The campus of Oxford University was quiet. In the chilly early-morning air, the only disturbance was the nearly inaudible rustling of Stephen’s clothes as he attempted to find a way into the history building.
Stephen squinted up at the rows of windows. One of them had to be left open, somewhere; given the temperature in the building yesterday, it was a safe assumption that the place had never been retrofitted with air conditioning. The clouds obscuring the moon made it difficult to see very much, but Stephen was thankful for them; he was able to carry a ladder underneath his arm with little fear of being seen by a sleepless student glancing out a window.
After walking around the entire building and scrutinizing it carefully, Stephen saw the outline of a swung-open windowpane on the building’s southern wall. Wasting no time, he propped his ladder against the wall and climbed up. Soon, he was standing in an office on the third floor. Still taking pains to be quiet, not knowing whether housekeeping would be working this late, he went down to the ground floor where Professor Martin Doyle’s office was located.
Stephen was glad to find the door unlocked; he would not have to waste time picking the centuries-old mechanism. He entered the dark office directly, taking out a small, dim flashlight to search for what he sought. Doyle’s aversion to any discussion about the three-point amulet had betrayed his knowledge of it; Stephen was hopeful that there would be some notes or correspondence on the matter.
In contrast to the office itself, Doyle’s cabinets were all locked, but a solid whack with the butt-end of the flashlight rectified that inconvenience. Stephen searched with as much haste as he could afford, not knowing when activity in the building would resume
In one of the cabinets, tucked behind endless academic journals and hard-copy departmental memos, he found a yellowed, crumbling manuscript. Carefully extracting it from its hiding place, Stephen read the title: “Concerning the Creation and Ensorcellment of Magickal Objects, the Techniques thereof, and how Practitioners thereof Must be Qualified.”
There was no publisher or publication date listed, but Stephen did not doubt that he was holding an authentic copy of a 15th-century occult text. Inserted between the cover page and the first page of text was a handwritten note, presumably left by Doyle himself:
“I have given Dr. Bird the information he requested from the ‘Magickal Objects…’ text. I am, however, beginning to question his credentials, given the uneducated manner in which he writes his letters; I would not like to damage a relationship with a fellow scholar of the Medieval cabalistic arts, so I keep my concerns to myself. I can only hope that his interest in enchantments is purely academic, as he claims…”
The picture was becoming clearer. Larry had indeed spoken to Doyle all those decades ago, and he had used the gained knowledge to create an enchanted three-point shooting amulet just before the NBA would institute the three-point line. Doyle had somehow become aware not only of the amulet, but also its insidious effect on any who dared wear it, and he was determined to never again let such an object be created. But now, the arcane manuscript had been discovered, and its heretical secrets would soon be divulged. Stephen picked it up again and opened to a random page, awed by the intricate diagrams and captivated by the obscure writings…
“What are you doing in my office?” came a cold voice from behind Stephen’s seated position at the desk. Stephen’s heart sank as he realized that he had become so lost in the manuscript that it was now fully morning, sunlight streaming through the window.
Wordlessly, Stephen tucked the manuscript under his arm and charged at the door. Rather than get run over by the younger, more athletic man, Doyle stepped out the way and grabbed feebly at Stephen’s retreating form. “Stop! Stop!” the scholar yelled, but Stephen knew that he could not stop. Campus security would be called at any moment. He would be detained and his precious document would be taken away from him. No, the only choice was to keep running.
“I know who you are!” Doyle accusingly shouted from far down the hallway. “You’re Stephen Curry!”
Stephen was so stunned that, for a moment, he had to resist the impulse to stop running. How did the man know his identity? There was no time to think. He burst through the front doors of the building and ran towards the Oxford city center.
Finally, he reached a dingy alley where he could catch his breath. The police would have been called by now, surely. He had precious little time to get out of the country. But the inconvenience of being hunted by law enforcement paled in comparison to the new power that Stephen felt surging through his body, power borne in the knowledge that the secrets of the three-point shooting amulet would soon be unveiled before him.