The drive to Uncle Marcus’s home took about three hours, as he lived quite a ways in the mountains in his own remote hideout. He had said that he had a strong internet connection and WiFi, which was surprising, considering how far away from everything he was.
The car ride was very pleasant, though it was long. The scenery had everyone in an amazed state, though Amelia had heard that the scenery in California was even more breathtaking. Apparently it had many points of interest for tourists. The scenic view from the vehicle was very beautiful too, though. High mountains, which disappeared into the clouds, and trees so dense that you couldn’t even see high drops from a distance. Or any signs of life. It was truly just them and the wild creatures hiding within. There was a nice, large river, though. It looked to be about the same width as the Missouri River, though Amelia had no idea how long it was. She could see in the distance, where it was upriver, that two beautiful waterfalls roared down on the swift current. One looked to be a little over one hundred feet in the air, while the other looked more like a little less than one hundred feet. It looked so serene and mystical, that Amelia felt as though she would like to go there.
“Alright, we are about five miles away from home.” Uncle Marcus called to them from the front seat. Five miles? The drive hadn’t seemed nearly as long as three hours. Maybe an hour, but not that long. The scenery had truly brought her to an imaginary world, it seemed. Just imagine what the scenery in California would do to her.
As Uncle Marcus slowed the vehicle, they all craned their necks to get a view of Uncle Marcus’ home. As they pulled into the gravel driveway, Amelia nearly gasped in amazement. His house was much bigger than she had ever imagined it to be. It must have been three times the size of the hers at home. It wasn’t even a house, it was a mansion. Amelia had never suspected her uncle was even this rich. Then again, she had heard from her mother once that he was a government agent. As in FBI agent. Spy. So she supposed he would be pretty rich. True, Amelia knew little about that sort of thing, though she had heard that spies were filthy rich from their dangerous assignments.
The driveway was in the shape of a circle, and there was a large fountain in the center, which looked to be made of marble. The mansion was made of stone. It looked like the slightly more modernized version of a small castle, which included the towers and heavy, stained oak double doors. Amelia had never even known something like this existed in America. Really, it shouldn’t exist, because the medieval days were long gone, and so was the king of Great Britain. It was astounding, and the beautiful, remote scenery around it all only completed everything.
Uncle Marcus parked the car by the edge of the circle driveway, and looked back to see the teenagers’ astonished expressions, chuckling. “Well, aren’t I a true caveman of a bachelor?” He smirked, his true British accent coming through. Kazumi snapped her eyes to his, and gasped out, “I....don’t...have...words!” She rubbed her eyes as if to see if it was all one big dream, and that she would wake up any second and scream at her pillow for causing the whole tragedy.
“Kazumi, if you don’t close your mouth, you’ll catch a butterfly.” Tadashi warned, though he seemed just as amazed as the rest of them.
Kazumi turned her head to glare at her older brother, her black waves falling into place down her back. ”Don’t talk to me about butterflies. You know how I feel about them.”
“Of course I know, you’re my little sister. And besides, that’s only in the anime shows.” Tadashi snorted, rolling his eyes.
“No it’s not, it’s in your darkest dreams.” Kazumi shivered. “You really are trying to provoke me!” She groaned and hit her head repeatedly on the window.
Amelia burst into laughter at their bickering, as they always argued over the weirdest things. Yet, they were never truly angry at each other, and they were usually just teasing one another. They actually got along pretty well. “You guys!” Amelia rasped out between her fits of laughter. “You must be the most unique siblings ever.”
“Correction, Katara and Sokka are the most unique siblings.” Kazumi proclaimed. “Their relationship is unlike any other.”
“Other than Zuko and Azula.” Tadashi added, giving his sister a decisive nod.
“Affirmative.” She nodded, and turned to Amelia. “So there you go. Zuko and Azula have the most unique sibling relationship.”
“You mean because of the fact that they are always trying to kill each other? Literally?" Amelia snorted, an amused grin gracing her face.
“Precisely.” Kazumi nodded in affirmative. “That makes them very unique.” She rapped her fingers together and stared at Amelia seriously. Amelia returned the stare with an equally serious expression.
Uncle Marcus glanced back at them and laughed, “The atmosphere is starting to get rather solemn in here. Are you both honoring them with your memories right now?”
Amelia turned to look at her uncle with complete seriousness, “Hai.”
He chuckled as he opened his car door and stepped out of the vehicle. “Don’t worry about your bags. Yosef, my butler, shall take care of them.” He motioned to a man that had appeared from the oak doors. He looked a little older than Uncle Marcus, and had dark hair and olive skin. Amelia guessed him to be Jewish or perhaps Russian, according to his name and features. He stopped in front of the car, and waited for them to exit, before he bowed to them and welcomed them, “Shalom, guests of Master Taylor. I hope you enjoy your stay at Taylor’s Hidden Castle.”
Amelia bowed in return and replied with complete politeness, “Thank you, Yosef. It is wonderful to meet you.” She glanced back up at him in curiosity. He smiled at her kindly with his warm, chocolate eyes. She fought back a little blush as she berated herself. ‘Don’t you dare react to someone, who’s like, fifteen years older than you!’ She mentally slapped herself.
Kazumi stepped out beside her and bowed as well, “Kon’nichiwa!” She chirped, doing her best to hide a mischievous smirk.
Yosef glanced at her with curiosity and puzzlement. “I’m afraid I don’t understand..” He gave a her a questioning look.
Amelia elbowed Kazumi in the ribs, trying her hardest not to laugh herself. “Kon’nichiwa means hello in Japanese.” She explained with as much soberness as she could muster.
Yosef nodded as understanding crossed his face, “I see.” He bowed to Tadashi, who had appeared beside them, and walked to the trunk of the car, withdrawing their things. Three other men appeared from the house, who also seemed to be servants. One looked to be in his teens, while the other two looked middle-aged. They each bowed to Amelia and her friends. Yosef introduced them all, and gestured to the taller middle aged man. “This is George,” then gestured to the other middle aged man and finally the teenager, “And this is Henry and Pierre.”
Pierre gave her a boyish grin and stepped forward, “A pleasure to serve you, Mademoiselle Doe.” He winked and bowed once again, and turned to Kazumi and Tadashi. “Monsieur And Mademoiselle Kuran.”
Despite being surprised at his flirtatious greeting, Amelia’s politeness did not diminish. She curtsied and replied with a hint of mischievousness, “Arigato, Pierre-san.”
Pierre looked rather confused, and asked curiously, “What language do you speak? I’m afraid I am not fluent.”
“Oh, you know, Japanese,” Amelia sighed nonchalantly. “I’m afraid I am not quite as fluent in French, however.” Kazumi snorted behind her, and Amelia fought the urge to laugh at his bewildered face.
Uncle Marcus cleared his throat and beckoned to them, “Come, I’m sure you all would like to relax.”
Amelia nodded and looked to her friends. Kazumi crossed her arms and sighed contentedly, remarking, “Yeah, my form of relaxing is writing emotional stories about doomed souls and screaming at the main characters because they all died.” She giggled ominously and added, “So by all means, I shall lay in a hammock and occasionally throw my iPad across the yard, and hope I don’t break it.”
Tadashi snorted and poked his sister on the forehead. ”Baka. You and your fandoms. Anyway, this is why you will never find a real man.”
Amelia gasped, punched Tadashi’s shoulder- a little harder than she intended to- and glowered at him. “Don’t you dare insult our fandoms, Tadpole. And besides, who needs to find a boyfriend or girlfriend when they have anime?” Tadashi’s brow furrowed, and he pouted as he growled back at her, ”Don’t call me Tadpole!”
Amelia walked past him and waved a hand back to him without turning around. “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” She answered lightly, trying not to laugh at him or slap him for insulting her fandoms.
Tadashi snorted from behind her and called, “You won’t find a boyfriend either with that sass.”
Amelia stopped abruptly, and slowly turned around, a murderous look on her face as she smirked. “Thank you very much, but my sass whips your butt a hundred times over, Tadpole.”
He huffed and looked away, apparently having no good comebacks. Kazumi smirked at her older brother and skipped to Amelia, looking completely devious. “You know you are my best friend, right Amelia?”
Amelia nodded with the air of a princess, “Quite so.”
The bedroom was amazing. It was probably three times the size of her bedroom back home. The three of walls were painted a minty-Aqua and the other was painted a dark silverish-bronze. Beautiful paintings decorated the walls; some were nature, and a couple others were of mystical creatures. They looked rather like female fairies, actually. Pretty little things.
Amelia was particularly drawn to one painting of a fairy. She was no larger than an oak leaf, maybe five and a half inches at the most. The girl looked young, and had very long, flowing black hair, and bright Aqua eyes. She wore a dress made from light pink rose petals that ended just above her knees, and tiny shoes made of leaves. Her wings were a translucent wine color, and looked to be close to the same length as her small body. They almost seemed to sparkle in the sunlight of the painting. The girl smiled mischievously, yet kindly, at a hummingbird she was stroking.
Whoever the artist was, Amelia had every intention of tracking him down and forcing him to teach her his secret. It seemed unreal, and Amelia rather wished such little creatures existed. Wouldn’t it be rather fun to be able to fly through the forest and see the wildlife without having to scare them off?
Amelia snorted at herself and observed the rest of her new room. The bed had a pale lavender bedspread that looked to be made from some rich material. The bed frame was handcrafted cherry wood, and had unique designs etched into its proud, flawless fibers. Dark stained wood floors complemented the bed frame, as did the smooth, dark chocolate bedroom door. On one wall was a large window and window seat, which had a lavender cushion and silverish-bronze plush throw pillows. Pulled back lavender curtains allowed the sun to brighten up the room. In the center of the ceiling dangled a crystal chandelier.
There was a large dresser made of cherry wood, and also a small, but very nice walk-in-closet that would be quite convenient for storing her clothing.
Against another wall, her room connected to her own bathroom. It had both a shower and a jet-stream bathtub. As fun as that sounded, Amelia preferred showers, as the water didn’t cool down that way.
The bathroom was decorated similarly to her bedroom, and had a window as well. Thankfully nothing except for an occasional bird could see inside the bathroom, however.
Kazumi had her own bedroom a short ways down the hall, and had a similar layout, except the colors were different.
Tadashi’s bedroom was on the third floor, while Amelia’s and Kazumi’s rooms were on the second floor, so they weren’t quite sure what he was doing now. She and Kazumi were hanging out in a remote area with couches and a tv, but the tv wasn’t by any means on. No, they were on Wattpad writing their stories and sending pins on Pinterest to each other. And hiding from the numerous servants who constantly asked if they needed anything. Particularly Pierre. He seemed somewhat flirtatious, and Amelia preferred to avoid flirtatious people. Kazumi also preferred to avoid flirtatious people when she could, but did her best to torment them when she was cornered.
So now they were relaxing and hiding in a small living room area, or as the people from a couple of centuries ago would say it, a private parlor.
Later that evening, Uncle Marcus would have a wonderful dinner for them, he had promised, and they were all looking forward to that. Granted if Tadashi ever showed up.