Carefully, Edmund stuck the two ends of the metal tool into the door’s keyhole and gave them a small twist. Nothing happened. He pushed the tool in a little further, and stopped when he felt the bottom rod of the tool flex. He’d never really thought about the insides of a lock before. Perhaps he could treat the lock the same as he treated the elevator; If the lock was supposed to keep him out, he would have to find a way to break it.
Carefully, he slid the tool in and out of the keyhole, feeling the contours of the inner lock with the two prongs. What sort of key would open this lock? His mind pictured the lock’s insides, and the shape of the key that fit these strange angles. When he was finished, he looked at the key in his mind’s eye. It looked simple enough, he thought. Perhaps he could trick the lock into thinking he had the right key?
He began to jerk the tool about inside the lock, trying to press on the inner workings in just the right way, feeling things shift about as he twisted the tool back and forth. Several times he felt the lock click back into place, and he had to start over, recreating the image of the key in his mind and trying again to pick the lock.
Finally, with a sense of beautiful elation, Edmund felt the lock twist under his hands, and a loud click echoed through the hallway.
Edmund slipped the tool into his pocket. It wasn’t just a key for a door, it was a key to any door. No, not even doors, but any lock it could fit in. The image of every lock in Moulde Hall swinging open shimmered across his mind like a reflection in a pond. Part of him wanted to try again, to find another lock and slip his way through, but that part of his mind was easily drowned out by the prospect of what lay on the other side of the now unlocked door. Slowly, like he was opening a long forgotten tomb, he reached out his hand, twisted the door handle, and pushed.
The room was massive and cylindrical. It was a full five stories tall, with long and winding staircases made from wrought iron and marble. Some spiraled straight down, while others swept across the wall. Ramps, ladders, and poles were sprinkled around the room, reaching towards small balconies and long thin walkways. The whole room was lit by the dim sunlight filtering in through a soot-covered skylight that took up the entire ceiling, covering the room in a faint afternoon light even though it was nearly noon.
The center of the room held a brass statue of a tree that was covered with shimmering bronze and silver leaves, each perfectly carved and placed, giving the tree the look of tall elm in the full bloom of summer. The tree sat in a small recess in the floor, and reached almost entirely to the ceiling, while around it wound slanted floors and small terraces covered with desks, tables, and chairs.
But best of all, covering the walls and jutting out into the maze of floors were bookshelves, filled to bursting with books, maps, scrolls, readers, folders, letters, and written word of all kinds.
It was a library.