Somehow, just learning something else about Moulde Hall made Edmund feel better. One minor mystery solved, and once again he did it on his own–without help. It reminded him of the first time he had made his way from his room to the Foyer without Ung.
As he thought back to that night, it felt like someone else who had run in a panic from hallway to hallway. Somehow, the whole mansion didn’t seem quite as scary as it had when he first arrived.
Edmund felt a bit odd about that fact. He had seen so many strange and new things… there was something almost unsettling about how he was beginning to find them all familiar.
Another flash of heat and blue shook Edmund from his thoughts, and he ran to the shelves, grabbing one of the crank-lanterns and throwing a small coil of copper wire over his shoulder.
Without wasting any time, Edmund ran all the way back to the Library. The stone woman was still there, her head resting on the desk.
Edmund carefully began to dismantle the lantern. Using the thin blade of the letter-opener, he unscrewed every screw he could see and twisted off the small glass jar that held the tiny lighting filament.
In no time at all, Edmund had twisted one end of his wire over the filament, and was cranking away as he made his way to the alcove. Without the glass jar the light was dim and diffuse, almost less than a candle, and the glow only lasted a few seconds after he stopped cranking, but it was enough to pry off the stone cover and glance into the dark recesses of the small engine.
Cranking the lantern again, Edmund found the small glass cylinder in the back, with the two thin wires encircling it. Carefully, he threaded the other end of his own wire into the top, pushing it down until it reached the bottom and dipped into the milky blue liquid.
Holding his breath in anticipation, Edmund began to crank as fast as he could.
It took a long time before Edmund realized, as he spun the crank, that the liquid was beginning to glow a faint blue. He paused and bent as close to the statue as he could to be certain, but when the light from his lantern had faded, the faint blue faded too.
It wasn’t enough, Edmund realized. He needed more electricity from somewhere. He needed…
A crack of thunder shook the mansion.
Edmund looked up at the ceiling, an idea brewing in his mind.
There might have been enough copper wire to thread all the way from the statue up to the elevator and then down to the cellar again, but Edmund thought that his idea was safer. There was less chance of being noticed by his cousins, if nothing else.
Catching the rat had been the hardest part of the plan. Eventually Edmund had to bait it with sour crusts of bread, sneak up on it using the best of Pinsnip’s teachings to stay quiet, and lasso the rat with the copper wire. After the rat had been given a small copper-wire harness, and Edmund had been given several scratches and a few bites, he let him go and tied the other end of the wire to the statue.
Then, in the cellar, Edmund dropped a fist-sized chunk of dry bread from the pantry, and waited, hoping that the rat wouldn’t get caught, or tie itself up between the walls.