Email: [email protected] TOMB HUNTER The Adventures of Larra Court Episode 5 The Quest of the Ludendorff Chapter 2 The Assignment “Larra, Larra!” The voice seemed to come from the end of a tunnel. Slowly, Larra opened her eyes. At first she saw only blurred images; then gradually her eyes focused. A woman and a man. “Amy,” she gasped. Her voice was very weak. Her throat felt as if it had been clamped in a vise. “What… what?” “Don’t try to talk. You’re all right. We got here just in time.” Larra’s eyes were clear now. It was her friend Amy Price and her fiancé Albrecht Steiner. “We were out for a little drive and thought we’d drop in on you. We knew something was wrong when we found the gates open and all of the guard dogs drugged.” Larra’s head was slowly clearing. She tried to sit up, but Amy pushed her back. Amy no longer lived with Larra now that she and Steiner had become engaged. Steiner had been instrumental in rescuing Amy from captivity during Larra’s last expedition to Africa. However, the beautiful South African maintained close contact with Larra as part of her staff and as her friend. It appeared that it had been Larra’s good fortune that had brought Amy and Steiner her way on this day. “The water,” Larra moaned. She noticed that although she was still in the gym, she was no longer tied to the weight bench, but was lying on the floor and covered with a towel. Several towels had been placed under her head. A few feet away was the wine bottle that had caused her so much agony. “The water,” she repeated. Amy knew what she meant. She scampered upstairs to Larra’s private apartments. There in a large refrigerated room was a sealed container filled with the mysterious water that Larra had brought back from the Lost World. It was water with a very special quality, the ability to heal and to prolong life. Taken on a regular basis it was supposed to extend life by a factor of ten. Larra and her companions had been taking a draught of the precious fluid once a month since their return from the Lost World. So far they had not been able to evaluate its life-extending properties, but there was little doubt about its healing powers. Minor ailments had disappeared. Anyone who drank the magical water was cured of all colds and other annoying illnesses. Amy filled a small phial with the precious fluid and carried it back down to the gym. Cradling Larra’s head she held the flask to her lips. Larra drank and lay back down, totally done in. “Not surprising,” thought Amy. “That wine bottle must have been brutally painful, if not crippling.” She picked up the empty bottle wondering what the pain must have been like. “It’s a damned good thing they didn’t find the magnum of champagne.” Amy turned her head. It was Larra. Already she seemed to be recovering. Or at least her sense of humor had recovered. “Oh Larra,” she said. “It must have been awful.” “It was,” said Larra, trying to sit up. Already the water seemed to be working. “You should rest,” said Steiner. “Give the water a chance to work.” “It’s amazing stuff,” Larra replied. “I feel better all ready, but I’ll take your advice if you will help me to my room.” While Steiner turned away, Amy helped Larra into a robe. Then with Steiner on one side and Amy on the other, they walked Larra to her room. Thanks to the power of the healing water Larra was fully healed within three days. Her companions were amazed at the speed of her recovery, even considering the magical powers of the water. By this time she was once again surrounded by her full household. Katie Reddel, the American adventurer and a fully trained pilot; and Jia Li, the Chinese martial arts expert she had met in Mongolia. Amy, a trained nurse, had stayed on to make sure that Larra was properly looked after. By the fourth day Larra had returned to her work, researching a collection of books on ancient Egypt. It was an area she had long wished to visit, despite the heavy attention it had received from hundreds of other archeologists. She was interrupted in her studies by her most trusted servant and companion, Sarah. Sarah was a statuesque black African who had followed her back from Uganda after the completion of her adventure there. “Miss Larra, I have a telegram. It just arrived.” “Thank you, Sarah,” answered Larra, smiling. She was not like other members of the British aristocracy. She actually treated her servants like human beings. She tore open the envelope. “Urgent I see you. Halifax.” This was unexpected. Lord Halifax was a very senior member of the British government. “Prepare my bags,” she said to Sarah. “I’m leaving on a short trip to London, and please ask Mr. Steiner to come and see me.” Lord Halifax rose as Larra and Steiner entered the room. “Good afternoon, Miss Court, Mr. Steiner. It was very good of you to come on such short notice.” Larra advanced across the room and took Lord Halifax’s hand. He was a thin, slightly built man with a long angular face. Larra had worked with him before during her expedition to the Lost World. “What can we do for you Lord Halifax?” said Larra. Lord Halifax spoke for over an hour. At the end Larra had a new and most dangerous mission. She and Steiner returned to her home where Larra went over the details with her companions. Although sworn to secrecy, she knew that anything she said would be safe with them. “So you are going to Germany?” asked Jia Li. “Do you think that’s safe?” “Yes,” said Katie. “I can’t think of a more dangerous place for you to go. You have foiled the Third Reich on two occasions. Your life would not be worth a farthing if the Gestapo caught you.” “I know the risk,” replied Larra, “and so does Steiner. We will take every precaution, and I think Lord Halifax is right; there isn’t anyone else who is better suited to this job than I am.” “What,” said Amy, sarcastically, “they can’t find another female archeologist who is fluent in German?” “Guess they didn’t try very hard,” smiled Larra. Two days later she and Steiner were on a plane heading for Paris.