Fred stared at him with red, puffy eyes. "So what the hell are you waiting
for?!" The sorcerous scientist was taken aback by Fred's enthusiasm. "Ahem, uh,
yes..well, it's a lot harder than stitching back a few tendons and muscles, young man."
Astra stood up from the table and helped Fred to his feet. "Let's do this as soon as
possible, please," she asked the scientist. The old man looked into her pleading eyes and
smiled. "I'll do my best, child." With that, he turned and led them across the huge
laboratory and to a small iron door.
The door had no knob, handle, lock or anything that could be used to open it. In fact it looked less like a door than a large sheet of iron riveted into the wall. But at a simple wave of the man's hand and a few soft spoken words, the door swung open and everyone followed the scientist in. Except for a very odd smell, the room seemed more like a large and very well stocked library. There was even an espresso machine in a nearby corner.
The man turned suddenly when he heard Astra and Fred whisper furiously behind him. "Is something wrong?" he asked, the light from overhead catching a strange twinkle in his eye. "Oh no," Astra smiled at him. "It's just that...well, we're kind of embarrassed, uh, but we don't know your...name?" She smiled weakly, wondering if the old man was going to get pissed off and throw a fit. She had seen it happen before. Asking the host for their name was a terrible breach of protocol. Within royal circles, of which both Princess Astra and Lord Fred were intimately familiar with, such a lapse in manners would not only get the guest thrown out but would get him or her permanently scratched off of a dozen other guest lists.
Ready for the worst, the pair were surprised and relieved when the old man began to laugh. "I must apologize," he said between chuckles, "but I just completely forgot. It's been such a long time since I've had guests." The man quieted himself down and then made a formal bow toward them. "My dear and welcome visitors, my name is Doctor Preeminencius Emeritus Vincenzio Haroldan Maude Van Damme Uber Priceless. Of my titles I have earned all but one, and that I was born with. I am the Baronet de Haunt, of the Duchy of Franken. But that title I cherish the least and so bother not with it. I am but the simple lord of this wonderful tower secreted away in the terrible wastes of the Calamari Desert. And my friends call me Vincent."
3/15/1999 8:16:29 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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