Completely different. One year ago, during the summer, I had ideas for a second season before we knew anything about the real season 2. I kept those ideas in mind, and around February I decided to actually write it. 40 chapters, 2 chapters per update, just like the episodes. This is more based in Het Huis Anubis than it is the canon season 2, so some of your questions may be directed towards HHA, like who some of the new characters are.
If you wonder why I focus on some characters over others, it's because my focus goes to where the new student is, and those surrounding her. I try to keep it balanced, but it doesn't always work out. Jerome is also my favorite, so things might tend to go more to him, but that's partially the Het Huis Anubis stuff too, as he was more important in later seasons, as far as I can tell.
1: House of ReturnEdit
The site of Anubis House loomed before her, an imposing, and yet wonderful site. It wasn’t home; it was far from it. But it was the home that she now had for the duration of the school year, as it had been for the last school year as well, and hopefully for the next as well.
This would be her third year of high school, along with her housemates. Only one would remain, and hopefully she would be able to spend that final year with her new friends, here, in Anubis House, in England. Friends that had been hard to make due to the circumstances of her initial arrival, but friends whom she would always have now, after everything they had gone through in the past year.
As Nina walked inside the front door she looked around the foyer. The familiarity of the place was refreshing, even though she had been with her grandmother over the summer. She loved the woman, but it was nice to be back here. She hadn’t seen anyone since leaving for the summer, so this would be nice; there was no doubt about that.
In the sitting room she could hear voices, so leaving her bags by the door she headed inside, catching the end of a conversation between Joy and Patricia, which began while she was outside, beginning with:
“Nina’s a good person, please don’t tell me you’re going to give her trouble with Fabian,” Patricia was saying to Joy, wanting to avoid conflict between her best friend and Nina, her very good friend and Sibuna member. Someone she had a strong bond with, likely equivalent to that of her friendship with Joy.
Joy smiled a bit, “Patricia, don’t worry about a thing. I had a lot of time to see Fabes, and…a lot of time to see what could happen.”
“That worries me,” Patricia commented.
Joy didn’t take it personally, “He’s really devoted to her, it seems. I couldn’t do anything,” Joy said, “So…,” she drew the word out, “I’m leaving them be. If a summer couldn’t change things, I doubt him seeing her during this term would.”
“You still have that smile,” Patricia told her, “I don’t like that.”
“Patricia you worry way too much,” Joy told her.
Nina was walking into the room, but neither noticed as Joy continued.
“I have a new crush,” she said with a mischievous smile on her face.
“Oh please don’t tell me it’s Jerome,” she said, “He’s the only single one…”
Nina stood to the side and didn’t interrupt them. She wanted to listen. The bits she was hearing made it sound as though she didn’t have to worry about Joy, giving her a great relief, but she wanted to know more. She wasn’t intending to eavesdrop, but this was a curiosity. Joy was a curiosity.
“I can’t tell you,” Joy said, “But…does that mean Alfie has a girlfriend, then?”
“Amber,” Patricia said, “Surprisingly. Unless her deciding not to talk about anything about them means they aren’t. But…Alfie seems to say otherwise,” Patricia told Joy.
Joy turned her head, “Oh, Nina.”
Patricia stood up, “Nina! How long have you been here?”
“Just got here,” she told Patricia, walking over, “So, what are we talking about?”
Joy just kept her mischievous smile. Nina could see why Patricia would hate it.
“Nothing really,” Patricia said, “Girl stuff, unfortunately. Joy dragged me into it.”
“You can’t have a conversation alone,” Joy told Patricia.
“You can try,” Patricia said, “Or at least make it something I don’t mind talking about.”
“Come on Patricia, a little girl talk is good every once in a while,” Nina told her.
“Amber’s the one you should be talking to then,” Patricia said, sitting on the couch.
“So Nina…,” Joy said, looking around and then leaning towards her, “You still have that locket? Just…wondering.”
Nina glanced to Patricia who sighed, “Ok, so I told her about Sibuna and everything…she’s my best friend! And she was kind of involved last term, so…sorry.”
“It’s…it’s ok,” Nina said, “Yeah, I have it. Why?”
“Might be of use. I might need to borrow it sometime,” she said, “Might be nice to have hiding places for stuff, or access to secret areas for other things,” she shrugged.
“It only works for me,” Nina said.
They could hear the door opening before Joy could protest. Soon they saw Amber walking in, “Nina! Patricia! …Joy! It’s great to see you three!” she said happily as she came in, hurrying and sitting by Nina.
“Amber!” Nina said, looking out, “You didn’t bring luggage…?”
“Of course I did!” she said with some shock that Nina could possibly think otherwise, “Alfie’s bringing it in.”
Patricia and Joy looked at each other. Confirmation enough for them, though it was Joy who cared over Patricia.
“You know Amber, Alfie’s kind of scrawny,” Jerome said as he walked in next, “Your bags are going to be too much for him. Good job, always wanted a room to myself,” and with that he took his leave, towards his room.
“Well, Jerome’s here…,” Patricia said, glancing to Joy, but the other girl showed nothing on her face.
“I see that,” Joy countered.
“Ok…I don’t get it,” Amber said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Nina told her.
They heard some more footsteps and saw Mick and Alfie coming in, “Thanks for the help man!” Alfie told Mick, “I thought these things would kill me!”
“No problem. I know the feeling of having to do this for Amber,” Mick said.
“I can see why you broke up with her,” Alfie joked.
Mick turned to him but didn’t get a chance to say what he was going to when Amber yelled, “What was that?”
“Nothing!” Alfie called quickly, saying quietly, “Can’t talk so loud…”
“Alfie, come and join us,” Nina told him.
“Yeah, yeah I’ll do that,” he said, relieved to be setting down – well, dropping – Amber’s bags.
“Alfie!” Amber yelled at him.
“Sorry!” he said defensively, unsure if he should go in or not.
Mick laughed a little to himself, “Good luck man,” he said, heading off towards his room.
Alfie headed into the sitting room while Jerome came back into view at the same time that Mara came inside, “Mara!” he said happily, “Great to see you! If you have a…”
“Sorry Jerome,” she said, “Mick’s here already, right? I was going to go see him. But it’s great to see you, and I’ll talk later,” she said, hurrying off towards Mick’s room, leaving Jerome standing in the doorway.
“…moment…,” he muttered, shaking his head and walking off.
“Well,” Alfie said, “At least I’m not like that,” he sat next to Amber, causing Joy to laugh a little.
“I’m sorry. It’s just a hard relationship to buy into…for me, at least. But I was of course gone…”
“I’ll give you that one,” Amber said, “Otherwise I’d have to take that one really personally,” she put strain on ‘really’.
Nina kept looking towards the door, not really listening to them talk. She heard Amber’s voice, “He’ll be here soon.”
“I hope so,” Nina said.
As Nina zoned out of the conversation for another few minutes she heard the door opening. She got up and hurried out of the room in time to see Fabian setting his bags down and look up to see her, “Nina!” he said happily.
“Fabian!” she greeted with equal joy, hugging him without caring that the others could see their private moment.
“I missed you,” he told her, “I thought about you every day.”
“So did I,” she told him, smiling, “It’s just great to see you again.”
“Yeah…phone and email didn’t really do it,” he said.
She nodded, “For once I’m excited about school. I get to see you.”
He laughed, “Yeah, I know. I feel the same way.”
They looked into each other’s eyes for a few moments, but before they could lean in and kiss like they both wanted, they heard a door close above them and saw Victor looking down over the railing, “Go into the other room!” he called down in his demanding voice, “Everyone! Into the other room!”
Fabian and Nina broke their embrace. “I’ll go get the others,” Nina told Fabian, heading down the hall to get Mick, Mara and Jerome while Fabian went into the other room where Alfie, Amber, Patricia and Joy were waiting.
Joy nodded to greet him, but did nothing else, which really surprised Patricia.
By the time Nina had gotten the others Victor was at the bottom of the steps, “These bags don’t belong here.”
“We’d have moved them if you didn’t call us here,” Patricia told him as he walked into the room, “Considering we have someone strong to lift Amber’s bags,” she gave Mick a playful hit to make her point.
“Enough,” Victor told her, keeping a bit of acid in his words as the students took their seats, “There are nine of you now. We four bedrooms. You girls will have to triple up.”
“Is that what you called us together for?” Joy asked, “We know that.”
“Quiet!” he snapped, “I’ll have no backtalk, Ms. Mercer. Now, there is one more reason I gathered all of you. We’ll be having a new student this term. Trudy is currently out picking her up.”
“Her?” Jerome asked, “By chance do you have a picture?”
Mara shot him a look, but quickly got rid of it. She was with Mick, why should she care about Jerome’s words?
“Mr. Clarke, you shall see your new housemate soon enough,” Victor said, “Another outburst from any of you will result in punishment. I don’t like to be interrupted. Now, with six girls and two rooms, make the arrangements. You all shall also treat her well. I normally wouldn’t care how you treat each other, but a new student is another matter entirely. She’s projected to only be here for this year, so when she leaves she will leave with good experiences to take to wherever she goes afterwards. It’s for the sake of Anubis House and for the school. Is that understood?”
The nine nodded to him, giving Victor their answers.
“Good,” he said, “Failure to comply properly will not end well. I will make sure that anyone who causes trouble with her is punished. Mr. Sweet has made it clear that he wants good things said about the school to be spread out, and I want word of this house to be spread as well. Maybe I’ll eventually get a compliant group…,” he said the last part more to himself than anyone else.
“We’re still here!” Alfie complained, hearing it.
“Mr. Lewis!” Victor said angrily.
Realizing it, Alfie shook his head, “It wasn’t me!”
Victor lifted his hand up, pointing a finger to Alfie, “Oh, you will be punished for that, trust me. First day back and you will be punished.”
“Oh come on!” Alfie complained as Victor stepped out and headed back to his office, “It’s not fair!”
Jerome clasped him on the shoulder, “Look at it this way Alfie. You get punished, and we could possibly get an attractive new girl here. You may lose but…,” he looked to Amber, “Ok, you don’t win either. You have an old model.”
“What did you call me?” Amber demanded angrily.
“Nothing,” Jerome said, heading to the door.
Mick got up, “Well, this could be fun,” he told Mara, “If Jerome’s watching the door, want to watch? He might get slapped.”
Mara smiled a bit, “Yeah, that might be fun to see,” she took his hand to get up, but her emotion wasn’t really in her words.
“Mara,” Joy said before she left.
“Yes Joy?” she asked.
“I hate to ask, but can you switch rooms with the new girl? I mean, as it is now, it’s you, Patricia and myself. It’s nothing personal, but could you give your spot to the new girl and go with Amber and Nina?”
“Why?” Mara asked, “I mean, I’ll do it, sure, but I’d like to know why.”
“I’d like to get to know the new girl better,” Joy said with her smile, “Is that a problem?”
“No, it’s fine,” she said, “I don’t mind.”
“Thanks!” Joy said happily.
As Mick and Mara left, Patricia turned to Joy, “Are you serious?”
She nodded, “Yeah. I didn’t get to know Nina, I’m getting to know this new new student.”
“I’m right here,” Nina reminded her.
“Oh, but you’re old now,” Joy said jokingly.
“I guess Joy’s right,” Fabian told Nina, “You’re a normal student here now, now the same student you were last year.”
“Ok, you have a point,” Nina conceded to Joy.
Alfie interjected into the silence, “So, Mick already has his guess. Anyone want to place theirs?”
“After what he said about me, I think a slap would be lovely,” Amber said.
“Are you going to be doing the slapping?” Patricia asked her.
“I might,” she said, “But I don’t want my hands to get dirty.”
“You think Jerome has a dirty face or something?” Joy asked, “Look at him. I’m sure he spends as much time on himself as any of us girls. Well, except you and Patricia. You spend more, I’ll bet, and Patricia less.”
Patricia took no offense, and Amber just nodded, giving that Joy’s statement was correct.
Nina couldn’t help but smile, “Is this what it’s going to be like now? Just…normal school stuff? Normal conversations? Normal friendships?”
“Yeah,” Fabian agreed, “It’s going to be different going back, after Sibuna…”
Alfie nodded, “I miss it already.”
“I can do without that madman Rufus running around and trying to kill us,” Patricia said.
Amber nodded, “Yeah. I think we all can.”
Joy sat and listened, having nothing to add other than, “And I can do without being kept away from all of you. It was so lonely…”
“Well you’re back now,” Fabian told her, “And you’re with friends again.”
Jerome was getting ready to give up sitting on the step and waiting when the door opened and Trudy came through, causing him to shoot up to his feet. The bags had been mostly moved, but a few of Amber’s heavier bags remained at the door.
“Come right on in, and don’t mind these bags,” Trudy said, but Jerome couldn’t see the girl as he tried to look past Trudy. “Come on…,” he breathed, “Move…”
As Trudy came through she saw him, “Oh, hello Jerome. Waiting for something?”
“No,” he said, making cover for himself, “Just coming down the stairs,” he lied, stepping onto the floor from the stair, “Guess we just had the timing down.”
“Yeah,” Trudy said, seeing no reason to think Jerome was lying. She moved aside, “Well, you’re the first to meet your new housemate, I guess. Jerome, this is Noah.”
The young woman came through with a pale blue skirt and white blouse on with two bags in hand. She had wavy dark brown hair down to her shoulders and looked stunning with her beauty. Her dark hair, her dark eyes, her face. Jerome found himself lucky to have made the choice to sit and wait and be the first to meet her.
She gave him a smile, “It’s nice to meet you, Jerome,” she said, her voice sweet and soft, “I’m Noah Reid. I’ll be living here for the term.”
Trudy left them, saying she had to get dinner started. Jerome thanked whoever was merciful for letting them be alone for now, “Jerome Clarke. It’s…it’s very nice to meet you, Noah,” he said. Any thoughts he may have had about what he would say if she turned out attractive were gone. He was left with no thoughts, no words to use.
She just smiled however, “I can see I took your words, if you had them. I apologize for my theft.”
Delightful. She was already showing herself to be quite possibly the best sort of girl who could have walked in.
But she was right, she had robbed Jerome of any worthwhile words, leaving him looking like an idiot in front of her. She just smiled and laughed a little, walking over and heading a few steps up before stopping, “I’ll see you later, Jerome,” she said sweetly before going up to find a bedroom.
Jerome stood there for a few more moments and then looked up after her, “Wow…,” is all he could find to say.
“So, is that her?” Mara asked as she came around the corner and looked at Jerome, “I don’t see what can elicit that reaction from you, Jerome.”
“How can you not?” he asked, “Or are you jealous?” he smiled, “Ah, that’s it, isn’t it Jaffray?”
“Of course not!” she defended, “I’m with Mick.”
“Ah, but Mick is only so good…I guess,” he said, “I mean, if he got you, he’s got to have something going for him, right?”
“Just be quiet Jerome,” Mara said, going up the stairs past him and heading up. Not pushing the issue farther Jerome headed towards his room.
“Have you met the new girl yet?” Amber asked Nina.
“No, I didn’t see her even,” Nina said, looking across the table, “What about you Patricia? You’re sharing a room with her.”
“I saw her,” Patricia said, “She seems nice.”
Joy nodded, “Yeah, I didn’t get much other than ‘nice’ either. She kept to herself.”
“That’s odd,” Fabian said, sitting next to Nina, “Nervous, maybe?”
“Nervous about the welcome we’ll give her, maybe,” Nina said, making a joke about her first day and the cold welcome she had, even though it may very well be taken badly by the others. Nobody seemed to hear, at least.
“What was that?” Amber asked.
“Nothing,” she said quickly.
Mick and Mara sat next to each other, “You went to see what happened,” Mick said to Mara, “So…Jerome’s been in his room this whole time. He get slapped or something?”
“I don’t think so,” Alfie interjected as Mara opened her mouth, “I was in there. He seemed fine. Or…does a slap not show up?”
“Want to find out?” Amber asked rather happily.
“Um…no…,” he said, drawing back a bit.
“Oh darn. I want to do that someday…”
“Not today, not on this face,” Alfie told her.
“You do realize you left yourself open to the future,” Fabian said.
“Well she’s my girlfriend! I might have to let it happen someday!” he told Fabian.
“And that’s why we work, everyone,” Amber said half-sarcastically.
“Um, going back to the other subject, no, he did not get slapped,” Mara said, since Alfie had interrupted her, “I was kind of surprised, actually. I don’t know if I’d have the same restraint as Noah. And the other thing is…well…he tried to flirt with her,” she was trying to find the words to convey to them with, “and it seems like it was working…”
“Wait, so she actually showed interest in him?” Mick asked, astonished, “Must be an act, or something. There’s no way…or maybe she’s not a very good catch.”
“You’ll find out when she comes,” Mara said, “But she is pretty.”
Jerome came in shortly and sat down by Alfie. He looked around the table and realized he was the last one, sans Noah. And there was an empty chair to his side.
“Ah, some things just go right,” he said happily.
Mick leaned on the table, “So, how is that working? I mean…it’s you…no offense.”
“You can’t just say ‘no offense’ and expect someone not to take offense,” Jerome told him, “And I have quite the charm.”
“Charm?” Patricia asked, “The little I talked to her, you could barely tell her anything…”
“Her beauty is just that breathtaking,” he countered with.
“Still, must be all she has then,” Patricia said.
“Um…no,” Jerome told her, “You wish, Trixie.”
They could hear footsteps coming in and quieted down as Noah entered the dining room. She looked at all of them and smiled, “Well, nice to see all of you. I was hoping I’d be last, so I wouldn’t ruin any…seating,” she said, smiling and walking over to the empty spot, sitting next to Jerome, “What luck,” she commented happily.
Alfie leaned the other way, to Amber, “I think we were all wrong here…”
“She might not have a lot of personality, though,” Amber whispered back, “We might still be right.”
“Well, I guess I should probably talk, shouldn’t I?” Noah asked, “I’m Noah Reid. This is my third year, like all of you, so we’ll be in the same classes. I came from London, I’m going back when the term is over, and…well, my dream is to be a fashion designer. So I hope you can all bear with me if I start asking and prodding around people’s closets…it’s a bit of a habit of mine, so I apologize.”
Nina was the first one to speak up, “It’s nice to meet you Noah. I’m Nina; I was the new student last year. Even if you’re only here for a year, it’ll be nice to have you.”
The others started to nod and agree and give their words and agreements, but it was starting to mix together. Noah got the point and nodded, “Thanks, all of you. I hope to get to know you all better soon,” she cast a smile to Jerome with a slight turn of her head.
Mara’s eyebrows drew together, “Noah, tell me something,” she said, trying to stop that for whatever reason, “When you say prodding around our closets, you mean…?”
“I just have a habit of going into rooms and digging through closets is all,” she said, “I really shouldn’t, but…I just can’t help it. And most people forgive me when I give them my help. Of course not all of them take the help, even when I present it…”
“Tell me something,” Alfie said, “Do I need help? Or…?”
She looked at him for a few moments as Trudy started to bring dinner in and set it on the table. She nodded, “You need help.”
“What?” he exclaimed, “How can you say that?”
Meanwhile Jerome and half the table was laughing. Jerome shook his head, “Alfie, just keep out of my closet, ok?”
“I’m going to poke my head in there after dinner,” Noah said, not asking.
“What?” he questioned, shaking his head, “Ok, clearly you have no sense of style then.”
Mick laughed, “Oh, come on Jerome. Might be good for you. Everyone can be knocked down a few pegs.”
“You need help too,” Noah told Mick.
“What?” he questioned, “How can I need help?”
“You look like you’re supposed to be sporting,” she said.
“That’s the point.”
“It’s not what normal people wear,” Noah told him, “Jerome, no. You look wonderful,” she touched his arm, eliciting more anger from Mara, though she tried to restrain it and keep telling herself it didn’t mean anything. She was with Mick, “I just want to see what else you have.”
“See?” Jerome told Mick.
Trudy came back in, “All of you should eat. It won’t be hot forever.”
When she stepped out again they started to take food and make unimportant small talk with each other, Noah exclusively talking to Jerome, to Mara’s annoyance.
Nina leaned over to Fabian, “When we have a chance, we should all get together tomorrow,” she said, “After school.”
“Why?” he asked, “I mean, well, you mean Sibuna, right?” he whispered.
“Yeah,” she answered, “I want to get the Cup and find a new place for it.”
“You want input from all of us?” he guessed.
She nodded, “Well…count out Jerome. We don’t need him. I don’t think I can keep Joy away without keeping Patricia away, so…she’ll be there too.”
He nodded, “Yeah, ok. I’ll tell Alfie when I get the chance,” he said.
“Thanks,” she answered, “I just don’t feel safe with the Cup in the stage.”
“I know what you mean,” he said, “But where can it be hidden better? Buried?”
“Maybe,” she said, “We’ll figure something out.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, “We will.”
When dinner was over Mick went to his room, but Mara declined for the moment to join him. Nina and Fabian were seeing to the other Sibuna members, while Jerome and Noah went to his room and his closet to look through his clothes.
“I like what you have,” she said, going through and tossing things around, such as back and onto his bed.
“I would like them to remain straight…,” he said.
“I would too, but this is my way,” Noah answered him.
He got hit when she threw something out. He pulled it off of his face and threw it onto the bed, walking over, “Noah, stop,” he said, grabbing her shoulder.
She turned around, holding a shirt in hand. She tossed it past him onto the bed.
“I said stop!” he told her, standing noticeably a head higher than her, being so close. She looked up at him and smiled, causing him to blush a little and realize their proximity. She managed not to, but it was hard.
Mara was outside of the door, looking through the small opening between the door and the frame. She saw them and threw the door open, “Jerome!”
Just a note, I spent time looking for an actress who would end up "being" Noah. Dakota Blue-Richards.
2: House of DisasterEdit
Jerome and Noah looked to the door, at Mara. She stood there, feeling like an idiot for doing this, but she had to.
“Well…didn’t know you felt that way, Mara,” Jerome commented. Noah said nothing.
Mara shook her head, “What? Oh, no! No,” she told them, “Of course not…”
“Well, barging into someone’s bedroom in a…moment like this would make one think otherwise,” Jerome told her.
She shook her head, “You know what, forget it. It’s not important anymore,” she said, turning and walking out.
“Well…,” Jerome stepped away from Noah, “That was…interesting…”
She looked at him curiously, then moved back to his closet, “Well, if you’re not going to distract me with that kiss, then I’m going back in.”
“No!” Jerome told her. But she didn’t listen.
“I heard you yelling earlier,” Nina said to Mara as the three were in their room. Amber wasn’t paying much attention right now, “What was that about?”
“What? Oh…it was nothing,” Mara said.
“Are you sure?” Amber asked, having a point to raise, “It sounded like you yelled Jerome’s name. What did he do to make you mad? Not that it’s hard to do, I imagine.”
“He was just…being him,” Mara said.
“Ok then,” Nina said, “But…I thought you two got along?”
“We do…it’s just that there are still things he does that get on my nerves,” she explained.
“I really don’t see how anyone could get along with Jerome,” Amber said, “You must be really tough Mara.”
“He’s not that bad!” she defended him, “If you get to know him!”
“There’s more behind that prankster?” Amber questioned.
“Well, we know that,” Nina told her, leaving it at that.
Amber sighed, “I guess we do.”
“You do?” Mara asked.
“Yeah…long story,” Nina said, “Kind of an inside joke. Sorry.”
“A joke?” Mara asked.
“Well…that’s not the right term, I guess,” Nina said, “But yeah, let’s leave it at that.”
Mara looked at them before nodding, “Ok, fine.” She wasn’t going to press the issue. It wasn’t like she was interested in Jerome or anything, which pressing might indicate.
And so the three went to sleep, leaving the subject finished. For now.
At breakfast the next morning the nine old students sat at the table, talking to friends. The Sibunas spoke to each other, while Patricia and Joy mostly spoke, Patricia coming and going with the others. Mick and Mara spoke, and Jerome and Alfie spoke, Alfie going back and forth between the conversations.
Mara leaned over, “How was Noah last night?” she asked Patricia and Joy.
“I like her,” Joy said simply with a smile.
“Well, I don’t,” Patricia said.
“Why’s that?” Mara asked.
“She kept talking…”
“She’s new, I’m sure she’s bound to talk and try to make friends,” Mara said.
Joy shook her head, “No no no…not that.”
“What then?” Mara asked.
Patricia just shook her head, leaving Joy to say it, “About Jerome.”
Mick leaned over towards Mara, so he could get in on the conversation, “Seriously? I still don’t see how she could like him at all.”
“Well, stranger has happened,” Joy said with a smile.
“Us?” Mara asked.
“Sure, let’s go with you two,” Joy said.
“Forget about it,” Mick said to Mara, “Let’s just forget the entire conversation about the new girl.”
“What about me?” Noah asked as she walked in and looked at them all before taking the open seat, to her dismay, farther from Jerome and more towards Nina and Patricia.
“Nothing,” Mick said.
“He doesn’t see why you like Jerome,” Joy said simply.
“Joy!” Jerome snapped.
“It’s not like we all haven’t heard that by now,” Amber told him.
Noah shrugged, “Spread it.”
“Noah!” Jerome snapped at her now.
“Do you have a problem with that?” she questioned him.
She smiled and started to take food onto her plate, leaving Alfie to laugh a little.
“Wow, you have it hard,” he joked to Jerome, “An attractive girl spreading around that she likes you. Oh, the agony…”
“That’s not what this is about,” Jerome told him.
“Then what is it about?” Alfie asked.
Jerome shook his head and pushed his chair out, picking up his bag and just leaving, heading to school.
Amber leaned over to Alfie, “You find her attractive?”
“Um…well…I mean, yeah,” he said, not expecting a hit for that. He would be wrong and would spend the next ten or so minutes rubbing his arm.
“You’re strong for a girl!” he shouted in complaint.
She went back to her breakfast, “Have to be for situations like this.”
“You expect these?” he asked in some shock.
She shrugged, “Yeah, sometimes.”
“Ok, nice to know,” he said, rubbing his arm, “I can watch my mouth now.”
“I doubt that,” Patricia put in.
Some of them started to laugh, but Alfie just shook his head, “Well, we’ll see.”
At school for the first day of the term, it was time for history class. Sitting in the room the students talked amongst each other.
“I can’t wait to see Jason again, even if he was part of Victor’s group,” Joy mused.
“Really?” Patricia questioned her, “Wow Joy…”
“What? You can’t say you wouldn’t be at least thinking the same, well, if he wasn’t part of the group. From what you told me,” she said.
“Fine, fine, you’re right,” Patricia admitted, “If he hadn’t been…”
Their history class was being taught in a classroom that sat two to a table. Joy and Patricia were together, as were Mick and Mara, and Fabian and Nina.
Alfie moved quickly and took the spot next to Amber, causing Jerome to stand by the table, “Alfie…”
“What?” he asked, “I’m sitting next to my girlfriend. Look at those four!” he directed to the couples sitting together.
“Um, Alfie,” Amber said.
“Yes my sweet?” he asked.
“Get off this table,” she said.
“What?” he questioned in shock, “Why? What did I do?”
“I like to listen,” she told him, “I can’t do that with you here.”
“Listen?” Jerome stifled some laughter.
She glared at him, “Alfie, go.”
She looked at him until he sighed, “Fine,” he got up and walked with Jerome to another table, to Noah’s chagrin when she came in. Seeing the spot open, she sat by Amber, who didn’t complain.
“You know, I think ‘listen’ means ‘look at Mr. Winkler,” Jerome told Alfie.
“But she’s with me!” Alfie complained.
“Can’t stop someone from looking,” Jerome said simply.
Soon an adult walked into the room. But it wasn’t Jason Winkler. This man was at least ten or fifteen years older with short black hair and a bit of a hardened face. He was dressed as one might expect a teacher to dress, with a dress shirt, tie and slacks. He went to the desk in the front of the room and put a briefcase on it, “Welcome to history class,” he said.
“Where’s Mr. Winkler?” Joy asked curiously.
“He left the school, or so I heard,” the new teacher told her.
“Left the school?” she asked, “Why?”
“I don’t know,” he answered, “Now, please quiet down and we’ll begin. My name is Mr. Wolf, and I’ll be teaching you for the entire term.”
Alfie leaned over to Jerome, “Mr. Wolf. That’s so cool!”
Mr. Wolf looked up from the materials he was gathering, “You there!” he directed to Alfie, “I do not tolerate talking, and class has begun. What’s your name?”
“Better tell him,” Jerome whispered.
“Alfie, Sir,” he said, adding the ‘Sir’ to try to appease him.
“Alfie,” he found a document, “Mr. Lewis. Seeing as this is the first day, I will be lenient, especially since you don’t know the rules yet. Write me one page about the lesson today and hand it in tomorrow.”
“Oh come on! I didn’t know! And that was hardly an outburst!”
“But that was,” Mr. Wolf said, “Two pages.”
Alfie was about to say something when he wised up and shut his mouth before he could do any more damage.
By the time class ended the students were picking up their materials as Mr. Wolf left before them. Alfie was complaining to which Mick had a comment, “Should have watched your mouth.”
“It was unfair, though,” Mara said.
“Thank you!” Alfie said.
“Unfair, but kind of funny,” Jerome said, clasping him on the back before heading out.
Nina and Fabian came over, “You really got it hard,” Fabian said.
“At least be thankful it’s only two pages, and there’s a decent amount he taught us.”
“But two pages!” he complained.
“You want my notes?” Fabian asked.
“Notes? No! I want your help!” Alfie said.
“I think that would be cheating,” Nina said, “Do you want to write more pages?”
“I won’t get caught!” Alfie said, “I’m sure of that!”
“You’re sure,” Amber said, “And yet you opened your mouth after he said not to give an outburst?”
Alfie could only shake his head, “One time I screw up and you hold it over me!”
“To be fair, you’ve screwed up a decent amount of times in all the time I’ve known you…,” Fabian said.
Mick nodded, “Yeah, no surprise there,” he said, looking at the clock and heading out with Mara.
“We should probably be going too,” Fabian said.
They agreed and left, leaving as the last four. Joy, Patricia and Noah had already left.
“Guess Patricia is going to be spending more time with Joy,” Nina said.
“Well, that’s to be expected,” Fabian told her.
“At least she’s not hanging onto you,” Nina said with a smile.
“And it’s not like we need to desperately have Patricia with us,” Amber said, “It’s over, after all.”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Nina said a bit sadly.
“You miss it?” Fabian asked.
“I think we all do,” Alfie said, “I mean, all the danger and stuff aside, it was cool!”
“I don’t know how danger is ‘cool’,” Fabian said.
“Danger is dangerous,” Amber said, “I don’t do dangerous too well.”
“But you did amazingly,” Nina told her.
As they walked they could see Mr. Wolf talking to Mr. Sweet by the latter’s office.
“I’m still looking,” Mr. Wolf said, “I’ll take any lodgings you know of. I just can’t find anything.”
“I’m sorry,” Mr. Sweet said, “I don’t have anything. And you really can’t find anywhere?”
“Not in my budget range,” Mr. Wolf answered, “Could I stay here? I know, it’s an odd request, but the drama room would work well.”
“I’ll have to think about it,” Mr. Sweet said, “Where are you now?”
“Living out of a hotel,” Mr. Wolf answered, “A cheap one. I hate moving. At this rate it’ll take a while for the move and the job to be worth it, pay-wise.”
“But as educators we are here for the students,” Mr. Sweet said.
“We have to look after ourselves too,” Mr. Wolf said.
“I know, I was just trying to give you some insight into why you’re doing this,” Mr. Sweet answered, “I’ll have an answer for you by the end of the day, about the school.”
“Thank you,” Mr. Wolf said, heading off down the hall and letting Mr. Sweet get back to his office.
“Teacher living in the school,” Alfie mused, “Just like when we were kids and we thought that.”
“I never did…,” Fabian muttered.
“What? Seriously?” Alfie was shocked, “You never thought that your teachers lived in the school? Or in their rooms?”
“No, because I made sense as a kid,” Fabian said, not trying to be mean or hurtful, but being serious.
“Kids aren’t supposed to have a lot of sense!” Alfie protested.
“I think Alfie’s right,” Nina had to admit.
“Kind of…,” Fabian had to agree.
“We’re not children anymore,” Amber said, “Can we drop it and talk about something important? Like the lack of Jason?”
“I thought it was only Patricia…,” Nina said.
“You don’t see it too?” she questioned Nina, “He was so cute!”
“Amber! I’m right here!” Alfie told her.
She ignored him, “Wasn’t he?”
“I…guess…?” Nina answered.
“He’s a teacher! Why are the students swooning over him?” Fabian questioned.
“Forbidden fruit?” Nina guessed.
“Forbidden? He wouldn’t be forbidden if it was me…,” Amber muttered.
“Again, I’m right here!” Alfie said with great annoyance permeating his voice.
“I know,” Amber said.
“What? That’s it?” he questioned, “You don’t have anything else to say?”
“Apparently not,” she said.
“So you’re just going to keep on saying stuff like that?” he questioned.
“Until I’m out, yeah,” Amber answered.
“Come on!” he was annoyed beyond any level of annoyance he had ever figured he felt before, discounting the previous term and Sibuna-related activities. Those didn’t count due to the sheer amount of stress.
As they walked they passed by Joy and Patricia at Joy’s locker and kept going. The two girls were talking about class, with Joy echoing some of Amber’s annoyance with Jason gone.
“Come on, he was a bad guy!” Patricia said.
“Maybe…,” Joy said absently, changing books.
“Is that who you were talking about?” Patricia questioned.
“What do you mean?” Joy asked.
“Ah, that,” she said, leaving it at that.
“You never said he was at Anubis House,” Patricia pointed out.
“Is it Jason?” she questioned with annoyance at Joy’s little games.
“No,” she said, giving Patricia relief with a straight answer this time.
“Come on,” she said, walking off.
“What? You’re not going to keep guessing?” she asked.
“No, because it doesn’t really affect me. No offense. But romance? Not something I care about.”
“I know, I know,” Joy said, closing her locker and hurrying after Patricia.
“Is there something on your mind?” Mick asked as Mara waited by his locker for him to finish.
“What? No…,” she said, shaking her head.
“Looks like it,” he commented.
“It’s…no, it’s just being back,” Mara said, “A bit odd, adapting again.”
“You’re having trouble?” Mick asked, “I fell right back into groove.”
“Well, I guess I’m not so lucky this term,” Mara said.
He laughed a bit, “It’s me, isn’t it?”
“What?” she asked, smiling a bit.
“You’re distracted by me. No shame in admitting it.”
“Oh yeah, that’s it,” she said with a little laugh, “Mick Campbell, you distract me so…”
“I know,” he laughed too.
Jerome was down the other hall, watching them but remaining relatively out of view, shaking his head. He was able to hear, due to the lack of students in the hall, “Come on Mara, when will you come to your senses over him?” he muttered.
“You know spying isn’t good, right?” Noah asked softly, coming up from behind him.
“Don’t startle me like that!” he hissed softly, taken aback a few steps.
“Spying on Mick and Mara?” Noah asked, glancing past him to confirm.
“No,” he lied, “I just like this spot. It’s where I come to think.”
“Think about what?” she asked him, “Me, I hope?”
He shook his head and walked away rather than try to deal with her.
She watched him go and shrugged. For now it was fine, and she had to get to class. She hurried off.
Victor sat in his office, working in the silence. He would be able to hear if anyone were in the house. The silence was beautiful to him, and the breaking of that beauty, while it was to remain intact, was a grievous sin that he would rectify instantly.
When the door opened, however, he didn’t hear. Whoever was entering knew, and was being careful. But even missing that, he was always sure he would get them soon after entering. The students couldn’t abandon school and hide out without him knowing. Oh no, he would hear them. He knew what silence in the house sounded like, and he knew that even the slightest noise out of place would mean someone was there.
When the floor creaked, he heard and stood up after a moment, “Whoever is down there, go back to school! Now! I’m willing to give you this one chance without punishment!”
He heard the door close. Whoever it was left.
He sat down and got back to the paperwork on his desk, reaching out and running his hand over Corbierre. He drew it back and started to look through documents when he heard another creak on the stairs.
“Oh, so you thought you could fool me?” he called out, standing up, “Well, I warned you. I guess trying to be nice doesn’t work on you students!” He walked to the door, opening it the rest of the way, “Now,” the person must have crouched, “Stand up and show yourself!”
He saw a figure rising, but it wasn’t a student.
“You!” Victor shouted.
“Ah, miss me already?” Rufus questioned as he walked up the rest of the stairs, towards Victor, “It hasn’t been that long.”
“Rufus,” Victor muttered, “What are you doing here? Come to gloat?”
“Gloat over what?” he questioned, now standing in front of Victor, “I’m not immortal.”
“You drank it,” Victor told him.
“Ah, but then I saw Alfie Lewis alive and well. Much different from the dying boy I saw in the basement. I’m guessing I’m not immortal. I could test it…but if I’m right, there’s no solace in finding myself right if I’m dead, now is there, Victor?”
“You were tricked,” Victor told him, “What do you want?”
“Immortality,” he said, “You’re the one to talk to. You’re the one with the knowledge.”
“I don’t have any answers for you,” Victor told him, “Or else I’d be working on it myself. And I wouldn’t give it to you anyway.”
“Give? Oh no, Victor. You think I’m that civil? To ask and be given?” he questioned, “No. No no no.”
“Then what are you here for?” Victor questioned, “To take my non-existent research?”
“I know it exists somewhere,” Rufus said, “Smart man like you, willing to bet it all on the Cup of Ankh? I don’t think so. Because, you see…I know there’s more.”
“There isn’t,” Victor told him.
“Ah, if you’re telling the truth, then Sarah kept you at more of a distance than I thought,” Rufus said.
“What are you talking about?” Victor demanded.
“The Frobisher-Smythe’s have many secrets,” Rufus told him, “I guess Sarah never told you. Guess she was closer to me…”
“What are you talking about?” Victor shouted. If immortality could yet be his…
“So you know nothing of Sarah’s stories?” he questioned, “Nothing of that book?”
“What book?” Victor demanded, “What stories?”
His anger and annoyance seemed real enough, “A pity,” Rufus said, “I guess you really don’t know anything…”
“But you do,” Victor said, “And if it involves immortality, you will tell me!”
“Or what? How are you threatening me?” Rufus questioned, “You can’t! You can’t possibly!” He began to laugh for a few moments, and then grabbed Victor first before the other man could grab him. They struggled for a few moments, with Victor quickly realizing that he had no way to threaten Rufus. He had no force to use.
Rufus was younger in body. He overpowered Victor and pushed him around, keeping his hands on the other man’s chest, “Well, you’re useless to me,” Rufus hissed.
“What are you going to do?” Victor demanded, struggling with his grip to push Rufus back.
“I’m going to show you just how much you’re worth,” Rufus said, pushing Victor towards the railing, his upper back trailing over the side. They struggled, Victor being panicked now.
“Bye,” he said simply, pushing Victor all the way over the side, listening to his shouts until he smashed into the floor below.
As the students were arriving back, Patricia, Joy, Mick and Mara were the first four through the door, caught up in their own conversations. That stopped dead when they looked ahead, seeing Victor lying on the ground with blood running around him.
“Victor!” they were shouting, running to him and crouching down, doing what vain attempts they could. Finding the source of bleeding, applying pressure, checking for a pulse, even shaking him.
As the others came in they saw the horrific sight of Victor lying there. They were all panicking, Fabian trying to get an ambulance, all of them hoping it wasn’t too late.
Even if they didn’t like Victor, him dying was something they didn’t want.
3: House of TravelEdit
“Who would do such a thing to Victor?” Patricia asked, “I mean…we may not like the guy, but others don’t have to live with him. And it’s not like we don’t like him enough that we would…,” she didn’t finish.
“I don’t know,” Fabian said quietly, shaking his head, “I…I don’t know how anyone could do something like that.”
The core of Sibuna was sitting in Nina, Amber and Mara’s bedroom, but they were the only ones there. The others were no doubt dealing with this their own ways, as the sight had been horrific. The man who ruled their home lives was lying there, his body smashed up pretty badly, bleeding out.
The paramedics hadn’t told them much, but by the sound of it, Victor was in terrible condition. Whoever had done that – the police investigating had determined there was a struggle, so someone did do it – had most likely wanted Victor dead. Who would have that motive?
“Could…could it have been…,” Alfie didn’t finish when Patricia shot him a look.
“No! You will not say that name!” she told him angrily.
“Patricia…,” Nina said gently, “It…it could have been him.”
“Rufus, you mean?” Amber asked, “We may not like him, Patricia, but we can say his name.”
“We shouldn’t,” Patricia said, “His name just brings back memories I’d rather forget.”
“I have to agree with Patricia,” Fabian put in, “But…we can’t discount that it could be him.”
“Then what do we do now?” Alfie asked.
“Well, we could tell the police that a psychotic man who thinks he’s immortal named Rufus Zeno was the one who did it,” Amber said rather sarcastically. Or maybe not. It was hard to tell if she was serious or not.
“Amber has a point,” Nina said, “What would we say? Or how do we know he’s even going by his real name anymore? He could have gotten rid of his Rene alias too, for all we know.”
“Or he didn’t,” Alfie said, “He thinks he’s immortal, after all. Maybe he thinks he doesn’t need to change things, so…maybe it would work?”
“But what do we tell the police?” Fabian questioned, “How do we explain why we think he’s a suspect? It…it’s just going to be difficult.”
They ended up nodding their agreement, causing Nina to sigh, “What can we do, then?”
“Nothing, I guess,” Patricia had to say, “Nothing for now, until we can figure out how to get Rufus, if it was him.”
“Guys…what if it wasn’t Rufus?” Alfie asked.
“Why would it be anyone else?” asked Amber, “We know Rufus and Victor aren’t exactly on good terms.”
“Well, I know, but…it’s a suggestion,” Alfie said, “Maybe Rufus thinks he’s immortal and is on the other side of the planet, or something! It doesn’t always have to be Rufus every time something bad happens. That’s my point.”
“It is a good point,” Fabian said, “But…it just makes sense.”
“I know,” Alfie said, “It does.”
“Look, even if it is Rufus, what can we do?” Patricia questioned, “Last time all we had to do was keep the Cup of Ankh away from him, and had to be thankful that he left on his own. But if it was him, then what do we do this time? Or was that it? Was that the extent of his revenge?”
“I don’t know,” Nina said, shaking her head, “But whatever it is, we should try to figure it out quickly, before he comes back, or whoever it is comes back.”
The night proved to be rather restless for everyone in Anubis House. The images of Victor, the thought that someone could come back…it was hard to take in. Sleep was elusive, but finally started to come.
Even with police outside just to make sure the students were fine, it was hard. They were all worried; anyone would be worried in this situation. They had wanted to leave the house, but they didn’t exactly have anywhere decent to go to live for the meantime. They could live in the school, but there was still the problem of supervision. Someone was supposed to be taking over the next day for them, at least.
Around two in the morning, when everyone was surely asleep, Noah slipped out of the bedroom she shared with Patricia and Joy. She crept down the hall to Nina, Amber and Mara’s bedroom, slowly and quietly opening the door. She held her breath, hoping there would be no sounds.
There were none. She slipped inside and looked to Nina’s bed. The girl was asleep. Looking to Mara, then Amber’s beds, Noah determined they were also asleep. She reached into the pocket of her nightshirt and slipped out a USB, placing it soundlessly on Nina’s nightstand. Stepping back out and closing the door again, Noah returned to her own bed.
“Fabian?” Nina called as she hurried into the dining room the next morning. He was the only one there so far.
“Nina?” he asked, “What is it?”
She held up the USB, “Did you leave this in my room?”
“Leave it in your room?” he asked, “No, of course not,” he got up and looked at the drive, “No, not mine. Where’d you find that?”
“On my nightstand this morning,” she told him, “I’m sure it wasn’t there when I went to bed last night.”
“Well…I guess you could ask Mara or Amber,” he said.
“I don’t know if Amber would know what this is,” Nina had to admit, “I’ll ask Mara.”
“Or…we could put it in,” Fabian suggested.
She thought about it for a moment before she nodded, “But it would be faster to ask,” she added.
“But it was on your nightstand,” he told her, “You didn’t see it before you went to bed.”
“Well…I might have missed it. It was an emotional day, after all,” she told him.
“Do you think you missed it?” he asked.
She shook her head, “I don’t.”
“Then it looks like someone put it there. Let’s put it in and see.”
She nodded again, “Yeah…that sounds like what we should do,” she admitted, “Let’s get a laptop and check.”
“I’ll get mine,” he said, hurrying to his room.
“Where’s he running off to?” Alfie asked, just dodging past Fabian on his way to the other room.
“To get his computer,” she said, “Someone left this on my nightstand last night,” she held up the USB for him.
“Well…that’s interesting,” he said, “Was it…”
“It wasn’t there before I went to sleep,” she told him.
“Ok, guess you worked that one out,” he said.
Fabian returned in a moment with a laptop in hand, “Ok, let’s try it,” he said.
“Let’s use it in another room,” Nina said, “Just in case…something might be on there we don’t want to share. We don’t know what it is, after all.”
“Good point,” Fabian said, “But who would leave something like that?”
“Jerome,” Alfie said without a thought, “Sounds like a prank of his, or something.”
“Well, regardless we’ll do this in another room,” Nina said, “Let’s go to my bedroom.”
“Hold on,” Alfie said, hurrying to get food, coming back with some various food products in hand, “Ok, let’s go.”
Hurrying upstairs, they passed Noah, Joy and Patricia on their ways down. Patricia looked back, getting a small nod accompanied by a shrug. That was to signify that she might be interested, but they didn’t know what it was.
“I’ll catch up,” Patricia told Joy.
Joy almost asked if it was Sibuna, but she didn’t, “Ok, I’ll get to know Noah a bit better,” she said, going off with the new student.
“What if Mara is still there?” Alfie asked.
“What are we doing?” Patricia questioned.
“If Mara is there, we’ll figure it out,” Nina said, “I got a weird flashdrive from my nightstand,” she told Patricia, “We’re going to see what’s on it.”
“And we’ve apparently already ruled out it being there earlier,” Alfie said, to catch her up.
When they got to the room, Mara was just leaving, choosing not to ask. Amber was still lying in her bed, presumably asleep. Fabian set the laptop on Nina’s bed and locked the door, for good measure.
“Should someone wake her up?” Patricia asked.
“A kiss from her prince will do,” Alfie said with a smile, starting to head over, but Fabian grabbed his arm.
“Might be best to not do that,” he said, “Don’t need her screaming or something.”
“You think I’ll cause her to scream?” he questioned.
“I would,” Patricia muttered.
“Anyway, we can let her sleep,” Nina said, “If she sleeps through class…well, I don’t think anyone would care, considering…”
“Yeah…,” Fabian agreed quietly.
“Then I don’t have to go to school today?” Alfie asked excitedly, “Alright!”
“We’re going,” Patricia told him, “We’re not making light of what happened to Victor.”
“Yeah…ok, sure,” Alfie said.
“Well, enough about that,” Fabian said, “It’s up.”
They crowded around to look at the laptop screen. A folder came up, displaying the contents of the USB. It held a single folder with the label of ‘Frobisher-Smythe’.
“This has to do with the Frobishers?” Nina said quietly.
“That…what do we even make of that?” Patricia asked.
“Open it,” Nina told Fabian. He clicked it open, showing two files. One opened as a PDF of a newspaper article. The file was labeled, ‘READ FIRST’.
They skimmed through the article. Most of the page was blanked out, leaving only what the person who deposited the memory stick wanted them to see.
“Robert Frobisher-Smythe owned a large manor?” Fabian said in confusion, “It’s not referring to Anubis House…”
“What’s the year on the article?” Nina asked him.
He scrolled around before finding it, “1919,” he said.
“And this isn’t talking about Anubis House, right?” Nina asked, to make certain.
He shook his head, “No. Look, there are a few pictures.”
“Well, what does the article say?” Patricia asked, as they looked at the pictures. It was very large; a true manor or mansion, unlike what Anubis House was. It was multiple times the size of Anubis; looking as though it could be a hotel, or something of that sort.
“It says that he purchased the home immediately before leaving for another trip to Egypt,” he said, “I…I guess this might be right before he and his wife died…they never used the house, as far as I can tell, if this all matches up.” He scrolled a little more, “The rest is just some statistics on how many rooms there are, things like that.”
“How many?” Alfie asked.
“Estimated at two hundred of various sizes,” he told them.
“That really is big,” Patricia said.
“Why was this left here?” Nina asked, “To give us a lesson on the Frobisher-Smythe family?”
“Let’s check the other file,” Fabian said, closing the PDF and opening the document that was listed as ‘READ SECOND’.
It was simple, a few lines of text. Nina read it aloud, her voice shaking a little.
“‘To you whom have found the Cup of Ankh, and to your Chosen, here is something for you. Frobisher-Smythe left something behind before he went and died. Why do you think he bought such a building?’ I…this is like a direct challenge,” Nina said with her quavering voice.
Fabian nodded, “They’re talking directly to us,” he said.
“Go on,” Patricia told Nina, “Even if they are talking to us, we…we can deal with it. Whoever put this for us to find.”
Nina nodded, “Here’s the rest. ‘Go to the building and find the magic of Smythe.’ Magic?”
“Does it seriously say ‘magic’?” Alfie questioned.
“Not ‘object’ or something?” Fabian asked, looking it over himself.
“No,” Nina said, shaking her head, “Just ‘magic’.”
“But what does that mean?” Patricia questioned.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Nina answered, “But I think it means we should go there. There’s an address in the paper, right?”
“There was,” Fabian said, “But it’s been so many years! I’m sure someone lives there now.”
“Or not,” Nina said, “Maybe it went to Sarah and she never sold it, or something,” she offered, “Maybe we can go. I don’t want to…not with someone just calling us out and telling us to do this, but…maybe we should.”
“And why should we do that?” Patricia questioned, “What merit do you see in it?”
“If Rufus did this, and Rufus threw Victor over the side, maybe this is all a threat?” she asked, “Or whoever it was, if not Rufus. Look, the timing is just unsettling. Maybe…maybe it’s at least worth a look.”
“Are you saying this as Nina, or as the Chosen?” Fabian asked.
“Both,” Nina answered.
“I’ll go, then,” Fabian said.
Alfie nodded, “Well…I’m Sibuna, so I think I have to go, right? But, seriously, it…I don’t like being challenged like this. Now I have to prove that we can find this.”
“They aren’t disputing that we can’t,” Patricia told him, “I…I’m in, I guess.”
They looked over to Amber, sleeping, “We’ll tell her when she wakes up,” Nina said, “But for now,” she drew her hand up in front of her face, “Sibuna.”
Jerome sat, eating, looking across the table, practically glaring at Mick and Mara, making no secret of it. It was just that they were too focused talking to each other to notice him. Joy did notice and leaned over, “It’s not polite to stare at people,” she whispered to him.
He glanced to her, “You of all people I would expect to not nag me on this,” he told her.
“What does that mean?” she questioned.
“You’re the one who loves the soaps, the drama,” he told her, “I thought a love triangle would just thrill you, and you would keep out of it.”
“Oh, it does,” she said, looking at the two of them with a slight smile.
Jerome looked at them, then back to Joy, “I don’t understand that smile of yours,” he admitted.
“Oh, just enjoying your little game,” she said happily, of course keeping her voice down as he was.
“Game?” he questioned.
“You have Mara to pine after, but she’s taken. You have Noah, who shows the interest back, yet you try to ignore her. This is rather fun to watch.”
He shook his head, “No, I know how that game works,” he told her, “Your look definitely isn’t about that game, or any game like it. And why do I keep calling it a game? It’s my life…,” he muttered.
“No, my look is about this,” she said, “What else would it be about?”
“I don’t know. And that scares me Joy,” he said, finishing the last of his meal before getting up and leaving the house, unable to watch those two anymore.
As Nina, Fabian, Alfie, Patricia and Amber – whom they had woken up and gotten to come with them – were leaving the house, Noah got up from her chair and headed upstairs. She hoped that they would go…that her job was done. They were going to school for now, as the travel would be too far to undertake right now. A twenty or so minute drive, much farther walking or using bikes, if they had them at their disposal. So she would have to wait and see what would happen.
She entered Nina, Amber and Mara’s bedroom and closed the door behind her again. She crouched down and looked under Nina’s bed, pulling out a box and opening it, hoping that she was right. And when she lifted the lid, she found that she was.
There were pictures inside. Pictures of the parts that made up the Cup of Ankh, along with notes. She took out her mobile and started to take pictures of each sheet of paper before putting it back into the box.
As she got the last picture, she stood up, but heard footsteps. She didn’t breathe, just waiting. They were coming closer. She pushed the box back under the bed and stood with her back pressed against the wall, holding her breath.
And the door opened at her side. Someone was here.
4: House of ObservationEdit
Noah watched as Amber went across the room towards her bed without noticing Noah. Noah took a silent step forward and peeked around the corner. Nobody was there, so she ducked out and hurried over to her own room, opening the door and closing it silently. Only when she heard Amber close the other door and go hurrying off did she open her door and move back downstairs.
She had what she needed. Another job she had been given was complete.
At school, the Sibuna group passed Mr. Sweet and Mr. Wolf talking. Mr. Sweet saw them and beckoned the students over.
“If you see your fellow housemates, could you please pass on a message?” Mr. Sweet asked.
“Yeah, what is it?” Fabian asked.
“Mr. Wolf is going to be taking over responsibilities as your new supervisor, until Victor is out of the hospital,” Mr. Sweet informed them, performing a quick sign of the cross for Victor.
Mr. Wolf nodded, “Yes, let us hope he has a swift recovery,” he said solemnly, “It’s a real shame what happened to him. I needed to solve my housing problems, but this is not the way I intended to solve them.”
“I don’t think any of us intended for something like this to happen,” Fabian told him.
Mr. Wolf nodded, “I’ll see all of you after school today. I need to learn what it’s like in the house and set rules.”
The kids nodded and headed off as Mr. Wolf and Mr. Sweet parted.
“Mr. Wolf is our new supervisor?” Alfie said with annoyance, “Great, now I’m going to keep getting detention, aren’t I?”
“I don’t think he can give you detention at home,” Patricia told him, “And besides, you did have it coming in class yesterday.”
“I wish people would stop saying that to me!” he complained.
“Well…it is kind of true,” Fabian had to admit.
“Amber, you believe me, right?” he asked, “It wasn’t my fault?”
“It totally was,” she told him.
“Come on! You’re my girlfriend! Can’t you side with me?”
“Not this time,” she said.
When they got to class they sat nearby each other, time enough before class would begin to discuss plans.
“So, what do we do about the USB?” Fabian asked.
“I think that after we talk to Mr. Wolf at home, if we can, we go to the manor,” Nina said, “Or at least we can check out the outside, see if anyone is living there…or if the building is still standing, at least…”
“And let’s say we get out early,” Patricia said, “Do we go inside?”
“Um…yeah,” Nina said, “We’ll have to eventually.”
“Are we sure?” Amber asked, “I mean, are we really being forced to do this?”
“It’s a silent threat,” Fabian said, “After what happened to Victor, do you really want to be the next one lying in a puddle of their own blood?”
“Great image…,” Amber muttered.
“Look, I think we’re being practical,” Fabian said, “With the timing of Victor being pushed, and with the USB… Well, I think it’s just safer we start investigating. We don’t know who did this or how impatient they are. It might be best to just immediately start looking for this ‘magic’.”
“How does someone even find magic?” Amber asked.
“Well, I can do it!” Alfie said, “I’m a magician!”
“I don’t think it’s that kind of magic,” Fabian told him, “And if this is true, and Robert brought some sort of magic, I think we can be sure it’s of Egyptian origin. But…how did he bottle magic? I think it’s safe to say we might be looking for something.”
Nina nodded, “I think so too. So I guess all we can do I head over and start looking for clues, or something.”
“Just when a normal term was starting to look promising,” Patricia said, “I might bring Joy,” she added.
“Um…go ahead,” Nina said hesitantly. She wanted Patricia there, and if Patricia wanted to spend time with Joy, might as well bring her. Joy might actually turn out to be useful.
“I think we should leave Jerome out of this,” Alfie said, “I mean, I’m not going to go out of my way to tell him, but I don’t know what he can do to help.”
“Good,” Fabian said, “He was only part of us on a trial run, basically. We could use him again, but no need to tell him about this or make him come.”
“Right,” Alfie said, “Unless we need him.”
“Exactly,” Fabian agreed.
“I think he’s too distracted anyway,” Amber said.
“Distracted by what?” Patricia asked.
“Love,” Amber said, “A girl notices these things.”
“Are you saying I’m not a girl?” Patricia questioned, a mix of anger and calmness. If Amber was implying it to be a girly thing, then she was fine with it, but there was still that part of her taking it as an insult.
“I’m saying you wouldn’t notice,” Amber said.
“Right, let’s just drop it,” Alfie said, noticing Jerome coming into the classroom.
As he walked towards his seat he looked at them, “More secrets?” he asked.
“Old habits die hard,” Nina told him.
“Yeah, whatever,” he said, walking past them without another thought about it. Alfie went with him.
By the time class ended, the Anubis House students knew about Mr. Wolf’s new position. He excused himself a minute before class ended and left to go to the house and take his things, allowing the students to leave on their own.
As Jerome walked he looked at Mick and Mara. When Mara left to go to the restroom, he saw Joy walk over and talk to Mick. Curious he hid behind a wall and watched, unable to hear from the distance, but he saw smiles and laughter on their faces.
“Well now, what is this?” he asked himself. But it was over quickly and Joy was on her way.
“Spying again?” Noah asked him, coming up from behind.
He looked back at her, “You really have to stop doing that,” he said.
“What? You don’t like surprises?” she questioned him, looking around the corner, “I only see Mick. Who were you watching?”
“Joy and Mick,” he said, walking, “Keep that to yourself, Noah.”
“We’re all fellow housemates,” she said, “It’s not odd to see two together. Like you and I. I wouldn’t ask Nina to keep it to herself that she sees us together.”
“You’re new,” he told her, “You don’t know how the students interact yet.”
“Oh? Then please enlighten me,” she said.
“Look, I have things to do,” he said, “Please leave me alone!”
“I thought you liked me,” she said in mock pain.
“I…,” he didn’t want to finish that either way. He just shook his head and continued waking away from her.
“Is that how it is?” she asked, talking to herself, “Bye Jerome!” she called and waved, getting people to turn and look, to Jerome’s annoyance as he couldn’t take it and glanced back, seeing the eyes of various students going back and forth.
“Why does she do things like that?” he muttered. He saw Joy and walked towards her, “What was that with Mick?” he called.
She looked from her locker to him, “What do you mean?”
“You two. Talking and laughing like that,” he said.
“We’re friends. We talk. We laugh,” she said, going back to her work in the locker.
“We may have only come back two nights ago, but this is the first I’m seeing of it. I don’t remember much of that happening when you were around, either. So, what is this, Joy? I won’t let you hurt Mara, if that’s what’s going on.”
“And if that is what’s going on, how are you going to keep her from being hurt?” Joy asked.
“I…,” he didn’t know, “I don’t know,” he admitted.
“If there were something, and you told her and she believed you, then that would hurt. If you kept it quiet, would you be able to handle it? It’s…an interesting situation.”
“Just tell me if there is something,” Jerome told her, “I’ll figure it out then.”
“I’m not going to say anything,” Joy said, closing her locker and walking past him towards the next class.
He watched her go, “I’ll find out!” he called after her, “I’ll find out, trust me!”
After school ended that day, the students waited in the sitting room as Mr. Wolf came downstairs, “All of my things are set up, but don’t worry,” he said as he moved in front of all of them, “As soon as Victor comes back, I’ll be gone. I only say that so you can instantly return to normality, and not have problems with two of us being here.
“I don’t know how Victor ran things, that’s why I say that. I might do it one way, and he did it the exact opposite. But this is the way I will be doing things. You will have rather free reign to come and go as you please, as long as you are back by eight at night. Trudy will continue to make your meals; if you are going to be missing one, let her or myself know ahead of time so that she can find out. I will not restrict things like computer usage, television usage, anything like that. Just keep volume to reasonable levels, and if asked to turn it down, do so. Curfew is ten at night. I expect silence at ten, and everyone in bed by then. Get up when you please, but be up by seven in the morning. If anything more comes to mind, I will let all of you know.”
There were no questions for him. They all took away from it as that Mr. Wolf would be a decent supervisor, at the least.
“Then you are all dismissed,” he said, “If anyone needs me, I will be spending time in the office. I may leave at any time to go and look into housing, however, so don’t always expect me to be there.”
As he left, the Sibuna group got up and headed to the door. Patricia was last, looking back, “Joy?”
“No…I’ll stay,” Joy told Patricia, “Have fun.”
“I don’t think that’s going to be possible,” Patricia answered, leaving with the others.
“Ok, how far away is it?” Amber asked, making that the first question.
“Probably a twenty minute drive,” Fabian said.
“And…that’s going to be a long walk,” Amber said, “I’m out, unless we can get a ride.”
“We could get a cab…,” Fabian said.
“What’s wrong?” she questioned.
“How do we pay?” he asked.
“I have this,” she said, finding her credit card, “Daddy let me have it. We can use this for a while.”
“Good,” Fabian said, “We just need a cab.”
After calling for one, they waited for about five minutes. When one showed up they all got into it and headed out, Fabian directing them as they went with a map he had printed off of the internet.
“We’re here!” he told the driver, “Pull up the driveway.”
They went up a long stretch of gravel. Sitting before them was a massive manor, indeed appearing as if it would be a hotel or something of that sort, with the sheer size, the implied number of rooms, the windows. The majesty of the manor was splendid; truly the sign of a wealthy man, and in this case, a man whom had hidden something, supposedly.
As Amber was given her card back, the cab waited, just in case they couldn’t get inside. He didn’t ask them any questions about it, if they were trying to break in or anything. They went to the two large main doors and tried them, finding them locked. But there were no signs of life, at the least.
“Nobody’s living here,” Nina said.
“Then it’ll be full of dust, won’t it?” Amber asked.
“Put up with it,” Patricia told her.
Alfie glanced to the cab driver, “I don’t think this is making us look good,” he told them, “Looks like we’re breaking in.”
Nina pulled out her necklace and held it up to the door. They heard a soft click along with the glow of the necklace. Reaching down, the handle twisted and the door opened.
Fabian hurried back to the cab, “Found the right key,” he said, “We’ll call for another cab when we finish inside. You can go. Thank you for the ride.”
The man nodded and pulled out, leaving the five kids behind and entering the manor, closing the door behind them.
Somehow the room was spotless. Preserved.
“Is this what it meant by ‘magic’?” Patricia questioned.
“I like this magic,” Amber said, “Keeps the dust away.”
“Maybe,” Fabian said. They were in a long hallway with paintings and vases and statues along the walls. At the end of the hall was a splendid fireplace with large mantle and two doors against the back wall, leading off into other sections of the manor. It didn’t look like there were any other doors, nor were there any windows.
Trying the switch, they found there was still electricity hooked up. They approached the fireplace, looking around at things that they passed. Nina didn’t; she felt drawn to the fireplace, specifically the mantle.
When she got there, she lifted her necklace to the top, to a symbol for the Eye of Horus. There was a glow, and then a secret compartment on the mantle slid open, revealing a scroll. They all looked at each other, and then Nina lifted it up and unrolled it, reading it aloud.
“It’s hard to read,” she told them, “I think it says, ‘To those reading this, your quest has begun for the secrets of what I have hidden. Can you hope to complete the tasks at hand? If greed exists within your heart, begone now. If you have the heart of one just, then proceed. Use that heart and find the emblem of it; the sign of one of justice. Return it and burn it for your next task.’ And that’s all,” Nina said, lowering it.
“What does that even mean?” Alfie asked, “I mean, we’re good and just of heart, but the rest of it?”
“I don’t know,” Nina said, “Fabian?”
He thought about it, but shook his head, “I…don’t know the symbol that it’s talking about. Sorry.”
“No need to be,” Nina said, putting the scroll down and slipping her hand into his.
“Well, I guess we could leave and come back after we research it,” Patricia said.
“Or one of us could call someone to look,” Amber said, “I don’t know if daddy would like me paying twice so quickly. I’d rather stay a bit, so he doesn’t get as mad about me using the money.”
“I can call someone,” Fabian said, “I’ll call Uncle Ade,” he found his mobile and dialed a number, “I hope he can get us an answer.”
As the five stood in the main hall, by the fireplace that had probably never been lit, a figure watched them. Clad in pale blue robes, identity concealed by a golden and blue bird mask, with a long, thin beak hanging out and slightly down, with glowing, ethereal eyes shining out from the eyes alongside the elongated beak, a figure wrapped in mystery and a slight, ethereal glow watched. A spirit among them; watching, waiting for them to begin their search, their quest.
For once it ended; he would be the one victorious.
5: House of DangerEdit
“Thanks,” Fabian said, closing his phone.
“Well?” Patricia asked.
“Uncle Ade says that there is a Goddess of Justice; Ma’at. But the heart thing doesn’t quite fit.”
“Well, what do we know about Ma’at?” Nina asked him.
“She was the Goddess of Justice, Truth and Harmony,” Fabian answered.
“Well, I guess it’s close,” Nina said, “Harmony and the heart are kind of related.”
“I guess you’re right,” Fabian said.
“Hey, it works enough for me,” Alfie put in.
“Ok, so what now?” Amber asked, “If it is Ma’at, what then? Do we find the Goddess or something? Because this is a big mansion, and we don’t know what we’re looking for…”
“That’s a good question,” Fabian admitted, “What exactly are we looking for?”
“Wait,” Nina said, “Ma’at sounds familiar. I remember hearing something about her before…”
“Do you think it can help?” Fabian asked.
“I hope so,” she said, thinking for a bit and turning to look at the mantle and fireplace. Then she realized it and turned to the others, “Anubis!”
“Anubis?” Alfie asked, “Home?”
“No, the God of Death,” she said, “He and Ma’at have a relation! The weighing of the heart!”
“That’s right!” Fabian exclaimed, “Anubis weighed the heart of a person against Ma’at’s feather! That’s got to be what we’re looking for! The scale!”
“A scale?” Amber asked, “What type of scale?”
“An old one,” Fabian said.
“So not digital?”
“Not a scale for weighing yourself,” Patricia interjected.
Fabian nodded, “You know, there’s a middle, then a bar and it holds a basket or something on both ends, so you can weigh them at the same time, and see how it balances.”
“Oh! That type of scale,” Amber said, “Got it.”
“Well, let’s go look,” Nina said.
“Please don’t tell us to split up,” Alfie said.
“Why not?” Patricia questioned.
“Don’t you watch horror movies?” he questioned, “Bad things happen when you split up.”
“This isn’t a horror movie,” she reminded.
“But this is a big creepy mansion! It feels like one,” Alfie defended.
“Nothing bad is going to happen,” Fabian said, “But yeah, we should split up. Cover more ground, since this place is so big.”
“Well, can I split up and stay with Amber?” Alfie asked, “With two of us, less bad things are bound to happen.”
Fabian sighed, “Alfie…”
“It’s fine,” Nina said, cutting Fabian off, “Go together.”
“Really?” he asked, “Thank you Nina! You’re much nicer than Fabian.”
“Hey!” Fabian said in annoyance.
“You’re willing to let horror movie type things happen to me,” Alfie told him.
“It won’t!” Fabian told him.
“Well, we’ll see,” Alfie said.
“Ok, the three of us will split up, Amber and Alfie, you two go together,” Nina said, opening the door, “Well, let’s get searching.”
As they exited the main hall, Fabian went beside Nina, “You mean we can’t go together?” he asked in a low voice.
“Well, we could,” she said, “But we might not get a good search then.”
He smiled, “You have a point.”
The hall spread out before them, with a staircase ahead, leading to a second story, which branched off. Hallways on this floor branched off in different directions as well. There were rooms in this section of the hall, and no doubt more rooms around the corners.
“Ok, this isn’t going to be easy,” Nina said, “If you find a locked door, find a way to identify it so we can all know. I guess that’s it; call if something happens.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Alfie said, “Well, where should we go first?” he asked Amber.
“Yeah…I think I’m going alone,” she told him, “Sorry.”
“What? So…you want bad things to happen?” he questioned.
“Alfie, this is silly,” she said, “This isn’t a movie.”
She shook her head, “Sorry,” she said, heading off around the corner. Alfie ran to chase after her, “Amber!” he called.
Fabian laughed a little, “Well, that way’s covered. Let’s split up. Maybe we can come back and map this place later. That would certainly help.”
“It would, but it would take a while,” Patricia said, walking past them and heading upstairs.
Nina and Fabian looked at each other, “Good luck,” he said with a smile.
“You too,” she smiled back.
He headed upstairs and the other way, while Nina went opposite of Amber and Alfie, down the hall.
Outside of the manor a car pulled in. A man exited and looked at the building, shaking his head.
“Robert Frobisher-Smythe. You kept this hidden?” Rufus said to himself, walking towards the entrance and touching the knob, finding it unlocked. He opened the door and stepped into the main hall, “Well, could this be where you hid that?” He smiled grimly, “Oh, this will be good.”
As he walked towards the mantle, a mysterious voice entered his head, “Leave this place now…”
He stopped, “Who said that?” Rufus shouted.
It repeated, “Leave this place now…”
“No!” Rufus shouted, “I will take what is here and have what I want! Whoever you are, I will not leave without the object!”
The voice didn’t appear again.
“Good,” Rufus said, walking to the end of the corridor and opening the door, heading into the main manor.
“Now, where are those brats?” he wondered as he looked at the possible paths they could have taken, “I guess the hunt is on.”
“Where is everyone?” Noah asked Mr. Wolf when he came downstairs.
“I don’t know,” he answered, stepping into the sitting room to see Jerome, Mick, Mara, Joy and Noah were the only ones there. Jerome and Joy were doing their own things, while Mick and Mara were together and talking. He didn’t know what Noah had been doing.
“It is odd,” Joy commented, “Almost like they planned something. Jerome, weren’t you friends with them last term?” she questioned.
He wondered if she was trying to get rid of him. Were they doing one of their Sibuna things? She was trying to get at that, wasn’t she? But why did Joy know about that?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
Mr. Wolf left them and went back up to his office. Noah sat by Jerome, “So, do you want to do something?” she asked him.
He got up, “Mara, can I borrow you for a minute?” he asked.
“Um…,” she looked at Mick, then to Jerome, “Sure, ok.” She got up and followed him out of the room, into the hallway where the boy’s bedrooms were.
“Have you noticed anything odd about Joy recently?” he asked her, “Like, if she’s been hanging around Mick a lot?”
“Why do you ask?” she asked him, “Do you like her? Are you jealous?” she asked with a smile, teasing him, knowing the answer.
“No,” he said, finding it hard to control his voice and suppress the urge to shout that.
“Then why ask?”
He shook his head, “Mara, I saw them together at school. Talking and laughing. I’ve never seen them together or on good terms before,” he told her.
“So what are you trying to say?” she asked, trying not to jump onto what his answer could be, though having some ideas.
“I think Mick might be cheating on you,” he said.
“Because he and Joy might be friends?” she asked.
“Have you ever seen it before? Has he mentioned it to you?” he questioned.
“Why hide a new friendship?” Before he could continue, Mara cut him off.
“Because he doesn’t want me to get jealous of nothing?” she said.
“But hiding it looks worse,” Jerome commented.
“Look, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but Mick and I are in a genuine relationship. He’s not cheating on me.”
“He and Amber were in one too,” he said, “And look at where that led.”
She slapped him, “Don’t you dare say that! Don’t you dare imply that I caused him to cheat on her or something! Because that’s not what happened!”
“I would never…”
He didn’t finish, “Go,” she said, “Leave me alone,” she added in sarcastically at the end, “And if he is, I’ll come running straight to you Jerome. Clearly you’re the only person here who’s able to think about how to treat someone…,” she shook her head and left him, heading back to the sitting room, leaving Jerome to contemplate where to go. He turned and went to his and Alfie’s bedroom. It was better than going back to the sitting room right now.
Evidence. He needed evidence.
But what if he found it? It would hurt Mara, but possibly work for him. Or would Mara hate him for exposing it, if it were true?
“No, I have to find evidence,” he said, “I have to expose anything that might be happening.”
“Amber?” Alfie called, but she didn’t answer. He had gotten lost in one of the corridors. Why was this place so big? It was too easy to get lost in here.
As he kept walking, he heard footsteps and looked back, “Amber?” he called, but there was no answer.
“Great…just like a horror movie,” he said to himself, running now and going around a corner. He looked back, but didn’t see anything. He kept going the way he had turned, checking inside of rooms as he passed. There were Egyptian things – or at least he guessed they were Egyptian – but he couldn’t find a scale.
As he walked a bit farther, he heard the footsteps again. He hurried and ran up the stairs he found, getting onto the second floor and looking out over the balcony, crouching to at least partially hide behind the bars that held up the railing.
And there was the person, walking into view.
Alfie gasped, panicking, his heart beating faster and faster. He feared that Rufus had heard him, so he crept quietly away, ducking into the first room he could and closing it softly behind him. He hid down beside the door and pulled out his mobile, his hands trembling as he called Fabian.
He spoke softly, “Fabian, we need to get out of here!” His voice was quavering as he spoke, “We have to go now!”
“What’s happened? Alfie?”
“It’s Rufus! Rufus is here!” Alfie told him in the same low, quavering voice, “I just saw him!”
“Rufus? Are you sure?” Fabian asked, deadly serious.
“Yes I’m sure!” his voice picked up with anger that he wasn’t being believed, “I would never misplace that man’s face!”
“Ok, ok, we need to get together and leave, then,” Fabian said, “Can you find the main entrance?”
“I don’t know,” Alfie admitted, “I don’t know…”
“Ok, try. And be careful. I’ll call the others, just keep your mobile on vibrate or something, so if we need to talk to you, he doesn’t hear.”
“Got it,” he said, hanging up and working on his phone. He stood up and opened the door a crack, glancing out, but he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Alfie stepped out and quietly closed the door behind him, turning the way he had been going to get to this room, and he hurried off.
Behind him stood the man in the Ibis mask, watching with that ethereal glow of his, and then looked down the stairs, at Rufus as he ascended.
“You were warned,” the ghostly voice hissed as the figure spoke, not in Rufus’s mind as before, but for anyone to hear.
Things were about to get dangerous.
6: House of MummiesEdit
Nina heard something behind her and looked back, catching a glimpse of someone moving. It wasn’t anyone she was with, and she knew that Rufus was here. She hurried around the corner and pressed herself against the wall, hoping to find a way past. She was sure that was the way she needed to go, to get to the entrance.
She kept going, deciding to keep down this hall. She ended up in what looked to be a kitchen or dining area and closed the door behind her, heading for the other door, but finding it to be locked.
Then she smelled it.
“What is that?” she asked herself in revulsion, putting her arm up over her nose to try to block the stench. She looked at the closet door, afraid to open it. But she reached out and turned the handle, opening the small room to see the rotting body of a mummy.
She backed away and shouted. She kept her eyes on it, afraid of what it was doing there. And then it started to move. Slowly, lurching, towards her.
She got up and ran towards the door she had come in through, opening it to find Rufus down the hall. He turned to see her, and started to run her way, forcing her to close the door on instinct. She turned around to see the mummy.
She was trapped.
“No…,” she looked around, locking the door to Rufus and trying to think. The mummy was slow, at least.
As it made its way towards her, around the table, she got an idea. She ran towards the closet and looked inside, hoping that there was more to it. Or that Rufus would get the door open with the mummy there and solve the problem for her by providing a distraction, or something.
But as soon as she stepped into the closet, her necklace began to glow. She scrambled for it, grabbing the end and looking around, seeing a slight glow beneath a shelf. She crouched down and pressed the Eye of Horus to the mark on the wall, opening a small passage that she could crawl through. She looked back, seeing the mummy coming, and hearing the door being broken in. She crawled inside, sealing it behind her.
She crawled, opening the other side, coming out in a bedroom. She got up off of the floor and hurried out of the room, running, calling Fabian.
“Fabian!” she called out when he answered, “I saw a mummy!”
“A mummy?” he asked.
“Yes! A mummy! A real, living mummy!”
“Mummies aren’t living,” he pointed out.
“I don’t know what this was, but it looked like a mummy! It was even rotting, or it smelled like that anyway,” she said, “It almost got me…and so did Rufus.”
“Rufus too?” Fabian asked, “Ok, we know where he is, at least. You do, right?”
“I know,” she said, “He’s with the mummy.”
“Are you sure this was a mummy?” Fabian questioned.
“Yes! I smelled it rotting! It was a dead body!”
“I…,” he didn’t have anything else to say.
“It’s hard to believe,” she said, “But I saw it!”
“I believe you,” he said, “Look, we just have to meet up, and fast.”
“I know,” she said, hanging up and starting to call the others.
Rufus had gotten himself out quickly. Whatever that thing was, it wasn’t a trick by those brats. It was…was it real? He didn’t doubt the possibility, not here, not with Frobisher. It had been a messy situation, but he had gotten the mummy taken care of and escaped without problem.
“If that’s what you use to get rid of me, you need something better!” he shouted at the voice, if it returned. It didn’t.
As Rufus kept going he noticed Alfie. He wouldn’t let this one get away. And after that trick he pulled, he wasn’t going to let Alfie get away without at least a great deal of pain. This boy had to suffer for that trick of dying.
As Rufus hurried after him, Alfie turned and saw him, shouting and running off. He turned a corner, but when Rufus did, he was gone.
“Come on out, Alfie!” Rufus shouted, “It won’t hurt much!” he pushed the first door open, glancing inside. Nowhere for him to hide. He moved onto the next room, pushing it open, and so on. He had to be in one of the rooms.
As he opened the next room, he saw another mummy. He slammed the door shut, “That’s not going to work!” he screamed out at the voice, though Alfie wondered what he was talking about. He opened his door slightly and glanced out. He could see the door opening and the mummy emerging before Rufus, who pushed it back into the room.
Alfie watched as it came again and grabbed Rufus, but the living man couldn’t shake the dead man off. He screamed as the mummy began to disintegrate into the floor, dragging Rufus with him.
It looked like Rufus was melting into the floor, screaming as he went. Screaming in such a way that Alfie was sure that everyone had heard. It was a scream that would haunt him forever as Rufus was killed.
He closed the door and slid to the ground, keeping his back to the door for the sake of resistance, in case another mummy tried to get in. He lifted his mobile up in his trembling hands, dialing.
“What is it Alfie?” he asked.
“I saw Rufus…and a mummy…and…Rufus…Rufus…Rufus is dead…I think…it sucked him into the floor…”
“I saw a mummy drag Rufus into the floor!” he shouted, “It was…it was like he melted…”
There was silence on Fabian’s end for a while, “Do you think that…he’s dead…?”
“I…I don’t know…maybe…”
More silence, “Look…we need to regroup. Something seriously wrong is happening here. We have to regroup and figure this out.”
“Right…,” he said, looking up. “Fabian…I…I think I found our scale…”
“You did?” Fabian asked.
Alfie got up and walked to the other side of the room. There was an alter there, so he was hesitant about any sort of magical or religious artifacts, but reached out and gently took hold of the golden scale sitting there. He looked at the top of the alter, seeing the jackal headed Anubis and a woman with bird wings under her arms.
The scale wasn’t too big. It was about as long as his forearm with the middle bar, and the bar resting across the top. He had expected it to be huge, in myth at least, so the smaller size was appreciated for carrying it.
As he exited the room he was careful to look around, making sure there were no mummies. Satisfied, he hurried, hoping not to get lost, hoping to be lucky enough to find his way to the others, and to the way out.
Noah just opened Jerome’s door and walked in. He looked up from his bed, “I don’t recall you knocking.”
“I didn’t think I had to,” she said, “I could step out, try again,” she said, gesturing to the hall.
She ignored him and sat down on the bed, “Look, I talked to Mr. Sweet about using the school on the weekend. I’m doing a sort of fashion show.”
“A fashion show?” he questioned, “Don’t those take, oh I don’t know, time?”
“It’ll be fast, and with a few people,” she said, “You know my dreams.”
“I didn’t think you’d be the type to rush a dream,” he commented.
“I’m not rushing, I’m experimenting,” she told him, “Anyway…I was hoping you’d come.”
He sat up, “Me? Model clothes for you? I don’t think so. I don’t know how many people would come to something like that on the weekend, but no. The answer is no. I won’t do that.”
“Mara and Mick are coming,” she said, “Mara is going to model the entire time, Mick will part of the time.”
“So you’re trying to bait me with Mara?” he questioned, “Won’t work.”
“You’re so obsessed I thought it would,” she said. He had no idea if she was being honest or if she was making a joke.
“Look,” she stood up, “Think it over. You’d like what I have for you, I’m sure of that. It’ll only be about three hours anyway, and I don’t think anyone could make fun of the clothing choices. You’d look very respectable.”
“There mere act of participating in it is the problem,” he said, “Now please leave.”
She did as she was bidden to do. She left and closed the door behind her, leaving Jerome in silence.
Maybe he should go. He could talk to Mara, be able to see her in what he imagined would be very nice clothes, and see Mick possibly looking like a fool being out of his element and in something nice, instead of sweats. That thought amused him, but was it worth it?
“Why do I do this?” he muttered. Noah was a very attractive woman, and someone who was very interested in him, yet he continued to chase Mara, who he may never be with. Every effort of his was falling short, and they weren’t exactly very good right now. Especially not after being slapped.
“Mara is too important to lose,” he said to himself. That was his answer. Even if Noah was a nice, pretty girl, Mara was too important to him. He couldn’t lose her, he couldn’t bear to see her unhappy. And if Mick was going behind her back with Joy, as he suspected, he had a duty to intervene and tell Mara.
“I’ll go,” he said to himself.
The group had managed to regroup within a few minutes of Alfie’s call to Fabian. He was the last to arrive, with the scale in hand.
“I found it!” he said triumphantly.
“I’m impressed,” Patricia commented dryly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he questioned.
“We kind of thought you’d be too scared to do anything,” Amber said, “Sorry.”
“Well…this was in the room I hid in,” he said, giving the scale to Nina.
She looked at it, “Ok, we have it. Now what?”
“Why don’t we figure this out later and just get out of here for now?” Fabian asked, “After Alfie’s story, I’d rather leave. I know you were talking about horror movies and stuff, but that doesn’t sound made up.”
“It wasn’t!” Alfie said, “I saw it! I saw Rufus…die…”
“Are we sure he’s dead?” Patricia questioned, “Are you sure, Alfie?”
“He got sucked into the floor by a mummy. I think that’s a safe bet,” Alfie told her, but he wasn’t entirely sure.
“We can’t afford to assume one way or the other,” Fabian said, “So let’s take it and go.”
“But if we do that, how do we find out if it’s right?” Nina asked, “I think we have to figure it out here, or we won’t know for sure or not if this is right.”
“Maybe Frobisher has another scroll for us,” Patricia said absently.
“I don’t think so,” Amber said, “Because that means we’d have to find that too, and we have no idea where to look.”
Fabian looked it over, just checking to see if there was a catch or something on the bars, just to check if there was a scroll or something hidden inside, just to humor the question which could very well be right.
Nina looked at the mantle and then just thrust it up onto it, letting it sit there. There was a low growling sound as stone grate on stone, another hidden compartment sliding open. She looked at the others, “I guessed,” she admitted, picking up the scroll and opening it.
“What does it say?” Fabian asked.
“It says, ‘Read no further if you dare not try this quest’,” she stopped and looked at them, “Maybe we should stop reading for now. I mean, it kind of sounds like we’ll be stuck doing another search, and…do any of you really want that?”
“Good point,” Patricia said, “Just put it back, we’ll do it again later.”
“The weekend works best,” Fabian said, “No times to worry about, so we could be here all day if we had to.”
“Yeah, that sounds good,” Nina said, “Everyone?”
Alfie nodded, “Sure, why not?”
“Maybe…I had plans with Joy,” Patricia said.
“Well…I had things to do. You know, shopping, but…I guess I could spare some time on the weekend to be here.”
“Well, I guess the weekend it is,” Nina said, replacing the scroll. It sealed again, so she took the scale off, “Alfie, can you find the room again if you have to?”
“Yeah, I think so,” he said.
She set the scale off to the side, but didn’t let go, “Fabian, try putting it on the mantle,” she said, giving it to him.
He did as he was told, but wasn’t sure what she was getting at. Nothing happened when he did it. He gave it to Alfie to try, then Amber, then Patricia. Only Nina was able to open the compartment.
“It must be the necklace,” Patricia said.
“Or that I’m the Chosen One,” Nina said, “At least we know the scroll is safe,” this time she let go of it as she set it aside. It would be safe, especially once they locked the building down. Nobody could take the scale away, nobody but her could get into the mantle. This would be fine.
The Sibuna members left the manor and locked the building with Nina’s amulet. Waiting for the cab that they had called, they looked at Rufus’s car.
“Well, I guess it’s just going to stay here,” Patricia said, “Too bad we can’t find a use for it.”
“Are you talking about hotwiring it?” Alfie questioned her.
“I’m just saying a use,” she said, “I didn’t specify.”
“It is kind of a shame…,” he agreed.
“Kind of suspicious too,” Fabian said.
“Well, what do we do? Push?” Amber asked, “Because I am not pushing a car.”
“I don’t think we could do that,” Fabian said, “But…it really does look out of place here. If someone sees that, it might not be good.”
“The driveway is long,” Nina said, “If we wait at the road, it’ll be fine.”
“I guess so,” Patricia agreed.
The others agreed in turn and headed towards the road. The length of the driveway, along with the hope that few people went this way, would work to keep Rufus’s car’s presence rather secretive, until they could find something to do.
“Maybe we could cover it with tree branches,” Alfie said, “Camouflage.”
“The point of camouflage is to blend in, not stick out,” Fabian said. “There are no trees that close.”
“Will people realize that?”
“It’ll look like a big pile of green,” Patricia told him.
He sighed, “Fine…”
“We’ll figure it out,” Nina said as they stood waiting. By the time the cab arrived they were no closer to an answer, but they had time to work on one.
They headed back towards Anubis House. The weekend would be their time to search the house again for the next clues, the next answer, and hopefully more information regarding whatever was there.
Inside the house, the masked figure watched two mummies lumbering around. He had called them, for the sake of dealing with Rufus. Rufus was an interloper who had to be dealt with. The problem was that the first mummy had tried to get Nina as a result of her presence, but she was fine.
The Chosen One had to be fine. Had to survive.
As the two mummies stopped before the masked figure with the Ibis mask, he beckoned another. These mummies existed within the house, thanks to Frobisher. They were inside of their sarcophagi in the basement, but he was able to call them. He had that power. He had control.
As a third mummy approached, there was something different about it. That was obvious. He moved differently; not with the lumbering movements of the others, and with less offensive of a stench.
The mummy stopped with its two fellows.
Two mummies. Two mummies and the mummified Rufus Zeno, waiting to decay to the point of the other two. Simply another pawn. Another tool for the figure in the mask.
That was his punishment as an interloper.
7: House of DeceptionEdit
“We’re going…this early?” Amber complained as Nina was by her bed. “Wake me up at a better time…,” she rolled away from Nina.
Nina sighed, “Come on Amber, if we leave early then we have a lot of time to explore,” she pointed out.
“But the mansion and the mystery!” Nina told her, thankful that Mara was gone. At school, or something. She had only heard in passing.
Amber groaned, making Nina sigh. “Ok, I’ll wait downstairs with the others. When you’re ready, we’ll leave. You’re important to Sibuna, after all. We don’t want to go without you.”
She figured Amber had to be at least somewhat happy to be flattered like that, but the girl seemed to be asleep again. Nina sighed and left the bedroom, heading down to see the others, shaking her head, “She’s asleep yet.”
“Well, maybe a kiss from her prince will wake her up!” Alfie suggested.
“That…might make things worse,” Fabian told him.
“I’m going to have to agree with that,” Patricia added.
“Well, for now I guess we’re stuck here,” Nina said, smiling, “Well, I guess we can find out what it’s like to be normal students living here, at least for a few hours. No riddles to look into, nothing that we can really do from our last trip…”
“Well…this has been a while,” Fabian said, “Wait, where are the others, anyway?”
“Joy kept talking about some fashion show or something,” Patricia said, leaving it at that. It was left unsaid that she probably didn’t pay much attention to details.
“But that doesn’t explain the others,” Fabian commented.
“Well, Noah’s interested in fashion,” Nina said, “Mara’s at school, or something, so that explains her.”
“I think it’s at the school,” Patricia threw out.
“Ok, but Mick and Jerome are unaccounted for,” Fabian said.
“Well, for Jerome, is it that hard?” Alfie asked, “He’s clearly following the pretty new girl.”
“Or not,” Fabian said, “We have no idea.”
“We don’t, but I’m sure he is,” Alfie said.
“And Mick might have gone if Mara did,” Nina said, “Well, that takes care of that, then…”
After a few more moments passed, Alfie spoke up, “We’re not good at being normal anymore, are we?”
At the school, they were using the stage in the drama room as a stage to model the clothing on. There were chairs set out, though most were unfilled. Noah had expected as much from the start, but this was fine with her. As long as some people came.
Right now Mick was getting changed and ready, as was Mara. Jerome sat in one of the seats, looking one spot ahead and a few to his left to see Joy, texting and looking up every so often at the student who was modeling the clothing.
Noah eventually came out and hurried over, whispering to Joy. Joy got up and hurried back with her, leaving her mobile behind on the chair instead of try to pocket it as they ran off.
Jerome quickly got out of his seat; excusing himself to the people he was passing. He looked at Joy’s mobile at the conversation in the texts, and smiled with forlorn. He took out his mobile and snapped a picture before quickly returning to his seat and looking at it.
This picture was what he needed. It was the proof he had sought. But this was going to hurt Mara. Was that worth it? Joy had told him before that she could be hurt if things were going as Jerome believed. It was true; this proof would hurt, but it had to be done.
“Got you Joy,” he whispered, “You played a good game, but you lose.”
He pocketed his mobile and slipped out, heading around to the changing areas. He had to find Mara and go straight to her with this information.
He looked around, choosing not to ask for help. If this got back to the wrong person, that wouldn’t be good. No. He wanted this to be simple and clean. He just needed to find and talk to Mara without anyone else knowing anything. Though asking Noah where Mara was would be a good idea, considering there were a few spots in the back for changing, and she wasn’t at any of them.
“Don’t tell me…,” he muttered, looking out and seeing the restrooms. Was she in there? He looked around and sat down on the ground, opposite of the women’s door. He really hoped this didn’t backfire if the wrong person came out. That would be really bad.
He could hear Noah’s voice asking around for him. He looked down the hall and got up, hurrying away just as soon as she came around the corner, just missing him.
“Jerome?” she called again, then went back the other way. He glanced around the corner, thankful that she was gone. A moment later the bathroom door opened to allow Mara out, outfitted in a beautiful pale colored dress. Jerome saw this, his heart beating faster with nervousness for what he was about to do, and for that dress, and how stunning she looked.
“Mara!” he called, hurrying over towards her.
She looked, “Jerome, what are you doing there?” she asked, considering the only part of the school they were supposed to be in was the drama room.
“It’s nothing,” he said, “Just…well, I was looking for you,” he told her.
“I have to go on stage in a minute,” she said, “Can this wait?”
“It can, but it can’t,” he said.
She headed around to get to the back of the stage, “What is it?” she asked, still annoyed over what he had told her the other day.
“Here,” he said, reaching into his pocket, but Noah found them.
“Jerome, it’s time for you to get changed,” she told him, “So go and get your clothes and change, hurry!”
He pulled his hand out, “I’ll talk later,” he told Mara, if only because she was already going onto the stage, thus giving him no more time. He walked past Noah, “Where?”
She pointed the spot out to him, “Hurry,” she told him, heading out to go and watch while Jerome was left to get changed and figure out exactly what she wanted from notes he hadn’t paid attention to earlier.
By the time Mara was done, Jerome was clothed in something rather similar to what he would actually wear. That surprised him; she had good taste, or had chosen the proper attire for him. He went out, feeling foolish for having agreed to do this. But it was over rather quickly, and he found Mara still in her dress, waiting back where he had changed at.
“What did you have to say?” she asked him.
He reached into his pocket and produced his mobile, “I told you that I suspected that Mick and Joy were doing something behind your back,” he said.
“More or less,” she said, “And I still don’t believe that.”
He did a little bit on his mobile and held it out, “Look.”
She looked at it in hand, then reached out and took it into her own hands, looking at the screen, at the text message conversation he had managed to get a picture of. She read it, and then read it over again.
Jerome just looked at her as she read it, not saying anything, not really making any thoughts. No joy; not really any thoughts other than sorrow for Mara, if she chose to believe it. It was true, after all. But would she see it that way?
She pushed the mobile back into his hands and stormed off, leaving him standing there in confusion.
“Mara?” he called after her, but she didn’t answer him. She didn’t look back. She just walked off in anger.
But anger at who? Him, or Mick and/or Joy?
“I feel good about it today,” Noah told Jerome as she caught up to him on his walk back to Anubis House.
“Oh, good,” he said absently, not really paying attention to her.
She could tell from his voice, “That’s rude,” she said.
He sighed and looked at her, “Look, Noah. It’s good that this worked out for you. Your dream is one step closer, or something I guess. I don’t know. But you want to be a real fashion designer, and this was a small show at your boarding school, with only a few over a dozen students in attendance. I can feel good for you, but was it worth it? Does it do anything to further your dreams?”
She hit his arm, “Wow, you really know how to bring someone down,” she muttered.
“Sorry,” he said, “It’s just…I have some other things on my mind than your dream,” he told her.
“Than my dream, or than me?” she asked teasingly, but he didn’t say anything. He did his best to ignore that one. He did think about her, sometimes as an annoyance, sometimes as a beautiful girl who seemed very interested in him. But no; he was caught up in thoughts of Mara, and what was going on.
After she had left him backstage, he hadn’t seen her again. He hadn’t seen Mick or Joy either, actually. People had gotten scattered with their roles ending, he guessed. Or not. He didn’t know, but he did care.
What was going on? He needed answers. He needed to know if Mick and Mara’s relationship was over, and if Mara was ok. She was the woman he wanted; she was the one he cared about so much. He wanted her to be happy, and knew that Mick couldn’t be the person to make her happy. Not after what he knew, and what he had suspected for a time already. The confirmation must be painful for Mara, since she hadn’t thought it even a possibility before.
“Noah, can you please just leave me alone for a bit?” he asked her. He asked her nicely; genuinely. He really hoped that his tone would get across to her and that she would listen. She had a habit of not, but he was hoping this time she would.
She must have realized something was wrong. She just nodded once, “Yeah…sure. No problem,” she said, picking up her pace a bit so she was ahead of him on the walk back. It was that or drop her pace. She chose this option, letting him think and know that she was gone, since he could see her and know she was away, instead of being unsure of how close behind she could be.
“How long has this been going on?” Mara demanded to Mick. It was just the two of them; they were the only ones in Anubis House for now. Joy was somewhere, and the others were just out. Mr. Wolf was in his office somewhere.
“It hasn’t!” Mick told her, “It’s all a lie!”
“I saw the texts, Mick!” she told him, throwing her arms down from their position on her forehead. A grieving position now changed to a motion of anger.
“And how do you know those are real?” he questioned, “Because Jerome had a picture? They’re fake!”
“They’re not!” she told him, “I know how you text!”
“A lot of people text like that!” he told her, “It doesn’t mean it was me!”
“But…you and Joy have been together a lot recently…,” she said, “Mick. I don’t want to believe this, so please, show me your mobile and prove to me that this isn’t real.”
He looked at her for a few moments, not saying or doing anything.
“Please Mick!” she pleaded.
He reached into his pocket and handed it over, unable to say no. If he did then she would have an answer. Best to be compliant.
She searched through his mobile, finding it quickly. She read over the texts and threw the mobile on the bed in anger, “Mick! It’s there! It’s all there!”
“I’m…I’m so sorry, Mara. It’s just…”
“Save it! I don’t want to hear it!” she shouted at him, “Jerome was right…he was right about all of it! I should have listened to him. It would have saved him the trouble, and me the time. Just…just tell me why!”
He didn’t have an answer for her. That angered her even more.
“Tell me something else then,” she said, “Am I like Amber? Did you leave her because I was prettier or smarter or something? And you did the same to me? You saw Joy as prettier or something, and went to her? Or did you genuinely like me and choose to break up with Amber for me? Just tell me that much!”
“I…I don’t know,” he admitted, “It was…a little of both. Amber and I were having problems…and you…you liked me, and…and you’re beautiful and smart. So…”
“That’s all I need to know,” she said, “About that, anyway. But what about Joy? Why her?”
“Because…because I genuinely like her, Mara,” he said. The wording he used, the use of ‘genuinely’. That hurt. She shook her head and walked towards the door, grabbing the frame with one hand and looking back.
“I did like you, Mick. I didn’t want this…I didn’t want anything like this to happen! I was happy! I…I thought you were too!”
“I was,” he said, “I still am!”
“Then why did you cheat on me with her?” she demanded, “Does she make you just as happy, and your feelings are just a bonus?”
He had no answer for her. She was in no mood to wait, so she left a few moments after she had posed the question, walking out and leaving him behind in his bedroom.
Nina read it off of her mobile again, “Ok. ‘Read no further if you dare not try this quest. Find the courage to dispel the timer, and progress towards the endgame you seek.’ I still don’t get it.”
The Sibuna group was at breakfast on Sunday morning, having gotten nowhere the day before, while the others were at Noah’s fashion show. They had a time limit, it turned out. Three hours after finishing reading the clue. When they failed to do it in the time limit, they were forced back to the main room. They could try to go elsewhere, but it seemed all paths led them back to the doors to that hall.
The building was enchanted, and wanted them back. They had failed, so they had to start over. But they couldn’t. The doors wouldn’t open, and they couldn’t start the timer again.
“I guess we have to try daily,” Fabian said.
“Oh…that’s going to be a lot of money,” Amber said, “Daddy’s really not going to be happy.”
“We need to find another way there,” Patricia said, “And maybe go after school, instead of just weekends. If we keep failing, anyway.”
Alfie was about to say something when he saw Jerome coming in. Jerome knew of the group, but still, Alfie didn’t say anything.
Jerome didn’t say anything either. He just sat down and started to take food onto his plate. Soon Mick and Joy came in. Together. They even sat together and talked in hushed tones, since nobody else was talking. They were actually being stared at, primarily by Jerome.
Mara came in next and sat by Jerome immediately, before Noah could a moment later when she entered. She went around and sat by Patricia as a result.
“Ok, this is just weird,” Alfie said, “Someone had to say it.”
Nobody said anything to him. Nobody showed any agreement, though he knew there had to be agreement out there.
Speaking in a louder tone, just to make a point, Mara said something, “Jerome, let’s go on a date for lunch. A picnic, in a nice park. How does that sound?” she asked, reaching up and taking his hand.
He stared at her, his jaw dropping, “Um…yeah. Yes! Yes, let’s do that,” he said, regaining composure.
“Ok, now I’m completely lost,” Alfie complained.
Jerome and Mick looked at each other. Jerome could see Mick’s anger, but he couldn’t do anything about it. He had chosen Joy, after all.
“Joy’s room trading,” he muttered, “I didn’t catch that one until now…with the texts now,” he said to himself. That would let her text without the possibility of Mara seeing. Ah, it came together. If only he had that one earlier.
But it didn’t matter now. It was resolved.
Mara looked to Mick, with anger in her eyes. When he looked to her, she held victory in her eyes. She had been able to find his deception with help, and now was the morally superior one. And now, she could be happy with Jerome, who adored her. Though she couldn’t help but feel bad for Joy, who might lose out as well, if Mick found someone else.
That was how Mick was. And Mara hoped that in time everyone would know that. He had hurt Amber, and he had hurt her. He deserved to hurt now.
8: House of CourageEdit
As the Sibuna group was at the manor again, reading the scroll, they all started to wonder what it could possibly be that they had to do or find in order to clear this task.
“Ok, just remember. The keyword seems to be ‘courage’,” Fabian pointed out to them.
“And what do we do with that?” Amber asked, “Because I think we all got that the first time around.”
“What if it’s not something we have to find?” Alfie asked, “Like, what if it’s real courage? Like stand up to and fight a mummy?”
They looked at him, “Yeah…I don’t think that’s what it is, Alfie,” Fabian said dryly, “Sorry to disappoint.”
“You haven’t,” Alfie said, “Because we don’t know yet if that is it or not.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s not,” Patricia told him.
“We’ll see, won’t we?” he asked.
“Um…let’s just get ready to go,” Fabian said, “Nina?”
She recited the scroll, allowing the doors to swing open. They could see an hourglass appear on the wall above the mantle as a piece of the wall slid open to reveal it. Grains of sand began to fall.
“Ok, split up and look for anything related to courage,” Nina said, hurrying ahead.
“Seriously though, where do we even start?” Alfie called, “This place is huge! And we only have three hours and five of us!”
“Just look!” Patricia shouted at him and started to run.
“Look? Look? Look for what?” he shouted in annoyance. She made it sound so easy, and it wasn’t.
But even Amber had left him to go and search, leaving him alone again.
“Guys? Guys?” he shouted, “I don’t like being alone in here! Not after last time!” He looked around, turning all around to make sure there were no mummies or anything, and then started to run, “Guys?” he called.
“So…,” Noah said as Joy was doing something with her possessions, “How long had that been going on?” she asked, referring to breakfast and what was revealed to them all.
“Since the first day of school,” Joy said, being completely open to Noah about it. She had come to like Noah; they were friends, “Are you going to get on my case about it too? Mara and Patricia are bad enough.”
“Mara confronted you?” she asked.
“Not yet, but I don’t think it’ll be too long before she does,” Joy said, “Anyway, can you answer?”
“Oh, no. I’m not getting on your case. I was just curious, that’s all,” Noah said, “Besides, I’m only here for this term. It’s not like I’m going to judge you that much, since I don’t know everything, or as much as everyone else.”
“Good. Are you on my side?” she asked.
“We’re taking sides?” Noah asked.
“It might come down to it,” Joy said, going along with her basic way of thinking. Trudy had called her a walking soap opera before; it was mostly true. She was just thinking like a possible soap opera now, and that things could escalate very high.
“I don’t know,” Noah said, “I like you, but tell me something. Do you really like Mick?” she asked.
“Of course I do,” she told Noah, looking up from what she was doing, “I’m not the type to cheat on someone. I wouldn’t want Mick to have cheated on Mara if I didn’t really like him. I’d have felt guilty.”
“Well, if you have real feelings for him, then I can’t really be against it,” she said, “Except…”
“Except what?” Joy asked, “I’ve pushed Jerome and Mara together, and you don’t like that?”
“Exactly,” the newcomer said with a simple nod.
“Well, together I’m sure we can end that relationship,” she said, “Or Mara will soon come to her senses, and there will be no relationship there.”
“By ‘come to her senses’, you’re saying Jerome isn’t dating material,” Noah pointed out with some annoyance.
“I’m sure he is,” Joy said, “Just not for someone like Mara.”
“Mick and Mara were nothing alike,” Noah said, knowing that much at least.
“Well…you have a good point there,” Joy said, shrugging, “Well, I’m still sure they won’t last.”
“I have to hope as much,” Noah said.
“Tell me. What is there about Jerome that’s attractive to you?” Joy asked her.
“Well, he’s good looking and I like his personality,” she said.
“Kind of vague,” Joy pointed out.
“It’s an answer,” she said, “I like all of his personality, so don’t ask me to specifically point things out.”
Joy sighed, “Ok, fine.”
“Do you know where those others are?” Noah asked Joy absently, though she only wanted to build a rapport with Joy to get some answers.
“I don’t really know,” she said, “Why?”
“It’s just strange, with them all disappearing like that, isn’t it?” Noah asked.
She knew something. Noah figured that out right away. Joy knew something. She just had to figure out if it was the manor, or if they were ignoring everything; ignoring the message she had sent. And figure out if Joy knew anything so she could know about their progress. That was also very important.
“Any idea about it?” she asked Joy.
But Joy was loyal to Patricia. She shook her head, “I don’t really know much, if anything.”
Noah nodded, “Oh, ok then,” she said.
She would need to try something else.
As Jerome and Mara were heading back towards the house with the remains of their picnic in hand, they were talking and laughing, just genuinely enjoying each other’s company.
“You know, this feels really good,” Mara told him, “Really, really good.”
“Better than dates with Mick?” he asked.
“Depends on the date,” she said.
“And what does that mean?” Jerome asked.
“Some were good, some bad. This was really impromptu, so it wasn’t as great as it could have been. I leave the next one to you,” she told him.
“Ah, yes,” he said, “And what a date that shall be. You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this, Mara. I already have some plans in mind.”
“Oh, do you now?” she asked him.
He nodded, “Yes…that’s kind of sad, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s sweet,” she told him, “Making up dream dates with a girl you couldn’t have. At least it’s going to pay off now.”
He nodded, “And I very much look forward to seeing how it pays off. I’m hoping it’ll be good all around.”
“Well, I already know you’re loyal,” she said, thinking nothing of Noah, “So it’ll help.”
“Oh, did you suspect Mick wasn’t?” he asked.
“I always wondered about Amber,” she said, “Mostly about his reasons for leaving her and getting with me, though.”
“I see,” he said, “And you have nothing to worry about with me.”
“I know,” she said with a smile.
When they reached Anubis House, she looked to him again, “I’m not going to talk to Mick anymore,” she told him.
“Oh, joy,” he said, then realized that might have been a bad word choice, “Great!” he fixed it with, “Though I’m not the jealous type.”
“I’d think you would be,” she said with a laugh.
“…maybe…,” he said with a shrug.
They entered the house. Jerome started down the hall, “I’ll be waiting,” he said.
She nodded, “I’ll be right there!” she called to him as he went to his room. She started to put things away from their picnic and left the kitchen, finding Noah coming down the stairs.
“Mara!” she said with a smile, “Let’s talk.”
As Fabian walked around the manor, he looked at the various doors and ornaments on the walls.
“Courage…,” he said to himself, looking at his watch. It looked like they had another hour yet. But if nobody had any ideas yet – due to lack of calls – then this wasn’t good. They had already spent three hours the day before and found nothing, now two more were wasted.
As he walked he saw a suit of armor and looked at it. He looked at the sword in hand, and the shield. On the shield was the emblem of a lion.
“A lion!” he laughed, “Yes! Maybe that’s it!” he said loudly and happily to himself. It was a start, a theory. It could be wrong, but it was something. He pulled out his mobile quickly, “Nina! A lion! Call them!” he said, hanging up and calling Alfie while Nina would tell Patricia and Amber.
Lions weren’t exactly Egyptian based, but it was something. Unless there was something he was missing. Sphinx, perhaps? The body of a lion. Or maybe there was a God or Goddess who would fit?
Maybe one of them could figure it out, but this opened new possibilities. But it also opened the potential for them to be wasting time looking for something with a lion while they were supposed to be doing something else entirely.
He only hoped he was close to an answer with his lion theory. They needed to figure this one out, fast. He didn’t like this place, and he was sure the others felt mostly the same. Especially with the mummies, and with what happened to Rufus.
“Come on…lions…,” he said softly to himself, “Please be lions…”
Mara had been dragged into her room by Noah. Noah had cited Joy’s presence as the reason to use this bedroom, and Mara had reluctantly agreed. She didn’t know what this was about, or why they couldn’t talk in the sitting room, and didn’t really like this.
Noah walked around for a little, then turned and walked the other way, just saying it, “I like Jerome.”
“Yeah…I kind of guessed,” she said, “It’s obvious.”
“And yet you just jump in and take him,” she said, “I don’t appreciate that. Especially if he’s just a rebound for you.”
“Rebound?” Mara demanded, standing up from her bed, “Do you think that’s the type of person I am?”
“I’m new,” she reminded Mara, adding a shrug.
“I’m not,” Mara told her.
“Well, it looks almost like a rebound to me,” she told Mara, “So I called it as I saw it. But regardless…that doesn’t change things.”
“What things?” she asked Noah.
“I like Jerome, it’s obvious, and yet you just come and steal him from me,” she told Mara.
“It takes two to date,” she told Noah, “He accepted. He clearly likes me. If he liked you like he likes me, then you two would have dated by now, with how obvious you make things. So I don’t really see a problem here. Jerome made his choice, and that’s all there is to it.”
“But don’t you feel guilt?” Noah asked Mara, “Guilt at stealing him?”
“I didn’t steal anyone,” she pointed out calmly, “He was single.”
Was, not is. She was implying that she was his girlfriend already.
“Ah, but my clear attempts…”
Mara shook her head, “You’re not guilting me into anything. I didn’t steal him. You made your interest known, and he chose not to reciprocate. It’s that simple, Noah. You’re a smart girl.”
“But emotions can blind even the smartest,” she told Mara, “I imagine it happened to you with this situation.”
Mara nodded once, even though she really didn’t want to.
“So what should we do?” Noah asked her.
“Nothing,” Mara said, “He’s with me, and I like him. He returns the feelings, unlike with you, so I think it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. Nothing; things are staying the same.”
“I won’t accept that,” Noah told her, “I refuse to!”
“Were you spoiled as a child?” she asked Noah, not sure where exactly that came from.
“No,” Noah said.
“It sounds like it,” Mara told her, “You talk as if Jerome is yours.”
“In the matters of the heart, he is,” she told Mara.
Mara shook her head, “No, he’s not!”
“He will be mine!” Noah told her angrily.
“It won’t happen!” Mara told her in a rising voice.
Noah smiled a little, “We’ll see,” she said softly, walking out. She stopped outside the door, “We’re still friends, right?”
Mara stared at her, dumbstruck. Was she serious? Or was this a mocking question? It sounded serious.
“Um…yeah…yeah, we’re still friends,” Mara told her.
Noah smiled at her, “Good, I’m glad a boy didn’t come between us,” she said, closing the door happily and hurrying along.
“Odd girl,” Mara said, though there was something nice about the way she acted. She did kind of like that.
Three hours had ended once more, forcing the Sibuna back to the main hall.
“Three hours already?” Amber asked, “I thought we could do it that time!”
“I think we all did,” Nina commented, “Especially with the lion thing.”
“Or it’s a wrong guess,” Fabian said.
“I like it,” Alfie said, “It sounds right. It…just does.”
Patricia nodded, “You know, I have to agree with Alfie. I don’t know what it is, but it sounds like a good theory. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something close.”
“Well, then we know what to do next weekend,” Fabian said, “Unless we want to head over tomorrow after school, since we do have a limited time, and can’t get lost with exploring or anything.”
“I wouldn’t mind,” Nina said.
Patricia shrugged, “I don’t think I have any plans with Joy. Sure,” she said.
Alfie nodded, “I don’t have anything going on.”
“I might have a manicure tomorrow, but I don’t know,” Amber said, “Let me get back to you.”
“Well…ok, let’s just meet in the school parking lot if we can do it,” Nina said, “That sound good?”
They nodded and gave their acceptance of that plan. Nina checked the mantle, making sure it was secure, “Ok, we’re good,” she said. She lifted her hand in front of her face, “Sibuna.”
“Sibuna,” the others said, putting their hands up.
“Ok, calling the cab,” Amber commented, taking out her mobile.
As they waited for Amber, Patricia said something, “There has to be an easier way of going through this place. We can’t map the rooms without blueprints, we can’t waste time right now mapping the house…not that we probably could do it anyway. There has to be something we could do.”
“Bring in more people?” Alfie asked, “More splitting up? Squadrons? Split the mansion?”
“More people…,” Fabian said.
“I can bring Joy,” Patricia said, “She knows, after all.”
“I could ask Jerome,” Alfie said, “But…I imagine he’ll turn us down for Mara.”
“Well, we’re fine as we are,” Nina said, “If we need anyone else, we’ll figure it out, how’s that sound?”
“Sounds great to me,” Fabian said.
Alfie and Patricia nodded as Amber came back, “He’ll be here soon,” she said, “And yes, we need more people. Maybe someone who can help with money…”
“You were listening?” Patricia asked.
“Of course,” she said, “I’m a listener too,” Amber told her, “I pay attention to some things.”
“Well…yeah, we’ll figure it out,” Nina said, “But Sibuna figured it out last time, we can do it again this time, I imagine.”
Noah waited in the sitting room at Anubis House. She wanted to confront them as soon as they returned. She needed information. They had to be going to the manor; they had to be going after the riddles and clues.
If they weren’t, if they were ignoring the USB, then this was bad. She was determined to go with them next time, wherever they went. And if it was the manor, so much the better.
9: House of EspionageEdit
Anubis House had been different for the last week. With the tension between Mara, Mick and Joy coupled alongside Mara and Jerome’s new relationship, things were really changing. The Sibuna group didn’t pay complete attention to this, as they were still trying to figure out the answer.
Patricia paid some attention, as Joy was her best friend. She had given a little counsel into the situation, criticizing her for going after someone who was already in a relationship, but Joy defended herself by stating that it was a mutual attraction, and since Mick was acting on it, why shouldn’t she?
But in time enough the weekend came around again, and the group was ready for another search of the manor. They had to figure it out this time, as they felt they were running out of time. They wasted one week on this, and wanted to finish as soon as possible, partially for the monetary reasons, but mostly because of the danger inside of the place.
The mummies were always something to fear and be watchful of, even though they hadn’t shown up since that day with Rufus. But they were all wary, all of them watching and waiting for something bad to happen.
As the group hurried towards the door, they were stopped by Noah, coming out of the sitting room and hurrying towards them, “Hey, wait!” she called as half of them were out the door.
“Sorry, can’t talk,” Alfie told her, closing the door behind him, being the last one out. But Noah hurried, opening the door and hurrying outside after them.
“I’d like to help!” she called.
“Help?” Alfie asked, “Help with what? We don’t need help, that would imply we were doing something hard, and…well, that’s just not the case.”
“Then are you guys all just hanging out or something?” she asked.
“Yeah, that’s exactly it,” Patricia said, helping Alfie out.
“Well, mind if I join you?” she asked, “I’d like to be away from this drama with those four.”
“Sorry, but we’d rather it just be us,” Patricia told her.
Amber nodded, “We like our own company, no offense. It’s not you, it’s us.”
“Look,” Noah said, trying to play with pity, “If I stay there and have to deal with all of that drama again, I’m going to go crazy. It’s just uncomfortable there. I imagine that might be a reason for you guys to be going…wherever. Please, just let me come. I’ll be quiet and good.”
They looked at each other. Nina walked towards her a bit, “Look, Noah, we’re…”
The cab came up as Nina was trying to think of how to word things. Noah looked at it, “I’ll pay,” she said, “I’ll pay as often as I must.”
“Well…,” Alfie said, looking at them, “I think that’s good!”
“That’s like buying her way in,” Patricia said.
“Well, I don’t mind,” Amber said, “As far as I’m concerned, welcome! Now come on.”
“Wait!” Fabian interjected, “We can’t just do it like this! We…we need to talk about it and figure this out!”
“Noah,” Nina said, “Can you keep a secret, and can we trust you?”
“Of course you can,” she said, “I give you my word.”
Nina looked at all of them, “I like you,” Nina told her, “I’m willing to give you a chance. Now come on, we’ll…explain it when we get there.”
Noah would have smiled at her success, if she were alone. She nodded, “Where are we going?” she asked, feigning curiosity.
“You’ll see,” Nina said as they went to the cab, all of them with different expectations of Noah and her being with them now. They all had different views of what to make of this, but there was some hope between all of them that her presence could be of help.
All she was concerned with was that things were going smoothly thus far. What was some money if she could succeed like this?
Her infiltration was coming one step further to completion. That’s what mattered.
Mara had seen Joy leave the house for something, so she used this chance to go to Mick’s room and close the door behind her.
“Mara…,” he said, standing up from his bed which he had been sitting on.
“I’m just here to ask something,” she said coldly, “Give me an answer, if you can. You said you ‘genuinely’ like Joy. What about me? I want to know if you had any sort of real feelings for me.”
“We were over this…,” he told her.
“I didn’t get enough answers,” she said, “I told Jerome I wouldn’t talk to you anymore. I’m here demanding answers. I want answers, not for the sake of what we had, but so I can understand.”
“Yeah, that’s like you,” he said, “Trying to understand.”
“Just answer and stop dodging,” she told him.
The door opened behind her. Joy took a step in before closing the door behind her, “Mara, I kind of guessed this would happen. I was right.”
“You left just to see if I would come?” she questioned Joy.
The other girl nodded, “Yeah. You wouldn’t talk to me, I don’t want to talk to you, but I guessed that this might happen sooner or later. I just had to wait for the right day when there was nobody else around to possibly interrupt. Now Mara, why are you hounding him with questions?”
“Because I deserve answers!” Mara told her.
“You don’t,” Joy said, shaking her head, “You lost Mick. That’s all there is to it. You don’t deserve answers. You don’t need answers. You just need to know the end result; I’m with him, you’re not.”
“This isn’t about jealousy,” Mara told Joy, “I’m not here to try to get him back.”
“Regardless, he doesn’t need to answer anything, because he’s with me now,” Joy said.
“You know, that’s pretty flawed,” Mara pointed out.
“Oh, I know,” Joy said, “It doesn’t need to be perfect, unlike you,” she told Mara, “You see, our positions reversed somehow, I’m sure you’d be finding a perfect argument to use against me. I’m no perfectionist, neither is Mick. You are. You’re too unlike him. I can appreciate Mick because we’re similar in enough regards.”
“Are you calling him stupid?” Mara questioned. That annoyed her. She still had some residual feelings for Mick, after all. She really had liked him, and it had only been a week since she had broken up with him. She needed more time yet to overcome all of her feelings.
“No,” Joy said, “Just not perfect. None of us are perfect, but you strive for it, Mara. You’re the only one striving for something you can’t have.”
“And I guess even though Mick was in a relationship, that meant he was free?” Mara questioned with annoyance.
“Yeah…let’s say he was,” she told Mara, “Because it wasn’t a happy enough relationship.”
Mick shook his head, “You two have to stop this. Now!”
They both looked at him and then back at each other. But before they could start again, Mick walked between them, opened the door, and grabbed Mara by the arm, pulling her out into the hallway.
“Now please, just go,” he told her, “Someday I might answer your questions. Or not. I don’t know. Just go. Before this gets worse.”
She opened her mouth, but he shut the door on her. She heard the lock slide into place and just stood there, hearing the voices of Mick and Joy inside, talking, enjoying the company of each other, and then she walked away.
It didn’t take long for Noah to ‘learn’ what she had to. They didn’t tell her everything, she was sure, but enough. It wasn’t too hard to explain either, in actuality. All she had to do was present herself as willing to be open to the possibilities of magic and the like, and that was it. Easy to take.
“You think you’re looking for a lion,” Noah said before they began. Nina held the scroll, ready to get the doors open and begin, “I know Egyptian mythology to varying degrees of depth. I think I can help.”
“You can?” Fabian asked, “I’ve been doing some research, and I think it’s…”
She cut him off, “Sekhmet, the Sun Goddess. He has the head of a lion.”
“…Bastet, the cat…,” Fabian said, “Yes, that…that sounds better.”
“You got cat, but not lion?” Patricia asked Fabian dryly.
“I saw cat and figured it might be good,” he said, “And…I was distracted…”
“I can vouch for that one,” Amber said, looking at Nina.
“I’m sorry!” Nina defended, “We haven’t had much time for each other! Not…that any of you really need to know that…”
“So, you found Bastet, called it good, and quit,” Noah said, “For the sake of your girlfriend. I…can accept that,” she smiled a bit, “I think any of us might have done the same, in your situation of not having seen each other.”
“Ok, let’s just forget that,” Nina said, embarrassed now, “So, Sekhmet. We know that, but what is it that we need to find?” she questioned.
“That’s a very good question,” Noah said with a shrug, “I can tell you that she was a woman with the head of a lion, the Eye of Ra, and also Hathor, Goddess of Love, Music and Dance. But I doubt Hathor has any part to play.”
“Ok, so just look for a woman with the head of a lion. Anything,” Nina said, “Anything at all. Bring it back here, we’ll figure it out when we’re forced to reconvene in three hours.”
“What if it’s too big to bring?” Alfie asked, “Like…a statue?”
“Get stronger,” Patricia told him.
“I’m serious!” he said.
“So am I,” she answered.
“Then call someone,” Fabian said, “We’ll figure it out.”
“Ok, is everyone ready?” Nina asked.
Amber lifted her hand, causing the others to do the same. Noah looked at all of them, and imitated them.
“You’re not a member,” Amber told her, “Sorry. Members only.”
“Oh just let her,” Fabian said, “She gave us this information, after all. And it could pan out.”
“I think that if this works, she should be allowed to join us, if she wants,” Nina said, “So let her keep her hand up.”
“Fine…,” Amber sighed, “Sibuna.”
“Sibuna,” the others repeated.
“Sibuna?” Noah said a moment after the others, adding hers in a questioning tone.
“‘Anubis’ spelled backwards,” Amber said, as if Noah were an idiot or something.
“Got it,” Noah said with a nod.
Nina opened the scroll and read. The doors swung open, revealing the hallways to them, allowing them entrance to the manor and its vast expanse of rooms.
“Remember, search for anything related to Sekhmet!” Nina said, “Fast!”
They hurried off ahead, while Noah looked around in wonder. She knew of the manor, but she didn’t know it was this magnificent. She kept looking, turning around and looking all around her before she paused, but the figure she had thought she saw was gone.
She hurried off after the others, intent on pulling her own weight. But standing by the door was the cloaked man wearing the Ibis mask, watching her run off last to join them. And then he was gone.
The search was long and tedious, and through various calls it was learned that nobody had found anything yet.
“Was I wrong?” Noah wondered quietly to herself as she walked, looking into every room, every room within every room, every closet, every cabinet, everything. Nothing, however, showed itself.
Then she got a call and lifted her mobile up, “Nina?”
“I found it!” she told Noah, “Hurry back to the main room!”
“I’ll do my best,” she said, hanging up and pocketing her mobile. She left the room she was in, closing the door behind her, running down the hallway, excited.
But why was she excited? She was spying on these people. She had already taken everything she could get so far on the Cup of Ankh, wherever that was. She was the one who sent them here, and had come along just to spy on their progress.
Was it a sense of accomplishment that her idea had possibly been right? She hadn’t known the answer, and had just thrown out a suggestion that was built off of another theory. So, was this what that was? Just pride that her idea was right?
Or was it this ‘Sibuna’ group? She would be accepted if she were right with Sekhmet. But was this pride at being part of them, and being able to help? Or was it joy at being integrated and being able to have an easier time spying?
Whatever it was, she didn’t know. She arrived in the main room and looked at them, being the last to arrive.
“I apologize, I don’t know the way,” she said meekly.
“That’s what we all feel like most of the time,” Fabian told her, “Don’t worry about it.”
Nina held something in her hands. It was a statue; a tall, slender statue, about as tall as her forearm, about as thin as it as well. It was a cold gray, like a stone, but didn’t appear rough. It almost looked to possibly be cast of a metal instead of carved of stone.
Was the appearance a hint? The unnatural appearance a hint that this was an answer? That it had to do with the magic of the building?
Nina placed it on the mantle. A few seconds passed without anything happening, and yet everyone knew something had just occurred. It was as if a timer had stopped, as if they had all been keeping time and just stopped, no longer necessary. But it wasn’t just to the individual; it was to the entire building.
And then another secret compartment slid open on the mantle, and another scroll presented itself. The one Nina had read earlier was locked; it wouldn’t open again as Nina tested it, out of curiosity.
She lifted the new scroll, “Well, should we do this?”
“I think we should,” Fabian said, “I think we have enough time.”
When nobody objected, Nina unfurled the scroll, reading the next riddle, “‘Protector of the livelihood of man, defend our light. Protector of the livelihood of man, rest with master. The protector was slain.’” She looked at all of them, “Any idea?”
They all spoke possibly theories, which sounded really bad, especially from Alfie, so Noah paid them no heed. She thought about it, realizing she had no idea.
“I don’t think we have a time limit this time,” Nina told them, “So this is another search mission, so to speak.”
“A search mission where we have no idea in the least what we’re looking for,” Patricia said. She looked at Noah, “Your knowledge tell you anything?”
“I’m afraid to admit that it doesn’t,” Noah said, “I have no idea on any of it. I am sorry, all of you.”
“What if we try to cover more ground?” Alfie asked.
“What do you mean?” Fabian asked him.
“Jerome helped us with the Cup and Rufus at the end. I’ll ask him to come! Even if we don’t know what we’re looking for, we can find something that fits, somehow! And Jerome’s sneaky, maybe he knows something.”
“I should bring Joy,” Patricia said, “She seemed interested in some of this…and it couldn’t hurt to keep her away from Mick for a bit.”
“Bring them,” Amber said, “I don’t like being stuck on these.”
“Just make sure that it’ll all work out,” Nina said, “We don’t need secrets or anything getting out.”
“Of course,” Patricia said, “It’ll work out with Joy.”
“I think for Jerome too,” Alfie said.
“Well, it’s settled. We come back tomorrow with help, if possible. For now, we do some research,” Nina said.
“Better copy the message on a phone,” Fabian said.
Nina nodded, taking a picture of the message as Noah held the scroll for her. She pocketed her mobile, “Ok, got it.”
“Then let’s go and start doing research,” Fabian said, heading towards the door with the others shortly in tow.
Noah walked last, looking back at the mantle. And for a split second she thought she saw a figure wearing a robe and the mask of a bird, but he was gone.
10: House of EveryoneEdit
“So, let me get this straight,” Jerome said as Alfie finished, “You guys are running around a giant mansion that nobody has been in in almost a century, trying to solve riddles and find magic.”
“That’s about right,” Alfie said, “Oh, did I mention the mummies?”
“Multiple times,” he said, “At least Rufus is gone. That’s the best part.”
“You know some people would hear you say that and think you’re cruel, or something,” Alfie told him.
“The man was crazy,” Jerome told Alfie, “I’m glad he’s gone, for our sakes. And for others. Who knows what else he did?”
“Yeah, especially since he might have been the one who did that to Victor,” Alfie said.
Jerome nodded, “Yeah, that would be the best end for him, if he did do that too.”
“So, you in?” Alfie asked.
“Hm…spend time with you lot running around a mansion trying to solve a riddle, where I could very well end up being killed by mummies, or be here, with Mara. That’s a very hard one, Alfie, truly hard.”
“Fine, no need to sound like a jerk about it,” Alfie said, “But you helped last time,” he pointed out, standing up from his bed.
Jerome was sitting on the edge of his bed, “Ah, but my livelihood isn’t on the line this time,” he pointed out, “Sorry.”
“Um…Noah’s there,” he said.
“All the more reason to stay away,” Jerome said.
“Right…still not used to you and Mara,” Alfie said, “I just made it worse, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, kind of,” he said. He didn’t trust being there with Noah, not after what Mara told him about their little meeting and Noah’s issues with Mara and Jerome.
Alfie sighed, “What could I say to make you come?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Jerome said.
To that Alfie said nothing, just remaining quiet and staring at him. Jerome shook his head, “No! Not like that!” he said.
“Then what do I say?” Alfie questioned.
“I tried that!”
“Alfie!” Jerome snapped.
“Fine, fine,” Alfie said, walking to the door and opening it, “But you’re missing out!” he said.
“Oh, I’m sure,” Jerome answered, watching him leave and circle around Mara as she came inside.
“What was that about?” Mara asked, closing the door behind her.
“Alfie just wants me to help him with something,” Jerome said.
“And are you?” she asked.
“No,” he said.
“Why not? He’s your friend,” Mara said, sitting next to him.
“Because that would involve me being away from you,” he told Mara with a small smile.
“I can live,” she said, “He’s your friend, you really should help. What is it, anyway?”
A sly smile came to Jerome, “You know…maybe I will help him. But answer me something. How do you like riddles?”
“I like them, sometimes,” she said, “Why do you ask?”
His smile grew, “Oh, then this will be perfect.”
“You were interested before in joining us, if possible,” Patricia pointed out to Joy.
“I know, but that was before,” she said, “This is now.”
“And what’s different?” Patricia questioned.
Joy stared at her like she was an idiot, “Do you have to ask?”
“I felt like it. Doesn’t mean I need an answer,” she told Joy.
“Mick,” she said as a simple answer.
“So, you’re willing to ignore me and something you wanted to do, because of Mick?” she asked.
“Yeah, that’s about right,” Joy said.
“Joy, this is only for today, and if you like it, only on weekends,” Patricia told her, “It’s not like you won’t have time for him…”
“Why do you want me?” Joy asked.
“Because we’re friends, and we need help. And because we haven’t had a lot of time together recently,” Patricia said, “After last year, we need more time.”
“You’re right,” Joy said, “You’re so, so right.”
“So you’re coming?” Patricia asked.
“Yeah, I’ll come,” Joy said, “But I’ll find another way there, like walking. I don’t think we could all go by cab.”
“Alright. I’ll give you directions,” Patricia said, “And I’ll be sure we leave the door open for you.”
“Thanks,” Joy said, “So, you guys really are stuck?”
“I guess,” Patricia shrugged, “Noah’s a bit of an expert on mythology and stuff and she has no idea. Fabian didn’t find anything from his research either.”
“I don’t think Fabes is doing much research,” Joy said, still sticking to that name for him.
Patricia shrugged, “You’re probably right. But he says he was doing the research.”
“Well, maybe half and half,” Joy said, “Or maybe he is that dull that he would put off romance for this.”
“You make it sound like this entire search is boring,” Patricia said.
“Mummies don’t necessarily make it thrilling,” Joy told her, “Or constantly searching the same rooms over and over in hopes of finding something new each new riddle.”
“Ok, you have a point,” Patricia said, “But in the end, it’s going to be worth it.”
“Let’s hope so,” Joy said, “Do you have any idea who left that drive?”
“None,” Patricia said, “That’s still a very big question that none of us can solve.”
“Could it have been Noah?” Joy asked.
“Why would she do it?” Patricia asked, “Besides, she didn’t know anything.”
“Mr. Wolf?” Joy asked.
“We found it before he took over,” Patricia pointed out.
“Then it was a student here, Noah, or someone who broke in,” Joy said, “Take your pick.”
“I’ll think on that,” Patricia said. Though it was interesting; they had almost completely forgotten about the mystery of who actually left the flashdrive behind. The manor and that mystery took over completely.
Now Patricia had this to think about as well. But it wasn’t as important. Because they were about to set out for the manor, that clue was the most important mystery at the moment. Later she would think about the USB, and try to determine the answer to that mystery.
She started to write and put the piece of paper on Joy’s bed, “There’s the directions,” she said.
Joy nodded, “I’ll be there when I can.”
Patricia nodded and exited, heading to see the others so they could leave.
“Did anyone find anything?” Nina asked when they reconvened in the main hall.
“Considering we still don’t know what we’re looking for…no,” Patricia said.
“The same,” Alfie said.
“I wasn’t really looking,” Amber said, “I mean, how can we look?”
“Well, look at the statute of Sekhmet,” Noah said, coming to Nina’s aid, “It looks so strange. Just look for something like that, I guess.”
“And what if it’s the wrong riddle we answer by doing that?” Alfie asked.
“Then we don’t have to search at some point,” Fabian told him.
“Good point,” Alfie said.
“The scale didn’t look like that,” Amber commented, looking at it sitting against the wall.
Nina crouched down and picked it up, “Amber makes a very good point,” Nina said, showing it to everyone. It lacked the strange look of the statue, thus possibly rending the theory instantly wrong.
“Well, what else can we do except look for something like the statue?” Fabian asked, “My internet searches and talking to Uncle Ade gave me nothing. I have no idea at all. And if Noah doesn’t know anything either, then we’re stuck.”
“Let’s not make this a waste of a trip,” Noah said, looking at them all, “Let’s just keep looking! We’ll find it eventually! Just…just look for any sort of statue or anything like the scale! Just anything that we can carry, and bring it back!”
“That’s a lot of work,” Amber said.
“Trial and error would be helpful,” Fabian commented, “That could work. It would be while, but it could work. And we might find future answers as well. I’d rather solve this instead of guess, but what other option do we have this time?”
“Exactly,” Noah said, “So, should we try it?”
“We’ve already spent two hours looking and finding nothing,” Nina said, “I guess it might be for the best.”
They heard the main doors open from their semi-closed positions and turned to look. Jerome came inside, leading Mara. They both looked in wonder at the massive hall, and then down to the group.
“So, I guess Jerome wasn’t lying,” Mara said, her voice echoing down to them, “Are you really looking for magic?”
They all looked at Alfie, “I didn’t think he was coming!” Alfie said, “Or that he’d bring Mara!”
The two soon reached the end of the hall, “So, is it true?” Mara asked.
“Y-yeah…,” Nina said after looking to Jerome.
“I told her everything,” Jerome said, “At least, everything Alfie told me.”
“I didn’t think you were coming,” Alfie told him.
“Mara talked me into helping you,” Jerome said, “I didn’t want to, so I could be with her. This works. I’m helping my friend and being with my girlfriend. Who knows, a giant mansion might be romantic.”
“Well, what’s the riddle?” Mara asked, “I mean, sorry. I just got kind of excited. Can I stay and help?”
“Yeah,” Nina said, “Yeah, we could really use the help,” she handed the scroll over, “Because if we can’t figure this out, we’re going to just take anything that could be an answer and bring it back here.”
Mara looked it over, “You know, I as skeptical, but this is genuine. And Jerome told me about last year…I can’t believe that this is all real.”
“It’s hard to take,” Nina said, “But it’s real, and dangerous.”
“I’m prepared to help as much as I can,” Mara said, “I can’t let you all go off and do this without me. We’re all living together, we’re friends. The mystery was at our house. We should have all known. So I’m here to make up for that.”
“It’ll be appreciated,” Nina told Mara, “Very appreciated.”
Mara nodded, “I’m sorry,” she said, handing the scroll back, “I don’t know about that. All I can get is that a protector is being talked up, and then the protector is dead. So whoever the protector is, I guess we’re looking for something related.”
“We got that much,” Noah told her, “But we’re having some trouble there.”
They heard the door open again, “That would be Joy,” Patricia said.
Mara shook her head a little, not knowing that Joy was going to be here. She looked back with the others, seeing Joy enter. And then Mick.
“Mick?” Patricia questioned, “I didn’t invite him! I didn’t ask Joy to bring him!” At that point it was more about defending herself.
“I chose to bring Mick!” Joy called, “Hope that’s ok! I told him everything!”
As they walked down to join the other eight students, for the first time, the entirety of Anubis House was together and involved with the mystery.
“Well,” Joy said, giving back the scroll, “I have no idea.”
“Me neither,” Mick said.
“Well, we’re just as stuck as before,” Nina said, “But we’ll figure this out. Everyone clear on what to do?”
“Bring anything,” Joy said.
Nina looked at everyone and lifted her hand up, “Sibuna.”
The main group, including Noah answered, “Sibuna.”
The new four did the same. Jerome and Mick more hesitantly, a bit annoyed at it, “Sibuna.”
And they were all as one. They were all Sibuna now, whether true members, or honorary members. But every student in Anubis House was there, to solve the mystery that Frobisher-Smythe had left behind.
They were all together. Everyone was ready.
11: House of ConflictsEdit
“It’s not going to work!” Mick complained as they talked about how next to proceed.
“What do you mean?” Fabian questioned, “Of course it’ll work! It’ll just take time!”
“No, it won’t work. Period,” Mick said.
“Explain,” Noah said, coming to Fabian’s aid here.
“If we go through every room and bring back everything that could be an answer, then what happens if something had to be there?” he asked, “What if we screw up the future?”
“That’s…a good point,” Fabian said, not having thought of that, surprised Mick of all people would, “But it might be a risk to take.”
“Or we just take something that can represent the clue,” Mara said, “Anything having to do with a protector.”
“But that could be anything,” Joy said, “A sword can protect someone. Does that mean a sword is the possible answer?”
There were swords in the manor. She had a good point with that one; many things could be considered protectors in various ways.
“You know, Joy has a point,” Patricia said, “Medicine is also a protector, and medicine is sometimes made of plants, so a plant…well, you get the point.”
“It could be anything,” Nina said, cutting them off, “Ok, we get it. It’s going to be difficult. Very difficult. But we have to figure out a way to proceed! We need to stop arguing and figure this out!”
Jerome laughed a bit, “Good luck with that.”
“We need to make a plan, don’t we?” Amber asked Nina.
“Yeah…,” Nina said, looking back at the arguing members, “Guys!” she said loudly, but they remained ignorant of her, continuing their argument.
“We need groups,” Noah said to Nina.
“My thought exactly, keep the bickerers away from each other. Guys! Everyone!” she shouted at them, but they continued to argue and ignore her.
Eventually Jerome took Mara by the arm and led her away, “Ok, we’re done with that,” he told her, “Just stay there,” he told Mick and Joy.
“You stay where you are then,” Mick told him. This put space between them, enough to at least stop them from arguing.
“Ok,” Nina said, stepping between the groups, “Look, we need to figure this out. We need an idea of what to look for, and we need groups to keep this working and efficient.”
Noah lifted the statue of Sekhmet, “Guys! Look at this,” she said, passing it around, “Look at the material. If nothing else, look for that material and bring something back. No matter what it is. A sword. An image of a plant. Anything that can be a protector of man. Preferably related to light.”
“It says slain,” Mara commented, realizing this, “Whatever we’re looking for is living, or was living. Maybe a plant, but ‘slain’ doesn’t fit the killing of a plant…”
“That’s really good,” Amber said, “What do you think it means?”
“Possibly a God or Goddess,” Noah said, “It could make sense.”
“Osiris was killed, right?” Fabian asked.
Noah nodded, “That’s right. Gods and Goddesses can be killed, that means. But that doesn’t help if we don’t know who died.”
“Just look for any God or Goddess, anything related,” Patricia said, “How does that sound?”
“Sounds fine,” Nina said, “It could work. Everyone clear? Good, we need to split us up.”
Jerome put his hand on Mara’s shoulder, “We’re together.”
Joy grabbed Mick’s hand and pulled him towards the door, “Same.”
“I’m going with,” Patricia said with a bit of a sigh, “Someone has to make sure a search is being conducted,” she headed over towards them to join.
“I’ll go with…,” Noah got cut off.
“I’ll go with Jerome and Mara,” Alfie said, heading off with them, “I’ll be sure to show them around.”
“Fabian?” Nina asked.
He nodded, “Of course,” he said.
“Guess it’s us,” Noah said to Amber, “Shall we?”
“Yes, let’s go,” she said, heading into the manor.
“Do you think it was a good idea?” Fabian asked Nina as they searched room to room at a deeper part of the manor.
“What idea?” she asked as she came out of another room connected to the larger one that Fabian was searching.
“Everyone being here, everyone knowing,” he said.
She shrugged, “You know, I don’t know. It could be very good, or it could go the exact opposite and be very bad. I’d like to think this will work out pretty well.”
“So would I,” Fabian said, “Doesn’t mean it will.”
“Have some faith,” she said, heading towards the next room. He followed, leaving the door open to signify it had been searched.
“I guess it’ll work out, as long as they stay away from each other,” Fabian said, “But do you think this might get out? To the school, Mr. Wolf, even Victor?”
“Joy is the one I don’t trust,” Nina said rather selfishly.
“How so?” he asked. Joy was still his friend, even if they hadn’t talked much recently, or done much together.
Nina had nothing to say. She was trying to think of an answer, but couldn’t get one.
“You’re jealous,” he smiled.
“I know that we’re together, I know she knows, and I know she’s with Mick,” Nina said, “But she still likes you.”
“She tried over the summer, and it didn’t work,” Fabian told Nina, “There’s nothing to worry about. We’re safe. Joy won’t be with me, or ruin things. I’m sure of that. If anything, I’d guess she might try to screw up Jerome and Mara’s relationship, just because of Mick’s history with Mara.”
“Yeah, Mara’s been kind of mad recently,” Nina said, “Or…not mad, just…I don’t know what word to use.”
“I get it,” Fabian said, “I can imagine. That’s…I’ve tried to not pay attention to that mess, but the little I’ve heard is enough to make me understand.”
“Understand Mara or the situation?” she asked.
“Mara. I have no idea about the situation,” he said.
She smiled, “Me neither,” she fell in beside him, taking his hand, “Guess not everyone can have a relationship as good as us.”
He smiled back, “That’s right,” he said, looking around to make sure they were alone, and then he gave her a quick kiss, “Now let’s keep looking. The sooner we figure this out, the sooner we can determine who stays and who goes.”
“You don’t think they’ll all stay?” she asked.
“No,” he admitted, “I doubt it. But it might be wishful thinking, with the possible fighting that’ll remain.”
“Let’s hope that it doesn’t get worse,” Nina said.
“We made them go separate ways. Alfie and Patricia are with them. It should be fine,” Fabian said.
Patricia looked at the large room, “Well…this is kind of odd,” she said, looking at the small pyramids and other pyramid-related items. There was even brick lying around; huge blocks of stone. It was everything related to the pyramids and tombs, including tools.
“I wonder why he would have a room like this,” Joy said, running her hand over one of the blocks, lifting it up and looking at the thick dust that had settled on her hand.
“I can’t imagine this stuff is too good to touch,” Mick said, “Probably rotten wood in the tools, if nothing else.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t touch much,” Patricia said, looking to see another door. “I’ll look this way,” she said, walking over and opening it, stepping into another room, a smaller room. It was dark, so she used her mobile for a light.
Very soon Mara and Jerome were entering the room, not seeing Mick and Joy towards the corner. They looked around, then saw the others.
“We have this covered,” Mick told them.
“Are you sure?” Jerome questioned him, “I wouldn’t trust any room you approve of finishing, Mick.”
“And why is that?” he questioned.
“You don’t have an eye for things,” he said, putting his arm around Mara, “Or you wouldn’t have let her go and chosen…Joy…,” he let out a groaning sound at Joy’s name, showing his rather distaste for her.
Mara smiled, Joy looked annoyed, “And what is that supposed to mean?” she questioned Jerome.
“What it sounds like,” he said.
Alfie hurried into the room, “Hey! You guys, out!” he told his two wards, “We’re not supposed to be arguing!”
“Oh, someone has to fight your battles?” Mick questioned at Alfie’s insistence, aiming it at Jerome.
“You have a chaperone too,” he said, “Difference is, I can control mine. Alfie, no.”
“No,” he told Alfie. Alfie remained quiet for now.
“Where’s Patricia?” Mara asked.
“Why? You want to order her to make us leave?” Joy asked, “You want this room?”
“No,” Mara said, “I just want to know what she knows.”
“Then ask me,” Joy said, “Or don’t you trust what Mick and I know?”
Her condescending voice was getting on Mara’s nerves, “Look, Joy…”
As they continued their argument, Patricia was using her mobile as a light and looking around. She felt around the wall, knocking the door closed on accident. As soon as it closed, the room lit up somehow. She span around to look at the wall.
A shrine. An altar. There was a Goddess she wasn’t able to identify on it; a woman with the head of a snake.
She tried to open the door, but it wouldn’t open. She panicked and started to shout and bang on the door, but nobody would answer her. She was trapped.
But outside, in the main room, the doors sealed on the five, locking them inside. They were all trapped.
They had all just triggered the wrath of a Goddess.
12: House of SilenceEdit
By the time the door finally opened for Patricia, the other door had opened as well. She hurried out, “What happened? Did someone lock me in?” she questioned.
Alfie tried to say something to her, but no sound escaped his lips. He realized this and panicked, trying to talk, but nothing.
Jerome, Mick, Joy and Mara all tried to talk as well, but like Alfie, there was nothing.
“Ok…this really isn’t good,” Patricia said, taking out her mobile again, “Yeah, Nina, get everyone onto the second floor, the wing on the right, towards the back. Just…just hurry,” she said.
She looked back at them, still angry with each other, and Alfie more confused than angry. She sighed, wondering what happened. But she looked over her shoulder, at the shrine. She was sure that had something to do with this.
Soon the others arrived. Nina and Fabian hurried, “What happened?” Fabian asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I’ll let Alfie explain,” Patricia said, “Alfie?”
He started talking, but no sound escaped his mouth.
“See?” she said.
“What happened?” Fabian asked, “I mean, seriously, what happened? Who did this?”
“Do you think someone did this?” Amber asked him.
“Well…something happened,” Fabian said, “And I’m going to guess it was something someone did.”
“I got locked in a room, they were arguing I imagine, and then this happened,” Patricia said.
“A room?” Nina asked.
“So you were safe?” Amber asked her, “A door protected you?”
“It was a shrine room,” Patricia said, “Maybe it was ground zero, and I was safe? I don’t know.”
“Shrine?” Noah asked with more curiosity, “Show me!”
She led Noah and the others into the room, with the silent five staying back and out of the way, glaring at each other.
Noah looked at the items in the main room in passing, and then at the shrine room, nodding once, “Mertseger,” she said simply, quietly, “I get it.”
“Mertseger?” Fabian asked, “I never heard of her.”
“I don’t think I could pronounce that,” Amber said, “So yeah, same.”
“Mertseger,” Noah said again, “The Goddess of Tomb Builders.”
“And what does that have to do with silence?” Amber asked. It was something they were all thinking.
Noah smiled a little, “This is where my knowledge comes in handy,” she said, “She’s a lover of silence. You five must have made her mad, in the room that is like a shrine to her, connected to the real shrine, and she did this,” Noah said.
“How do they fix it?” Nina asked Noah.
The other girl shrugged, “Honestly? I don’t know.”
“Ok,” Patricia said, “Maybe we should leave? Or stay and try to figure this out? But I think our search is over.”
Nina nodded, “Yeah. This is far more important for now.”
“I need to do some research,” Noah told them, “Maybe returning would be the best. Call a cab or two, so everyone can get a ride, and we’ll figure this out.”
“Tomorrow is Monday,” Fabian said.
“I’ll work as fast as possible,” Noah said, “I’ll get us an answer, and help them before school begins. I promise.”
By the time they got back to Anubis House, Noah was still thinking, trying to get anything out of her memory that she could about Mertseger that could be useful. But she admitted that she didn’t get anywhere.
“Now what?” Patricia asked, “What do we do with them?”
“Stash them in their rooms?” Fabian asked.
“That could work,” Noah said, “Try that. If Mr. Wolf or Trudy comes around, someone will have to intercept.”
“You really sound like a leader,” Amber said.
“I’m the one with the knowledge,” Noah said, “I figure that this might be best.”
“I have no problem with it,” Nina said.
“I think I’m leader,” Amber told Nina, “No offense. You have the necklace, but I created Sibuna.”
“Well, it’s not important,” Nina said, “All that matters is that we function.”
Hours later, Trudy was calling everyone for dinner. They came out, with Fabian and Patricia with the silenced group, just in case. Nina was distracting Trudy with conversation while the others took their seats at the table.
“Well, enjoy,” Trudy said, looking at her watch, “Oh, I have to be going! I’ll be late for my appointment, bye everyone!” she called, but didn’t pay attention to the lack of voices returning the goodbye. Nina’s conversation had helped eat up time to create the distraction.
“Ok, so far so good,” Fabian said, “Noah?”
“I’m still looking,” she said, “It’s kind of hard. I haven’t found anything about a curse of muteness.”
“Well, so this is a first? Even in terms of mythology?” Nina asked.
“It looks like that,” Noah said, “Should they feel honored?” She shook her head, “Well, I’ll keep looking. There has to be something.”
“Maybe something in that room,” Patricia said.
“Why would that curse be in that room without a way to undo it?” Amber asked, “What if Frobisher made a mistake and triggered it?”
“That’s a good point,” Noah said.
“I’m impressed,” Patricia said.
Alfie looked proudly at Amber, but of course could say nothing. The other four were just waiting for some sort of answer. They were sick of silence.
“So, we have to go back then?” Noah wondered, “I wish we had thought of this earlier…”
“Can we make the trip now?” Fabian asked.
“It might not yield us anything,” Noah said, “I’d like to do some more research. It might be that Frobisher knew the answer, and it wasn’t something in the room that would undo it. We have to consider that as well.”
“Right. Just please, hurry,” Nina told her.
School was troublesome the next day, and still no answers had presented themselves. It was still early, and they had managed to get through their first class without problems, but barely. That was good, at least.
“How are we going to get them through the rest of the day?” Nina wondered.
“It’ll be hard in French, especially,” Fabian said.
“Anything?” Nina asked Noah.
The girl shook her head, “I’m sorry, but no.” She toyed with her tie as she said it, feeling sorry about it.
“We’ll figure it out,” Fabian said, “Somehow, we’ll get it.”
“What do you think caused it?” Nina asked.
Patricia walked over to join them, “I assume they were arguing. I couldn’t quite hear the whole time, but it sounded like that, the little I did hear.”
“So, arguing…they angered the Goddess, I imagine. They broke the silence with their anger,” Noah said.
“How sure are you?” Nina asked.
“That sounds right to me,” Noah said, but that’s all she had. No idea how sure she was.
“Well, it could be true,” Fabian said.
“It sounds like it to me,” Amber said as she too joined, “I would be angry.” They looked at her, “Oh, I left them. The silence was really…driving me crazy. I wouldn’t have thought that silence would do that.”
“Yeah,” Fabian nodded, “I can see that it might be like that.”
“So, how do we want to do this?” Patricia asked.
“Go and say sorry?” Amber wondered.
“That…might work,” Noah said, “Actually, I like that. Yes! Repent! If they repent, that might do it! Yes! They have to try!”
“If they try and it doesn’t work, then what?” Amber asked, “We’re out of ideas, right?”
“Unfortunately,” Fabian said, “But that’s just for now.”
The others were going to say the same, but didn’t get the chance before Fabian did.
“We’ll find more answers,” Nina agreed, “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll find another option.”
Noah even nodded, though very skeptical, “Yes. We’ll find something, somehow. Someway. Frobisher had to have a countermeasure somewhere. If he wanted people to solve this, then why include a trap like that and no possible way to fix it?”
“Right, Frobisher would have wanted to test people. To truly test them. How better than getting over this?” Fabian mused.
“It’s settled then, right?” Patricia asked, “We go and try it. But when?”
“Now,” Fabian said, “We go now.”
13: House of SkipEdit
“Jerome? Mick?” Mr. Wolf asked during his class. Neither of them had said a word since class started. Whereas other students answered questions or spoke to each other, neither said anything. Even to their friends, even when spoken to.
“Mr. Wolf?” Nina asked.
“Yes Nina?” he asked, his attention going to her for the moment.
“Well, it’s kind of a bet…,” Nina trailed off, looking at both of them at their different tables.
“A bet?” their teacher asked.
She nodded, “They’re trying to see who can be silent the longest,” she told him.
“That’s childish,” Mr. Wolf stated, “I won’t have it in my classroom.”
“It’s quieter at Anubis House,” Nina pointed out.
“I don’t mind,” he said, “I won’t have it here, though.”
“Well, they’re very dedicated,” Amber said, helping Nina, “Even if you force them to talk, I doubt they would.”
“Is that so?” Mr. Wolf asked, “Clarke, Campbell if neither of you speak, it’ll be detention for a week. Say something. Now!”
Both of them just looked panicked over the prospect of such a punishment. Neither could say anything.
“And why aren’t Lewis, Jaffray or Mercer speaking?” Mr. Wolf asked, “More bets?”
“Protesting,” Patricia said.
“Protesting?” he asked.
Fabian nodded, “You see, they didn’t like the idea of this, so they’re protesting it by being silent back. It’s countering them, basically.”
Fabian was annoyed. The plan was to have left by now, but Mr. Wolf had seen them, so they couldn’t all leave like that. They didn’t have enough time to come up with an excuse either, unfortunately. If he hadn’t seen them, they would have had time and could have left for the manor.
The bell rang before Mr. Wolf could make his comment. He quickly told the assignment as students were leaving. The Sibuna group got together and got out before Mr. Wolf could stop them and quickly got away as he stepped out to find them.
“That was close,” Nina said.
“To running out of feasible lies?” Fabian asked, “If that’s it, then yeah. Close.”
“I don’t think those lies were even that feasible,” Noah put in.
“They worked, that’s what matters,” Patricia said, “Now what? We just go?”
Fabian nodded, “Yeah, we all just go. Now.”
“We should go back to the House and change,” Nina said.
“Why?” Amber asked, “That’s work to find something in a hurry.”
“The driver would notice our uniforms,” Fabian said, “Something would be amiss.”
“Won’t he notice a group of student age kids not at school?” Amber asked.
“You have a point,” Nina said, “But it’ll be easier.”
“Fine, I guess I can find something quickly enough…,” Amber said.
“Well, not all of us are even needed,” Noah said, “Just that group and Nina, really.”
“That’s right,” Nina said, “I can go alone with them and it can work out that way. You guys can stay.”
“It’ll look strange,” Fabian pointed out.
“Six of the Anubis House students missing,” Patricia said, “Yeah, strange.”
“It’ll work,” Noah said, “We can assure that.”
Nina nodded, “Well, you guys ready to get your voices back?” Nina asked, turning to all of them.
There were nods. Alfie’s was more excited. He clearly couldn’t stand this. It was a surprise that Joy had kept under control, unlike Alfie, while she nodded.
“Ok, call the cab and…I hate to ask, but…,” Nina started.
Noah didn’t let her finish, finding some money and pressing it to her hand, “There’s your passage.”
“Thanks,” Nina said, “I hate to make you pay.”
“It’s fine,” Noah said, “Just fix them. It’s getting…annoying.”
Nina nodded, “Yeah, I’ll get them talking again. I’ll get them to repent.”
“Please do,” Noah said, letting her leave as soon as Amber OKed it by saying the cab was on its way.
Nina and the others hurried out of school when they could, heading away from the schoolgrounds and towards the road, where the cab was waiting within a few minutes. The six got in, just managing to fit, and headed off towards the manor. Silence permeated the cab awkwardly, but nothing was ever asked of why.
They arrived in about twenty minutes. Nina paid and thanked the man. Not sure how long this would take; she didn’t ask him to stay. She and the silenced Sibuna members hurried towards the door, quickly heading inside and heading towards the room that the trap had been sprung inside of.
The manor’s size didn’t make it too hard. It was impressive, massive, but such an important room was ingrained into Nina’s memory about how to reach it. She was sure the others would know about just as easily. It was the room where this curse had befallen them, after all. She knew they would all want their voices back desperately, so she was sure they all knew how to get there.
“Here it is,” Nina said, opening the door, being the last one in. She let the door remain open.
Back at school, their next teacher was asking about where the missing students were.
“Ok, this is where it gets tricky,” Amber told the teacher.
“Tricky?” he asked, “Great…what sort of story have you concocted?”
“No story,” she told him, “It’s the truth.”
“Let’s hear it,” he said, not really ready to believe anything that might be said.
“It’s kind of a love square of sorts…,” Amber said.
“Love square?” he asked, “Just what are you talking about?”
“Jerome likes Mara, Mara likes him and Mick. Mick likes her and Joy. Joy and Jerome don’t like each other. So…they’re off working out their differences and trying to figure out how to sort this mess out. It’s become very hostile in the House recently. We refuse to let it happen while we’re around. They figured this was the best time, so they…skipped your class…,” she realized that that didn’t work. She admitted to their skipping, instead of finding a viable excuse for their absences.
“And what about Nina and Alfie?” he questioned.
“They’re making sure it doesn’t get too out of hand,” Noah said, jumping in easily enough to help Amber out.
“Oh?” he asked.
“Alfie may be biased and be Jerome’s friend, but he’s able to remain out of it. And Nina is very out of it,” Noah said, “It works best this way. We all were trying to figure out who would mediate, but it ended up being those two. I’m taking notes for them,” Noah held up her notebook to show. She wasn’t the type to take notes, so this would mean something, “It pained them to miss, or skip, I guess, but they had to. The House has become too difficult to live in. It needed sorting. It just turned out to be those two, instead of another of us.”
He shook his head, “I’m going to have to have a talk with them,” he said, “But I understand how it is to be young.” He was perhaps in his late thirties, “I know what this sort of thing can be like. It’s more complex than I’ve ever seen, but…I can at least understand some of it. Back to the lesson. Noah, be sure to keep them informed with those notes. I won’t punish them as long as they can pass the quiz tomorrow.”
“Yes sir,” Noah answered with a nod, looking at the board and going back to her notebook, keeping up with the notes.
“Nice work,” Patricia whispered to the girl next to her.
Noah nodded, “It was easy enough.”
Fabian leaned back, “You probably just saved them.”
“Again, easy enough, so it’s no problem,” she whispered to Fabian.
He went forward again to keep listening. It was on all of their minds, not just his. How was it going at the manor?
Nina looked around the room that was the home of Mertseger’s will. She looked back at the others as they looked around, not entirely sure what to do.
“Ok…,” Nina said, just to end the silence, “I guess…repent. Say you’re sorry guys. Or…no, sorry.”
Of course they couldn’t say sorry. They would have to think it, pray it, perhaps. But would that be an affront to God? This was confusing on how this was supposed to work. “Just…ask for forgiveness. Silently,” Nina said.
She watched them all bow their heads. That seemed a good idea; she’d have done the same without having to think about it. It seemed to come naturally. They all were probably focusing on Mertseger, on what they had to do. Repent. Say sorry and ask for forgiveness.
Soon, after the silence, she heard Alfie inhale, “Well…? It worked! I can talk again!” he shouted happily, grinning from ear to ear.
“It worked…,” Mara said, sounding a little astonished.
“I guess so,” Joy said, testing her voice.
Jerome opened his mouth. Nothing.
Mick looked at him, and did the same. Nothing.
“What’s wrong?” Nina asked them, “Did you two not ask forgiveness? Or do you just like being silent?”
She didn’t mean to sound impatient or anything, but these two weren’t part of Sibuna, not truly. She liked the idea of them all being together, but she was getting anxious. She wanted to get back to school. It wasn’t in her to skip like this, even for such a good cause. “Come on guys!” she pleaded.
“Jerome, please,” Mara said.
“Mick, do it so your lovely voice can be heard again,” Joy said to Mick.
Alfie just left, not wanting to listen to that stuff.
“I think we should just leave these two,” Nina told the other two girls, “Let them have the room alone. Maybe it’ll help.”
“Ok, sure,” Mara said, heading out.
Joy trailed behind her, looking back once, and then she too left, not looking too pleased about it.
As Nina was leaving, necklace in hand, the door slammed closed in front of her. It caught the necklace above the Eye of Horus, on the binding that kept it on the neck. It tossed the necklace into the hallway as a result, instead of making it get stuck. And with that, the door didn’t open as Nina tried to force it. She could hear the others outside, trying to get it open as well.
“I think it needs the necklace!” Alfie called in, trying to press it under the door, but it didn’t work.
“We’ll find away to get it inside to you!” Mara assured her.
Nina turned around to look at the other two. For a moment she could have sworn she saw the serpent-headed Goddess, Mertseger. And she knew why it was happening.
“You two weren’t sincere,” she said, “And I haven’t made her angry yet. I think…I think I’m stuck here until you two figure this out, or wok it out between each other, or…whatever needs to happen. Because maybe I’m mediator now…”
She looked back and forth at them, but neither was happy. This wasn’t going to go anywhere.
And they were trapped.
14: House of LockedEdit
Time passed. How long, Nina wasn’t sure. She had her mobile on hand, but it wasn’t charged. She hadn’t thought to charge it the night before, and she wasn’t one for watches. Jerome had a watch, but it didn’t seem to be moving. She wanted to check the time on her mobile, but she figured the same.
Time didn’t stop here, but she had no doubt that Mertseger would be stopping it on anything that would record the passage. This was their punishment; time might be a shining ray of hope. Nina wondered if her mobile worked. But if any of theirs did, who would they call? Or rather, she call? Or text?
Nina slumped down against the door, looking across the room at Mick and Jerome. The two were facing away from each other, their arms crossed over their chests in defiance towards the other. This was going nowhere.
“Come on you two!” she pleaded, “We’re trapped. The Goddess actually trapped us in here! You have to admit that something is very wrong. Just repent and we can solve this! Please!”
But there was nothing. Neither of them said anything at all.
“You don’t want to be sorry? Is that it?” she questioned. After a few moments, she snapped, “Look at me!”
Her shout seemed to startle the two. They did indeed look at her, causing her to ask again, “You two don’t want to repent, do you? You’re both proud of your anger, of the girl you’re with, and you both feel right, so you don’t want to repent, because you think you’d be letting down your pride. Right?”
They both nodded after a few moments. She had just taken a wild guess by placing herself in their positions. She didn’t think she was close at all. This was good, at least. Maybe if she could understand, she could find a way to convince them.
“Ok…so, what if you were both right?” she asked. “I mean, I’m sure if I talk long enough, we can find common ground, and you can both admit that the other is right in their own way, right? You can surely see the logic eventually?”
There was a knock on the door, “Jerome?” Alfie asked, “Can I have your pillow?”
“What?” Nina asked him.
“He has a really nice pillow,” Alfie said, “Well?”
Nina looked at Jerome, who was shaking his head.
“He says no,” Nina told Alfie.
“Well, too bad. If you don’t say it, then I’m taking it!” Alfie told him.
Nina looked at Jerome, but nothing.
“No, didn’t work,” Nina told him.
“I’m taking it anyway,” Alfie said.
“Um…a bit late,” Mara told Alfie.
“What?” he asked.
“Jerome let me try it, and I have it now,” she said.
“Oh come on! I’ve been begging you for a full night’s sleep with it, and you say no!” Alfie yelled at him, clearly hurt, “You kept telling me no. But you let her borrow it? What about all that stuff about how you need it, and… Oh, right, you can’t answer me. I’ll just quiet down now.”
“Mick?” Joy asked, “Can you please repent? For me? I don’t even care about pride anymore, I just want your voice back.”
Nina looked at him. He was shaking his head.
“He’s saying no,” she told Joy, “I don’t know what it means. Maybe he cares about his pride?”
“Mick, you should stop this!” Joy pleased, “For me?”
He shook his head.
“No,” Nina told her.
“You boys and your stubborn pride…,” Joy muttered, “But I still love you, Mick!”
Nina shook her head. She at least had their voices outside, but it was annoying. Combining that with the silence inside, and having to be a link back and forth and more often than naught just guessing what the silenced two meant, this was really getting to her. She wasn’t sure how long she could last.
“Anyone know how long it’s been?” Nina asked outside.
“Five minutes,” Mara answered.
“Five…five minutes?” Nina asked, feeling physically drained, “Are…are you sure that’s right?”
“It is,” Mara answered, “Why?”
“I feel like it’s been hours. If it’s only been five minutes…I…I don’t know how much of this I can take! It’s just so…maddening, almost!”
“We’ll get you out somehow,” Alfie promised.
“How?” she questioned.
“You know…we haven’t thought of anything yet. At all.”
“Just figure something out! Please!” Nina pleaded.
“We’re working on it,” Mara said, “Just give us some more time to think.”
“Yeah, sure….,” she said, “Just please, hurry…”
Sitting in class, the six didn’t seem to be noticed as missing. Nobody had questioned it. Fabian was a little afraid the teacher had just marked them truant and they would be in trouble later. But he was afraid to ask. He didn’t want something to go wrong, in case it would be relatively fine as it was.
Noah slipped her mobile out of her pocket when it vibrated. She looked at it under the table. It was from Mara.
‘Nina locked inside with Mick and Jerome. Both silent. Necklace outside. Trapped.’
Noah looked at the clock on the wall. She slipped her mobile back into her pocket and started to groan, “Sir? I think I’m sick. It just hit, and my stomach feels terrible.”
Their teacher turned, “Ok Noah. Go to the nurse’s office.”
She got up and nodded, “Thank you,” she said weakly, hurrying out of the room. But as soon as she was out she ducked into an empty classroom and called for a cab. She had to get to the manor and see what she could do. She was sure the other three had gotten the same text, but if they saw it or not, she didn’t know. She wasn’t sure what she could do, but she was the expert on mythology. Maybe she could find an answer.
“I texted everyone the situation,” Mara informed Nina as soon as she had finished.
“What good will it do?” Joy questioned.
“I don’t know,” Mara admitted, “Maybe someone can think of a way to get the necklace inside.”
“What if we had a sword?” Alfie asked.
“No Alfie,” the two girls told him at once.
“Hear me out!” he said defensively, “We take a sword, and we cut the bottom of the door! We make it wide enough for the necklace! It’s brilliant!”
“It’s dangerous,” Mara said.
“I don’t trust you with something that sharp,” Joy told Alfie.
“Thanks for saying it,” Mara told Joy.
“I’m more direct,” Joy said.
“Clearly,” Mara stated.
“Not a bad thing,” Joy told her.
“I didn’t say it was,” Mara replied.
“You made it sound like it. Or is it just from me?” Joy questioned.
“Can you stop it?” Alfie pleaded, “Please? I’d almost want to be in that room instead of Nina! I think the silence has got to be better than this!”
“I can still hear it Alfie. It’s worse in here, with those two hearing too and seeing their looks,” Nina informed Alfie.
“I’d still take my chances,” he told her through the door.
“I’m sure you would,” Nina answered, “So come on guys…anything? Any way you’d repent? Any way at all?”
Neither did anything. It was as if they were thinking on it. Was there something the other could do? Or were they just too stubborn or prideful to repent at all? Even if it meant their voices, for the time being?
“Come on! I’ve put myself in your places already, put yourselves in mine! In Mara’s! In Joy’s! Imagine how we all feel right now! I’m stuck in here, being driven crazy by your silence, while they’re both worried about you! Don’t you want your voice back so you can talk to them? So you can reunite with them in more than just an embrace or a kiss? I know that if I couldn’t talk to Fabian, he and I would both be going crazy. Imagine how they must feel, even if your pride is making you not feel it!”
Was it working? It looked like it.
They looked at each other, however, and then it was done. Ignorance and anger.
Nina felt like she was slumping down farther against the door, “It didn’t work…,” she told the three outside, “I don’t think anything is going to work.”
“Something must!” Mara insisted.
“We can force them to, somehow…” Joy said.
“I don’t think you can force someone to repent. To a Goddess. Let me strain that last part. A Goddess!” Alfie said.
“I think Alfie’s right,” Nina said, “This isn’t something that can be forced.”
Noah ran through the hallways. It was lucky for her that the door wasn’t locked with them inside, or she’d have been stuck.
It didn’t take her too long to find them. She knew where the room was and slowed when she saw the three sitting outside of the locked door.
“Noah?” Joy questioned, seeing her first.
“I came when I got the text,” she answered, “Just me, though.”
“Why?” Joy asked, “I mean, what can you do?”
“I don’t know,” Noah admitted, “But with my knowledge of mythology, maybe I can figure something out.”
“Maybe, but I don’t think so,” Mara said.
“Yeah, our problem is getting the necklace to Nina,” Alfie said, “Like by making a wider slot in the bottom of the door with something like, oh, I don’t know, a sword…”
“You can’t have a sword,” Joy told Alfie.
“Seems like a good rule,” Noah said.
“Oh come on!” Alfie complained.
Noah looked at the door, “How did it close?”
“On its own,” Mara said.
“Well, if that’s the case, do you think a sword could cut it? If Mertseger did this?”
Alfie sighed, “No…”
“I hadn’t thought of that, actually,” Mara said.
“Me neither,” Joy agreed, “So now what? They repent? It’s been at least half an hour and nothing.”
“Well, then I guess we wait,” Noah said, “May I see the necklace?”
Alfie, being the true Sibuna member, held it out. He was the one who held onto it instead of Joy or Mara.
Noah took it from his hand and looked at it, “And it’s too big to push under,” she said, looking at it, and the door, “I assume you tried opening it already?” she asked, pushing the necklace towards the door.
“We all did,” Mara told Noah.
As it neared the door, it lit up. It was working.
“How are you doing that?” Alfie questioned excitedly.
“How…how is it working for you, but not us?” Mara questioned.
“I don’t understand,” Joy said, “How?”
“I don’t know…,” Noah said as the door swung open. Nina was already on her feet, hurrying out of the room.
“I don’t know what you did, but thank you Noah!” she exclaimed as she hugged the other girl quickly in thanks. She held her hand out, so Noah pressed the necklace into her palm.
“I don’t know what I did either,” Noah said, “I just tried, and it opened.”
“And it didn’t for you guys?” Nina asked.
“Not for any of us,” Mara said.
“I don’t know how, but thank you,” Nina told Noah again.
“No problem,” Noah said, looking at the other two, “So?”
“No,” she said, “But it lets me out.”
“Maybe they should hurry out before they get locked inside again,” Noah said.
Jerome and Mick left the room, going towards Mara and Alfie, and Joy respectively. They were both still struck silent, but their companions took them with.
“You know, we shouldn’t leave until they fix this,” Noah pointed out.
“I wish that was our option, but I think we have to get back to school. We can come back later tonight and try again, if…,” Nina started, looking at Noah. She didn’t like that Noah kept paying.
“No problem,” Noah said, “Trust me.”
“Ok. Well, last chance guys, or we go back to school,” Nina said.
Neither was eager to go back. They just shook their heads.
She sighed, with the others, “Ok, school, and here later. Let’s just hope that next time it works.”
15: House of HeartbreakEdit
School hadn’t been too much of an issue. By the time they had returned, not much of the day remained. They got through easily enough, even with Mick and Jerome stuck silent. It was after it ended, and they all went back to Anubis House to change, that they decided to make their next trip immediately.
“You two need to get your voices back,” Nina told them in the entrance, standing next to the stairs, “I don’t care how long it takes, you’re going back now and doing it, or you’re walking back home.”
“I’m going,” Mara said.
“So am I,” Nina said, for obvious reasons. She had the locket, after all.
“So will I,” Noah said, shrugging, “I might be able to figure something more out about the riddle. Remember that? The thing we’re forgetting about because of this stupid silence?”
“I’ve done some research,” Fabian commented. “Haven’t found much yet, I’m afraid.”
“It’s a wide subject,” Noah answered.
He nodded, “Yeah. Too wide. If we can find a way to narrow it down, though…”
“The problem is how?” she posed.
“I know,” he answered, “That’s the problem.”
“Let’s just fix them and start looking around,” Amber said, “Or maybe Mertseger will give us a hint.”
“She loves the silence, why would she give us a hint for returning voices?” Fabian asked Amber.
“For learning our lesson,” she said.
“I don’t think we should expect divine help,” Noah said, “As nice as it would be.”
“We can figure this out later,” Nina said, “For now we should just do what we need to do. Fix Jerome and Mick’s voices.”
“Right,” Fabian said.
“The cab should be waiting soon for us,” Noah said, “Just us, then?”
“I’m good to stay here,” Alfie commented.
Joy reached out and touched Mick’s arm, “I’ll be here, waiting for you. The first thing I want when you guys come back is to hear your voice,” she said, giving him a kiss on the cheek after removing her hand.
Patricia shook her head, “Yeah, I’ll just stay here.” She looked at Joy, who nodded. Some time with just them would be nice.
“I’d come, but I’d get bored,” Amber said, “I think I’ll do some research.”
“You? Research?” Fabian asked with some shock.
“Yeah. Maybe I can find an answer,” she said, walking off upstairs.
“Well, let’s hope she can,” Alfie commented, heading back towards his room.
Patricia and Joy went to the sitting room while the others left for their cab, ready to go to the manor.
It was decided that it might be easier to have them do it one at a time. Mick was in there now, and the others were rooms away, talking or searching or theorizing. He was alone in Mertseger’s shrine room, looking around. He wasn’t repenting.
“Mick,” he heard.
It was Mara. He looked back to see her walking towards him, “Mick,” she said again, “Please, I know that we’re not together, but…but I still would like to know. To truly know. What happened? I want a real answer, a truthful one. It would mean a lot to me…”
He turned away from her. He couldn’t speak. Even if he wanted to tell her about anything that had happened, about why he had chosen to take the path that he had, he couldn’t. He wasn’t willing to speak, even if he could.
“Mick, do you care about me at all anymore?” she questioned him.
That one hurt. He turned to look at her in shock. As if he could lose all of his feelings for her like that! Of course he still liked her! Of course he still wanted to be there for her, if he could. If he wasn’t with Joy, if she wasn’t with Jerome. If it could be them, then of course he would be! It was almost a slap in the face to have his emotions questioned like that. He just liked Joy more; that was all.
She looked around the objects in the room, taking a gamble and hoping she wouldn’t be struck silent as she spoke, “Mick, I can take a guess at the answer. I don’t want to guess. I want to know for a fact. I can only know that by listening to your answer, assuming you don’t lie. I don’t think you would, though. Mick, please tell me. Please just tell me…,” her voice was starting to weaken and shake. She was genuinely feeling down about it; she really did want to know, “Was it…was it me? You’re the first person I ever dated Mick, I…I need to know what happened, so I know if I made mistakes. So I don’t repeat anything wrong. I really like Jerome, but I still like you. I…I don’t want to let Jerome down. Please; for me. Please tell me…”
He had repented. Silently, while listening to her speak, he had repented. It did hurt him to listen to her like this. He had to do something to help her. He did still care, after all. He had to say something to her.
“You repented…,” she said.
He nodded, “Mara…I…it wasn’t you. It was me; it really was. You said it yourself; you like me, but you also like Jerome. You like him more. That’s not hard to believe, after what I did to you. I’m so sorry about that. But no, it wasn’t anything you did. You were perfect. You are perfect, Mara. But perfection…”
“Perfection isn’t always what people want,” Mara said quietly.
“To me, you were perfect,” he said.
“Case in point. Did you want perfection?” she asked.
“I…I wanted you. That’s all I cared about,” he told her, revealing a vulnerable side.
Neither of them heard the silent footfalls of Jerome as he walked towards the room. He was going to repent; Mick had to be done by now. They were given a time limit to do it in, since they would avoid seeing each other.
When he heard Mara say Mick’s name he stopped and listened. He was close to the door, but he didn’t dare even glance inside. He wasn’t going to risk being seen. He wanted to know, so he had to listen.
“It’s the truth,” Mick told her, “Look, if…if Joy weren’t here…then…then of course nothing would have ever made me leave you. It’s just that Joy is…Joy is such a different person, and she’s someone who I can really like too, in a different way.”
“I understand,” Mara said, “Just like how I see you and Jerome.”
“What is it about him anyway?” Mick asked, “I mean, I’m me. I know why you like me. But Jerome? Really?”
“Don’t say that,” she said, but her tone was lighter. She was taking it in a joking manner, it almost seemed like.
“It’s true,” Mick told her, “I almost feel sorry for you.”
“Well, maybe you ruined me for other men, and I can only sink lower,” Mara said, clearly joking.
“No, of course not. And Jerome’s not lower. Is your problem with him me?”
Jerome had enough of listening. She defended him and their relationship, at least, but she had told him that she wouldn’t speak to Mick anymore, after what he had done to her. Yet here she was, talking to him. Did she get him to repent? Or had he on his own? He wasn’t sure, but they were talking and laughing, being like friends. They were familiar with each other, sure, but this…no. This wasn’t what she said. She said she wouldn’t talk to him. This was as far from that as possible.
He saw Noa as he walked around a corner, “Something happen?” she asked, “Mick still in the room?”
He nodded bitterly.
“Something’s wrong,” she told Jerome, “What is it? I know, I know. You can’t talk, but can you help me out?”
He pointed to his heart.
“Heart?” A shake of the head, “Um…Mara?” He nodded. “Ok, so something about Mara.”
He touched his bicep, then his head.
“Muscle-head?” she asked, “Would that be Mick? I don’t think that’s right, but ok, I get it.”
“What about them?” she asked.
He did the sign for Mick again and started to open and close his mouth.
Jerome nodded, pointed to a room, pointed to his heart and then did the sign for Mick again.
“They’re both in the room?” she guessed, getting a nod.
“You should repent,” she told him, “You need to. You need to find out what was going on.”
He just nodded, heading back towards the room with Noah. She assured him that she would clear the room so he could do his repenting.
When they got to the room Mick and Mara were leaving. They were going the other way, so Jerome and Noah saw them from behind. Jerome walked inside while Noah followed, keeping an eye on them until she was sure that Jerome had finished. She met him on the way back.
“So, can you speak?” she asked.
“I can,” he answered, “Feels good.”
“I was watching them,” she said.
“They look like they’re on good terms,” Jerome said, “And she told me she wouldn’t talk to him anymore. She confronted him, but they sound like friends! That’s against what she said!”
She glanced at the shrine room and closed the door, “Might want to yell away from it. Don’t want the curse again.”
“Good point,” he said, moving away with her.
“Well…I was watching them while you were repenting,” Noah said.
“You were?” he asked.
She had been, “Yes, I was. They’re on really good terms it sounds like. It almost sounds like she’s over what he did to her. It…it sounds like she wants to forgive him.”
“Forgive him?” he almost shouted.
“For the memories?” Noah pondered, of course making things up now. She had to get at Jerome, she had to affect the relationship. It actually amused her that Jerome would take what she said as fact, knowing that she wanted him.
He shook his head, “No. No, that can’t be right…”
“It is,” Noah told him, “I’m sorry, Jerome. I really am…”
“Where are they?” he questioned.
“Down the hall, take the next corridor, one of those rooms it should be,” Noah said, watching him hurry off without another word. She just watched him go and then went back to find the others. She had to report that both had repented, and keep them busy long enough for Jerome to do what he had to do.
By the time Jerome found Mara, Mick had already left. Mara was coming his way, so they met in the hall.
“Jerome? Did you repent?” she asked him.
“I did,” he said, a little bit of anger permeating his voice, “Mara, please tell me why you were talking to Mick. He’s not your friend! And you swore to me that you weren’t going to talk anymore!”
“You saw us talking?” she asked, “Jerome, it’s…”
“And I believed you. I believed you because I want to be with you so much, and I wanted it for so long. Mara, I care so much about you, so I believed what you told me. And then you stabbed me in the back by talking friendly with him!”
“Jerome, we’re civilized people! We’re old enough to talk like normal people!” she told him.
“He cheated on you and broke your heart!” he shouted.
“And I’m with you now! And I like you more than I ever liked Mick,” she told him, “Jerome, where is this going? You know all of this!”
“I do know it, but I also thought I could trust you. I don’t like Mick, and I know that you’re a big girl. You can do what you want, but I don’t trust him. He might dump Joy and make a move for you, for all I know. But Mara, I don’t care about that. I know you’d turn him down.”
“I would,” she said.
“Mara, my problem is Mick in general. Are you friends?”
“I…I don’t know,” she admitted.
“It sounded like it to me,” he told her, “So that’s enough for me. I hate him. I hate people like him. I hate what he did to you most of all. But Mara, if you’re willing to be friends with him like this, then…well…”
“Jerome, what are you trying to say?” she asked, almost pleading for an answer.
“I trust you. But…but you’re too good of a person at the same time. I’m doing the math here, Mara. I’m ending our relationship, for our sakes. Both of them.”
“Jerome…,” she said weakly.
“I’m sorry,” he said, turning around and walking away from her, “I’ll walk back home.”
“Jerome!” she shouted after him, running and taking the corner, but he had run as soon as he took it. He was out of sight, in a room, or down another corridor. The manor was large, and he was avoiding her.
“Jerome…why?” she asked softly, “Your math is wrong…Jerome!” she shouted.
16: House of DecreaseEdit
Things had been strained in Anubis House for Sibuna. Mara and Jerome were no longer joining in the conversations with them, no longer theorizing about the clues. But with their recent problems that was to be expected. They had their own things to handle.
Joy and Mick were still with Sibuna, however, but Noah was coming and going, doing research. Fabian had let her take over, since her knowledge surpassed his.
“I just know mythology,” Noah had explained when asked by Fabian, “People study things. I study Egyptian mythology.”
“Anyone else find it a little odd?” Joy asked them.
“What? You’re going to have to be more specific,” Alfie told her. It came off as a joke, but was actually serious as well.
“That she comes to Anubis House as a guest. Not the school, but Anubis House specifically. Then she joins us in this. A series of riddles, all grounded in Egyptian mythology, and here she is. An expert.”
“We should be thankful,” Fabian said.
“You just don’t want to see something wrong,” Joy told him.
“I don’t,” he admitted, “Because Noah is a good person, and she’s helping us. What are you trying to imply, other than a coincidence?”
“I don’t believe in coincidence,” Joy countered, “Look, I think there might be something strange here.”
“If you want to speak of coincidence, how about me coming here last year, when the Cup of Ankh could be assembled? Sometimes things just…happen.”
“It could be fate,” Amber said.
“I don’t buy into things like horoscopes,” Fabian told her, “But…you know, I’d be willing to accept fate.”
“You think these things are being affected by destiny?” Joy asked.
Mick shook his head, “I’d rather go with coincidence.”
“Not a very romantic view of the world. Fate is…wonderful,” Joy commented.
“But it’s also a dangerous thing, you could say,” Nina put in.
“Because our free will won’t determine if we can succeed. It’s already going to happen, or not,” Fabian said with a slight nod.
“Look, can we just get back to this?” Alfie asked, “I’d rather jump off of these subjects.”
“We should get to work,” Fabian agreed. It was around noon on Saturday, so it would be good to get answers soon and get to the manor. “I wonder if Noah will get anything this time?”
“We have to hope so,” Nina said, “She’s our true best bet for some of these obscure ones.”
“We did it without her last time,” Amber said.
“Last time we had Anubis House,” Fabian said, “This time we have a massive mansion. Different scale.”
Mick nodded, “I didn’t know about last time, but yeah, I imagine that must have been pretty simple compared to the size of this place.”
“I wouldn’t say ‘simple’,” Alfie said.
“I’m with Fabian. She’s a good bet to helping us here.”
“I realized something!” Amber suddenly exclaimed.
“What?” Patricia asked, “Something important, I hope?”
“I think so,” she said, “Cats sleep with their owners.”
There was some silence, “What?” Patricia questioned.
Nina suddenly realized it, “Part of the riddle. ‘rest with master’.”
Fabian picked up, “The use of ‘master’ would imply an animal. A domestic one, I’m sure. And dogs and cats both sleep with their masters. So, a dog or a cat is what we’re looking for.”
“How did it take us this long to figure it out?” Alfie wondered.
“Silence,” Patricia said, glancing at Mick.
“I’m sorry about that,” Mick said, a bit annoyed, “But it’s fixed now, so can we forget about that?”
“We should just move forward,” Nina said, standing up from the floor, “Let’s go get Noah and tell her how to focus her search.”
“No need,” Noah said as she pushed the door open, “I listened to the end of your conversation. Cat or dog. I’m willing to venture a guess towards Bastet.”
“Bastet? Why her?” Fabian asked.
“Bastet is a cat. Not anything more,” Noah commented, “That one makes the most sense to me.”
“Well, slain,” Nina said, “Now if we can corroborate that…”
“Bastet was killed by Apep,” Fabian said, beating Noah to it. She just shut her mouth.
“So we need to find that, somehow,” Nina said, “Ok, we have a place to start! We should go. Now that we know the answer, or have a guess at it, we can actually get something done!”
Noah walked towards her, pulling some money from her pocket, “Here,” she said, “I’m not joining you guys today. Sorry.”
“We can walk,” she told Noah.
The other girl shook her head. Amber, standing behind Nina was about to speak up, but Noah’s action also stopped that, “No. I don’t mind, please. Go with speed.”
“Ok,” Nina said, “Thank you.”
“Make it up to me by coming back with the next riddle,” Noah said, moving aside for them.
“We will,” Nina promised, leaving with the others in tow.
Noah watched them go and waited in the room for a few minutes. Then she headed downstairs when she was sure they were gone.
After arriving at the manor and starting through the main hall, Alfie brought up an earlier point, “So, Noah and her being a coincidence. Um…just a thought.”
“And?” Mick asked.
“Well, that flashdrive did just show up on Nina’s nightstand. It led us here, to a place filled with Egyptian content and based on myths. And Noah has her knowledge…”
“What are you saying?” Patricia questioned him.
“I’m saying that Noah might have placed the drive there…”
“I don’t think so,” Nina said, shaking her head, “I just don’t think she did. I don’t know why she would. I’m going with fate.”
But no, she wouldn’t be that close minded. She would keep what Alfie said in mind. It could be true, after all. It was a workable theory. She would think about it again, but Noah was someone they could trust. She didn’t want to believe that Noah was doing anything behind the scenes.
“Should we split up again?” Amber asked when they reached the doors.
“Look for a cat being killed by a snake,” Fabian said, “Or attacked by one, even. Bring anything back, call if you need help.”
“So yes,” Patricia said, sighing, “Too bad I’m the odd one out.”
Amber and Alfie. Joy and Mick. Nina and Fabian.
“You can come with us,” Joy offered.
“No, I’ll be fine alone,” Patricia said, walking off ahead of them.
“Alright,” Nina said, “Bring back anything. Let’s go.”
Noah was standing a bit outside of Jerome’s door. Mr. Wolf was gone, looking for a residency, so she wouldn’t be disturbed. The other students were at the manor, so that left Mara and Jerome in his room, arguing.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong!” Mara told Jerome.
“I don’t trust Mick!” Jerome told her, “I don’t like what I saw!”
“Do you trust me?” she questioned him.
“I did,” he said, “But you broke your word by talking to him. After you swore to me you wouldn’t.”
“It was the way to get him to repent!” she told him, “And that was the only way to move on with the overall quest!”
“We’d have fixed the problem ourselves,” Jerome told her.
“Clearly you weren’t, though,” Mara said bluntly.
“Some more time,” Jerome told her.
“Jerome, we needed to move on. I’m sorry if I broke my word, but it…no. No, I won’t justify it.”
“Justify it?” he asked.
“I was going to say that talking to him let us move on. They moved on, I’m sure they’re back on the riddle by now. But no, I won’t say that breaking my word to you was good for everything else. Jerome, I care about you too much to say something like that to you. It would do nothing but hurt, I’m sure. I…I did it because…”
“Do you still have any emotions for him? Any feelings?” Jerome asked her.
She shook her head, “No.”
The arguing had changed? To…to what? Were they getting back onto good ground with each other? No, this wasn’t what Noah wanted.
Jerome remained silent for a few moments, clearly trying to find something to say. He licked his lips, “Mara…um…”
His mobile started to ring. She looked at it on his nightstand, “Answer it,” she said.
He nodded, “Yeah, ok,” he said, not wanting to be rude to her, not at this point. He’d have loved to have just kept talking, but no. If she was telling him to, he would. He didn’t want to ignore her offer, even if it was for their own good.
He took his mobile and exited the room. Noah ducked into Mick and Fabian’s room to stay out of sight.
“Hello? Can you make this quick?” Jerome asked on the phone, “I’m in the middle of something very important here.”
He listened for a bit and started to walk farther away from the room. Noah slipped out into the hallway and approached him from behind, remaining as silent as possible.
“Bye,” Jerome said, closing his mobile and pocketing it. He turned to see Noah leaning against the wall not far ahead of him.
“How’d you get there?” he questioned.
She pushed herself off of the wall and walked towards him, “Not important,” she said.
She heard Mara’s footsteps behind her. Acting quickly, Noah took Jerome’s hands and leaned up, kissing him on his lips.
“Jerome!” Mara shouted at him.
He tore his wrists free and pushed Noah back as Mara stormed past him, “Mara!” he called, “She did it! Not me! Mara!”
But she was already going upstairs. He ran after her, but she turned, “No, Jerome. I…just no. Leave me alone.”
She stormed off upstairs as Jerome ran his hand through his hair in annoyance. He turned to Noah, “What did you do that for?” he shouted angrily.
“I like you,” she said, “And it hurt me, seeing you and Mara like that. You need someone to make you happy.”
“How do you know that?” he questioned.
“I can just tell,” she said, “Your father?”
“Don’t you dare say that!” he shouted, pushing her aside as he stormed towards his room.
She had honestly just taken a guess. She watched him go, hurt. Maybe that wasn’t the best move she could have made. Did she intend to damage their relationship? No; she figured it was over. But her plan had already been set, so she acted, even knowing Mara was coming.
Maybe that was wrong. That did hurt them both. But it had happened, so she couldn’t do anything about it now.
“You think this could be it?” Mick asked Joy as he picked up a statue that was about the height of his forearm. It was a cat, standing on its back two paws, being encircled by a serpent, its mouth open, fangs ready to plunge into the cat’s neck.
“It looks right,” Joy said. They were in a study. The statue had been sitting on a corner table right next to the door. With the door open, it was mostly concealed, pressed against two walls. It was luck Mick had looked that way.
“Well, let’s take it back,” Mick said.
“I’ll send a text,” Joy said, walking behind him and texting as she walked. She sniffed, “Do you smell something strange?” she asked.
He sniffed, “Smells like rotten food, or something.”
“Strange,” she said as they started down the stairs. A single mummy moved towards the top, watching them go, stopped by the glowing ethereal figure of the man in the mask who floated between it and the two students.
“It’s gone,” Joy said a few moments later.
“Even weirder,” Mick said.
“Who let you free?” the masked man muttered in an eerie, hollow voice that human ears couldn’t hear, “Zeno?”
And he was gone.
“So, this is what you found?” Patricia asked, turning it over in hand, “Well, looks about right, I guess.”
“It’s close,” Fabian said.
“I don’t know about you, but would a guy put a cat being killed by a snake twice in his mansion? I don’t think so,” Mick said.
“Good point,” Amber said, “I wouldn’t at all.”
“Well, you’re not Smythe,” Joy said.
“Let’s just assume this is right,” Nina said, “What now?” she took it from Patricia when offered, and set it on the mantle.
“Is it wrong?” Fabian questioned exasperated. This was their best chance.
Mick sighed, grabbing it off the mantle, “Maybe there’s something secret about it,” Joy commented as she watched her boyfriend turn it over, “Mick, check…”
He just let it drop. It shattered on the floor, the remains spreading all over.
“What did you do that for?” Alfie shouted, “You might have just…”
“Just what?” Mick asked as he crouched down, picking up a scroll.
“Saved us!” he changed, instead of ruining them.
He offered the scroll out, so Nina took it, “Thanks,” she said, “Really, thanks for just…smashing it.”
“No problem,” Mick said.
“Did you mean to?” Joy whispered.
He shook his head, “I was just angry with it,” he whispered back.
As Nina unfurled the scroll and began to read, the masked figure stood there, watching. And then, under his mask, he smiled.
17: House of RevealEdit
“‘The cause of the thunderstorms lies not with the sun, but with chaos. Name the cause and push.’”
“What does that even mean?” Alfie asked.
“It’s not a complicated, but it’s still harder than last time,” Fabian said, “It’s too vague.”
Nina nodded and read it over again, to herself this time, “I have no idea. The sun causes thunderstorms somehow. Ra?”
“Ra is the god of the sun,” Fabian said, “Maybe.”
“It’s not with Ra, though,” Joy said, “It’s with chaos.”
“I don’t know who that would be, or what that would be,” Fabian said.
“I guess we need to do research,” Mick put in.
“The problem is that if we find out the chaos part, what does it mean by ‘push’?” Patricia brought up, “I mean, name it. Ok, so do we say the name? But what do we push then? Will a secret door be revealed? If so, where? Or, do we need to say it in a specific room? This is vague, not complex, but the actual process of answering might be more complex than we want.”
“Yeah, I don’t like that,” Amber said, “Can’t we have some easier ones again?”
“I wouldn’t call any of them easy,” Patricia told her.
“Easier?” Amber put in.
“Ok, guess so,” she said.
“Well, right now we’re not going to be getting anywhere,” Nina said, “Unless we want to call back to Anubis House and get information that way.”
“No, we might have done enough for today,” Fabian said, “I wouldn’t mind going back.”
Nobody voiced any opinions about staying, so Nina ended up nodding, “Ok, let’s go back to Anubis House then. We can do some research and come back tomorrow, if we want. Maybe we can get the others too.”
“I’d be sure about Noah, but I doubt the others will,” Joy said.
“Jerome and Mara…yeah, they probably won’t,” Fabian said.
“One could,” Amber said, “It’s not like they would be stuck in the same house together in that case.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Patricia agreed.
“Well, we’ll find out when we get back,” Nina said, “Let’s go.”
Noah was sitting on the couch in the sitting room when she heard the door open to the house. Footsteps came in behind her, “Noah,” Mr. Wolf said, “Can I speak to you in my office, please?”
Jerome had come out of his room and saw Mr. Wolf leading her upstairs. He hoped that Mara had said something about…anything to get her punished. He liked Noah, but what she did went too far. He returned to his room.
As they went to his office, Mara saw it as well. Like Jerome, she hoped that Noah was going to be punished. Over what, she didn’t know. But she was jealous. She didn’t know what over, but she wanted Noah punished for something.
Mr. Wolf closed the door behind Noah and locked it. He sat down at the desk that was now his, while Victor was in the hospital. Noah sat on the other side and looked across at him. As soon as he was seated, a bit of a frightened look crossed her face.
“No need for that,” he told her.
A half-smile briefly crossed her face, showing contempt, “I…I’m sorry,” she said, “It’s habit. This is kind of stressful.”
“Talking to your father is stressful?” Mr. Wolf questioned her.
“Adoptive,” she said, “You know I don’t like that part left off.”
“I apologize,” Mr. Wolf replied, “I can’t have my adopted daughter mad at me over something so small and insignificant.”
“It’s not insignificant,” she told him in a quieter voice, “Not to me…”
“I know you loved your parents very much,” he said.
“And you’re not a good enough substitute to make me call you anything other than what you are,” she countered with some anger. How dare he bring up her parents? He had no right to do so; he never knew them. He simply adopted her, partially because of her background and relation to Egypt. She sometimes wondered if that was the only reason, especially now.
“I know,” he said, “You’ve told me this before.”
“I wanted to remind you,” she told him.
“Noted,” he said, “Now, Noah. I want you to stop playing these games. I don’t like it.”
“What games?” she questioned.
“You were here; the others were at the manor. I don’t know why you didn’t go, but I can assume it’s one of your games.”
“Don’t call them ‘games’,” she said, “Please. It makes me sound like a child.”
“And what were you doing here, then?” he questioned her.
“Doing things with my life,” she said.
“You should be doing things for my life!” he hissed, “And once you have, then you can go back to whatever it is. Whoever it is.” His last sentence carried more weight to it; he knew it was a person that had caught her attention.
“Jerome,” she said, sighing, “I did what I wanted to do. I’ll be sure to go with them every other time now. I will keep helping them; I’ll do anything I have to at the manor. But the clues will be finished, and you will have your book. I swear that much to you.”
He smiled a chilling, vile smile, “Good. And Noah, my dear, what do you want out of the end of this?” he questioned.
“What do you mean?” she asked him, genuinely confused.
“I will have immortality when this is over, you could say,” he said, leaving it vague, “The Book of Thoth will give me what I desire. You will help me unlock my desires. It wouldn’t be fair to not give you something in return. So, what is it you want?”
“You can’t give me what I want,” she said.
“The boy?” he asked.
She shook her head. What she wanted was love; the love that her parents should be giving her now, if they were alive. The love Mr. Wolf should be giving her, as her adopted father, but he only gave cold indignation and orders. He had no true love for her. She was only a pawn to him in his quest for eternal life.
“What is it that you want, then?” Mr. Wolf asked her, leaning over on his desk a bit more, coming closer towards her.
“I want something you can’t give me,” she said softly, looking down.
“Your parents?” he asked.
“No,” she said, not naming it.
He leaned back into his chair, “I could give you your parents, Noah.”
That hit her hard. She looked at him angrily, “No. No you can’t! They’re gone!” she yelled at him, not caring if anyone heard her.
He smiled wickedly, “Gone, yes. We’re in a similar situation, but the same medium will work on us three.”
“The Book of Thoth can help them, as it will help me,” he told her.
“You...you would bring back my parents?” she asked him, not believing it, her voice soft, hard to hear.
He nodded, “Yes. Because I would have no more need for you. You could go and live with your revived parents somewhere else, somewhere where you can live without their survival being scrutinized. Maybe some island in the Pacific, or something. But just avoid places like London, at the least.”
“Common sense,” she said.
“You’d be blinded by love and by shock. It was a fair warning,” he told her.
She knew he was right. If he brought her parents back to life with the book that Frobisher had hidden in the manor, then she would quickly forget about them being deceased. She wouldn’t think about people realizing that the dead had come back to life. That would cause issues that had never crossed her mind, nor would have.
“Now Noah. I want you to get me my book,” Mr. Wolf said, “Next time they go to the manor?”
“I’ll go with them,” she assured him, standing up, “I’ll see to it that they proceed along the right path, and I’ll get the book for you.”
“And?” he asked.
“And…?” she asked, confused.
“You must read the book,” he told her, “I cannot read it and use it on myself. It must be read by one to be used on another.”
She nodded, “Ok, I understand. It will be done.”
“Excellent,” he flicked his wrist towards her, “Now leave. I heard the door opening.”
She didn’t question his senses anymore. She walked out of his office, looking down at the entry to see the Sibuna members returning from their trip. She hurried down to meet them, “What did you guys find?” she asked.
“Well, we got the riddle,” Nina said, “And we got a new one,” she held the scroll out to Noah, able to bring this one with them, at least.
She unfurled it and looked it over, “Ra,” she said.
“We figured as much,” Fabian put in, since he had said it first.
“I don’t know the chaos part,” she said, “Or the last sentence.”
“You’re as far as we are, then,” Alfie told her.
“We’ll get it,” Noah said, “Let me do some research. We just need to find a god or entity tied to chaos, and we have a start.”
“The name and push parts are still a problem,” Joy told Noah.
“I know, but it’s a start, right?”
“It is,” Nina assured her “Please, go and do some research, if you don’t mind. It won’t hurt.”
Noah nodded, “Ok, I’ll get to work,” she said, hurrying off to get her laptop.
“Well, now what?” Mick asked.
“There’s one thing I have to do,” Nina said.
“What’s that?” Amber asked.
“I meant to hide the Cup of Ankh in a better place a while ago,” she said, “But I’ve forgotten about it. And this new problem hasn’t helped. But now I’m going to get it and move it to a safer place,” she told them.
“Where is it now?” Joy asked.
“Under the stage at school,” Nina said.
“Where will you put it?” Alfie asked.
“I don’t know,” she admitted, “But I’ll find a place.”
Nina headed outside and hurried off as the others broke up, going to wherever they wanted to go. Their rooms, the sitting room, or anywhere else. This was Nina’s job now, as the Chosen. She could handle the Cup of Ankh alone for now as they went about things involved in their lives.
Meanwhile Noah sat at her laptop, searching. She stopped and read a page, nodding.
“Apophis. A dark god of chaos,” she said to herself, “Ok, you also create thunderstorms and earthquakes. But name?”
Well, it was a start. She would tell the others about this development, and continue to look. But how would she go about finding out the part about the name and pushing? Well, she didn’t know. But she had a goal in mind. She practically had the end in sight.
The end was her parents. The people who loved her. She needed them, and Mr. Wolf could give them back to her, if she could help him with his plan. She needed to find the answers, that meant. She needed them as fast as she could.
“I’m sorry everyone,” she whispered. It wasn’t the first time she had said it, and it wouldn’t be the last. She felt bad about what she was doing to the people who were becoming her friends; that she was betraying them, but she couldn’t help it. Especially not anymore.
The stakes were high, and the reward would be great. She had to do it. She had no other way, no other option.
Love; that’s what she wanted.
18: House of SnakesEdit
Nina had the Cup of Ankh in hand. She had managed to pry a board off of the stage and get at the hidden Cup, now taking it back to Anubis House before anyone who might be in the school would notice her. The Cup was still extremely important to deal with, even if it was whatever was in the manor that they were after.
As she returned to Anubis House, she stopped outside of the front door. Maybe it was safer in the manor? That was quite possible, actually. But this was her duty; her responsibility. She wouldn’t ask the others their opinions, since she was the Chosen. It seemed wrong to her to make this choice on her own without consultation, but she chose.
The manor would be the new hiding place for the Cup of Ankh. It would be safest there.
For now she stuffed it into her bag and walked inside where she was immediately greeted by Fabian at the door. She smiled, “So, waiting for me?”
“Well, with the research, theories, and searching – not to mention the silence thing earlier – we haven’t had a lot of time together,” he told her, “I just wanted to see you now, before we get sucked into something.”
She smiled, but it was forlorn, “I’m sorry,” she told him.
“Sorry?” he asked.
“I chose to pursue these leads. To go to the manor and find out about it,” she said.
“We were challenged,” he said.
“We weren’t told, or forced. We chose to put our pride on the line and try,” she told him, “And it’s caused interruptions for us. So I’m sorry about that, Fabian.”
“Don’t be,” he said, “Wait, no. That sounds wrong. I mean…um…well I guess I mean don’t be; we still get time together. Like now. And these riddles and this mystery…it’s…”
“I know what you mean,” she said before he found a word. There was no easy way to describe it. It wasn’t a way to end their boredom of the mundane school lives they led; no. This was something else. The quest for the Cup of Ankh, and now this. There was something about it that could only spur them on. It was almost something that was there to complete them, if nothing more.
Staring at each other like this, they both leaned forward and kissed. It was short-lived, however, as Joy came.
“Fabes, we found something out,” she said. Only after he turned and she could see Nina she shook her head, “I’m sorry. I’d have waited if I’d seen you, Nina.”
“N-no, that’s fine,” Nina said, “Don’t worry about it.” She slipped her hand down into Fabian’s.
“What is it?” Fabian asked her.
“Chaos. Apophis,” she said, “So we have that half.”
“You think this warrants a trip?” he asked Joy.
“Why ask me?” she asked.
“We’re friends,” he said, “I just want your opinion.”
“If you’re asking me my opinion then, I say yes,” she said, “We can’t figure out anything farther until we go, after all.”
He nodded, “Ok. I guess we should get the others.”
Nina nodded, “Joy, can you get anyone who’s up there?” she asked, referring to the second floor, since she was halfway down the stairs.
Joy nodded, “Yeah. I’ll get everyone.”
“We’ll get them down here,” Nina told her.
Joy nodded and hurried off. Hopefully this one would be easy enough to get if they had a rather straightforward answer for at least half now.
Jerome and Mara had been unwilling to come, but everyone else had chosen to come to the manor. Mr. Wolf hadn’t questioned them, as long as they followed his rules and returned before curfew, he didn’t seem to care.
Noah knew better. She knew he wanted them there and of course he wouldn’t stop them.
“Ok, should we split into groups again and search?” Nina asked.
“Let’s make it different this time,” Joy said.
“Different?” Nina asked.
“Different partners. We might be missing things as we are.”
“It makes sense,” Fabian said, “Ok, so who’s going with who?”
“I’ll go with Amber,” Patricia volunteered first. Not eagerly, but she wanted to start looking. Amber looked at her, wondering about that.
“Mick?” Fabian asked.
He nodded, “You’ve got it.”
“Alfie,” Joy said. It was a statement more than anything as she grabbed his arm before he could state otherwise. He didn’t look like he was going to go happily.
Noah and Nina looked at each other, “I guess it’s us,” Noah said.
Nina nodded, “Yeah. Not that it’s a bad thing.”
“Of course not,” Noah answered.
“Well, let’s go,” Nina said, “And Apophis took the form of a snake most commonly, remember.”
They all nodded and headed out different directions once more.
“Why me?” Amber asked Patricia, “I mean, you like me, that’s great, and of course I’m a good person to be with, but I thought you’d take Joy.”
Patricia shrugged, “I guess I wanted to mix things up a little,” she said.
“Is that it?” Amber asked.
Patricia nodded, “I guess so. Why?”
“You couldn’t have thrown something in about how great of a companion I am?” Amber questioned her.
“Those were your words. I’m not saying you’re not, I’m just not saying that’s my reason,” Patricia said.
“Fine then,” Amber said with some finality.
There was silence as they walked into a bedroom and looked around. Patricia looked in a closet, “Amber?”
She said nothing.
Sighing, Patricia said, “I’m sorry. You are a good companion.”
“Was that so hard?” Amber asked.
Patricia didn’t answer. Instead she asked a question, “Let me ask you something. Alfie? Really? I get why; you owed him, but I just don’t get it.”
“Jealous?” she asked.
“Of you having Alfie? I don’t think so,” she told Amber. “He doesn’t seem like someone you’d go for.”
“How so?” she asked.
“You’re you, with your high standards, and he’s…well, Alfie. I don’t think I need to explain it,” Patricia said.
Amber sighed, “You’re right, and I hate that.”
“So what is it then?” Patricia asked.
“Well, he was heroic,” Amber said, “And I guess… Wow, I guess I did fall for him. He became my prince.”
“Alfie a prince?” Patricia laughed.
“He can be very romantic,” Amber countered.
“So, his heroism did it for you?” she asked.
“I guess so,” she replied, “Does that sound strange?”
“For anyone? No. For you? I think so. I’d think he would have had to do something more suited towards you. Something richer, almost,” she said.
“Mick wasn’t,” she said.
“Mick was different,” Patricia said, “I think you found him good looking?”
“He is!” Amber asserted.
“Um…not as much.”
“I swear I’m not going to understand it between you two,” Patricia muttered, “I get Nina and Fabian, and I can get Joy and Mick if I think about it hard enough. But you and Alfie? No idea.”
“Do you want a boyfriend?” Amber asked, abruptly stopping her search and turning to Patricia.
“Me? A boyfriend?” she laughed, “Of course not!”
“Then why ask so much?”
“Because I’m confused, and have been for a while,” she said, “Look, let’s go.” She closed the closet door and walked out.
Amber followed her, “Ok, fine then,” she said, “I guess I’ll believe you. But I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t,” she told Amber again.
“I’ve wondered something for a while,” Fabian told Mick as they walked up the staircase.
“What’s that?” Mick asked him, “Something about this whole thing?”
“No,” he said, “Something about you and Joy. I’ve been meaning to bring it up, but…”
“Even when we’re both in the same room it’s hard?” Mick asked. They shared a bedroom, but even then they had their own things to do. They hadn’t really spoken to each other in some time, not on a personal level.
“Yeah, and that should change,” Fabian said.
Mick nodded, “It should. We used to have good conversations.”
He nodded, “Well, what I was going to say was about Joy. When she calls me ‘Fabes’, I just want to let you know it’s just our thing. In no way that I know of is that something more.”
“I know,” Mick told him with a small laugh, “Did you think I was jealous, or something?”
“I considered that possibility,” Fabian said.
Mick shook his head, “You have Nina, I have Joy. Joy may have been crazy about you, but she assured me she’s not anymore. She said she sees how good you and Nina are.”
“Crazy about me?” Fabian asked.
Mick nodded, “Her words when I asked her.”
Fabian had a small smile. One of regret, partially. A lost past he could have had, had things not taken such a strange turn. But he would never have met Nina in that case, if it was fate that brought her here. Or wasn’t it? But if he and Joy had been together, then what would have happened if Nina had still ended up coming, despite there being no Cup of Ankh or mystery?
“Mick, you’re a lucky man,” Fabian said.
“How so?” he asked.
“Joy,” he said, “I’m not saying this from the angle of someone after her, I’m saying it as her friend. She’s a terrific woman.”
“I know,” Mick said, “And even with how things went with me and Mara, what do you think?” he asked.
“I don’t want to get involved in that,” Fabian said, “But out of her or Joy? I think Joy might be better suited for you. By far.”
“So you think we’re good together?” he asked.
Fabian nodded, “I do. I think both of you got lucky in finding each other. I wish you nothing but luck.”
“You too. With Nina,” Mick said.
“Thank you,” Fabian answered.
“What’s your secret?” Joy asked Alfie.
“My secret? Which one?” he asked.
“To getting Amber,” Joy told him, “It’s something I still can’t figure out.”
“I was a hero,” he told her, “I like to think I saved us from Rufus.”
“I heard you faked dying and then guilted her into being your girlfriend,” Joy said.
“Who said that?” Alfie questioned.
“Patricia,” Joy said, “But of course she put it bluntly. But is that actually all of what it was?”
“Um…kind of,” he hated to admit.
“And yet she’s still with you,” Joy said, “That was months ago.”
“Are you trying to say something?” he demanded.
“I’m trying to wonder why someone like Amber, with how her personality is, would choose to be with you. Surely she would have made her choice after a single date. So…what’s your secret there?”
“I will not stand here and be questioned like this!” he shouted at her. He was angry, “I don’t like what you’re trying to say, and I won’t be a part of it anymore!”
Alfie started to storm off, leaving Joy standing there, watching his anger, unsure of what to make of things.
“Sorry,” she muttered, leaning against the wall, not noticing the faded markings on it. And as she leaned, the stone moved slightly, and something opened.
“Really sorry about not coming last time,” Noah told Nina as they left a room.
“It’s fine,” Nina said, “We all have things that come up.”
She nodded, “I’ve just been having some personal things lately,” she said, “Involving my parents.”
“I can understand,” Nina said, “I guess. My parents…well…they aren’t with me anymore. They died…”
“I’m so sorry,” Noah said softly. She wanted to say more, but couldn’t. She already said ‘parents’, so she couldn’t state them deceased. She had to go with this lie now.
“It’s…it’s ok,” Nina said, “My Gran took me in, so things are fine now.”
“I still can understand how hard that has to be,” Noah said, “I had friends who lost their parents in a plane crash. Mine weren’t on it, fortunately, but three friends lost theirs. So I can kind of understand.”
“It…it’s hard, but once you can find someone to love you and take you in, it gets easier,” Nina said.
Noah nodded sadly, “I imagine…”
She didn’t have that. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
“Hold on please,” Nina said, going into a bedroom. She crouched down on the far side and slid the Eye of Horus of her necklace over the wall where the mark was etched in. The wall slid aside, allowing her to place the Cup of Ankh inside and then sealing the small tunnel again. She walked back out to Noah, “Ok, let’s keep going.”
“I heard sliding,” Noah said.
“I’ll tell you later,” Nina said, “When I tell the others.”
Noah nodded, “Ok.”
As the two kept walking Nina soon got a text, “It’s from Fabian,” she said. “He got a message from Joy. She found something!”
The two girls hurried, along with everyone else, since everyone had been alerted. They ended up where Joy and Alfie had been, with a wall now missing and being a new hallway instead.
“I leaned here and that opened,” Joy said, pointing at the wall.
Fabian got a closer look, “I see markings on it. Letters?”
“I think it says “Apophis’,” Mick said, taking a look as well.
“So that was the ‘push’,” Patricia said, “Kind of a hard one to figure out. That was pure luck.”
“Not really,” Noah said, pointing up and down the hall, “A picture of a storm,” she said, pointing the other way, “And another one. It was between them.”
“Good catch,” Nina said.
“Thanks,” she replied.
They looked down the hallway that was now open, “Well, I guess we go, don’t we?” Alfie asked.
“We go,” Nina said, walking in first. There was one door to the left, and windows lining the wall before them. It was a room that the door led to.
Mick tried the door, “No good,” he said.
“Why would a locked door be here?” Amber asked as she tried it.
“To keep us out of that room?” Alfie asked, trying the door as well.
“We could smash the windows,” Joy put in as she looked at the door, “Or would the necklace work?”
Nina shrugged, walking over and trying the Eye of Horus, but nothing happened. She pushed and pulled on the door, but it didn’t move.
“Well, now what?” Mick questioned, “We got this far, so what next?”
“Maybe there’s a clue in here,” Fabian said, “It’s not much, but let’s look, I guess.”
They started to look around the floor and walls. Joy was next to the door and started to look at the wood, when her hand brushed against the handle. It felt loose, so she turned it, finding it swinging open for her.
“Guys!” she said excitedly as she stepped inside, turning and going into the small room, now within sight of the windows.
“How did Joy do that?” Patricia wondered as she went towards the door. But it closed and wouldn’t budge for her.
“What’s going on?” Joy shouted through the wall and windows, hurrying to try the door, but it wouldn’t open.
“Joy!” Mick shouted, “Behind you!”
She turned. The others hurried to look as well, seeing it.
Snakes. Slithering through a small grate in the corner. How they had survived so long was anybody’s guess, but perhaps it was tied to the magic of the location, similar to the lack of dust. There were many of them coming, all slithering towards Joy, fangs bared.
Mick smashed against the door, but it wouldn’t budge. He shouted and hit it a few more times with his shoulder, but nothing. He hurried and hit the glass with his fist, but the windows were unharmed.
“Joy!” he screamed as loud as he could.
But she had found the knowledge. Apophis was of chaos, and often took the form of a snake. This was her punishment for finding the answer. It was chaotic; a bad reward for finding the way to advance, but such was the nature of this place.
19: House of HeroicsEdit
Joy ran to the windows, hitting them, “Get me out of here!” she was screaming, looking back every so often at the snakes. There weren’t a lot yet, nor were they moving too quickly, but they soon they would probably grow in number and start moving more, and coming after her.
“Why would Frobisher make someplace so dangerous?” Alfie shouted frantically as he too tried to help to no success.
Fabian was looking inside, not trying to get the door or windows open, “Joy!” he shouted urgently, his voice filling with fear, “Those snakes are dangerous! Those are poisonous specimen!”
“Poisonous?” Joy asked with her voice shaking, her body trembling, “I’m…I’m going to die in here, aren’t I…?”
“Don’t give in yet!” Noah told her.
“Joy, if you die, then who will be my best friend?” Patricia questioned her, “You know I can’t make another one! So you had better get out of there!”
Of course she was just trying to be supportive and get Joy looking for an answer, or get the others to try harder. She herself didn’t know what to do more than they already were.
Joy looked around, then she reached below a window and put her hand against it. But her hand held a piece of paper. An unfurled scroll.
“I guess this is why this exists,” Joy muttered, seemingly resigning herself to her fate, “To let the one who’s going to die pass on the message. Frobisher…he’s…he’s…”
“He’s cautious,” Nina said, not wanting to think of him as someone who would do this for fun or enjoyment at the misfortune of those trapped.
“Joy!” Mick shouted, “Forget about that scroll! Your life is more important than this search!”
“I know,” Joy told him, “But…but I can’t get out…”
He rammed the door, only succeeding in knocking himself to the ground, groaning in pain and rubbing his shoulder. It didn’t budge.
“There has to be something!” Fabian said, turning to Nina, “A passage! Look around the nearby rooms for a passage!”
She nodded, “Yeah! There has to be one!”
“We hope,” Amber said quietly to herself, unable to watch anymore, in case Joy did die.
Noah looked at the door and hurried towards it. She grabbed the handle, “I haven’t tried yet,” she said.
“It won’t work,” Amber told her, “We all tried already.”
“I’m different,” Noah said softly, leaving it at that. She turned the handle, opening the door. But as soon as it opened and she stepped inside and around the corner for Joy, it slammed shut and wouldn’t open, even for Noah again.
Noah ran to the windows, “Just help Nina! Joy and I will be fine for now!”
“Why?” Joy asked her.
“To tell you it was open,” Noah said.
“You could have said it from there, and not lose our path,” she said.
“I wanted to, but…I…I couldn’t. I think something made me go farther inside,” she answered, “I’m sorry.”
“This place is mysterious,” Joy answered, to take some blame away from Noah.
“Look for a passage,” Fabian told them, “Both of you! It can help Nina if you can relay a position!”
Both girls nodded and moved around the walls, avoiding the snakes as they moved slowly. They kept eyes on the serpents, but also on the walls, searching in vain.
“Joy,” Noah said.
“What?” she asked, backing away as a snake slithered towards where she was going to step.
“If you die, you don’t die alone,” Noah told her, looking at her with watery eyes. “I don’t want to die, but I won’t let you go alone.”
“Thank you…,” Joy said shakily, softly, tearing up a bit as well.
“Nobody’s dying!” Mick shouted, “We’ll get you out!”
“Does anybody else smell that?” Amber asked.
“Smell what?” Alfie asked.
“This isn’t the time!” Patricia told Amber.
“No, just smell it!” Amber asserted, “It…it smells like…”
“Rot,” Fabian said softly as he sniffed the air. He turned around, seeing a figure moving towards them with somewhat of a limp. It was a mummy again, but this one was different. This one was clear on who the identity was.
“That’s Rufus!” Patricia shouted, knowing like the others. There was something about his body that gave him away.
“We have to go!” Fabian told them, “Noah, Joy, Nina’s looking. Just be ready once she finds a passage!”
“If,” Noah said softly.
“We have to hope,” Joy told her.
“I’m not leaving!” Mick told Fabian.
“Do you want him to drag you down, like one did to him when he was alive?” Fabian questioned, “That’s what they do! They drag you down into the ground and make you into one of them!”
“I…,” Mick turned back, “I’ll be back for you!” he swore to Joy, running with the others and actually pushing Rufus away as they ran. They had to get Rufus away and let Nina do her work to find a passage for the others.
At the end of the hall Fabian stopped, “Ok, we have to split up. His focus is on us now,” he said, watching as Rufus lumbered after them. He was faster than the other mummies, but he had enough of a limp to slow himself. Fabian wondered what happened there.
“Split up and hope he keeps following?” Amber questioned.
“Exactly,” Fabian said.
“Why ask?” Patricia asked.
“Well, if I were him, a group like us might be better,” she said, “Less trouble to track.”
“That makes sense,” Alfie said, “Because those two are trapped, and if he can get inside…”
“Ok, point taken,” Fabian said, running. The others ran around the corner as Rufus reached their former position within the next ten seconds. They underestimated his speed and almost paid for it.
“We have to keep him away from this area,” Fabian said as they ran.
“But will we find our way back?” Patricia questioned.
“We have to,” Mick said, “I think we should stay close.”
“It puts the girls in danger,” Fabian told him.
“On this floor, at least!” Mick told him angrily, “We have to stay close so we can help!”
“We can’t help,” Amber told him, “Only Nina can.”
“I won’t accept that!” Mick told her angrily, “I care about Joy! As much as I cared about you when we were together! You know that feeling; I can’t just abandon her! No more than you could Alfie.”
“I think you have that one wrong,” Patricia said, “I think she could abandon him.”
“I could,” Amber said.
“Hey!” Alfie complained.
“Guys! This isn’t the time!” Fabian told them.
Fabian started up the staircase before them, but Mick took a corner, intending on staying on the floor, staying close. He went to the next door and opened it, “Keep going! I’ll stay here!” he told them, “But keep going that way!” he pointed down the hall.
“Why?” Fabian asked.
“Trust me!” Mick told him. They could hear Rufus nearing the corner. Mick shut the door and the others did as told.
Mick waited until he could hear the footsteps closing in. As soon as they were in front of the door he shoved it open as hard as he could, smashing it into Rufus and sending the mummy down hard. Mick ran out of the room and ran after the others, narrowly avoiding his leg being grabbed.
“Nice plan!” Alfie congratulated.
As they got back to the hallway they started in, Nina came out of a room, “What’s going on?” she questioned, “You guys were just gone!”
“Rufus is a mummy and he’s after us,” Amber told her.
Nina nodded, “Ok, that’s not good. Especially not now.”
“Did you find anything?” Mick demanded.
“No, not yet,” she said, “I’m sorry, but I’m looking hard.”
“Look harder!” Mick told her angrily.
“Mick!” Fabian snapped, trying to defend Nina, “Keep yourself under control!”
“You have Nina right here!” he told Fabian angrily, “Joy is in there, in danger! Why should I be calm?”
“Look, it’s ok,” Nina told Mick, “Guys, I’m going to keep looking. Come with me.”
She led them towards a room a hall down, crouching under a small table against the wall and pressing her Eye of Horus necklace against it. It swung open, revealing a passage.
“I saw it earlier,” she said, “Hide in there for now. I know where it comes out, so if something goes wrong I’ll open the other side. I’m leaving this one open so you guys can get out, but it should be low enough that Rufus won’t see.”
“You want us to just hide?” Mick questioned her.
She nodded, “While I try to save them, you guys hide. Rufus won’t see any of us.”
“Let’s just hide,” Patricia told Mick before he could argue, “It’s for the best.”
“Fine,” Mick muttered, watching them crouch down and crawl into the passage. He went in last, staying low so he could keep watching outside while the others would stand and investigate the passage, which only went straight.
Nina hurried back and ducked into a room when she saw Rufus’s shadow, and then he turned the corner a moment later. She held her breath and pressed herself against the wall as she heard him pass.
After a few moments she got out of the room and kept going, hurrying back to her search, but she didn’t look in the path that led to the snake room. If she had she’d have seen the scroll still stuck to the window – already copied on a mobile via picture, however – and nobody in the room.
They were both gone.
After a few minutes Mick climbed out, “Mick! Where are you going?” Fabian demanded, crouching to crawl after him.
Mick kicked the passage closed, “I’m going to save them!” he told them angrily as he came to his feet and ran down, turning the corner to the hall where the room was located. He saw Noah and Joy on the other end of the hall, already free, but moving into the next hall, looking for them it seemed like.
“Joy!” he called, but she didn’t hear. He was about to run, but he felt something tug on him. He looked over his shoulder to see Rufus grabbing his shirt collar.
“Joy!” he screamed again, as loudly as he could, and then he and Rufus were both gone.
20: House of VanishEdit
“How did you get out?” Nina asked when she encountered Noah and Joy.
“The door eventually just opened,” Joy told her.
“Really?” Nina asked as she looked around, then crouched by where she had hidden the others. It was closed. She pushed the locket against it, letting the section of wall slide up to open the path. “Guys?”
Fabian crawled out first, “Mick left and locked us in!” he told Nina, “We have to find him before he does something stupid!”
“He did that?” Nina questioned, “Why?”
“To rescue…those two…,” Fabian said, slowly noticing that they were free, “Did you?”
“No,” she said, “Apparently the door just opened.”
Both girls nodded, “It was really strange. The snakes were upon us, and then the door opens and we ran out,” Noah said.
“Maybe Frobisher didn’t want to kill,” Fabian said.
“They’re out?” Alfie asked when he got out next.
Patricia came out and saw them. Despite appearances, she hugged Joy, “Don’t do something stupid like that again,” she said.
“I’ll try not to,” Joy told her, hugging her back.
Amber came next, “Well, did Mick get to be a hero?”
“No,” Noah said, telling her the story since Joy was busy hugging Patricia.
“Where could Mick have gone?” Fabian wondered, “I…I just hope he wasn’t stupid enough to try to attack Rufus.”
“He wouldn’t be,” Joy told him as she stopped hugging Patricia, “I’m sure he tried to help us.”
“That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have tried had he run into Rufus,” Fabian said.
“Yeah, he smashed a door into him earlier,” Alfie put in.
“Well, let’s hope he’s somewhere around here, looking for an answer,” Nina said, “Let’s split up and look.”
“Be careful, though,” Fabian warned.
“I think we’re always careful here,” Amber said.
“Not careful enough,” Fabian said, “If today did anything, it reminded us of the mummies.”
They all nodded to his warning and started to partner off to search. Joy and Patricia. Noah, Nina and Amber, and Alfie and Fabian.
As they split up, the figure in the Ibis mask watched them. He wasn’t going to send Rufus out anymore; he had served his purpose. At least he had done as ordered; the leg wound must have made him subservient, instead of resisting as he had tried to before.
The figure vanished, like the spirit he was.
“Mick!” Fabian and Alfie were shouting out, despite the possibility of Rufus being around. They alternated; while one shouted, the other was listening and sniffing, making sure that Rufus wasn’t nearby.
“It’s not working,” Fabian said.
“Maybe he’s not on this floor?” Alfie suggested, not wanting to think of something else.
“Let’s hope,” Fabian said, stopping and looking around once they came to the end of a hall.
“Fabian?” Alfie asked.
“If Rufus got him…what then?” Alfie asked.
“I don’t know,” Fabian said quietly, shaking his head. His tone suggested defeat, “If Rufus got him…then there’s nothing we can do. Maybe look for wherever the mummies go; the basement, if I had to guess. Maybe lower than that. They go through the floors, after all. But if we got down there and couldn’t find him…”
Alfie nodded, “I thought about it one day. After seeing Rufus get sucked down, I thought about what would happen if it was one of us. I don’t like to think about it.”
Fabian swallowed hard and nodded, “If one of us goes, then…I don’t think there really is much we can do about it.”
“But if it did?” Alfie asked.
“We might have to accept a loss,” Fabian admitted.
“He’s here somewhere,” Joy told Patricia, “I know he has to be.”
“Joy, it’s ok to cry, if you need to,” Patricia said.
“That doesn’t sound like you,” Joy pointed out.
“I’m being thoughtful,” she told Joy.
“Not to me. Because I have no reason to cry,” she told Patricia, “Because Mick is here somewhere, and not sucked away with a mummy!” she shouted.
“I want him to be here just like you do, but this is Rufus Zeno! Even if he’s a mummy, I’m sure some of him is left in there! And if we haven’t found him yet, then…”
“No Patricia,” Joy warned her, “If you care about our friendship, then you won’t say anything else.”
Patricia just looked at her for a bit, and nodded, holding her tongue. She would give Joy that much, in case she had indeed lost Mick.
If he was gone, then Joy had lost her boyfriend, and they had lost a friend and partner. A Sibuna member – even if not a true, or full member – but a housemate, classmate, friend, and Sibuna member, risking it all on this quest.
A quest born of a challenge, and nothing more. Out of boredom, almost.
This was sickening. A sick, sick game now for somebody, and Patricia didn’t like it. Infact, it terrified her.
How far would they all go for this?
Nina, Amber and Noah were going up to the next floor, still calling for Mick in vain.
“Should we be going down?” Nina wondered.
“What do you mean?” Noah asked.
“I don’t know why we’d go down,” Amber stated, “We were on the first floor already.”
“Because the mummies suck people down. Or they sucked Rufus down, at least,” Nina stated.
“You think he got Mick?” Noah asked.
“I do,” Nina said, “If we can’t find him, and you, Joy and I didn’t see him when we were out, then…”
“No,” Amber said, “Mick’s not gone!” she asserted. She may not be with him anymore, but they were still friends, still close enough.
“It’s a possibility,” Nina told her.
“No it’s not!”
“Look,” Nina said, stopping and turning to Amber, “When Sarah died, I didn’t want to believe it. But it happened; no matter how bad it was, it happened. This…this could be the same. These things happen, Amber.”
“I know, but not to Mick! Not to us!” she said.
“Because we’re young?” Noah asked, “Bad things happen to young people too.”
“It’s not fair,” Amber said.
“Life isn’t fair,” Noah answered.
Nina nodded, “It’s not.”
“I know, but…but still…,” Amber said, unable to counter the argument. She knew that life was hard; it was a reality. She didn’t want to believe it, but it was true.
“Should we try a basement, if there is one?” Noah asked.
“Maybe,” Nina said, “Yeah, let’s go.”
“I don’t believe it,” Amber told them, not following.
“Amber, it’s just to look,” Nina said, “We don’t know if he is there or not.”
“He’s not!” she said, “I’m going to keep looking up here. Ok?”
Nina nodded once, “Yeah…ok, you do that,” she told Amber, continuing on with Noah down the stairs.
As Amber kept walking, she turned the first corner on the next floor, and then screamed. Another mummy had come, and it had taken her.
Nina looked back up the stairs, “Amber!” she shouted, hurrying up with Noah at her side, both of them calling out Amber’s name.
As they turned the corner, they could see Amber being dragged through the floor by the mummy. They both ran to her, but were unable to help.
Over an hour later the group had met up in the main hall, ready to leave. They hadn’t found anything, and it was getting late. They didn’t want to go without Mick, but for now they had to. But they would come back every day to look for him, they decided.
“I texted them,” Fabian said, “They should be here soon.”
And indeed, soon the door opened. Expecting the three girls, the group was shocked to see only Noah walking into the hallway.
“Where are Nina and Amber?” Patricia questioned her.
“I…I don’t know…,” she whispered, shaking her head, “A mummy got Amber, and then…Nina…she…I don’t quite know,” she said, lifting her right hand, unclenching it.
It was Nina’s locket.
She was gone.
21: House of InfinityEdit
"We can't leave without them," Fabian told them, "We can't."
"Nobody is saying we should," Patricia told him, "And don't worry, we won't."
"Let's look around," Alfie offered, "They might be here somewhere. And I'm not leaving without Amber. Or, well, any of them, but…"
"We get it," Fabian told him, not quite amused, though he knew what Alfie meant, "Let's just start looking, like Alfie said. They should be here somewhere."
Noah looked at the locket she held in her hand. She clenched her fist tighter around it. When the others started to walk on, she followed without a word.
As they walked past the mantle, something happened. There was a sliding sound, the sound of stone against stone. They hurried back in with Fabian at the lead, being the one to rush in first. A fire began, magical in nature, spelling out a message for them.
"We can't leave without solving the riddle," Fabian stated after reading it as the others looked at the flames.
"What do we do, then?" Joy questioned, "I mean, if we can't find them? Do we just go on with the riddle? Or not? I mean, I don't want to leave them behind, but…"
"We will have to get out eventually," Patricia said, "We'll need food, water."
"We won't be trapped here," Fabian told them, "We will find the answer, and the others."
"Where should we even start?" Noah asked.
"I'm hoping that their disappearances have to do with the riddle," Fabian admitted, "With this test. I mean, the timing!"
"But there's Rufus and the mummies," Joy told him, "Fabes…it might, it might not be."
"I know…but I want to have hope," Fabian told her, "It's all we can have right now. In this situation we're in, hope is one of the things we have to have!"
"Fabian…what riddle are you talking about?" Patricia asked him. "Nothing came up after the snakes."
It slowly hit Fabian. It would have made sense what he had said, but Patricia was right. There was no riddle. There was something wrong about his theory. He didn't want to face the possibility of another force within the manor taking his friends, the woman he cared about. He had wanted it to be a part of this sick game they were now apparently partaking in. And that didn't seem to be the case.
"But…the fire says there's a riddle to be solved…," Fabian said. "What about the scroll?"
Noah took out her mobile and brought up a picture, "Yeah, the scroll, forgot all about it." She turned her phone, showing the picture she had taken of it when she had gone in to help Joy.
"Ok. 'Be brave and find infinity with the eye of magic.'," Fabian read, "I'm not sure what that means."
"Me neither," Noah said, "The eye, though. The Eye of Horus?" she asked, holding up the locket.
"Maybe," Fabian said.
"Infinity is the odd word to me," Patricia commented.
Alfie nodded, "Eternal life, maybe?" he asked, not liking the thought.
"It might be asking us to find eternal life with the Eye of Horus," Joy said, "Sounds…I don't know. Bad."
"Like Victor," Fabian said, "Is that what this is for? Another shot at eternal life?"
"We can figure it out later," Fabian said, "For now, we find Mick, Amber and Nina, and we figure this riddle out. If they're connected, the answer can lead us to them, I hope."
"How should we do this, then?" Patricia asked.
"We'll split up," he said, "We'll all go look."
"Is splitting up a good idea?" Joy questioned him, "I mean, look at what happened to the others."
Fabian nodded once, "Ok. You have a point," he said, "We stay together. Especially since we don't really have any guesses about the riddle. I guess it would be best."
"But if we don't know what we're looking for, what do we do?" Alfie asked.
"We look until we find something pertaining – even if vaguely – to the subject," Fabian said.
"You don't know, do you?" Noah asked him, showing concern.
"It's all I can think of," he told her, "Anyone else?"
"No," Joy said, "That sounds like about all we can do."
As they walked back into the rest of the manor and started to walk around, wondering where to go and where to look, Joy started to talk.
"I thought I was going to die," she said softly, "I thought the snakes were going to kill me."
"They were poisonous," Fabian commented, "But you're alive, you're safe."
"I know…but…I just had some thoughts while I was in there," she said, "I wondered what Mick would do, if I died. What all of you would do. And now, Mick is gone, and I'm fearing for him. After all, Rufus…"
"Rufus is a mummy now," Patricia said.
"I know! That's what I mean," Joy said, "If it was a mummy that got him, like you guys said got Rufus, then…"
"No," Fabian said, "They'll all be fine. Nothing will go wrong."
"You don't know that," Joy said.
"I lost Nina!" he told her, "You're hoping and praying that Mick is safe? I'm doing the same for Nina. Please Joy, realize that. You're not the only one who's praying for their safety, and their return."
"I know," she said softly.
"Guys, if Amber's gone…," Alfie said, "Then what? I mean, it's not like I could get another girlfriend like her," he said.
"Is that what you care about?" Patricia questioned him.
"He's hiding it behind humor," Noah whispered.
"Yeah, she's right," Alfie said, "I…I don't know how I would deal with it. That's the only way I can. So sorry, but…it's the only thing I can say."
"We understand," Fabian said.
"You know, we're lucky," Patricia told Noah, "We didn't lose close people."
"We lost friends," she said.
"But not as close as they lost," she said.
Noah nodded, "Still…"
"It is hard," Patricia said, "But it could have been worse. I mean, this is bad, but it could have been."
Noah nodded, "That doesn't help."
"I'm not great at being helpful like that," Patricia said, "Sorry."
"We'll find them," Noah chose to say. "We will."
Patricia nodded, "We will," she repeated.
"We have to," Fabian said.
As they walked, Noah looked at each of them. She looked on ahead again after she had seen them all. These were friends. These people whom she was supposed to be spying on, they were her friends.
Mr. Wolf offered life back for her parents, so she could have that love. But she didn't need it, not like she thought she did. These friends were enough for her. Her parents were gone. People weren't supposed to come back from the dead. Life, the living. That's what she needed now. Not the dead given life, but those who already had it.
And that's when she chose her path. She wouldn't help Mr. Wolf any longer. No. She was in this for her friends.
As they continued to walk on for nearly another hour, searching rooms and theorizing amongst each other, something came to Fabian's mind.
"Why didn't I think of this earlier?" he questioned, "I've got it! I think."
"Tell us then," Patricia told him, "We need an answer."
"Tell me if this makes sense," he said to Noah, "You're the one with the most knowledge of Egypt."
She nodded, "Tell us."
"Ra," he said.
"Ra? Isn't he the…sun god?" Alfie asked.
Fabian nodded, "Yeah, he is."
"Are you saying the sun is an eye?" Alfie asked.
"No," he said, looking at Noah.
"Ra is associated with infinity, I think," Noah said.
Fabian nodded, "Yeah. That's what I remember."
"So, the infinity line relates back to Ra?" Joy asked, "Ok, so if it does, what does that mean? Where do we go from there?"
"That's the problem," he said, "I don't know what the eye means, or what to do with the information."
"Ok, let's assume it's right," Patricia said, "It's Ra. Let's just look around until we find something related to Ra, and then we might get an answer."
Fabian nodded, "Yeah, sounds like the best plan."
"Have we missed anything in the rooms we searched?" Alfie asked.
"I don't recall seeing anything," Fabian said.
"Good. Then we only move forward," Joy said.
As the group continued on, searching the rooms for any signs of Ra, Noah thought once more about her friends, and her family.
Her friends had been hurt. The disappearances of Nina, Amber and Mick were all related to Mr. Wolf and his manipulations and presence. She couldn't let things like this happen again. Her own pain at the continued loss of her parents would have to stay, while she would spare her friends of the pain of being subjugated to Mr. Wolf's plots.
Once their goal here was done, and they recovered the others, she'd have to find a way to convince them to stop. They couldn't go on.
They couldn't be playing Mr. Wolf's game any longer.
22: House of RaEdit
After another hour's search, they were no closer to an answer than before. The only upside was that they had cleared most of the rooms by this point, and found nothing that they thought related, so they were narrowing it down.
"Ok, so we've figured out it's Ra. They're still missing," Alfie said, "We can't get out until we answer it. So…I'm confused now."
"If I had to guess, we find something related, take it to the mantle, and we're done," Patricia said, "Kind of how it's been working."
"Let's just keep looking," Fabian said, stopping at the next hallway, "Ok. Let's take it room by room."
"Kind of what we've been doing," Patricia told him.
"I know," he said.
"Then no need to state it," she said, walking on ahead and opening the first door. There was a bed inside along with a nightstand and a wardrobe, but nothing relating to Ra anywhere inside. She sighed and closed the door, shaking her head to the others.
"Then we go to the next one," Fabian said, going down and opening it, looking around, then he did the same, closed the door and shook his head.
"I'm losing hope," Alfie had to admit.
"I don't think you're alone," Joy breathed in response.
"We can't give up though," Noah put in.
"Of course we can't," Joy told her, "There's a difference between losing hope and giving up."
Noah nodded, "Yeah…"
As they checked the next rooms, the same results were yielded to them. When they reached the end of the hall they went to the doors on the adjacent wall and started on those. Alfie opened one and looked inside, poking his head back out, "Uh…guys?"
The group headed over to see what he had found. He stepped back, showing them the room, "I did good, right?"
Most rooms had nothing on the walls at all, except perhaps some old fixtures for torches or the like. This room had a large painting on the back wall, a painting of a humanoid figure with a falcon's head sitting in a long canoe with a sun directly over its head, as if it were a part of the head.
"Well, that's Ra, right?" Alfie asked, clearly very happy with himself.
Fabian nodded, "Yeah, that's him," he said, walking into the room with the others, gaze affixed on the painting.
"So…what do we do with it?" Patricia asked, "Take it off, place it on the mantle?"
"Maybe," Fabian said, "But it's…"
"Big," Alfie finished for him, "Very big."
"Well, maybe we should take it off the wall," Joy offered, "See if there's something smaller on it, or something. Sometimes people hide things in frames, I'd imagine. Or behind the painting, in the frame?"
"That's a good guess," Fabian said, "Yeah, let's take it off."
With Alfie on one side and Fabian on the other, they managed to lift it off the wall. But it was awkward to handle, and immediately gave them problems.
"I'm losing it!" Alfie warned, trying to fix his grip.
"Don't drop it!" Fabian told him, struggling as well.
It fell from Alfie's grip, and with Fabian's grip weak, it fell onto the bed, fortunately. They looked at the back of the painting, not seeing anything. Joy walked over to check her theory by looking over the frame itself.
Alfie turned around, "I think I did good again," he said, pointing at the wall.
There was an infinity sign there, having been covered by the picture of Ra.
"Infinity?" Fabian muttered.
"I think it's tied to Ra," Noah commented, "I don't know for sure, though."
"So…what does it mean?" Alfie asked.
"I don't know," Noah said.
"Me neither," Fabian said, "Unless it's a passage?"
Noah looked at the necklace, "We need the Eye," she said, lifting it to the infinity mark.
As she held it there for a few moments, nothing happened. They all looked around, expecting something – anything – to change. But no, nothing happened at all.
"Well, does that mean we have the wrong place?" Joy asked.
"That, or it might not be something in this room that changed," Fabian put out, "Not that that would make a lot of sense."
"Well, I don't see anything here," Joy said, "Nothing on the frame or in it, from what I can tell."
Fabian sighed, "Let's go somewhere else then. We'll keep checking rooms. Does someone want to run down to the entrance and see if anything changed?"
"Sure, I'll do it," Alfie offered, "Anything to stop checking these rooms."
"After we finish checking this hall," Fabian said.
As they left the room and went to the next, there was nothing new. The next room also yielded nothing of value to them. So they moved on once again. Only this time, this room offered them something.
It was a room filled with artifacts related to Ra. Much like Mertseger's room, this was another shrine room. They had only found the two shrines so far in their entire search.
"Wait…we've searched basically this entire place so far," Joy said, "How come none of us remember this?"
"Maybe the Eye did it?" Noah offered, "Maybe this room…appeared or something when I used it on the infinity symbol."
"So, you think this entire place might be tied to magic?" Fabian asked her.
She shrugged, "Well, we know this wasn't here before."
"Good thing we came the way we did, or we'd have missed it," Alfie said.
"Yeah," Fabian nodded, "Ok, something in here must be the answer. But what? There's so much!"
"Question for you guys," Patricia said, looking around, "How do you make Ra angry? Because let's figure it out and make sure not to do it. I don't want another Mertseger incident."
"Just don't do anything stupid?" Joy offered, taking a glance to Alfie.
"Why me?" he questioned.
"I threw it out as a statement to all of us, not you."
"You looked at me!" he told her.
She didn't answer that and just went about looking around. As she looked at a series of small statues and carvings she looked to the others, "You guys know this room changed dimensions, right?"
They stopped what they were doing. Fabian looked at her, then looked around, "You're right…this should be the size of a normal room. But it's bigger now."
"I don't like this magic," Alfie said, "Can we just find it and go?"
"Yeah," Fabian nodded.
Noah looked at one of the walls, where a large claw mark was painted on. She ran her hand over the faded gold paint. She lifted the Eye of Horus to it, taking a guess. Her guess paid off as the claw and the Eye both began to glow, and a sliding sound was heard.
"I think I found something," Noah said, looking around with the others.
The entire wall soon began to slide, revealing a hidden room. It was small, like a closet, and soon it became apparent it was probably a closet from another room, based on spatial dimensions.
And inside of that room was Nina, Amber and Mick, lying on the ground, all of them unconscious.
"Nina!" Fabian called, rushing in. Alfie hurried after him for Amber, and Joy ran to get to Mick. Noah and Patricia stayed back and watched them grabbing the people they cared about and sitting them up, talking to them, trying to get them to wake up.
After groaning a little Nina opened her eyes, "Fabian? What…what happened?"
"It's ok now," he told her, "You're fine, you're safe."
"But what happened?" she asked.
"I don't know," he said, "But we found you, and solved the riddle, I think. But we found all of you," he said, looking at them. Amber and Mick were waking, unsure of what had happened to them, but the people who cared about them were only happy they were safe.
Noah looked inside. She knew that mummies had gotten them, and that probably that shouldn't have happened, based on what happened to Rufus. What had happened to change things?
She wouldn't know about Mr. Wolf's state of being within the manor as a spiritual being, and wouldn't know about the power he exerted within and how he controlled the mummies. It was he whom had ordered their depositing in that room. They were of more use to him alive than as undead servants, unlike Rufus.
"Hey, what's this?" Joy asked, looking at the wall by where she had set Mick against. She stood up and took hold of an old looking key. She held it out to the others to take a look at and gave it to Patricia while she crouched down by Mick again.
"Well, maybe this ties into the next riddle?" Patricia wondered.
"Well, let's go and make sure this is the end of the riddle," Fabian said.
As they helped their friends out of the room, they made it soon enough to the main room. The fires didn't appear, giving them no message. They attempted to leave, finding the door open for them now.
"Ok, well, that's good," Fabian said, "I guess the riddle's done."
"But what about the next one?" Noah asked him.
"The key," he said, "We have that."
"For now, it's all we have," Patricia told them.
"But it's something," Fabian said, "Next time we'll search for what it opens."
"Sounds like a plan," Nina said weakly.
Fabian nodded, lifting one hand in front of his face while they were all here, "Sibuna."
"Sibuna," it was repeated by them all.
23: House of FracturesEdit
It was a few hours after leaving the manor and returning to Anubis House. Everyone had gone in together, and after giving Nina, Mick and Amber a few hours rest, they had all met up in Nina, Amber and Mara's bedroom.
The only ones absent from this were Jerome and Mara. Patricia had gone to get Mara and ask if she had wanted to come and join in, but Mara refused. Alfie reported something similar with Jerome, and based on their answers it sounded as if they were done with Sibuna.
Nobody really minded Jerome's absence, though Mara's answer was a sadder one, as Mara was someone they thought was a great person to have. Only really Alfie and Noah took offense to the lack of care over Jerome.
Nina closed the door and locked it before going back over and sitting on her bed near the others, some of whom were on beds or on the floor. "So…," she started off with, "I guess we're all here so we can figure out what we do next."
"We have no riddle," Fabian agreed.
She nodded, holding up the key, "Only this."
"The place is so big," Patricia said, "That could go to anything."
"Before we go any farther, I have something to say," Joy said, sitting on the floor with her arms crossed when she said it.
"Go ahead," Nina said.
"I want to address the snakes," she said, "Oh, and almost dying. I feel that's a good thing to bring up. I risked my life, and I got concern at the time and everything, but this isn't what I sighed on for."
"Well, we all knew it was dangerous," Fabian said.
"Dangerous and that are two different things," she said, "I'd be dead if it wasn't for Noah! Thanks, by the way," she said.
Noah only nodded.
"We had no idea of knowing that would happen," Nina told her.
"I know that," Joy said, "But…"
Mick picked up, "It's gotten us thinking. I think we're done with this," he said, "Sorry everyone, but…we just can't risk things like this."
"Nobody's died yet," Alfie said.
"That'll help, sure..,." Patricia muttered.
"No, I'm serious!" he said, "We know it's dangerous, but we're still here!"
"That may be fine for you, to deal with the danger like this, but not for us," Joy told him.
"I understand," Nina said, "I'm going to offer that to all of us. We know this one is dangerous. If anyone else wants to leave, then…then go ahead. We can't expect all of you to walk into this danger like this. It's not right. There won't be any hard feelings if you guys want to go as well."
"I do have something to say," Patricia said, "And I think this is an important one to bring up."
"What would that be?" Nina asked.
"What are we even looking for?" she questioned, "I mean, Rufus said something about magic, right? But we don't know what it even is!"
"You make a good point," Nina admitted. They really didn't know what they were searching for. What would be at the end of this quest? None of them knew.
"Does that mean you're going to leave?" Fabian asked Patricia.
She shook her head, "No. I'm here to stay."
Alfie looked to Amber, "You're quiet today."
"I disappeared in the manor. That takes a lot out of me," she said, yawning. It was evident that she was tired, and not just having a lack of opinions or words. "Even if we don't know what we're looking for, I'm still going to be here," she said.
"Thanks, Amber," Nina said with a smile.
"If we don't even know what we're looking for, then why do we keep doing this?" Joy questioned, standing up, "I'm out. I'm sorry, but after the snakes, I just don't want to risk anything else."
"I understand," Nina said.
"I'm sorry to see you go," Fabian told her.
Patricia nodded, "Joy, if you ever change your mind, you can come back."
"I know," she said.
"I'm out too," Mick said, "I'm going with Joy."
"Understood," Nina said.
The two went to the door, unlocking it and leaving them. Now it was just Nina, Fabian, Amber, Patricia, Alfie and Noah.
"Alfie? Noah?" Nina asked.
"I'm here," Alfie said, "I mean, it's dangerous, but this is probably going to be really important. So I'll stay. I mean, it is kind of fun…and exciting…"
"You don't have much reason, do you?" Noah asked him.
"Not really," he said.
"It's just good to know you're staying," Nina told him.
"I'm staying too," Noah said.
"You're an exchange student," Nina said, "What if something happens to you while you're here?
"Well, I can't just let you guys go off on your own, right? It wouldn't be right for me to stay here, while you guys are all going and risking your lives."
"Right, I guess not," Nina said.
"Ok, that's settled," Amber yawned, "Can I have my bed back? I want to sleep," she complained.
"Just one thing first," Fabian said, "We don't know what it is. With the Cup, we ended up doing something good. We stopped immortality from happening to bad people. But with this, we don't know what's at the end, or if we're removing the obstacles for someone else to get to. What if every step closer we get, someone else is getting there too? What if someone else could get inside and take whatever it is, even if we do all the work? Or they could finish what we started?"
"What are you getting at?" Nina asked.
"What if everything we do puts someone one step closer to some twisted goal? Maybe immortality, maybe some form of magic? What if we're helping them to become more powerful, and use whatever's there for themselves? Like Rufus would?"
"I guess that is possible," Nina said, "Anyone else thinking that?"
"It is possible," Patricia said.
Noah nodded, but didn't say anything, since she knew all too well.
"That would be just wrong," Alfie said, "We almost die, and someone swoops in."
Amber didn't say anything, but nodded with her eyes closed.
"So…do we stop?" Nina asked.
"I think so," Fabian said.
"I…," Alfie started, then nodded, "Yeah. We should stop."
Patricia nodded, "I don't want to help someone like Rufus get anything."
"I'm with them," Amber said between yawns.
Nina looked to Noah, "And you?"
"I don't know," she admitted.
"I think we should keep going," Nina said, standing up, "I guess we have different views."
"Nina, it's nothing personal, it's just…," Fabian started.
"No, I get it," Nina said, "I guess we're done," she said, walking out of the room, leaving the others there.
"I think…I think Sibuna is done?" Alfie asked, but nobody answered.
24: House of AloneEdit
Nina was alone now. As she sat in school, she ignored the others. Was it childish? Yes. Did she know it? Yes. Did she care? No.
She didn't interact with the others more than she had to. Even her boyfriend, Fabian, was someone she had stopped talking to. She avoided them all. She spent time away from Anubis House, didn't say much during dinner or breakfast. They all were able to guess why, and none of them were really able to blame her.
When she was getting up to leave from dinner, Fabian got up too, "Nina, wait," he said, going after her.
As they went into the sitting room he grabbed her by the arm, "Nina!" he said.
She turned to him, drawing her arm from his grip, "What is it?" she asked him.
"I'm sorry about all of this," he said, "But that's no reason to be acting like this."
"Acting like what?" she asked.
"This!" he said, "Acting like you don't have any friends! Acting like you're alone!"
"I am alone," she said, "It's just me now."
"So you're going back to the manor?"
"Yes, I am. I understand what you're saying, but I have to finish this!"
"Look," he said, "Someone left that flashdrive for you. Someone wants this to happen. Are you going to play into someone's plan like this?"
"It's not playing into their plan if I can get at it first," she said.
"But what if you can't?" he questioned.
"I will," she said, "I won't let someone else profit off of this. I'll protect whatever it is."
"And if you can't?"
"I'm the Chosen One. It's my duty to do that."
"That was for the Cup," he said.
"I wasn't something like 'The Cup's Chosen One'," she said, "No. I'm the 'Chosen One'. Just that. It can mean anything. It can mean more than just the Cup."
"I guess…I guess you have a point there…," he said.
"So it may very well be my duty to do what I have to at the manor," she said. "I don't know if I'll go alone, or if someone will choose to join me. But I'm going. And you're not going to stop me, Fabian."
"I won't try," he said.
"Are you coming with me?"
"I can't," he told her, "Even if you are my girlfriend, I just can't."
"I understand," she said, walking off and heading upstairs.
He watched after her and shook his head. Maybe he made the wrong choice, standing by his words, by his principles, when he should have stood by her.
The next day as soon as school ended, Nina went a different way. She wasn't going home, rather she was heading to the manor. She'd walk in uniform instead of wasting time going back and changing, or anything.
The key. The key had to be the answer, and she intended to find the lock it went to. It took her a while to get there, but when she arrived she headed straight inside, not quite sure where to begin.
"Nina's not here," Amber observed.
"Yeah," Fabian said, "It's not like she's here much since we argued."
"This is the first time she hasn't come to change," Amber said.
"What do you mean?" Fabian asked.
"Her uniform isn't in her room," Amber said, "She comes, changes, and goes again."
"Strange," Fabian said. He collapsed into the couch, "I wonder if we made the right choice?"
"About what?" Amber asked, sitting there as well.
"About the manor," he said, "Maybe we should have continued searching."
"It was dangerous," Amber said.
"I get that, but…Nina's going to be going alone. That might be even worse."
"She is dedicated," Patricia said as she came in and sat down, "She might be able to do this all alone."
"I kind of hope not," Fabian said, "Whatever's inside of that place, I'd rather it stay hidden than for someone to find it."
"I'll give you that one," Patricia said.
"But I think this was right," Amber said, "We were doing stupid and dangerous things last year. No need to do it again."
"Especially since Joy almost died," Patricia said. "Last year we had Rufus to worry about. This time it's more than that. A lot more."
Fabian remained silent for a bit, "We should help her."
"What?" Amber questioned, "Are you serious?"
"I am," he said.
"You know, normally you would do things with your girlfriend, but this doesn't have to be one of them," she told Fabian, "This could kill you."
"And if Nina's going alone, it could kill her," he said.
"Look, I know that you're worried about Nina. We all are. But is it really worth it? Besides, you're the one who convinced the rest of us to stop."
"I know," he said, "But I think it would be best to continue."
"You're only saying that now because you can't dare think of Nina going alone, right?" Patricia asked.
"I just changed my mind," he said, standing up, "That's all."
"No, I don't think that's all," Patricia said.
"Fabian, think about it," Amber said.
"I am," he said, "And I think we can get whatever's at the end, and protect it."
"It's not worth it," Patricia said.
Noah walked through the main hall of the manor, looking around. She stopped dead in her tracks when she heard the ghostly voice whisper her name.
She turned around to see the robed figure with the Ibis mask floating there. "That's a new look," she said.
"Quiet," he hissed, removing the mask to reveal his familiar face, "I want you to get rid of that girl, and take the necklace. This time, for good."
"For good?" she questioned.
"Like last time, but make sure she doesn't come back," he hissed.
"You want me to kill her?" she questioned.
"Whatever it takes," Mr. Wolf hissed.
"She's my friend," she told him.
"That still didn't stop you from knocking her unconscious and taking the necklace last time," he told her.
"You told me to. This and that are completely different," she told him. "Why don't you just do it, if you want it done?"
"I can't affect the Chosen One," he hissed, "Not in this form."
"You moved her body," Noah said.
"She was without the necklace, and with two others. I was able to move them all," he told Noah, floating closer to her, until his face was looking right down on hers, "Do it!"
She didn't answer. She just looked defiantly up into his eyes.
"Very well," he hissed, "But don't think you're safe. I still have power over you, even if you are 'Chosen' as well."
As Nina walked through, checking rooms and looking at the key, she decided it was probably a key for a door, not a lockbox or anything like that. She kept searching, looking for any door she couldn't open. But thus far she couldn't find anything at all.
She looked at the key as she walked. The design of it didn't help her. It gave her no ideas as to what it was. Just a door, as far as she could figure. Though it didn't fit into any door she had tried thus far. So it didn't seem to be for one of the normal rooms.
As she walked out of the hallway, towards the staircase, she heard a scream emanating from somewhere. It was a woman's scream, that's all she could tell.
"Hello?" Nina called out, looking all around herself, running a little. But that was pointless, since she couldn't pinpoint the sound. "Hello?"
Just the single scream.
"I wasn't imagining it," she said to herself, "Hello?"
But once more, there was nothing.
But somewhere inside of the manor, she wasn't alone. That was certain.
25: House of DuoEdit
As Nina kept running around, calling out for whoever had screamed, she wondered if it wasn't a good idea. For all she knew she might be going into a trap of some sort by the mummies, or something. Or this might lure out the mummies.
"Hello?" she called again, stopping and looking both ways down the corridor she had come into. She ran down one way and stopped when she reached the end.
"Noah?" she asked.
"Nina," Noah greeted, "I kind of thought you'd be here, so I came to help."
"Help? I thought you were with the others," she said, "That you didn't want to do this anymore."
"No," she said, "I agreed with you, I just didn't say anything," she said, "But I thought your way was better. If we can solve it, we can do more that way than leaving it unsolved. Especially since we've already started to solve it."
"Right," she said, "That makes sense. Let's do all the work, instead of leaving half of it done for someone else. Then we can at least move whatever it is, or something." Noah nodded, "Exactly."
"Did you hear a scream?" Nina asked her.
"I did when I came in," she said, "I got worried it was you."
"No," Nina said, "It wasn't me. But I can't find its source."
"Strange," she said, "I guess we might find it eventually."
Nina nodded, "Yeah."
"So, the key," Noah said, "Find anything?"
"No, not yet," she said.
"I'll help," she said.
"I appreciate it," she said, unsure of what help she could be. There was one key, and many doors. But she guessed Noah could check for locked doors.
"Please, lead on," she offered to Nina.
Nina started to walk on, leading the way back to where she had stopped when the scream had occurred. They started their search from there on.
"I've meant to ask," Nina said, looking to Noah as they walked down the hallway, "You used the necklace. How did that happen? I thought only I could."
Noah nodded, "Well, I don't know a lot, but I can tell you what I do know," she said.
"Please do," Nina said. Was it possible that Noah was also a Chosen One?
"Well, I was born in Egypt," she said, "My parents were on vacation, and my mother went into labor there. They were out, though. In the desert as part of a tour. I was born early, so they didn't expect it to happen while they were out like that.
"While they were visiting a pyramid I was being born. A group of people were able to help. Natives to Egypt. They helped my mother give birth to me. But there was more to it, I guess."
"More to it?" Nina asked.
"I was told that these people were part of a group, or something," Noah told Nina.
"What sort of group?" Nina asked.
"They were called the 'Order of Amneris'," she said.
"Amneris?" Nina asked, a little shocked.
She nodded, "Do you know the name?"
"Yeah," she said, "I'm descended from her, being the Chosen One. That's why I can use the necklace."
"I see," Noah said, "I wasn't born at the right time, nor right day. The Order told that to my parents, but they…they felt something, I guess. That's what my mother told me when I was told about all of this. They didn't understand what the Order meant, but those women did something.
"They blessed me as soon as I was born. That, combined with the location they had taken my parents for the birthing apparently give me Amneris's blessing. If being her descendant allows you to use the necklace, I guess having her blessing is enough for me to use it as well."
"Is there anything else you know about this?" Nina asked her.
"No," Noah said, "My parents didn't know a lot, and I never got to ask them. I wasn't really old enough to understand what to ask, and then…then they…they died."
"I'm so sorry," Nina said.
"No, it's fine," Noah said, "I wish I knew more, though. But that's all there is for me to tell you."
"Have you ever looked into the Order?" she asked Noah.
"I tried," she said, "But the internet didn't give me any information."
"I'd like to know more, if we could find more information somehow," Nina said.
"As would I," Noah said, "Because the Order, and whatever they did to me, are the first things that happened to me in my life. Sometimes I wonder if what they did has caused me to be here, and to be involved in all of this?"
"Maybe," Nina said, "But it's a good thing."
"Good and bad," Noah said.
"Mostly good?" Nina asked.
"Mostly good," she said with a nod and smile.
As they kept going and checking the doors, Nina found one that didn't open. She looked to Noah, "I remember this door. We tried to force it open, but chose to stop. If it's locked, it's locked for a reason, we decided."
Noah nodded, "So, the key?"
She put it into the lock, "Well, it fits. This lock is different from the other doors." She turned the key, "It's open!"
Noah hurried over as she opened the door. The two headed inside and closed the door behind them for good measure, looking around, but it was dark.
Nina felt around the wall for support. When her fingers passed over an Eye of Horus symbol, she pulled out her necklace and applied it to the spot. Torches long since dead sprang to life, casting the flickering glow of the flames along the room, lighting it for the two to see.
They looked around the massive library, at the rows and rows of ancient books. They walked over, examining spines, unable to read some, others making sense, while some felt like they would crumble to dust if more than a light touch was used.
"Now what?" Noah wondered to Nina.
"I don't know," she said, looking at the spines, "There has to be something in here that'll lead us on."
"What if this is the end?" Noah asked, "What if the hidden object was here? Or this room?"
She knew that Mr. Wolf sought the Book of Thoth. It would make sense to be in a library like this. But what would she do? Find it and take it to him? Or hide it? Destroy it?
"Noah!" Nina called from a corridor made of shelves.
Noah hurried over, going around the end of a bookshelf to get into the corridor it made. She saw Nina pulling a book free from chest height, walking over with it. It was bound in pale blue, aged, with golden letters across it that were hard to read.
"What is it?" Noah asked.
"It's a book about Amneris," Nina said, showing her the spine. It stated the single word of 'Amneris'. Opening the cover revealed a name.
"Robert Frobisher-Smythe wrote this," Nina said, walking over and placing it on a table.
"Maybe this can give me some answers," Noah said.
"That's what I hope," Nina said.
But before they could get anywhere in the book, they heard a sound coming from the doorway. Looking over they could see a figure slowly approaching. It was the lurching figure of a mummy, along with the slightly better movements of another that they knew had to be Rufus's mummified body.
"What now?" Noah asked.
Nina closed the book, "We have to go," she said, "We'll find our way back again. But we have to go."
They headed towards the door, trying to figure out how to get past, but the two mummies weren't moving far from it.
"They're not going to let us out," Noah said.
"We'll get out," Nina said, looking at a torch.
As soon as she did, the first mummy moved towards her. That created enough of an opening for them to escape from. She ran around the outside of the mummy and headed out the door with Noah, the book slipping from her arm as they ran.
"Do not let them have that knowledge," Mr. Wolf's ghostly voice hissed to the two mummies.
They converge on the book, just as Nina and Noah stopped as Nina realized she had dropped it.
26: House of SacrificeEdit
Jerome was getting out of his seat from dinner and going into the kitchen. It was his night to help with dishes, and he wasn't able to pawn it off on anybody else. He had already tried. But when he walked in he saw something worse than dishes.
It was Mara. She had to do it tonight as well, it seemed. He sighed and walked over, rolling up his sleeves and started to wash the dishes.
"Mara," he greeted simply.
She looked at him, "Jerome," she said.
They continued on in silence. He would wash, then hand them to her to dry and put away. He didn't know what to say to her, no more than she knew what to say to him. They endured in the awkward silence born of the death of their relationship. It was once something Jerome would do anything to fight for, but because of Sibuna it was damaged, and now it wasn't worth it.
She thrust a plate back towards him, "You didn't get it all off," she said.
"I got as much off as I could," he said.
"Well that's not good enough," she said, dropping it into the water, splashing up water and soap onto Jerome.
He looked at her, but she either wasn't looking back after she knew what happened, or she had no idea. Regardless, he put his hand in and splashed some up at her, getting her in the side.
"What was that for?" she shouted, clearly showing she didn't know that he had been splashed up by her dropping the plate.
"Some payback," he said simply.
She noticed him wet and smiled a bit, "Oh, ok then," she said, reaching in and throwing more at him.
A small smile came to him as well as he continued. She backed away as he took as much as he could hold cupped into his hands and threw them at her, making a mess of the kitchen with her.
"Oh I've missed things like this," he said with a smile.
"Yeah, me too…," she smiled.
"I dropped the book!" Nina said.
Noah ran back without saying anything. Nina turned and ran after her, "Noah! No!"
Noah ran into the room and crouched down, grabbing the book as the mummy was upon it. She was smashed into by it as it reached out to grab her, attempting to drag her down. But the hit knocked her out of its range, hitting her into the wall. Nina grabbed her and pulled her away as the two mummies came after them.
"Come on Noah…," Nina muttered, hurrying as fast as she could, "You have to be ok…you have to be ok…"
By the time they had gotten out, a cab was waiting after Nina had called for one on the way out. She pulled Noah inside and told the driver to take them to the hospital. She wasn't sure how she would pay, but she called Mr. Wolf at Anubis House and informed him where they were going.
Later, when they had arrived, Mr. Wolf was coming into the room that Noah was in. Her head was bandaged and Nina was next to the bed.
"What happened?" Mr. Wolf demanded angrily, "You two don't come back after school, and then I get this call. What happened?"
"You see…," Nina said, "Well, we stayed around at the school for a bit, and I don't know what happened. She just fell and hit her head…"
"I spoke with Mr. Sweet. You two weren't at the school. It was locked down when this would have happened."
"You know what, save it," Mr. Wolf told her, "I'll want answers later. And the truth. Not lies."
"I understand…," Nina said as he walked out, leaving her alone with the unconscious Noah for now.
"Noah…I'm so sorry," Nina said, "I shouldn't have dropped the book."
She opened the drawer next to Noah's bed, looking at the faded blue book, then closed it again, "I'm so sorry…"
There was a knock and then it opened. Joy came inside, "Nina," she said.
Nina got up, "Right," she said, looking back at Noah and then walking out, closing the door behind her as Joy walked over and sat down.
"I'm sorry this happened," Joy told her, "You saved me from the snakes, and I assume this happened at the manor. You helped me, and I wasn't there to help you. I feel so bad, Noah," she said softly, "When you wake up; I'll repay you however I can. I owe you my life, after all."
She looked over the sleeping girl, shaking her head, "This is what could happen to all of us. If we're lucky." She stood up and looked at Noah, "I'm glad Nina was there to help you."
She walked out, letting Amber come inside. She sat down, "Noah, you're not from our school, but I still feel really bad. I don't know if I could have helped you, but if I had been there, maybe…" She stood up, putting her hand in front of her face. She figured this might be more than the words she lacked to tell Noah.
She smiled a little and walked out.
Alfie came in and sat there, looking at her, "At least you're alive," he said, "If the mummies did this to you, then they're not doing as well as before. They got Rufus and dragged him into the floor. At least they couldn't grab you. Even with this injury, that's something to be thankful for, right?" He smiled weakly, then it faded, "Noah, please, get better."
Next came Patricia who sat in the same spot as the others, "When Nina came, I didn't like her. She was new, and she replaced Joy. You weren't the same. You didn't replace anyone. It was odd, doing these things with you in Sibuna, but you're one of us now. You're our friend, and one of us. So please, get better soon."
Like Amber, she rose and put her hand in front of her face, "Sibuna."
And she left.
Mick came in next and sat down, "I have to thank you again for saving Joy. You did such a good thing that day; I can't believe this happened to you. I know how bad an injury like that can be. I've been hit in the head multiple times during sports before, and I'm fine. You're strong, like me. You'll be fine," he said, getting up and leaving the room.
Fabian came next. He sat there and looked at her, "You sided with Nina. You wanted to continue," he said, "I'm thankful that you were there, and she wasn't alone. You really are a good person, Noah. I don't know if you really did agree with her, or if you just didn't want her to be going alone. But thank you, thank you so much. You really are one of us, and a true friend."
Next came Jerome. He closed the door behind him and walked over, sitting down there, sighing, "Noah…I can't believe this." He shook his head, "I know what those guys did was dangerous, but that this would happen…no. Not to you of all people."
He thought about Mara, and what they had been doing earlier. Their water fight had drawn them back together through enjoyment. There was a real chance they would get back together, but that chance or not, he pushed it out of mind for now.
"Noah, you care about me. That much is apparent. And if Mara weren't here, I'm sure we'd be together. And it would be amazing, I'm sure. You? Me? How could it not be?" he smiled a little, hoping his words would get to her, and she'd know what he thought of her, "Noah…"
He stood up and leaned over, kissing her softly, lightly. He cared about her.
But the door opened as Mara came in, looking over. Jerome turned to leave and saw her. "Mara, it's not what you think…"
She closed the door and left him there. Jerome hurried over and tried the door, but she was holding it from the other side.
"We're done," she told him through the door, "For good."
"Mara!" he called, but she released the door and walked away. He opened it and stepped out, "Mara!"
But she didn't answer him.
"So…," Fabian said when they were all together in Noah's room, except for Mara and Jerome.
"What are you guys going to do?" Nina asked.
"I'm with you," Fabian told her.
"So am I," Patricia said.
"Yeah, I am too," Amber said, "Sorry about before."
"I'll come," Alfie said, "Especially if they're all going again."
Joy nodded, "I owe Noah."
"We can't let this happen again," Mick said.
Nina raised her hand up, "Sibuna."
The others did the same, "Sibuna."
One more voice joined in, "Sibuna…" she said weakly.
They all looked at the bed to see Noah's eyes open, smiling weakly, "I'm still with you guys. To the end."
"Great!" Alfie exclaimed, "Alright! Sibuna is back!"
27: House of DepthEdit
Noah had been released the next day after school, so there was no time for them to go to the manor, even if they wanted to. They had once more decided to only go on the weekends, since that seemed to work the best.
"Well, we did learn something new," Nina said, "Noah?"
Noah nodded, producing the faded blue book, "This," she said, holding it out, "We haven't had time to read much of it, but it's definitely something."
"It's not quite related to the manor mystery," Nina clarified, "But to Noah."
Fabian looked at the first pages with the others. When Nina said it had to do with Noah, he looked up, "What do you mean?" "The reason I can use the necklace," Noah answered, "That's what it has to do with."
"Right, how do you do that anyway?" Alfie asked.
"I think it's something we all need to know," Fabian stated.
"It is," she said, "It has to do with my birth."
She told them about Egypt, and about the Order of Amneris, while Nina reminded them of her connection with Amneris as the Chosen One letting her utilize the necklace.
"So, that explains things," Fabian said.
"I don't understand how a blessing works," Joy said.
Mick nodded, "She's the Chosen One," he directed at Nina, "You were blessed by women after you were born. She's descended from some mystical figure of sorts. I don't see how it works for you."
"The book will probably give us answers," Noah said, "We'll look into it."
"Tomorrow is Saturday," Nina said, "We'll be going back to the manor to search in the morning. We'll start on the book when we get a chance."
"I'm going to do some reading tonight," Noah said, "If I find anything, I'll fill you guys in."
"Please do," Nina said.
They got up and started to leave, going their own was. Noah headed downstairs and headed towards Jerome's room, knocking on his door.
"Jerome?" she asked, opening his door and looking inside.
"What do you want?" he questioned, lying on his bed and looking up at the ceiling.
"Something wrong?" she asked him.
"You," he said, turning his head to look at her. He sat up and swung his feet onto the ground, "I was this close to getting back with Mara," he said, holding two fingers a very short distance apart, "Then I kiss you, and she sees…"
"You chose to kiss me. I didn't make you," she said.
"I know," he said, "But I almost had her back."
"You ended your relationship with her. She didn't end it with you. So…aren't you to blame overall?"
"Get out," he told her.
She wasn't going to argue. She left his room and headed away to read.
The next day the eight of them were in the library at the manor, looking around. None of them knew what they were seeking; they just knew there was something in here, since the key had opened the door.
"Just make sure not to destroy any books," Fabian warned after Nina told him about them, "We don't want to crumble them. Don't touch."
"Fine," Alfie said, then paused, "Why do I feel like that's at me?"
"It probably is," Mick told him, "That would be why."
As they continued to look around, Nina stopped at the far side and looked at a door. She tried it, but it was locked. Reaching into her pocket for the key, she pushed it into the lock, finding that it worked. She opened the door and looked inside, finding that it was only a closet.
She looked closer, though. There were burns on the floor, evidence of a fire. Despite nobody ever having lived here, there was evidence of a fire.
"Guys!" she called, looking at the storage closet, finding nothing else inside as she stepped in and felt around the walls.
"What is it?" Patricia asked as they arrived.
She stepped out, "Look," she said.
They all saw the burns, "What do you think it means?" Amber asked.
"I have no idea," Nina said, "But if I had to guess, maybe it's for us?"
"If nobody lived here, then the burns are really out of place," Fabian agreed, "It may very well be part of the search."
"But what do we do with it?" Alfie asked.
"I'd like that answer," Fabian said.
The room began to grow brighter in slow increments, and then all at once. It was burning with a brilliant light, burning with green fire. The flames were shifting, forming letters which combined into words.
"Quick!" Nina said.
Joy pulled out her mobile and took a picture of the words, which were already starting to vanish, but she had gotten a full picture. She showed them the phone, "Ok, what does it say?" Joy asked, "I can't make it out."
Noah took a look, "I think it says 'The watchers of death…'," she stopped.
"I've got it," Mick said, looking, "Ok. 'The watchers of death are but two become three, in the twirling madness of a storm.'," he said.
"Who'd have thought you'd have the eyes for that?" Alfie asked.
"What's that mean?" he questioned.
"Just a shot back."
"Except that wasn't as insulting."
"Fine," Alfie said, "I give up."
Nina looked at the picture, at the words, and then noticed something. She took the mobile and started to walk away from the closet.
"Hey!" Joy called, going after her. The others came too, and followed until they were out in the hallway. Nina closed and locked the library door behind them.
"What are you doing?" Patricia questioned.
"Look at the picture," Nina said, holding it out, "Behind the flames."
They all looked closely. And they all started to see it.
It was a figure in a robe, floating there, ghastly like a ghost, not corporeal, but spiritual. He had the mask of a bird, and two eyes stuck out, being the easiest thing to see.
"Is that a ghost?" Alfie questioned.
"I don't know," Nina said, "But let's get out of here for now."
"Yeah, sounds good," Joy said, taking back her mobile and going out with the others.
"What have you learned?" Nina asked as Noah studied the book. In lieu of going back to the manor again that day, they decided to have Noah look into the book. That spirit threw them off, and they needed to figure something out. They would rather do research out of the manor rather than be going around with a mysterious spirit like that around. At least they knew of the mummies, but this was new.
"Well, I've learned a few things," Noah said, looking up from the book after she finished her page, "If someone was blessed by the Order, and I think this means at any time in their life, they can take on the form of a spirit after they die, but can't truly live. I thought that was the most interesting thing. But I did find out about the blessing."
"Oh?" Nina asked, "What do you know?"
"The blessing involves someone born within an hour. No later for the full affects, like I have apparently. It involves drawing in incense on the child ancient Egyptian symbols, and using some sort of ointment that was apparently used by Amneris in the past. Blessed by her as well, or something. It's not entirely clear. But those are two big parts. The ritual for anyone other than the newborn involves drinking a small portion of the ointment in liquid form."
"That spirit thing is strange," Nina said, "Does that mean if you die, you'll be a spirit?"
"I don't know what it even means," she said, "I mean, dying makes you a spirit. We all have a spirit. Maybe it means a ghost, like that figure we saw in the picture," she said, "I don't know."
"I know someone who might," Nina said.
Victor had been in a medically induced coma for some time, but for the last two or so weeks he had been out of it, mostly sleeping. But now the kids could finally visit. Nina and the others convinced Mr. Wolf to let them go see him. After Mr. Wolf left his room, he let them go inside. Though only the Sibuna group was interested in seeing Victor, and even then most of them only for the sake of giving numbers and weight to the request. Mara had agreed to come as well, however, since she did want to see him and make sure he was doing fine.
Nina went inside with Joy's mobile and the book. She sat down, "Victor…"
He looked at her, "I didn't expect you to be the first. I should have," he said.
"Victor, we have a problem," she said, "Rufus was after something, and we're involved. But he's gone now."
"Is he dead?" Victor questioned.
"Kind of," she said, "Look. Do you know anything about the Order of Amneris?"
"I do," he said, "What do you need to know for?"
"It's part of this. I'll tell you more when you come back," she said, "I promise. But the Order's blessing lets you become a spirit when you die, apparently. Does that mean a ghost? Like, you'll haunt the living world?"
"I believe so," he said, "But nobody knows for sure. Why?"
She pulled out the mobile, "I trust you enough to show you this," she said, "I'll tell you about it later."
He looked at it, seeing the ghostly figure, "I don't know what the answer to that question is," he said, "But that figure…if I had to guess, the Order did that." He looked to Nina, "That's Mr. Wolf."
"What?" she questioned, shocked.
"The eyes," he said, giving it back.
And she looked. Sure enough, those eyes…
"No…," she said.
"Yes," he said, "That's him."
28: House of DenialEdit
"I don't know," he told her, "But that would mean he was blessed by the Order."
"Could it have been as a child?" she asked, "Or would that only happen if he drank?"
"Again, I don't know," Victor said, "You'd have to find one blessed at birth, and one blessed later, and find out."
She nodded, standing up, "I'm going to keep this to myself for now," she said, "I won't tell anyone else."
"Don't trust that man," Victor told her.
"Victor…you're always a way with us…" she said, not sure how to explain it, "Well, kind of mean and…"
"I know what you mean," he muttered, a bit angry.
"Sorry," she said, "But, I mean…why are you helping right now? I mean, I could have shown you, asked you, and you didn't have to answer. But you are. Why?"
"Because believe it or not, I care about all of you. You're my wards, I care."
"Thank you, Victor," she said with a small smile, "Will this change things?"
"I don't know," he said, "I'll be out soon. We'll see."
"And I'll tell you everything then," she said, "I swear that to you."
"Even after the Cup?"
"Yes," she said, "Because you're not a bad person."
She looked at the picture once more. The eyes were unmistakable. The eyes told her everything.
"Be careful around that man," Victor said, "Just be very careful. I don't know what you've gotten yourselves into, but be careful."
"We will," she said, leaving him. She looked at the others, "Anyone else want to see him?"
"Mr. Wolf's not here," Fabian said, "So we just have to spend some time, tell him we all saw him, and then go."
Nina nodded, passing Joy her mobile back, "Thanks."
"What did he have to say?" she asked.
"He didn't know much," she said.
After some time Mr. Wolf came back, and they all left. When they returned to Anubis House, Nina drew Fabian away into her room and closed the door.
"I have something to tell you," she said, "He knew something."
"Why didn't you tell us all?" he asked.
"I thought you'd take it best," she said, "The spirit?"
"What about it?" he asked.
"It's Mr. Wolf," she said quietly.
"What?" he questioned.
"Yeah," she said, nodding, "I looked. It's him. I'm sure of it. His eyes…"
"The eyes could mean anything," he said.
"No. I know," she said, taking out her mobile and showing it to him, "I saved the picture, just in case you didn't believe me."
He looked at it, looking at the eyes specifically, "I…I don't know…"
"It's him, it has to be," she said.
"But what sense does it make?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said, "I really don't."
He nodded, "Ok, let's assume it is him. What do we do about it?"
"I don't know," she said, "But Victor said to be careful around him."
"Well, if it is him, that makes a lot of sense," he said, "What if he left the flashdrive?"
"I guess that might be possible," she said, "And that spirit…that means he's also blessed, and…"
"He died," Fabian said, "I don't get this."
"Me neither," Nina agreed.
Amber opened the door, "Oh, sorry guys," she said, "Can you go to Fabian's room instead?"
"It's not like that," Nina told her.
She shrugged, "So, what are you guys talking about?"
"Nothing," Nina said.
"Oh, so it was that?"
"No!" they both said.
"Then is it a secret?" she asked.
They looked at each other, prompting Amber to smile, "Oh, a secret. What is it?"
"That's not how secrets work," Nina said.
"Oh come on, tell me!" she said, "I heard something about Mr. Wolf when I was walking up."
They didn't say anything.
Nina held out her mobile. Amber took it and looked at the picture, "I don't get it," she said, looking.
"Look closer," she said.
"Mr. Wolf!" she exclaimed.
"Quiet!" Fabian hissed, going to close the door.
"What about him?" Patricia asked, walking by.
"He's the ghost!" Amber said just as Fabian was closing the door. She shoved the mobile to Patricia, who looked.
"How?" she questioned.
"Well, there goes our secret," Nina muttered, "He was blessed by the Order of Amneris, apparently. And he died. That's what we're guessing," Nina said, "Now, this is just between the four of us."
"We need the book," Fabian said, leaving the room to go find Noah.
"How did you figure it out?" Amber asked.
"Victor did," she said.
"Really?" Amber asked.
"Wait. You got help from Victor?" Patricia questioned, "I mean, I didn't like the idea of going to him for help, but he actually did help?"
"He did, and warned us to be careful of Mr. Wolf," she said.
Fabian returned shortly with Noah and the book, "Ok, look at this," he said, giving her the mobile and waiting.
"I don't get it," she said.
"It's Mr. Wolf," Fabian said.
She looked again, shaking her head, "I don't see it."
"Did you learn anything else?" Nina asked.
"No," she said, giving the mobile back, "A lot of this is boring. But I'm working through it."
"Ok," Nina said, "Well, keep us informed."
"I will," she assured.
"You really don't think it's Wolf?" Patricia asked, "Even the eyes?"
Noah shook her head, "I really don't," she said, leaving them to continue reading.
The next day, while they were all in school, Victor returned to Anubis House by cab. He was discharged from the hospital finally, so it was time to take back his position at the House. And to confront Mr. Wolf.
He felt fine enough as he walked. He knew Wolf was younger, but Victor was a man with a goal. He walked right into the House and looked around the familiar room, looking up the stairs, heading up.
He pushed his office door open and looked at Mr. Wolf seated there behind the desk. He looked at Victor, "Oh, I heard you were coming back," he said.
"What are you?" he questioned.
"What do you mean?" he asked Victor.
"You're a spirit. What are you?"
Mr. Wolf just looked at him for a few moments with no change in expression.
Then he smiled.
29: House of ConsequencesEdit
After school that day, Nina decided to go alone to the hospital.
"We can come you know," Fabian said, "You don't have to do things alone."
"I know," she said, "But I'd rather go see Victor alone. He helped me, after all. I'm the only one besides Mara who saw him. I'll be the one to see him."
"Well, we can still go with," Fabian said.
"I appreciate that, but if Wolf really is an enemy, then I'd rather us not all be gone like this," she said, "I'll be back soon."
"Ok, be careful," Fabian said.
"You're going home," she told him, "Where Mr. Wolf is. I should say that to you."
He smiled, "Yeah, probably." The audacity of it is what he found amusing enough to smile over.
She nodded, "Still."
"Still," he said, nodding and heading off.
Nina went on her own way, heading towards the hospital.
"He went home today?" she asked at the desk.
The nurse there nodded, "He was discharged this morning. He was going home," she told Nina.
She nodded, "Thanks," she said, calling Fabian, "Ok, I'm on my way back. How is he?"
"Who?" Fabian asked.
Nina stopped, "Victor," she said.
"How should I know?"
"You mean he's not there?" she questioned.
"He was discharged this morning and went to Anubis House," she told him.
"He's not here. Should I ask Mr. Wolf?"
"No," she said, "I have a feeling Mr. Wolf knows something about why Victor isn't there."
"Right," Fabian said, "What do you want to do, then?"
"Let's go to the manor," she said.
"We'll meet you there."
The eight of them had gone, forgoing dinner and leaving a very awkward time for Jerome and Mara. But it couldn't be helped. They had to see what they could find out. Even though they had decided to figure out the answer and then return, they changed their minds. They went now, and they'd see what they could get done.
They had returned to the library as Nina unlocked it, and headed towards the closet, just to check. The burns were still there, but there was nothing else. They went to one of the tables and started to think.
"Ok, so we don't have anything on the riddle," Nina said, "Or do we?"
"We don't," Noah said.
"Should we use the books?" Alfie asked.
"Too many," Patricia commented.
"Maybe not. Maybe we can find a good one by spine," he said.
"Some are too old," Joy told him.
"Ok. Watchers of death," Nina stated, "Anything?"
"Osiris is part of death," Noah said.
"Storm?" Fabian asked.
Nobody had an answer.
Suddenly the torches all flickered. Most of them went out, plunging most of the room into darkness. There was the sound of wind ripping through the room like a horde of angry hornets. "What's going on?" Nina shouted over the sounds of wind.
It grew extremely cold in the room as the rest of the torches went out. They heard the door slam shut on them.
Then there was a scream.
When the scream faded some lights came back on. They looked down the room to see the spiritual figure in the robe and the Ibis mask standing there. They were all affixed on that figure, almost too affixed to realize that one of their own was missing.
"Where's Joy?" Mick questioned, looking around, "She was standing right next to me!"
They all looked around, "Joy?" Patricia shouted.
In a ghastly and distorted voice, the robed figure spoke, "You have made me very angry," he hissed, "Until you can solve the riddle presented to you, she'll be gone. Every wrong attempt at answering it will result in another of you vanishing."
"Wrong attempt? What do you mean?" Fabian demanded.
"Find the answer, and only the correct answer. If you entertain the idea of a wrong answer, I will respond by taking one of you."
"Are you a person blessed by the Order of Amneris?" Nina shouted, hoping for an answer.
The figure glanced at her, but didn't say anything. She saw his eyes, now more sure than before that this was Mr. Wolf. It had to be.
"Do not make my anger grow any larger," he hissed.
Noah took a few steps forward, "Who are you?" she shouted, "I am also blessed by the Order! Please, who are you?"
The figure turned its back, and with that swirl of its cloak, it was gone.
Mick ran over to where the figure had been, "No! Come back!" he shouted.
"He's gone," Fabian said, walking over towards his roommate.
"He has Joy!" Mick shouted, "This is just like with the snakes! Just like when I vanished!"
"We'll get her back," Nina told Mick.
"We will," Amber said.
"We won't leave her behind," Patricia said.
"What they said," Alfie said.
"We'll get her," Noah said.
Fabian put his hand on Mick's shoulder, "We just have to solve the riddle. That's all."
"And how do we do that?" he questioned.
"We're in a library," he said, "We read."
"All of these books?" he questioned.
"We'll find what we need," he told Mick, "Just have faith."
He nodded, "Ok."
"Well then, let's start," Nina said, "We have a lot to cover."
30: House of PressureEdit
Spending time reading through any books that looked to hold up, and have information on the gods or entities of Egypt, they all poured all of their attention into this. This was their only task now, their only mission.
"I found something," Mick said from his table, "Death. Hathor and Osiris. Dead men were associated with Osiris, and dead women with Hathor."
"Excellent!" Fabian said, "Ok, so we have that," he looked around, making sure nobody had vanished, "Ok, sounds right, assuming this spirit knows the answers. Now, storm?"
"Seth," Patricia said, "Odd name for a god. But he was the god of storms, violence, and the desert."
"Fantastic!" Fabian said, "Ok, so we have three gods. So, we have the watchers of death, and the storm. Two become three?"
Nobody had an answer there.
"Wait," Noah said, "Hathor had a second side. Sekhmet. There's two becoming three."
"Ok, now that we have this much, what do we do with it?" he questioned.
"I think it might have to do with them becoming three in the storm," she said, "Or something."
"Ok, but still, what does it mean?" he asked.
"Hathor had the horns of a cow," Mick said, "Sun disc on her head. Osiris was in white, with a crook and flail and white crown."
"Sekhmet had the head of a lion," Noah said.
"And Seth?" Fabian asked, turning to Patricia.
"Some sort of animal head, and a staff," she said.
"Ok, so animals and objects," he said, "We just need to find one of them."
"I wrote it down," Nina said.
"Ok, great," he said, "Let's all go together and start searching for anything that matches."
They closed their books and headed out of the room, deciding to start over at the main hall.
Jerome looked at Mara as they ate. "I'm sorry," he said.
"I don't really want to hear it," she said.
"I care about both of you," he said, "Didn't you feel that way with both myself and Mick?"
"I didn't cheat on one with the other," she said.
"We weren't together. Me kissing her wasn't cheating," he said.
"We were close enough," she said, "Come on Jerome!"
He shook his head, "She was hurt. I've never told her that I like her. I like you more, but I like her too. I mean, we weren't together. She comes. She's gorgeous, and interested in me. Yet I didn't act on anything. I was more concerned with you."
"And is that supposed to make me feel better?" she asked.
"Yes, actually," he said, "You're more beautiful than her," he said, in case that's what she wanted, "Look. I chose to go after you, and get you away from Mick."
"And if there wasn't anything going on there with Mick and Joy?" she questioned.
"I would never have stopped chasing you," he said, "You're too important to me."
"Then why did you break up with me?" she questioned.
"I don't know," he said.
"Too bad," she said, getting up and leaving the table.
Jerome watched her go and hit his head into the table.
It didn't take an overly long time this time. Walking around on the first floor they found the room towards the end, a room with a wall on the other side; the outside wall.
"Well, think this might be it?" Alfie asked, looking around.
There was a mounted lion's head on the wall, with a scepter in its mouth.
"The lion would fit Hathor. The staff could fit whoever it needs to fit," Noah said.
"Well, do we take it?" Amber asked.
"I'm not reaching in there," Alfie said, "I'm afraid it might bite."
Mick ignored him and climbed onto the desk under it. He pulled the scepter out and tossed it down to Fabian, "There. Now what?" he questioned, anxious to get Joy back and to solve this riddle.
They could all hear something. They looked around, and then saw it. On the wall that would lead outside there was something appearing. Some mortar and stone was falling, revealing the outline of a door, but with no handle.
"Is this the next part?" Nina wondered, running her hand over it, "I don't know if we can open it…"
"Try the necklace," Patricia said, looking it over.
"I don't know where to use it," she said, running the Eye of Horus over everything, but not finding anything that would react.
"Well, that's strange," Fabian said, "Any ideas?"
As they examined the door, they could feel a cold wind blowing again. They turned, seeing the spirit floating there in the doorway to the room. The eyes of Mr. Wolf glared out at them, though those who knew his identity didn't show it, nor speak about it within the confines of the manor. The less he knew the better.
"You figured it out," the distorted voice said, "Congratulations. But I will be keeping the girl for now, for a bargaining chip."
"Wait!" Mick shouted at him, "A bargaining chip?"
"That's right," the figure said, "She's mine for now. Keep solving the riddles if you want her back so badly."
Before Mick could get at him, the figure vanished.
"No!" Mick shouted, "Come back here! Do what you said you would!"
"Mick, he's gone," Nina said softly.
"I can't believe this! Why didn't he keep his promise?"
"He's a villain," Amber said, "They lie."
"We'll get her back," Fabian said again.
"Don't start this again," Mick told him.
"Now what?" Amber asked.
"I think we go home," Nina said, "I'm so sorry Mick."
He didn't say anything. He walked out.
"Ok," Nina said, "We'll figure this out. We need to find the next riddle, and this door. Unless they're one and the same."
"We'll figure it out after school tomorrow," Fabian said.
Nina nodded, heading out with the others.
But the end was very, very near. Just none of them knew it.
31: House of EqualsEdit
Covering for the lack of Joy at school was hard. They couldn't say she was sick, or Mr. Wolf might get a call, and he'd know that wasn't the case (notwithstanding that he was the one who took her, so maybe he would play along). Instead, they began to tell the teachers that Joy's father was very ill, so she had gone to see him. That would probably hold up better, they all figured, though Mick didn't like it. He didn't like her being gone.
When school finally ended, the Sibuna group went back to the manor right away. They had to get Joy back as soon as possible, even if a school-day visit wasn't the best option they had. But they couldn't help it.
"Ok, so we have that door," Alfie said when they walked inside, "What now? I mean, we don't have a riddle or anything. Just the door."
Nina walked up to the mantle and looked at it, "It doesn't look like this is going to give us anything right now," she said, sighing, "I was really hoping the mantle would give us another message."
"Let's go try the door again," Patricia said, "Maybe we can figure it out."
"Force it open?" Mick questioned, "I'm ready to do that."
"Probably not a good idea," Fabian said, "Even if we could, do we really want to make that spirit angry if that screws something up?"
"Fine," Mick muttered.
"I know you want to get Joy back, but we have to do this the right way," Nina told him.
"And what is the right way?" Amber asked, "We don't have anything."
"We'll find something to go off of," Nina said.
"We have to," Noah agreed, "Or else we'd be stuck, and I don't think the spirit wants that."
They headed through the manor, heading back to the room where they had uncovered the strange door. They had left the door to that room ajar to make it easier to find. When they pushed it open and walked inside they looked immediately to the new door.
There was writing on it. Something had carved words into the stone.
The group hurried over and read over the words, finding that it was indeed a riddle for them to answer. Hopefully the solving of this one would get Mr. Wolf to relinquish Joy to them, assuming that this riddle would open the door, wherever it may lead them.
"Ok," Nina said, "So, 'He crowned in white has an equal'," she said, "Anyone?"
"I don't know," Noah said.
"I think the 'crowned' is important," Amber threw out.
"Another important part would be 'white'," Patricia said, "They go together."
"Who has a white crown?" Nina asked anyone.
"No idea," Fabian said, "Back to the library, maybe?"
"I think that would be best," Noah said.
"If we find the answer, what then?" Amber asked, "Do we find something to represent the equal? Or something?"
"Maybe," Nina said.
"We'll figure it out," Fabian said, "We always do."
The group left the room, following Nina and Fabian's lead towards the library. Mick walked alone while Amber tried to talk to him and get him to cheer up, and Alfie was near her side. Noah was walking alone, when Patricia came to walk beside her.
"Noah," Patricia said.
The other girl looked at her, "Yes?"
"Look," she said, "I want you to know I'm serious," she said.
"Ok?" she answered.
She sighed, "You're our equal now. You really are one of us."
"And you had to be serious to tell me that?" she asked.
"Trust me. If you knew me like the others, then you would need that clarification. Right?"
"Probably," Alfie said, being the only one foolish enough to answer. Patricia glared at him, causing Alfie to realize his mistake, though he did make her point.
"I guess that means a lot, then," Noah said.
"It does," Patricia said, "You're one of us. You may not be here longer than the year, or semester, or whenever you go back, but know this. You're our friend. Our partner. A Sibuna. You're not an outsider who's just come with us. You really are our friend."
"Odd time to be telling me this," Noah admitted, "But really, that means a lot."
"Well, the spirit might grab you," she said, "I just wanted you to know. I think we all feel that way."
"We do," Nina said, looking back at them, "You should try to come back, if you can. You're one of us now."
"Just like Nina became," Amber said, "I guess you're the new Nina, but different."
"I know what you mean," Noah said with a small smile.
"You're just the one to say it since you lost your best friend," Noah said, "Right?"
"Well, there's that," Patricia said, "And after everything I did to Nina, I feel I should be the one to say it."
"I appreciate it," Noah said softly.
As they neared the library Noah stopped. "Wait…I just remembered something."
"What is it?" Fabian asked back.
"The white crown," she said.
"Really?" Nina asked excitedly, "What is it?"
"Horus," she said, "He has a crown of white and red. Each piece represents a half of Egypt. I don't remember exactly which, but that doesn't matter. He has a white crown," she said.
"Ok, Horus," Fabian said, "That's a great start. He was a falcon, so…maybe we should look for falcons," he said.
"Remember, we need the equal," Nina told him, "We can look into that."
"Why don't we split up?" Fabian offered, "Some of us will do the research, and some of us will look for falcons for good measure?"
"Sure," Patricia said.
"As long as I don't have to do bookwork," Mick muttered. He didn't like being stuck in one spot, not now. Not with Joy missing like this. And he knew that he wouldn't work as fast, so doing the legwork would be better.
"Ok," Nina said, "Noah, Patricia, Mick, you guys want to go searching for the falcons?"
"Sure," Patricia said, turning around, "Come on guys."
"Is splitting up really such a good idea?" Alfie questioned, "I mean, we've done it before, but still…"
"Yes, it is, for now," Fabian said, heading into the library.
"Why do I have to do books?" Amber groaned when she went in with them.
"You don't have to," Nina said, "You can go with the others and look for falcons."
"I'll read," she said.
"Ok, anything on Horus's equal," Fabian reminded, looking for the books they had been using earlier, finding anything on the gods that he could.
"Just read anything about Horus," Nina said.
"You think there's going to be references?" Alfie asked.
"That would make sense," Fabian said, passing him a book.
"Good, less to do," Amber said, "I'd rather not read the entire book to look for this."
"Yeah, I think we all feel the same," Nina said, sitting down and opening her book to start.
As the trio walked, searching rooms they had searched before, Patricia asked a question, "Ok, so we don't have to do it this way, has anybody ever seen anything like falcons in a room?"
"The rooms do change sometimes," Noah said.
"Yeah, they do," she agreed, "I guess we do have to search them all…"
"Probably," she said.
"We should split up more," Mick said, "I can go running through the rooms faster that way."
"I know you want to find Joy really badly. So do I. But that might not be the best idea. I think we should stay together," Patricia said.
"Why?" he questioned, "I can run faster than you two, and search faster that way. I'm going to do that."
"Please don't," Noah said, looking down both ways of the hall, "Which way?"
"This one," Patricia said, starting down one way. Mick came with. Noah started to follow, but looked the other way for a moment, seeing the spiritual figure of Mr. Wolf.
"I'll be right back," she said, "I think I remember something down this way," she said, hurrying off and taking the corner.
Patricia looked back, "Let's wait," she told Mick.
"Fine," he said, crossing his arms and looking after Noah.
When Noah turned the corner to see Mr. Wolf, she walked closer, "What is it?" she questioned.
"I can't control you anymore, can I?" he questioned.
"They accept me," she said, "I'm their friend. I wouldn't get rid of Nina for you, I won't do anything else for you!" she hissed.
"That's sad. You're my daughter, after all."
"Adopted," she told him, "You're not my father."
Mr. Wolf glared at her, "So be it."
32: House of FallsEdit
After a few minutes Patricia and Mick headed the way Noah had gone. They looked down the hall, but there was no sign of the girl.
"Noah?" Patricia called.
Mick ran down to the other end, looking both ways. There was no sign of her. He ran back, shaking his head, "She's not here."
"Let's check the rooms," she said, starting on one end while Mick was on the other. They worked their way down, but nothing. No signs of Noah.
"Oh, this isn't good," Patricia said.
"Not another one," Mick muttered, "No!"
"We'll get them back," Patricia said, "We have to."
"We should tell the others that they're wrong," Mick said, heading back towards the library.
Patricia had to nod, heading after him.
"Antaios," Amber read, "I think that's how you say it."
"What does it say?" Fabian asked, heading over.
"Something about falcons, and being equated with Horus," she said.
"Antaios it is," Fabian said, taking out his mobile.
"Whatever you have is wrong!" Mick called when they came into the library, "Noah's gone!"
"What? No!" Fabian said, "The book! It says Antaios!"
"She's gone," Mick said.
"Did she just vanish now?" Nina asked, heading over.
"A few minutes ago," Patricia said.
"Well, we just found this," Nina said, "So…maybe it's not connected."
"That makes sense," Fabian said.
"So what?" Alfie asked, "Is that spirit just taking people now?"
"Maybe," Fabian said.
"I can't believe Mr. Wolf would do that," Amber said. Then she realized what she said.
"Mr. Wolf?" Alfie asked.
"Wait, are you saying that that ghost is Mr. Wolf?" Mick demanded.
"Quiet," Nina hissed, "We'll talk later, when we're not here. If he's listening, we can't let him know. We'll explain later."
"You'd better," Mick said, "Because if he has Joy, then I finally have a target for my anger."
"You'd better not do anything stupid," Patricia said.
"Ok, let's just focus," Nina said, "We have an identity. Antaios. But what do we do with it?" she wondered.
"I don't know," Fabian said, "I guess we might want to resume the search for falcons," he said, "Might be best."
"Yeah, let's," Patricia said, "It's all we have."
Jerome was looking for Mara, but like he figured, she wasn't around. As often as she could now she would leave Anubis House so they wouldn't run into each other. That hurt a lot, considering how much he still cared about her, and he was sure she felt for him yet. No. He knew she did.
"Come on," he said to himself, trying to call her. He still tried to talk to her. He wanted to be with her, after all. Even if he did care about Noah as well, he wasn't going to go and be with her and just ignore his feelings for Mara. He wanted to talk to her, even if he couldn't explain things in a way she'd listen to. Just talking to her would be enough for him.
If she would pick up.
As he walked down the hall and collapsed on the couch in the sitting room, he looked around. He was the only one.
Maybe she was going to the manor? With the others? He wouldn't be surprised if she had chosen to go back to that. He would consider it, if they were still together. Alfie was there, and even if he'd rather spend time with Mara, Alfie was his best friend. Alfie had asked for help, and it seemed an interesting experience, and a way to impress Mara. So it had begun that way for them.
He kind of missed it. The excitement.
But then came memories of Rufus. He hated that man. He feared that man. He had been forced to work for that man, and do things that were similar. Dangerous, almost like an adventure. But he felt much better with the other students. They didn't scare him like Rufus did.
This was the way he could do these things without fearing for his life. He wanted that excitement.
But most of all he wanted Mara.
He sighed and got out of the couch, walking into the kitchen to find something to eat. He wasn't sure if there would be a proper dinner tonight. There was one when it was just him and Mara, but Mr. Wolf had commented that it wouldn't happen if it was less than half. So for now he was just looking for anything to eat.
He looked at the sink, remembering the other day, when he and Mara were washing the dishes. That was something that had gone a long way towards rebuilding their relationship.
Now it was shattered.
He went back into the sitting room with the apple he had found and bit into it as he walked around. He didn't really want to stay here, so he walked on another way, planning on heading upstairs to see if even Mr. Wolf was around.
He looked into the office, but there was no sign of him. He walked down the hall, knocking on doors, but there was no answer.
He really was alone in the house.
He walked back downstairs and paused. There was something on the ground, pushed into the corner of the stairs where it formed into a wall. He got off the last stair and crouched down, barley having seen it over the banister when he had looked down.
It was a scrap of paper. There was a hastily written message on it. Very simple.
'Don't trust Wolf'
He looked at the bottom. There was a small scribble of a letter as a signature.
"Victor?" he wondered. Was this a joke? Victor was in the hospital. The part that made him even more curious was the part about not trusting Wolf. The letter signature didn't mean much, but the message did.
"Is this for real?" he wondered, walking down to go back to his bedroom, looking at the note.
"Yes, it is," a voice told him.
He shot his head up, seeing Mr. Wolf standing there ahead of him, "Jerome," he smiled.
"Where did you come from?" he questioned, backing off.
"Let me see that," he said, snatching the paper from Jerome's hand, looking it over. Jerome was afraid now. This reminded him of Rufus, somehow.
"Ah, clever man," he said, shoving the paper into his pocket, "I wouldn't have thought he could do anything."
"What are you talking about?" Jerome demanded.
"You have an option now," he told Jerome, "You can either help me in what I'm doing, or you can refuse. Refusing means that both you and Noah will be in a lot of pain."
Jerome didn't quite know what was going on, so he just nodded.
"What's that mean?" Wolf questioned him.
"I'll…I'll do what you want," he said, "Just don't hurt Noah."
Mr. Wolf smiled, "Good boy," he said.
33: House of HelpEdit
Mara pushed on the door cautiously, finding that the front door to the manor was unlocked. She walked inside and closed it behind her, calling out, "Hello?"
There was no answer but her own voice.
She started to walk down the long hallway, taking out her mobile, about to dial Nina, figuring that was the best bet to get someone. Then she heard talking and put her mobile away. She headed into the main building and noticed a group consisting of Nina, Fabian, Alfie, Amber, Mick and Patricia.
Amber was the first one to see her. She looked to the side, "Mara? Why are you here?" she asked.
The others looked to her. Mara made eye contact with each of them, even Mick. She nodded, "Well, I kind of figured I should help you guys. I mean, Jerome and I were helping, and I still want to do what I can."
"It's a good thing you're here for us, then," Alfie said, "We have no idea what we're doing."
"Don't admit that," Amber told him, "It makes us look pathetic."
Mara shook her head, "I don't know if I can be of much help, then, just jumping in like this."
"Well, you'll be of help," Nina said, "Trust us."
"Hey…where are Joy and Noah?" Mara asked, "I mean, they're here, aren't they?"
"Well…," Nina trailed off.
"They're gone," Mick said, angrier. Angry at losing Joy, angry at Mara for not even noticing Joy's disappearance at home.
"What?" she questioned, "What do you mean they're gone?" she questioned.
"We were failing, so something took them," Nina said, "But we'll get them back soon. We just need to keep solving the riddles and questions."
Mara nodded, "Then I'll do everything I can to help, to get them back."
"Thanks," Nina said.
She walked over to Mick, "I'm so sorry," she told him.
"How could you not notice her being done?" he questioned coldly, walking on. Even if he did still feel for Mara, his anger was getting the better of him now.
"Don't worry about that," Patricia told Mara, "Look, just forget anything you don't know about. We just need to focus on moving on."
She nodded, "Ok…well, what's the riddle now?"
"We have it answered," Fabian said, "We just need to find what to do with the name we found as the answer. Antaios."
"Antaios?" she asked.
"Horus's equal," he answered, "We're looking for falcons now."
"Well, I guess I'll help look," she said.
As they continued to check the rooms, they started to feel drained. They had stopped counting how many times they had gone through these rooms for the various riddles. Most of them were unchanged, and only few changed with the new riddles to yield them results.
Finally they came upon a room that was changed. It was on the first floor, and was formerly a bedroom. Now it encompassed the space of all of the rooms around it. There were doors on the walls outside, but only one door on the inside. The doors had led to the individual rooms, so that made Fabian wonder if there was a time/space distortion going on.
"Ok, well…I think it's safe to say we're here," Nina said, looking around the large white room. There was a dias in the center of the room, filled with symbols on the ground. There were falcons adorning the walls in statute, or stuffed. Paintings, murals. Artifacts having to do with Horus also filled shelves and space on the wall.
"Another shrine?" Mara asked, having bad memories of the shrine of the grave keeper goddess.
"We should be fine," Fabian said, "I hope."
"What are these marks?" Amber asked, looking at the ground. There were odd shapes, and some were animals. It looked extremely out of place.
Mara looked at them, walking around the dias and looking at each, "I don't see any particular pattern or order to these," she said.
"Look!" Alfie called, standing atop the dias. He crouched down, "There's sand here."
"Sand?" Patricia asked, coming over first. There was indeed a pit of sand in the center. It was white, undisturbed. It was hard to see without being right over it, but it was indeed sand.
"Maybe we have to place the symbols in?" Mara offered, "Or why else would they be here?"
"But what do the symbols mean?" Amber asked.
"The answer to the question is 'Antaios', right?" Mara asked.
"Yeah, why?" Fabian asked, slowly realizing it.
"Alphabet," Mara said as Fabian smiled and nodded, coming to the same realization.
"It's an alphabet?" Nina asked them.
"I think so," Mara said, "It would make sense."
Fabian nodded, "The room is filled with falcons and artifacts related. I mean, some of these symbols look like birds, but so many don't. And if Antaios is the answer, then an alphabet might make sense."
"So, we write his name in the sand?" Alfie asked.
"I think so," Fabian said, "But…"
"We don't know the alphabet," Mara commented.
"What about the library?" Nina asked, "There were a lot of books there. Maybe Frobisher left one on the alphabet?"
"Maybe, but how long would it take to find?" Fabian asked, taking out his mobile, "No good. I can't get the internet."
"We can get reception, but not connect with it?" Amber questioned, trying it herself, "Wow, that's terrible."
Mara walked around, looking at the letters, just focusing on those. She noticed that some had two emblems very close, while the others were evenly spaced away. "Do these mean the same?" she wondered, running her hand over the bird emblem that had another right next to it. "Antaios starts with 'A'," she commented to herself, then stood up.
"I think this is 'A'," she said to them, "It would make sense, if Antaios is the answer. The first letter is a bird."
"But there are other birds too," Fabian said.
"Two of them look like chickens, and one looks like an owl," Mara told him, "This one looks more like a falcon."
"Ok," Fabian said, "Assuming that's right, then what?"
"I don't know," Mara said, walking around the circle some more. Then she stopped at one of the chickens. She counted to herself in her head, and then looked two symbols over at the same chicken. She smiled, figuring it out.
"I've got it," she said, walking towards the door, then turning and walking straight into the room, stopping at what she believed was 'A'. "First one, A." She kept walking, pointing to the first chicken, "U," she walked to the second, "W," then finished the three remaining back to 'A'.
"How do you know?" Amber asked.
"Why would they be the same? I'm willing to bet that two chickens would represent 'W', while a single is 'U'. It makes sense. I counted it out. This is actually in order."
"But are we willing to try it?" Patricia asked, "We'll lose one of us if we screw up. And who knows what'll happen if we screw up in a room like this."
"I'm willing to trust Mara," Mick said, looking right at her.
"So am I," Nina said.
"Me too," Fabian agreed.
"Ok, do it," Patricia said, agreeing.
Alfie nodded, "What's the worst that could happen?"
"Don't ask," Amber muttered, agreeing.
Mara took pictures of each with her mobile, "Ok. I've got them," she said. She walked over and started to draw each into the sand.
"Ok. 'A', 'N', 'T', 'A'," she stopped.
"What's wrong?" Fabian asked.
"I remember something," she said, "Ok. 'O', 'S'."
"You forgot 'I'," Alfie told her.
"No, you skip it," she said, "It doesn't add to the sound of the name. In Egyptian, you spell how it sounds."
They could hear a grating sound occurring from a nearby room. They looked at each other and ran from the room. Mara ran after them, finding them in a room at the edge of the building, finding a door build into the wall sliding open to reveal a staircase.
"You did it," Nina told her, hugging the other girl.
"I don't know if we'd have gotten that," Fabian admitted. "How did you know about the spelling?"
"It was just something that came back to me," she said.
Nina nodded, "Whatever it was, thank you." She looked down the staircase, "Ok. Let's go."
As the group descended the stairs, hoping to find Joy and Noah, they instead found a large circular room. Nothing adorned the walls, leaving it mostly empty. In the center was a raised platform, like a pedestal. On it sat a book, bound in white and blue, looking majestic in its coloring, almost glowing. It wasn't a normal book, clearly. It was magic.
Nina walked over, slowly opening the cover, silence among her peers. The spirit of Mr. Wolf watched from above, smiling greedily behind his mask. At the staircase stood Jerome, poised to take the book as soon as Mr. Wolf told him to. He crept in, keeping low among the outer wall, hiding in the dark corner and pulling up his coat to obscure his coloring.
"It's empty," Nina said softly.
Mr. Wolf's anger grew. He wanted to shout, but he didn't want to betray himself. No, Jerome would bring it to him, and he would uncover the answers.
"Let's go for now," Fabian said, "We can come back tomorrow."
As they went back to the stairs, Jerome made his way out and slowly moved for the book. He took his grip of it and pulled it off of the pedestal. He would go to the shadows and wait, then depart after them. But he was anxious to go.
As soon as it parted the pedestal, a wall slammed down, sealing the students in the room. And when they turned to see him there, the look that hurt the most was Mara's gaze on him.
34: House of SealsEdit
"It's sealed," Fabian said, trying to do whatever he could.
"What are you doing?" Mick demanded of Jerome, walking towards him angrily.
"I came to help you guys!" he said, throwing the book onto the pedestal as he backed away, "I saw you guys open the book, and then I wondered why you weren't taking it. I…I wanted to help, honestly."
"Then why didn't you tell us you were here?" Patricia questioned him, "Why did you sneak around like this?"
"Because, well…I…I couldn't face Mara…," he said, looking at her, then looking away. "I didn't want her to know I was here. I didn't know she'd be here. I…I just wanted to help."
Nina walked towards him, getting between him and Mick, "Look, we'll figure this out. This might be another riddle," she said, "Or this might be the end. I don't know, but we'll find an answer."
"Just keep him away," Mick pointed at Jerome, walking the other way.
"Jerome, why don't you just stay on that side of the room?" Nina asked him.
"Yeah, gladly," he said, "I know when I'm not wanted."
He looked over his shoulder as he walked. Mr. Wolf wasn't there. He had seen the spiritual figure guiding him. He had seen the figure when he had entered the room. But he was gone now. Why?
Nina and Fabian looked at the pedestal while Patricia, Alfie, Amber and Mick were near the door, talking, looking to Jerome. Mara was by the pedestal, but closer to Jerome.
"I don't know about this," Fabian said, "The book is back. You'd think that might open it. But I guess that means you can't take the book and put something else there."
"There has to be something," Nina said, putting her locket all over the pedestal, but nothing reacted.
"We'll find it," Fabian said, running his hands over it after she was done. His finger caught something. He pulled down a small latch, revealing a switch imbedded in the pedestal itself.
"Well, I think this could be it," Nina said, looking at it.
"Don't press it," Fabian said, "It might be dangerous."
"Everything here is dangerous. Just being here is dangerous," she said.
"Don't," he said, walking away to see to the others.
"Find anything?" Patricia asked.
"A switch," he said, "We won't press it yet. There has to be a way out without relying on something like that."
"Alfie," Nina said, "Did you invite Jerome to come back?"
"No," he said, "I haven't seen him a lot recently, since we're here most of the time."
Nina nodded, "So he just came?"
"I guess so," Alfie said.
"Let's not talk about him," Mick muttered.
"He's the reason we're trapped here," Amber agreed.
"Look, I want to believe the best," Nina said, "That Jerome was here to help. He has helped us before. So let's hope the best."
"Why?" Mick questioned, "He's no friend of ours."
"He's here, he's been here," Nina said, "He's Sibuna."
"Barely," Mick said.
"You're barely Sibuna too, then," Nina said, angry, "He's our classmate! Our housemate! We invited him here. He's helped us. He's one of us!"
"Nina…," Fabian said.
"I want to believe that all of us are Sibuna," she said, "That we're all in this together. We shouldn't be a fraction of us working to solve this. It should be all of us. All of us at Anubis House. Is that so bad to want?"
"No," Patricia said, "I don't care for Jerome, but…I'll agree."
Alfie nodded, "This is something affecting us. Or it was last year," he said, "We should all be in this."
Amber sighed, "You know what, I'm going to agree. I don't like him, but I'll agree."
"Mick?" Nina asked.
He didn't say anything.
"Ok then," she said, "We'll find our way out."
Mara had walked over to Jerome, "What are you really doing here?" she questioned him.
"It's like I said," he told her, "I'm here to help you guys. How long have you been here again doing this?" he asked.
"Just today," she said.
"Bad luck, then," he said, "I don't want to see you."
"Then why do you try to call me sometimes?" she asked.
"I don't," he lied.
"You're the one lying. I would never call you. I never cared about you."
He looked around. Was the spirit really not here? He didn't know, but he didn't want to outright tell her anything. He needed her to know what was happening, and couldn't be open about it, just in case.
"Jerome, I cared about you," she said, "I can't believe you!"
"Then don't," he told her, willing to say that much.
She walked away from him. She hadn't understood.
"Mara…," he muttered, "Mara!"
His voice echoed around the room, but she didn't listen. The others looked, confused, but he looked away from them, ignoring them.
Maybe he should outright say it. He could take the risk that Mr. Wolf really wasn't here, that maybe the room was sealed, or something. But he couldn't take the risk. Noah was in danger, after all.
"What was that?" Nina asked Mara.
"Forget it," she said.
"Are you ok?" Amber asked her.
She nodded, "Yeah. So, anything?"
"There's a switch, but we don't want to press it," Nina said.
"But we might have to," she said.
"It's a last resort," Fabian said, "Because it might be very bad."
"Maybe we should just do it," Mara said, "Some things just need doing."
"But we won't," Fabian said.
Jerome had come closer, listening. He looked at the pedestal, seeing the small switch. He walked over and pressed it.
"Nothing's happening," he told them.
"You pressed it?" Fabian shouted.
"If something bad's going to happen, let it happen to me," he told them, pressing it again, holding it a little longer.
The door opened slightly, then fell again.
"What was that?" Alfie questioned.
"What did you do?" Nina questioned Jerome.
"I held it a little longer," he said.
"Hold it down," she said.
He pressed and held it. It opened all the way, opening up the staircase. "Release it," Nina told him.
The moment he released it, it was down. It didn't descend, it was just there again. It wouldn't be possible to hold it, then run and make it in time.
"So…someone has to hold it," Fabian said.
"We need to sacrifice someone?" Mara asked.
"We won't be sacrificing anyone to let the rest of us out," Nina said, "We'll tape it down, or something. We'll find another way."
"I don't know if taping it would work," Fabian said, "After everything, I'm sure this has to have some sort of failsafe. It probably has to be a human. A living human."
It started to open again. They looked over at Jerome.
"Go," he said, "I'll stay here. I'll be your sacrifice."
35: House of SacrificesEdit
There was silence in the room as Jerome said he would be the sacrifice.
"What are you doing?" Mara demanded. There were similar questions regarding his sanity – Jerome being viewed as someone who would do anything but this – but Mara's words were the loudest, the ones that got to him the most.
"All of you are better than I am for this," he told them, "Let me be the one to stay here. I'll gladly remain trapped here as a penance to what I did."
Rufus. Mr. Wolf.
This was his penance for the mistakes he had made, and what he had been forced into.
"Thank you, Jerome…," Mara said softly, "But what about you?"
"I'll be here," he told her, "All of you, go. Just don't forget about me in here. Bring me food and stuff, please. But I'll remain here as long as I have to."
"It won't be long," Nina said, "I swear, we'll find a way to get you out."
He nodded, "Please, find it."
"Let's go," Fabian said, looking back once more at Jerome as they headed up the stairs.
He could see Mr. Wolf's spirit floating on the stairs after they had gone. He released the button to seal the door, and could no longer see it. He waited, but the spirit didn't enter the room.
"I guess I'm safe here," he breathed, looking around. He wasn't there, anywhere.
He walked over to a wall and slid down. "Noah…I'm sorry," he breathed, "But I had to get away from him. I just hope he doesn't hurt you…"
Nina and the others rushed through the manor, reaching the main hall. "There has to be answers here, somewhere," she said, looking around. She walked to the mantle and placed her locket on it, waiting for something to happen.
Finally green fire emerged, spelling out more words in the air, giving them a message.
"Oh no…," Fabian breathed.
"This can't be," Nina said.
"No…," Mara groaned, "Jerome…"
'A human in the Book Room can last only one week until death. Find the text of the book, and all may leave the Room'
"So we have to find the text of the book, or Jerome…," Alfie said.
"Yeah," Nina said.
"Text?" Amber asked, "So we have to write the book?"
"I don't think so," Nina said, "That doesn't make sense."
"I think maybe the text is hidden?" Patricia offered, "Like, it's one more riddle? Solve it, and the book has words?"
"Maybe," Fabian said, "But there's no clue here. There was nothing in that room, either."
"Maybe somewhere else?" Mick offered. "We don't have Joy and Noah back, after all. There has to be something else, somewhere."
"But where?" Nina questioned.
The flames faded away, the message gone.
"Wait!" Mara said, "Look!"
More fire emerged. It began to spiral around, creating one more message.
'The print can only be found by those pure of heart. The Book can only be used by those of the pure of heart. The print resides with the raven'
The flames vanished.
Mr. Wolf walked around the office that was now his, with Victor gone. He couldn't get to the Book Room, and that angered him. Jerome angered him as well. He didn't know what Jerome was doing, but maybe it was for the best. It poised him to take the Book as soon as the text was returned to it.
If it could be returned.
Why was it blank? The Book of Thoth wasn't supposed to be blank!
He could always take his anger out on Noah, but he was her adoptive father. He wouldn't raise his hand to her. Not for this.
He sat down, looking at a picture on his desk. Five years ago. His days as a university professor. He taught philosophy for years, never married, no children. He had a good life, one that he could truly enjoy. He liked his life at school, and his home life.
But then cancer got him.
He had been diagnosed with only a short time to live. He refused to give up his life. He loved life too much for it to be cut short like this, so he went to a friend of his. This friend was a professor who taught ancient mythologies and histories. The friend was sympathetic, and wanted to help him if possible. Even if they were myths and legends, he entrusted Mr. Wolf with knowledge, with stories.
The Order of Amneris.
As soon as he could, Mr. Wolf went on a plane and took a trip to Egypt for a while. He would return to his life as a professor as soon as he had found the Order. That was always the plan. He knew they had to exist. This wasn't just a myth; their existence was fact, at least in the past.
After spending about one week in Egypt, and paying various people off, he had been taken to the women of the Order. He had asked for their blessing. When he was refused, he fell to his knees and begged them.
Finally they had given him their blessing. He was given the gift of life.
When he died a few months later in his home, he stood right back up. He was a spiritual being now. He could become flesh or spirit. As a spiritual being, he could travel much faster. As if teleporting. That helped him now to go between the office and the manor.
But he was learning something. After two years, he felt terrible. His soul was eroding. He would die again within a few years. But death and an eroding spirit were different, he learned.
Death granted the afterlife.
Erosion of spirit granted nothing.
So he needed to live again. He needed to properly return to life.
He learned about the Book of Thoth and did research, discovering that Frobisher-Smythe might have had it. Doing research, he learned of the manor, and decided it had to be there. After a single visit as a spirit, he decided that he was right. It was there.
Noah's adoption was luck. Her parents were friends of his, but he hadn't met her. He adopted her and began to use her to his own ends, getting her into Anubis House eventually and using her to plant the USB for the Chosen One to find – another stroke of luck, or fate, that she was there.
And now it was nearly his. He knew he didn't have much longer.
Perhaps only another week.
"So, raven?" Alfie asked, "What do we do with that?"
"It means something," Fabian said.
Nina nodded, "It means we need to find Victor."
36: House of WorryEdit
The next day Mara came down the stairs and called out Jerome's name. He walked over to the pedestal and hit the button, holding it down to let her in.
"Is it just you?" he asked.
"The others are coming," she said.
"I'll leave it open, then," he said, keeping his hand on the switch. He looked terrible, even if it had only been one day.
"So…it's true…," Mara commented, looking at him.
"What is?" he asked.
"Um…," she swallowed hard, "Well…the mantle?"
"What about it?" he asked.
"It said that someone inside this room only has one week to live," she said softly, "And looking at you, it looks like that's right…"
"What?" he questioned, "One week?"
"Yeah," she said, "But we'll get you out. Look, if we can put the text back into the book, it'll be fine."
"And how will you do that?" he asked.
"We have a riddle telling us what to do," she said, "We'll get you out. I promise."
"What if someone switched with me?" he wondered.
"It doesn't say anything about that. But we would never break the cycle then," she said.
"I mean, if it takes too long to find the answer," he said.
"Maybe," she said, "But…maybe it'll still affect you."
"They have to find it," he said, shaking his head and leaning against the pedestal.
"Jerome…did you come here because of me?" she asked.
He looked at her. His face looked hollow.
"I don't know," he admitted, "I guess part of the reason is you."
"And…you hit the switch for me?" she asked.
"Yes," he said without thinking.
"I feel so guilty," she said, shaking her head, hugging him from the side, "I'm so sorry, Jerome."
He put his other arm around her, "I'm sorry about kissing Noah."
Mr. Wolf's spirit watched from the doorway. Anger burned in his eyes as he watched this reunion. Jerome put his other arm around Noah, releasing the button and dropping the door.
"Brat," Mr. Wolf hissed, vanishing.
He might lose his leverage.
After they left Jerome with food and supplies – even though they all knew it wouldn't do him much good if a week passed – the students went out to search for Victor.
"Ok, what we do know is that he was released from the hospital," Nina said, "He probably went home."
"But he's not there," Amber said.
"Right, so he got intercepted?" Patricia offered.
"Or something happened after he got back," Alfie said, "Like Mr. Wolf."
"The basement?" Nina offered.
"Sounds like a good place to check," Patricia said.
"I don't want to go there again…," Amber complained.
"It'll be ok," Nina said.
"What's in the basement?" Mick asked.
"I thought Joy filled you in," Fabian said.
"I don't remember everything," he said, "Or she didn't tell me that."
"It's where Victor and his organization were doing their experiments for immortality," Nina said, "Victor's lab is down there. He might be there, somewhere."
"How do we get in?" Mick asked.
"Someone watch Wolf, and we'll go in," Nina said, referring to herself, Alfie and Patricia.
"Just us?" Alfie asked.
"It might be best," Nina answered, "Trust me. As few as possible."
"Ok," Patricia said, "Makes sense to me."
Fabian nodded, "Good luck."
When they returned to Anubis House, Mara and Amber went upstairs while Mick and Fabian remained downstairs. With texts they were able to keep an eye on Mr. Wolf, while the others went to the kitchen and entered through the oven door.
In the basement, not much looked changed. They looked around, being as quiet as possible. There was nothing that they could find. They looked everywhere, but there were no passages they could find, nothing out of the ordinary.
After some more time looking, Nina and the others shook their heads and headed back upstairs through the passage.
An unconscious Victor lay in a small crawlspace, obscured by a heavy shelf that had been pushed in its way. A single crack of light was able to fall onto him, but the children hadn't seen him.
"Nothing," Nina said as they all met in Fabian and Mick's bedroom.
"What do we do next, then?" Mara asked.
"What if we just find the bird?" Mick questioned, "Victor's bird?"
"Wait…," Fabian said.
"What is it?" Nina asked.
"Robert didn't know Victor. He knew Victor's father!"
"So Victor's father is the one we need?" Amber asked, "But isn't he dead?"
"Yes," Fabian said, "But…"
"What are you getting at?" Mara questioned.
"Please don't tell me we're going to his grave," Patricia said.
"Zombies?" Alfie asked, that thought immediately coming to mind.
"We might not have another choice," Fabian said, "Let's find his tomb."
"Fine," Nina said, "If we have to, we will."
They all stood up and she put her hand in front of her face, "Sibuna."
Joy slowly woke up and looked around. Her enchanted sleep had taken a while to come out of, but she was finally waking.
She looked around the dark, musty location she was in. It was as if she were in a cave, or underground, or something. She wasn't quite sure where she could be.
But as she looked behind her, she saw a large gray stone tomb. And then it hit her.
She was in a crypt.
37: House of CryptsEdit
Using the internet, the kids were able to find where Victor Sr. was buried. Presuming that Mr. Wolf didn't know their move, they wiped the browser history and headed out, all seven of them heading for the cemetery.
It was a handful of miles away and did take some time to get to, but when they did arrive they found themselves to be alone among the rows of gravestones.
"Well, overcast day," Alfie commented, "Seems perfect for this!"
"Do you still think the zombies are coming?" Patricia questioned him.
"Alfie, I swear, if you say yes…," Amber started.
Alfie chose that silence was his best option at this point, so he didn't say anything.
"We don't know which one is his," Fabian said, "We'll each take a row and work right to left. Let's hurry."
"Hurry, but be respectful of the dead," Nina said.
"Right, don't want zombies to come after us," Alfie said. "Ow!"
"I warned you," Amber said after she hit Alfie in the side, "Just read the gravestones? That's not so bad."
"You're not the only one uncomfortable here," Nina assured Amber.
They were closer to the right edge, so they started there, as Fabian had said. They each started down a stretch of tombs, reading the names on each headstone as they passed by. Soon, when they had each finished their line, they moved onto the next few, but there were only a few, not seven.
"Now what?" Mick asked.
"There's a crypt up ahead," Mara observed.
"Maybe he's in there," Nina said.
As they headed towards it, there was another headstone, set off to the side. It wasn't the start of a new row, they didn't think. It was just set aside.
"This is it…," Fabian said, crouching in front of it, "Victor Rodenmaar Sr.," he read, "This is his grave."
"Why is it set aside?" Mara wondered.
"Who knows," Fabian said.
"Well, we're here," Mick said, "What are we supposed to do now?"
"I…don't know…," Fabian said. He hadn't thought about that.
"Well, we're not digging him up," Nina said, "That is out of the question."
"I think that goes without saying," Mara said.
"Zombies…," Alfie said again, stepping away from Amber. When she slapped, she hit nothing and looked at him, only to see him smile.
"Love you too," he told her.
Fabian kept looking at the gravestone and felt around it, "It's real," he said, "I don't feel anything that might move and give us anything."
He moved around to the back, "Wait…"
They all went to the back and looked at it. It was carved. Something had been written on the back.
"What is that?" Nina wondered.
"It's a map?" Fabian wondered, "I think…"
"A map?" Amber asked, "On the back of a grave?"
"Who would do that?" Mara wondered.
It was weathered, almost unreadable, but they could make it out. It showed the plots, it showed where this grave was, and it lead to the crypt off ahead. Fabian took a picture on his mobile and looked at it, "Ok, let's follow it for now, then we can use the picture."
As they started to walk towards the crypt, Mara made a comment, "Who's setting this up? Robert Frobisher-Smythe?"
"Yeah," Nina said, "Why?"
"Why would he deface the back of a grave?" she asked.
Fabian stopped, "Robert died before Victor Sr.," he said.
"So…someone else did that?" Patricia asked.
"They must have," Fabian said, "But why?"
"They defaced a grave," Nina said, "That's sick."
"What if Robert isn't who we think he is?" Fabian offered.
"What do you mean?" Amber asked.
"He's not a normal archaeologist. He's not a good person. He has someone setting up this game for him, even after he died."
"So you think that we're being stupid doing this?" Mick asked.
"We might be," Fabian said, "I mean, he had someone deface a grave to place a map. All of these riddles as well. They could be failsafes, or he could be playing a game for his own amusement. He's not really a good man, I don't think. Maybe more gray, morally."
"Gray?" Amber asked.
"You know, white is good, black is bad," Fabian said, "He's in the middle."
"Are we sure about this?" Alfie asked.
"I think the evidence is rather clear," Fabian said.
"But we have to finish," Nina said.
"We need to get Joy and Noah back," Mick said, "And we need to find Victor, and protect that book from Mr. Wolf."
Fabian nodded, "I just don't like it."
"We don't have to like it. We just have to do it," Nina said.
The group continued on, descending into the crypt. Using the picture of the map, they went to the coffin that was on the floor on the right. There was no name engraved onto it, just a word in Latin. 'Fuga'.
"It means 'escape'," Mara said.
"I love having you here," Nina told her, looking back at the stone coffin, "Well…now what?"
"I think we open it," Fabian said.
"Let me," Mick said, getting down and putting his hands on the lid. He pushed, budging it only a little. Fabian and Alfie joined in, able to push it farther, revealing a dark staircase that descended into greater darkness.
"So, underground," Alfie said, "Underground, under a crypt, under graves. Yeah, we're getting into horror movie territory here."
As they descended with two flashlights between them, they saw nothing. The trip took nearly a minute of walking. They didn't know how far down they had gone, but it was a decent distance.
They found something blocking the path. It looked like a rock, but they weren't sure. Giving it a push, they found that it was able to move. They could hear shouts on the other side, and stopped.
"That's Joy!" Mick said, pushing again, "Joy! We're coming!"
After some more pushing, the rock slid aside and opened them up to the cave-like room that Joy had been deposited inside. They rushed together, embracing as the others came in, looking around.
Fabian walked over to the tomb, looking at it. There were words on it.
"Victor Rodenmaar Sr.," he read, "This is his real grave?"
"So, our answer is inside?" Nina wondered.
"If we're opening it, I'm not involved," Alfie said, "Zombies aside, I'm scared of opening it."
Fabian nodded solemnly, "Yeah. Smythe made sure that Victor's father was part of this twisted game. I'm scared of opening it too. I'm also scared of what could happen inside of the manor. Smythe constructed its traps, its riddles. It's protecting something.
"Is any of this worth it? We've lost Noah yet, some of us have disappeared. Last time we had to get involved to stop something bad from happening. But this time? We're doing this why? Because we're bored? But we are stopping people like Rufus. But is it worth it?"
"I don't think so," Nina said softly.
"Could Robert have been like Rufus?" Patricia asked.
"What do you mean?" Fabian asked.
"Was he a bad man?" she asked, "You think he's gray, but…could he be bad? Should we be playing his 'game'?"
"No. No we shouldn't," Fabian said.
38: House of ChoicesEdit
Everyone who was around went to see Jerome, who sealed the room. He still didn't feel comfortable talking about Mr. Wolf, because he wasn't sure if Mr. Wolf really couldn't enter, or if he simply hadn't. He didn't want to take any risks.
"You look terrible," Mick told him.
"I never thought I'd see you like this," Alfie said, feeling for his friend.
"Just give me some good news," Jerome said, "Please."
"Well, we think we found the final answer," Fabian said, "But…"
"But what?" Jerome questioned.
"We have to go into Victor's father's tomb," Fabian said, "There are some things that are crossing a line, and that's one of them."
"And letting me die in here isn't?" Jerome demanded.
"That's right…," Fabian muttered, "You'll die…"
"So go into the tomb!" Jerome said.
"There has to be another way," Nina offered.
"You can spend time looking – I've looked in here, there's nothing – or you can get me out by going into the tomb!" he told them, "Please, just get me out of this place!"
"And Noah's still missing," Nina commented, "We have to go into the tomb."
"It's a terrible idea, but…," Fabian said, "I'm not Smythe. None of us are. He seems like someone who would cross a line like this, but…we're doing it to stop Smythe's work, and to protect his treasure."
"No," Nina said, "We won't protect it."
"What?" was the general question that came from the others.
"We'll destroy the book," Nina said, "Whatever it is, we'll destroy it when we finish."
"That seems safe," Jerome said, thankful for that.
"But what if destroying it causes something bad to happen?" Mara asked, "It's magic, right?"
"Well, we'll take our chances," Nina said.
"That's not safe," Patricia said.
"We could hide it, like the Cup," Amber offered.
"I guess we could," Nina said.
"Well, we have time to figure it out," Fabian said, "I guess for now, we go back to the tomb."
"Please do," Jerome said, "It feels terrible being in here this long. My body feels like it's dying. Well, I guess it is."
"We'll save you," Fabian assured Jerome.
Mara crouched down and hugged him, "Just hold on. We'll save you."
He put his arms around her, "Thank you."
Mick looked at them, "Didn't see that coming."
Joy shrugged, "I don't know."
"Come on guys," Fabian said, standing up, "Let's go."
Jerome was hesitant to let go of Mara, but he did, "I could stay," she offered to him.
"I'd like that…but make sure they do things right," he said, "Make sure they get me out of here. I trust you to do that."
She smiled to him, "Ok," she said, heading out with the others. He held down the button to open the door, then let it close in fear of Mr. Wolf entering again, if even for a moment.
Even if he could only enter for a few moments before Jerome could close it, he still feared if those seconds happened. Mr. Wolf was too frightening, and with Jerome in the state he was, it would be all the worse.
The eight of them headed down the stairs inside of the crypt again, going back to the room where Joy had been deposited. But after spending so much time there, even if she was only conscious for a few hours, Joy didn't want to go back inside. So she and Mick stayed outside.
"Ok, let's look around," Fabian said, "They're looking in the crypt, let's look around here before we open the tomb. It might be hidden somewhere else."
They agreed. None of them wanted to open the tomb, after all.
After spending time searching anywhere, feeling around the walls for holes, looking at the sides of the tomb, even feeling along the tomb for a hidden compartment, they decided they had to open it.
"I got a text from Joy," Patricia said, "Frowny face, 'Nothing here'," she said.
"Then we have to…open it…," Fabian said weakly, not wanting to do this.
"I don't want to look," Amber said, walking back towards the stairs.
"I don't want to smell it," Alfie said, going back, but Patricia grabbed his sleeve.
"You're helping," she told him.
She, Alfie, Fabian and Nina pushed. Mara joined in when that wasn't enough, finally getting it to budge. Amber stayed at the stairs, watching them, disgusted. But they all felt this way. They had to do it, even if they didn't want to.
When it was all the way open, they looked at Victor Sr.'s body. It was mostly gone, skeletal. But some clothing was still intact, at least making it so they didn't have to see too much. The stench was immense, but they kept looking, seeing a small black book resting on Victor's breast.
Fabian reached in with both haste and wariness. He took the book and they went up the stairs to escape the stench, closing the staircase entrance when they were all out.
"Well…we have it," Fabian said, holding out the small black book to all of them.
"But what's inside of it?" Patricia asked.
"I don't know," Fabian said, "Let's open it and find out. But let's all hope this will be what we need."
39: House of AnswersEdit
As the students returned to Anubis House, Mr. Wolf was standing in the entrance, waiting.
"Where have all of you been?" he questioned, "Where are Jerome Clarke and Noah Reid?" he questioned them.
"We've been…," Patricia started.
"We've been studying at the school," Amber answered.
"Studying at the school?" Mr. Wolf questioned, "It's closed and locked."
"Well we went into town after that," Fabian said, "Library."
Mick nodded, "The school didn't have what we needed."
"The school has what's needed," Mr. Wolf said, "And what would you need to all go to town to the library for anyway?"
"Um…," Alfie said, feeling it might be his time to contribute.
"It's a project we were assigned today," Joy said, "History. We were going to look into the history of Egypt, its myths and legends. The school was lacking in those materials."
"And you're all working together?" Wolf questioned.
"We chose to," Joy said, "It made sense."
He nodded, "Is that so?" he questioned, "What's the subject? Tell me some things you're researched."
"The Order of Amneris," Joy said, almost defiantly to him.
Mr. Wolf's cold eyes showed no regard to the term. "Go to your rooms," he said, "I'm grounding all of you. And when Noah and Jerome come home, the same for them."
"What are you grounding us for?" Patricia demanded.
"Just listen to me," he told them, "Go to your rooms."
The students moved around Mr. Wolf, going off to their respective rooms. Once they were behind him, Fabian slipped Nina the black book as she and the other girls went upstairs, and Mick, Alfie and Fabian went off to their rooms. He hoped that she could figure out the book on her own.
Nina looked at the book as they went up. The other girls looked at it as well, "We'll help," Mara whispered.
"Amber, Mara, just you two," she said, "Joy, Patricia, stay in your room, please."
"Ok, fine," Patricia said.
"It makes sense," Joy had to admit.
"That was pretty good back there," Nina told Joy.
"Thanks," she smiled a little, "Might have gone a bit far."
"Maybe," Patricia said.
As they went off to their respective rooms, Nina locked the door to their bedroom. She set the book down on her bed and opened the front cover.
"Ok, what's it say?" Amber asked.
"I…can't read it," Nina said.
"What do you mean?" Mara asked, moving over to look over her shoulder.
"It's in Egyptian," she said, "I have no idea what it says."
"I don't remember enough to help," Mara said.
"It shouldn't be too difficult to get," Nina said, "Any letters you can remember?"
"Too bad we didn't keep track of those in the riddle," Amber commented.
Nina nodded, "Yeah…"
Fabian sat on his bed while Mick stayed standing, "We shouldn't have listened to Mr. Wolf," he said to Fabian.
"Do you really want to challenge him?" Fabian questioned.
"He took Joy!" Mick told his roommate, "I don't know why we listened. We could have snuck off, finished this."
"He made Joy vanish," Fabian said, "He's dangerous. And…well, Victor…"
"Do we know something happened to Victor?" Mick questioned, "We don't."
"We can assume as much," Fabian said.
"I don't like that," he said, "I think we should have done something else."
"It was best not to," Fabian said, "But in the morning we'll meet up again. We'll get our answers."
"What if he makes sure we can't go to the manor?" Mick questioned.
"Then he'd lose as well," Fabian said.
"Or he waits for Jerome to die, then lets us go," Mick said.
"I don't know if he'd kill one of us," Fabian said, but he really didn't know.
"He took us before," Mick said, "He might be willing to kill."
"And for what?" Fabian wondered, "What is that book?"
Alfie sat around on the bed, then jumped to his feet and paced around. He was bored. Bored and alone.
"Why couldn't I be grounded with those two?" he wondered. At least the three of them could have something going on. But then again, that would defeat the purpose of grounding.
He laid back down on the bed, taking out his mobile, "Not very effective if we have these," he commented to himself.
But now what?
"Ok," Nina said, looking at Mara's list of eight letters translated. The three began to skim the first pages of the book, trying to find words they could make, such as 'the', which would give them another letter, and let them fill in more. But the work was slow, and they weren't finding much.
"Well, we don't know if these are even real words," Mara commented.
"What do you mean?" Amber asked.
"It could just be a random series of letters. Maybe something arcane that we don't know anymore, something archaic," Mara offered, "We might be completely wrong."
Amber had her mobile, trying to get online through the phone lines, "I can't get anywhere," she said, "It's like it's down."
"I wonder if the manor did that, somehow," Mara observed.
"Who knows?" Nina put in.
"I want to!" Amber said.
"That's not what I meant…"
Nina sighed and toyed with her locket. She took grip of it and looked at the book, then spoke an archaic word.
"What was that?" Mara questioned.
"What was what?" Nina asked.
"You just said something," Amber said, "Something really weird."
"I didn't…," Nina said, then looked at the book, "Wait…"
She read a few more words, and then some more, finishing the first page and moving onto the second, reciting each word she came upon.
"I don't know how I'm doing it, but I'm doing it," she said.
"It must be the locket," Amber said, "Or…"
"Or maybe my bloodline?" Nina wondered.
"Whatever it is, keep reading!" Amber told her.
She nodded, continuing to recite from the book.
In the middle of the night, Mr. Wolf materialized within Nina, Amber and Mara's bedroom and walked towards where the black book was sitting. He picked it up off of the nightstand, only to find that it wasn't the book.
They had hidden it, it seemed.
"Clever," he mused. He had observed in his spirit form, but had missed where it could be hidden. He knew it was in this room, at least.
He moved around, becoming a spirit again. Within a few minutes he found it hidden, concealed in the box that held the remnants of the hunt for the Cup of Ankh. He didn't need the notes; Noah had already copied them and given them to him at the start of this.
And then he vanished.
Jerome opened the door, seeing Noah standing on the stairs with the figure of Mr. Wolf behind her. But he wasn't a spirit this time. He was in the flesh, walking down the stairs and into the room with her.
He pushed her towards Jerome and held the book in one hand, "Finish this," he said, tossing it to them. One page was marked, which was where Nina had stopped her reading, "Finish the translating. Read the rest of the book!"
"Are you ok?" Jerome asked Noah with concern, ignoring Wolf.
The girl nodded, "Yeah, I'm…I'm fine."
"Translate it!" Mr. Wolf roared.
Noah took the book and opened it. She looked at Mr. Wolf, "I can read it, but I cannot say the words."
"What do you mean?" he demanded.
"I know what the word is. I can understand the spelling. I just can't make myself say it. It's a failsafe, I imagine."
"So are you telling me I need the Chosen One?" he hissed.
"Probably," Noah said, "And I don't work."
Victor put his feet against the wall and pushed at the shelf with his back, budging it slightly. He stopped, readied himself, and pushed again, moving it a little farther open. His arms were tied behind his back, giving him trouble, but at least his feet were free.
One more push opened it far enough for him to slink out of, coming unsteadily up to his feet. He walked towards the staircase, disoriented, and went upstairs, turning around to work the handle with his bound hands.
He looked around the entrance, realizing it was night. He called out weakly for help, and hurried to the boys rooms, knocking his body into the doors.
Fabian and Mick came out first, seeing him in his disheveled state from the enchanted slumber Mr. Wolf had placed on him with his spiritual body.
"Victor?" Fabian called, grabbing him and working on the ropes while Mick supported him.
"You'll be ok," Mick told him.
"Everyone! It's Victor!" Fabian shouted, "Hurry!"
As the students left their rooms, roused from their sleep, they all came to see Victor, who was being seated on a couch.
"Mr. Wolf is gone," Joy pointed out.
"Good," Victor said, "He's dangerous, and an evil man. Hurry. We have to stop him."
"Where do you think he is?" Alfie asked.
"Wherever your quest is," he said, "I'm sure of it."
"The manor," Nina said. "We have to stop him."
40: House of FadeEdit
"Being here, being in this place…it's different, for one with no real body, one with no certain future," Mr. Wolf mused as he walked around the Book Room, hands in his pockets. Noah and Jerome stood at the center of the room with the black book with them, unable to do anything with it, "Once I'd have been content to simply live. But…but being here in the spirit, it makes me realize how much power I have. I could raise the mummy guardians. I could create more. I can do so much as a spirit. But…I have no future. Now that I'm walking around here in as physical a body as I can possess, I realize something more."
"That you're crazy and power hungry?" Jerome questioned.
"That I want more," he said simply, "That I deserve more."
"Deserve?" Jerome questioned him.
"I died. I'm back. I've discovered so much, so many powers the world cannot comprehend. These things exist, so why does nobody use them properly? Instead they lie here, concealed, when they could be used. They can be used for power, to help people, or to dominate them."
"And what would you do?" Noah questioned, "Dominate them? Rule them?"
"I would do what the power tells me to do," he said, "But a future is needed for this world, and that is one I can provide, once I have my own future restored to me."
"And how will that happen?" Jerome questioned, "How are you losing yours, anyway?"
"If he doesn't have the text replaced in the Book of Thoth soon," Noah said, gesturing to the blank magical book, "and somebody doesn't read the second spell to bring him back to life, he's going to erode. He'll have no afterlife. Just nothing."
"So…we just have to hold out?" Jerome questioned.
Wolf glared at him, "If you do that, you'll die first," he said.
Jerome didn't say anything in response to him. He just looked to Noah, "Now what?" he asked her.
Mr. Wolf walked towards them and grabbed the book, "Open the door." Jerome didn't move to open it. He turned to both of them, "Open it!" he roared.
Jerome pressed the button, letting the door open for Mr. Wolf to depart. He sealed the door after the man left, staying alone in the room with Noah.
"Now what?" she wondered.
"We have to hope the others finish this," Jerome said.
As Victor and the other students went to the manor, the spiritual figure of Mr. Wolf appeared in their path at the door, holding the black book.
"Wolf!" Victor shouted at him.
"You can call me by my first name," he said from behind his mask.
"I don't know it," Victor said.
"I'm hurt," he told Victor, "It's Ravinn."
"Ravinn Wolf," Victor said simply.
He threw the black book towards the group, "Take it! It's worthless!"
It landed on the ground in front of them. Nina crouched down and picked it up, "Worthless?" she questioned.
"Worthless," he said, "Read it if you want. But it's worthless."
"Don't believe him," Amber told Nina.
"But what does he get out of this?" Fabian wondered.
"Who cares?" Joy questioned, "This guy's not worth listening to."
"Where's Noah?" Mara called to him, "You have her, don't you?"
"You can get her later," he said, "For now, no." He floated back, into the manor's doors, "Come, if you so desire it."
"We should go after him," Mick said, "I mean, he's revealing himself to us now. We have to do something! Something's clearly changed."
"No," Victor said, "It's too dangerous."
Nina looked at the black book, "We need to get to the book in Jerome's room. We need to get him out. I don't know if we should believe him, but we need to finish translating this and get Jerome out."
"Let's go inside then," Patricia said, "We can read it there, in the light, and then go get the book."
"If you're going in, then I'm coming too," Victor said, "I don't know what this book that you're talking about is, but I have something to do inside."
"You know about this place?" Mara asked.
"I've heard stories," he said simply, going inside with the others.
Once the room was lit, Nina began to translate it some more while Victor went off on his own.
"Is it really a good idea?" Alfie asked.
"We can trust him," Fabian said, "I think."
"We have to," Nina said, taking a break as she turned the next page, "He's helping us. Let's trust him."
"But how long until he stops helping us?" Joy asked, "I still don't want to trust him."
"We'll trust him for now," Fabian said, taking what Nina said.
"Ok, two pages left," Nina said, "We'll go to the room to finish."
The group started to move, but stopped when they heard the lumbering sounds of the mummies coming. As they moved around the corner, there they were, blocking them from proceeding. Two mummies and the mummified Rufus.
"What now?" Alfie asked them.
"I don't think we can get there from any other way," Fabian said, "We could try to get past them?"
"I don't think that would go well," Mick said.
Mara nodded, "If anything, I think finishing the book might get us past."
"And then what?" Mick questioned her.
"Well…Mr. Wolf might be in position to take the magic book…"
"It's a trap," Fabian finished.
"And we can't get out, can we?" Amber asked.
"It doesn't look like it," Fabian said.
Nina opened the book, "Fine," she said, starting the rest of the translation. They heard the archaic words that none could repeat even if they wanted to. The two mummies began to let out some sort of scream as she finished, and then they faded. The Rufus mummy was taking longer, but he too was vanishing slowly as the magic of the Book of Thoth began to be restored.
"Let's hurry," Fabian said, running off ahead, the others following him as they headed towards the room with the staircase.
They hurried down, pounding on the door, shouting for Jerome.
"The book is restored," the physical form of Wolf stated, picking the Book of Thoth up from the pedestal.
"Why aren't I free?" Jerome questioned.
"If you use the button now, it won't close," Wolf stated, "You'll have your freedom, after Noah reads this to me."
She looked at him, and shook her head, "You think I'm going to read it to you? Look at you!"
His body was clothed in the robe and mask. As the sleeves of the robe moved back as he lifted the book, it was apparent his arms were nearly missing, very hard to see. They were fading. His entire corporeal body was fading.
"You'd kill me?" he questioned her.
"I'd let you fade," she answered defiantly.
"Alright then," he hissed, looking at Jerome, "Read it, or I will kill him." He threw the book to Noah and grabbed Jerome by the throat. Jerome started to gasp as Wolf put all of his pressure into it.
"Wait!" Noah shouted, "I'll…I'll read it…"
"Good," he said.
She fumbled with the book, paging through it, "Found it…," she dropped it, "Sorry!"
"Hurry!" Wolf roared.
She picked up the book, but her hands were trembling. She misread words, screwed up. Nothing was going to happen at this rate.
"Stop with your games!" Wolf shouted, releasing Jerome's throat.
"Run!" she told Jerome.
Jerome moved as Wolf turned to grab him. He put his focus on Noah, who closed the book and shook her head, "No," she said.
As he approached her, he began to fade even more. Even his robes were fading away. "No…no…," he hissed, looking at himself.
He looked up at Noah once more, "No!"
But he was gone.
Jerome and Noah exited the room, finding the others at the stairs, "Get him out," Noah told them, giving Jerome to them. She followed them upstairs, "Mr. Wolf is…gone…"
"What do you mean?" Fabian asked.
"I mean that he's gone," she said, "His spirit faded. He didn't revive. I…I didn't read the spell to him. I held out."
"Are you safe?" Nina asked, not sure how to feel about the death.
She nodded, "We are."
Victor came down the stairs to the first floor as they exited the room and came into his view soon after, "I found nothing," he muttered.
"He's gone," Nina told Victor.
She held the book out to him. He looked at it, "The Book of Thoth…," he said, taking it into his hands. He looked it over, and pushed it into a torch, "It's dangerous, and not real immortality."
Destroying the book. Something they had discussed. It was happening, so none could feel anything but some level of joy. It was over. This twisted game of Frobisher-Smythe's was over.
"Go home," Victor told them, "Sleep. You saved me…I'll make sure you get your sleep before school. It's the least I can do."
"You're changing," Nina smiled to him.
"Maybe," he said coldly, "Thank you…Chosen One."
"For being willing to come to me for advice," he said, "So we could stop this man."
"But was it right?" she asked him.
"Perhaps," he said, "Perhaps not. I don't know."
Nina nodded to him, "Thanks for everything," she said, leaving.
Victor watched her go, and looked around the manor hall, "Frobisher…," he shook his head, "You terrible man."
He too took his leave.
Mara and Jerome sat together at dinner. Noah watched them with sad eyes. Even after her ordeal, she wasn't getting Jerome. She had to accept that. But at least everyone had forgiven her when she informed them of her connection to Wolf.
"He's gone," Victor had said, "You'll remain a student at Anubis House."
Right now the only thing that mattered to any of them was that the students had to celebrate. It was over, and they knew they couldn't be sucked into another of Smythe's games, if he had any more.
No. For now, they celebrated the staying of Noah, and her acceptance into Anubis House.
They had come together as friends, as housemates, as people who would and could bond to be like family. They had solved the riddles, found the treasure, and protected its ancient magic.
It was a quest of danger, and one they all came back from. Noah for the better. It was exciting, and they would give their lives to it – some of them – but for now, this mystery, these questions, were answered.
The secrets of Anubis House, the secrets of Frobisher's manor. They were settled. They had been brave, unraveled the history, and solved the mysteries.
And now, life awaited.