An image of Mary's house appeared in Petunia's crystal ball. It was an urban neighborhood that seemed to give you the impression of backyard barbecues, apple pies and picnics. She focused on the inside of Mary's house and got an entirely different impression. The first thing she noticed was the wards drawn all over the house.
Petunia glanced up at Hieronymous.
The look in his eyes reflected her own feelings.
"She was trying to either keep something from getting out of her house or something from coming in."
Hieronymous pointed out the salt along the edges of the room.
"It appears that she was trying to purify the house."
He sat up straighter in his chair and placed his palms on the desk searching the ball for more information.
"Where is she?" he wondered aloud.
At that moment a woman, presumably her mother entered the room and walked to the fridge, pulling out a bottle of water. She paused a moment and scratched the back of her neck as she looked around.
"She can sense us watching her. Perhaps magic does run in her family," Petunia said.
Potsdam focused on the crystal ball, making a thorough search of the house.
"Well, Mary is not in the house. I will try and focus on her directly."
The image of the house began to shift and faded away. The crystal grew dark and ominous. Whispered chanting filled Petunia's office and energy seeped out of the ball causing the lights to flicker. An image appeared of Mary on the floor clutching something.
"Hieronymous, get a pad of paper from my drawer, now. Hurry!"
Without question he did as she requested and grabbed a quill without being asked.
On the edge of panic, he ran his fingers through his hair causing his hat to fall to the floor.
He wanted to call out to her, to see her stir and know she was alive.
"What's happening? Why is she laying there?"
"Mary is in an oubliette. Hurry and write it down, lest we forget."
He began scribbling it on the pad.
An oubliette, he reflected, was a place which caused the world to forget its occupant. A deeper guilt hit him as he recalled threatening similar treatment to her just earlier this year.
"I will try and get a fix on her location."
Petunia was beginning to show signs of strain.
"Otherworld… Near the Valley of Night…"
Hieronymous' eyes became wide with trepidation and he quickly wrote it down.
The crystal became clear again.
He released the breath he had not realized he had been holding until now.
Both of their eyes glazed over.
Petunia looked up at Hieronymous, "So, what did you need to talk with me about?"
For a moment he did not have the slightest idea why he was in her office.
He glanced down at the notes on the pad in front of him.
He showed her the pad of paper.
The Headmistress gasped as she saw what was written.
"Gracious me! The lamb is in the Otherwold. And in an oubliette, no less."
She made a second copy of the note with the addition of more information for herself. She then added a few words to his paper.
"I will prepare something for you. Go get your things ready to leave."
She handed the note back to him. Added to the bottom of it were the words do not let this note leave your hands until you return to Petunia.
He grabbed it and went for the door. He had a look of failure on his face.
"Hieronymous, You did not do anything wrong. She is not Viol-"
He cut her off.
"I know. She is diff... Right now she is defenseless and I could forget her at any moment."
He turned back to her.
"I will not let her die," he said, then swiftly left the room.
Petunia got up from her desk clutching the paper in hand and headed to her room.
Once in her room, she approached her dresser.
Petunia pulled out the top drawer and reached in the back, from which she produced a black box. She opened the box, revealing a pendant made of amber and amethyst. Chanting softly, she waved a hand casting a spell over the gem encrusted medallion.
Finally, she went to a cabinet, bringing forth a few potions.
Hieronymous was returning, paper in hand, with a small bag he tucked beneath his cloak.
"Do you have everything you need?"
"I believe so."
"I would like you to wear this. It will help keep her, and her predicament, in your memories."
She placed the amulet around his neck.
"Take these potions, also. They will help you recover your energy quicker. Drink one now and drink the second no earlier than twenty-four hours. Remember time moves differently there."
Hieronymous took the phials and promptly drank one. Handing the bottle back to her with a nod of thanks, he looked at the paper again.
"I have to go now. Thank you for your help."
Petunia gave a gentle smile, "Bring her home safe to us."
She reassuringly placed her hand on his shoulder.
He stiffened momentarily, and then felt himself relax. Never knowing who his mother was; he was not sure how to react to her motherly kindness. He gave a weak smile walked away.
Hieronymous entered one of the schools many gardens. He checked to see if anyone was around, and he teleported away.
Where he arrived was another small garden.
The garden was walled all around, the vegetation long overgrown, but still alive. There was a fountain in the middle. The fountain was what was most striking about the garden. He recalled Violet's expression when he had first showed it to her.
The memories came flooding back to him.
Violet walked over to it and sat on the edge. All he could do was smile at her. The fountain's waters glowed in vibrant colors.
"This fountain is nothing. You have to see the other side. Otherworld makes this place pale in comparison," Hieronymous smiled at her.
As they both conversed and laughed, the memories faded away like echoes in time.
A feeling of renewed dread came over him.
He would have to go back there.
This time Mary's life was in danger.
He knew he would have to wait until the moon shown into the fountain to go, then the portal would open.
Having a few hours to kill he wandered the garden. He came across a tree bearing fruit and grabbed some oranges, putting them in his bag. The fruit of the garden was said to grant extra strength in the Otherworld.
'How did Mary get to the Otherworld? Surely, she would not have gone by herself. Even she is not so foolish and irresponsible. Which means someone, or something, had to have taken her there.'
He peeled and ate one of the oranges. He felt immediately better as well as stronger.
"Nightfall will be here shortly," he though aloud.
He forced himself to take a nap, knowing he had to be 100% when he was over there. He had not dared enter the Otherworld since Violet's death. He was very much aware of the dangers there in. Though he was past the age of youth, the time where his soul would be most tempting, he knew he could not let his guard down.
He awoke from his doze to crickets chirping.
He looked up in the sky and saw the moon and cast his gaze to the fountain. The portal was beginning to open. It would be daytime in the Otherworld about now. It was too dangerous to travel there at night, so the portal was timed to open at this hour. He pulled out a ring and placed it on is finger. The ring had a faint glow to it. The nearer he came to the portal the brighter the glow became. Feeling securely warded he stepped into the water. The water only reached his knees, but no sooner had he entered then he was drawn underwater. Briefly feeling like he was going to drown, he held his breath as he swam towards the surface. Darkness gave way to sunlight. He was there.
He broke from the water inhaling deeply. He was in a bay. He swam to shore. Taking a moment to get his bearings, he noted the crystal clear turquoise color of the water and the trees around. The beach itself was made of crystal. In a myriad of colors it seemed he was walking in a rainbow. Reaching down, he picked up a blue shard. It was exquisite. Hieronymous let the blue shard drop back to the beach.
He appeared to be in the Bay of Pandora.