Max: Hello, uh... officer? Shelton: Not quite. I guess you were expecting the uniformed guys to come pick up your "guest." Max: Well, yes. I mean... Who...? Shelton: Sorry, maybe I should introduce myself. But first I need to confirm I'm talking to the right person. You're Miss Maxima? Max: Yes, but just call me Max. Everyone does. Shelton: Will do. As for me, Shelton's the name and national security's my game. Max: National security...? Why...? Who is the guy? Shelton: Sorry, need to know basis. Let's just say you did us a great favor by capturing him.
Max: You're doing us a favor by picking him up. We weren't quite sure what to do with him. And he's been complaining very loudly. We'll be happy to get him out of our hands. - Do you want to see him right away or...? Shelton: That can wait. First I'd like to speak with everybody who was here at the time. Max: Rupert and Tagus are the ones who know most about what happened as they're the ones who spotted him. Let's go and see Rupert first. Shelton: What's that at the door...? Max: Don't worry, it's just Hugo. He's keeping an eye on things. Shelton: I'd say that's all he can do. Who...? Max: My former assistant. There was an unfortunate accident at the workshop some time ago. Shelton: Oh.
Max: Rupert is not a long-term resident. He's here just for a couple of months to do some research and help me get great-grandfather's books sorted. Shelton: Yes, Maximilian. I've heard of him. He was a great sorcerer. You're not quite on his level yet, I take it? Max: No, not quite. Don't know if I ever will be. He was... exceptional. Shelton: That's a good word for it, I think. - Look, before we talk to the others... I'd like you to not mention who I really am. I told you, because I know high-level wizards are good at keeping secrets, and also because I expect this won't be the last time we meet. Just tell the others I'm a detective, that's close enough. Max: Probably a good idea. Rupert wouldn't get too excited, but the apprentices... Well, they're very young and nothing much happens here normally.
Max: Rupert, this is detective Shelton. He came to pick up our "guest." He'd like a word. Rupert: I'll assist you any way I can, detective. Although, there isn't really much to it. Shelton: Just tell me what happened. Rupert: Tagus and I were on the roof at night to set up the telescope. We saw some movement outside the compound... I mean, movement that wasn't any of the regular night crawlers. We pointed the telescope to the target and realized he was trying to get into the compound. I sent Tagus to inform Max and stayed on the roof myself to keep an eye on the intruder. Max and Tagus caught him as he was climbing to the backyard. Max: We waited until we could be sure he really was an intruder. I mean, I don't want any legal trouble, and as long as he was outside the walls... Anyway, we caught him and escorted him to the special guest quarters where he has been waiting for your arrival ever since.
Shelton: Who else was here at the time? Max: Janine, the housekeeper, and Cyrill and Fenimore, the apprentices. There is also Nikki, but she isn't here at the moment and wasn't here when this happened. I think the guys and Janine were fast asleep at the other end of the compound at the time and only heard about it in the morning. However, if you want to talk to them, we can go to the kitchen next, it's right behind the corner. Janine and Cyrill should be there. It's Cyrill's turn in the kitchen duty today. Shelton: I bet he didn't anticipate that when he wanted to become an apprentice. Max: Probably not, but learning cooking and cleaning is part of the basic training. And it's much easier than his life in the orphanage before coming here. Shelton: So he's an orphan? Max: Yes, but make no mistake, I didn't take him here for charity. He's very promising, quick to learn, and most importantly, he wants to learn.
Max: I know you were both sleeping, but the detective still wants to have a word with you. Cyrill: I don't know anything! Tagus told me about it in the morning. I had no idea it would be that easy for an intruder to get in. Although, I wonder what he thought he could get from here. It's not like the stuff you use for magic is somehow special in itself. I mean, you need to know what to do with it and if I have been informed correctly, most of those people wouldn't know magic even if it bit them in the a... umm... I mean... they are not very familiar with magic or how to use it. Shelton: Yes, that is the general impression. It will be interesting to hear some sort of an explanation from himself.
Janine: I'm sorry, I cannot really be of any help. I went to bed early and did not hear or see anything. Nikki and I have rooms at the other end of the compound, so I'm not sure I could have noticed anything even if I had been awake. Shelton: Nikki? Janine: She's my granddaughter. She came here with me when I got the job, but she's got her own job as a ranger, so she's away a lot of the time. She doesn't know about any of this as she hasn't been at home for a couple of weeks. Shelton: Ah, thank you. I think that will be all from you two. Max, who's next?
Max: Tagus is in his laboratory with Fenimore. They probably didn't even notice your arrival. Tagus is so focused on his work, and Fenimore wants to learn everything at once. Shelton: Is Tagus also your apprentice? Max: No, but he used to be. He's a very low level wizard now. He came back to get more experience, so it will be easier for him to land a decent job. At the moment, gaining experience means teaching the basics to the apprentices. Leaves me more time for my own stuff. Shelton: Very convenient. So, who's Fenimore? In addition to being an apprentice, I mean. Max: A failed pirate. Shelton: What?! Max: You heard right. He was really into it, but never totally got over seasickness, so... Shelton: Well, at least he won't need to worry about seasickness here.
Tagus: Did you speak with Rupert already? We spotted the guy while we were on the roof testing the telescope. Rupert sent me to tell Max, and then Max and I went to wait for the guy to come over the wall. I mean, you need to wait until you can be sure it's an intruder. Shelton: Very wise. Did he try to fight back when you caught him? Tagus: No, he didn't. There were two of us, but I really think Max's staff was the main reason he froze. He looked terrified. I've heard stories about what their own mages are like, so I guess it's no wonder he reacted that way.
Shelton: So, Fenimore, do you have anything to add to the story? Fenimore: I was asleep. The one time something exciting happens here, I miss it, because I'm not interested in stargazing. I mean, it's not like I couldn't have stayed awake that late, I just don't see what the fuss is with the stars. They're just specs of light in the sky, too far away to have anything to do with us, except provide a little light, and not even that much compared to the moon. Max: Fenimore... Fenimore: Sorry. No, I don't have anything to add. As I said, I slept through it all. Shelton: Thank you. - I wouldn't be so dismissive of the stars, if I were you, young man. Didn't you learn anything about finding your way at the sea? Fenimore: The captain was all nuts about the stars too, but that was his business. I mean, it wasn't for the likes of me to say what's the right direction. Shelton: I guess that's one way of looking at it. - Max, I think we can now go and talk with your guest.
Max: Watch out for your head in the tunnels, the ceiling is really low. Shelton: Tunnels? Max: You'll see. Shelton: Where are we going? - You know, this is highly unusual. Max: It's not like we're in the habit of locking people up, the room just happened to suit the purpose perfectly as we couldn't have someone watching him at all times. I didn't build any of these tunnels. I inherited this place from my great-grandfather and I found the tunnels as I was building an extension. Shelton: Any idea why he built these? Max: No, and I'm not sure I even want to know. I admit I was very relieved to only find dust and cobwebs when I first entered the room. Shelton: I'm sure that was a relief. I mean, from what I heard, even considering his age, he died very unexpectedly and if there had been somebody... Max: Like I said, I don't even want to think about it.
El-Auuk: You're a detective? Great! Tell these people to let me out of here! They have no right... Shelton: From what I've heard they were well within their rights to capture you. I mean, you did break in to the compound, didn't you? El-Auuk: Well... err... I guess I did. Shelton: Care to tell me why? El-Auuk: I guess there's no point in trying to lie. I was paid to come here to get something. Shelton: And what would that be? El-Auuk: Just some cube. Max: What cube? El-Auuk: ... Max: Should I go fetch my staff? El-Auuk: No, no, no need for that! It's just some old cube that lets you go places. Max: A tesseract. I should have guessed. Shelton: We can talk about that later.
El-Auuk: What's going to happen now? Shelton: You're coming with me and I expect there's another cell waiting for you somewhere. El-Auuk: I didn't even do anything! They got me as soon as I climbed over the wall. Shelton: Breaking in is breaking in, even if you don't get the chance to steal anything. El-Auuk: Okay! Fine! Anything to get away from these crazy people. Max: We have treated you very well. I mean, if you don't count being locked up, which you totally deserved. El-Auuk: I'm starving here! Max: You have been given plenty of food. It's not our fault, if you refuse to eat it. El-Auuk: That? You call that food? Max: Janine is a good cook. Nobody else has ever complained about her. It's not her fault that she can't cook the muck you call food. Shelton: Enough of that. Max, would you open the door and I'll take it from there. Max: My pleasure.
Later: Max: The detective has left, taking our "guest" with him. So, we can get back to the normal schedule. - Do I need to tell you to keep quiet about all of this? I know you're all intrigued about the cell, but I don't know much more about it than you do. It's there and given that when great-grandfather bought this place there were no buildings, he must have been the one to build it. - Rupert, have you found anything in the books? Rupert: Nothing. I've got Maximilian's diaries here and there's nothing about building it in them, and I haven't found anything even remotely resembling blueprints. I'd say you need to find someone who knew him and was here at the time when he was building this place, and even then... Max: Even then, would he have told about it or shown it to anyone? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'd say he was doing something he didn't want anyone to know about.
Cyrill: Do you think that's all? I mean, if there's a hidden dungeon... Max: Good point. However, I have excavated under and around the main buildings so much that I would have come across it, if there was anything else hidden. Janine: Are you going to keep it? You could just block the tunnels again. Tagus: No way! It's useful to have a safe place for locking up any uninvited guests. You never know who else may get the idea of paying us a visit unannounced. Rupert: I don't think the risk of that is too high, but I do agree. It may be useful and there's really no harm in having it. If nothing else, it's more storage space. Cyrill: I don't care as long as I don't need to go there again. The place gives me the creeps. Max: We'll leave it as it is. It won't be exactly out of bounds, but I'd appreciate it if everybody stayed out of there.
After the others have left: Rupert: Are you going to tell me who that guy really was? Max: El-Auuk? As far as I know, that was his real name. Rupert: I'm not talking about him and you know it. That detective. Who was he really? Max: Rupert... Rupert: I've been around too many shady characters, I guess, but if that guy was a detective, I'm the prime minister. Max: Let's just say he had the authority necessary to take charge of the criminal. I cannot say anything more about that. Rupert: I thought so. - So, did we catch a spy? Max: Sigh... Rupert: All right, all right, I'll leave it alone. - Good idea calling him a detective. Fenimore would have burst from his seams... Max: You are incorrigible. But you're also right, this place is a bit too uneventful for Fenimore.
Rupert: Did you find out what the guy was looking for? This time I mean the intruder. Max: I'm not sure if I should tell you. Rupert: Come on! I'm not going to tell anyone, if that's what you're worrying. Max: Okay. - A tesseract. Rupert: Wait a second, isn't that the thing...? Max: Express ticket to hidden places nobody in their right minds would want to go, if it can be avoided. Rupert: Why would someone like him want to steal something like that? Max: He got paid. I suspect it's those cult weirdos who were really after it.
Rupert: How bad would it be, if they got their hands on one? Max: I don't know. It wouldn't be a problem for me, because I could always make a new one, but I'm not sure how much damage one of those could do in wrong hands. Rupert: Make one? I had no idea you know how to make them. Max: A very short time ago I didn't know, but there is one book of great-grandfather's that is not here in the library anymore for security reasons. Rupert: Just one? I haven't come across nearly as many books about serious magic as I expected. Max: I may have removed more than one. Rupert: Does our new friend know that you know how to make a tesseract? Max: It is possible that I forgot to mention it when we talked about the issue before he left.