mourning.

In the back of the castle, a rough onyx shaded stone pinnacle stood proudly, overshadowing the young ghost princess kneeling beneath. She clutched the amulet around her neck with one hand, and she held a matching one in her right. She clenched her right hand around the amulet, and the shaking quietly rattled the broken pieces of the chain together. Biting her lip, she gently placed the broken amulet upon the rocky soil at the monolith's foot with reverence. Her hand lingered over it, but she quickly retracted it had as if she had been scalded; and it soon joined her left.

"Why is it that you still have control of me, even after death?" Her voice was morose, but resigned. There was even the slightest hint of affection in those words.

The princess's eyes scanned once more over the two, only words carved onto the mammoth rock.

Prince Aragon

"Brother…I'm so sorry." A tear rolled down her face to splash upon the amulet on the ground.

With her eyes blurred by unshed tears, the slight of the glowing of the amulet completely escaped her notice. The green eye upon the face of it widened to encompass the whole diameter, all the way to the edging of gold; and it turned an alarming shade of red. By the time she registered the phenomenon, it was too late. It shot up from the earth and plunged towards her. With a frightened gasp, she let go of her amulet and fell backwards in her haste to escape. With the echo of a dragon roar, it collided together with her own and they fused into one.

The princess began to thrash upon the ground, her limbs twitching in erratic motions. She tensed, her face contorted in a grimace and her eyes clenched shut.

Then she screamed.


The weather seemed to match her mood. The dank cold of the fog seemed to seep through the stone and leech any warmth there was. Sam wiped furiously at her eyes and leapt up from her chair. There was no delaying it anymore. She had to see him. See if he was still here…or…

She shook her head and walked purposely down the stairs and to the guard at its foot. After asking for directions, she found her way through the twisting corridors to the room assigned as the infirmary. Lying right there in front of her eyes was Danny. There was another guard keeping a vigil right beside his bed. For a while, she just stood there in the doorway and stared, but she was soon drawn to his side.

"Is he still…here?" She asked after a tense pause. Although Sam's voice was soft, the deep concern shone clearly through it, and she unconsciously bit her lip in further expression.

"You haven't been here that long have you?" The guard asked, more like a statement than a question.

At the startled look on her face, he continued, choosing to forgo questioning her for a later time.

"I'll take that as a no." He had the slightest tinge of amusement coloring his voice, "When we die, we simply disappear. If his form still exists, than he's still alive…in the ghostly sense I mean." His tone became somber, "But he's only hanging on by the skin of his teeth. I don't know for sure if he'll make it. We've done all we can."

She laid her worried gaze once more upon the limp form of her friend. She could see the tint of green that showed the ectoplasm struggling to get past the thick wrapping of the bandages. Just as she was turning her head to guard, her mouth open to voice some question or worry, a shrill scream pierced through their ears.

"The princess!" Came the many shouts from the guards. Like a tidal wave, they broke from their watch and flooded outside, the guard that was supposed to be watching Danny included. Very few restrained themselves to stay within the castle walls. With one last glance at the Reaper, Sam ran out the door to follow.

But then, time stopped.

Sam looked incredulously at the guard at the end of the hall who had frozen in mid-stride. Somehow, her life had found a way to get even weirder than before. In front of her, stood an old man with bluish skin and a purple cape. He held a staff with a clock on the end and wore many others on various places. She almost fell over in shock when the old man turned into a young baby floating in the air.

"Startled?" The ghost questioned. Without waiting for an answer, he continued, "You have to need to be. I have come to warn you: if you don't find Danny, you'll never see him again." He turned into a middle aged man, disorienting her a little.

"Wait, what? But I do know where he is!" In his abrupt appearance and declaration, common sense deserted her, and the fact that she should demand his name escaped her thoughts. Too many odd things were happening all at once to care for every little detail.

"Do you?" His eyes twinkled with suppressed mirth.

"What do you mean, do I? That is Danny in there!" She pointed into the room.

"Yes, but is it all of him?"

"Well, besides the chunk I tore out of him, I'm sure!" Her composure slipped, though she quickly regained it.

In a less teasing tone of voice, he said, "What lies there is not all there is to Danny. Think. What happened just a while ago that gave you pause? Has your trauma affected your memory?"

Sam's brow furrowed as she thought through the ghost's riddles. Then her face dawned with the realization. The Danny in the picture. The picture that Paulina had fawned over not too long ago.

"Yes, that's right. You need to find him. Danny can not exist apart from his other half for too long, and I am afraid that with his recent injury, the time has been cut down drastically." Sam opened her mouth, but the ghost beat her to it, as if he already knew what she was going to ask. "My name is Clockwork."

And with that, the ghost disappeared, ushering time in with his absence.

So Sam quickly slipped outside to find the source of the former disturbance while a hectic swirl of thoughts rolled around in her mind. There was one thought in particular that gave her pause.

She'd have to ask for help from Paulina.


Finally I've gotten this out! I'm sorry it's taken so long, but finals are really a killer. Studying and all that torture.

Please, please, please, please review! I beg you to review! Even if it's just a few words! (Although the more the better). Any type of review is appreciated!

Thanks so much!