Episode 15: The imposter
How did Descole find terrorising the museum, 'petrifying' people and…playing host to his hostages? Written in Descole's POV :) :) :) (Note: This episode is also quite long) (Another one for you, Liv!)
"At last! I have finished my little project!"
The scientist grinned evilly triumphantly from ear to ear, taking a couple of paces back to admire his work. This had to be the most realistic thing he had created in his entire life, other than his perfect disguises and masks. Descole rubbed his hands together proudly as he stared at his creation; it had only taken him a week, since he'd been working down here from dusk till dawn, but in his opinion it was perfect-exactly what he needed for his purposes. His latest invention was large robot, although it was nothing compared to the scale of his other robots that he'd made several years ago, like the Detragon, Detra-Giant and the 'spectre'. This one was slightly taller than a human, with a special skin that covered it, clothing it in a variety of green shades. The texture was slimy and in some areas it felt quite sharp too. Nails protruded out of its large, clawed hands, under which a special glove was smeared in an unknown chemical, which the man had discovered several weeks ago. Its eyes blazed like beacons (which was understandable due to the light bulbs Descole had inserted into it) and slimy robot snakes that resembled the real thing in every way slithered over its head, making up for its lack of hair.
"Amazing…truly amazing…" Descole stammered, mesmerised by the work of his artistic hand and his intelligence.
He pressed several buttons on the remote in his hand simultaneously, causing the robot to person a variety of movements: opening its eyes, hissing wildly and walking towards the wall opposite him. Descole chuckled and picked up a strange device lying behind him on the table.
"Watch out, Hopkins! If you refuse me the artefact then your museum shall pay!"
Evil laughter filled the room, followed by several hissing noises from the device he held in his hand. Descole peered at his watch, sighing in agitation.
"I suppose that I'd better see to my guest...but I shan't need him much longer…"
With a swish of his lab coat, he waltzed out of the laboratory and closed the door, remembering to insert the puzzle lock on the door in case anyone came snooping where they shouldn't do. There was a precaution to keep intruders at bay- an incorrect puzzle resulted in an electric shock.
"That will send them off in a hurry!" he said grimly as he quickly pulled on his flesh mask and climbed out.
He scrambled out of the passageway, slamming down the trap door and retreating in the opposite direction before anyone could see. The museum was pretty empty at the moment, apart from a few staff members and a couple of random visitors.
"This place is popular?" he muttered as he ran down the corridors, "It shouldn't be too long before I—"
"OW!" shrieked a loud voice, "Watch where you're going next—Oh! It's you, Brundan!"
Descole quickly leapt to his feet as the woman forced herself up.
'Oh great!' he thought as he caught a glimpse of who he'd crashed into, 'She's so annoying and…I want to puke on the spot whenever she talks like that! Think! What would that soft hearted fool do?'
"I…I'm terribly sorry, Marley!" he said quickly as he sprinted away, "I have to get somewhere urgently…Have a nice day!"
Marie rubbed her head, barely catching the glimpse of him running in the opposite direction. His behaviour puzzled her.
"It's Marie!" she called after him, "Brundan is acting so strangely at the moment…Hmm…"
She couldn't think of any explanation at present and it wasn't her job to worry. Simply shrugging her shoulders, she turned on her heel and returned to her work desk.
'Boys will be boys' she thought to herself as she slumped down in her seat and shook her head.
"Sorry to keep you waiting!" Descole smirked as he unlocked the storeroom door to find the old fool exactly where he'd left him.
The man simply looked up at him, swallowing hard as he blinked rapidly. Descole grinned evilly, gracefully approaching him before he removed the ropes binding the man's wrists and threw them aside. He immediately rubbed his wrists and looked up at his captor. Descole laughed and thrust a sandwich at him. His hostage shakily removed the wrapper, eyeing it carefully as if it contained some poisonous substance.
"Eat, Brundan," Descole purred, pulling out a chair and sitting down on it, "It isn't good to starve."
Brundan continued examining it but failed to find anything suspicious about it. Sighing, he took several small bites out of it, chewing slowly as he savoured the flavour. It wasn't the most appetising meal in the world but it was better than nothing and at least it was edible. He hadn't expected anything at all- he had gotten used to the feeling after spending five days cooped up in the same small room. The scientist observed the man as he devoured his meal, supressing a cruel grin.
"Th…thanks," Brundan said weakly as he wiped his mouth with his sleeve, "Is…is anyone suspicious yet?"
Descole responded with a smirk as he reapplied the ropes around Brundan's wrists, causing him to yelp in pain.
"Unfortunately for you, no one has noticed yet," he answered as he walked towards the door, before waving a finger threateningly at Brundan, "Oh and if you dare attempt what you attempted a few days ago, well…I don't really need to continue…"
Brundan gulped and nodded obediently. That wasn't pretty; He had tried to call for help and he'd never seen Descole so angry in his life before. He even thought that he was going to kill him.
"Y…yes," he said quietly as Descole locked the door, leaving the light on this time, which comforted the man mightily.
"What a soft hearted fool," Descole muttered to himself as the lock clicked, "No resistance whatsoever. On the plus side, it is good for him, I suppose...as long as he keeps quiet and stays where he is…no harm will come to him…"
Descole applied his new lock to the door leading to the store-room, before he made his way down the stairs, smiling with satisfaction. This was going better than he'd planned. Perhaps, in a few days' time, he could get what he wanted and leave the pitiful place alone…and this time there was no one to stop him…
"Brundan Marsden!" panted a high pitched voice as a tall man came running towards him, sweat dripping from his brow.
Descole scowled and spun on his heel, replacing his frown of agitation with a bland smile.
"Yes, Matthew?" he asked politely, wanting to vomit at how sweet he sounded.
Matthew licked his lips, hesitant for a few moments before he finally mustered up enough courage to spill the news.
"M…my unc—I…err…mean Mr Hopkins, would like to see you in his office straight away!" he exclaimed as Descole scowled once again.
'This can't be good…' he thought to himself as he tried to keep a straight face.
"Of course! I shall go immediately," he answered as he instantly headed for the man's office, cursing repeatedly under his breath and expecting the worst from his 'boss'…
"WHAT?!" he roared as scarlet flooded his cheeks.
"YOU HEARD WHAT I SAID, BRUNDAN MARSDEN!" Mr Hopkins yelled back, gritting his teeth in anger, "YOU'RE FIRED! IT SEEMS CLEAR TO ME AND SEVERAL OF THE OTHER STAFF MEMBERS THAT YOU ARE PLOTTING SOMETHING-AND IT IS TO DO WITH THAT!"
He pointed to the stone head locked safely in the cabinet-the thing Descole was after. He growled in frustration and glared daggers at the old man.
"YOU WERE ASKING MANY QUESTIONS YESTERDAY-THE MAJORITY OF WHICH WERE SUSPICIOUS AND ONES THAT NOT EVEN I WOULD DARE TO ASK! ALSO, IN YOUR STUDY, I FOUND PAPERS ALL ABOUT THE ARTEFACT COVERING YOUR DESK AND INFORMATION ABOUT WHERE THE HEAD IS KEPT AND WHEN IT IS GUARDED AND BY WHOM! IF THAT ISN'T SUSPICIOUS THEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS!"
'Curse you!' Descole thought to himself; how could he have been so careless to leave his work in full eye view? He may as well have mounted it on a plaque amongst the other museum exhibits.
"YOU'VE BEEN SNOOPING THROUGH MY OFFICE?!"
"I WAS SNOOPING THROUGH WHAT WAS YOUR OFFICE, BRUNDAN! IF I CAN'T TRUST YOU TO HELP ME, THEN I CAN'T TRUST YOU TO EVER SET FOOT IN THIS MUSEUM AGAIN!"
"YOU OLD GIT!" Descole snarled as Mr Hopkins shoved him towards the door, "YOU EVIL, SELFISH—"
Mr Hopkins roared over Descole's non-gentlemanly words as he flung the door aside, oblivious to the squeal coming from behind it. Descole continued swearing as the group outside stood gawping at him. A mother shoved her hands over her son's ears whilst the others just stood glued to the spot. The high pitched voice sounded again as Descole spun on his heel, snarling as he caught sight of its owner. She was a typical lady, tall, beautiful and dressed in a pink dress and bows that made Descole want to throw up. He was too angry and the last thing he felt like doing was apologising.
"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING OUTSIDE THAT DOOR?!" he bellowed loudly, "GET OUTTA MY WAY,GIRLY!"
The girl's face scrunched up at his words and the others just glared at him. A tall man wearing a top hat looked as if he was seething-he as obviously related to her. Descole averted his gaze and stormed away as Mr Hopkins flew after him, his face red with rage.
"GET OUT OF THIS MUSEUM NOW! NEVER COME BACK! STOP ABUSING THE VISITORS OR I SWEAR I SHALL CALL SECURITY! YOU'RE FIRED! THAT HEAD IS THE PROPERTY OF THE MUSEUM AND YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE IT! NOW LEAVE AT ONCE!"
Descole snarled and flexed his arms.
"I'll get my revenge on you, Mr Hopkins! Then you'll be sorry!" he screeched, his throat being too dry to shout every repulsive word in the Universe to him.
He stomped into the reception area and flung the exit door open as it closed with a slam.
Descole gritted his teeth and growled, his breathing becoming irregular and his face glowing.
"HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?!" he roared, finding his voice again, "NOW I'VE LOST MY JOB AND IF I EVER GO BACK IN THERE, THE SECURITY WILL BE ALERTED—"
He paused instantly, another thought running through his mind. Descole scrunched up his face and growled even louder. That group outside? Why did the top hatted bloke seem so…familiar?
"Layton," he muttered flatly, clenching his fists, "Great! That's the last thing I need! Mr 'I'm-the-greatest-Professor-in–the-Universe' coming to investigate! Who could've summoned him?"
He got the answer in an instant.
"Of course. Typical Triton brat to the rescue again. Why didn't I think of that sooner?!"
At first he'd been eager to lure Layton to America-he'd even attempted to kidnap Luke to use as bait, but the task proved more difficult than it looked and he'd even required an injury from it, so it was no surprise that he gave up on that plan. Instead, all he had focused on at the present time was getting the head…but with Layton here, that was even harder.
"He even brought that feisty assistant of his and the brat's parents. As for that 'lady' that looked like a doll…Layton seemed quite protective of her…Is he adopting ladies now?! That other boy was Clive. Maybe I could manipulate him…I know about his past…but he's obviously changed…"
He threw back his head and shrieked loudly to no one in particular.
"Layton…You just keep coming back! You won't ruin my plans this time; you foiled my scheme for the spectre, over powered my Detra-Giant and saw through my disguise when trying to locate the Azran…I'LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!"
Suddenly, all thought of getting the head vanished and was replaced with a craving for revenge against the man he despised the most. His mind flashed back to his secret weapon that he'd been keeping in his secret laboratory and he grinned nastily.
"I still have my weapon," he said to himself softly as he began pacing, "I think that the time has come to use it...One look at the thing should terrify that old fool and the rest of the staff…and what I want shall be rightfully mine…and what better way to avenge Layton than by taking the people dearest to him?"
He paused as he mulled over the thought-this was perfect. It hit two birds with one stone: revenge and gain…that was what Jean Descole fought for. He cackled loudly and crept around the building.
"Of course, I have a lot of preparations to make in such little time," he muttered to himself as he forced the door open.
He ran through the list of things in his head that were vital to prepare: Set the lights when that stupid technician had his back turned so that they turned off at the exact moment he desired. Get the robot Gorgon ready and in position for when the lights went out. Get the first people in sight to make Hopkins believe that the myth was true. Make sure no vital clues were left behind so that Layton didn't suspect him before he'd even started. Make a mental note of who to 'petrify', so that Layton extremely suffered: Triton? Definitely, if he could manage it, but it wouldn't be easy. Triton stuck to his beloved 'Professah' like glue and luring him away from Layton would prove difficult. Layton loved his 'apprentice' dearly and would probably never forgive himself if he let any harm come to 'his boy' (Descole wanted to vomit whenever he heard Layton say that line). Who next-the tall woman in the lemon suit and karate skills that could knock the backside of a concrete elephant? Well, as much as Descole hated to admit it, he stood as much chance of 'petrifying' her as he did of making a marriage proposal to Layton. Triton's parents? Possibly-especially Mrs Triton. He had kidnapped her previously after all and she had proved an easy target. As for the doll girl? She didn't look like she could defend herself to save her life. Dove? If he found some use for him. Other than that, there was no one else he could think of who was particularly close to Layton.
The man cackled as he imagined the state Layton would be in by the end of the mystery-with his assistants 'petrified'-and of course some of the museum staff too, if they got too close. Mr Hopkins was still first on his list though.
"Watch out, Layton!" he whispered darkly as he slunk into the museum, "You are about to face your most 'Laytonesque' case yet!"
"Three, two, one…" Descole whispered under his breath as the lights above him flickered like dying embers and died out completely.
The whole museum was plunged into an abyss of darkness-perfect for his purposes. The lights were out, everyone was running around confused and he could finally make his move, his first step to bringing terror into the heart of the museum. He looked around him; his robot was in place, it was dark and no one anticipated his move…he was as deadly as a snake in the grass (although Descole himself hated snakes after a horrific encounter with one that given him a bite he'd never forget) The Animal Exhibit was the best place to start-it was almost deserted. Many of the visitors obviously found this exhibit the least interesting and Descole wasn't surprised, to be entirely honest. Being guided by the dim light of his torch, he shone it into around the exhibit. There were three people left: a young woman with a kind face, a small child crawling on the floor and a large brawny security guard, who currently had his gun trained on the darkest shadow in the room.
"Perfect…" Descole muttered with an evil grin as he flicked a button on the remote control so that the robot in front of him slowly advanced towards the group with its eyes firmly closed.
Upon hearing the movement the security guard spun on his heel, squinting into the darkness as the young woman pulled her child closer towards her. Descole hit a button so that a snarl erupted from its mouth as the mother backed away in fright, her child clinging to her heels.
"I'm warning you! Stay back or I will fire! STAY BACK I SAY! THAT'S AN ORDER!"
The security guard pointing his gun directly at the creature's heart, but it slowly continued advancing.
"I think not, foolisssh mortal…" Descole said into the device, which instantly changed his voice to that of a hissing snake.
The young lady gasped.
"It can't be!"
Resisting the temptation to let out an evil laugh, Descole pressed the desired button as the creature slowly began to open its eyes. The woman threw her hands in front of her face, waiting, terrified, for the petrification to take place. Without wasting another second whilst they were distracted by the light that signalled their deaths, Descole moved the robot towards them and made it press its hands on their bare skin. The man let out an agonised strangled scream as the woman let out an ear-splitting screech. The boy howled loudly as he felt his limbs harden and the woman simply stood frozen to the spot, her face carved into a final scream as a warning to all who crossed this creature's path.
An eerie silence filled the air and the darkness only made it more terrifying. Descole counted under his breath as she lights flickered back into life. Satisfied that it was safe, he crept out from his hiding place and admired the robot's work. They truly resembled stone statues in every way. Anyone who crossed this path would be terrified and fear of this strange creature would spread like a wildfire. Of course, Descole knew that the effect was only momentarily. They wouldn't die from it but his victims would suffer several side effects from it afterwards. He looked at his watch. At least one hour before they turned back. He'd have to quickly disguise himself again, wait for Layton to play detective and locate the statues and then get them to the store-room before they returned to normal. The scientist took one final look at the three stone figures, feeling the slightly guilty about whom he had claimed, but thought for vengeance drove that away instantly.
"This is just a starter, Layton…and the main course shall be…delicious…"
The door was almost wrenched off of its hinges as Descole stormed through it, cursing under his breath. He had been tantalisingly close to achieving his prize-and he had let it slip right out of his fingers. He'd locked the woman, boy and the security guard in with Brundan and the old pensioner he had just petrified. He had locked the doors to add to the staff members' fear that escape was impossible and he'd scared Layton out of his wits (seriously, the look on his face when Descole had hacked into the security system and had the Gorgon delivering its message of doom was priceless)! After Layton, Triton, Altava, Mr Triton and that random snake lover had ran to investigate the next 'petrification', Descole had snuck into Hopkins's office, where the stone head was currently being kept. Brenda, Clive, Hopkins and Matthew were in there, as well as that doll girl (whom Descole later learnt was called Flora). It appeared that they had made a plan to escape and had left a hidden message for the professor, but he had been unable to stop them escaping his clutches. Now they had the head in their possession and it would take an awful lot of effort to steal it from them. On the plus side however, he had 'petrified' Hopkins after he 'nobly' sacrificed his life to the Gorgon. His scrawny nephew tried to assist also, but he didn't even last a couple of seconds before he gave up and gazed into its eyes. The museum would be at such a loss without their beloved boss…
Descole shook his head gruffly and tried to focus on the matter in hand. He was determined not to lose sight of the two adults in front of him. It was time to take it up a level and the professor would soon be feeling the full impact of Descole's wrath. Layton had suggested that they split up: Mr and Mrs Triton together, Clive and the doll girl (Descole enjoyed calling her that) and Layton, Triton, Altava and the snake lover. His mind had been whirring for several moments as images of her face kept flashing in his mind. Why did that woman look so…familiar…could it be...
"No," Descole said flatly, "It can't be her. I'm overlooking things."
The two adults in front of him began talking in hushed whispers and straining their ears to catch something. Descole paused in his tracks, watching them intently. He had been following Triton's parents for several minutes now, but it seemed that they were not the people to follow. Brendafiddled with the lock for several moments before muttering something to Clark and scribbling in her book. Descole's eyes widened; they'd obviously realised that something important was behind that door and the last thing that he needed now was to make people suspicious. He watched as the two of them set off in opposite directions, before running through a variety of plans in his mind.
"He seemed to suspect something more than her," he mumbled quietly, "Time to set the lights and get the Gorgon awake, I think…"
His footsteps echoed as he strode through the corridor, constantly worrying about his wife and his son as he progressed further down. There had to be some explanation to these strange events…something was behind that door…something that could maybe serve as a vital clue to solving the mystery.
"I think I'll go back and check the door again before—"
The corridor was instantly plunged into darkness, freezing Clark to the spot. Hissing filled the air as the Gorgon slinked out of the darkness, its arms extended outwards. Mr Triton immediately brought his eyelids down as a mocking laughter sounded.
"That'sss what you think!" Descole hissed into the device as the Gorgon began to open its eyes, "The temptation isss too great. Give in to the power of the Gorgon and be ssspared of your sssuffering…"
"NEVER!" Clark yelled as he fought a valiant battle to keep his eyes closed, "LEAVE THIS MUSEUM ALONE!"
"Sssuch a pity about your sssweet wife and your ssson…how will they cope without their sssweet Triton?"
"DON'T SAY A WORD ABOUT THEM!" Clark yelled even louder, gritting his teeth as his will weakened.
"Nearly there…jussst a bit more…"
The Gorgon placed its hand on Clark's cheek as his eyes slowly opened. In that one second he knew all was lost.
"Please take care of them, Hershel," he whispered as a tear fell down his cheek, "I pray that you solve this mystery once and for all—"
The scream escaped from his mouth as the scientist watched the same process repeat itself.
"One down," he laughed evilly, "Oh, how I wonder how Triton will react when he sees—"
"Great, not her too," snarled Descole as he ran in the direction of the woman's terrified voice.
Brenda ran down the corridor swiftly, panting as she skidded to a halt at the end of it. A familiar hissing noise turned her heart to stone, but she quickly closed her eyes and shoved the Gorgon aside. Descole growled and glared after Brenda.
"I'll get her yet," he vowed as he hurried back down the corridor, "Let us first see how the gentleman reacts."
His previous question was answered; Luke flew down the corridor, with the professor, Altava and the snake lover close at his heels. The scientist hid himself in the corner, sneering as he watched the boy screaming at the foot of his father's statue, being slapped across the cheek by Altava to prove that he wasn't dreaming as he sobbed hysterically. Layton himself looked horror-struck and Descole could see the guilt and sadness imprinted on his face.
"This would easily make a theatrical show!" he sniggered as Brenda threw her arms around Luke and the two sobbed for several minutes, safe, for now, in each-others' arms.
The snake woman then spoke, suggesting that they make refugee in one of the offices until morning came. Descole watched them leave, still smiling cruelly.
"That's it, Layton," he said with a snigger, "Everything is going as is to plan…"
"HOW COULD THEY HAVE DISCOVERED IT?!" The scientist roared as he sprinted down the tunnel.
It appeared that Layton had somehow managed to find the secret passageway that he had been using-and judging by the footsteps that were clear and fresh in the ground, they had located the lab which he had been using. How could he have let that happen?! All of his hard work was about to come crashing down because Layton had been sticking his nose where it didn't belong-not if Jean Descole could help it. Luckily, he had left both of his robots (he had one real one and one prototype) in the laboratory, so he didn't have to bother about dragging them with him.
"NOW IT'S OFFICIAL!" he bellowed as he skidded to a halt outside of the door, "If Layton finds those clues then MY PLAN COMES CRASHING DOWN!"
The door creaked as he opened it, but thankfully the group was too busy mixing some chemicals together to notice his arrival. Descole slammed his head against his hand as he sprinted into one of the corners. How on EARTH had they discovered the recipe required to make the 'petrification chemical'?! Why were the light bulbs hanging out of their sockets in one of his Gorgon robots?
"He knows…" Descole whispered as he groped around for the switch, "I may have an advantage though…"
Layton's appearance had dramatically changed from a confident gentleman to an old weak professor-it was hardly surprising, since he presumed his daughter to be dead. Descole's eyes found the satchel across Clive's body and his eyes lit up.
"You won't escape this time, Dove!" he cackled quietly as he plunged the room into darkness.
There was a sudden commotion as the group groped around in the darkness and the robot Gorgon found the stirring figure of Clive. The boy instantly reacted and tried to pull away, but the robot had a strong hold on him as it hissed threats loudly into his ear. The lights suddenly flicked back on as Emmy stood with her hand firmly pressed against the light switch.
"Drat!" he hissed as Layton roused the others to run.
Descole snarled and pressed several buttons, so that the Gorgon took multiple swipes at Clive's satchel, which only succeeded in bathing the boy's arm in a pool of blood as its talon sunk deep into his arm. Clive screamed and the group looked on helplessly as the Gorgon aimed once more at the satchel.
"It's mine!" Descole whispered triumphantly.
"GET AWAY FROM HIM, YOU MONSTER!"
Descole peered, shocked, at his robot. It didn't break it, but a dent appeared in its body as the Triton brat used the distraction to pull Clive to safety. The man slammed his fist on several buttons simultaneously, so that the Gorgon caught Luke across the heel. The boy screamed in terror, trying to run back to the professor and the others as the robot dragged him into further trouble.
"You'll be with your father soon!" Descole laughed as he made the Gorgon open its eyes and made its hand move towards the boy's face.
"LUKE!" yelled Emmy as she leapt at the Gorgon.
A bright flash filled the room once again, but no scream followed. Descole brought his head up a fraction of an inch to see who he had petrified: it was the Altava woman. Layton, however, appeared emotionless. That was strange…
"He knows...for sure," Descole gulped.
His assistants were sobbing at her feet and shouting her name loudly. The professor helped his assistants out of the door, bowing his head as he bid farewell to the Altava woman. The snake lover was trying very hard to control herself and Descole's ears finally caught her name as Layton called after her-Lisa…
The man froze in his tracks, his face suddenly pale. The one name that made his heart ache. The one name that brought a tear to his eye and melted the ice in his heart. The one name that brought back dreadful agonising memories…
"She's not important!" Descole growled under his breath as the look on Layton's face flashed in front of his face.
It was the one he made whenever he had solved a puzzle…
Descole ran up to Emmy's statue and studied her face closely. This stone colour was much lighter than the previous statues and the statue appeared to be moving slightly, but being trapped in a stone chrysalis, it wasn't possible to move more than an inch.
"It's wearing off!" he snarled as he picked up the statue and made his way down the tunnel, "It won't be long before Layton solves the case though…"
"What's the matter? It's not like you to be acting all worried!" growled Arnold as he slammed his fists against the wall.
"Shut it," Descole snarled menacingly as he paced back and forth in the centre of the room.
Emmy was slumped against the wall, free from the 'petrification'. Her face was a ghastly pale and her wrists and ankles were bound in a similar fashion to the other members of the room. Flora was writhing against her bonds, trying to comfort Emmy and peering at Descole with frightened eyes. So this was the professor's arch enemy before Don Paolo! The way he was acting right now made Don Paolo look more like a sugar plum fairy.
"Why is the mean man angry, Mummy?" piped up the high pitched voice of the little boy from the corner of the room.
Descole spun on his heel, gritting his teeth at the boy as he retreated even further against the wall.
"Leave him alone! Please! Leave Billy alone!" begged his mother, gazing up at the man with pleading eyes.
"That will be for you to decide," the man reminded her coldly as she immediately closed her mouth.
"Oh, I know what's wrong with him," interrupted Clark in a mocking tone without the slightest trace of fear, "He only wears that look when he's scared of being found out! It seems Hershel has once again seen through your stupid disguise! Which is hardly surprising-considering he's seen through your disguise about a million times!"
"I SAID 'SHUT IT'!" roared Descole as he glared into the defiant eyes of Clark.
Seriously, this man seems more frustrating than Layton!
Descole could definitely see where the Triton brat had inherited his irritating loud voice from.
"Looks like 'Dessy' is finally losing his temper!"
"IF YOU'RE TRYING TO GET A SWORD AGAINST YOUR THROAT, TRITON, THEN YOU'RE CERTAINLY SUCCEEDING!"
Clark didn't react, not being the slightest bit terrified. If anything, he felt triumphant and he had difficulty hiding the smirk on his face at seeing Descole lose his temper. He sat up a little straighter, smiling mischievously.
"If he insists on keeping us all hostage, then I'm at least going to cause as much disruption for him as possible!" he muttered with a smirk under his breath.
Understandably, this did not make Descole feel any better.
"Leave Mr Triton alone!" Flora squealed when she saw Descole reach for his sword, "Please!"
"Yeah, it would only result in more jail time!" piped up Matthew, who was pleased that someone was finally standing up to this creep.
"Wouldn't want that at all!" added Brundan as he gritted his teeth.
"Where did you get your sword from, Mister?" asked Billy, his eyes lighting up.
"That is very dangerous, Billy. You could cut yourself-and Mommy doesn't want that at all!"
Descole wanted to bury his head in his hands. Being host was a lot harder than it looked.
"Why don't I just gag them all to shut them up?!" Descole muttered to himself.
This simple gesture brought on another chorus of voices.
"What sort of 'evil villain' talks to themselves?!" Clark laughed loudly as he tried to stamp his feet to show his approval.
"If I ever get out of this bind, I will rip your guts out!" Mr Warrington growled in a deep tone, flexing his muscles continuously as if expecting the ropes to immediately snap because of his strength.
"I'd love to see you try!" Descole sneered, "If you weren't 'tied up' at the moment!"
"When Professor Layton finds you," Mr Hopkins began in a tone that was meant to be threatening, "he'll make you pay…"
"Yeah! He certainly will!" chirruped Brundan and Matthew simultaneously.
"He will kick your backside, you monster!" joined in Flora, who for the first time in her life looked furious, "Watch out!"
Clark looked at Flora in surprise-she had never spoken like this.
"Flora, a lady shouldn't use words like that," he began with a light smile, "What Hershel think if he were to hear you?"
"He'd be proud that I'm standing up for myself!" Flora retorted.
"Who'd be proud?" Emmy mumbled, stirring slightly as her vision came into focus.
"So you've finally decided to join us, Altava."
It took only a second for Emmy to work out who had spoken.
"Not you again!" she moaned weakly, "I had enough of seeing your ugly mug three years ago!"
She quickly turned her head around, taking in her surroundings with shock.
"Huh?" she said in a hoarse voice, "Flora! Mr Triton! Mr Hopkins! You're all alive…"
"Last time we checked we were," said Brundan weakly as Descole tapped his foot impatiently.
"Brundan?" she asked curiously as the answer hit her, "Oh, of course. How couldn't I have guessed?! Descole was disguised as Brundan all along. What I want to know though, is where the hell are we?!"
"Store-room," explained Descole, "Recovering from the 'petrification', Altava? I must say, I was touched to tears when you 'nobly' sacrificed your life for that pathetic brat!"
Clark gave Emmy a grateful smile of thanks.
"I can barely feel my limbs," Emmy muttered as she wriggled around.
A rough material around her wrists made her finally acknowledge that she was bound, just like the others.
"Aw, great!" Emmy groaned under her breath, "How embarrassing!"
"Don't worry, Emmy, I'm used to it all the while," Flora answered as her eyelids dropped a little.
"'Number one assistants' don't allow themselves to be kidnapped by a crazy weirdo who has a serious wardrobe problem! Nyyah! If I can just-Nyyah!-get out of these-Nyyah!-things-NYYAH!"
She finally gave up, exhausted, as Descole sneered at her feeble efforts.
"I'll give you one positive comment, Descole," she said with a defiant glare, "You do know how to tie a good knot!"
"Years of practise," he said simply.
"Well it doesn't matter: The professor, Luke, Clive, Brenda and Lisa will expose you soon!"
The sound of her name again stabbed at Descole like a cruel knife. Emmy immediately held her tongue, concerned by the look of pain on Descole's face. Was it because he'd finally met his match?
"That's what you all think!" he argued back as he pulled out the control, "In fact, at Layton's revelation, the biggest petrification will happen before he can even point his finger. I still may stand a chance!"
"I seriously doubt it," Brundan replied, "I learnt from Flora here that already the professor suspects you-because of your change of attitude!"
"I can't believe I fell for his disguise!" Mr Hopkins exclaimed as he glanced apologetically at Brundan, "I'm very sorry I suspected you."
"Well…if you really are scared that the professor will identify you, why aren't you getting your backside out of here and to the place where the professor will 'reveal all'?!" asked Arnold bravely.
Clark nodded in agreement.
"Yes, you wouldn't want to keep Hershel waiting any longer, would you?"
"Aren't you just waiting your time with us?" Emmy and Flora said simultaneously.
Descole sighed-anything to get a moments' peace and quiet!
"Fine!" he snarled as he pulled on his mask and headed towards the door, "Oh and I shouldn't get your hopes too high if I were you! The store-room entrance has a padlock that you need the key to-a key that only I possess!"
"He'll get it easily!" cheered Mr Warrington.
"If any of you think of making the slightest noise—"
"We know," muttered Brundan flatly, "'I don't even need to describe what will—"
A blur of silver flew across the room, resulting in a cry of pain from Brundan as the knife Descole had thrown made a deep gnash in his cheek. The room instantly fell silent.
"See that as a warning…" the man whispered darkly, "Be thankful you're all still alive. Remember: there is nothing to stop me running you all through-particularly you three," he added, glaring at Clark, Flora and Emmy, "Just like I'll run through the others!"
His words had the desired effect; Flora shuffled even closer towards the wall and tried to hide her fear and the tears that were forming in her eyes. Clark's eyes widened and he immediately fell silent. Emmy gasped and turned even whiter. There was a horrifying edge to his voice that showed he certainly wasn't bluffing.
"Wise move," he muttered coldly before he slammed the door shut behind him and turned the key in the lock so viciously it sounded like it would snap.
Silence fell upon the room for several moments, with no one daring to speak.
"I…I just hope that Professor Layton's okay," said Mr Hopkins wearily.
They still felt rather tired and nauseous from the chemical Descole had used to 'petrify' them.
"I guess that we just wait patiently for him to come crashing through the door?" Matthew asked weakly.
"Yes," answered Clark, "Hershel's a true gentleman-and a gentleman never ignores friends in need."
Flora sobbed slightly as Emmy tried her hardest to comfort her.
"I miss the professor!" she cried as she buried her head in her clothing.
"Me too, Flora," answered Emmy as she tried to wriggle closer to the girl to comfort her, "Me too…"
Flinging the door open violently, Descole stalked across the corridors, following the movements of the other staff members. He was going to be exposed in the back room of the museum, as he took it.
"If I can get there first then I can hide the robot and go along with the others!" he muttered to himself as he took the shortcut to it through a different door, "I suppose I truly may have met my match."
He clutched his head; it was still ringing with the jeers from his hostages. One thought flashed through his mind as he slowly opened the door: Being a typical bad guy who wanted to take over the world was the easiest task in existence…compared to playing host to his hostages…
And…that's finished! Sorry for the length but I just had too many events that had to be mentioned. Can you seriously imagine Descole losing his temper with his hostages? Lol! Final episode is coming up! Then…that shall be the last from the 'Mystery of Stone'… :) :) :)
Episode 16: A gentleman never lies…
Now that Luke is finally recovering, Layton can finally talk to him about his life in America, including the issues of his bullying at school. LaytonxLuke father and son relationship-Requested by Anthea Triton/Connie. Enjoy! :)
The boy sprang upwards with a scream, as if someone had just given him a nasty unexpected electric shock. His wide eyes scanned every edge and centimetre of the room as he swivelled his head in every possible direction. A blurry figure ran towards him, his face contorted with worry.
"STAY AWAY FROM ME!" Luke screamed as the figure knelt over him, "LEAVE THEM ALONE! YOU HAVE ME! PLEASE—"
"Luke," said the voice in a louder tone as the boy felt two comforting hands give his shoulder a gentle shake, "It's okay. It's okay. You're safe."
Luke cautiously peered over the edge of his blanket, shaking with every move he made. His grip on the blanket loosened when he saw a small pair of kind familiar eyes. His breathing returned to normal and he relaxed a little, but he couldn't stop himself trembling from the sickening sights he had just witnessed.
"P…Professor?" he stuttered hoarsely as he forced himself to sit up straighter.
The professor gave his apprentice a weary smile and locked his warm fingers around the boy's icy hands. He looked incredibly tired, as the two dark rings underneath his eyes indicated. His top hat was still perched on his head, but it looked as if it would fall off at any moment. His hair was also out of place and odd strands poked out here and there, but Layton looked as if he couldn't care less about his appearance. Luke was shocked at the state of his mentor; Luke obviously hadn't looked in the mirror since he first arrived at the hospital if he thought that the professor looked worse than himself. Compared to Luke's appearance, Layton looked like a catwalk model. His smile was immediately replaced with a frown of worry as he peered sadly at the boy.
"What happened?" he asked gently, trying his hardest to keep the worry out of his voice.
Luke blinked back the tears in his eyes a few times before answering the professor. He winced as a pain flew through his leg when he tried to get into a more comfortable position, which caused the professor's frown to deepen in concern. The boy quickly covered it up with a small smile that soon vanished; a gentleman always tried to be brave after all.
"N…n…nightmares…" Luke sniffed as Layton embraced him in a warm comforting hug, "She was…doing the same and…she was making me watch as she…cut Flora's throat and…and…as she stabbed you in the heart and…and—"
"Shh," Layton whispered softly as he patted Luke on the back as if he was five years old, "It was just a nightmare, Luke. It wasn't real…you are safe from her…she'll never dare approach us again…It's okay…"
The professor swallowed as Luke continued to cry and even he couldn't comfort him this time. He had been used to Luke having these horrific nightmares and his first night in hospital was agonising-his screams were so loud that the nurses thought that there was a murderer in the hospital.
"Aren't they giving you something to help you sleep without nightmares?" Layton asked gently as he wiped the boy's tears with the corner of his sleeve.
"Y...yes," Luke replied with a slight cough as he tried to compose himself.
The professor smiled reassuringly at him and rubbed his hands across Luke's cheeks in the attempt to get some warmth into them.
"You feel like you've been in the freezer for a week," the professor said worriedly as he began feeling the boy's forehead, "Have they checked you for a fever?"
"Repeatedly," Luke answered with a yawn, "Every few hours they come and check on me. I just…get cold easily as of late. You're really warm though, Professor, but…Oh my goodness! You look awful!"
"Nowhere near as bad as you, my boy," he said with a sad shake of the head, "I'm just glad that you're improving."
"I will be allowed out soon. Won't I, Professor?" Luke asked with wide eyes, "It's boring being tucked up in bed all day when there are puzzles to be solved!"
"Well, you've almost finished that puzzle book that I gave you last week!" the professor said proudly as he patted Luke's head gently, "I'm so proud of you, my boy."
"Thank you, Professor," he said with a weak smile as he blushed modestly, "How are the others today? Mum? Dad? Flora?"
"They're good at the moment. Your parents are worried to death, as usual. They said that they'll see you in a few days. The others are…looking forward to when you come out. Emmy has taken Flora and Clive out to a restaurant today. She said that you'd probably be screaming curses because you weren't well enough to go with them—"
"Please, Professor! I may like food, but I'm not that desperate!" Luke laughed, "I'm just glad that they're having a nice time! It's about time that Flora and Clive got a well-deserved day out!"
"Indeed," the professor said as he cleared his throat and straightened his hat, "You can have some days out when you're better too-before you go back to school of course."
"Y…Yes," Luke answered quickly, swallowing the lump that was forming in his throat, "I hope I…haven't missed too much…"
"I could ask your tutor for any homework, if you're that worried," Layton continued, "You wouldn't want to fall behind your peers-not that I'm worried about it."
Change the subject! Change the subject! Luke thought to himself as sweat began to break out on his brow-it had nothing to do with his 'said-fever'.
"Tell me, my boy: we didn't get much chance to talk when we were reunited. How are you finding school lately?"
Don't say it! Don't say it!
"I…I told you in the Layton-Mobile. I'm improving on my maths and…the students are…genuinely friendly…I'm…I'm managing okay…I said that yesterday, didn't I?"
"Do you have many friends at your school?"
"Y…yes…I mean…I have a couple who I…talk to quite often…but…hardly anyone really talks much…"
Just as I thought, the professor thought to himself as he closed his eyes and sighed, why couldn't I see before?
"Are you getting much homework?"
"A...a little…well…the amount varies for each subject…" Luke stammered with his heart hammering.
"Clark told me that you've been holing yourself up in your room with all of this school work. Why don't you do it downstairs? If you're struggling, you know that you can always ask your father for help."
Thanks, Dad! Luke thought to himself as the professor waited for his answer.
"Well…Um…I don't feel distracted in my room," Luke replied, trying not to lie, "I link my room with study too…in a way…"
The professor sat up straighter and looked Luke in the eye seriously.
"Are you being asked to do your homework again, Luke? Brenda said that she saw you doing the exact same piece of homework that you had finished the night before."
Mum too! Was I that obvious?!
The professor held Luke's hands again tightly and began to rub them again. The boy breathed a sigh of relief as the professor had finally stopped his questioning, but when the professor took the opportunity to lift Luke's sleeves up so that his bare arms were exposed, Luke realised that he couldn't have been more wrong. The questioning had only just begun.
"Where did you get these?" he demanded, thrusting his finger at the bruises that mottled his arms.
The professor didn't seem to know what to make of the bruises; his face portrayed shock, anger and sadness. Luke gulped. There was no way he could hide this from the professor.
"Th...th…that's where Lisa bound my wrists…and where she stabbed me—"
"Luke, I know a rope burn when I see one. These are completely different…"
"She did shove me against the cavern wall, Professor…maybe they're off of that—"
"Yes, those are-what about those?" he asked, pointing to a large group of seven dark bruises on his lower arm.
"Th…they're from Lisa too—"
"I know what the bruises that Lisa made look like. These are a darker shade…there is no way that these were made just a few days ago. These look like they've been here for weeks!"
"I…fell at home," he stuttered, his body language as good as a confession.
"This one here," Layton continued, gesturing to a deep scratch running down his arm, "this looks as if it has been made with a maths compass! Did you, by any chance, 'accidentally scratch yourself' with your compass whilst doing your homework, my boy?"
Luke swallowed hard and tears started to form in the corner of his eyelids-this gave the obvious sign that Luke hadn't scratched himself.
"N…n…no…I…I...I…I didn't…please, Professor!" Luke pleaded as tears fell down his cheeks.
Layton gripped the boy's shoulders tightly, forcing him to look up into his eyes.
"Luke," said the professor sternly, "a gentleman never lies…I know when something is wrong with my apprentice and obviously, something is wrong now. You wouldn't normally be getting in a state like this. Now tell me: who has been bullying you at school?"
I can't hide this anymore, he thought, the scratch down his arm sending a sharp pain through his body, 'I have to tell him the truth…
"Th…the…the other students…they…they pick on me because I…get good grades in class…," Luke sniffed sadly, "They…they see me as an…easy target…"
Layton placed a hand on Luke's shoulder, concerned by his current state of worry.
"I thought that you'd confess the truth eventually," he said quietly, "How long have you been dealing with this?"
"A…a week after I started school here," the boy answered truthfully, "After they…they saw my talents in class…"
The professor perched himself on the edge of the bed so that his eyes were just centimetres away from his apprentice's.
"I'm just glad that you're being honest, my boy," he said soothingly, "We went through this before, didn't we? If you ever had a problem or needed help with anything-I, as a friend and a mentor, would always be here to help and guide you."
"O…of course," Luke replied, "I'm sorry I didn't tell the truth, Professor. I'm just…so…so scared…they…threatened to come for me if I dared breathe a word of it to anyone…"
"Tell me everything," he demanded in a pressing tone, "I want to hear every single detail—"
"Professor, please—" Luke protested.
"Everything," he interrupted, "please, Luke…"
The boy sighed and closed his eyes. His fists clenched as he tried to collect the memories.
"Every little detail?" he confirmed.
The professor answered with a curt nod of the head. Luke sighed and cleared his throat as the mark down his arm began to burn fiercely…
"You have all of your books? Everything you need for today?"
"Of…of course, Mum," Luke answered in the cheeriest tone he could muster, "Being Professor Layton's apprentice has taught me how to become organised!"
"That's very relieving to hear!" Brenda laughed as she helped Luke out of car, "You'll have a good day, won't you?"
"Y…yes, Mum," Luke replied as he flung his arms around her neck.
'If only you knew, Mum!' the boy thought to himself as he swallowed the lump that had been forming in his throat.
"Hmm? Luke? You're very clingy today-is something wrong?"
Yes, but I can't tell you, Mum.
"No, no. Nothing at all…I just…miss the professor…"
"You'll see him very soon, Sweetheart," she answered softly, "As for now, you have a busy school day ahead of you! Enjoy yourself! Your father and I shall see you later then!"
Brenda climbed slowly into the car and revved up the engine before starting to drive carefully away.
"Bye, Mum," Luke whispered under his breath as he took shaky hesitant steps towards the school building.
His feet felt like lead but he managed to force them forwards with superhuman effort. Already the building was full of students, who were all chatting to each other excitedly about the weekend, or adjusting their makeup, or gathering their books from their lockers-or even joking about who was going out with who and other inappropriate nonsense. Luke couldn't stand this type of 'gossip' as the other students called it. He'd have given anything to join in with some of the students' conversations but ever since his first few weeks at this new school, he learnt the hard way that new students were treated like stray dogs-to be mocked and jeered at when all they really want is a loving friend or a small amount of kindness. The teenager sighed and shuffled onwards, forcing his way through the thick crowds.
"Seven hours until the end of the day," he muttered to himself as he turned a sharp left at the end of the corridor.
By now his heart was leaping out of his chest and beads of sweat clung to his forehead.
"It won't be so bad. It won't be so bad," Luke repeated to himself a hundred times as he rounded the corner and cautiously made his way to the school store-room.
He had been coming to this place at least once a day for one month. It could now be classed as part of his daily routine. The boy opened the door noiselessly and carefully closed it, making sure that none of the staff had seen. He squinted as the lights blared down on him and a faint scuffling noise could be heard from the darkest corner. Luke froze; he certainly wasn't the first person here, even though he had intended to make it here first. He gulped; they'd make him regret it.
"Well, well, well. Look who finally decided to show their mug."
Out of the shadows, a group of five students emerged. It consisted of three boys and two girls, all of whom were much larger than he was. They were in his year group, but anyone could've mistaken them to be in their final year, or to have presumed Luke was in the youngest year group of the school. The other boys had large brown eyes and black hair that reached down to their shoulders but all three of them wore ripped denim trousers and camo shirts. The largest of them, who was closest to Luke, approached him dangerously with his hair sticking up in a spiky pattern of splintered tree trunks.
"You're late," he hissed menacingly.
"Yeah, Triton! Care to explain the hold up?"
Luke stared into their dark eyes, racking his brains for a good enough excuse. He noticed that his top lip was shaking vigorously, so he bit hard on it to try and stop it.
"SPEAK WHEN YOU'RE SPOKEN TO!" the boy roared impatiently.
"Shut your cakehole, Brutus!" hissed the girl standing behind him, "Do you want the teachers to come down here and find that we're picking on 'Mr-Goody-Two-Shoes'?"
Jolie was meant to be Brutus's girlfriend, but Luke would never have dreamt speaking to any lady like Brutus did on many occasions. She had short curly hair that hid the dark look in her face and she always came to school wearing the 'latest fashions' from the most expensive shopping centres. She had been assisting Brutus from the very beginning in their 'fun'. Luke had never seen the other girl before, but the look on her face showed that she was doing this against her own will.
"I know when the teachers are around, Jolie! Keep your freaking hair on!" he snapped before turning back to his victim, "Well?! Where's your excuse? Cat got your tongue?"
"I…I overslept," Luke stammered quickly, hoping that this was convincing enough.
The group shrieked with laughter, but the boy didn't take this as a positive sign. Brutus smirked evilly before turning around slowly.
"Overslept, did ya?!" he jeered, "How on earth could you think that would be convincing enough for an excuse?! Why don't you use your noggin to set an 'a-l-a-r-m' in the morning?!"
The others slapped Brutus on the back in an approving manner. The second boy pushed past Brutus and waved a threatening finger at the teenager.
"None of us are patient. We really don't like being kept waiting! Do we guys?"
A chorus of comments filled the room as a smile creased his face.
"You see what I mean? Well, you do know from one month's experience what happens when we become…impatient…don't you, Triton?"
Luke's eyes widened; he knew better than anyone what happened. He gently tapped the black area underneath his leg, which Brutus had inflicted last week after Luke had refused to hand over his dinner money, and went with what his first instinct told him: Run.
Not wasting a vital second, the boy spun on his heel and darted for the door. He was quite a fast sprinter, or so his physical education tutor had told him, so he knew that he stood a good chance of getting there before the others did.
Luke fell to the floor, moaning in pain as Jolie slammed into him with a strong force.
She must be physic! How could she have anticipated my move?!
"Nice one, Jolie!" cheered Brutus as she smiled adoringly at him.
Luke sprang to his feet but Jolie was waiting for his move and threw him onto the floor again, pinning his arms to the floor with her hands. He writhed and struggling with all of his might, but Jolie was too strong and he was wasting his energy and futile effort.
"Get off of me!" Luke cried frantically as he tried one final attempt at removing her body off of him.
"Zip it and stop struggling, Worm!" she hissed as she pressed even harder on him, "He's all yours, Brutey!"
Brutus grinned maliciously and slowly walked forwards, before bending down next to him and whispering into his ear.
"See? No one can escape us-especially not a pathetic wormy brat like you!" he sneered as he tilted his head to the side as if to examine his prey, "Where shall I do it today, huh? I did your leg last week…Hmm…"
He thought for some time before his face lit up with sickening pleasure.
"Yo, Morgan! Throw me your geometry compass!"
Morgan opened his bag carefully, pulling out his geometry kit and examining it thoroughly before finally bringing out the desired torture weapon. He handed it to Brutus assertively, who ran straight up to his prey with an evil glint in his eye as if he was about to slit its throat. Jolie loosened her grip and rolled up his sleeves so that his bare arm was exposed. Brutus knelt down next to him and waved the compass over his arm. Tears began to form in Luke's eyes but he instantly blinked them away-if he cried then he'd never be able to face them again.
"I think…" he purred, "your arm would be a good place today. The sooner it's over the sooner you can get your arse out of here..."
Itching with excitement, he dug the compass roughly into the top of his arm, immediately causing blood to spurt out from a neat wound. Brutus twisted it around and dragged it towards him, absorbing Luke's cries of pain like a sponge. The boy was kicking furiously and screamed when Brutus dragged the compass further down. He lifted it up a little and drew a perfect straight line all the way down Luke's lower arm.
"PLEASE STOP!" Luke begged as his vision became blurry.
The rest of them watched intently, intrigued by Brutus's nimble fingers and how quickly they could make an agonising mark in the skin. The other girl stood furthest away from the group, looking down at the ground the whole time. She opened her mouth to say something, but Morgan glared dangerously at her and she instantly fell silent.
Poor girl-at least they're not harming her.
"Zip it, will you?!" snarled Jolie as she slapped Luke across the cheek, silencing him momentarily.
After making one final deep mark at the back of his wrist, Brutus thrust out the compass and handed it to Morgan with its tip dyed a bright red. He wiped it thoroughly on his shirt before replacing it once again in his bag. Jolie stood up and Luke shuffled backwards into one of the darkest corners of the room, a frantic trapped insect surrounded by predators.
"I think that will do for today, Triton," Brutus said in a softer tone, "I just hope that I've gotten the point about making us impatient through your head…or should I say your arm!"
The others creased up laughing but Luke just wanted to run back home and curl up in bed where he was safe from these monsters.
"Oi! We're not done with you yet!" called Marcus as he thrust his hand out at the boy, "I believe you're forgetting something of ours? Something that is due for the first lesson of today and begins with 'h' and ends with 'k'?"
Luke blinked rapidly but he shakily placed his hand in his school bag, feeling around for some time as Brutus began to tap his foot impatiently and gestured for Morgan to pull out his compass again. The teenager scanned his bag thoroughly before he finally drew out four identical sheets of paper with exactly the same content. Brutus snatched them out of his hands before Luke could say a word and began flicking through them, occasionally nodding his head with satisfaction.
"Hmm…yes…yes…very impressive…exactly what we were hoping for. You took your time and checked them hundreds of times, I hope?"
Luke nodded quickly.
"I…I was up until midnight doing it…" he answered in a timid voice.
Jolie made a fake sympathetic sound and the others began laughing again.
"What fun! We all had an amaz-ing evening last night, didn't we?! We went down the park and then used your lunch money to get some sweets that were really nice so…thank you, I suppose!"
"I presume that you've kept your trap shut?" Morgan asked menacingly, "Since you value your life so much—"
"I haven't said a word…" Luke answered truthfully as he carefully forced himself onto his feet, "Mum and Dad don't suspect a thing either…nor do the teachers—"
"Also, 'Apprentice Number Two' won't be getting in contact with his precious 'professor', will he?" added Marcus, "If you tell anyone, you're dead…and we kill you…slowly and painfully…"
"N…n...no…" Luke stuttered as he edged towards the door.
"Mama and Papa will know the same as they do now: Zilch. Oh, that reminds me. Before you go…I have a little present for you!"
Luke shakily stepped forward as Jolie thrust three pieces of paper into his hands.
"It's my homework. It's due Friday. Understand, Worm? I have to write an essay on 'Electronic arrangements in atoms' for my science project, which you will get me an A on, I have twenty maths questions to do with linear simultaneous equations and…a six page essay in English on the language of Shakespeare. If it doesn't done…then…use your imagination," she finished, taking out her pencil and pressing it against her throat.
Luke swallowed hard.
"Continue doing our homework and giving us your dinner money every day, Triton, then we shall continue to not beat you to a bloody pulp or decapitate you and place your head where every nerd can see it…after all…we did it to one little girl…she barely survived…wonder if you'll be so lucky—"
"I…I know! I know!" Luke answered frantically, "I'll get it done as soon as I get back! I promise!"
"Good," she growled, flexing her muscles, "you better-otherwise there will be hell to pay, Worm!"
Brutus gave Luke a menacing glare just as a loud ringing echoed around the room, bringing them all back into reality.
"Looks like class will start soon-better hurry or people will get suspicious," he grinned as he held open the door for them, "Count yourself lucky today, Twit-head! Remember: Not. A. Word. I hope you've remembered those twenty dollars you owe me—"
"I'll…I'll pack them as soon as I get back…" Luke whimpered as Brutus shoved him out of the door.
"Don't forget…" he growled as he let go of Luke and headed in the opposite direction, "see you in class, Twit-head!" he sneered as he disappeared down the corridor.
Luke stared after him, unable to fight back the tears that were now stinging his eyelids. He drew out several tissues from his bag and pressed them against his arm, where the compass had been dug into his flesh. He wanted them to stop, but if he told anyone he would definitely pay for it. It was never like this in London. He was happy there, but not here. He missed the professor. He missed Flora. He missed Emmy. He even missed Clive. Well, he would see the professor soon, wouldn't he? Even Rosetta's rude comments at Gressenheller weren't as bad as this! He'd give everything he possessed to be back at Gressenheller and London. Maybe he could tell the professor about what was happening? A gentleman never ignored a friend in need after all. Feeling the marks on his arm reminded him that there was no way he could tell the professor without being brutally tortured first. Luke ran down the corridor, trying his hardest to compose himself and hide the red marks on his arm before he entered the class room.
"Please come back, Professor…" Luke whispered as he closed his eyes and let a tear fall down his cheek, "I need my professor…I need my mentor…and I need my best friend…"
"Luke! Dinner's ready!" called his mother loudly from downstairs.
Luke sighed and heaved himself off of his bed, still shaking slightly as he opened his door and slowly made his way down the stairs. He quickly wiped the corner of his eye and put on his calmest face before he entered the room. His parents were already seated at the table and were chatting away in a friendly manner with a variety of steaming dishes laid neatly on the table. Luke apologised for making them wait before he shuffled into the seat next to his father. Clark smiled warmly at him and Luke attempted a cheerful grin back as he stared hard at his plate. In truth, he really didn't feel like eating anything, but he couldn't be so rude as to turn down his mother's cooking when she had put so much effort into making it for him.
"I did your favourite: roast lamb," Brenda said with a smile as she carefully cut her meat.
"Has anything interesting happened, Love?" Clark asked as he bit into a large slice of his lamb.
"Well…other than our next door neighbour asking me to help her with a puzzle…nothing much at all," Brenda answered with a light laugh, "How was the excavation?"
Clark sighed slightly and drummed his fingers on the edge of the table.
"Same old, same old," he grumbled, "Seriously, we haven't found a single thing worth more than one dollar!"
"Hershel would've been proud that you're doing what you enjoy!" she exclaimed as Luke forced a smile at his mother.
"I know…we'll be seeing him soon though. I bet you can't wait can you, Luke?"
Luke nodded vigorously, suddenly feeling alert. Clark turned his attention to his son.
"How about you, Luke? How was school today?"
Luke bit his lip as he ran through the events of the day: after the private issue that morning, Luke had just zoned out of all of his lessons-even his favourite ones. He'd been feeling down all day, but he was used to this now. He racked his brains for a satisfactory answer.
"Err…we didn't really do anything interesting today," Luke said quickly as Brenda raised her eyebrows, "Just…hard sums in mathematics and…Shakespeare in English."
It was the only thing he could think of at the top of his head. Brenda frowned slightly.
"That's strange…I thought that you were doing non-literature? The curriculum says that you're not to do Shakespeare until the end of March-which is three months away…"
"It was…a one-off lesson," Luke replied quickly as Clark looked at him closely.
"Are you alright, Luke?" he asked suspiciously, "You've hardly touched your food…normally it takes you about five minutes before you've finished your roast lamb."
"Yes, I worked hard on that. Is there something wrong with it?"
I can't make her feel guilty!
"N…no, Mum. Nothing is wrong with it at all. It's lovely as always and thank you so much for putting so much effort into it but…I just don't…feel hungry."
His parents exchanged worried glances.
"Do you feel nauseous?" asked Brenda in a worried tone as she pressed her hand against his forehead, "Do you feel that you may have a temperature or an infection?"
"I just feel…really tired…" the boy answered as he backed it up with a yawn.
That was no lie-he couldn't wait to fall into bed.
"You haven't received some test results that you think aren't very good, have you?" Clark asked gently as he looked into Luke's eyes, "If you need any help I'm always here. Maybe if you let me look through your school books I could see where you're struggling. The school does recommend it—"
"No!" Luke interrupted, louder than he'd intended, "It's…it's my private work…I don't really want anyone else to see it—"
"Why, Luke? I doubt that there is anything wrong with your work," Brenda said slowly as Clark nodded, "It would be good to have a look—"
"Please, no," Luke said again in a quieter tone, "I…I need to organise my work better and…other things…"
Clark opened his mouth to continue but he paused and closed it again. Something wasn't right, but he wasn't going to make his son feel uncomfortable.
"Okay," he answered, feeling slightly hurt, "I take it that you're going to finish your homework and then go straight to bed?"
"Yes please," he replied as he leapt up from the table, "I just can't wait for bedtime."
"Maybe some early nights would do you the world of good," suggested Brenda as she kissed him lightly on the forehead, "See you in the morning, Sweetheart. Have pleasant dreams."
"Thanks, Mum," he answered as he hugged his father tightly before wishing him a pleasant night's sleep as well.
"Sleep well, Luke," Clark called as the teenager trudged wearily up the stairs, the six page essay on Shakespeare that he still had to finish flashing in his mind continuously.
"I wish I had a friend here," he whispered quietly as he closed his door with a creak.
Downstairs, Clark and Brenda stood silently in the kitchen, exchanging even more worried glances between them.
"There is something wrong with Luke, Clark. He's started holing himself up in his bedroom again. He doesn't surface from there unless it's time for tea or I ask him to help me with an errand. This time it isn't the spectre…so what is it?"
"I honestly don't know, Brenda. I honestly don't know," he said seriously, "It isn't natural for him to want to hide his work from us and he was obviously lying about his curriculum, but…why?"
"I have as much an idea as you do," she replied with a concerned expression on her face, "Something is obviously troubling him…maybe Hershel would know, if he was here—"
"He isn't-it's up to us as his parents to try and find out what is wrong with him."
"I know, Clark. I know. However, whatever is going on here, I don't like it…I don't like it at all…"
"I'm the first person you've told about this…this…outrageous behaviour?" Layton asked, trying his hardest to keep the anger out of his voice, "How could you have dealt with it for so long? How couldn't you have told anyone?"
"I…I was scared…" Luke answered timidly with a light cough, "I didn't want—"
"Shh…shh…It's okay," Layton said in a soothing tone as he hugged Luke tightly before looking into his eyes seriously, "You're parents have notified the school…and reported those students. They should be dealt with appropriately by the school rules…no one will ever dare to harm you again…"
"Th…thanks, Professor," Luke replied with a weak, grateful smile, "At least I can…stop worrying about it…never do their work for them again and…never have them taking my possessions…Oh, Professor! It's just so good to be back with you and the rest of your assistants!"
"I know," he whispered softly as he patted his apprentice's shoulder, "I also know about the inappropriate language written in those exercise books, Luke."
He pulled out Luke's mathematics book and flicked to a random page. Etched all over it was permanent graffiti; illustrations, cutting words and comments that brought the tears back into his eyes. Some of the most eye catching comments ran down the page in a blood like ink.
'TRITON IS A TWIT', 'GAY GENTLEMAN', 'HERMAPHRODITE'. The words screamed out at whoever read them.
"I have requested new exercise books for you," Layton continued, "This is the reason why you didn't want your father to see your books, isn't it?"
Luke nodded slowly.
"Thank you, Professor," he repeated for the hundredth time, "How did Mum and Dad react? I hope they didn't—"
"It was quite a shock for them at first. Clark was in hysterics. He felt that he'd once again failed you as a father. He felt guilty that he hadn't realised that you were being bullied in the first place, or even thought of the possibility. Brenda, as you'd expect, took the news…with tears flowing down her face…but she calmed down after a while and made the call to your school. They send their best wishes and have assured your parents that the students will be dealt with harshly—"
"They'll kill me for sure," Luke interrupted as he buried his head in his hands.
"You're not going back. Clark is trying to make the preparations to move back to London as soon as possible. It should take a few months but they've agreed to send out a home tutor if you're really worried about missing school."
"That…that would be the easiest thing, I suppose," the boy responded with a smile, "How did you find out in the first place about the…bullying? It's not like I was being obvious—"
"I didn't suspect a thing," he answered truthfully, "I was having a conversation with Flora not too long ago and she said that she was glad you'd be going back to London away from all of the bullies a your school. That was when she realised what she'd said-and when I realised that you weren't happy at all. I pressed her for information and she eventually told me, but she was hysterical because she'd sworn not to tell anyone—"
"No. No. That's fine…it's not Flora's fault at all! If anything…I'm really grateful that she told you…I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my chest! Why didn't I tell anyone in the first place?!"
Nurse Huntingdon opened the door with a quiet creak as Layton ruffled his apprentice's hair gently.
"You see, my boy," he replied, "a gentleman never lies or keeps secrets…I'll tell your father that we've discussed everything so that you don't have to go through with it again in the morning."
"Thanks, Professor!" Luke exclaimed, throwing his arms around him and almost knocking his hat off, "You're the best friend anyone could ever have! As well as Flora, Emmy and Clive, of course! Not forgetting the children at Misthallery-it's just so wonderful to be surrounded by friends once again!"
Layton smiled as Nurse Huntingdon beamed.
"Is everything okay?" she asked softly, "I'm afraid it's time for Luke to rest …but you'll be back again soon, won't you?"
"Of course, I shall," the professor replied as he smiled once again at his apprentice, "See you soon, Luke. Have nice dreams…"
"You too, Professor…"
With a warm smile at the nurse, he closed the door quietly and walked down the corridor, feeling relieved beyond words that Luke had finally opened up and no longer worried about the issues of life. Luke sank back in his bed, a cheerful smile on his face as he entered an endless sleep of pleasant dreams.
"London…" he whispered to himself as his eyes closed, "here we come…"
Well guys…I hate to say it…but that is the end of the 'Mystery of stone'. All of the episodes and the story have now been completed. However, I doubt that this is the last you've seen of this. Many of you are requesting a sequel...I have a few vague ideas but if it does come up, don't expect it until some time next year. I shall now continue my writing with the 'Dark Apple' and I shall be starting my first crossover very soon. Once again, thank you for every ounce of your support all the time I was writing this fanfiction. It really meant a lot to me. All of you left reviews, my most heartfelt thanks-I never imagined I'd get 126 reviews! Once again, thank you so much. Keep reading and enjoy what's out there! Plant peace for the planet and see you all very soon for another fanfic!
Abbie :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)