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The Earl of Zerces: chapter 8

“Hello,” the Earl of Zerces grinned stupidly as he waved. “How are things going?”

Lang was shocked at seeing the Earl again, but then that shock slowly turned to anger, and Lang strode up to the Earl determinably, ready to give that fop a piece of his mind.

“How are things going!?!” Lang screeched, as the Earl set down his chair. “They’re going wonderfully, thank you! Just wonderfully! I was shanghaied from my home, forced into this insane journey, and I still have no idea what’s going on!”

The Earl calmly sat down on his chair and proceeded to sip his tea nonchalantly. “My, that doesn’t sound very nice at all,” the Earl said.

“But you know something Earl, I don’t care anymore,” Lang pointed his finger at the Earl’s chest. “I don’t care about Zerces, or these other worlds, or any of this stupid quest you’ve got me doing. I’m taking Lia and Elena away from this world, I’m going to take them back to my home, and then I’m going to live out the rest of my life having nothing to do with you or with Zerces!”

The Earl finished his tea, set the cup down on its saucer, calmly looked Lang in the eye, and said, “I’m afraid that that’s impossible, Lang.”

“Why?” Lang fumed at the Earl.

The Earl looked at Lang, then his eyes drifted over to Lia, and a cutesy smile pasted itself on his face. “Why hello,” the Earl bent down and walked up to Lia, as if to give her a hug. “Just who are you?”

“Don’t lay a finger on her!” Lang snatched Lia away from the Earl, who pouted.

“D’oh, you’re just no fun at all,” the Earl puffed out his lower lip. Then he straightened out his back, placed a finger on his chin, and grinned mischievously at Lang. “But anyways Lang, don’t you think you should be more concerned about Elena’s safety right now?”

A scream pierced the air, and Lang abruptly turned to where it came from.

“Elena,” Lang whispered.

“She’s in a mighty right pickle, your darling,” the Earl continued to grin. “I’d say she needs your help.”

“You b******!” Lang set Lia down and grabbed the Earl’s collar. “What’s happening to her!?! What did you do!?!”

“Me?” the Earl fluttered his eyelashes innocently. “What makes you think I had anything to do with it? Besides, wouldn’t it be easier to see for yourself?”

Lang seethed with rage. He had had enough of the Earl’s games! But again, he heard the scream pierce the air, and so begrudgingly, Lang let go of the Earl and ran through the fields to where he heard the scream coming from.

Lang ran as though the Devil were hot on his heels. He fought his way through the stalks of wheat, and finally arrived just as a third scream pierced the sky. What he saw shocked him.

Elena was wrapped in the tentacles of a giant mass of eyes and teeth. It seemed to be drinking up the life in her, as Elena’s body was becoming frailer and sicklier by the minute, and a misty blue stuff was flowing from Elena through the mass’s tentacles. Lang ran as fast as he could towards the ghastly scene, but suddenly, he fell backwards, as though he had just run straight through a brick wall. Pure agony shot through is entire body, and Lang screamed and clutched his face in pain. Lang held up a hand and saw that it was drenched in blood and raw bone.

“’Sigh’, running straight into danger, never giving a single iota of thought to your own safety or what sort of counter-measures or barriers the bad guy might have put up. You’ve certainly got the guts of a hero.” the Earl came strolling up to Lang, with Lia in his arms. Lia fought against the Earl’s grip as she saw Lang lying there in pain, but for the moment, the Earl held tight onto her.

“But you know what?” the Earl crouched down near Lang and set Lia down. Lia rushed over to Lang, crying and sobbing over the mess he had become. “You haven’t got the brains of one. I’ll have to fix that. Oh yeah, and I’ll have to fix you.”

The Earl gently placed his middle finger on Lang’s forehead, and Lang suddenly felt his whole body heal and become devoid of pain. Lang sat up, and slowly clutched his face. It was perfectly fine, just like that it had been healed. Incredible. Lia stopped her sobbing, and immediately grabbed Lang in a giant hug. The Earl once again grinned at Lang, but his time it was more of a determined grin.

“So, big man,” the Earl said. “The bad guy’s got your girl, you can’t get to her, the situation looks hopeless. What are you going to do about it?”

Lang slowly looked at the Earl, then he said, “You know how to break this barrier?”

“I thought you’d never figure it out on you own, so I decided to come down by myself and just tell you,” the Earl gave an exaggerated sigh. Then he turned to Lia, and said, “Lia, Lang needs to borrow your sword.”

“Huh? Why?’ Lia wiped away the tears that were still left in her eyes.

“Oh you know,” the Earl sighed again. “It’s just one of those things adults always have to do.”

Lia slowly blinked at the Earl. Then she looked at Lang. Then she looked at her father’s sword. Then finally, she looked at Lang again, and slowly handed him the sword. “Here,” she said. “Just be sure to give it back.”

“I will,” Lang smiled determinably. Then, he got up and turned to where the barrier was. Unsheathing the sword, Lang felt power surge from its handle into his body. As he held it up, Lang thought of only one thing, saving Elena. The power coursed through him even more as he swung the sword at the barrier, fueled by this one mighty thought.





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