Breaking and Entering
Johnathan stared blankly at his empty notebook as Professor Gerson talked about Hydrogen bonds. Chemistry, thought Johnathan, what a waist of a class. The clock in the corner ticket on endlessly, the slow tic-toc lulling Johnathan into a drowsy state.
"Mr. Gerson's coming," Elizabeth whispered to Johnathan. He shot up and looked around. Mr. Gerson walked by as he talked, but didn't take any notice of Johnathan or Elizabeth. "You've got to stay awake at least, John. You'll flunk this class if you don't know any of the notes."
Johnathan snorted and scribbled a few words into his notebook. The Professor talked on for an hour, a few students here and there asking questions as he went, Elizabeth was one of them. Finally the clock chimed 3:30 and the students rose, gathered up their books and left the classroom. Johnathan and Elizabeth left together, like they always did, and walked down the hall.
"Have you gotten anywhere on your report?" Johnathan asked of Elizabeth.
"A couple of pages, actually, how about you?" Elizabeth asked in return.
"A couple of, well, sentences," Johnathan admitted.
"John," Elizabeth said, stepping into his path. She eyed him critically, not letting Johnathan's eyes wander. "Only a few sentences? What, are you going to procrastinate again? And fail, again?"
"Of course not," Johnathan said defensively, "I just need to get some material for it, that's all."
"Then come with me to the library," Elizabeth said. She continued on and left Johnathan standing in the hall. Johnathan took a few quick steps to catch up then fell in beside her.
"What I need isn't in the library," Johnathan said when he was in step again, "well, it is. But it's not in the main library. It's in the storeroom."
"Then how do you expect to get at it?" Elizabeth asked.
"Join me outside the main library doors at midnight tonight, and bring a lamp, and you'll find out." Johnathan smirked at her and turned to go back to his dorm and plan.
Johnathan lurked in the shadow of the library as he waited for Elizabeth to show. I know she will, she wouldn't let me down. Of course she wouldn't. The crickets chirped their endless melody in the night and the stars above turned in their slow pattern across the dark heavens. Johnathan tapped his foot impatiently and checked his timepiece. 11:58. Two more minutes. Two minutes passed. Then another two. Where is she?
Johnathan finally spotted a figure walking up the walkway and he about waved, but he held back until he was absolutely sure it was Elizabeth. When the figure drew closer he saw that it wore a gray sweatshirt and a school uniform skirt. The figure was carrying a small box-like device.
"John, is that you?" Elizabeth's voice issued from the dark figure.
"Yes," Johnathan replied, "did you bring a lamp?"
"It's right here," Elizabeth said. She held up a cylindrical container with one hole in the front covered by a glass lense.
"That's a lamp?" Johnathan asked skeptically.
"It's an electric lamp," Elizabeth said, "it was a gift from my father, so I could read and study in the dark."
"Couldn't you just use candles?" Johnathan asked as he walked up to the library's front doors.
"My father thinks that reading in candle light is bad for your eyes. I haven't the foggiest idea where he gets that notion, but he gave me this to use."
"That's great. Hand me one of you hair pins."
"Why? What for?"
"So I can pick this lock."
"John, we're not breaking into the library." Elizabeth said, planting her hands on her hips.
"Of course we are, now give me your hair pin." Elizabeth complied grudgingly and handed over a pin. Johnathan cautiously stepped out of the shadows and into the light of the lamp above the library's doors. He quickly set to work picking the lock and in a minute had the door open. "Easy."
"Where'd you learn to do that?" Elizabeth asked as Johnathan gave her pin back.
"My older brother taught me how to break into our father's wine cellar," Johnathan replied as he slipped into the dark library. He motioned for Elizabeth to follow and she did, bringing the light with her. "Well, turn it on." Johnathan said when she closed the door, "A light does us no good if you don't turn it on." Elizabeth turned a knob on the side of the lamp and a bright, steady beam of light shot through the dusty air of the library and illuminated the many shelves of books.
"What are we looking for," Elizabeth whispered to Johnathan.
"A door, it's, well, shine the light over there," Johnathan pointed. Elizabeth guided the bright beam to the spot he had indicated and the light revealed a small door. Johnathan crept up to the door and tried the handle. It didn't turn. "Quick, give me one of your pins again." Johnathan took the pin and made quick work of the lock. He handed the pin back to Elizabeth and entered the room and Elizabeth followed.
The room was large, shelves full of books like the rest of the library. The only difference was that this room had no windows and a thick layer of dust covered everything.
"Close the door," Johnathan said as he looked around the room wide-eyed. The door clicked shut behind him and the bright light of Elizabeth's lamp shined in his face. He squinted and gasped slightly from the light change which caused him to inhale a large quantity of dust. Johnathan began to gasp and cough all the while Elizabeth was standing by the door and laughing. Finally when Johnathan settled down he pushed up his glasses and glared at Elizabeth, who was still snickering. "Are you quite done?" he asked annoyedly.
"Yes," Elizabeth said with a final snicker. "So, what is it you're looking for?"
"A paper on Tel'Emur, written by Doctor Erebi. So check the T's, I'll check the E's." They both split up, Elizabeth taking the light and Johnathan taking and lighting one of the lamps hanging next to the door. They searched late into the night and it wasn't until 3:00 in the morning that Johnathan found something. "I think I found it!" he exclaimed excitedly as he pulled a single paper out of a filing cabinet. Elizabeth came rushing over and looked over his shoulder at it.
A Compiling of Notes On the Lost City of Tel'Emur by Doctor Etsi P. Erebi.
"It looks like," Elizabeth said. "Now can we get going before we get caught?" she asked pleadingly. Johnathan didn't hear her however, he was too absorbed in reading. "John, c'mon," Elizabeth asked more nervously this time, her Vermogian accent coming out. "If we don't get outa here, we're gonna get caught!"
"Go, go then, I'll see you in class in the morning," Johnathan said absent mindedly. Elizabeth snorted and shook her head as she slipped out of the room. Johnathan remained in the gloom and dust, reading in shocked amazement what was written on that faded sheet of paper.
Dated 22nd of Manal 1789 l.l. our team has successfully reached and located the top spire of the ancient temple of Tel'Emur, it is aproximatly 574 spans bellow the surface. We used a barrel shaped device with fins on the sides and fan on the back. Using a ship-like rudder to steer, I and my colleague, Mei Ureshi, managed to reach the spire and look through a blurry porthole. What we witnessed there was too horrible to speak of, but now I have managed to put what I witnessed into words. The city was gone and creepers were reaching out to us as if they meant to pull us in, but by far the worst we witnessed was what had become of the former citizens of the city. Only their skeletons remained and the arms of these skeletons reached out, as if pleading for help. Each skeleton had one odd factor, however, they all had...
Johnathan didn't get to read any farther as the paper was ripped out of his hands. He spun around, red in the face. To think Elizabeth would be so careless with... He stopped mid-thought. In front of him was the librarian and Mr. Bullton. The librarian was red-faced and Mr. Bullton was shaking his head. Both were in their night-gowns.
"What on Eudon has possessed you to sneak in here at night and break into the library's storage room!" the librarian yelled as she waved the paper he had been reading under his nose.
"Yes, Johnathan, what are you doing here?" Mr. Bullton asked more calmly. "Not research, I hope, you should have been working on your paper for some time by now."
"Well, I have been, but you see, it's so hard to find the material I need and, well, I was hoping I could find it in here and there was no other way in and..."
"That gives you no right!" the librarian screamed at him and slapped him across the face. Johnathan fell off the stool he was sitting on and landed on the floor with a thud.
"Now, now, Margret, there's no need for violence. I believe there is a solution to this problem. So if you'll hand me the paper I'll take Johnathan to my office and deal out punishment as I see fit." Mr. Bullton said as he held out his hand.
"But the library is my charge. I should be the one to deal out the punishment," the librarian retorted.
"Now, now, No need for testiness. Just hand me the paper and I'll deal with it, and if I see it fit, I'll send him to you for further punishment." Sensing that she wouldn't get anything else out of Mr. Bullton, the librarian handed over the paper and left the room. Mr. Bullton read as Johnathan pulled himself up onto the stool again and waited patiently. Mr. Bullton's eyebrows slowly rose up his forehead until he finally folded the paper up and put it into his night-robe's front pocket. "What would a student want with a paper like that," he finally asked as he pulled out his pipe.
"I was doing my research paper on Tel'Emur Mr. Bullton. It was the only surviving record of it that I could dig up." Johnathan admitted with as much fake shame as he could muster. I'll just fake my way out of this like I did with my dad's wine.
"How'd you find it?" Mr. Bullton asked as he thumbed a clump of tobacco into his pipe.
"I was reading a book by Doctor Erebi and his research into the natural history of the island and I found a reference to the paper. I thought it might be in here so I came to find out." Johnathan admitted. A little truth with the lie makes it that much easier.
"Only you came in here?" Mr. Bullton asked.
"Only me sir," Johnathan lied. Nodding Mr. Bullton pulled out a match and lit his pipe. "That doesn't seem so safe sir," Johnathan said as he blew out the match.
"Bullox!" Mr. Bullton exclaimed as he sat on another stool. "I've been in here enough times to know what is and isn't safe." Johnathan's mouth dropped wide open.
"I thought this room was off limits! That no one was allowed in here!" Mr. Bullton chuckled around his pipe stem.
"It's supposed to be off limits, but I've found my way in here ever since I was a student," Johnathan gasped again. "You see Johnathan, there's a group on this island. Now, I can't tell you who they are or what they want, but they're very interested in that paper, and I've been looking for it for some time." Johnathan shook his head in astonishment. A dream, it must be a dream! "Tell me, where did you find it?"
"Um, in the E's, sir, along with other papers by Erebi," Johnathan said with a weak voice. Mr. Bullton laughed uproariously.
"Of Course you did!" Mr. Bullton exclaimed, "that's exactly where it should be, if it was written by Doctor Erebi!"
"Um, are you feeling alright Mr. Bullton?" Johnathan asked as he scooted his stool backwards.
"Of course I am," Mr. Bullton said. He blew a small puff of smoke into the air before continuing. "You see, Johnathan, I've always been looking in the T's, for Tel'Emur, and even in the L's under legends, that's because I never found that reference. The one you did, because I wasn't broadening my mind enough."
"Are you going somewhere with this?"
"Yes," Mr. Bullton said with a devilish grin. "Johnathan, how would you like to pass my class, not have to write your report and rediscover the lost city all in one semester?"
"That would be a dream come true!" Johnathan exclaimed, "but it's impossible. We know that the city exists, and we know where to find it, but no one else will believe us, let alone be willing to help us."
"And that's where you are wrong," Mr. Bullton said. "I've recently been in contact with a Commander Angurai Sovala of the Sakkaian navy. He's shown a keen interest in..."
"Wait, wait, wait," Johnathan interrupted him, "Angurai Sovala? As in the Sovala clan? As in the clan that King Dugarel was a member of?"
"Yes, that's the one," Mr. Bullton nodded.
"He's willing to help us?"
"Yes. As I was saying before you so rudely interrupted me, he has shown a keen interest in the legend, as he has with other legends. He is willing to commit equipment, troops, and money to a project to find the lost city. He just needs someone who knows where to look and who knows what to look for."
"Why don't you go then?" Johnathan asked curiously.
"For certain reasons I cannot tell you," Mr. Bullton removed his pipe from his mouth and blew another puff of smoke into the air. "But you aren't restricted by such things. I'm sending you to Yenor tomorrow. I'll tell the student body that you've been suspended until further notice so they don't ask questions."
"But wait, you have plans for all of this? Don't you need to contact commander what's-his-name and buy boat tickets and..." Mr. Bullton waved Johnathan to silence.
"All that has been arranged. You leave at 7:30 sharp, so you need to go and pack right now and meet me back in front of the library in an hour."
"I'll do that," Johnathan said. He jumped to his feet and began to race for the door but Mr. Bullton ordered him to stop.
"Johnathan, it's imperative that you tell no one where you're going or what you're doing. And you'll need this." Mr. Bullton handed Johnathan the sheet of paper and grinned one more time. "Now go get packed or you'll be late, again."