Star Stone Trilogy – Book One: Yii Chapter Six (cont.)

Sarah got a fright one day when, searching for the secret door, she nearly bumped into a man she had not seen before, presumably one of the dons (the university teachers). He looked at her disapprovingly, peering over his glasses, a sour faced man, who’s slight stoop with head thrust forward made him look almost snake like. Sarah shivered.
‘So, what are you doing here?’ he asked in a rather creaky voice, as though she had no right to exist.
‘I’m just exploring the college,’ she said. ‘I live here, you know; in the Rector’s Lodging.’
‘You must be the niece, then. Just mind you don’t get into places where you shouldn’t be, or disturb people who are working.’ And with that he turned his back and walked away.
As Sarah stood there, stunned, Alec walked by. ‘Are you all right, Miss?’ he said. ‘You look as though you’d seed a ghost.’
‘He does look a bit like a ghost; he was thoroughly unpleasant. Whoever is that man?’
‘Oh!’ said Alec. ‘That would be Professor Sneddon. He’s the Professor of Early English History, Language and Literature: very, very clever, but a strange one, if I may say so. Not much liked by the college servants.’
‘Well, I didn’t like him one bit,’ said Sarah. ‘He came out of nowhere, and was very rude.’
‘Best steer clear of him, Miss,’ said Alec. ‘I don’t know much about it, but they say some treasure was hidden away years ago. During a civil war, I think they said. And he is searching for it. Me – I wouldn’t trust him with it.’
Sarah asked Uncle Alexander about the treasure, and he confirmed what she had heard. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘we are sure that college treasures were hidden away at the time of the civil war in 1642 when the king brought his army to Oxford. The king took much wealth from the colleges, at Sherborne leaving only two chalices and two flagons for use in the chapel. For fear of losing these remarkably valuable treasures they were hidden away in a secret place for safety – not just priceless treasures, but treasures which were sacred, powerful and believed to bring great benefit to their resting place. We don’t know where they are, and we really need to find them.’
‘I originally asked Professor Sneddon to help find them’ he added, ‘but now I wonder if he has designs on the treasure – but that is for your ears only. The college badly needs those treasures. If you can help search I’d be grateful. There are all sorts of hidden byway in these old buildings, so you can explore as you will. But whatever you do, you must keep out of Professor Sneddon’s way.’

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