Friday morning came and with it a clear, sunny
day. A cool wind blew, but the sky was blue and cloudless. Robert Burns
was the topic for discussion in class. All went well except for the time
when Rory tripped Leith, causing him to drop his school books. “Rich boy.
Little rich boy. What’s the matter? Did you trip, little rich boy?” Rory’s
word brought laughter, filling the room with chuckles and snickers. Leith
picked up his books and headed to Caledonia Hall to meet Duncan and
Murray. He didn’t wait for Fraser or Sandy.
After lunch the group headed for Professor Wilson’s
room. Leith had the quartz and coin in his pocket.
“Leith, all you have to do is turn around and smack
Rory in the mouth? You let him bully you. You’re bigger than him.” Fraser
grabbed hold of Leith’s arm as they walked up the stairs. Leith wrenched
“Yeh. You take all his guff. He embarrasses you in
front of the whole class and says a lot of rude things behind your back.”
Sandy shook his head back and forth.
“He isn’t worth it. It doesn’t bother me if he talks
about me. He’s just jealous. Besides that, if you care so much, you could
stick up for me! You could defend me and punch him in the mouth. As far as
I see you two stand in the background cowering. Don’t make me out to be a
wimp. You two are the cowards.” Leith opened the door to Hall Nine.
“Lads! I was expecting you. Good to see you. I’m
presuming you have got some more information for me?” Professor Wilson
pulled a few chairs around his desk. “Go on and have a seat.”
“We went to Perth. I have no idea about Fortreen, the
son of Cruithne. We saw no sign of his presence anywhere,” Leith said.
“What happened then? Did you find the book?” The
professor sat behind the desk and swiveled around in the chair.
“We went to the Fortingall yew. After that we went to
Mt. Schiehallion. Some of us remembered our history and that there were
caves, but we were not about to go looking for them,” Leith said.
“Goblins attacked us.” Duncan showed the professor his
“My goodness. Those are horrid looking. Do the rest of
you have these too? When you leave here go immediately to the infirmary
and have those bites looked at.”
have a few. If the nurse sees these wounds, he will ask questions. Maybe
you should go and bring some bandages to us. The goblins are ugly
creatures with pointy ears and sharp teeth and long, sausage-like noses.
Their arms and legs are skinny and their bodies only came up to our
waists, but they were feisty. They probably had hidden treasure and were
trying to stop us from finding it. It worked. We ran away, but not until
we had beaten them silly.” Leith smiled thinking about the howling
goblins. “They chased us all the way back to Fortingall. We were lucky to
escape before they could get us. All we got were these pieces of quartz
from the mountain and this Roman coin from the roots of the yew.” Leith
placed them on the professor’s desk. “No book. Infact I don’t think the
book is here in Scotland, or even in our time. I think it’s back in
Atlantis, before the destruction.”
“That’s an interesting thought.” The
professor examined the quartz and coin, holding them up to his eye.
“Marvelous. These are amazing. Did you notice that there was something
shiny inside each of these pieces of quartz?” “Yes. What is it?”
Leith took one from the professor and held it up to the light. “It looks
like a diamond, but it’s pale blue.”
“They are diamonds; rare diamonds.”
“I didn’t know diamonds came in different
colors,” Sandy said.
“Oh yes. The Hope Diamond, one of the most
famous of all time, is deep blue, almost violet. Do you think there are
more of them lying around on the ground?” The professor’s eyes twinkled.
Murray stared at Professor Wilson. Something glowed in his eyes that
bothered Murray; greed. “No matter. It isn’t important. All that matters
is that you save our school. You lads are doing well. It would seem if
your assumptions are correct, that the book is no longer an option. You
have the scroll and these objects. You have to go to eight more places;
unfortunate and all that, but can’t be helped. When this is all over, I
would like you to come with me for a drive. We’ll go down to Fortingall
and you can show me where you spotted these goblins. We can go prepared
with ropes and maybe even handcuffs; perhaps we’ll find that book hidden
there after all. In the meantime, I’ll hold onto these for safe keeping.”
The boys watched as he unlocked his desk drawer, opened a box and put the
objects inside next to the scroll. “You had better be off. Class will be
When they stood outside the classroom, Murray put his
hand on Leith’s arm. “Leith, I don’t trust him. I think he’s bad. He
doesn’t care about us, or about saving the school.”
“What are you talking
about?” Sandy overheard. “He is the greatest professor in the school. He
is helping us by keeping everything safe and giving us information. He
even said he would cover for us if we were late for class. Stop thinking
that way, Murray.”
Leith agreed with Sandy. “He’s an all right guy,
Murray. Don’t worry.”
Murray frowned. “Okay, but there is something about
him that I don’t like.”
The bell rang. “Time for class. See you lads tonight
in the hall,” Leith said.
“Tomorrow is Saturday. It’s a free day. I would
rather wait and go in the morning and have a good night’s sleep. I’m
exhausted,” Duncan said.
”Right you are. The kitchen will be busy. Go out the
front door and if anyone asks, say you’re going for a walk. It will be
light out, so there’s more of a chance we might be seen. I suppose we
could meet in the newer part of the cemetery and then when we think it’s
safe, move to the back. See you at ten in the morning at the front gate of
the cemetery.” Leith waved goodbye. Sandy, Fraser and he ran off to
Professor Morrison allowed
them some free time to do research. Leith headed for the library. He found
a quiet corner and went in search of books about Mt. Schiehallion and
Cruithne and his sons. He carried a stack back to his table. The first
thing he found was a poem. Leith copied it into his own poetry book.
“That’s interesting. I’ll
have to study this book again when I have more time. Now, about Cruithne.”
Leith put the book down and picked up another. He read through the pages,
taking notes. He then studied about the Hyperborean, again writing down
bits of important information and then looked up Mt. Shasta, California
and how it linked to Mt. Schiehallion. “That’s great. I’ll look through my
notes tonight. Better get to class.” He took the books and put them back
on the proper shelf and then headed to class.
“Oh look, it’s the little rich boy. Where have you
been, rich boy? Changing your diapers?” Rory blocked the door so Leith
couldn’t get in the room. “The rest of us didn’t have to use our father’s
money to get into the school like you did. Do you think you are too good
to start at age eight?”
“Knock it off, Rory.” Grant Hume stomped over to him.
“Get off his back. If you think your father didn’t use his power and
influence to get you in here, then you are more stupid than I thought. We
are all sons of rich men. It isn’t just Leith. He is just as worthy to
come here as you and it isn’t his fault that his father worked overseas.
If I see you bothering him again, I’ll put you on report and you’ll spend
all your free time in Detention. Is that what you want?”
Rory didn’t respond. His scowling face glared at Grant
and then at Leith. He pulled open the door and went inside, slamming it
“Thanks, Grant. I don’t know why he has it in for me.”
Leith shook Grant’s hand.
“No problem. Rory’s been a bully since he came here.”
Grant smiled and then they went into the room together.
Professor Morrison taught them about some of the 18th
and 19th century Scottish artists. One of the other boys in the
class, Creighton Napier, an artist, showed some of his work and gave a
short lecture on George Jamesone, an early 17th century artist
who was nicknamed ‘the Scottish van Dyck’.
When the bell rang ending class, Leith decided to do a
bit more exploring of the school. Even though he had been there more than
six weeks, there was a lot he hadn’t seen. He found Rufus Stuart, the
janitor, patching holes in the wall near Headmaster’s office. “Hello
Rufus. Is it all right to call you that?” Leith waited for a response.
“Aye, lad. Rufus is fine. The mortar holding these
blocks of stone together is wearing away. This is an old building. Did you
know these stone blocks were brought here from John O’Groats. Ewan
McDiarmad had them sent here specifically to build this school. It was his
castle at one time, but not for long.”
“That’s interesting. I like the floors. I sometimes
trip on the cobblestones. I wish they were flat and smooth. Thank goodness
for carpets,” Leith said. “I’ve been admiring the stained glass. Most of
it, at least in the halls, is new. Are there any old stained glass
windows, original ones?”
“Aye. The church has several of the original windows.
Haven’t you noticed them before now? Pay attention the next time you’re
there. The entire school attends church down the path. The abbey is on the
grounds. You do attend church, don’t you?”
“I guess I never paid attention,” Leith said. “When I
go to church I keep my eye on the podium.”
“What’s your name, lad?”
“Och, you’re a Wallace? That’s fine by me. You’re not
too observant, are you? There are some stairs that lead down into a
dungeon and tunnels that go to the church. Would you like to see?” Rufus
winked at Leith.
“I would love it. Let me go and put my books away and
change out of this uniform. I’ll be back in ten minutes.” Leith rushed
off. On the way back he ran into Sandy and Fraser and told them about
“Can we come too?” Fraser had already changed out of
“I suppose. Sandy, change into your jeans and meet us
downstairs.” Leith raced off with Fraser.
Sandy showed up a few minutes later. Rufus looked at
both of them. “Och, you have brought a few of your mates. Are they
“I trust them with my
life,” Leith said.
“That’s good enough for me.” Rufus led them to a door
under the west stairs.
“I didn’t know this door led anywhere. I thought it
was just a broom closet,” Sandy said.
“That’s what I want everyone to think. Keep it to
yourselves.” Rufus looked around to make sure nobody was looking and then
unlocked the door. “Inside. Quick.” He pushed them into the darkness. He
flicked on a light switch. “Much better.”
“Wow! This is cool. I never knew there was a dungeon
here,” Sandy said.
“Not many do. Most of the teachers don’t know.” Rufus
led them down a steep flight of steps to a large room. Torture devices
were scattered about. The boys ran to check them out. Suits of armor stood
along one wall, complete with lances and swords. “Some of those suits of
armor are five hundred years old and some even older. I come down and
polish them once a year or so, just to keep them shiny and stop them from
“It smells down here,” Leith said.
“You aren’t going to say like death and evil, are
you?” Sandy ran his hand over one of the stretching devices.
“I’m not Duncan,” Leith said. “It smells like wet
“I love these torture machines. This one was used to
stretch people. That must have hurt,” Fraser said.
Sandy tried to turn the wheel.
“They all hurt. That’s why they were called torture
devices. Enough of this. I don’t want to be putting ideas into your young
minds. Follow me.” Rufus turned on another light. “Here are the tunnels.
There is a vast system under this school. One leads to the loch. One leads
to the church and others come to an end behind bushes. There’s one that
comes out on the outside of the gate, but I wont show you which one. Don’t
think of escaping!” Rufus snickered
“Don’t worry about that, Rufus,” Leith said, making
“What else is down here?” Fraser stroked one of the
suits of armor. “Is there a treasure, or the crown jewels, or Robert the
Bruce’s sword, or anything like that?”
“You read too many books, lad. There is no treasure
here that I’m aware of and I have explored every tunnel, nook and cranny.
I’m afraid it’s just what you see.” Rufus glanced at his watch. “It’s
nearly supper time. We had better head back.”
Leith picked up a small, toothpick sized piece of wood
he saw lying on the ground. When they got to the top of the steps and
while Rufus wasn’t looking, he jammed it into the lock, so that when Rufus
put the key in, it wouldn’t fully lock.
After a fish and chip supper they went swimming and
then while Sandy and Fraser went to watch a DVD, Leith laid on his bed,
studying his notes from the library.