One half hour’s drive later found Ean and Sakura standing next to the tree from which Sakura had earlier observed the Necromancer’s house. Ean groaned. “Oh, great,” he muttered. “A necromancer?” In one hand he was armed with the crowbar that Big had dropped in his apartment the night that Fifi was trapped in the refrigerator. In the other, just for the sake of overkill, was the board with a nail in it that he had pried up and threatened to give to JD for fending off the demon.
“Really?” Asked Sakura. “How do you figure?”
“Uh… yeah,” Ean hastily answered. “I mean look at that place. Evil magic plus that much spooky? Necromancer. Definitely.”
Sakura glanced at Ean. He could stand on his own now, but he was a little wobbly. “Are you sure you don’t want to just go home and forget about all this? Necromancers usually aren’t very nice people. And I’d still owe you a favor.”
Ean glanced at her. “Yeah,” he said. “I’m sure.”
Sakura grimaced. “Have you at least come up with a plan?” She asked.
Ean nodded. “Basically, I find the guy and politely ask him to let Rachel go.”
Sakura froze. Then she slowly turned toward Ean and stared at him in disbelief. “And if he says ‘no?’ What’s plan B?”
Ean tilted his head and continued to look over the building. It was a lot like old times. “Well, then I hit the guy with the crowbar a bunch of times.”
“Er… Do you have a plan C?” Sakura asked. “I mean: what if he has some kind of spell that melts metal objects or something?”
Ean hefted the board with a nail through it. “Board with a nail through it,” he said, and started walking toward the mansion.
“What?” Sakura yelped. “That’s as bad as… Okay, what if he has some sort of generic magical protection from physical harm?” She asked. “What’s plan D?”
“Uh… Outsmart the bastard?” Ean suggested.
Sakura’s eyes narrowed. “Aren’t wizards — evil or not — supposed to be geniuses?”
“Yeah,” Ean said. “I think so.” He reached up and knocked on the mansion’s front door.
“I hope you have a plan E,” Sakura muttered.
“And I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Ean absently replied. He knocked on the door again.
Sakura groaned. “You know,” she said, “I kind of think we’d be better off if I just let you blunder around like a big distraction while I sneak around and rescue the girl.”
Ean started to reply, but he was startled into silence when the mansion doors suddenly swung open. He blinked a couple of times at the pretty girl in an overly sexualized french maid’s costume that greeted him. “Hello,” she said. “The master of the house does not wish to be disturbed. May I inquire as to the purpose of your visit?”
“We,” Ean started to say — oblivious to the fact that Sakura had already disappeared on him. He gave me a glare and then returned his gaze to the maid. “I,” he started over, “don’t want to disturb anyone. I just want to pick up my date — she’s a pretty blonde named Rachel — and escort her home for the evening. If I can avoid meeting the master of the house, that would even be pretty ideal. So, if you could direct me to your dungeon or wherever….”
“She’s not in the dungeon, she’s with the master in his ritual chamber,” Elizabeth said. She looked at Ean. Then she looked at his crowbar, and then his board with a nail through it, and then at his face again. “But since he just said he didn’t want to be disturbed, and not that I shouldn’t let him be disturbed — and you aren’t here to disturb him, anyway, I don’t see why it would be a problem for me to take you there,” she cheerfully decided. “Please follow me. It’s right this way.”
Ean hesitated, but then fell into step behind Elizabeth. “You really don’t like the master of the house, do you?” He guessed.
Elizabeth didn’t even bother looking back to answer. “Yes,” she said. “He’s an insufferable jackass. I hope you don’t disturb him with that crowbar. In the head. Repeatedly.”