Previously: Digger returned from the past to find the exchange student waiting for him. And now…
â€œYou know him?â€ Twain asked.
â€œYes!â€ Digger said. â€œThis is the dude I took the crystal from in Berkeley, the one we stole from Caveat. He followed me through time.â€
He turned back to the ex-Czar. â€œHow did you do that, any–whoa! Put your pants back on first.â€
The ex-Czar narrowed his eyes, but made no move to cover himself. â€œThat was you? Fifteen years ago, in the Frog mask?â€
â€œYes, it was me,â€ Digger said. â€œAnd on the skateboard, and… wait a second. How did you know it was fifteen years ago? If you followed me through time, shouldnâ€™t you think it just happened a minute ago?â€
â€œDigger,â€ Twain said. â€œThis is the Cobalt Czar. I took his powers away with the mask.â€
â€œWait, you mean he…?â€ Digger turned to the ex-Czar again. â€œYou told me you decided to become the Czar after some guy told you that people were assholes. I… That was me. I just did that.â€
â€œYouâ€™re telling me you created the Cobalt Czar?â€ Cole asked.
â€œNo, I didnâ€™t create him,â€ Digger said. â€œI, whatayacallit? I inspired him, sort of. I mean, I was just trying to make, um, whatâ€™s your name?â€
â€œBogdan,â€ said the former Czar. â€œBogdan Zolnerowich.â€
â€œI was just trying to make Bogdan feel better, but he got it twisted around somehow.â€
â€œYouâ€™re saying that was you also?â€ Bogdan asked. â€œThey were all you?â€
[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]â€œYouâ€™re telling me you created the Cobalt Czar?â€ Cole asked. â€œNo, I didnâ€™t create him,â€ Digger said. â€œI, whatayacallit? I inspired him, sort of…” [/blockquote]â€œYeah, itâ€™s a long story,â€ Digger said. â€œItâ€™s this whole thing about how I keep getting sent back to the same time and place, like I…â€
â€œLike you what?â€ Cole finally asked.
â€œLike there was something I was supposed to do there,â€ Digger said.
â€œLooks like you finally did it,â€ Twain said.
â€œYouâ€™re saying it was my destiny to create the worldâ€™s worst super-villain?â€ Digger asked.
â€œHey,â€ Bogdan said. â€œIâ€™m not the bad guy.â€
â€œYes,â€ Twain said. â€œJust like it was my destiny to take his place.â€
â€œWhat do you mean, take his place?â€ Digger asked. â€œAnd no offense, but did you get… bigger?â€
Twain was almost seven feet tall now, and broader in the chest and shoulders. His pants legs were bound tightly around his thighs, and his skin had taken on a strange sheen in the blue glow, as if it were fluorescing under black light. Twain switched on his flashlight and turned it on himself. The fluorescence disappeared, but his skin had definitely turned blue. Paler than the Czarâ€™s, but blue nevertheless.
â€œThe power of this place is mine now,â€ Twain said, his voice taking on a deeper timbre that seemed to rattle from the rocks all around them. â€œYou should never have come after me, Digger. Look what it got you. Your powers are gone, as well as the Cobalt Czarâ€™s. Who has the power now? I could kill you both right here and rule this part of the world with no opposition.â€
The blue glow flickered, and all around them, the crystals resonated with an otherworldly vibration that sounded oddly like ghostly laughter.
That sounds ominous. We’re moving into the final few weeks, so don’t miss a single chapter (and yeah, I understand the irony of saying that when I can’t seem to meet a schedule to save my life right now…), especially the next one!
To read from the beginning, click here…