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The Earl of Zerces: chapter 18

“Wait, what?” Once again, the Earl was working forty steps ahead of Lang. “Where does the damsel in distress come from?”

The Earl glanced up at Lang, and paused as he tried to come up with an explanation. “Ummm,” he mulled it out for a while, and then seemed to find something that fit. The Earl created a glass in one hand and a pitcher filled with water in the other.

“Think of this world like a giant cup,” the Earl held up the glass. “And picture my power like this water in a pitcher,” he held up the pitcher. “Every now and then, I ‘fill up’ this world with my power, like this pitcher fills up the cup with water,” the Earl did just that. “I thought that the Count would try to take the whole ‘cup’ and ‘drink’ all the ‘water’ right then and there, but apparently he doesn’t need to do that anymore.”

“Why not?” Lang asked.

“Because,” the Earl poured water into the glass until it was filled right to the very brim. “A ‘drop’ escaped.” Lang saw a single drop fall from the brim of the glass and drop down. “Just a single drop, too small for anyone to notice, except for me.”

“Why you?” Lang furrowed his brow.

“Because I was specifically looking for anything out of the ordinary,” the Earl made the glass, pitcher and water disappear. “That classifies as out of the ordinary.”

“So is this drop a damsel in distress?” Lang still didn’t understand.

“That’s exactly it. It seems that the Count wants to absorb the power of the ‘drop’, and consequently, this will allow him to absorb the rest of the ‘water’. It’s just like my pre-supposed plan, only it’s easier for him. However, I’m on to him now,” the Earl grinned, and he turned back to the planet, with excited planning etching his visage. “Now, let’s see….” The Earl looked around, and then placed his thumb on a particular spot. The spot glowed brightly, in a different hue than the rest of the world.

“Okay!” the Earl clapped his hands together, and then turned towards Lang. “I’ll need you to do something for me Lang, alright?”

“Alright,” Lang said.

“Good,” the Earl smiled, and then examined Lang top to bottom. “But first we’ll need to change your clothes. Martian garb won’t blend in in this world.”

Lang looked down at his clothes and realized that he was still wearing the clothes he got on Mars. Then suddenly, they weren’t those clothes, but new ones that had suddenly appeared, along with a briefcase in one hand. Lang was now wearing a collared shirt, silky pants, a buttoned vest, and a flowing white coat with a label on it that read “Lang Richard Ph.D.”. That’s right, his last name was Richard. For a moment, Lang swore he hadn’t known that until now, but he immediately brushed that thought aside.

“Okay, good,” the Earl gave a thumbs-up in satisfaction. “Now listen very carefully, Lang, because I’m going to be giving you very detailed instructions and I won’t repeat myself, understand?”

Lang nodded and listened carefully.

“Good,” the Earl smiled. “Now I want you to infiltrate an area that I’m going to drop you off at. I’ve disguised you as a doctor to help you with that. You’re going to need to go to the basement level, to room 001. It should be easy enough to find, just take the elevator down to the basement and introduce yourself to the guards as a doctor here to see the test subject. If anyone tries to stop you, just act arrogant and in a hurry, it’ll get rid of them. Once you get into room 001, you’ll find the ‘drop’ there, imprisoned in some sort of harness. You need to get her out of there, and in order to do that, you’ll need to say a certain word to her once she opens her eyes and looks at you. Got all that?”

Lang repeated the instructions several times in his head, and then nodded, determined.

“Good,” the Earl said, and prepared to whisper something in his ear. “Now I’m going to tell you the word you need to say.”

The Earl whispered the word in Lang’s ear, and Lang nodded. The word didn’t seem to be anything strange, just some random gibberish.

“Got it?” the Earl asked again. Lang nodded again.

“Splendid,” the Earl clapped his hands together, and prepared to snap his fingers. “Now I’m sending you to the dungeons where that damsel in distress is being held. Don’t let me down, Lang.”

“What about you?” Lang asked.

“I have other business to attend to on this world,” the Earl said. “But I’ll come back for you, don’t worry.”

“I am worrying,” Lang groaned.

“Oh tish,” the Earl waved his hand jokingly. “You charmer.”

The Earl snapped his fingers, and Lang suddenly felt his body twist inside and out as he was warped to his next destination.




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