He smiled as he approached them, reached into his robe and drew out a machete.
“If it’s any consolation, this will be over quickly.”
Tara and Lea could fight a little, but they didn’t feel they had much of a chance against the machete.
“Run away, Tara. I will fight him,” Lea said.
“No, let’s run in different directions,” Tara whispered.
When the approaching attacker came closer and raised his machete, they ran in opposite directions. The attacker pursued Tara because she was the prize.
Tara could hear the attacker panting behind her, as he was quickly closing the gap between them. When he reckoned that Tara was close enough, he swung the machete to get her. Lea, who had stopped running and was watching them, shouted a warning to Tara, who swerved sharply to her left. The machete missed her by inches.
Tara had to find a way because she couldn’t outrun the man for much longer. The only thing that could possibly work was to face him. Perhaps, there was a slim chance that she could catch him by surprise and find an opportunity to kick him between the legs, even as he was raising the machete for another strike. Making up her mind in an instant, she tried to turn around in her sprint. She had almost done so when her right foot slipped on the moist, grassy surface and she fell.
Her pursuer laughed in pleasure, savouring the sight of Tara’s anxious face as he raised the machete for the killing blow. He wanted to make it quick so that he could take care of Lea as well. Tara looked at oncoming death, as the machete started its downward swing, unable to move purely because of the shock of it. She closed her eyes and waited for the end.
The next moment, she heard the sound of a hard kick and a surprised gasp escaping her attacker’s mouth. She opened her eyes, expecting to see Lea, but instead saw two strangers, both young men, one white and one black.
After lunch, the time had come to devote themselves to the search of the Stone.
“How exactly do we go about searching for the Stone?” Tara asked.
“In my study, there are lots of ancient manuscripts. Some of them have faded away with age, but I guess we can think of it as another challenge.”
“So, we pore over tonnes of ancient manuscripts?” Tara asked.
“The good news is that over the years, I have narrowed it down, so let’s say it’s just a tonne of ancient manuscripts and not tonnes,” Nemo replied.
“Nemo, haven’t you heard of the internet?” Joe asked.
“They say any old thing on the internet,” Nemo replied.
“As opposed to any old thing your ancient manuscripts say?”
“Well, if you put it that way, I guess we can give it a shot.”
They tried using Google on Nemo’s ancient-looking computer, however, the page wouldn’t load, because the web browser was no longer supported.
“This computer hasn’t seen the invention of the wheel. I need to install a newer version of the browser, but before that, I need to upgrade the operating system itself,” Joe said, taking over. “How did you manage to get an internet connection in this remote spot?”
“It’s Wi-Fi,” Nemo replied.
“But, wouldn’t that enable Satan to track you down?”
“Not really, because my Wi-Fi uses rerouting techniques, so anyone tracing it will go around in circles.”
“How did you manage to convince your internet provider to do it for you?”
“I didn’t. My Wi-Fi is not registered. It’s a hack.”
“Hack! You, a sage, who has a redundant web browser, have hacked into a Wi-Fi provider’s network, using re-routing to mask your location?”
“I never said I did it myself. The one benefit of living near Oxford is that one can find young people who know all these things and are willing to bend the rules a little.”
“A little? Anyway, what do you use your Wi-Fi for, if you don’t use the internet at all?”
“I have been scanning the ancient manuscripts and e-mailing them to myself, in case Satan destroys my hideout.”
“Now that you have learnt some martial arts, the time has come to train with weapons,” Nemo said.
“We will get weapons too! That’s cool.” Joe said.
“I have a feeling that they are the Star Wars kind,” Andy said.
“We have some on our spaceship, too,” Lea said.
“Not the ones I have,” Nemo said and led the four of them to his study.
He stopped before a cupboard, made of solid oak, presumably hundreds of years ago. Its doors had a large symbol of infinity carved across them.
“Infinity is the symbol of the Brotherhood,” Nemo said and opened the doors of the cupboard to reveal four swords.
“Swords, that’s it?” Joe asked.
“These aren’t ordinary swords.”
“What’s so special about them?” Andy asked.
“One of them is Excalibur, which belonged to King Arthur. He was one of the Brotherhood.”
“Seriously?!” Joe asked.
“Yes, there was a time when the Brotherhood flourished. Not only King Arthur, but even the likes of Abe Lincoln, Newton and Da Vinci had been members across the ages. But, that’s in the past. Now, we need to rebuild it, from scratch.”
“So, let’s rebuild it. Which of these swords is Excalibur?” Andy asked.
“Whoa! Hang on a second there. Does his Lordship think he can just pick Excalibur for himself?” Joe asked. “You’ll have to fight for it.”
“Anytime,” Andy replied, walking a step closer towards Joe, who did the same towards Andy.
“Just for that, I am not going to say which of these is Excalibur,” Nemo said, coming between the two.
Tara was finding it harder than Andy, purely because Lori was tougher than the other vampires. Whenever Tara managed to make a cut on Lori, it healed almost instantaneously. Tara remembered that she had another option. The strap of her wristwatch could deliver an electrical charge, activated by hard contact. She had to use it. That was the only way she could buy enough time to get to the spaceship. To deceive Lori, Tara feigned fatigue. Lori seized on the opportunity and reached out to grab Tara, who let Lori come close. When she was close enough, Tara used the side of her hand to thump Lori on the tip of her nose, very hard, activating the electric charge from the strap.
“Ow!!!” Lori shouted, grabbing her nose with both her hands and slumping to the ground.
Immediately, Tara ran towards the spaceship, deactivated the invisibility shield and opened the door, pressing a button to the side of her wristwatch.
“Come here, you husband-stealing bitch!” Lori shouted at Tara, before getting up and running after her.
“What?!” Tara shouted, as she got into to the spaceship, half-hoping that this had all been some misunderstanding over the lady vampire’s husband, whom Tara had never even seen, let alone tried to steal.
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