131: The Lockpick

“Sorry to bother you,” he said, impulsively. “The big door was locked, so I thought I’d explore around here.”

There was no answer from the rafters, but one of them gave a creak as if something was shifting its weight, sending another drop of dust and grit to the ground. “This is a nice room,” he tried again. “I can see why you like it. Lots of things to look at.” There was still no reply.

Shrugging to himself, Edmund wandered around a bit more in the tower, poking around inside cabinets and under chairs. Several times he sneezed loudly from the dust. The tower was obviously simply used for storage of old decorations that weren’t wanted by the current owner of the house. Some of the small statues or paintings were beautiful, covered in gold and silver, but ultimately not much different than anything he had seen in the hallways. Finally, he decided he had seen enough and started to leave.

“Goodbye,” he said as he headed towards the stairs. “I’m sorry if my chasing you scared you. I won’t tell anyone you’re up here, I promise. I know what it’s like to want your privacy.” He had only made it halfway down the steps when a loud clang echoed throughout the stone room. Edmund glanced back to see a small black tool lying on the ground, the dust still settling from where it fell. Curious, he walked over to it and picked it up carefully in his palm.

It looked a little like the black pieces of bent metal that Mrs. Mapleberry had stuck in her hair from time to time, but a bit larger. One end was slightly curved, with a tiny square flap on the outer side. The whole thing looked a bit like a crocodile mouth with one backwards tooth.

Tooth. Like the tooth of a key? If it was, it was the strangest looking key he had ever seen. Edmund put the metal angle into his pocket, and looked up into the dark gloom above him. Was something glinting up there? He couldn’t tell.

“Thank you!” he said, remembering to be polite as he walked back to the stairs. “I’ll come back and tell you what I find. If you want,” he added, remembering that this thing obviously wanted to be left alone. There was no response as Edmund descended the winding stairs and walked out into the hallway, quietly closing the door behind him.

Edmund ran all the way back to the massive dragon-tree door, and stared at the small lock. It looked exactly like every other lock he had seen in Moulde Hall; small and effective. He held up the thin metal angle in his hands. Somehow, this tool was a clue for how to enter the room.

Well, if he could figure out how to use the elevator, he could certainly figure out how to open a door.


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