**Continued from Part VII**
There were two armored guards standing just outside the gates. They were tall, taller even than Peter, which seemed pretty rare. Their faces were hidden in the shadows of their helmets, and all that she could see of them was the glow of their eyes, that ghostly sort of white. They seemed human in shape, but entirely other-wordly in every other aspect.
Peter warned her not to stare at them.
“Who approaches the gates?” the guards asked in unison. Their voices were impossibly deep, and Rowan tried to hide a shudder.
“It’s just me,” Peter told them in a voice laden with boredom.
“You have a bright one with you,” one of them noted, as if correcting him.
“I found her out on the fields,” Peter explained.
“The living do not belong here,” the other added.
“She won’t be long,” Peter told them. “I can make sure that she doesn’t cause any trouble.”
The guards looked down at her as examining her all the way down to her soul. Rowan held perfectly still, trying not to seem afraid. It felt like forever before they turned back to Peter.
“You know that we guarantee nobody’s safety,” one of the guards said.
“The Necropolis is a place for the dead,” the other went on, “and its laws exist only for the sake of its lord.”
“Like I said,” Peter told them, “I will be with her.”
The guards looked to one another, and a moment later the gates began to creak open. They sounded half-rusted, like the battered gates She had seen on old Halloween specials. Peter said nothing else to the guards– he didn’t even nod their way– and ushered Rowan through the gates. Once they were through, the gates closed once again, leaving Rowan to stare at them.
“Make sure you don’t get lost,” Peter told Rowan. “The living might be one of the few who can leave the Necropolis, but it tries to get you to stay.”
“Y-yeah,” Rowan nodded, still staring at the gate and the design laid out on it in ancient wrought iron. “Sure thing, Peter.”
**Continued in Part IX**