When Aaron Franks and his friends return to the Montana Academy for Advanced Magic And Wizard Studies after Christmas vacation they continue to have problems with the top black-hearted wizard Boragon. Thus, when Aaron's father Jefferson uncovers some information that may lead him to the hypothetical Suit of Leviathan that Boragon is after, he begins a quest that leads him on a circuitous journey to Milan, Italy hoping to find Leonardo da Vinci's secret studio.
The first five chapters:
Marion Harris came out of the bathroom and woke up her roommate, Harriet Jipsome. They were staying on Yolanda Grembal's private island. “Time to feed the inmates,” she said, referring to the wizards who were still tied up on the beach.
The evil wizards, known as black-hearts, had arrived on the island via a huge wave to attack Yolanda and her guests. The black-hearts had been under the command of Boragon, an exceptionally evil and powerful wizard. After sailing from Miami, Yolanda and her guests arrived on the island by yacht, warding off an attack by hammerhead sharks and surviving a massive storm. They managed to subdue the black-hearts thanks to Yolanda’s knowledge of the brains sleep centers and help from two of her wizard guests.
“All right,” Harriet rolled over making no effort to rise.
“Oh no you don't,” Marion pulled the covers off the bed.
“I said all right,” Harriet swung her feet over the edge of the bed and rose to a sitting position while shooting Marion an angry grimace. The light streaming in the window forced Harriet to shade her eyes. “Thanks for blinding me.”
Marion ignored Harriet’s complaints while she replaced her pajamas with jeans and a sweatshirt and waited while Harriet did the same.
“Going to the beach?” Don Harper's mother, Sylvia, stuck her head out of her room as Marion and Harriet walked down the hall. Don was a student at the Montana Academy for Advanced Magic and Wizard Studies as was Aaron Franks, who invited Don to be with him during Christmas vacation. Aaron was on Yolanda’s island to be with his father. Sylvia was invited so she could be with Don and because she was friends with Randy Asmet, Aaron's uncle, also in the group.
“We are,” Marion said. “I think it may be the last time. The authorities are supposed to come today to take all the black-hearts into custody. I must say, this is definitely one duty I'm not going to miss.”
“I’d agree with that sentiment,” Sylvia said. “They don't seem to be too appreciative of our efforts to keep them fed and watered. Especially the ones who claim they weren’t part of the attack of their own volition.”
“Yeah,” Harriet said, “they are a bit grumpy. But it's not for us to decide which of the attackers were bewitched and which are actually followers of Boragon. That's for the authorities to sort out.”
“Do you want any help?” Paddy Stevens, another invitee, peered sleepily over Sylvia’s shoulder.
“Nah, we can handle it,” Marion said. “Get some rest and we’ll see you at breakfast.”
When Harriet and Marion got downstairs, Marion looked around, surprised that Don and Aaron hadn't arrived yet. They generally helped the girls take the food to the beach. “Where's Aaron?” Jefferson, Aaron's father looked up from the lounge chair where he was reading a magazine.
“Still in bed, I guess,” Marion said.
“No I'm not,” Aaron responded from the top of the stairs.
“Me either,” Don said, stepping up beside Aaron.
As they started down the stairs, Aaron said, “What's up, Dad?”
“Nothing much, except I have something to tell you.”
“I think Yolanda and I need to tell you together, but I haven't seen her this morning.”
“Maybe she's in the kitchen, helping with the food for the black-hearts,” Marion said. “She usually does.”
“You're probably right. Let's go see.”
When they all trooped into the kitchen, Jefferson looked around but Yolanda wasn't there. Betsey, the cook, was busily frying a big pan of bacon. “Betsy, have you seen Yolanda this morning?” Jefferson asked.
Betsey shook her head. “No, sir, I haven't. Perhaps she's still in bed. She came down for a midnight snack and mentioned going for a walk. I didn't see or hear her return, but that doesn't mean anything. She's always quiet when she returns from a late night walk as she doesn't want to wake anyone.”
Jefferson shook his head with a concerned look crossing his face. “She's not in her room. I knocked, but she didn't answer, so I went into her room and she wasn't there. Maybe we'd better go look for her.” His voice had an edge of panic which was contrary to his normally calm demeanor. “She might have gotten lost. I know that’s unlikely as she's been all over this part of the island any number of times and it was a full moon last night. However, it's always possible or maybe she took a misstep or some such and is lying out there somewhere hurt.”
Betsey’s eyes grew wide. “Let's hope not. Let me finish this pan of bacon and I'll help you look.”
“No, I think you need to finish breakfast for the black-hearts as well as for the rest of us. I appreciate the offer, but honestly, we’ll look for her.”
“As you wish, sir,” Betsey turned her attention back to her pan of bacon.
Christine, the wine steward, came up from the wine cellar. “What's up?”
“Yolanda seems to be missing,” Betsey said.
“Apparently, she went out for a walk last night around midnight and nobody’s seen her since,” Jefferson said.
“Oh no. Let's hope she's not hurt. Are you going out to look for her?”
“Well, Harold and Bruce are in the back garden. I'll go round them up and we'll all meet you out front.”
“Works for me,” Jefferson said, “See you there.”
Christine headed for the back door while everyone in the kitchen followed Jefferson to the front. In the front hall, they ran into Sylvia, Randy, Paddy and Tom. Tom was another of Aaron’s friends and classmate at the academy. Jefferson had invited Tom for the holidays himself because Tom’s parents had been killed during an attack by black-hearts at the academy’s Thanksgiving celebration. Tom, with Aaron’s permission, had invited Paddy.
Soon they were all gathered in front of the small mansion.
Jefferson looked around the group of anxious faces. “Does anyone have any idea where Yolanda likes to walk?”
Christine shook her head. “No. She simply heads off in whatever direction strikes her fancy at the time. We’d better spread out to cover as much ground as quickly as possible.”
“Agreed.” Jefferson broke the group into pairs. “Does at least one person in each party have their wand with them?” Only Harold, the gardener, and Bruce, the butler, had to say no as neither was a wizard. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were both withouts.”
“No problem,” Harold said. “Just send each of us with a wizard.”
Jefferson studied his pairings. “Randy, why don’t you go with Harold and Sylvia you can pair up with Bruce.”
Sylvia glanced at Bruce. “Okay with me.”
So they’d all be on the same page, Jefferson explained a simple incantation that would cause a loud noise, much like a firework aerial bomb, to be sounded in the air and then he showed them another that would generate a shower of sparks high in the sky so the others would know where to go. He had the kids try each incantation once to be sure they knew how and then sent everyone on their way. Jefferson had Christine go with him as he and she were the only ones left with no obvious partnership.
Everyone had been searching for at least a half hour before an aerial bomb went off followed immediately by the shower of sparks directing everyone to where Aaron and Marion had discovered Yolanda’s lifeless body.
It only took a few minutes for everyone else to arrive. Jefferson immediately knelt over Yolanda’s inert body. Her throat was ripped from one side to the other with large pieces of flesh missing. Several other parts of her body had also been savaged. He picked up her body, cradling it in his lap. Her body was so cold it was obvious she’d been dead for hours. He pulled her to his chest, mindless of the now, mostly, dried blood. He looked up at no one in particular. “Oh God. What could have done this?”
Harold leaned over her body. “I’ve seen something like this before. I think it was a bear, probably a grizzly.”
With tears streaming down Jefferson’s face, he glared at Harold. “Are you nuts? There aren’t any bears here. This is an island. Even if a bear did live on the island, it would be in hibernation this time of year. Besides,” he sadly shook his head and said more softly, “Yolanda was a talented wizard. She could’ve defended herself against a bear.”
Marion glanced around the area for the fourth or fifth time since she and Aaron had discovered the body. “Aaron and I’ve been looking, but her wand doesn’t seem to be here.” She turned to Christine. “She wouldn’t have come out here without her wand, would she?”
Christine’s eyes grew wide as she shook her head. “Absolutely not. Yolanda was very careful. Even here where she knew almost every rock and tree on this island.”
“Then where do you think—”
“Here it is,” Sylvia said from a short distance.
Aaron’s eyes welled up and he looked at his father with drooping eyelids. “Do you think it could’ve been Boragon or one of his followers?”
Jefferson shrugged slightly without looking up.
Aaron glanced to where Sylvia still held the wand. “Whoever it was could have used the Ejectemous incantation to knock her wand away and, if so, she’d have been defenseless. I’ve heard Boragon can change into any animal of his choosing, including a dangerous animal like a bear, a lion or a tiger. I’d image he could’ve taught the spell to his followers so they could do it. I’m sure he wasn’t pleased by Yolanda thwarting his attack plan when we arrived on the island.”
Jefferson glanced up with tears streaming down his face. “That’s a possible scenario. We know Boragon doesn’t take defeat well.”
“That’s for sure,” Harriet looked away as if the act would help her forget what she feared would forever be a part of her. She spoke her mind anyway. “He took terrible retribution on the wizards who failed in the attack on the academy. He also used the Kaldimos curse on a friend of my family, who I called Aunt Jen, when she failed to force me to kill Tom.”
Sylvia came back to the group. “I heard about the burning of the wizards, but I didn’t know about the Kaldimos curse. So how did she try to get you to kill Tom?”
Harriet explained how Jen cast the Sulinorus Death curse on a knife she presented to Harriet in a box as if it were a gift. She spoke of how the moment she touched the knife she’d been overtaken by the irresistible urge to stab Tom and how Marion, Dr. Morris, the academy’s doctor, and Dr. Marshant, the academy’s director, prevented her from doing so. “I found out that Boragon was waiting for her when she went home and he used the Kaldimos curse on her.”
Jefferson suddenly came back to the present. “I’m sorry to hear about all of that, but what am I to do about poor Yolanda?” He hugged her body to him again before he stood with her in his arms. “I need to get her… back.” He choked out the last words and began walking in the direction of the house.
Everyone followed in silence. Though they wanted to say some comforting words, nothing they thought of seemed quite appropriate so they all kept silent.
When they reached the house, Jefferson took Yolanda’s body to her room and laid her gently on the bed. Christine and Bruce followed Jefferson into her room while everyone else had other places to go.
“Do you want me to call the coroner?” Bruce asked.
Jefferson tenderly stroked her cheek. He glanced up. “I guess you’d better. Send the helicopter to bring him here.”
“Yes, sir,” Bruce left the room.
Jefferson peered up at Christine and wiped several tears away with the back of his hand. “We were going to get married. I’d already asked her.”
“I know,” Christine said. “She told me. She was the happiest I’d seen her in years.”
“Now what am I going to do? I loved her so much.”
“She loved you too. I could see it in her eyes every time you looked at each other.”
Aaron came through the door. “Dad, breakfast is ready.”
Jefferson glanced up and then back at Yolanda’s body. He shook his head. “Thanks for telling me, but I’ll pass. I can’t eat anything.”
Aaron gazed at his father and then at Yolanda’s lifeless body. “I understand. Do you need me to take care of anything for you?”
Jefferson slowly shook his head, tears welling in his eyes again. “I don’t know what it would be.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “We were going to be married.”
Aaron showed no surprise. He walked to the bed putting his arm around his father’s shoulder. “I had a hunch that’s what you were getting at this morning. I’m so sorry. I hadn’t known her long, but I liked her and I’m sure you would’ve been happy with her.”
Jefferson slowly nodded. “She’d have made a wonderful wife.” He leaned down, kissing her cold forehead. He looked at Christine. “Can you stay with her? I think I need some air. This is just too hard.”
“Of course I can. Take as much time as you need.”
About two hours later the helicopter arrived with the coroner from a neighboring island. Jefferson met Dr. Carl Draburn at the helicopter and took him to Yolanda’s room. Bruce had accompanied the pilot in the helicopter, describing the condition of Yolanda’s body to the doctor during the flight.
The coroner examined the body for only a few minutes before he turned to Jefferson. “I agree with the preliminary assessment. I definitely think she was attacked by a bear, though, like you, I really don’t understand how this could’ve happened. Bears aren’t indigenous to these islands. Besides, it’s the wrong time of year.”
Jefferson told him what Aaron had said about Boragon and the transformations of which he was capable.
The doctor’s eyes grew wide and his brows furrowed. “But Yolanda was a wizard of the Third Order of Magic. How could a transformed wizard do this to her? Surely she couldn’t have been taken completely by surprise. From what I understand, an attacking bear is hardly quiet.”
“Unless I miss my guess, the wizard who attacked her wasn’t an ordinary wizard. We think Boragon or someone he sent did this or possibly more than one wizard attacked her. Boragon certainly wouldn’t have sent anyone he didn’t feel capable of carrying out his orders. We also think she was disarmed by an Ejectemous incantation before the attack, which also lends credibility to the idea of multiple attackers. If so, she would’ve been defenseless. I’d be surprised if Boragon hadn’t sent more than one wizard to do this. You’ve heard of Boragon, haven’t you?”
“I have, Yolanda and I discussed him several times. She mentioned you’re in hiding from him. I never quite got the whole story though.”
Jefferson walked to a chair against the wall and sat down heavily. “It’s complicated, but here goes. I don’t know what you know about Leonardo da Vinci, but he was a wizard.”
Draburn sat on the bed away from Yolanda’s body. “I learned that at the academy. And I must say, I wasn’t at all surprised.”
“I wasn’t surprised when I learned about Leonardo in my stint at the academy either. So you accept he was a wizard, but what you may not know is Leonardo died when he was sixty-seven and one of the things he is purported to have had in his possession is what was called the Suit of Leviathan. The Suit was supposedly made from the hide of a legendary sea creature and was supposed to be impervious to attack by any weapon including magic. The suit also imparted a sense of well-being to the wearer and was supposed to prolong one’s life. No one really knows if even the smallest part of this legend is true. However, Boragon must believe it because he’s gotten the idea that I know where the Suit is. I don’t, of course, but he doesn’t believe that. He captured me once and tried to force me to tell him what I don’t know. Fortunately, I was able to escape that time. Then, a few years ago I was hurt in a fall climbing in the Alps and Yolanda operated on my brain and took care of me afterwards. That gave me the idea of playing dead so I could hide from Boragon because I knew he was still after me. I thought he might kidnap my son to force me to go to him which, of course, I would’ve done.”
Draburn’s eyebrows raised in question. “Do you think the Suit actually exists?”
Jefferson shrugged. “I really have no idea, but I hope it does. I’m going to try to find the suit and use it as bait to bring Boragon to me. I’m going to get rid of that black-hearted beast once and for all.”
Draburn turned back to his duty. “I guess the best I can do at this point is wish you luck although I don’t know how lucky it’ll be if you do end up going up against Boragon. However, now I’d better get Yolanda’s body back to the morgue to confirm the cause and determine time of death. Can you or one of the servants bring me a stretcher? I know Yolanda had several of them stored somewhere.”
Jefferson heading for the door before glancing back at Yolanda’s body. “I’ll check with Bruce. He’ll know where they are and I’ll have him help you with her body.”
“Thanks. I’d appreciate that. I’ll wait here.”
When the authorities arrived from the same island where Dr. Draburn lived, they were informed three of the black-hearts had escaped. Marion and the others who helped her feed the black-hearts had discovered the missing wizards. It was decided Boragon or one of his followers mustve released the wizards and they were probably the ones who’d killed Yolanda. When someone mentioned that they’d taken their wands and crystals when they tied the wizards up on the beach, it was pointed out that it would’ve been easy enough for Boragon or whoever he sent to bring crystals and wands for the wizards. The fact that the crystals wouldn’t have been their own and might not have matched up with their energy signal as much as their own had probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference as three wizards would still have been able to generate enough wand power to overwhelm any wizard, including a third-level Order wizard like Yolanda.
Fortunately, Sylvia had brought a camera to take pictures of Don and his girlfriend Harriet, so she’d taken pictures of all the wizards and withouts after they were tied up. Therefore, they had a record of the wizards who’d been let loose. Randy copied the pictures from the camera to Yolanda’s computer and then copied the pictures to a disc which he gave to the authorities. They said they’d do what they could to track down the escapees.
Two days later Jefferson heard from Dr. Draburn confirming the cause of death and informing him that Yolanda had died at approximately 12:30 a.m. He said her death was quick so she didn’t suffer. That last bit of information gave Jefferson some small comfort. Draburn also told him there’d be a coroner’s inquest on Friday, but he didn’t have to attend if he chose not to as there wasn’t any question as to the cause of Yolanda’s death.
On Thursday of that same week Jefferson was contacted by Yolanda’s lawyers informing him he was in her will. The reading would be the following Tuesday with the funeral the next day. The funeral had already been arranged by her attorneys as part of the duties she’d assigned them. They told him they expected him to be at the reading of the will and he should bring all the staff as they were all mentioned in her will as well. He told them he’d be there as would everyone else.
On Monday everyone joined Jefferson on Yolanda’s yacht and they all sailed to the nearby island where the reading of the will would take place. Jefferson put them up at the best hotel on the island.
When they were all settled in one of the lawyer’s offices, the lawyer came in, introduced himself as Phillip Francis, and began with, “I don’t know what you know of Miss Grembal's financial position, but she was quite well off. Not only did she own the yacht on which you arrived and the island from which you came, she also owned property on Corsica and a couple of other places and had stocks and bonds that had been valued at slightly over twelve million dollars before we sold the few needed to cover the bequests listed here.” He waved her will and then set it back on the desk. “Therefore, she was, I believe, generous in her bequests to all of you.” He looked at the captain of the yacht and his crew, resplendent in their uniforms. “You are Captain Frederick Nablur, are you not?”
Nablur waved at the five men beside him. “I am, and these gentlemen are my crew.”
“To you Captain, Yolanda left one hundred thousand dollars and to each of your crew she left twenty-five thousand dollars.”
“That’s…that’s,” Nablur stuttered.
“That’s quite all right, Captain. She obviously valued your services.”
Next he looked at Bruce and Harold who were sitting together. “You are Bruce Nichols, the butler, and Harold Simmons, the gardener?”
“We are,” Bruce said
“To each of you she left fifty thousand dollars.”
Bruce gasped, but Harold merely smiled. “Bless her heart,” he said.
He cast his glance at Christine and Betsey. “I will now read the actual passages in the will.” He paused only slightly. “To Christine, my superb wine steward and valued friend, I leave the sum of two hundred thousand dollars.”
Christine wrapped her arms around herself as if she was cold, let out a deep breath, and wiped a tear from her cheek.
“For Betsey my loyal cook to whom no request was too big or small or too late at night or early in the morning, I leave the sum of two hundred thousand dollars.”
Betsey shook her head. “Unbelievable,” was all she said.
Phillip read on, “To each of the rest of my house staff, including Tomas Givers, my helicopter pilot, as well as the staff at the house in Falls Glenn,” Falls Glenn was her house on the island of Corsica, “and the staff at my other two properties in New York and Switzerland, I leave the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars each.” There were several gasps and several people let out the deep breaths they’d been holding.
Phillip looked up at Jefferson. “She recently changed her will so everything else goes to you. I read on. To my friend and, I hope, soon to be husband, Jefferson Franks, I leave the remainder of my estate to include all stocks and bonds beyond what will need to be sold to cover my previous bequeaths. I also leave Jefferson my island and everything thereon, my yacht, and my properties in Falls Glenn, New York, and Switzerland. All of which he may do with as he pleases.”
“It’s signed Yolanda Grembal and witnessed by myself and my partner in this firm Richard Pasterim. Miss Grembal also gave us her power of attorney to sell whatever stocks we needed in order to cover her bequests. We have done this. Therefore, you may all see Misty, our receptionist, to receive your checks which have already been prepared.” Before anyone moved he looked back at Jefferson, and added, “I will, however, need you, Mr. Franks, to remain behind as we have other arrangements to make.”
Jefferson and all those who’d accompanied him on his trip sat still as everyone else filed from the room. “I assume you have some papers for me to sign,” Jefferson said.
“I do, but we need to discuss something first. As stated in the will, you are free to do with the portions of Yolanda’s bequest as you choose, but I thought you might like to know two different parties who live in Miami had been in touch with Yolanda expressing interest in buying her island. Of course, you can keep the island to live there or visit when you wish, but there’s interest in the island in case you wish to dispose of it.”
Jefferson looked at his hands as he silently intertwined his fingers. “I don’t think I could stand living there, or even visiting, considering what happened. Therefore, I’d appreciate it if you’d arrange for the sale. Not that it really matters but has either party made an offer?”
Phillip picked up a piece of paper briefly glancing at it although he already knew what it said. “Actually, they both have. The best offer has been for ten million, five hundred thousand. I think, however, both of them will increase their offers once they find out you’re willing to sell.”
“Okay. I’ll leave it up to you to get the best price you can. Next, can you give me the name of Yolanda’s stock broker?”
Phillip turned back to Jefferson. “Of course. All that information is in the papers you’ll be signing.”
“Well, why don’t we get all this over with then.”
Phillip picked up a small pile of papers and leaned over his desk so he could point out things on the paperwork. “Certainly all right with me.” He explained each page as Jefferson signed them.
An hour later Jefferson and his entourage were seated in the office of Herbert Janson, Yolanda’s stock broker. “As of one hour ago, Yolanda’s, excuse me, your portfolio had a total valuation of eleven million, two hundred five thousand dollars after the sales necessary to fulfill Yolanda’s other bequeaths.”
Jefferson glanced at Aaron and then back at Herbert. “I want you to sell one hundred-thousand dollars’ worth of whatever stocks you think will probably have the most downside over the next few months.” He took a small slip of paper out of his pocket, handing it to Herbert. “I want fifty-thousand to be deposited into each of the accounts listed here. One is my account and the other is my brother-in-law’s account.” He turned to Randy. “Randy, I want you to keep forty-thousand for yourself as thanks for looking out for Aaron for the past six years and the other ten-thousand I want you to deposit in Aaron’s checking account.” He glanced at Aaron. “You do have a checking account, don’t you?”
Aaron nodded. “I do. Randy started it for me several years ago. But why the ten thousand dollars? Randy has always taken good care of me.”
Jefferson smile briefly. “I know he has. Consider it your college fund. You were planning on going to college I presume.”
“He is definitely going to college if I have anything to say about it,” Randy said.
Aaron looked over at Marion. “Not to worry. I’ve already been researching Northern Wizard University. Marion and I began talking about college one afternoon so I simply thought I’d start checking into what was available. Considering the trouble we’ve had with Boragon, I’ve been contemplating majoring in Protection Against Evil Magic.”
Jefferson furrowed his brows and narrowed his eyes. “Are you sure that’s what you want to do? I’ve heard the life of a Protector is not an easy one.”
Aaron shook his head. “I haven’t decided anything. I still have a long time before such a decision will be necessary. Besides, even after I start, I can always change my major.”
“True enough,” Jefferson said. “But back to business.” He turned to Herbert. “Are we clear on what you’re to do?”
Herbert glanced down at his notes. “We are. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“There is. Yolanda owned an island near here which she left to me. I’m going to sell it and want you to put the majority of the proceeds into my portfolio. Pasterim and Francis will deposit some of the money into my account and send the rest to you. I’ll also most likely sell the properties Yolanda owned in New York and Switzerland and make arrangements to have any monies to be invested sent to you.”
“I’m sure we can handle it. Do you have any idea what type of securities you want to invest the money in?”
“None at all. I’ll leave it entirely up to your discretion. I presume you know what you’re doing when it comes to that.”
Phillip smiled in spite of himself. “I do. My clients generally don’t complain as I take pretty good care of them.” He glanced at a piece of paper on the right side of his desk. “Yolanda’s portfolio, and now yours, has gained approximately thirty percent over each the last three years.”
Jefferson stood. “If you can continue to do that well for me, we should have a long and fruitful relationship.”
Phillip stood, reaching his hand over the desk. “I’ll continue to do what I can. It’s been a pleasure to meet all of you, though I wish it could’ve been under other circumstances.”
“I’m sure we all wish that,” Christine said.
When they got back to the hotel, an eagle was resting on a perch inside the lobby. “Mr. Franks.” The receptionist said as Jefferson walked past the eagle.
“You have an eaglegram, sir.”
Jefferson turned to the eagle and glanced at the parchment it carried. Sure enough, it was addressed to him. “Who’s it from?”
“I wouldn’t know, sir. The only thing we do here is check to see who the eaglegram is for and then contact that party. We do not disturb the parchment as its message is none of our concern. Since you were not here when the eaglegram came, the eagle has been patiently waiting for you.”
Jefferson took the parchment off the eagle’s leg and unrolled it. He turned to Aaron and the others who waited behind him. “It’s from the Wizard Historical Society about the tomb you discovered. They say they’ve found some interesting information in the tomb and want me to come back to tell them what I want them to do about it.”
“What could that possibly be?” Aaron asked. Aaron and his friends had discovered the tomb when they visited his father in Falls Glenn on Corsica before they went to Yolanda’s island. Jefferson contacted the Wizard Historical Society so they could explore the tomb.
“It could be anything. The researchers are only allowed to delve into things they’ve been tasked to do. If anything further arises from any discoveries they make, they have to get permission to explore farther. For example, whatever they found in the tomb, as long as it refers to something in the tomb, they can do whatever they need to do, but if what they found leads them beyond the tomb, they cannot explore that without getting my okay.”
“So,” Marion said, “what are you going to tell them?”
“I guess that’ll depend on what Aaron and possibly the rest of you want to do. I’d like to know what they found, but if you kids would rather go back to the academy, I’ll tell them to go ahead with their next step.”
Aaron rolled his eyes to the ceiling and rubbed his chin as if he were an aged sage. “As we have another week before we have to be back at the academy, I’d love to go back to Falls Glenn to see what they found.”
“Sounds good,” Jefferson said glancing at all their faces. “How about the rest of you? Are you up for another plane ride to Corsica?”
Almost as one they said, “I am.”
“Okay then. It’s decided. We’ll all go back to Falls Glenn.” He glanced at the clock on the wall.” However, since it’s rather late in the day, we won’t leave until in the morning. But we’ll go back to the island tonight so everyone can get packed. I’ll call the captain of the yacht while you all pack what you brought with you here. Let’s go.”
When Jefferson called the captain, he also told the captain to have the cook on the yacht prepare an evening meal so they could eat on their way back to the island.
They landed in Rome about six the next day. From there, they took two helicopters to Corsica where they were greeted by Armend and Annaleese, Yolanda’s, and now Jefferson’s, two without servants. From there they took jeeps deep into the mountains to the village of Falls Glenn.
They were almost as amazed as the first time they came. Every house they could see had a waterfall cascading over the front of the house. All the creeks created by the housefalls merged into one large rush of water cascading over a cliff near the last house on the edge of town. It was a truly spectacular sight.
When they got out of the jeeps Jefferson asked Armend the location of the historical society researchers.
Armend glanced in the direction where Aaron knew he and the others had discovered the tomb. “They’ve been returning to the tomb area every day since they’ve been here.”
“They must’ve found more than we did,” Paddy said.
Armend nodded. As I understand it, the stone coffin in the tomb wasn’t a coffin at all but an opening to an underground vault and that’s what they’ve been exploring.”
“If that’s the case,” Marion said, “I wonder what else they found that needed your attention.”
Jefferson smiled at her. “I guess we’ll just have to go find out now, won’t we?”
Marion smiled too. “I guess we will.”
Jefferson crooked his head in the direction of the tomb and set off with everyone close behind.