One day, when Edmund had just finished exploring the fourth floor of the east wing, he thought he heard the soft rustling noise coming from the wall again.
He had just followed the sound into a side room, when the noise was interrupted by a long quiet creak. Edmund followed the noise to the northern wall, where he heard the faint shuffling slip between the walls and slowly begin to descend.
Step by tentative step, the feet descended towards the floor. Edmund pressed his ear to the wall, straining to hear the soft footsteps of whatever the thing was, stepping as softly and carefully as he could. The steps reached directly next to Edmund’s ear and then kept going until they reached the floor. Edmund took another step, closer to the sound.
The floorboard under the carpet where his foot had landed creaked loudly, cutting through the soft shuffling like a knife. For a heartbeat there was silence, and then a loud clatter as whatever was inside the walls turned around and ran back up the hidden staircase. Edmund ran out of the room, trying to get to the nearest staircase as fast as he could.
Luckily, a small staircase that connected the second floor with the fourth was only a few feet away, and Edmund was able to scamper up the stairs and reach the spot above the small study in very little time.
No sooner had he turned the corner when he heard a door slam off to his right. He ran into the small side hallway, hoping he could cut off whatever it was he was chasing. Edmund ran to the end and looked around, just catching the glimpse of something white vanishing around a corner at the far end. Edmund ran after it, trying to keep the map of Moulde Hall in his head.
He chased after the thing for what felt like minutes, catching glimpses of white and the sound of light footsteps on carpet, until Edmund turned the corner of a small hallway that connected the north and south halves of the east wing.
He took the corner too quickly and stumbled into the wall, pulling down a large heraldry shield with a loud crash. The two swords that had hung over the metal shield clattered against it and stuck quivering in the ground next to Edmund’s side. The loud pounding of blood in Edmund’s ears slowly faded as the din of metal subsided. Standing up as quickly as he could, he looked around the short hallway.
The Thing had vanished.
Edmund leaned heavily on his knees, panting for breath. He knew it was the same sound he had heard before, the sound coming from the mysterious fifth floor. He had been so close to finding it–seeing what it actually was. Instead, he had merely bruised himself and made a lot of noise.
Consoling himself that at least no one had seen him, and careful to avoid making more noise than he already had, he quickly replaced the shield and swords on the wall from where they had fallen, rubbing at the two sword marks in the carpet with his shoes, and hoping Ung wouldn’t see them.