None of his friend’s minions bothered him as Count vonCount strode through the tunnels under Sunnydale. He did see several of them, with Alex scurrying off somewhere. It took a mere five minutes and sixteen seconds to reach the area that was used by his friend and the minions, and only another minute and forty three seconds to have Kermit resting on the bed in the small room prepared for the frog. As Kermit was still asleep, the Count took the chance to inspect the frog for an accurate assessment of his injuries.
There were seven scrapes across Kermit’s right shoulder blade and five over his left, along with some bruising. Most likely a result of being pushed against a wall, perhaps of brick. Three scrapes on the frog’s left elbow, with a similar bruise – had he hit his elbow against the wall attempting to escape? The most serious and unsettling was the bruising around Kermit’s throat and four puncture marks in the top of his shoulder, a set of bruises that seemed a very good match for the hand of one of those wretched demons. Overall, the injuries were fairly minor, and should be easy enough for the frog to recover from.
Tugging a blanket over the frog, the Count shook his head, “Get a bit of rest, Kermit. You vill need it to heal and deal vith the discussions that my friend vanted to haff vith you.”
Retreating to his own guest room, the Count took his little green pill and settled down with a physics journal. “Perhaps the remainder of my wacation vill be unewentful…” Flipping several pages, he chuckled, “Vhat is this about particle acceleration and altered magnetic intensities that you are debating, hmmm? I shall haff to see this.”
The day passed quietly, with Count vonCount reading a bit more of his physics journal before sleeping. He dreamed that he was set to count the grains of sand on the beach, a quest given by his sire. In the dream, it did not seem to matter that his sire had been dead for many years, or that his sire had never expressed such an interest in the specific details. Did not matter that his sire would have been more likely to set him inspecting the caves to find the best shelter, or to learn if any of the local sea-demons were edible. He awoke as he counted the seven hundred and nineteenth starfish – with an additional two hundred twenty three grains of sand and a strand of kelp.
After dressing for the night and taking the first of his little green pills, the Count wandered out of his room. The sound of voices discussing the various ways to read the weather caught his attention. His friend the Master favored gazing into a blood-pool, or salt water in a pinch, while Kermit favored a shadowed mirror. Of course, many vampires did not are for working with mirrors on a general principle – if they would not show you your own face, how could you trust what they did show you?
Looking into the room at his oldest friend among vampires and the frog that he’d only met within the last few decades, the Count smiled. “Are you enjoying your discussion?”
“It’s a whole different level than talking to Mumford,” Kermit admitted.
The Master smiled, revealing his own jagged teeth, “Kermit is not content to accept ‘because it is traditional’ as an explanation. A very challenging conversation. It has been centuries since I met anyone else as politely curious.”
“Traditions can vary too much among different people,” Kermit offered. “And with the theater, there were so many people and so many traditions that I couldn’t just let that go. Half of our acts would never have been attempted if people stuck to tradition.”
“But some traditions are still strong, still haff many uses,” the Count murmured.
“Kermit does not challenge the ones that have a use, so long as we can explain that use. It is part of why I have not objected to all of his questions,” the Master gave a nod towards the frog. “Will you be visiting Sunnydale again soon?”
“As much fun as it has been, I think that your town is best in small doses. Perhaps in a decade or so, I vill return for another brief wisit. But I haff no intentions of making this my home. Especially not if those foolish Vatchers manage to send vun of their Slayers to this place. They fight vell, but it takes avay from my other projects,” he admitted. Sunnydale had proven to be filled with distractions and interruptions. “It is a fascinating place to wisit, but… you are velcome to the Hellmouth.”
“You might like Los Angeles – it has the warm coastal weather but it’s a few hours from the Hellmouth by car,” Kermit suggested. “What, I had time to do a little research, and I want to know the important things for my people to know. Portals of any sort can disrupt what the Grouches do, and some sorts can lead to you visiting Sweetums’ family. They’re… well, you want to take the time to prepare yourself before you visit.”
“I may haff to look into this Los Angeles,” the Count mused. Kermit usually had very good ideas about climate, though there would be other factors to consider. Kermit was far more flexible in what sort of people he found tolerable and could endure as neighbors.
“I can handle the Hellmouth,” the Master insisted.
“Brave vampire,” Kermit muttered. “I’ll take your word for that – you are a far more accomplished magic user than I am.”
As he listened to his friends and joined into the discussion on magical theory, the Count smiled. This visit had proven quite enjoyable, even with that foolish minion stealing some of his pills. That had given him the chance to do a little hands-on anatomical study, and he’d had the chance to give a few little minions some useful advice. Kermit didn’t seem to be upset that he’d been kidnapped and narrowly avoided ritual slaughter and sacrifice when he’d come to help fix the Count’s medication.
Count vonCount decided that he was a very fortunate vampire. And Kermit was a most wonderful frog to have on his side.
End part 24.
End Counts of Blood.