Angry-looking guards dressed in tights and ballooning purple and gold striped shorts grabbed the three children and dragged them through the crowd.

A shiver of fear ran up Courtney's spine. They were trapped -- again!

The people slowly cleared away, and as the guards pushed through with their captives, Courtney tried to figure out where they were -- the place, the century.

The women were wearing flowing silk and velvet gowns and their hair was covered with billowing caps of the same fabrics. Everything was adorned with jewels -- rubies, emeralds, sapphires. Even diamonds. She'd done a report on the Renaissance once, and everything she read talked of the richness of people's clothing. She hadn't believed it -- until now.

They'd landed at one end of a massive room with marble floors and walls paneled in white and gold. Sun spilled through tall stained glass windows, casting light on gilt-framed paintings of men and women. Were they in a museum? Courtney wondered. Maybe a castle?

They were almost to the center of the room when she felt the guard's hand pressing on her shoulder. "Kneel before the Duke!"

She obeyed, and he pushed her head down inches from the floor. She could see just Morgan and Collin on either side of her if she strained her eyes, and she could even look up, without moving her head, and see a man in a crimson velvet robe and slippers sitting on a gilt throne. He was talking to other men dressed in jewels and silk and velvet. They didn't seem aware of the guards or the people whispering amongst themselves at the other end of the room.

Courtney wanted desperately to be back in the void. She didn't like the 15th century. No way. The Renaissance didn't seem like such a wonderful time.

They knelt on the cold marble floor until Courtney's knees began to ache, but the guard kept his sword pressed against her back. Finally she saw the man on the throne turn toward the guards. He was frowning. "What is this you bring into my court?" he bellowed.

"Spies, Your Highness."

"Spies?" he questioned. "These are mere children. I have important matters of war to discuss. Take them away!"

 
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