Half an hour later Charlie was heading for the library, laptop in hand. He slipped inside, gently closing the double doors behind him. The action earned him a frown of reproof from the librarian whose name, according to her badge, was Miss Grimbly.
“You. The tall student with the hair. That’s not how we do things here. Do it again. Properly.”
For a second Charlie was flummoxed. Then he caught sight of Milly on the far side of the busy room. She mimed slamming the doors. Charlie’s face cleared.
“Ah! Sorry, Miss. Oops! No, not sorry…”
He shut his mouth before he could get into more trouble, opened the doors again and slammed them violently, setting the statue of Sir Thomas Blackguard, which was surveying the room from an alcove above them, rocking dangerously. Miss Grimbly smiled and batted her extravagant false eyelashes.
“Much better. There are five hundred house points for any student who can slam the doors so hard that Sir Thomas actually falls off his perch. Many have tried but no one’s managed it yet.”
The library was a scene of chaos. Everywhere there were shelves stuffed to the ceiling with battered-looking books, and scarred tables strewn about at irregular angles. Some of the tables and chairs had been overturned. Down one side of the room was a bank of computers, all occupied by Blackguardians who were playing games at full volume, or updating their Crimbook accounts. Other students were gathered in groups, telling jokes or comparing their latest purchases from Cloak and Dagger’s online boutique. In the centre of the room, Jet Mannington was showing off to a group of admiring girls. Everyone seemed to be intent on obeying the huge notices warning that:
WILL NOT BE
Charlie set off towards Milly, who was sitting among a group of pupils watching Agatha Duffy demonstrate escapology techniques with two pairs of handcuffs, a pencil sharpener and an upturned table.
“Charlie, what’s up? Have you had a brainwave about the Larceny competition, or is it the Discourtesy homework? I can’t think of one new and original way of being rude to a policeman, let alone ten. Why would you bother, anyway? It would just make them suspicious. Come and watch Agatha instead. She’s amazing!”