So as it’s been Christmas this week, I haven’t had a chance to write anything, and just to ease us back into the routine, I thought another chapter of The Missing Papers would be a good idea.
You can catch up with each chapter below, before hurrying on to chapter nine. Hope you enjoy!
So if you’re all up to date: welcome to chapter nine and some exciting developments!
“You only want to go to the cathedral because of the so-called haunted tower,” Darrell told Julian with a laugh as they drew closer to the ruins.
“Haunted tower? I’ve not heard that the cathedral has a haunted tower,” Julian said with a wink at Sally who tried to stifle a giggle.
Darrell raised an eyebrow at Julian and poked his arm as she walked past him.
“You are terrible Julian. The worst liar I’ve ever come across, not that I’ve come across many,” she said with a cheeky smile. She grinned at Julian as David wandered along behind them.
Sally disentangled her arm from Julian’s as they reached the ruins and headed under the small archway into the walls of the cathedral. They took in the site of the ruined walls and the gravestones peeking out from the well-trimmed grass.
“So where’s this haunted tower then?” Julian asked with a chuckle as they wondered under and old archway on the left and looked up at the remains of the spire. The grey stone that the cathedral had been made out of was weathered but what remained of it seemed structurally sound. There were two big towers, one that looked almost ruined and one that was almost complete.
“I bet there’s no way up that tower,” Julian said in an almost sorrowful voice. “I bet the view from up there would be amazing.”
“It would certainly be something that is for sure.” David agreed. “I bet you could see most of the surrounding countryside and far out to sea. They could have used it to flash signals out to sea on stormy nights. I bet ships would have been thankful for any sort of light.”
Julian smiled a little; this was the kind of talk he was used to. David caught the grin on his face and good-naturedly rolled his eyes. The girls had wandered off to the end of the cathedral ruins just having a look at the old gravestones.
“I would have thought they would have a lighthouse for warning ships however,” Julian said with a small grin. “Not that I’ve seen any sign of a lighthouse around here.”
“Maybe we should take a stroll down to the harbour and see if there was ever a lighthouse,” David said, chuckling. Julian smiled at him and laughed as they started to stroll down the path towards where the girls had paused by the back wall of the cathedral.
“You’re beginning to know me too well,” Julian said with a grin as they met up with the girls.
“Found the haunted tower?” Darrell asked Julian with a cheeky grin.
“No, we were looking at the two tall towers,” Julian said with a chuckle looking down at Darrell as she stood next to him.
“Are you going to point me in the direction of the haunted tower then?” he asked with a grin at Darrell.
Darrell chuckled and turned around to face the wall on the side of the cathedral they had entered the ruin through. She pointed to the first tower next to the little archway.
“That one is the haunted tower. There’s not a lot of information about who exactly haunts it, but there is supposed to be a little tunnel that goes underground, into the foundations.” she said with a smile.
“You’ve been reading my local history text-book, haven’t you?” Sally asked her best friend astonished.
Darrell smiled at her. “I’m afraid I have. You did leave it lying around the room and I didn’t have anything to read at the time,” Darrell explained as David and Julian laughed at the two girls’ antics.
“You have so much English reading to do and you choose to read my history text-book?” Sally asked laughing. “You really are a donkey Darrell.”
Darrell laughed at her friend and took her arm encouragingly. They looked up at the small tower set into the wall and saw what could only be described as doorways into the tower. They went forward to examine them a little but saw that they were gated off.
“No exploring down there for you then Ju,” David teased his friend looking relieved that they couldn’t get down the dark holes. Julian flashed David a smile.
“There is always a way down,” he said simply. Julian laughed at the others and the apprehensive looks on their faces as they considered that he might ask them to accompany him down the dark tunnels of the haunted tower.
“You don’t think the tower really is haunted do you?” There was a smattering of nervous laughter from the others. Julian smiled at them and turned on his heel leading the way out of the cathedral.
“Let’s walk along the cliff road until we get to the edge of the golf course,” David suggested as they left the way they came and found themselves looking out over the grey sea.
“We should go and have a look at the ‘witches pool’ down that way as well,” Sally suggested as they turned left up the road and walked slowly along, enjoying the freedom for one day. Tomorrow they would be back to the work for their courses.
They ambled slowly along the road looking over the sea and peering at the castle ruins from the road. They passed by the back of the boys’ halls and down towards the golf course. There were light jokes and laughter as they walked, putting the stolen papers out of their minds for now. It was just fun to be together, not worrying about work or about getting to lectures.
They were in sight of the golf course when they came into view of the witches pool down in the rocks. It was a pool similar to the one they had seen by the castle, big thick walls of concrete set in the rocks which at full tide would be filled with cool sea water, perfect for bathing. Unlike the other pool by the cathedral, which appeared to always be filled with water, this pool looked like it would only be full with the tide.
“That must be why they built the other pool,” Julian said considering the large pool over the railings. “This one is bigger by far and has a platform there for sunbathing, but the other pool must always be full.”
“Shall we head down and have a look?” Darrell asked excitedly. “It’s not too dangerous a walk if we go down that little path there, and we’d be on sand. It’s not like Julian would be able to fall over and hurt himself again from that way.” Darrell shot Julian a teasing smirk as she spoke. Julian returned the smile with an air of good grace.
“I would like to know where you and Sally have got this idea that I’m likely to fall over on these rocks. I’m not a walking disaster,” he said with good humour.
“Well you managed to get yourself injured in a rugby game!” Sally pointed out with a laugh as David tried to stifle his own laughter at Darrell and Sally ganging up on Julian.
“People do get injured in rugby on the whole. It is a contact sport you know,” Julian said raising an eyebrow at Sally. Sally settled for a gently mocking smile at Julian’s comment. They tried to stare each other down and managed for all of five seconds before they both started to laugh. David and Darrell looked on at the two of them pityingly.
“Come on,” Darrell said nodding in the direction of the path down to the witches pool. “Let’s go and have a look if you’re so set on it.”
“Don’t go tripping over or slipping on seaweed Ju,” David said with a mocking edge to his voice. “We wouldn’t want to send you back up to the san now would we?” He chuckled as they walked down the sloping path to the bit of sand next to the pool. They reached the beach by the pool a few moments later and climbed on the thick wall the surrounded the pool.
“Careful,” David said as he helped Sally up. “It’s slippery in places,” he added as Sally almost slipped up and David had to catch her.
“It’s a big pool isn’t it?” Darrell called from the other end of the pool where she had walked to when she had got up on the wall. “Looks like it could hold the whole of the university.”
They all walked carefully around the pool on the big walls, looking out to sea and amongst the rocks. Darrell turned from her place on the corner of the pool and was just about to say something when something in the cliff face caught her attention.
“Look!” She pointed where she was looking to a jut in the cliff face in which there was the mouth of a cave.
“You wouldn’t be able to see that from anywhere but here and if you were standing somewhere directly in front of it,” Julian said curiously. They all looked at the cave for a moment.
“You could hide things in there and no one would ever know,” David remarked mildly after a minute.
“You mean like smugglers’ goods?” Darrell asked with a chuckle. She considered this idea carefully however. “I don’t think I would have been surprised if it was used for storing smuggled goods at one point,” she added mildly.
“I bet at high tide you could get a small boat almost all the way up to the cave without being seen,” said Julian with a small smile. “Maybe we should go and have a look?”
“No!” the other three said together, though they were laughing.
“At least not until you can look after yourself without doing more damage!” Sally said poking Julian’s arm to make him turn around and go back the way they had come. Julian turned grudgingly and headed slowly back towards the pathway off the beach.
“Spoil sport,” he muttered to Sally as he gave her a hand to get down off the wall of the pool when he had got down himself. Sally took his hand and jumped onto the sand. She smiled winningly at Julian.
“You know I’m right,” she said brightly, clearly teasing him. Julian managed a small smile at her.
“I may concede that occasionally you might be right,” he said with a chuckle as he held out his hand to help Darrell down on to the sand as well. Sally had to laugh.
“You two will be the death of each other, I’m almost certain of it,” Darrell said as she walked up the sand to the path as David jumped down on to the sand.
“Well at least Sally’s not allowed in the laboratory when we’re doing experiments. She’d be a liability!” David teased.
“How would I be a liability?” Sally asked astonished.
“You would be trying to start an argument with everyone in the class about how they’re all training to blow up the world!” Julian teased her, putting his good arm around her shoulders and giving her a quick squeeze.
Sally’s cheeks flushed scarlet. “Am I really that bad?” she asked quietly. Julian and David shared a look over Sally’s head as Darrell tried not to laugh. Darrell knew the boys were winding Sally up, and she knew that Sally knew but there was something sincere in her friend’s voice that told her that Sally really did want to know if she was being difficult.
“No, Sally, you are not bad in the slightest,” David said seriously. “However it is quite funny when you start on Julian about developing an atom bomb,” he added with a teasing glint in his eye. Sally smiled at him, slightly reassured.
“It would be a lot funnier if you started including David in your little pep talks about how we’re going to blow up the world though,” Julian said giving David a shove on the shoulder-blade. Sally smirked and shared an amused glance at Darrell who slipped her arm through her friends.
“Where should we go now?” Darrell asked as they rejoined the main path that led to the expanse of smooth golden sand the walked slowly along the path.
“We could always just wander in the rock formations,” Sally said quietly, “I don’t fancy struggling along against just wind and sand.”
“Oh yes, let’s add seaweed and rocks as well!” David said sarcastically. Sally sent him a withering look. David smiled first.
“Alright,” Darrell said with a laugh. She looked at Julian who was looking a little confused. “Oh dear, Julian, have we confused you?” she asked tucking her arm through his good one with a laugh. She didn’t let him get a word in edge wise though as she pulled him towards the beach saying, “I wouldn’t try and fight it if I were you. As long as it doesn’t look like you’re going to need two hands to climb over rocks, Sally won’t tell you off for not being careful.” Darrell flashed him a smile as she talked.
Julian had to laugh. He really liked Darrell; she was fun and practical at the same time. Here was a girl with a head on her shoulders who knew when to be serious and when to let go a little. He let Darrell lead him towards the rocks knowing the Sally and David were behind them.
They spent a good half an hour amongst the rocks exploring all the little nooks and crannies. They marvelled at the rock pools and shells that were lying around. Julian found himself somewhere to sit after a while, his shoulder aching. He was sure that the sister wouldn’t have been happy to know that he’d been out all day instead of staying inside and resting. He was sitting on a big rock that was quite high, looking out towards the sea.
“Ahoy up there!” David called looking up at Julian from his place on the sand. “Can you see any smugglers up there?” he teased.
Julian laughed. “No, can’t see a single one!” he called back and David continued on, leaving Julian to look at the coastline around him. Sally was the next one to talk to Julian. She climbed up the rock as best she could and managed to sit down next to him. She was thankful that she had managed to pin her hair so firmly in place that morning because the wind was beginning to whip up a gale on the beach.
“Good view up here,” Sally commented as she wiggled herself more firmly into place. She could see that he was tired if nothing else. “How are you holding up? Are we being a bit insensitive to your need to rest?”
Julian looked at her and chuckled a little bit. “No, I would be urging you to be doing things if you three were trying to get me to go easy,” he said with another chuckle. He smiled at Sally who smiled bashfully back before turning her head to look out over the sea. Julian smiled to himself and copied her.
“I’m fine, honest,” he said after a moment’s silence as Darrell and David called to each other about little dips in the rock they had found a little further up the beach. “Thank you,” he added after a moment.
“What are you thanking me for?” Sally asked looking startled.
“For generally stopping me hurting myself again,” Julian said with a smile. “I do really appreciate it.” He gently took Sally’s hand that was resting on her lap and gave it a little squeeze as if to say thank you. Sally didn’t pull her hand away; it felt nice to have her hand in Julian’s. She was sure she could sit quite happily like this for a long time if David’s voice hadn’t carried over the rush of the wind shouting to Darrell about finding another rock pool. Carefully they let each other’s hand go. There was a slight blush to both their faces as they feel into silence trying to come across a topic of conversation.
“I like your brooch,” Julian said finally landing on something he felt was a safe subject. He hoped he didn’t seem too sheepish at this approach. Sally bowed her head a little and looked at the broach.
“Thank you. It was a birthday present from my parents,” she explained smiling bashfully. She wondered silently if now was not the time to put her and Darrell’s plan in order. She decided that she would leave it until another day which would maybe give her some chance to find something that didn’t have such sentimental value. She would hate it if anything happened to her brooch and her parents would be less than thrilled at her if she had to tell them that she had indeed lost it. Sally smiled a little to herself as she thought, ‘I would be almost as bad as Belinda and Irene.’ 
“Your parents have good taste,” Julian said smiling at her as she got lost in her own little world for a moment.
Sally smiled at him. “Thank you. I’m sure they will be happy to hear that,” she said with a smile. She looked over her shoulder to see Darrell and David half way up the beach on the rocks.
“I’m not entirely sure they’ve realised how far they’ve gone,” Julian remarked with a grin. “Do you think we should call them back?” he asked Sally with a laugh, “Or let them realise themselves?”
Sally turned her face back to answer him when a movement some way off caught her eye. She twisted around to look back across the beach. She pulled on Julian’s arm to get his attention and slowly pointed where she was looking.
“Does that look like Thomas to you?” she asked curiously.
Julian looked briefly over his shoulder and noticed the familiar face of Thomas Ainsworth on the beach behind them.
“Yes, it does,” Julian said in a disinterested voice. He turned around and looked back over the sea. He wasn’t interested in talking to Thomas; after all he had been the reason that he had spent the night in the san.
Sally was watching Thomas looking slightly confused. He seemed to be waiting for someone or something. He was pacing up and down a little patch of sand just by the outcrop of the cliff. Sally was just about to turn back to Julian when she saw someone else come down onto the beach and walk quickly over to where Thomas was. Sally found herself pulling on Julian’s arm again.
“Look!” she hissed urgently, wanting him to see this. Julian grudgingly turned to look where Sally had pointed before.
“That looks like Anthony,” he said slowly becoming interested as he watched Thomas and Anthony, apparently having a heated conversation. Julian wished he could sneak up and have a listen to their conversation, but he was sure that he would be seen if he tried. Julian was pretty sure that the last time he had seen Thomas and Anthony anywhere near each other the former had been throwing food in Anthony’s direction.
“I wonder what they have to talk about,” Julian said, his interest plain. Sally looked at him and managed a smile.
“It might be about politics?” Sally suggested with a raised eyebrow.
“I didn’t think Ainsworth had a brain for politics,” Julian said harshly. Sally looked at him in surprise; she had not heard that tone of voice come from him before. She was just going to ask him why he was being unnecessarily harsh towards Thomas when she remembered that it had been Thomas who had put Julian in the san last night.
They both looked round again at the two boys talking and were surprised to see one last frustrated gesture from Thomas who then stalked off towards the golf club, leaving Anthony behind him.
“How peculiar,” Sally remarked as they turned back to face the sea. Julian nodded in agreement his adventurous mind running over a thousand possibilities to that strange meeting they had just witnessed.
“Yes. It was quite peculiar,” he said quietly looking at Sally. He managed a grin. “I’m sure there’s a perfectly innocent explanation for it really,” he assured her though he wasn’t convinced that it was as innocent as Sally might readily believe.
Sally however had a strange feeling in her gut when Julian tried to reassure her. “You might be convinced of that fact, Mr Kirrin,” she said with a glint in her eyes, “but I do believe that was a meeting no one was supposed to see.” She broke into a huge smile as Julian threw back his head and laughed at her statement.
“Why Miss Hope! I never thought you would join the club!” Julian said with a laugh.
“What club?” Sally asked confused.
“The adventure club,” Julian said with a chuckle. “I know that glint in your eye. There are many times when I’ve seen that glint.”
Sally laughed. “Alright, I admit that something about that doesn’t sit well with me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be looking for adventures with you Julian!” Sally said laughing at him, making to get up from her rocky seat. She stood up and looked down at Julian who was looking up at her.
“Shall we go and get some lunch?” she asked with a smile as Julian scrambled to his feet in a lopsided manner.
“Lunch sounds like a very good idea,” Julian agreed with a wide smile.
They were all sitting in a small cafe on the high street waiting for their food, as Sally described to Darrell and David what she had seen on the beach between Thomas and Anthony. The other two were quite for a moment after she finished her story.
“How odd,” Darrell said after a moment’s consideration.
“It does seem very strange considering that Thomas was throwing food at Anthony only a few weeks ago.” David agreed thoughtfully. “Of course Anthony keeps himself to himself on campus. I’ve not seen him with anybody, and no one is very likely to try to befriend him at the moment.”
“Especially not now,” Julian added significantly. “Well the papers have been stolen haven’t they?” he explained to their confused faces. “Everyone’s going to expect it to have been carried out by some Russian. Anthony fits the bill well there. He hardly fits in here.”
“Though you would have expected a Russian spy to blend in as much as possible,” Darrell said in a hushed voice, leaning forward. “I mean you wouldn’t send someone who stands out like a sore thumb would you?” They all considered this.
“Unless,” Sally said slowly an idea unfolding in her mind. “Unless they thought that sending someone who is as obvious as Anthony would throw a lot of people off the scent.”
“You have a really worrying mind, did you know that?” David asked Sally looking amazed. She blushed at his praise as Julian gave her arm a comforting squeeze. Darrell was grinning at her with pride.
“That’s Sally alright. She’s not just a pretty face,” Darrell said with a smile. Sally found herself blushing even more.
“Aren’t we getting a little bit ahead of ourselves here?” David asked as their food appeared. “I mean we’ve nothing to go on that it was those two. You saw them from a great distance Sally. Not that I disbelieve you,” he added quickly holding up a pacifying hand to her as she opened her mouth to protest. “How can you be sure that it was Thomas and Anthony? It could have been one or the other, or neither,” he pointed out sensibly.
“Next you’re going to say how this burglary at the university has got us all imaging things!” Julian said darkly at David.
“Well it might have done!” David said reaching for the salt. “All I’m saying is that you could be mistaken and that if you aren’t who is to say that the meeting was anything to do with spies and papers and things?” David looked quite indignant when he’d finished.
“I’ve seen things that looked less fishy than that and there’s been a mystery at the end of it,” Julian said staunchly as he tucked into his food.
David looked at him from over his mug of coffee. “So let me ask you this, how many times have you got to the end of an adventure and found that the person you thought you were after wasn’t the one you ended up handing over to the police?” David asked in a slightly sarcastic voice.
Julian stared at him for a moment and the girls had stopped eating. Julian fought to keep his voice steady as he replied. “There have been a few times, but the conversations and clues all made sense at the time.”
David had the grace to look abashed. “Sorry,” he muttered after a second, looking a bit red in the face.
Julian relaxed a little and smiled. “No damage done. I know things change as things unfold, but you can’t ignore a meeting like that. You also said it was strange,” he pointed out taking a drink from his mug of tea.
David gave a conceding nod in Julian’s direction as he had his mouth full.
“So what would you suggest we do with this… clue, then Julian?” Darrell asked looking from David to Julian. “Do we leave it or try to do something about it?”
“I don’t know,” Julian allowed himself to say. “It would be hard to try to follow both of them.”
“I’m sure Ainsworth wouldn’t mind if it was Sally following him! He’d probably take her everywhere,” David said slyly with a teasing wink at Sally.
Sally frowned a little at the boys though she understood that they were teasing her ever so slightly. “Why wouldn’t he mind?” she asked, slightly confused as the boys shared a meaningful look between them. David’s look to Julian was far more meaningful than Julian’s was. Julian was simply staring stonily at David.
“Well Ainsworth likes you,” David pointed out carefully. “Otherwise he wouldn’t keep coming over and talking to you.”
Sally rolled her eyes. She wasn’t naive when it came to boys but this little moment of non-communication between Julian and David puzzled her.
“He would soon work out if anyone was following him,” Darrell said to break the silence. “He’s not that stupid, and anyway, who’s to say that he’s involved. Lord knows what that conversation between him and Anthony was,” she pointed out as she reached for her mug of tea. Darrell looked at Julian’s crestfallen face and David’s slightly relieved one.
“Darrell’s right,” Sally agreed after a moment of thought. She had almost been looking forward to getting stuck into a proper adventure, but she was now thankful for her best friend’s common sense. Sally wondered why her usual steady sensible streak had deserted her that morning, and suddenly felt a little foolish. She had no idea what had come over her. Sally didn’t stop for a second that it might have had something to do with impressing Julian.
Julian seemed to accept their suggestions with good grace and they all got on with their food. The topic of conversation was steered away from the strange conversation that Julian and Sally had seen on the beach that morning.
“I wonder if we’ll have lectures tomorrow,” David said sitting back in his seat when he finished.
“I’m sure we probably will do,” Sally said smiling a little. “I’m sure the lecturers won’t want to lose too much time and there is a lot of work to do.”
“Please don’t mention work,” Julian groaned at her. He fumbled in his pocket for the medication he had got that morning and took out one of the painkillers. “I hate to think how much work I’ve still got left to do.”
“Are you telling me that you’re not all up to date with all of your work Julian?” Darrell asked with a giggle.
Julian looked at her and smiled. “I’m fairly up to date with everything actually,” he said with a grin. “However there’s still most of the semester to go through and there will be a lot of work.” Julian stood up as he spoke and pulled his blazer on. The others followed suit and just as Sally put her coat she realised as she straightened it that she’d lost her brooch. She groaned.
“What is the matter?” Darrell asked astonished.
“My brooch, it seems to have come off my coat!” Sally said with disappointment radiating off of her. She looked very annoyed.
“Well it can’t have gone far,” Darrell said getting down on her knees and checking under the table. The boys checked around them in the cafe as well as Sally checked her pockets.
“I can’t see it,” David said apologetically to Sally. “Maybe we should retrace your steps. Where was the last place you remember having it.”
“Look who has turned detective now,” Julian muttered slyly to David, who smirked.
Sally ignored the boys quibbling and said to Darrell, “the last time I saw it was when we were heading off the beach, those steps by the cliff.”
“Well let’s head back the way we came and see if we can find it,” David suggested stopping short of punching Julian on the shoulder for being an ass.
“Well what might be better is if we split up. If you and Darrell walk back the way we came,” Julian said to Sally and Darrell. “David and I can go and check if it’s on the beach.”
“I think that maybe, I should go with David and Sally ought to go with you Julian. I don’t mean to cause offence but right now you boys are far more likely to start playing the fool than actually do the searching,” Darrell pointed out to the boys. She raised an eyebrow waiting for objections, but with good grace David and Julian allowed her point to stick.
“Well shall we set off then?” Sally said impatiently. The others decided it would be best to start off while there was a chance of still finding the brooch. Sally was kicking herself for actually losing her brooch. She knew that Darrell would think she had done it on purpose as she’d had no time to tell her friend that she wasn’t going to go ahead with their plan today. Darrell smiled a little at Sally as they made their way out of the cafe as if to congratulate her on her work putting the plan into action.
They set off out of the shop, Sally and Julian taking a short cut to the beach and David and Darrell retracing their steps from the beach to the cafe. Sally hurried as much as could to the outskirts of the town by the beach. She didn’t look at the sea or the rocks but hurried down one of the set of steps down to the beach and then turned to take the ones that they had used earlier.
Julian felt that maybe it would the wrong time to tell Sally not to panic; it probably wouldn’t go down too well. He dutifully started searching the area of sand by the steps. He got down on his knees to try to balance himself better, his left arm being pretty useless . They searched in silence, creeping along the beach towards the rocks they had been climbing on earlier. Julian was near the place where they had seen the conversation between Anthony and Thomas take place when he felt something small and solid under his hand as a piece of paper fluttered past his face.
Forgetting about his bad shoulder for a split second Julian grabbed at the piece of paper as his other hand curled around the small object that was covered by a thin layer of sand that had blown over it. As his he caught the fluttering piece of paper with in his hand the jerky movement dislodged his shoulder for a second and caused him a spasm of pain. He let out a grunt and doubled over, his left arm clamped tightly over his shoulder, the piece of paper screwed up in his fist. The movement had taken his breath away so he knelt still for a moment, still doubled over in pain, as Sally came running over to see if he was alright. Julian could feel the shape of a brooch in his right hand and handed it up to her, waving her questions away.
“Is it the one?” Julian managed to gasp sitting down on the sand, his arm still clasped to his shoulder, looking up at Sally. Sally looked at the brooch that Julian had given her and it was indeed the one her parents had given her for her eighteenth birthday. She smiled at him and sat down on the sand next to him.
“Yes it is. Thank you,” Sally said softly reaching for his left hand and giving it a light squeeze. “Now what have you done to yourself?” she asked motioning to his shoulder.
“Moved too quickly,” Julian explained bashfully. He wasn’t used to being so fragile and despised himself for showing such weakness.
“Well that was silly of you,” Sally said rolling her eyes of him. “What is on that piece of paper you’re clutching?” she asked trying to draw Julian’s attention away from the pain and feeling sorry for himself. Julian handed over the bit of paper he had caught.
Sally smoothed it out and looked at it. She frowned a little and looked up at Julian.
“I think you ought to have a look at this,” she said quietly. “It looks like complex calculations; I can almost make one or two of them out, but nothing more.”
Julian took the piece if paper back from Sally and studied it himself for a moment or two. They could hear David and Darrell’s chatter as they headed down to the beach. A light suddenly dawned on Julian.
“I do believe they are some very advanced physics calculations. I can make some of it out,” He said to Sally as Darrell and David made their way across the beach to them. “But most of this is beyond me.” He looked at Sally and a smile spread across his face. “I think it might be one of the stolen papers.”
Sally gaped at him as David and Darrell stopped just by them.
“Well, did you find your brooch?” Darrell asked her friend, kneeling down on the sand, with David taking up a set on Julian’s other side.
“Yes, found it in the sand here. Well Julian found it actually,” Sally said honestly, giving praise where praise was due. Julian smiled a little and handed David the piece of paper he had caught as the wind whipped around them. The girls constantly had to smooth their hair down out of their faces.
“What do you make of that?” Julian asked David as his friend read through the paper. “I can only follow it up to a point and then it’s rather lost on me. Can you make any of it out?”
David gaped at the others, the paper held lightly between his fingers, likely to be blown out of his hand at any moment. Darrell reached across and took the paper from his unresisting fingers.
“I would say that was jolly strange, considering that it has to be one of Professor Doaty’s papers that were stolen,” David said soberly.
“What does all this mean?” Darrell asked studying the paper and then looking up at the boys. She handed the paper back to Julian.
“It’s got to be something to do with the experiment old Dotty’s been working on,” Julian explained quietly making sure that there was no one else around. “The one he was working on with my uncle,” he added in an even quieter tone so that the others had to strain to hear him over the roar of the waves and wind.
“Where did you find it exactly?” Darrell asked leaning forward in her excitement.
“It just flew into my face,” Julian explained shrugging, “I think it came from over by the witches pool, but there’s no way to be sure, the wind could have blown it in from anywhere along this part of the coast really.”
“Well I don’t think it would have blown that far,” Sally said quietly, “I mean at the time you caught it, there was barely a breeze. I don’t think that it could have come further than the steps in any direction.” The others considered this.
“You do have a point there,” Julian said after a minute’s consideration. The wind was loud but it really wasn’t that strong. The sea was making more noise than the wind. They all looked at the paper in Julian’s hand for a moment.
“I think we should hand this over to the police,” Darrell said after a moment. “I don’t think it would be right to keep it.”
“Darrell’s right,” Sally agreed with her friend. “We should give it to them and tell them what we saw just in case it’s important.”
Julian frowned. He was still a used to giving the orders. He could see their point about handing the paper over and he had been thinking the very same, but he was unsure about telling the police what they had seen.
“I think that sounds like a good plan,” said David looking apologetically at Julian. David seemed to sense that Julian wanted a bit of adventure more than the girls did.
“I don’t think that they really need to know about Ainsworth and Anthony,” Julian said after a moment. “I mean we don’t know that the conversation between the two of them was anything to do with the missing papers,” he pointed out, being careful about how he phrased his words.
“That’s very true,” Darrell said with a small smile. “You two weren’t in earshot at all were you? I mean Thomas could have been asking Anthony why he was in the pharmacy.”
They all looked carefully at each other; Sally could tell that they were all thinking the same thing. None of them believed that Thomas would ask Anthony why he was in a pharmacy. There wasn’t anything strange about anyone going into a pharmacy. None of them were going to say it, but it was hard to see what else the two boys had been talking about apart from the missing papers.
“Well I suppose the police will be talking to all the students from different countries anyway,” David said shrugging. “If Anthony’s got any sense then he’ll mention the conversation and what they talked about.”
“If he’s got any sense he’ll mention where he was this morning,” Darrell said firmly.
“Well only if he’s asked,” Julian pointed out carefully. “They will only want to know where he was during the night.”
“Maybe you should go and tell them that you saw a light in the study?” David asked Julian, looking up from where he had been drawing a pattern in the sand.
“That could have been anything really,” Julian said with a sigh, moving back a little so he could lean back against the rock of the cliff. The others looked at him. Darrell raised an eyebrow.
“How can a strange light in an office in the middle of the night when papers have been stolen be ‘anything’?” Darrell asked in a hard voice.
Julian looked at her in surprise. “You seem to forget I was on pain killers,” he reminded her quietly. “It could have easily imagined it.”
“Are you listening to yourself?” Darrell asked incredulous. “You’re supposed to chomping at the bit here to jump into an adventure and you doubt what you saw?” Darrell rubbed her nose and shook her head. “Are you sure you didn’t get a bump on your head yesterday in the rugby scrum as well as a dislocated shoulder?” she asked snidely.
Julian bristled at the attack. Sally wasn’t looking at either of them and David looked uncomfortable. Julian knew he was being rather wet about all of this, but he was sure that all of these things were coincidences and would have no interest to the police. He wondered for a second whether he was faltering in his leadership abilities because he wasn’t used to having adventures without his brother, sister and cousin. He didn’t want to snap back at Darrell, and fought to hold his tongue. He swallowed and looked at her carefully. Darrell’s steady gaze held his, her chin stuck out slightly in a way that reminded him of George.
“I’m pretty sure that I didn’t get hit on the head,” Julian said repeating the same answer as he had given David earlier, eventually to Darrell in a quiet even voice. Darrell blushed. Julian continued;
“I’m just not sure if any of this goes together as much as I want it to. It all seems a rather large tangle of coincidences, and I’m not sure that the police would take very kindly to us telling them about everything we’ve seen and put together. We’ll have to find someone to give this bit of paper to, but I really can’t see any reason why we would need to tell them about everything we’ve seen.”
Darrell who was fair-minded and now realised that she had been wrong to question Julian’s judgement in this matter. She knew that Julian knew a lot more about the police’s attitude towards people who claim to know things when in the middle of an investigation more than she would. Darrell had never really had what she would classify as a proper adventure in her life.
She smiled bashfully at Julian. “I apologise for the things I said,” Darrell said, gracefully looking very apologetic.
Julian smiled at her. “I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer,” he said with a grin, extending his good arm to give her hand a shake. Darrell smiled and shook his hand as David and Sally rolled their eyes at each other.
“Well then,” David said, suddenly bored. He got to his feet and brushed the sand off his coat. “We should really find someone to give that bit if paper to.” The others nodded and got up off the sand. David helped Julian to his feet when he figured out that he couldn’t get upon his own.
David grinned at him. “No more rugby for you if you’re this delicate. I don’t fancy having to push you everywhere if you break a leg or an ankle,” he teased Julian.
Julian rolled his eyes at David, but laughed. They made their way back to the university campus, at a slow pace because Julian was beginning to flag. However much he wanted to carry on as normal the energy he had been running off since that morning were beginning to wear out. Decently the others made no comment about their slow progress and were happy to wander along the streets at a steady pace.
Julian was growing ever more frustrated with himself as he tried to pick up the walking pace and was unable to. The tiredness was really getting to him and even though there was an adventure in the air part of him couldn’t wait to get back to his room and go to sleep. Julian realised with a stab of dread that he was growing up, and grownups didn’t go sniffing around for adventures. By the time they reached the university, he wasn’t in a very good mood.
It took ten minutes to find a policeman who would believe that they had something important to share, and another ten for the officer in charge to be found and private room secured so they could tell him what they had found.
“Well now,” said the inspector when they had sat down in the seminar room. “What have you lot found that is so important?” he asked in his broad Scottish accent. Without any ceremony or talking Julian laid the piece of paper he had found on the desk in front of the officer.
“Where did you find this?” the man said in astonishment. Julian explained how the paper had come fluttering along in the wind and how he’d caught it while looking for Sally’s brooch. The inspector looked up from the paper he was holding in his hands and looked at Julian and the others. All of them looked honest, and he had no real reason to doubt their story.
“Thank you,” he said putting the paper aside and looking at them all. “Just before you go,” he added as they made to leave. “This is just procedure you understand, but where were you all last night between midnight and one?”
“In bed, asleep,” David said looking a little taken aback.
“So were we,” Darrell said motioning to Sally.
“I was in the san,” Julian said hoping that he wouldn’t have to explain why.
“Where are your halls?” the inspector asked David, Darrell and Sally.
“We’re in the rooms on campus, university halls,” Sally told the inspector.
“We’re in St Salvator’s,” Julian said motioning to himself and David.
“One last question young man,” said the inspector motioning at Julian, “Did you see or hear anything last night that seemed a little strange?” Julian looked at the inspector and wondered about what to tell him about last night.
“I did see a light on in one of the studies Sir, about midnight,” Julian said honestly. He looked at the inspector who raised an eyebrow.
“Could you tell me approximately which room and floor this was on?” the inspector asked Julian clearly interested in what he had to say. Julian explained as much as he could. The inspector took some notes when he had finished and thanked them all for their time.
They trooped out of the room in silence, unsure what to say until they were out of earshot of the police.
“I think you made a friend in there,” David said eventually to Julian as they made their way downstairs and out into the cold air. Julian smiled a little at David, making for a bench to sit down on, that was out of the wind.
“I think you certainly did the right thing in telling him about the light,” Darrell agreed, sitting down on Julian’s right side and grinning at him. “I think he was very impressed. Did you ever consider becoming a policeman?” she asked with a grin as David and Sally stood in front of them. Julian smiled a little at the question and shrugged his good shoulder.
“I don’t think my parents would have approved,” he said with a grin. Darrell chuckled.
“I suppose not, well why are you not studying law then?” she asked with a sudden inspirational flash. “That’s almost like policing, except you don’t have to do the actual sleuthing.” She grinned. Everyone laughed at her, she seemed so excited by the idea.
“I’m not sure,” Julian said truthfully. “I guess I would have rather been catching criminals than just getting them locked up,” he said with a grin. He stifled a yawn and shook his head.
“It’s no good,” he said apologetically. “I’m actually going to have to go and have a rest. I promised the sister I wouldn’t do much today and that hasn’t happened,” he said with a grin at the others. He stood up and looked apologetically at them.
“Do you want to come and sit up in our common room?” Sally asked gently, touching his arm to get his attention. Julian smiled down at her but shook his head.
“A nice a thought as that is, I think I should actually go and have a lie down,” he said apologetically. The others smiled sympathetically at him. Julian wished they wouldn’t, it made him feel worse than he already did.
“Would you like us to walk back to St Salvator’s with you?” Darrell asked standing up and pulling her coat straight.
Julian shook his head tiredly, “thank you, but I’ll be fine,” he said with a small smile. He just wanted to be on his own right now, his shoulder was throbbing terribly. He pulled his bag a little more securely on to his good shoulder, said his goodbyes and left the other three.
David looked over his shoulder at Julian’s retreating back, a frown on his face. Darrell looked at him curiously.
“A penny for your thoughts?” she asked David with a grin as they started walking towards the library for some warmth.
“Oh it’s nothing,” David said as they got to the library doors. “Just wonder what it must be like in Julian’s head that’s all.” He chuckled a little and smiled reassuringly at the girls.
“You don’t think he has the right idea about wanting this to turn out to be an adventure?” Darrell asked him shrewdly.
“Well I think he may want it to turn into something a little too much,” David accepted. “I’m no dab hand at adventures, but it all seems a bit like he’s pulling at straws,” he said honestly. Darrell and Sally considered this.
“I think he’s used it things turning up in front of him,” Sally said after a moment. “I don’t think he necessarily goes out of his way to find an adventure, but they sort of land on him.” She grinned bashfully. “Also he’s used to people around him being keyed up for an adventure, the same as him. We’re not running around looking for an adventure like he’s used to I suppose.”
“And we’re all the same age, so he can hardly boss us around can he?” Darrell said with a wink. She chuckled a little as they made their way through the library to their usual seats. Sally smiled politely at the joke, deep in thought.
“We shall see I suppose,” David said, pushing a book that was sticking out from the shelf back into its place.
“I wonder who’s got the papers,” Darrell said quietly after a moment of silence. “Whoever it is must be feeling on edge.”
“I wonder how calculated you have to be to pull off something like this,” David said carefully. “I mean is it a crime of opportunity or is it planned down to the last detail?”
“Probably planned down to the last detail,” Sally said, bringing her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them to keep her balance on the uncomfortable wooden chair. “I can’t see someone leaving a robbery like this to chance can you? Someone has to know how important those papers are.” Something dawned on Sally as she spoke; she took a few seconds to mull it over in her mind wondering if Julian had thought of the same thing.
“Didn’t Julian’s uncle almost get burgled a few weeks ago?” she asked quietly. David and Darrell looked at her in astonishment.
“Yes, at least that is what it said in the paper,” David said leaning forward in his seat looking interested.
“And wasn’t Professor Kirrin working with Professor Doaty?” Darrell asked, getting excited as she thought she could see where Sally was taking this train of thought.
David allowed himself a small smirk. “You think these two incidents may be related?” David asked Sally, now leaning back in his chair and looking at her in admiration.
“Well it’s a possibility,” Sally said eagerly. “I mean if one professor’s house almost gets burgled, and then there’s another burglary, but this one succeeds, especially if they’re working together, the two cases must be related surely?” she concluded with gleam in her eye.
The three of them sat in their seats in a sort of stunned silence. They all grinned at each other.
 See the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton