Previously: Digger used the Cup of Regret to travel back in time and prevent the Cobalt Czar from taking his hostage. However, the cup sent him back to the wrong time. On the trip, Digger discovered an almost invisible carving on the surface of the crystal used with the cup. And now…
Twain dumped out the small sack on the bed. A small box of children’s crayons fell out. Twain opened the box and pulled out the black crayon. He peeled the paper off and took the crystal from Digger.
“What are you doing?” Digger asked.
“You’ll see,” Twain answered. He rubbed the side of the crayon back and forth across the surface of the crystal, and gradually, a dark shape appeared as the carving filled with black wax.
“Do you recognize the character?” Digger asked.
“Yeah,” Twain said quietly.
“Well?” Digger asked after a moment. “What’s wrong? Does it mean something important?”
“Um, no. No, it’s shi,” Twain said. “It just means time.”
“Yeah,” Twain said. “Not so unusual since it’s a crystal that makes you travel through time. The character’s a pictograph of a clock.”
“Doesn’t look like a clock to me,” Digger said. “Where’s the hands?”
[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]“I didn’t know there was a Plan B.” “That’s because you rarely even bother with Plan A,” Twain said. “A guy like me always has to have a Plan B.”[/blockquote]“It’s a Chinese clock,” Twain said. “See, those legs represent a table, and the horizontal lines represent bowls with water. Water drips from the top bowl to the lower one.”
“Like an hourglass, only not with sand,” Digger said.
“Yeah.” Twain sighed. “This doesn’t help us, though. The cup works, but not in a way to solve your problem.”
“So what now?” Digger asked. “We go back to Bayside and talk to the cops?”
“No way,” Twain said. “I’m not going back there. If you want to get arrested, feel free.”
“But I wouldn’t be getting arrested if it weren’t for you roping me into doing those robberies,” Digger said. “When I go back, you’re coming with me.”
“Well let’s keep that on the back burner, then,” Twain said. “We still haven’t tried Plan B.”
“I didn’t know there was a Plan B.”
“That’s because you rarely even bother with Plan A,” Twain said. “A guy like me always has to have a Plan B.”
“So what’s Plan B?” Digger asked.
Twain slipped the crystal into his pocket. “Do you remember when we met in New Mexico? When you helped me steal the Mask of El Coco?”
“Okay, number one, I didn’t ‘help you’ steal it,” Digger said. “You drugged and deceived me. And number two, please stop saying that name. It sounds stupid. What of it?”
“The mask is Plan B,” Twain said.
“Hello, Ron,” said Everett Cornwall as he walked into Invictus’s room in the private clinic.
Acheron Boniface was sitting up in bed, pale but in apparently good health, other than the bandaged stump where his right arm had been. He’d been bent over his bed tray, leaning over a bowl of soup, when Everett walked in, but he quickly straightened up. Still self-conscious about his bald spot, Everett mused, even when his missing arm should make it pale into insignificance. “Everett,” Ron acknowledged, “good of you to come.”
“You’re looking well,” Everett said. Ron glanced at his bandaged shoulder, and Everett added, “Relatively, I mean. But it does bring up the question: just what happened to you?”
What did happen to Invictus? Find out tomorrow in our next exciting episode!
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