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Chapter LIII

The Supreme Archon arrived the next morning and entered the Master’s chamber with an obsequious bow.

“We have located the other vessel, my lord,” the Archon said in a soft voice. The Master’s trust for him had not wavered despite the many years since their last conversation. If only the Archon had possessed the traits he needed for a vessel. It would have made many things simpler.

But alas, The Master had to make do with this man’s unwavering support.

“Where?” The Master said. The night’s decrepitude was lingering on his current body, the youth of Nicholaus slow to return to his body.

“Australia. Adelaide.”

“Do we have resources in place?”

“Soon.”

The Master succumbed to gravity and let his still frail body fall back onto the bed. To kill or capture. He did not trust Spaceman but Hugo’s incompetence couldn’t be overlooked. Perhaps a struggle was required. Bring Simplex to the church unbeknownst to Spaceman and let them duel for the privilege of being a vessel. He could think of no better solution. He had waited too long and his options had dwindled.

He turned his eyes to the Archon and found his brief words had already met with comprehension.

“It will be done,” the Archon said. Needing no further instruction. Unwavering support. Absolute faith. These words rattled through The Master’s mind, threated to bring tears to his eyes. Far below, he heard Spaceman assist the preparation for the transference.

Did he need Spaceman’s charisma when his own deeds inspired such loyalty? What he needed was strength of character. That was what he had found in Hugo Simplex, the proper mixture of determination and pliability.

As the door shut behind the Archon, The Master once more sank back into his bed. Patience he told himself. There was still time. There was still a slender space for hope.

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