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Rolfin's Orb
Book 3 - Pearl
Chapter 1

          “When Fiona gets back, tell her I’ve gone into town. It’s about time we found out who this man is. He’s trying his hardest to make his presence known in Inveralba. I’ll stop by the hotels and B&B’s and start asking some questions. You two sit and have your tea. There are some chocolate biscuits in the jar. Fiona and the others will return shortly. Keep them here and don’t touch the orb until I get back.” Angus shut the door behind him, leaving Jimmy and Jesse sitting on the settee.

*  *  *

            Drayton saw the colors swirling and popping around him. “What’s going on?” Fear raced through his body. When he opened his eyes, he stood in the middle of a grove of palm trees. “That wasn’t so bad. I made it here in one piece.” He stuck his hands in his pockets. “These clothes will have to go. He pulled out a few loose bills. “Not much money for a place like this.” He looked at the luxurious hotels lining the street. “Matters not. What I can’t afford, I’ll take.”

            He removed his coat and shirt, dropping them behind a bougainvillea-covered trellis. I’d better leave on my jeans and shoes until I can replace them with something better. A man and woman walked by, holding hands. Their bronzed skin reminded Drayton how pasty he looked in comparison. “I need a suntan, but first, I’ll go shopping for some new clothes.”

            Looking in a shop windows, Drayton saw a few things that appealed to him, but when he saw the price, he nearly choked. The sales clerk was busy with another customer. “I’ll just help myself to these. He stuffed a pair of blue shorts decorated with white hibiscus down the front of his pants. He left the shop and went back to his hidden coat. He slipped the shorts inside and went in search of some sandals and a tee shirt. Ten minutes later he had both in hand. “Much better.” He stripped down behind one of the palms and pulled the shorts up. The white tee shirt with a dolphin logo slid over his head with ease. Tossing his shoes and socks next to his coat, shirt and jeans, he pushed his feet into the sandals, buckling them up. “Now I look like I fit in. Where am I anyway? Looks like Tenerife. Where did those brats go?” He headed for the first hotel he saw.

* * *

            Tropical waves rolled onto the white sand beach. “Wow! We must be in Hawaii!” Callum had never seen the sea that shade of greenish blue.

            “We can’t be in Hawaii. It’s not one of the places on the list, Callum.  My mum and dad went to Hawaii once and I saw their postcards. It looked like this, sort of,” Elspet said.

            “I don’t think it’s either place. I think we’re in the Seychelles.” Fiona scratched her chin.

            “What makes you think you’re so right,” Callum said.

            “Probably because that sign over there.” Fiona took her hand and put it on Callum’s head and turned it slowly so he could see, “says we are in the most beautiful place on earth, the Seychelles. That’s what. We’re on the southwest coast of an island called Mahe, close to Ile Souris.”

            Elspet put her arms on her hips. “And you know this how?”

            Fiona smiled. “It says so on that sign! Can’t you read?”

            Elspet turned to read it and saw the map. Embarrassed, she said, “Oh.”

            “This place is called Fairyland Beach. Does that mean there are fairies here, likethere were in Iceland?” Callum stood in front of the sign studying it. “I don’t think I want to see any more fairies. Where there are fairies, there are trolls.”

            “I don’t think we’ll find trolls here, Callum. It’s probably called that because the sand sparkles like a fairy, or something. I say we’ve got time for a seashell hunt.” Fiona ran down onto the beach, picking up shells and putting them in her pockets. “I’ll bet a fairy could fit in this one!”

            “Wait for me,” Callum said. “I want a seashell too.”

            Elspet took off her shoes and threw them in the sand. She ran down to the ocean, letting the water rush over her bare feet. “The water is nice and warm.”

            “Don’t go in too far, Elspet. It looks like it gets deep quickly. See how much darker the water is only a few feet out? That means it’s deeper.” Fiona pointed.

            “I’ll stand right here,” Elspet said. The sun sparkled on top of the waves, hypnotizing her with its beauty.

            Callum sat in the sand and dumped the grains out of his shoes. He saw Fiona and Elspet down by the water. A mischievous grin spread across his face. He jumped up and ran down toward the girls. Coming right behind Elspet, he raised his arms and pushed her as hard as he could into, just as a wave rolled in. She flew forward into the water; the wave carrying her out to sea. “Ha, ha, ha, Elspet. You’re all wet now.”

            She came to the surface coughing and choking. “Callum, that was really stupid. Elspet, hurry and swim back to shore before the next wave comes.” Fiona shouted, turning to Callum. “There’s a drop off, Callum. It’s deep out there and I’m not even sure if Elspet can swim.”

            She found relief when the next wave carried Elspet into shore, dropping her at Callum’s feet. She stood up. “Callum! I nearly drowned. That wasn’t funny!” Elspet squeezed the seawater out of her clothes and hair. “Now I have to spend the whole day in soaking wet clothes.” She reached up and felt her neck. “You’re lucky I didn’t lose the necklace you gave me Sometimes you’re so…”

            “Don’t’ say it, Elspet. Callum, don’t do things like that anymore. We’re not in Scotland. We have no idea what sort of traps are waiting for us. Fiona warned her friends.

            He looked at Elspet. “I’m sorry. I thought it would be funny.”

            “It wasn’t funny at all.” Elspet stomped through the sand and put her shoes and socks back on.

            “This is not a good start to our day! We’d better find a way to get into town. At least I hope there’s a town on this island. Put your shoes on, Callum. We’ll see if we can find a taxi or someone to give us a ride,” Fiona said.

            They stood on the edge of the street, Elspet dripping wet and Fiona holding a large conch shell. A car drove past with an elderly couple in it. The driver pulled over when he saw the children waving. “Can you give us a ride into town?” Callum nodded at the back seat. When they saw Elspet, they let the three of them into the car.

            “This is a most unusual place to find three children by themselves. What on earth are you doing at Fairyland Beach?” Mr. Botli questioned the children. “Where are your parents?”

            Fiona did all the talking. “They dropped us off earlier. We’re tired of the beach and didn’t want to wait for them. We want to go back to our hotel.”

            Mrs. Botli said, “My goodness, you’re a long way from town. You are staying in Victoria, aren’t you?”


            “Yes, the main town. Surely you remember your hotel’s name, don’t you?” Mrs. Botli rolled up her car window. “It’s a good thing Mr. Botli and I were out for a drive. Not that many people come out this way. You’d have been waiting a long time for your parents.”

            “Yes, it’s a good thing. I’m not sure of the name of our hotel, but I’ll recognize it when we see it,” Fiona said. “If you’d please drop us off at the edge of town, we’ll find it.”

            “Bill, slip a CD in, would you.” She barked a command. Creole music blasted from the speakers. “I hope you enjoy this music, dears. It’s what they listen to here, at least most of them do. I rather enjoy it.”

            Callum didn’t. He tried to think of other things so he didn’t have to listen to it.

            Fiona laughed, watching Mr. and Mrs. Botli sing and wiggle to the music.

            Elspet giggled too.

            When they neared the main street the car pulled over and let them out. “Thank you,” Fiona said. The car drove away. “So this is Victoria, capital of the Seychelles.”

            “You’re right, Fiona. We’re in Victoria on the island of Mahe. I wonder how many islands there are in the Seychelles?” Elspet reached down and picked up a handful of sand. She let it slip through her fingers. “The sand is soft and warm. It’s even got a pale pink tint to it. My mum says that there are thousands of shades of colors.”

            “You’re rambling, Elspet. She’s going to go artist on us again, Fiona,” Callum said. “We’ve only been here a short time and already she’s seeing shades of pink.”

            Elspet stuck her tongue out at him. “Not funny, Callum. If you want me to go artist on you, I can tell you what I see in the waves?”

            “No thanks. I’ll pass on that. Fiona, what jewel do we have to find here?” Callum saw a seashell lying in the sand and picked it up.

            “A pearl. Did you notice we’re on another island? What is this with islands? Did King Kegan tell them to hide everything on an island?” Fiona shrugged her shoulders.

            “Islands are remote, aren’t they, Fiona? I mean, Hydra was remote. Iceland was remote and so are the Seychelles. They’re so remote I’ve never heard of them and I don’t know where they are located.” Elspet felt her clothes. “Hey! My clothes are nearly dry. I wish I had a hairbrush though. I feel like my hair is full of ropes, or snakes, like the Hydra monster.” She reached up and used her fingers as a brush. “What a mess!”

            Callum said, “Forget the hair, Elspet. We’ll find you a brush soon. The islands aren’t that remote nowadays, because we can fly anywhere in the world in a few hours.”

            “Or in our case, we can say a magic spell and get here in a few seconds.” Fiona laughed.

            “You’re right, Elspet. In the days of Johnny and Jimmy, all the islands were difficult to get to. I remember reading…”

            “No, Callum. You can’t possibly be an authority on the Seychelles! You’re not going to be a pest the entire time we’re hear by telling us trivia facts, are you?” Elspet put her hands over her ears.

            “You two are beginning to annoy me. Stop arguing. I never gave the money back to Uncle Angus after our last visit, so, as usual, we need to find a bank. I doubt if they take British money here.” Fiona pulled the wad of cash out of her pocket.

            “Let’s buy some different clothes too. It’s awfully warm. We should be wearing shorts and sandals, not blue jeans and jumpers,” Elspet said.

            They headed into the town of Victoria. “This is so cool. Everything looks expensive and rather elegant, don’t you think?” Callum slipped the seashell into his pants pocket. “They probably won’t even let us into the shops dressed like this.”

            Fiona and Elspet looked at him. “Rather elegant? Where did you pick up those words?” Elspet nudged Fiona in the ribs.

            “I hear my mum say that sometimes when she watches the telly. ‘Isn’t she rather elegant looking’.” Callum burst out laughing.

            “You’re funny sometimes. I see a bank. You know the routine. I’ll be back out in a few minutes.” Fiona went inside. She came out frowning. “They wouldn’t let me change the money without a passport. We’ll need to try another bank. It felt good in there though. They had a big fan on the ceiling.”

            “What type of money do they use here? I don’t even know where we are,” Elspet said.

            They strolled past the shops, looking through the windows. “I don’t see any cheap tourist shops. This is one classy place, as my mum would say.” Fiona smiled at Callum. “Ah, there’s another bank. I’ll try this one.”

            While Fiona went inside, Elspet looked up and down the street. “It’s almost night time in Inveralba, but it’s still light here. We must be clear on the other side of the world.”

            Fiona came out of the bank. At first she had a frown on her face but it quickly changed to a grin. “I got it! They use Seychelles rupees here. I told the banker that we were here with our parents and they went off to swim and left us with no money. He changed it without any problems. I also asked him where the Seychelles were and told him my mum hadn’t explained that to me yet.”

            “Where are they? In Africa? In Indonesia? The South Pacific?” Elspet opened her hand to take her share of the money.

            “Here’s your money, Callum. Don’t spend it all in one place,” Fiona said. “The banker told me that the Seychelles are off the east coast of Africa, in the western part of the Indian Ocean, east of Kenya and north of Madagascar and there are around 115 islands in the Seychelles.”

            “That’s a lot of islands,” Callum said.

            “Not many are inhabited. Most are made from coral reefs and things. Still, that’s pretty cool. So, now you know where we are,” Fiona said.

            “We’re a long way from home! Now that we have money, let’s go and check into a hotel and get rid of our jumpers and cardigans,” Elspet said.

            “Fiona, why do we always get a hotel room? We might find the pearl right away and not need it,” Callum said.

            “What if we don’t find it right away. What if it takes us a long time? Do you want to sleep on the beach?” Elspet shook her head back and forth. “Use your head, Callum.”

            “Elspet’s right. I’m glad we had a hotel room in Iceland. We didn’t get one in Hydra, but I think we may need one here. Besides, I want to take a bath and have a place to rest. If there are over 100 islands, I’ll bet the pearl isn’t on this one. That would be too easy,” Fiona said. “Come on. Let’s see what we can find.” They walked down the palm tree lined street. “I’m thirsty. Should we get a drink first, before we find a hotel?”

            “Good idea, Fiona. There’s a place,” Elspet pointed. They headed for the outdoor café, Swaying Palms, and sat down at one of the tables. “This is colorful.” Each table setting had a bright orange placemat and napkins with lemony yellow trim. A clear glass tube filled with yellow, orange, red, and lime green jellybeans sat in the center of the table. “Are those jellybeans or stones?” She picked up the tube to look. “I think they are jelly beans. Should I try one?” Half a dozen stems stuck out from the top of the tube, each adorned with an orange-red tulip.

            “No, you’ll get into trouble. What if they’ve been in there a long time. They’d be dirty and you’ll get sick,” Fiona said.

            “I guess you’re right, but I bet they are jellybeans.” Yellow salt and pepper shakers in the shape of tropical fish sat on each side of the jellybean vase. A waiter came to take their order. “I think we all want lemonade.” Elspet looked for his name tag. “Thank you, John.”

            “Three lemonades,” he answered and disappeared into the cafe. When he returned he carried a clear glass pitcher filled half way with water and ice. Sliced limes, lemons, oranges and flower petals floated on top. “Here is your lemonade.” He put their glasses down in front of them. “I brought a pitcher of water, in case you are still thirsty after your lemonade. Enjoy.” John moved on to another table.

            “This is cool.” Callum sipped his lemonade. “Good stuff, but too sweet.”

            They watched as the waiter brought a tray of desserts to the people sitting at the table next to them. He put a platter down. “That looks good.” Elspet licked her lips. She drooled when John cut a slice of orange cake with pale yellow icing, shredded coconut, and tiny red flower petals scattered on top. He dollopped a spoonful of fresh cream on top. It melted in the warm air and drizzled over the cake. Another couple ordered cantaloupe balls, lemon pudding with whipped cream and sliced almonds, and an assortment of crackers and cheeses. “That looks even better.”

            “Elspet, just drink your lemonade. We’ll eat later. I think we should find a hotel room first.” They left the money and a tip on the tablecloth and headed down the street.  “How does this one sound?” Fiona looked at the sign. “Seaside Fantasy sounds like a good one to me.” Hearing no argument from her friends, they entered the hotel. When they walked into the lobby, Fiona gasped. “I’ve said wow before, but none of the wows will equal this. WOW! This is so cool.”

            “It’s done in mermaid and seaside stuff,” Callum said.

            The floor, for as far as they could see, was made of a pale shade of blue plexi-glass. Under it was the ocean. “I can see jellyfish, tropical fish like in the aquarium at school and look, there’s a seahorse.” Elspet wanted to lie down on the floor for a better look. “This is so cool. I just saw a yellow tang.”

            “I see them too. It feels weird to walk on it. It’s like we’re walking on the ocean.” Callum stared at the sea rolling and bubbling under his feet. “I hope I don’t get seasick.”

            “Look at that fountain!” Fiona turned to the center of the lobby. “It’s made of marble and there must be thousands of tiny plastic mermaids, starfish and other sea creatures bobbing up and down in the spray and bubbles.”

            The three ran over for a closer look. “It’s loud! I see little lobsters, crabs, dolphins, sea shells and look at all the tiny dots of color. They’re sparkly, like Magnus’s eyes. The color of the water even reminds me of his eyes,” Elspet said.

            White marble columns with glass tubes winding around them caught Callum’s attention. He ran over to one. “There are tiny plastic fish in here. They look real, like they’re swimming up and down the tubes.”

            They went from place to place, giggling with delight at everything they saw. A pond held lily pads and lotus blossoms of pink and white. Glass frogs sat atop each one. Clear plastic bubbles, each about three inches in diameter, floated on top of the pond. Inside them were smaller versions of the glass frogs “This is so so cool.” Callum wanted to reach out and touch them.

            Tiny crabs dug tunnels through a fish tank full of sand. Seashells lay scattered on top. A painted mural covered one entire wall. Elspet pointed to the dolphins leaping from the water. Others dove down a sea bottom covered with coral and colorful fish. “I could never paint anything that good,” Elspet said. She glanced at the furniture.“ The wood on the armchairs are carved with sea animals and that settee has an octopus on the back and its eight legs are the armrests!”

            “Have you ever seen anything like this even in your dreams? I haven’t,” Fiona said. “I’ve got to bring my mum here. She’d love it. She loves the sea.”

            “I’d like to bring Alastair and Malcolm here. Imagine the lads seeing all the fish. They’d have so much fun here,” Elspet said.

            “So would Shona and Murdoch,” Callum said.

            “I’d better check us in. It probably costs a fortune to stay here. I’ll be right back,” Fiona said.

            “Callum, come and see this.” Elspet ran towards the dining room.

            “What about Fiona?”

            “We’ll come right back, don’t worry.” Elspet disappeared around the corner. Callum ran after her and found her standing next to an ice sculpture. “It’s a mermaid and it’s huge. She’s surrounded by dolphins, like the ones in the mural.”

            They stared at the carved ice sitting in the middle of a table. Callum gaped at the figure. “Do you think it will melt?”

            “I’m sure it melts. They probably have a dozen of them in the freezer to replace it. Someone has to carve those. Imagine having a job where all you do all day is carve ice sculptures.” Elspet sighed.

            Punch bowls stood every few feet. Callum looked inside one. “There are orchids floating in the water and there are balls of ice with colored fish in the center of them. How did they do that? It’s making me thirsty.”

            “You just had a lemonade and three glasses of water, Callum,” Elspet said.

            Fiona came into the dining room. “Why didn’t you wait for me? I mean…Holy cow! Look at that piece of ice!”

            “Come and see this, Fiona.” Callum grabbed her hand. “The table cloths are pale aqua and see the water glasses? They’re etched with palm trees and tropical things, dolphins and fish.”

            “So are the dishes,” Fiona said. “I’m going to like staying here. My mum would love this!”

            “Did you get us a room?” Elspet looked for a key in Fiona’s hand.

            “I did. I had to pay a lot of money for it. Uncle Angus isn’t going to be too happy. I got us one on the third floor this time,” Fiona said. “He said we have a lovely view. I didn’t have to show my passport, but he’s going to be watching out for our parents. Let’s just avoid the front desk area as much as we can.”

            “Fiona, Callum, did you see the dishes? I’m not sure I want to put food on dishes this pretty.” Elspet picked up a plate. “They don’t have anything like this in Scotland.” Each dinner plate had bright blue trim. Just inside the trim was a circle of tiny fish, all different colors. “They look like they’re swimming around the plate.” In the center of the plate was a starfish, with its five legs sticking out. The center of the starfish was the same blue as the trim and its legs the same colors as some of the circling fish.

            “I wonder what our room will look like. If it’s this cool down here, I can’t wait to see the room. Before we go up, let’s go back into the lobby again. I want to see the fish swimming under the floor.” Callum headed for the main lobby.

            After fifteen minutes, Elspet and Fiona were able to pull Callum away and headed up to the third floor. “Here we are, room 339.” Fiona slipped the card into the slot and the door opened. “Before we go in here, let’s count to ten. Do you think it will be as pretty as downstairs? Are you ready?” They counted to ten and she threw the door open.

            Callum was first one through, followed by Elspet and then Fiona.

            “This bedroom is prettier.” Elspet threw herself on the king-sized bed.

            “Hey, there are only 2 beds. I get one to myself. Remember, you promised I would get the big bed when we were in Iceland,” Callum said.

            “That’s right. You pick the bed you want and Elspet and I will share the other one,” Fiona said.

            “Both beds look the same, so I’ll take this one.” Callum lay down on top of it. “It’s soft.”

            Each bed was covered with a spread that reached to the ground and was sea green in color. Pillows in the shape of fish lay from one side of the bed to the other. The sheets were a paler shade than the bedspread, with matching pillowcases. A vase of fresh flowers decorated the table. “What sort of flowers are these?” Fiona ran over to smell them. “Oh! Wow! They smell good. Elspet, you know a lot about flowers. What kind are these?”

            “Those pale purples ones are orchids, the yellow ones are hibiscus, the white ones are gardenia, and these are plumeria, which are also known as frangipani.”

            Callum, not interested in flowers, went into the bathroom. He shouted through. “The soaps are shaped like starfish and you should see this bathtub. Come here.”

      The bathtub was made of clear plexi-glass, like the floor in the lobby and real fish swam all around it, under and up the sides. “I’ll bet the floors of all the bathrooms are connected to some sort of giant tank and the fish swim from one end of the building to the other.” Callum climbed into the tub. “I feel like I’m under the sea. This is weird”       

      Elspet noticed the tiles on the walls. Each was a pale shade of greenish blue with a wave pattern surrounding a circle. Inside the circle was a seashell surrounded by water. “How did they do that?” Her fingers caressed the glass. “The towels have sea décor on them, the same pale sea green as the tiles. They’re embroidered with sea urchins, starfish and things. I want to stay in this place forever. What’s in that basket?” She ran over to it. “Look at all the balls. I think we’re supposed to play with them while we’re taking a bath.” She picked one up. “Each of them has a sea creature inside it and blue water. I want to take the first bath.”

            “We can’t take a bath right now. We have to go and find the pearl. Remember what Jimmy told us, and Uncle Angus too. The quicker we find the pearl and get home, the better. You two stay in here and look around if you want. I’m going to lie down for a few minutes.” Fiona climbed on her bed and closed her eyes. Immediately a picture of three peaks came into her mind.

            Callum came into the room and saw her sleeping. “Fiona, wake up. You’ve been asleep for half an hour. We need to go and find the pearl, like you said. Maybe we can have something to eat first? I’d like some of that orange cake.”

            Fiona sat up. “Is that all you think about, Callum? There’s more to life than food. We need some brochures. We need to find a place with three peaks.” They took the lift down to the lobby. Against a wall she saw table covered with brochures. “Over here,” Fiona said.

            They each picked up a handful and sat down on one of the settees.

            “Here’s something with three peaks.” Callum showed her the picture. “It’s an island called Silhouette Island.”

            “Another island. Well, I suppose we need to figure out a way to get to it. I hope it’s not too far away,” Fiona said. “There aren’t any other pictures of three peaks. This must be it.”

*  *  *

            Drayton went into the Waving Palms Hotel. “Now, to find myself a room.” He saw a group of people sitting on the settees in the lobby. He sat across from them, picking up a magazine and pretending to read it as he listened to their conversations. Half an hour later he knew the room numbers of each couple, where they were going for the day, how long they’d be gone and if they had money or not. After watching them leave the hotel, he headed to their rooms. “Ah good. They’re not computerized card locks, just the good old fashioned key locks.”

            Using a pick, he broke into the first room and quickly found their hidden money, credit cards and jewelry. Pocketing it all, he moved from room to room, relieving the guests of their left behind valuables. When he finished with the Waving Palms Hotel, he moved on to the next, doing the same thing. After three hours he had six thousand pounds worth of money in his pocket, along with ten platinum credit cards and several watches and rings. He stood out on the sidewalk and laughed. “That’s a nice haul for the morning,” he said. “I’ve got enough to live in style during my visit. I’ll let those brats find the jewel and I’ll take it easy, relaxing at the pool or maybe a private beach.”

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