Baskergrand The Nautilus

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Nautilus

The Baskergrands were turning in for the night after dinner when Garth was saying his good-byes.

''I shall be coming around tomorrow again. Your mother is inviting me around for lunch,'' Garth said to Percival, both of them standing in the hallway. Victoria, Alfred and Algernon had already gone up to bed.

''Then I shall see you tomorrow at midday. Good-bye, Garth,'' Percival said as he shook his best friend's hand.

''Good-bye, Percy,'' Garth returned with a smile, then turned around and left. Percival looked apprehensive once Garth had left, wondering how he might get to Tuckerby Bay without being noticed.

'Some of the servants are surely to catch me if I leave from the pantry,' Percival surmised. He sighed as he turned to go back to the drawing room, but stopped abruptly when he thought of an idea.

'The drawing room! Yes, I will use the underground tunnel that leads to the stables,' Percival thought, a smile developing across his face. He continued towards the room when Parsons stopped him.

''Not going to bed yet, Master Percival?'' Parsons questioned him from behind. Percival turned around slowly.

''Ah...no, not just yet. I want to have a little time to myself before I go up. I won't need anything, though. You can go to bed, Parsons,'' Percival responded.

''Very well, sir. Good night,'' Parsons said before he bowed to Percival and left him.

'I must go now, before it gets too late,' Percival thought, while he walked briskly to the drawing room. He had put on his riding boots, and he found his coat hanging on a chair in the drawing room, since he had been there earlier with Garth. He put it on, then quickly went to the door to check that there was no one about. He then closed the door quietly and proceeded to the back of the drawing room. It was covered with a large, floor-to-ceiling book shelf, and Percival looked at the middle shelf in particular, searching for a specific book.

''Ah, there you are! William Shakespeare!'' Percival spoke to himself as he took hold of Shakespeare's play The Tempest, then reinserted it back on the shelf. When he had done this, the colossal shelf began to retract from the left, and pull away from the wall, revealing a spiral staircase that led downstairs. Percival took hold of an oil lantern that was nearby on a table, and proceeded to go downstairs. He waited for a while as the bookshelf went back to its original position, to ensure no one had heard him. Once the shelf was shut, he continued down the steps and into a dark tunnel that branched off into three directions.

'To the left are the stables,' Percival thought, journeying down the first tunnel. It took him a few minutes before he knew he was nearly there, as he heard the neighing of horses getting closer and closer. The tunnel ended when Percival came across three steps and a wooden door. He went up the steps towards the door and opened it slowly, making sure the creaking of it wasn't going to alarm the horses. When he entered the stables, he came face to face with Columbus, Valerie's horse.

''Hello, Columbus. Where is Mozart?'' Percival whispered to the horse. The horse neighed and snorted at Percival. Percival smiled and used the lamp to see more clearly into the stables.

''Ah, Mozart!'' he quietly exclaimed as soon as he spotted his horse. Percival went to the right and opened the gate to Mozart's pen. He set the lamp on a hook on the post of the pen, then gently and discreetly mounted his horse. He then took the lantern again, and silently ushered his horse out of the stable.

''Right Mozart, we're going back to Tuckerby Bay. You remember where that is, old boy?'' Percival whispered into the ear of his horse. His horse neighed, then set off towards the direction of Tuckerby Bay.

* * *

When Percival arrived at Tuckerby Bay, he manoeuvred his horse to trot slowly towards the alcove. He held up the lantern with his left hand while he sought for it, squinting his eyes due to the little light he had, before he stopped his horse suddenly.

''Right here, Mozart,'' he said to his horse before he swiftly dismounted and walked closer to the alcove. He knelt down at the mouth of it, set his lantern next to him and dug through the sand until he came across a hard object. He rapidly unearthed more of it, and pulled the rest of it up to the surface. Percival fell backwards before he laid eyes on what he had discovered.

''...Nautilus...,'' he whispered to himself, his eyes arrested by the sight of a dirty-white man-sized suit, with a helmet covered by a black visor. He scrambled to it to give it a closer inspection, shining his lantern on the suit. He began to stroke the suit, running his fingers on the cold metal chest where the word 'Nautilus' was written. He scoffed in delight when he touched the right shoulder, but his face changed to concern the instant that he saw something suspicious on the right arm. He looked closer at a particular blemish around the elbow, and speculated what it could be.

''...Blood?'' he guessed, seeing the red patch become brighter in the light. Percival marvelled on where it could have come from, and whether someone was still occupying the suit.

'Well...it is quite heavy,' Percival deduced. He swallowed hard, bringing the lantern nearer upon the darkened visor. He peered inside, but was greeted with the sight of an empty helmet. He sighed in relief, then looked around the bay.

''Where did you come from?'' Percival asked aloud to the suit. He stared at it, eager to uncover more about this mysterious suit.


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