Every Friday I will be publishing a portion of my fan fiction sequel to The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box. This is by no means endorsed by either the author of the novels nor the creators of the films. This is just a requested sequel as I picture it. Enjoy.
The bleak morning sun was what woke Mariah, scattering across his eyes and casting light upon the devestation that was his father’s office. He sat up with a groan, having elected to sleep in his father’s office should the vandals return. It hardly seemed necessary though, given the amount of damage done. If the sole purpose was to destroy any semblance of order, this goal had been achieved.
Papers of every kind lay upon the floor, no doubt from the drawers that looked as if they had been rather shoddily yanked from the exquisite desk. The glass doors of the cupboards had been smashed in, the books and papers within removed. Mariah had dared not take a step for fear of treading on the volume strewn floor; instead he had gotten on his knees to clear a path to the ravaged desk. Artifacts littered the Oriental rug in various placed, ripped as unceremoniously from their places as the books that had bordered them. Even the chair in the corner, the chair his mother would sit on when she joined her father in study, was torn to shreds.
It was a destruction of the most grievous kind. Most of what had been damaged could never be replaced; what was not damaged was simply non-existent.
A heavy weight rolled around in Mariah’s chest as he rose from the desk chair, legs still swaying underneath him from a poor night’s sleep. He could hardly look around the office without wincing.
“Good morning, sir,” a voice drawled from the doorway.
He looked up to see the butler standing in the doorway, looking as freshly pressed as ever.
“Shall I prepare breakfast?”
Mariah turned to look at where his brother lay asleep on their mother’s chair, cheek pressed drowsily against the arched back.
“Thank you, I shall ring when we are ready,” he said.
The butler was gone the moment he was dismissed, leaving Mariah to pick up his brother as best as he could to return him to a proper bed for a few hours more. In the meantime, Mariah would do his best to clean the office. If only he could figure out why such a wreck had occurred, perhaps he might better protect their home from such an invasion again.
His brother barely stirred in his arms as he set him down in a bed before slowly sliding the door shut. The second landing was utterly silent, except for the faint rustle of fabric against the window. A nippy breeze was flowing quietly through the half-open window, smelling distinctly of coal. Mariah paused to draw the curtains back just enough so he could peer at the corner.
There was not a cab in sight.
The weight in Mariah’s chest dropped to his stomach. What had become of the dying bureau agent? Was he really as doomed as he’d seemed or had he perhaps gotten away? Whatever the case, he was obviously not able to sit across the street in a cab to watch them. As uncomfortable as the constant presence of watching eyes had been, Mariah found himself missing it now that he knew whom the eyes had belonged to.
He walked down the stairs, listening to the slow creak of weight pressing on each step, hearing the faint whistle of a kettle from the kitchen, smelling a mild scent of toast and molasses. There was a keen wariness to him that increased the more adventure the Mundis stumbled across, or so it seemed. If only his parents were here, or even Will. He missed having a figure who could be keen for him and who could step in when he no longer wanted to lead.
But that sort of figure had been a long time wanting.
He came to the office door, still so absorbed in his thoughts that he almost tripped over Sacha, who was bent over picking up books and sweeping up glass.
He came to a rather clumsy standstill, his leather shoes scuffing against the carpet as she yelped.
“What are you doing?” He asked, lowering himself to his knees.
She continued to briskly sweep the glass into the black dustpan, rather determinedly not looking at him.
“I’m not against earning my keep and besides, someone had to clean this mess up,” she said. She was still not looking at him.
He stared at her.
He couldn’t even fathom what she meant by the words, “earn my keep”. Not because he didn’t understand work – six months at the Prince Regent Hotel as a porter proved that – but because he’d thought it clear a year ago when he had opened his home to her that she was a guest.
“Sacha, what are you talking about?”
She finally looked up at him, her gold-flecked eyes unreadable. He reached out to touch her shoulder, but she stood, moving on to clean another corner of the room just as the butler appeared once more in the doorway of the room.
“I thought you would like to know that there is a letter for you, sir,” the elderly man said.
Mariah nodded and uttered a polite thanks, seeing the disapproving way the man’s eyes flicked to the girl cleaning in the opposite corner of the room before he left.
He rounded the corner of the desk, watching as she continued to work in a smooth rhythym, ignorant of what anyone else chose to do. It seemed that the Prince Regent maid was still not gone in her. Sensing his presence, she spoke.
“Look at this,” she said, drawing back the curtain to peer at the darkly stained cupboard against the wall. “They destroyed nearly everything, but this…”
It was intact.
He looked at the cupboard with curiosity. Mariah hadn’t noticed before, but there was something rather odd about how careful the intruders seemed to be with this one piece of furniture. At the very least, it wasn’t completely turned to wood for a fire. Reaching into his pocket, he removed a key that was no longer useful, not with one door barely hanging on by its hinges anyway. He pushed aside the door, jumping back as it fell and the glass shattered. Sacha had already stood, but she looked back down at the new mess that would have to be swept into her dustpan before looking at Mariah. Giving her an apologetic shrug, he reached inside. The cupboard was one of significance to his parents and to him, because as long as he could remember, it had never been opened, not even once.
The one rare time when he had seen its doors doors unlocked was a year ago, when Mariah and Felix had returned to their home. It was only then that he had dared look inside. What he had found was a collection of items, all of them relating to the Bureau. There was a set of twin badges, no doubt those belonging to his parents, and a motley assortment of items that were no doubt also significant to the secret work that they had carried out for years under their children’s noses. It was as he was sifting through the sacred kanopic jars, the shimmering beetle shells from South America, and the jade playing pieces that he realized with a certain dread why this cupboard above all others had been kept intact, or at least more so than the ones that preceded it.
He even had the reason still tucked into his coat pocket. Reaching deep into the folds of his jacket, he felt for the stiff curve before pulling. Sacha’s eyes widened seeing the golden scepter in his hand, but she did not speak. There was nothing to be said.
It was clear that this was the prize the intruders had come searching for.
Mariah’s eyes were locked onto the falcon figurehead before he tucked it back into his pocket. There was clearly some significance to this scepter, more than Will had told them at any rate.
“They didn’t get it the first time,” Sacha said in a low voice. “What makes you think they won’t come back again?”
They exchanged a long look.
Both had the same thought, Mariah could tell from the pinched look that came onto Sacha’s face. The intruders would return and they would not be so forgiving the second time. If this office were to be any indication, the bodily damage done would be that beyond all recovery.
She shivered, shaking herself enough that she seemed to come to her senses.
“Well, if we’re going to die in our sleep, I might as well die knowing this place is clean.” Her voice was strained.
Mariah did not say anything, save to remove the dustpan from where she had it.
“Let me,” he told her. “You go wake Felix.”
She stared at him a good long while, but did not speak as she turned to go. He stopped her one last time with a touch of the arm.
“Don’t tell Felix.”