“Please explain.” Tayatra demanded. “Does the Moulde family still own Moulde Hall?”
“Yes,” Edmund said. “At least, it does for the moment. I think the estate is in a bit of trouble.”
“Indeed,” the voice said. “Who is Patron now?”
“It’s Matron…” Edmund paused. What was her name? He thought back as hard as he could, trying to remember if he had ever heard Matron’s full name. He felt like he had… perhaps in the carriage on the way to Moulde Hall…or when he was listening to Tricknee argue with her…
“Mander,” he said, finally. “Matron Mander Moulde.”
“I do not recognize the name Mander,” the statue said after another dog and wheel. “How long have I been still?”
“I don’t know exactly how long,” Edmund shrugged. “I know Rotchild was Matron’s great-great-great-great-grandfather, if that helps.”
The dog got caught in the wheel for a long time, and then there was another longer pause where nothing made a sound. The recumbent pose that Tayatra had struck suddenly seemed less relaxed, and more sorrowful. Then, Tayatra spoke again, slowly and methodically.
“Six generations,” she said.
Edmund tried to think of something to say, but what did someone say to a statue that had been asleep for so long? He kept quiet instead. Finally, after another pause that seemed to last forever, Tayatra spoke again, her voice clear and businesslike.
“I will help you, Edmund Moulde, if you help me,” she said. “Please find as much string as you can to help with my repairs.”
The string wasn’t too difficult to find. At first Edmund wondered if he would have to return to the cellar for the third time today, and if there wasn’t any faster way to get from one to the other. Perhaps he could somehow enlarge the path the rat had taken?
Then, he remembered that he had seen large spools of thread next to gigantic rolls of cloth In one of the many storage rooms Edmund had found during his wanderings. It took him a few tries to remember which storage room it was, but since the hour was so late, he wandered freely, unconcerned with being seen by his cousins.
He eventually found the storage room on the fourth floor, and wrestled one of the pumpkin-sized spheres of thread out of the room and started rolling it towards the elevator.
Edmund pressed the call switch and the elevator slowly rose into view, the door opening to reveal Wislydale standing squarely in the middle of the cylindrical room. Surprise flashed briefly across his face, his ubiquitous glass of liquor hovering an inch under his nose, before a sly smile slithered across his mouth.