As soon as he had resolved himself to enact vengeance upon his aggressor, Edmund couldn’t stop his brain from coming up with a multitude of schemes. Plots and plans hung heavily in his mind around a burning furnace of the need for vengeance.
But first, he needed to find Mr. Shobbinton.
It wasn’t easy. There were many rooms in Moulde Hall and Edmund wasn’t traversing in the open. He tried to keep an image of Moulde Hall in his head as he darted between the walls, but even with his familiarity with the mansion, it was hard going.
The mansion had just finished striking eleven when Edmund found the solicitor. It had been only about half an hour since he found his way up from the crypts, and Mr. Shobbinton was sitting in one of the multitude of study rooms, flipping nervously through a large stack of papers.
Edmund watched him through one of the small peepholes that dotted the hidden passageways. At first, Edmund was delighted at having seemingly cornered his quarry. Almost immediately he began to think about all the many varied things he wanted to do to him to punish his vile behavior.
But as he watched, Edmund realized that Mr. Shobbinton wasn’t behaving like his usual unflappable self. His hand seemed to drift to his briefcase without his realizing it. His monocle, usually so solidly held in his brow, seemed to constantly slip, forcing him to pause and re-set the small glass disk regularly. He was checking his watch quite often and seemed to be sweating. Was he ill? Or simply struggling to figure out where the money had gone?
Or, Edmund considered, was he feeling guilty about what he had done?
The more he looked at Mr. Shobbinton, the more his anger ebbed away. He could understand how Mr. Shobbinton must have felt, seeing his dreams of escape from a trapped life vanish because of a young child who must have stolen it away. Perhaps they weren’t as dissimilar as Edmund had thought. Edmund let out a sigh, his thirst for bloody vengeance fading.
“Who’s there?” came the strangled cry from Mr. Shobbinton. Edmund watched as the tiny solicitor stood up from his chair, spinning about, his monocle swinging like a guillotine through the air. Mr. Shobbinton looked around, gasping for air, his eyes wild, as he slowly regained control of his breathing. “Nothing,” he said, after a few moments. “Of course. Nothing.”
Edmund smiled to himself.
Mr. Shobbinton had left him to rot in the crypt. Oh, he may have considered coming back before Edmund died, but did that excuse his behavior?
An excuse for bad behavior was something Edmund had never experienced at the orphanage.
The flickering embers of burnt schematics flared in Edmund’s mind. While his anger had gone, his sense of justice had not. This man had hurt him–hurt him deeply–and he was not about to let the tiny man leave Moulde Hall without knowledge of exactly what that meant.