Chapter 25: Through the Castle

Previously on Into the Black: Having found the first piece of the Trinity Key, our heroes have broken into Prince Mykur's Castle in an attempt to get the second piece.

And so far, if you were to be writing a year 12 essay on this story, you could talk about the story's various inter-connecting themes such as personal sacrifice, free will versus fate, and humanity versus computerity. (But it's probably best not to mention Cher.)

And now the story continues...

Liberty entered the control room first, followed closely behind by Justice. In an instant, she'd sized up the number of guards (4), the amount of guns they carried (8) and the amount of deodrant they were wearing (0). Before the guards even had a chance to register the new smell of the pizza, Justice and Liberty had their blasters out.
“Don't die trying to be a hero – you chose the wrong side for that,” Justice told the guards. “Now drop your blasters.”
The guards did what they were told as Jupiter entered carrying the pizza boxes.
“I thought you said we were going subdue them by drugging the pizza,” Jupiter said.
“That was just to stop you eating it all,” Liberty said as she opened one of the boxes and took a slice from Jupiter. “I always get hungry on a big mission.”

Justice quickly went about tying up the guards while Jupiter and Liberty checked the security monitors.
“Tonkins is in his quarters in the west wing. If we hurry we may be able to get to him while he's alone. If he's on our side like Billy says, he could help get us into throne room #1,” Jupiter said.
“Ok, I'll stay while you and Libby get Tonkins. I can guide you and keep you updated on his movements from here,” Justice told them as he started to tap away on the monitors, bringing up various schematics and maps.
“Ah guys, you're not going to like this...,” he added.
“To get to Tonkins, you have to go through the torture section of the castle.”


“I'm bored,” said Billy.
“Yes, intense life or death situations can be so tedious,” replied Abe.
“Play some video game in the rumpus room if you want. They've got an Xbox Infinity,” Google said.
“Oh, I prefer the Playstation Infinity+1,” Billy said. “Besides, shouldn't we be helping your friends?”
“Yes, I'm sure they really need the help of a seven year old. I'm sure you'd be of great use if they ran into some evil toys.”
“Well, we could try to free the princess while we wait,” Billy said.
“I liked him better when was sleeping,” Abe complained to Google.
“Princess? What Princess?” Google asked, looking up from his book.
“Princess Olga.”
“We have to rescue her!” said Google, practically jumping out of his seat.
“No way! Our orders are to stay here until the others return. They were very simple orders. 'Get killed' isn't mentioned in them once.”
“But I've met her. She's the princess from Gaia. That's my home world! We've got to save her.”
“She's right near where my bedroom used to be,” Billy said. “That's how I heard about her. I could get us there easily enough – I know a secret passage.”
“No. You're both crazy. Can't you see it's obviously a trap!?”
“It's only a trap if we get caught,” said Google as he picked up his blaster.


Liberty pulled the remains of the giant spider carcass off her chest as Jupiter helped her back onto her feet.
“Ok, what fun do we have next?” she asked.
“Now you're near end of the torture section,” Justice told them as he watched Liberty and Jupiter from the monitors in the security room. “To the left of you should be two doors – avoid them. They lead to the Den of Dentists and the Country Music Museum. If you continue past them and you should come to a red metal door,” Justice instructed.
“Got it,” replied Liberty as she lead Jupiter down the narrow, grey corridor. “I can see the door. Now what?”
“Make your way through that room and you'll be in Tonkins section of the castle.”
“Ok,” said Jupiter as he put his hand on the door handle.
“Just one thing,” said Jupiter. “What's in this room?”
“Uh, I don't know. It's just labelled The Fear Room.”
“We just battled ten-foot spiders, yet this is the fear room? Oh goodie,” muttered Jupiter as he opened the door and entered the room.


“The electronic paintings actually double as secret doorways in this part of the castle,” Billy explained as he lead them up to a portrait of a fat lady. “This short cut will get us to the Princess in no time.”
“How do we get in? It's rock solid,” Google said as he tapped the painting.
“Oi! You woke me up with all this racket!” the fat lady in the painting moaned as she came to life and moved about the painting as if by magic.
“Sorry, but I need to get through,” said Billy.
“Alright then,” the fat lady said begrudgingly. “What's the password, Harry?”
“Harry's one of my brothers,” Billy explained. “She sometimes gets us mixed up.”
“Well, hurry up. What's the password or do you want me to call the guards?” demanded the painting.
“Blatant copyright infringement,” Billy answered.
“Correct,” sighed the fat lady and the painting flickered off, leaving an open entrance for the trio to enter.


Jupiter watched as Liberty made her way into the room. Without warning a burst of purple gas exploded into her face she collapsed to the ground.
Jupiter quickly scooped her up and dragged her out of the room, slamming the door shit behind them.
“Are you ok?” he asked as he propped her up against the red door. No response.
“Justice are you there? Liberty got sprayed by some gas – I think it was purple. What was it? What do I do?”
“I saw it. I can't find anything on the castle's system about it – hang on I'll get answers from the control room staff.”
“Hurry,” Jupiter said as he tried to wipe Liberty's face where the gas hit. Her eyes jerked open.
“No,” she said sitting up in a panic.
“What is it?” Jupiter asked.
“I slept in!”
“I'm going to be late for the final academy test.”
Jupiter couldn't help but let out a laugh.
“It's ok, Libby. You graduated. It's all fine. We're on Mykur's Castle ship at the moment, remember?”
“The test was on blaster technique. I'll never be good enough. I'm not going to be able to save him. I'm going to get Google and Justice and you killed,” she said, her words almost blurring together.
“It's fear gas,” Justice cut in. “You've got to keep her calm. It uses a person's deepest fears against them. If you can't keep her calm she could go into cardiac arrest.”

Liberty screamed and flailed about, banging her body into the hard metal door. Jupiter forced his arms around her, trying to keep her secure.
“It's just the gas Lib. Whatever you're seeing, it's an hallucination. You need to relax.”
“I got him killed!” she screamed. “I got them all killed! They're all dead!”
“They're not. Everyone's fine. You just need to stay calm.”
“What would you know!? You're dead too!” Liberty squealed pushing Jupiter away. When Jupiter regained his balance Liberty had her blaster pressed up to her own head.
“I can't go on,” she said, her eyes filling up with tears.
“No Lib – stop! You can't do that. Please. I can't lose you. I can't lose someone I love again.”
The words were out his mouth before he even knew what he was saying.
“Jupiter!” Justice's voice screeched from Jupiter's earpiece. “You can neutralise the effects of the fear gas with laughing gas. There should be some in the Den of Dentists.”
“Liberty, please just hold on for me,” Jupiter said.
She looked across at him with desperate eyes.
“I'm sorry,” she said softly. Gun against her head, she pulled the trigger.
“Noooooooooooooooooo!” Jupiter screamed as he rushed down beside her.
“No. Please no,” he continued to cry as he rocked back and forward, nursing Liberty's now lifeless body.


Billy lead Google and Abe to the prison cell room. A big metal door stood between them and the princess.
“This seems too easy,” Abe said. “Where are all the guards?”
“They don't need them – these doors are new. They're the latest, state-of-the-art advancement in security. Nothing can cut through them and the lock on that door is a 32 digit combination. It's impossible to crack - because it's not digital, computers can't even crack it. On top of all that, you need fingerprint clearance. Hopefully mine are still on the system,” Billy said.
“And you know the password?”
“Yep, it's...” Billy promptly fell asleep.
“I really don't like that kid,” Abe said. "Even more than I don't like you."
“He must still have tyrozone in his system,” Google replied. “Quick, help me get him to the keypad.”
Together he and Abe dragged Billy across the floor and placed him up against the metal door, resting his hand gently on the handprint reader. A light above the the device turned from red to green.
“Please input password. You have 90 seconds. Failure to do so will result in death,” came a bubbly voice from some speakers above the door.
“Oh great,” muttered Abe. “Any ideas?”
“1,2,3,4,5,6 etc.?” suggested Google. “I mean it has to be something fairly simple if a seven year old could remember it.”
“That's it!” said Abe, as he started punching in some numbers.
32 digits later, the lock clicked open with a satisfyingly heavy clunk.
“Billy said the doors were new – they still had the default factory password. All zeroes,” explained Abe.
With effort Google managed to pull the heavy security door open. Together, he and Abe made their way into the prison cell. What he saw inside made him gasp.
“You're not Princess Olga... where is she?”
A beautiful teenage girl stood up from her prison cell bed to greet them.

“Thank you, but our Princess is in another Castle.”


Jupiter cried and convulsed in the corner, his body rocking back and forward. Liberty knelt down beside him and forced a laughing gas mask onto his face.
“Breathe this in deeply. You're going to be ok,” she said to him soothingly. Jupiter started to cough as he eyes regained focus and he took in the sight of Liberty above him.
“What's going on?” he said weakly.
“You got hit with fear gas when you went into the room. Luckily I was able to drag you out without inhaling any. The gas causes fear-based hallucinations – you nearly went into cardiac arrest.”
“Oh,” said Jupiter as he slowly started to realised what had happened. It had been he who went into the room first, not Liberty.
“At times I got the sense you could hear what Justice and I were talking about. What were you hallucinating?”
“Um... Heights. I hate heights,” Jupiter said.

“Liberty, I've managed to get the fear gas turned off. You should be able to make it through the room safely now,” Justice instructed from the control room.
“Quick, let's get this done with,” Liberty said, as she helped Jupiter back onto his feet.
The room behind the red door was no bigger than a room of the same size. Jupiter and Liberty quickly made their way through it and out into a corridor.
“Do you see a green door? There should be one on the left. That's Tonkins quarters,” Justice told them.
“Yep, I see it,” said Jupiter as he reached for the door.
“Why don't you let me enter first this time,” Liberty said with a smile as she pushed her way into the room ahead of him.

Inside she found a thin, odd-looking man writing at an old, oak desk.
“I prefer writing in the ancient method,” he said, before looking up at his visitors. “Now, tell me why I shouldn't have you killed?”
Liberty raised her blaster at him.
“I think you'll find we have the advantage in this situation,” she said calmly.
“An illusion. Ignorance, you see, isn't an advantage,” Tonkins replied as he continued to write in an open journal on his desk.
“Billy sent us to find you,” Jupiter said. “He said you could help us.”
“I don't know a Billy. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to end your lives now,” Tonkins said.
“Blade – you knew him as Blade,” Jupiter said quickly. Tonkins set down his pen and looked back up at them.
“You've seen Blade?”
“He's here,” said Jupiter.
“What! You idiots! Do you know how hard it was to get him to safety? And you brought him back here!”
“Well if you want him to stay alive, you need to get us to throne room #1.”
Tonkins coughed on some laughter.
“We're serious,” said Liberty, placing her finger on the blaster trigger.
“But it's madness. To get to throne room #1 you'll need to make it through the five fire pits, past the havoc beast, sail the wave pool of acid that leads to the swamp of eternal doom. And that's the easy part. From there you need to...”
“You can give us the directions on the way. We're not leaving here without the second piece of the Trinity Key.”

“Oh, the Trinity Key,” he said surprised. “Why didn't you say so? It's just over there on my shelf.”

3 Response to Chapter 25: Through the Castle

  1. There's a a couple of Harry Potter references in that chapter Dale, so I think you should read the books so you can spot them. ;)

  2. Jimzip says:

    Ok, I just have to say firstly that once again I love the way you think. Firstly, "Don't die trying to be a hero – you chose the wrong side for that,” - was so cliché-breakingly nice to hear. 1 point. But it gets sooo much better!

    Then we had the Xbox Infinity, and the Playstation Infinity+1. Awesome, and the funny thing is that's not even where things are heading. We're pretty much there already. I just love the thought that the battle for gaming supremacy has lasted that long into the future... X) 2 points.

    "It's only a trap if we get caught," was also giggle-worthy. ;) .5 points.

    The torture section's final two doors, the Den of Dentists and the Country Music Museum ... I don't even know how many points to award there, but I lol'd.

    But my tied favourites would indeed have to be firstly your Harry Potter reference, I love that lady!! And secondly, the end, and Tonkins.

    I know I don't have to list everything I liked. And I'm not, I could list more!! ... but I think this is my favourite chapter yet. So bravo. :)

    Er ... upward and ... darnit! I've run out of words. X)

    Jimzip :D

  3. Dale says:

    So I'm finally commenting on this chapter, and adding to the list of favourite clever and creative lines:

    "...sail the wave pool of acid that leads to the swamp of eternal doom."

    That would certainly be an interesting foray to read about. However you've already written the next chapter so I've left it too late to influence the direction of the story this time. :)