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The Earl of Zerces: chapter 16

Lang was looking at a planet. More appropriately, Lang was standing in the middle of space looking at a planet that the Earl was holding in his hands. Well, holding wasn’t the exact term, as the planet never actually touched the Earl’s hands, but holding seemed to fit. The Earl was twisting and twirling the sphere with his hands, examining it closely. His brow was furrowed in contemplation.

“Strange,” the Earl said. “The Count’s not there.”

“Not where?” Lang asked, wondering how he could be standing on empty space with the stars twinkling around him.

“Not on the planet,” the Earl looked at Lang. “He should be here, but he isn’t.”

“Oh, um…” Lang was at a loss for words, trying to come up with an appropriate question to understand what was going on. Then he remembered his first question.

“You can only come here because I let you,” the Earl read Lang’s mind as he examined the globe a second time. The planet glowed with a beautiful silvery light that seemed to be dimming. “Don’t worry, there’s nothing suspicious going on here; except of course for the Count’s absence.”

“Alright,” Lang’s mind was relieved for a minute, but then he suddenly had another question. “Wait. You said this was a rescue mission. What are we rescuing?”

“The planet,” the Earl allowed Lang to finish.

“What?” Lang’s jaw dropped.

“There’s something special about this world,” the Earl continued to look closely at the planet. “It involves a direct extension of my power. That’s why it’s so heavily guarded with the giant door. The Count plans on exploiting that in his quest for power. But right now, I can’t find him anywhere.”

“Could he be somewhere else?” Lang asked. “After all, we’re not on the planet right now. He could be standing in space like us.”

“No, then I would have sensed him immediately,” the Earl frowned as he finally put the globe away. “He’s gotten powerful, but not powerful enough to be undetected by me.”

“Well, you said he’d make his move once you did a certain something,” Lang pointed out. “Maybe if you do that now, he’ll show up.”

The Earl blinked, and then he smiled. “Yes, that’s a good idea. Alright then.”

The Earl changed his clothes instantly in a flash of blue light. Now he wore flashy robes of bright blue and purple, with a tall, tall top hat crowning his head. The Earl then put his hands around the globe, and his eyes started to glow ethereally. Slowly, a silvery-blue liquid flowed from his hands onto the sphere, and coated it fully with watery energy. The globe now glowed with the same silvery-blue energy as before, but now with a much brighter intensity. The Earl smiled and wiped his brow in satisfaction of a job well-done.

“Pretty neat, huh?” the Earl grinned at Lang. Lang had to agree. It certainly was beautiful. The Earl continued to admire his handiwork, but then suddenly his brow furrowed.

“Wait,” the Earl said soberly. Very closely, he squinted at the planet, and then he gasped.

“So that’s what you did,” the Earl grinned like a general admiring an enemy’s well-played move. “Very, very clever. Ehehehehehehe”

The Earl continued to laugh very creepily until Lang finally asked what was going on.

“Well, Lang,” the Earl grinned evilly. “It looks like this is going to be a real rescue mission.”

“What do you mean?” Lang asked, worried about what he would hear for the answer.

“We’re going to rescue a damsel in distress,” the Earl smiled.



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