It was hard to get the spool of thread down the thin and winding library steps, but eventually Edmund managed to roll the spool of thread into the stone alcove. Tayatra was just as he had left her, head on her desk as though she had been crying.
“I have some thread,” he said. “I hope it’s enough.”
“Sewing thread?” Tayatra asked.
“I guess so,” Edmund looked at his spool. “It’s pretty thin. But there’s a lot of it.”
“You will have to strengthen it, but sewing thread will be quite sufficient,” Tayatra said, her raspy voice echoing slightly in the tight stone concave. “First I will have you repair my torso. Please cut three pieces of thread five meters in length.”
“I don’t have a meter stick,” Edmund said as he began to unwind a piece of thread from the large ball.
“The front of my desk is one meter long,” Tayatra said. “You may use it to measure.” Edmund pulled the string along the front of the desk five times, and used the bronze letter opener to saw at it until had the three pieces gripped in his hands.
“Now what?” he asked.
“If you would, please fix one end of the threads to my torso manipulator–thus.” Edmund heard a small whirring from behind the statue. He sank to his knees and crawled back to the small panel. The tines had all retracted up into the statue, except for one that stuck halfway down towards the floor. Twisting the small key on the end, he fit the ends of the three pieces of thread into the key, and then closed it with another twist. He tugged gently at the threads, but the key held the string fast to the tine.
“Done,” he said.
“Thank you. Now, please braid the thread. This will make it strong enough to hold me.”
“I don’t know how to braid,” Edmund almost felt insulted. He didn’t like the implication that he should how how to do a female’s hair. Maybe Tayatra thought he was a girl? The very idea! The whirring dog-in-wheel sound happened again, and Edmund could tell now, being so close to the statue, that it was coming from deep inside the desk.
“I will teach you. Take the three threads, and lay them parallel to each other on the ground,” Tayatra began.
It didn’t take long for Edmund to learn how to braid, but it took almost twenty minutes for him to braid the entire five meter length of thread. The time passed in silence, with Edmund half concentrating on the braiding, and half thinking about what on earth he could talk to Tayatra about.