The library is her second home. Every day she takes on a new identity and goes on a new adventure. The large oak doors are engraved with a fantasy forest scene. Soft blue carpet keeps her footsteps silent as she wanders around in search of her next escapade. She wanders up and down the spiral staircases with their shiny gold railings, running a finger across some of the leather-bound books on the towering shelves that cover the walls.
Sometimes a book will catch her eye and she'll instantly take it with her to an armchair covered in creamy fabric. Other times she will take a stack of books from the shelves and lie on her stomach on the floor to read a bit of one book and part of another one. Then there are the times she wanders around the library for hours without opening a single book.
Books are her life. No one else understands how amazing they are. The knowledge and power they hold. The different times and places they could transport you to. Nothing else compares, and no one else she knows can see that.
Perhaps that's because they don't truly know what secrets they truly hold. Or the secrets the library holds, for that matter. But she knows. She knows about the book that hides a button and the door it opens. She knows about the hidden room that door leads to and the books inside. She even knows that all those books are fairytales, and they each have an artefact from their tale displayed alongside them. But she's never been into the room.
Today is different, she's decided. Today she'll go through the door and finally see the books and artefacts for herself. So instead of going in search of a book upon entering the library, she goes over to the bookcase tucked behind the furthest staircase and pulls out the black book on the centre shelf. She feels along the ceiling of the shelf where the book was and presses the button at the back.
A low groan echoes through the empty library as the bookcase moves backwards before slowly swinging open. Inside, the walls, floor and ceiling are all made of stone. Like a medieval castle, flickering torches line the walls. From what she can see initially the room is quite large, but she steps inside to get a better look.
It is quite big and there are alcoves between the torches. She wanders over to one of the alcoves. There's a thick wooden shelf across the centre. On the shelf rests a glass slipper that sparkles in the torchlight. The glass surface is smooth except for the bow decoration on the toe. A book is on display behind the shoe with the cover facing her. The brown leather is partially covered by gold spiralling lettering that spells out 'Cinderella'.
She goes over to the next alcove to discover it set up much the same way. This time there's a ruby rose on the shelf, and the book is titled 'Beauty and the Beast'. Glancing around, all the alcoves look the same. She can see an apple with a bite taken out of it, a chunk of gingerbread, an old golden lamp, a red cape and so much more.
As she gazes around, she notices something on the centre of the floor; black markings. She walks over to investigate. There are 12 in total, creating a circle. Bending down to get a closer look, she realises they shine like an inky rainbow. This must be a magic circle, she thinks. She's read about them but never found one before. There isn't much she knows about magic circles, but she does know they are magic hotspots that either amplify or have their own magic. She'll ask the librarian (the one who told her about this place) about this possible magic circle next time she sees her.
She goes back over to Cinderella's glass slipper and picks it up. It's not as heavy as she thought it would be. And it feels surprisingly warm. Not like it's been heated up, just that she expected it to be cold. Slowly, she walks around the room as she inspects it, in awe of the shoe she holds.
A gasp suddenly escapes her as the floor markings turn from inky black to dazzling white. She realises she's holding the glass slipper over the circle. It is a magic circle. Quickly, she retreats back to the first alcove and as she does, the markings darken again to black. An idea strikes her, so she puts the shoe down and picks up the book. Then she goes back to the magic circle and holds the book over it. The white glow appears once more.
She goes back to Cinderella's alcove once more, this time picking up the glass slipper still holding the book. Pausing for a moment, she looks down to the items in her hands, then at the magic circle, and back down again. Taking a deep breath, she walks over to the circle once more...
And steps inside.