Chapter 1Everything about our new house is antique. The walls are dark green, with gold patterns; the floors are creaky wood; the shelves are dusty and cluttered. These are good signs - they mean that I'll probably find treasure here.
Not pirate treasure. Not the cheesy kind of treasure you usually think of - gold coins, jewels, that stuff. No, I like finding secret treasures. Old treasures. Objects with meaning that have been left behind.
I've already unpacked. Now Mom says I can look for treasure.
My first stop is the cellar, of course: the most likely location. I carefully walk down the rickety stairs and survey the area. It's pretty small; that is to be expected. The walls and floor are dirt, with wooden supports at the corners and running across the ceiling. I kneel down in one corner and feel around the beam. Nothing. I work my way along the walls, but when I get back to where I started, I'm empty-handed.
I tilt my head back and groan-
But then I see something. A corner of white poking out from one of the beams across the ceiling. I reach up and tenderly extract it.
It's a stiff piece of paper, with writing on it. I take it upstairs to get a better look at it.
Holding it up to the light, I can just make out the words:
Since you have found this letter, you are most likely staying in this house. And that means it's too late: you are already a part of the mystery, the mystery of the ancient Durian Dynasty.
You must find the floating key, and keep it safe. Use it to open the doors. Once you have done that, find Maiden Isobel. She will tell you more.
Sir William Kittery."
My heart pounds. This is a mystery, a real mystery! I never get to embark on any magical journeys, like Bilbo and Frodo, or Harry Potter.
I take a deep breath and try to calm down. What does the letter say I have to do? I scan it once more. "Find the floating key, keep it safe, and use it to open doors" and then "find Maiden Isobel."
I go inside the guest bedroom. The whispers grow louder. I step into the center of the room. The air feels heavy, and the whispers are all around me. I look around, and then I see it.
Just a couple inches in front of me, there is a brass key on a string, just floating there, horizontally, a few feet above the ground. I grab it and try to pull it away, but it resists. I wiggle it, and hear a rattling noise. It sounds like the key is in a lock - well, an invisible lock, that is.
I stand so the rounded end of the key is pointing at my abdomen, grab the key, and pull.
It slides right out.
I feel around where the key was just floating, but there's nothing there, no lock, no anything. I hold the key, and poke at the area, however, and there is a barrier. The key can feel the lock, but I can't. Weird...
I think about the letter. I have to use this key to open the doors, and then I have to find Maiden Isobel.
What door do I open with the key?
Well, I should probably start with the door that the key was just in. I insert the key into the invisible lock and turn it to the right.
There's a click, and the keyhole and doorknob are now visible. I can even touch them. I take the knob and twist it while pulling it outwards.
It swings open, and color is rapidly spreading, until the full door is visible.
I look at it from the other side- it's invisible.
I walk around to the front look inside. It looks like a shadowy hallway, with a light visible at the far end.
I take the key out of the keyhole and put the string around my neck. The whole thing stays visible.
So I take a deep breath and step through the doorway.