READ THIS FIRST – 4

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It’s probably time to explain the front door. Go up to the observatory. There’s a big red curtain covering a section of wall next to the lift – pull it to one side. See all those brass dials and cogs? I have absolutely no idea how they work. Dad said the mechanism is called an antikythera. He got very excited when he first saw it. Apparently this is the only time anyone’s got it to work, ever.

There’s an oil-can tucked away in an alcove at the bottom. You’ll need to drop a bit on each of the cogs whenever they start to squeak. Trust me, you don’t want this thing breaking down. The Collection would get stuck and being static is a bad thing. All those bosses I said would love to get their hands on this much knowledge? Yeah, they’d find you inside of a month. The Collection might be a legend to most people but enough of them believe that there’s plenty of informants out looking. Never stay anywhere longer than two weeks, is my advice.

I really hope you got here within a couple of weeks of me going, otherwise Rohini’s going to make a horrible mess. Has he come out to say hello yet? He’s surprisingly good at hiding, for something so big and orange. I think it’s the stripes.

Anyway, the big winding handle on the side of the machine is how you move the door. You need to crank it all the way round at least once. I usually give it a couple of turns, just in case. There’s another in a little cupboard by the front door, in case of emergencies, but it’s better if you use the main one. The cogs seem to jam up after using the emergency handle.

That’ll move the door, and if you can figure out how to control where it moves the door to then you’re doing better than we ever managed. Sanna used to say it took us to wherever The Collection was needed the most, but that makes it sound like it’s sentient. I promise you it isn’t. Yellow Hat told Dad it isn’t, and I believe it.

The door will end up anywhere there’s an empty rectangular space for it. That isn’t always convenient for you. We came out behind a waterfall once. This is where it gets properly weird, though. The Collection is attached to the door, and the door is attached to wherever its new frame is, but The Collection isn’t attached to the frame. The door ended up on the side of a freight carriage recently but I’m very sure the entirety of The Collection wasn’t sticking out the side of the train. That’s where I saw Yellow Hat for the first time, that train. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.

Come on, The Collection’s been in one place too long already. Get your gear ready and turn the handle. And when you go out, remember where you left the door!

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