“After all of his time in that place alone,” Lazarus Lane said, “I sort of expected the professor to join us.”
“I invited him,” Richard Occult said, “but he said that this world wasn’t really his. Besides, he said that he had his people to take care of.”
“Plus, he did offer to visit us sometime,” Kuei Lan said. “He also said that, anytime we wanted to visit him, just let him know. Since you were all trying to get the boy home, he gave me the little mirror that we used when we found T.J.”
“How’s Kelli doing?” Brian Walker asked.
“She’s spending a lot of time with T.J. Now that she knows he can hear her, she talks to him whenever she gets a chance,” Richard said. “She said it was so he wouldn’t get lonely, but I think it is as much for her peace of mind as anything.”
“Anything new on his condition?” the detective asked.
“Doctor Fate is checking through his library in Salem, hoping he can find something useful,” Richard said, “until then, he said not to give up hope.”
Lazarus looked at the blue-skinned demon. “So, what about you?” he asked. “Are you going to hang around, or do you have to return to the… uh…?”
“If you guys don’t mind, I think I’d like to stay,” Kuei said.
“You’re welcome to stay as long as you like,” Richard said, assuring the repentant demon. “I’m not sure how people will take to your appearance, though.”
“I’ve already taken care of that,” Kuei said. His body began to move and change; it was like watching water being shaped. Seconds later, the demon was gone, and in his place stood a very tall Chinese man. “You can still call me Kuei while I’m in this form, and if anyone asks, Master Lao Jen has provided me with papers legally allowing me to be in this country.”
“And the glasses?” Brian asked.
“I thanked him for loaning them to me,” Kuei said, returning to his demon form.
“That’s where you had come from when we first met you, isn’t it?” Brian asked.
Kuei nodded. “Mrs. Meng knew they would come in handy.”
“What about the robot dog?” Lazarus asked.
“He wants to find Robotman,” Richard said. “After that, he did show a lot of interest in hanging around.”
“This is quite an interesting team you’ve gathered around you, Richard,” Lazarus said. “Any thoughts as to what we are going to call ourselves?”
“Actually, I’ve been thinking about that,” Richard told them. “A lifetime ago, when I first got into this business, I was associated with an otherworldly group called the Seven. Since that is how many of us there are, I thought it might be a name we could take.”
The others thought about it for a few moments.
“I like it,” Kuei said, nodding.
“I’ve seen as many years as you, Richard, and I know that the world is still a place that need heroes,” Lazarus said. “I also know that there is strength in numbers, and the number seven has always been lucky. I think it’s the right name.”
The four walked over to Richard’s office window, which looked out over the rest of the converted warehouse. They had a clear view of Kelli and the petrified T.J. Dalton.
“Then let’s hope the number ends up being lucky for T.J.,” Brian said.
While everyone nodded, only Kuei spoke. “Amen,” was all he said.