Thankfully, he didn’t have to wait long before the dark fur and pink feet darted across the floor, dragging the copper wire with it. Edmund grabbed the wire and quickly slipped the rat out of its harness before it scratched him, and then left it to its feast.
Carefully, Edmund tied the copper wire to the thick copper cable that framed the furnace, and ran back upstairs to the Library. There, he threaded the other end into the small glass vial, and waited again.
Within seconds, the tell-tale flash of blue lit the room, and the copper wire glowed a faint red. Within seconds, sparks flickered in the recesses of the statue, jumping out of the small glass vial and dancing on the top of the liquid. Edmund waited for the sparks to subside before he pulled the wire out of the statue, and bent down to look closer.
The vial was glowing a steady pale blue. At first, nothing else happened. Then, with a creak, several of the gears slowly began to turn. The metallic tines began to move like teeth, shakily quivering as they jerked up and down. A sudden burst of air from a small tube hit Edmund in the chin, and then everything went still.
Edmund waited for a few moments, staring at the mechanism. Nothing else happened. He looked up at the statue, wondering if it had moved at all, but it still held the lazy pose of a sleeping woman.
There was a snapping sound, and he looked back at the gears in time to see the tines move up and down, like they were being tested. Another blast of air, longer than the first spewed out from the small curved brass tube, and then the machine fell still again. The air began to blow once more, sporadically, like a gas vein with a leak, and then stopped.
Edmund felt his chest tighten. He looked at the statue again, but it was as stable as ever. He touched it, but the cold stone didn’t move. Hoping against hope, he shoved it hard, but the rock was solid as a mountain. Despite his best efforts, the statue was still.
Edmund touched the air-tube. It was neither hot nor cold, nor did it seem broken, but there were some strange knobs on the side that felt like clasps. Was there something else missing? It was frustrating to think that he had gotten so close, only to be stopped yet again.
His heart sinking, he fell to his hands and knees and crawled out of the alcove. Part of him tried to stay positive, thinking he might be able to find some other blueprint, some diagram that could show him what piece was missing.
He ran back out into the library, looking around in all the different places where a secret clue might hide, but as hard as he tried he didn’t find a thing.