SARAH: ... omg Jen come sleep with me in the Baron's Room.
JEN: Why would I do that, you silly bean?
SARAH: Because sharing a bed is better than being murdered by a DARK SPECTRE FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE.
The others seemed to agree with her. Team Castle is brave. Some might say, too brave.
Robin may be a more delicate soul than the rest of us. We were all at one point discussing books we thought it would be nice to read or write.
SARAH: I have an idea. You can write it, Robin. I will give it to you free, gratis and for nothing.
ROBIN: What is it?
SARAH: All you have to do is write it for me. And make your fortune, naturally. But most importantly write it for me.
ROBIN: So... what is it?
SARAH: GOSSIP GIRL. IN SPACE!
ROBIN: ... I mentioned I was leaving a day early to go to Paris, yes?
SARAH: In space!
ROBIN: ... Or now. I could go now.
We have gone on many walks, to forests possibly infested with zombies, to woodland pools and fairy forts, and down to the local pub.
AMERICANS: How charming this village pub is!
CREEPY OLD DUDE: I hear one of you is Irish! YOU MUST SING US A SONG.
SARAH: I am not familiar with this tradition!
COD (leans in and grips Maureen in a way that alarms us all): Siiiiing.
SARAH: My choir mistress once had some words to say about my singing. Like the offspring of a donkey and a vulture, she happened to mention. You won't enjoy it.
COD (his wandering hands pull Savvy into his clutches): Siiiiing.
DIANA: I will sing!
Diana sings beautifully. She is also very brave, as people have to be when they are marked to hunt the unicorn. But the Creepy Old Dude was not appeased! To save my friends, he made me sing.
AMERICANS: shocked silence
CASSIE: There is only one word for that.
CARRIE (brandishing her video camera): Youtube.
COD: And now - another song!
TEAM CASTLE: Yeah... we're going to go.
The way back to the castle was dark and scary. There seem to be no pavements in the country, and the cars did not seem to like us. At one point Holly was hurled bodily into a ditch.
Then on that dark and dangerous road, we met our fate. She is a tiny black kitten with a scarred face and four tiny white socks. She wandered up to us happily and Cassie immediately picked her up. I cleverly poured some of our new bottle of milk into my cupped hands. And that is how we acquired the Castle Kitten. Maureen, simply to confuse us all, named her Monkey.
We also learned to love other creatures of the animal kingdom. We saw white deer roaming the fields.
SARAH: Diana, look! Don't you think-?
DIANA: I do not.
SARAH: I am just saying, don't you think they look like uni...
DIANA: I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, SARAH REES BRENNAN.
We also met a donkey which had been rescued from a life of pain.
HOLLY: So you're saying this donkey has... angsty backstory?
DONKEY: soulful stare
HOLLY: The pain he has endured only adds depth to his beautiful eyes.
DONKEY: soulful stare
HOLLY: Take this apple, donkey! And my heart!
DONKEY: soulful eating of apple
HOLLY: At last, my love has come along. My lonely days are gone.
MAUREEN: wanders by with a carrot
DONKEY: soulful chasing
HOLLY: ... Damn that wily Maureen.
Maureen is greatly beloved by the animal kingdom. It pains us to admit it, but Maureen is clearly Monkey's favourite, even though she was sleeping with Holly and Cassie. Mind you, Monkey did not get much sleep, as everyone wanted to play with her.
Holly says she may never get over waking up to find Maureen and me bent over her bed with outstretched hands and crazy, hungry eyes.
Monkey was asleep in her arms, you see.
Ally, Carrie, Savvy and Jen all went to the Cliffs of Insanity from The Princess Bride, but I stayed home to write and because the cliffs have enough insanity in them already. I did go with Team Castle yesterday to a village with the haunted ruins of a priory, and passages where stone angels stood looking ready to transform into vampires. We had dinner in a thatched cottage and toasted Team Castle. Then we went home and Holly read to us as we all sat around the hearth, Monkey purring in Cassie's lap. We like to read in Team Castle. And to narrate the plots of books. I am best at it: I did a parody of Diana's book Rampant that was totally unrecognisable to the author, and raised the dark possibility of a Unicorn Boyfriend.
I know Diana enjoyed it really.
Now Team Castle has gone. The halls are empty. The suit of armour in his sparkly skirt is forlorn. I am very grateful that such awesome ladies came and participated in my insane castle scheme, but I confess I am lonely. We have nothing but awesome pictures to prove that Team Castle ever really happened.
It is just me, Maureen and Monkey in the castle now. And Maureen is sleeping, so this is the perfect chance to cheer myself up by somehow getting the peacock into her bedroom, where it will wake her by crying out its passion like a feathered alarm clock in love.
I hope Monkey will help me herd him.
It is true, dear readers, that we were not attacked by supernatural forces this time. But there is always next time.
Mention has been made of a castle in Spain for next year. One day, Team Castle may ride again!