Three days ago, INTERN arrived in England under Mysterious Circumstances—but even INTERN could not fathom just how mysterious they would turn out to be.
She was met at Heathrow by an anemic-looking footman dressed in purple velvet, who conducted her by stagecoach all the way to Cornwall, the stallions' hooves trampling the heather flat. At midnight, they arrived at a huge but crumbling castle, where the footman left INTERN without a word of explanation and took off at a gallop.
Inside the castle, INTERN climbed a stone staircase, her path lit only by the white LED on her keychain. At the top of the stairs was a wooden door. She opened the door to reveal a dimly lit office. An elderly man with slicked-back hair and a frilly lace collar looked up from his desk, narrowed his eyes, and said in a grating voice "So you've made it after all, INTERN—or should I say, Baroness Shamsbury-pon-the-Spoor."
At that moment a bat squeaked, and INTERN noticed the pile of legal documents sitting on the desk. Noticing her surprise, the elderly gentleman continued.
"Ah. I see that the news of your great-uncle's death comes as a shock to you. The old baron died of lead poisoning. You are his only heir. This castle will be yours, and the lands surrounding it too—if, of course, you can meet the condition."
INTERN looked around, taking in the rich furnishings and the antique stonework. With a castle of her own, and income from the peasants' rent, INTERN wouldn't have to do so many odd jobs. Techie Boyfriend wouldn't have to write another line of code. They could grow turnips in the courtyard and eat all the boiled nettles they liked.
"Sounds good!" said INTERN. "What's the condition?"
The lawyer cleared his throat and adjusted his tie with a leisurely, self-satisfied gesture.
"Your great-uncle was the executive editor of a publishing house."
"HOW COOL!" squealed INTERN.
The lawyer smirked.
"A failing publishing house. Not a single book published by Shamsbury-Pon-the-Spoor Editions has ever sold through. At the time of his death, your great-uncle muttered ceaselessly about a manuscript-a manuscript which he believed would be so commercially successful it would save the house. He died before he could publish it."
INTERN interrupted here to inquire: "What kind of manuscript? What was it called?"
The lawyer looked pained.
"Young Adult. Working title The Gales of Thistledown Moor."
"That title will have to go. But the category's hot."
Not looking amused, the lawyer went on.
"The condition of your inheritance is that you save Shamsbury-pon-the-Spoor Editions from bankruptcy by making a bestseller. Then—and only then-will the castle be yours."
"Done and done," said INTERN. "When can I get started?"
The old lawyer said nothing but gestured to a bookshelf. Thinking he was indicating the location of the manuscript for The Gales of Thistledown Moor, INTERN strode to the bookshelf and yanked out a blue folder.
A hidden mechanism within the bookshelf began to whine, and the bookshelf rotated slowly to reveal a hidden publishing office on the other side. As more of the hidden office came into view, the old man behind the desk stuffed his pipe with tobacco and lit it with a match. Smoke filled the room.
INTERN stepped through the passageway and the rotating bookshelf ground into place behind her.
Now, she was locked in—but where was the manuscript?