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【书籍搬运】The Locked Room 上锁的房间

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英文书名:the Locked Room

原文出处:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:The_Locked_Room

翻译:泽霏

Yana 正是她的导师Arthcamu讨厌的学生类型:专业的业余爱好者。他喜欢堡垒里他平常学生中的一切犯罪类型,从一般的盗贼到老练的敲诈者,需要撬锁的艺术和技术来达成职业野心的孩子和年轻人们。他们对简单的解决、容易的法子感兴趣,但是像Yana的人却总在寻找例外、可能、新奇。对实用主义者 Arthcamu来说,这相当烦人。

这个红衣卫士少女会在一个锁上耗数小时,用铁丝和开锁器刺刺戳戳,玩弄上下弹簧,以一种非犯罪者的随意好奇探索锁核。在她的同学开完测试锁并继续后很久, Yana还在摆弄着她的。更使Arthcamu厌烦的是,无论是多么高阶的锁,她最终都能打开。

“你把事情搞得太复杂了,”他会咆哮,掴她耳光。“速度是关键,不是仅仅掌握技术。我发誓即使我把钥匙放在你面前,你也打不开它。

Yana达观地忍受着Arthcamu的虐责。她毕竟预付了学费。对试图闯入某地而身后却有卫兵巡逻的撬锁者来说,速度无疑是一重要因素。但是Yana知道这不适用于她。她仅仅需要知识。

Arthcamu 做了一切他能想到的方法来鼓励Yana更快地行动。在他身体和语言的攻击下,她却愈演愈烈,在每一个锁上花的时间越来越多,摸透它们的个性特质。最后,他再也受不了了。一天下午很晚的时候,在Yana又慢悠悠地把玩了一只普通得不能再普通的锁后,他揪起女孩的耳朵,把她拖到堡垒里一个远离其他学生的房间里 ——一个他们一直被禁止进入的区域。

除了中间的一个大箱子,房间空无一物的。除了进来的门,再没有其它门窗了。Arthcamu猛力把他的学生摔到箱子上,关上她身后的门。锁发出轻微的滴答声。

“这是给我高阶学生的试炼,”他在门后大笑。“看看你能不能逃出。”

Yana微笑着开始了她惯常的缓慢步骤:抚摸门锁,获得信息。过了几分钟,她听到Arthcamu在门后喊道。

“或许我应该提一下这是速度试炼。看到身后的箱子了吗?里面装着一只已经在这关了很久的远古吸血鬼。它肯定饿坏了。几分钟内,太阳将完全落下,如果你开不了门,你绝对会被吸得一干二净。”

Yana只考虑了一瞬Arthcamu是否在跟她开玩笑。她知道他是个邪恶可怕的人,但是诉诸于谋杀手段来教导学生?这时箱子中传来沙沙声响,所有疑惑都打消了。不顾一贯的探索,她将铁丝塞进锁里,戳住销子顶起压力板,推开大门。

Arthcamu站在前面的走廊上,无情地大笑,“那么,现在你知道速度的意义了吧。”

Yana忍着泪水,逃离了Arthcamu的堡垒。他确定她不会回来受他教导了,但他认为终于给她上了一堂很有价值的课。当第二天早上她回来的时候,Arthcamu并无流露出惊讶之情,但是内里却很激动。

“我很快就会离开了,”她静静地解释道,“但是我开发了一种新型锁,如果你给我点建议的话,我会很感激的。”

Arthcamu耸了耸肩,让她展示设计。

“我在想能否用吸血鬼室来安装这个锁。我认为这样展示更好。”

Arthcamu半信半疑,可是这个累人的女孩最终离开的前景让他心情好到放纵的程度。他同意她进入房间。整个上午还有下午大部分的时间里,她都在沉睡的吸血鬼旁边工作,去掉旧锁,换上她的新样板。最后,她让她的旧导师观看。

他用专家的眼光研究这个锁,发现没什么值得惊奇的。

“这是首个和唯一一个防撬锁,”Yana解释。“仅有的开启办法是使用正确的钥匙。”

Arthcamu嘲笑着让Yana关上门,把他关在房间里。门合上了,他开始工作。令他沮丧的是,锁比他想象的难多了。他用了所有方法强行打开,发现他必须用他厌恶的学生的那套小心细致的探索法子。

“我现在必须走了,”Yana从门的另一头喊道。“我要将守卫带到堡垒来。我知道这违背了规矩,但我认为为了村民的幸福着想,不应该让一只饥饿的吸血鬼四处游荡。天快黑了,就算你开不了门,吸血鬼也没骄傲到不肯用钥匙逃脱的地步。记得你说过‘即使我把钥匙放在你跟前,你也打不开它’吗?”

“等等!”Arthcamu回应。“我用钥匙!在哪儿?你忘了交给我!”

可是没有回答,只有走廊外脚步消失的声响。Arthcamu更卖力地开锁,但是他的手因恐惧而颤抖着。没有窗,无法得知现在多晚了。多少分钟、多少小时已经流逝?恐怕只有那只远古吸血鬼才晓得。

工具不能承受更多的扭曲,从Arthcamu歇斯底里的手中断裂。铁丝在钥匙孔中折成两截。像学生一样。Arthcamu尖叫着敲打着门,但是他知道没人能听到。在他吸气再次尖叫之前,他听到咯吱一声,身后的箱子打开了。

远古吸血鬼以疯狂而饥渴的眼神看着开锁大师,激动地扑向他。在Arthcamu死前,他看到了:绕着吸血鬼脖子,有一条于他沉睡时挂上的项链,上面是——钥匙。

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The Locked Room
by Porbert Lyttumly
How a pupil outlocks her cruel picklock instructor


Yana was precisely the kind of student her mentor Arthcamu despised: the professional amateur. He enjoyed all the criminal types who were his usual pupils at the stronghold, from the common burglar to the more sophisticated blackmailers, children and young people with strong career ambitions which the art and science of lockpicking could facilitate. They were always interested in simple solutions, the easy way, but people like Yana were always looking for exceptions, possibilities, exotica. For pragmatists like Arthcamu, it was intensely vexing.
The Redguard maiden would spend hours in front of a lock, prodding at it with her wires and picks, flirting with the key pins and driver pins, exploring the hull with a sort of casual fascination that no delinquent possesses. Long after her fellow students had opened their test locks and moved on, Yana was still playing with hers. The fact that she always opened it eventually, no matter how advanced a lock it was, irked Arthcamu even further.
“You are making things much too difficult,” he would roar, boxing her ears. “Speed is of the essence, not merely technical know-how. I swear that if I put the key to the lock right in front of you, you'd still never get around to opening it.”
Yana would bear Arthcamu's abuse philosophically. She had, after all, paid him in advance. Speed was doubtless an important factor for the picker trying to get somewhere he wasn't supposed to go with the city guard on patrol behind him, but Yana knew it wouldn't apply to her. She merely wanted the knowledge.
Arthcamu did everything he could think of to encourage Yana to move faster. She seemed to perversely thrive on his physical and verbal blows, spending more and more time on each lock, learning its idiosyncrasies and personality. Finally, he could bear it no longer. Very late one afternoon after Yana had dawdled over a perfectly ordinary lock, he grabbed the girl by her ear and dragged her to a room in the stronghold far from the other students, an area they had always been forbidden to visit.
The room was completely barren, except for one large crate in the center. There were no windows and no other door except for the one leading in. Arthcamu slammed his student against the crate and closed the door behind her. There was a distinct click of the lock.
“This is the test for my advanced students,” he laughed behind the door. “See if you can escape.”
Yana smiled and began her usual slow process of massaging the lock, gaining information. After a few minutes had gone by, she heard Arthcamu's voice again call out from behind the door.
“Perhaps I should mention that this is a test of speed. You see the crate behind you? It contains a vampire ancient who has been locked in here for many months. It is absolutely ravenous. In a few minutes' time, the sun will have completely set, and if you have not opened the door, you will be nothing but a bloodless husk.”
Yana considered only for a moment whether Arthcamu was joking or not. She knew he was an evil, horrible man, but to resort to murder to teach his pupil? The moment she heard a rustling in the crate, any doubts she had were erased. Ignoring all her usual explorations, she jammed her wire into the lock, thrust the pegs against the pressure plate, and shoved open the door.
Arthcamu stood in the hallway beyond, laughing cruelly, “So, now you've learned the value of fast work.”
Yana fled from Arthcamu's stronghold, fighting back her tears. He was certain that she would never return to his tutelage, but he considered that he had taught her at last a very valuable lesson. When she did return the next morning, Arthcamu registered no surprise, but inside he was seething.
“I'll be leaving shortly,” she explained, quietly. “But I believe I've developed a new type of lock, and I'd be grateful if you'd give me your opinion of it.”
Arthcamu shrugged and asked her to present her design.
“I was wondering if I might use the vampire room and install the lock. I think it would be better if I demonstrated it.”
Arthcamu was dubious, but the prospect of the tiresome girl leaving at last put him in an excellent and even indulgent mood. He agreed to give her access to the room. For all morning and most of the afternoon, she worked near the slumbering vampire, removing the old lock and adding her new prototype. Finally, she asked her old master to take a look.
He studied the lock with an expert eye, and found little to be impressed with.
“This is the first and only pick-proof lock,” Yana explained. “The only way to open it is to have the right key.”
Arthcamu scoffed and let Yana close the door, shutting him in the room. The door clicked and he began to go to work. To his dismay, the lock was much more difficult than he thought it would be. He tried all his methods to force it, and found that he had to resort to his hated student's method of careful and thorough exploration.
“I need to leave now,” called Yana from the other side of the door. “I'm going to bring the city guard to the stronghold. I know that it's against the rules, but I really think it's for the welfare of the villagers not to have a hungry vampire on the loose. It's getting dark, and even though you aren't able to unlock the door, the vampire might be less proud about using the key to escape. Remember when you said 'If I put the key to the lock right in front of you, you'd still never get around to opening it'?”
“Wait!” Arthcamu yelled back. “I'll use the key! Where is it? You forgot to give it to me!”
But there was no reply, only the sound of footfall disappearing down the corridor beyond the door. Arthcamu began to work harder on the lock, but his hands were shaking with fear. With no windows, it was impossible to tell how late it was getting to be. Were minutes that were flying by or hours? He only knew that the vampire ancient would know.
The tools could not stand very much twisting and tapping from Arthcamu's hysterical hands. The wire snapped in the keyhole. Just like a student. Arthcamu screamed and pounded on the door, but he knew that no one could possibly hear him. It was while sucking in his breath to scream again, he heard the distinct creak of the crate opening behind him.
The vampire ancient regarded the master locksmith with insane, hungry eyes, and flew at him in a frenzy. Before Arthcamu died, he saw it: on a chain that had been placed around the vampire's neck while it had been sleeping was a key.
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