What happens to Kiriyah and Kelly at the Spirit Palace?

Yes, I know I’m posting at midnight.

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Jellybean silently cursed herself. She should have heard the clicks of those high heels on the stone stairs sooner!

She stared with revulsion at the Spirit Queen’s ridiculous orange bun, which stuck out on top of her head like a bulbous watermelon. Jellybean had hated the Spirit Queen from the moment she took a job at the Palace.

“You’re too late,” the Queen repeated. “Now give me the key.”

Everyone looked at Kiriyah. Her hand was in her pocket, no doubt gripping the key tightly. “No way,” she said firmly. “It’s not yours.”

“Why, it’s not yours either, little girl,” the Queen countered nastily. “Give it to me!”

Kiriyah brought it out. “If you want it,” she taunted, “come and get it!”

She took off down the brightly lit dungeon corridor. Jellybean saw her grab a flickering torch off the wall, brandishing it in front of her. The Spirit Queen followed suit.

Jellybean almost screamed. Kiriyah was headed for a dead end!

Kelly started after them, but Jellybean swung out an arm to stop her. “Kelly, no,” she told her little sister. “I’ll deal with this. You stay back and try to get the Keeper out of her cage.” She looked at the Keeper. “You’ll have no objection to coming with us now, of course,” she purred. “Now that the Spirit Queen has seen Kiriyah, she’ll use the hounds anyway.” Without waiting for an answer, she raced after Kiriyah and the Queen.

Kiriyah was standing at the end of the hallway with her back to the wall and the Spirit Queen slowly advancing. With a yell, Jellybean leapt on top of the Queen, holding on as if it were a vigorous piggyback ride as the Queen tried to shake her off. “Kiriyah, run!” she screamed, watching Kiriyah jump past the two while they struggled and round the corner.

When she was sure that Kiriyah was safe, Jellybean pushed the Queen away and returned to where Kelly had managed to break the Keeper out. Quickly, Jellybean hurried them up the stairs and through the gate before the guards knew what was happening.

When they were halfway across the plains surrounding the Palace, Jellybean looked back. The Queen was hobbling towards them, pointing a finger and yelling.

“They’ll release the hounds!” Jellybean warned. “We have to cut them loose or you’ll never be safe.”

Jellybean doubled back while the others continued. Facing the guards, she watched as they unlocked the kennels and brought out the vicious, bloodthirsty dogs. Fear pricked her heart as they howled, but before the guards could present them with a scent, Jellybean picked up a stick and threw it.

With a yell of pain, the guard holding the red leashes dropped them as the stick hit his hand hard. With yelps of joy, the dogs ran off in all directions, with no hope of capture.

Satisfied, Jellybean turned and followed the others.

Meanwhile, Kelly was leading them through the forest, and it was only when they reached the root of the fork did she realize that Jellybean was not with them.

Just as she was about to head back to get her, Jellybean staggered out of the forest. “Keep going!” she said breathlessly, and they all continued to run.

Kelly was the only one who knew her way to the door. Even the Keeper was unsure, and Kiriyah was clearly attempting to memorize the path, the twists and turns. Finally, they reached the cliff where the door was set in.

“Kiriyah! Quick, the key!” The Keeper pointed to the cliff.

“Where? There’s no keyhole!” Kiriyah fumbled with the key as she drew it out of her coat pocket.

Impatiently, the Keeper snatched the key from Kiriyah’s hand and pressed it to the cliff face, forcing the door–ans the keyhole–to appear.

She unlocked it and pushed the door open, revealing an attic not unlike the one they had in life. Kelly stepped forward, but the Keeper stopped her. “What are you doing?”

“Wait.” Kiriyah put a hand on Kelly’s shoulder. “I promised her that she could come through the door to life if she helped me.”

“Oh, Kiriyah,” the Keeper groaned. “It’s against spirit rule.”

“Technically she did find both the door and the key,” Kiriyah pointed out.

“Fine.” The Keeper sighed. “I’ll make a deal.”

Kelly raised an eyebrow.

“If I let you live, Mother Nature will have my head. So, I’ll give you and your sister the ability to pass between worlds. You can come to the living as a spectre, but you cannot live again.”

Kelly glanced at Jellybean. “Seems like a good deal.” Jellybean nodded in agreement.

“Very well.” The Keeper laid a hand on each of their foreheads while Kiriyah watched. The Keeper muttered something that Kelly could not make out, and it was over–yet Kelly felt no different.

The Keeper and Kiriyah stepped through the door. Kiriyah looked back and waved, earning a wave from the two sisters in return. The door closed, melting into the rock.

Yet the adventure had only just begun.

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