Posted on 2015-10-31
Blurb: Darcy always knew he was special, that when he was eighteen he would get world saving powers, and he's go on to be a superhero....it doesn't quite go like he expected.
Darcy had always grown up being told he was special. That when he was eighteen he would be inducted into his powers. Powers that would save the world.
So Darcy had spent his childhood imagining he was Superman, or Spider-man. Or Iron Man. Or perhaps Thor.
Essentially some form of Captain England. Powerful. On the cover of Time Magazine. Riches beyond all belief and so forth.
He would have even taken understood having to keep it a secret, Darcy would have then have been able to walk down the street with his head held high, just knowing how the world was kept safe because of him.
Instead on his 18th birthday he was sat down and told it was his destiny.... to keep the Magna Carta safe.
That he had to find all of the copies, and protect them when he found them, otherwise dire things would happen.
These dire things were always vague and unspecific. To Darcy it sounded just a little bit like the idea if the Ravens ever left the Tower of London then England would fall: a nice little story to tell the tourists.
And that wasn't the worst part. The way Darcy would find these copies was by...licking things.
So while others were spending their gap years travelling in Asia; taking long ski holidays; lying on Bondi Beach in between pulling beers at the local pub; and generally having fun, Darcy was licking things.
It turned out that copies of the Magna Carta weren't hidden in nice places. They weren't rolled up and hidden in a tub of Neapolitan ice-cream.
Also sometimes he licked things and the intelligence was wrong. So he'd licked something and not even found a copy of the Magna Carta. Or worse still he found a copy and then it was authenticated as fake.
The highlights - or perhaps lowlights - of his career so far:
Then after suffering public humiliation all he had to show for it was a rolled up piece of paper, that may or may not prove to be legitimate, with some worthless clauses on it which he had to then move to another location. A different location for each, because apparently storing the Magna Cartas together would cause unspecified doom.
At this point of the explanation when he was 18, Darcy had hesitantly raised his hand and asked how they were to secure the Magna Cartas. In retrospect Darcy had no idea why he thought the answer wouldn't involve licking. It was just the icing on the cake.
Over the years he'd tried to see if he could collect his saliva and just smear, but it turned out the tongue was important.
For a little less than a decade Darcy hadn't taken the whole thing very seriously, if he happened to be near a possible location he might swing by and do some licking, but otherwise he tried to pretend he was as normal as he could.
It wasn't until he was about twenty six that someone finally told him he had a nemesis who was also trying to collect the Magna Cartas. Darcy was tempted to let him have them. Then they told him it was Wickham.
It swayed him momentarily but really Wickham was welcome to it all! No one could really explain what would happen if Wickham 'won' except a vague tugging of the beards - the mysterious men who popped up from goodness knows were to impart knowledge to him were all uniformly bearded - and exclamations of 'doom!'.
Then it turned out that Wickham didn't like a lazy nemesis because he tried to seduce Darcy into properly becoming his adversary by seducing Georgiana. Darcy would have been satisfied with just rescuing Georgiana but then Wickham revealed that he only had to use his fingerprint to open locations.
That it turned out was the line that needed to be drawn to incite Darcy into action.
So for the past year Darcy had been relentlessly licking things and moving them about the country.
He only - he thought at least, the bearded men were very ambivalent about deciding on exactly how many Magna Cartas were out there - had one more to collect, and he knew Wickham was on his tail, which was why his Land rover had broken down. Because nothing good ever happened to Darcy.
So Darcy was stuck on the side of the road attempting to hitchhike. No one was stopping for him.
Except for this lurid yellow tiny Fiat. When it pulled up beside Darcy, he saw it was Left-Hand drive, and had Dutch numberplates.
The woman inside peered at him, "Are you all right? Do you need me to call the RAC?"
Darcy tried to look unthreatening, "I actually need to get to Petworth House."
"Oh are you going to the house? I'm going that direction too! Get in!"
Once he was in the car the woman gave him her hand, "I'm Elizabeth Bennet. But most people call me Lizzy."
"Fitzwilliam Darcy. Most people call me.. Fitzwilliam Darcy."
"I have a degree in golf course management and design. I'm heading to Petworth Golf Club. Are you an axe-murderer?"
Darcy was startled, "No?"
"Good. So why Petworth?"
Darcy took a deep breath and began his normal cover story about how he was a historian so he travelled around to historical sites of interest.
"Oh so you must have a National Trust membership, isn't it amazing?"
"I don't actually," Darcy hoped she wouldn't ask him why he didn't have one.
"I'd give you mine but they are pretty strict on checking and you don't look at all like a Lizzy."
Darcy wondered if she should tell her that since his banning he'd had to resort to sneaking into National Trust properties. Once he'd gone as a woman, but he was more impressed with the time he went as a one-legged man.
"You should really look into getting one if you are a historian. You can probably even claim it on tax."
"Why does a golf course manager need a National Trust membership and why does she drive a Dutch Fiat?"
Lizzy laughed, "Well golf courses get very boring, and I was working at Koninklijke Haagsche, but now I'm scouting around the UK."
Darcy liked this woman immediately and he devoutly hoped the last Magna Carta would be at Petworth House - supposedly hidden behind one of the famous Turners commissioned by the third Earl of Egremont - and he could finish this ridiculous quest once and for all. Then perhaps he could ask women out on dates. He'd found it difficult to keep up a love life, they invariably found out about the licking of inanimate and ancient objects - one time it had been a marble sculpture and Darcy blushed to think where precisely he had been caught licking - and following that the luster of the relationship rather dimmed for the young lady.
"Would you like to come visit the house with me?" Darcy blurted out when they were only 1 mile from the house. He found he didn't want to let Lizzy out of his sight, but also if two of them entered the house the National Trust people would be less suspicious, they had most likely only been briefed on one licker and would be thrown off by him entering the house with another visitor.
Darcy did wonder how he was to distract Lizzy when they arrived at the sticky - pun intended - end of the process, but he had heard Petworth was so full to the brim with art that it was likely she would be distracted, or perhaps even looking out the window to see if the park could be turned into a golf course.
As he suspected no one batted an eyelid as they paid for their entrance tickets - well he paid and Lizzy flashed her membership card.
It was quite a long walk to the house and Darcy was astonished that they managed to keep up a sparkling conversation. Darcy was usually not very good at small talk and he wouldn't have been surprised if they had walked in silence. It was often the case when he walked with a young lady. Or any woman. Or indeed any person. Or dog.
The only awkwardness was when Darcy had noted that having two temples seemed excessively romantic and had they thought of all the claims that could come from people who were overwhelmed against their reason into proposing.
Lizzy had looked intrigued and while Darcy certainly felt a connection to this woman, a strangely strong one considering they barely knew each other, it was definitely way too soon to be thinking of a proposal. But he could see himself proposing to her, in the future.
That should scare him, after all they had been in each other's company for approximately ninety minutes, hardly enough time to ascertain whether they had the same taste in food let alone the same taste in life.
He didn't have any more time to think on this because they reached the interesting part of the house. Not for his purposes, but in terms of impressing people you couldn't go past the North Gallery which was particularly stuffed with art.
Darcy was happy to read the little laminated sheet that was found in each room out to Lizzy, until they reached what had been the formal dining room, and all Darcy could see were the four Turners. They were placed very low but this was because they had been placed to be seen from sitting at the dining room table.
Now to attempt to lick them one at a time - because of course his intelligence could not tell him which of the paintings hid the Magna Carta - without being unceremoniously removed from the premises.
However Darcy had a stroke of luck, Lizzy became very taken with the Grinling Gibbons wood carvings. Her admiration caught the attention of the room attendant, and he went over to talk to Lizzy. The rest of the rooms occupants gravitated towards them sensing they would probably hear something far more interesting and comprehensive, or perhaps just more digestible, than what was on the little plastic sheets or in the guide book.
So Darcy was free to lick with impunity, and his luck held, the Magna Carta was behind the second Turner. It slid free of a compartment in the frame and Darcy concealed it as quickly as he could in the special pocket of his coat.
He then shook himself slightly to compose himself and turned back to rejoin Lizzy. Except when he turned he found himself looking down the barrel of a handgun.
Lizzy was on the other end of the gun and she made a 'Give it to me' gesture with the hand not holding the gun.
"Lizzy?" said Darcy.
"Yes, that is my name, now hand me the Magna Carta."
"How did you - "
"Can we spare the back and forth? I'm obviously working with Wickham. Now either give me the Magna Carta or I'll shoot you and take it myself."
"Why would you leave me alive to continue to thwart Wickham's plans and why would you follow Wickham when he isn't even man enough to confront me himself!" Darcy puffed himself up.
"It was my idea, Wickham knew you'd be distracted by a pretty face. And as for your first point. It's a good one."
It was the last thing Darcy heard.The End