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The Strange White Man 40

Brother Sebastian did not stay too long at the ranch and departed soon after their arrival so the couple could have some private time together. Carpenter spent the first evening of his return telling Holly everything that he had learned and Holly was not surprised to learn that he was a Prince.

"I have always believed that you were something more than just an ordinary man, even after I found out what you were. It's the way you dress and speak, it was different than anyone I ever met."

"You were able to tell that? How?" he questioned.

" I have spent time in the company of a lot of different kind of men and its something I am not proud of now, but it gave me the knowledge to compare you to the others, so it was easy to pick on that fact."

"You never said anything."

"My mama always told me to keep my ears open and my mouth shut."

"She sounds like a wise woman,"Carpenter stated. He went on to tell her that the Monk was staying in his private car so they could continue their research and hypnosis. 

"As long as you're here with me," she responded and once again she surprised herself at her depth of feeling. 

The next evening Carpenter and Holly went to the Cactus Flower saloon. Holly spent time chatting with all her friends and former co- workers while Carpenter sought the Sheriff and his Deputy. He informed that the Monk was staying in his railroad car.

'Why there and not your ranch?" the Sheriff questioned.

"As you know Miss Holly and I are not married and I do not want to offend him."

"That makes sense to me", the Deputy added.

"Ya know Carpenter, you should think about marrying that girl.", the Sheriff added.

"I am thinking about it, very seriously thinking about it, but don't say anything to her or anyone."

"Will my guest be safe there?", Carpenter asked.

"You can count on us to keep a watch on your railcar, your quest and not to talk about your marriage plans."

"Would you be offended if I offered you a small gift for these services?," Carpenter asked as he placed a small bag of gold coins on the table.

"Mr Carpenter, you may offend us like this anytime," the Sheriff said as he slid the bag off the table and the three men then had a good laugh.Carpenter left secure in the knowledge that his guest would be safe.

The following evening Carpenter was once again placed under hypnosis and told to think back to his time in Felsar's private laboratory. He recalled that he had finished the stack of books that Felsar had given him and it left him with more questions. He was dead but alive and he felt better than he had in years. All the scars he had picked up during brief time as a warrior had vanished.

He noticed that his strength had also increased ten fold. When he woke he was barley able to sit up and now with the slightest effort he snapped the chain that was keeping him anchored to the cot he sat on. Felsar was not surprised when he returned.

"How are you feeling my Prince?" he questioned.

"Much better and I have you to thank for it."

"Twas a simple thing."

"Will my parents suffer the same fate?"

"No young sir, I took measures to ensure that cannot happen."

"When will they be placed in the tomb?"

"Tomorrow."

"I wish I could attend the funeral and see them one last time."

"Due to the measures I took there will be no viewing and I saw to it personally that the caskets have already been nailed shut to hid these measures and the fact that the casket that contains your body is empty. The Bishop and priests are most unhappy with me for doing so."

"Can you tell me about these measures?"

"No, "Felsar snapped loudly.

Carpenter could see that his old teachers had tears in his eyes and he looked very and begged his pardon.

"Forgive my outburst Sire, I am tired and long for sleep."

"There is nothing to forgive old friend. I would still like to say a prayer over the caskets before they are walled into the crypt."

"Come with me and I will show you how to enter and exit this place."

Carpenter could see himself following the old wizard through an ancient and dusty passageway with only a torch to light their path. They came to a chain hanging on the wall with a metal ring attached to it.

"You must listen for the sound of voices and footsteps on the stairs," Felsar instructed and placed his ear to the stone wall.

"I hear something, but I don't know what it is," Carpenter responded.

"From that distance?" Felsar questioned.

Carpenter realized that he was at least two feet from the stone wall but still insisted that he heard something.

"Then we must look," Felsar said as he moved around the corner.

The flickering torch illuminated another ring embedded in the stone, this one was much smaller.Felsar pulled on it and a opening was now visible in the center of the stone.

"With this you can see the entire staircase."

They moved back to the ring on the chain and Felsar pulled on the ring and a doorway cut into the wall slowly swung open and the two men exited and Felsar pushed the door closed.

"How do we get back in?" Carpenter asked.

"Do you see the torch holder? You simply push on it hard to the left."

Carpenter did as instructed and the hidden door opened.

"Now to you see the image stamped into the holder? Felsar asked pointing to the holder.

Carpenter saw an image of flame etched in the metal, he had never noticed it before.

"How many fingers of flame to you see? Felsar asked.

"I see three."

"Now heed and remember my words. When looking for an entrance to the hidden passage ways remember that fire image and recall that three or four mean a door," Felsar intoned.

Carpenter committed the rhyme to memory.

"The man that designed and built this castle knew everything there was to know about stone work, he was a master mason and was also quite mad. This castle is riddled with secret passages and doors and there is no place in the castle you cannot reach by using them."

The mystery of how Felsar appeared seemingly out of nowhere was now solved in Carpenters mind and the men returned to the passageway. Carpenter marveled at the stairs cut into the stone and the number of chains that he saw hanging that allowed one to exit the passageway.

Felsar stopped in front of another wall with a chain hanging from a stone, "This is the hallway leading to the chapel."

"I know it but there are no torches there, Carpenter responded.

"Quite true, there are however some ancient swords and shields adorning the walls if I am not mistaking."

"You are not mistaken."

"The shield and crossed swords to the left of where you exit is the key, you simply garb and twist and the door will open. Once inside and the door is pushed shut the displayed weponary will right it self leaving no clue to your escape."

Carpenter threw the cloak he had been carrying across his shoulders and pulled on the chain to exit.

"Be cautious my Prince lest you be seen. I will be in my chamber when you return."

Carpenter saw himself silently move into the chapel and soon saw the three coffins that the old wizard spoke of. He knelt at the feet of the coffins of his parents and began to pray and cry. He was so lost in his grief and prayers that he failed to hear the soft footfalls entering the chapel behind him.

"Forgive me for disturbing you," a soft voice said.

Carpenter stood and turned and was face to face with the Princess Lynette holding a torch.

"Prince Karl? But this cannot be as you are dead," she said before fainting into his arms.

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