George and The Magic Library - Chapter 4
‘We need you to get some Leprechaun gold George,’ Molly stated, as a matter of fact.
George sat there open mouthed.
‘Some what?’ he replied.
‘Leprechaun gold – that’s why you have the Myths and Legends survival guide,’ said Molly.
‘But why? Do you think we’ll need some kind of ransom for my parents?’
George was now finding it hard to take all this in.
‘No,’ said Molly, shaking her head. ‘Let me explain. When you go back to see the Captain and Lady Jane they won’t know who you are, right’
‘Yes, you explained that, but where does the Leprechaun gold come into it?’
‘I was coming to that,’ Molly protested.
‘Oh, sorry,’ said George.
‘Well, the first owner of Arrington hall, the man who had the house built and hid the scroll, realised the potential of the library, in being able to come back in time and visit past ancestors, like him for instance.’
‘Okay.’ George wasn’t convinced.
Molly rolled her eyes into the back of her head.
‘He also realised the importance of the three scrolls and that one day it was bound to happen, but he couldn’t risk just anybody hearing about it and then turning up and claiming to be a long lost relative or a future one for that matter. He figured he would have to come up with a secret code or something so they could be sure who it was.’
‘So when I go back into their history,’ he said, hurriedly, ‘they will know who I am and help me if I give them some of the Leprechaun gold.’
‘Yes, by George, he’s got it, if you’ll pardon the expression.’ She exclaimed. ‘A simple piece of normal gold was not enough. He had to make it something rare and very hard to get hold of.’
‘I don’t like the sound of that,’ George said, nervously.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Molly, ‘the survival guide you have there was compiled by the same man, after extensive research. It’s the only one to have ever been published. Your parents must have taken it from the library to hide it in your trunk.’
‘But wouldn’t you have noticed them doing this?’ George asked.
‘Look, just because I’m a member of the undead, it doesn’t mean I don’t like to have a rest or a snooze now and again,’ She protested. ‘ It can get boring in here sometimes, especially when no-one visits for years on end, and as for that lot, well, they never stop sleeping – and snoring, loudly,’ she added, with consternation, glancing at the old paintings on the wall, with the ink figures fidgeting restlessly within their frames..
‘It all sounds a bit long winded,’ George moaned, ‘Couldn’t he have just invented a secret handshake or something?’
‘No, that would have been too easily tortured out of someone. This way was safer.’
‘Can I ask you a question?’ he said. ‘If it’s so hard to do, why isn’t Uncle Felix doing it, instead of me?’
Molly could see the point George was making, but she also understood what his Uncle’s reasoning might have been.
‘Maybe your Uncle thought it was time for you to know about the family’s legacy,’ she suggested, ‘or that you had come of age, what with everything that’s happened recently in your life.’
Molly hesitated for a moment, and then decided that George needed to know the full story.
‘Also,’ she said, ‘your uncle hasn’t been in the library since before you were born.’
George was taken aback. His Uncle had been only too eager to point him in the direction of the library that morning. What could have possibly happened to make him not want to go back in? George shrugged his shoulders. Maybe instead of explaining everything to him, and have George believe he was a mad old fool, his Uncle had reckoned it would be better for him to discover the library for himself.
‘So why won’t he come back in here then?’ George said.
‘Well,’ Molly hesitated, ’it’s because of something that happened in a book he was visiting.
She sat, or rather hovered, into the chair opposite George and bowed her head.
‘He fell in love,’ she murmured.
‘Really,’ George shouted, smiling. ‘Good for him – but I don’t understand, why is that such a bad thing?’
‘Because it could never last, it was doomed from the start,’ Molly cried. 'The story cannot continue beyond a certain point and characters cannot be taken out of the books, only the odd prop that is not central to the main storyline, like some of the things you see in this house, or the silver keys for example.’
‘Oh,’ George said, simply.
It was obvious from the forlorn look on everyone’s faces, and of Molly’s especially, that this had been a very upsetting time when it had happened, all those years ago. His Uncle had obviously been much loved and was now severely missed.
‘So….what happened,’ he stammered, ‘I mean what book did it happen in?’
Molly looked up, her ghostly eyes red around the edges.
‘Have you heard of a book called 1001 Arabian nights,’ she said.
’Well, basically, the story is based around the tale of a princess who is due to be executed the following day by her husband the King, but each night she tells him a story, leaving it at a crucial moment to be continued the following evening.
‘Eager to know how the story continues he gives her a stay of execution, so that he can find out what happened next. Well she managed to continue this for 1001 nights.’
George listened intently, while Molly continued.
‘Well, your Uncle Felix went into the book and fell in love with the princess. Believing that her time was running out and that she really would be executed he came up with a daring plan to rescue her. But, it all went wrong I’m afraid…he headed back to the portal hand in hand with the princess, chased by axe wielding guards. Except the only problem was’, Molly sobbed, ‘is that upon reaching this side he was on his own, she couldn’t come through. It was only a fictional book so it also meant he couldn’t go back into it either.’
‘Blimey, he must’ve been devastated,’ George said.
‘Yes he was. You see even though she was only a made up character George,’ Molly added, ’to him it was all very real. He swore never to come back into the library, and since that day, he never has.’
George stood, staring at the closed up doorway, in anticipation. The patterned paper on the wall started to come together and swirl around into a whirlpool of colours, like a dancing rainbow. It was as if the library knew what George’s intentions were. The colours then began to stretch out into the distance and it was almost as if he could see what was on the other side, but rippled, like looking into a pool of water, gently wafted by the wind. He felt every nerve ending in his body jangling within him, and on the tips of his fingers, as he gripped the Myths and Legends book tightly in his right hand. He had never felt so nervous in all of his life. He had also never felt so alive.
‘So you know what to do,’ Molly repeated.
‘Yes, Molly,’ he shouted back, ‘you’ve told me enough times and I’ve got the book as well if I need to check anything.’
He took several deep breaths and counted to three in his head before declaring;
‘Okay, here goes,’ he yelled.
He ran as hard and fast as he could across the room and, with a loud whumph, disappeared into the portal.