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.
As the four of them – Mariah, Sacha, Felix, and Professor Baty -ate breakfast in the white dining room they talked. Professor Baty’s badge with the sphinx jutting out lay casually to the side as he slathered a piece of toast with jam before brushing his ponytail aside. He was one of the last people Mariah might have expected to be a secret agent for the government.
Then again by this point, Mariah had already begun to wonder how many of his parents’ acquaintences were really Bureau agents.
Baty was the professor of ancient history at Oxford, a position his parents might have one day had occupied until their timely disappearance. Still, despite the fact that he got to keep his job only due to the fact that his parents were not around did nothing to put a damper on their relationship. Baty had been a presence too long in Mariah’s life for him to not trust the man or even welcome his input into such an adventure. After all, he suspected that Baty, whom he now knew to be an agent, had done far more than his fair share of work for his parents, looking back on his childood years.
“Well of course, there’s me, then Hemley, but I don’t think your parents mind you knowing about him. After all, you were bound to find out eventually,” mused the professor when asked. “And then there’s Jackson, but he’s from the American division. Thinks he’s something like royalty just because his grandfather was president. And then there’s Rookwood…”
Professor Baty paused, turning back to look at the three sitting around the table. “I do hope I’m not boring you.”
His captive audience shook their collective heads, causing a wide smile to steal over the gentleman’s face. He went on to explain as he ate rather vigorously, moving animatedly as he went about this task with the greatest vigor. Despite his eating, nothing seemed to stop him from talking and explaining as he continued to do so.
He went on to explain that the Bureau had been created by the British government at the beginning of the 19th century, to combat their losses of several colonies and properties. The Bureau had then skyrocketed to new heights when the then young Queen Victoria had sanctioned the Bureau and even placed it under her protection so long as they continued to report directly to her.
Felix goggled for a few moments, strawberry gelatin wobbling on his fork as it hovered before his mouth.
“You mean to say that Mama and Papa met the queen?”
“As did yours truly, though I’ll spare you the story.”
Felix, of course, wanted to hear the whole thing.
They continued to eat, all the while under the watchful eye of the big man, whose name was apparently Neil, according to their host. Mariah still didn’t feel comfortable in his presence, but at least he had Baty’s reassurance that the man was trustworthy.
Breakfast continued on as it had been, steaming along at a full pace until suddenly, there came a knock at the door. Neil disappeared while the others continued to chat obliviously, though Mariah noticed. He heard the front door open and close before the big man returned, this time with an envelope tucked into his breast pocket.
“…And that’s how your mother and father met the chancellor of India!” The professor said.
Sacha and Felix laughed uproariously on either side of the table, though Mariah’s attention was far more focused on his breakfast.
It was only when they retired to the parlor shortly after everyone had finished supping that Mariah had a chance to speak to the professor. It was Will’s letter that he first queried about. The smile that stretched across Professor Baty’s face was rather wide as he loped off to his office only to return with a note rather similar to the one that Mariah and Felix had received.
Sort of, anyway.
Friends coming to Ledbury. If anyone asks for me at inn, escort guests to your estate. They’ll give you what you need.
“Cryptic, isn’t he?” The professor shrugged. “If I could make out what he wanted from me, I could do it.”
Felix looked at Mariah, who was acutely feeling the presence of the staff in his pocket.
His brother must have sensed he had it too, because he started to nod. From across on the other settee, Sacha shook her head just slightly. Felix nodded more vehemently, but there was something about the wary look on her face that made Mariah hesitate. Still, he trusted his brother’s instincts and he’d known Baty for a long time.
He withdrew the staff.
The professor’s reaction could be described in one word: awe. Excitement followed soon after as he hurried quickly to the study and returned with a magnifying glass and a leather pouch of tools.
“This is a rare find,” he said as he rolled up his sleeves and motioned for Neil to bring him a tray. “The Bureau had this buried years and years ago. Can’t imagine why anyone would touch it again.”
Mariah eyed the staff. “What do you mean? Why would the Bureau dig up an object only to bury it once more?”
When Neil returned with a long tray, Baty got to work. The staff was set rather carefully on the scales he also had Neil draw from his study, weighed carefully against a set of smooth black stones. Then the staff was weighed on the other side against white rocks. When this was finished, Baty took measurements and notes down, looking extraordinarily like the part of him that Mariah had always known, Professor Horatio Baty, teacher of Ancient History and expert in archaeological sciences.
He continued on, weighing and measuring again every time he took notes. He dusted the staff down with a white powder before blowing it off and examing all the cracks and curves of the figurehead. He poked and prodded and even scratched at the gold stripes with a carefully pointed tool. It was all rather dull to be fair, but Mariah watched with some sense of trepidation. After all, if Will had sent them here, surely to have such a thorough examination performed, there had to be a reason didn’t there?
Perhaps this staff spread disease beyond all imagining or turned things to silver instead of gold. Whatever it was, he was sure this staff was something of great power and mysterious omen.
So it came as something of a surprise to him when Professor Baty turned to him and handed the staff back with an apologetic shrug.
“It’s a fake.”
Felix sat up from where he’d been munching on biscuits and across from them, Sacha’s gaze flew to the staff that now rested in Mariah’s hands.
“What?” The young man gaped.
Professor Baty grimaced sadly. “Just a well-made knockoff. But see, here, it’s missing the ceremonial stripes that woould run parallel to the gold.”
“But”- Felix’s head swiveled as he looked from his brother to the professor -“where’s the real one?”
Professor Baty quirked a slight smile that was tinged with irony. “I suspect that the only person who can answer that question is Will Charity.”