Book of Wisdom: Part Seven
Armin stood at the edge of the hole, holding the wooden door open. Inside was something he had never expected to see. It was a hole, lined with cement, with a wooden hinged door on it. What surprised Armin, however, were its contents: nothing at all.
“Armin, what’s wrong?” Hannah asked, sounding concerned.
“It’s not here!”
Awohi jumped up from his sitting position that he had just sunk into. “What do you mean it isn’t there!?!” he cried wildly. “It has to be!” He leapt into the hole with Armin.
“Looking for something?” asked a familiar voice.
“Belle!” Hannah exclaimed.
Belle slammed the door to the hole shut, leaving Armin and Awohi inside.
“Belle, what are you doing?” Hannah asked.
She reacted by screaming at the top of her lungs. It sounded more like a roar than what might come out of a tiny girl. Turmaculus stood up, and sat on the door. “Now to deal with you.” Belle’s voice no longer sounded like her own.
Hannah stared at the book lying on the ground, fearing that Belle might steal it. She was surprised when she found the book open to the page about Turi, the fire faerie. At the bottom of the page, there was a picture of Belle. Hannah was too far away to read the inscription, but a sinking feeling rose in her stomach.
“Belle?” she said softly.
“No. I never was Belle, don’t you see!” With that, she rapidly began to grow. With her, a black coat grew around her. She grew long legs, which touched the ground as the cloak slid over them. Her face became shadowed by the hood, and her wings changed to gauzy, butterfly-shaped, and red. Her eyes glowed behind the hood with the same crimson color. Now, she looked exactly the same as the picture in the book.
“What do you want?” Hannah asked.
A cold chuckle escaped Turi’s lips, and her eyes narrowed. “I think you know. I want history. Give me the book and the other two keys.”
Hannah was about to pick up the book, then decided better of it. Her eyebrows dropped, narrowing over her blue eyes. “Or else what?” she asked, trying not to sound as scared as she felt. “Are you going to hit me?” This made the fire faerie laugh even more.
“No, but I could do a lot more,” she threatened. At her word, her hands glowed red, and fire flickered on her open palms.
Hannah panicked, and tried to decide what to do. An idea suddenly came to her. She snatched up the book, and held it over the symol hole. “Don’t do anything, or the symols get the book.”
Turi seemed unimpressed, and just to show that she wasn’t scared, she took a step forward. “Go ahead. That’s all I wanted to do with it anyway.”
Hannah hesitated, then realized something. “If you didn’t want anyone to see it, you would have just gotten rid of the third key,” she said, smiling.
Turi took another three steps. Her long shadow fell upon Hannah. “Well? Are you going to drop it?” She was smiling broadly now, revealing pointed teeth gleaming in the darkness of her hood.
“No.” Hannah didn’t know what Turi wanted the history for, but she certainly would not destroy the book.
“Then what are you going to do? If you don’t drop it, I get it.”
“Not necessarily...” Hannah didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, desperate, she opened the book. Not knowing what page she had opened to, she poked it. She was relieved to feel her finger reach into a portal. The teleportation process usually took a while, but she needed it to work fast. She stuck her entire arm in it, and was teleported almost instantly. The scene of Meridell faded fast, and at the last moment, Hannah saw Turi crying out, “No!” It was too late.
As her vision returned, she saw that she was in a rather nice place. The walls were made of white marble, and beautiful pillars were carved into it. A bulletin board was on a wall, over a white marble bench. Several club posters hung on the bulletin board. On the floor was a colorful tiled mural depicting a twelve-pointed sun.
She had gone to Altador. Relief swept through her. She was in the Altadorian Archives, three feet from the door of Finneus. She stepped through the door, and saw that Finneus was busy writing something in a silver covered book with yellowed pages.
The room was scattered with books, pieces of trash, papers, and some odd items like a headless meepit plushie. Finneus was a periwinkle-colored Lenny, with messy and unattended feathers. White hair grew from his head, but the middle was completely bald, revealing more periwinkle feathers. He had thick white eyebrows, and one eye was surrounded by a polished monocle with a golden chain stringing from it.
He didn’t seem to notice Hannah, because he continued to scribble furiously. He stopped writing, and then adjusted his monocle. He sat for a moment, stroking his white goatee. He wiped his brow, and then picked up his quill again. The gold tip was very shiny, as if he enjoyed polishing it. The feather was a deep green. He dipped it in his ink and began writing again.
“Um, hello,” Hannah said after he still didn’t see her.
Finneus waved a hand. “Yes, just put it by the back table,” he mumbled without looking up.
“It’s me, Hannah.”
Finneus jumped and finally turned to look at her. “Hannah! What took you so long?” He smiled broadly, and shook her hand vigorously.
“I found the book,” she said solemnly.
“What book?” asked Finneus, still shaking her hand. He glanced down at the book in her hands, and his breath caught in his throat. She smiled and held it out to him. He carefully took it, holding on to it as if he thought it would shatter in his hands. He looked up at her doubtfully.
“Is this...” His words caught in his throat. He held the book even more delicately when Hannah nodded, signifying that this was what he had been searching for. Hannah sighed, and tried to forget the events of the past week. She wished more than anything that she was back in the Ice Caves, in her smallish hole. No, the Ice Caves were destroyed. She could not go back for a long time. When this adventure was over, she would probably return to the Golden Dubloon, and continue to serve drinks.
Hannah thought about Armin and Awohi stuck in a hole with a trapdoor, Turmaculus sitting on top. She wondered how she would free them, but knew that it could not be easy. At this point, it seemed that nothing was ever easy. Finneus slowly began to lower it onto a table. Finally returning to attention, Hannah rolled her eyes, and snatched the book out of his hands. She dropped it on the table with a loud thump.
Finneus was horrified. He delicately opened the book and stared at the brass plate. He looked closely at the third lock, and inquired, “Where is the key to this third lock?”
Hannah’s face hardened instantly. “With Turi. I don’t know what she’s done with it.”
Finneus looked surprised. “What, you mean the fire faerie?”
Hannah was surprised by his answer. “Yes,” she said, raising her eyebrows.
Finneus frowned. “Well, why don’t you just get it back?”
Hannah shifted uncomfortably. “Because, that would be really hard to do without getting killed,” she said.
Finneus laughed. “Why don’t you just use her greatest fear against her?”
“What’s her greatest fear?” Hannah asked, wondering how he could know so much about something most people had never heard of.
“What’s every fire faerie’s fear? Water of course!” Finneus replied cheerily.
“Water...” Hannah remained deep in thought, trying to think of what she could do.
“I’ve got it,” she said, eyes bright. She quickly described the plan.
“Hmm...” said Finneus. “It might work, but you’ll need something to lure her in.”
Hannah picked up the book. “Well, it’s a little risky, but she probably wouldn’t go after anything else,” she said, answering his astounded look.
“But what if something happens to it?” he asked, obviously desperate to keep the book safe.
“If we don’t use it, we don’t get the last key. Without that, it would be worthless anyway,” she reasoned.
“No, it’s not, because it’s—”
“The only thing standing in the way of a millennium of history,” Hannah finished for him. Before he could argue any further, she opened it to the right page, and stuck her finger in a picture. There was a flash of light, which was normal. Hannah waited, but the light did not fade into black as it normally did. It shone for about thirty seconds before Hannah realized that something was wrong. She began to get tired, and the light began fading. She heard her name being called in a frantic voice. She didn’t open her eyes to find herself where she wanted to be, though. Instead, she passed out, the light still shining.
To be continued...