Chapter XXII: Ostara Investigations (6/11)Mature

'It's about the kidnappings,' he explained. 'You see, Tayna and I've been looking into it, trying to find anything that might help.'

'And have you?' Hellshaw dropped the files onto the coffee table besides the stained glass lamp and looked at Will inquisitively.

'Yeah - yes, we know why they were kidnapped, we found the link.'

The professor's eyes widened with astonishment, 'please, do tell.'

'They're all academic, we think that whoever kidnapped them wants to build up forces, we think they want to fight somebody, and they need magi to do it.'

'I see...' Hellshaw hemmed thoughtfully and sat on the edge of the chair opposite him. 'I wonder, do you have any idea who it might be?'

'We - we had a hunch, and we think we're right.' Hellshaw motioned for him to continue, Will felt himself tensing, he'd never spoken about his family's tragedy so openly before. But he plucked up the courage, remembering that he need not have secrets amongst friends. 'There's this symbol called the Evil Eye,' Will explained, Hellshaw's reaction showed he knew the lore, but he made no reply. 'I've known it since I was young because - because - the people that bear the Eye were the same people that killed my family. I thought - I had this gut feeling that they were involved,' though he wanted to be honest with those around him, he wasn't willing to tell anybody but Tayna about his dream - that was their secret. 'Then, when we went through articles of all the kidnap victims, we found this.'

He pulled a random article from his satchel and ushered Hellshaw to the lamp on the desk. He held it against the glow, distinctly showing the Evil Eye. Will closed his eyes as he estimated the few seconds the professor would need to process the evidence.

'Well, I'll be,' Hellshaw said breathlessly, Will took it as a sign to open his eyes and put the article back in his bag. 'You're true investigators, aren't you? I wonder, could I take the articles to bring to the principal tonight? This is an astonishing development, we couldn't have done it without you.' Will nodded, taking the wad of papers and handing them to him. 'We'd better both be going, I don't want to be late. Rest assured, nobody will know you were in here. You should get some rest, the term begins anew tomorrow, after all.'

'Yes, sir.' This time, he thought that he would leave without interruption, but yet again, Hellshaw called him back. 'Was there something else?'

'I hope you don't mind me saying this, it's just that I never got to personally express my sympathies,'

'Sympathies, sir?'

'About your brother and sister. I knew them only by reputation, but they sounded like lovely children.'

'They still are, sir. They're alive, we're going to find them,' Will said acerbically, unable to hide his bitterness. He would always hate the subject of his brother and sister on the off-chance the past tense was used, as if everybody had already given up hope, whereas for him, seeing their faces and keeping it fresh in his mind only made him more determined.

'Oh - of course,' he stammered embarrassedly, 'I didn't mean it like that, Will, I just -,'

Will sighed. 'It's okay, sir, I'm sorry. I'm on edge. I'll feel better the closer we are to finding them. I should go.'

'Will, one more thing.' Will stood in the doorway, quietly grunting in frustration, 'have you told anybody else of this investigation and what you've found?'

'No, sir,' he replied, 'apart from Tayna, she discovered it with me, but nobody else.'

'Good, we wouldn't want to panic anybody, would we? Off you go, I'll file this paperwork and then tell Paradam immediately.'

'Are you his manager, sir?'

'No, of course not,' Hellshaw said indignantly, 'I'm just doing a helpful deed. Off you go.' His mood has suddenly shifted to annoyance, Will took it as a final sign to leave the office and retire to the commonroom.

The End

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