"Whacamole," said Count Doombats. "They're a local delicacy you got around Faq. They're not bad, if you can catch one."
The whacamole swiveled its head and looked around, but made no further sound. It was weird that the Count was talking about serving wild-caught rations to a Prince, but maybe this was part of Mom's punishment. She seemed to want to take him down a peg. So he guessed he'd better not act like it bothered him.
"Okay," said Albert. "You gonna take it to the kitchen and cook it?"
"Well, I was thinkin," said the Count, with a weird little smile on his fanged face. "You seem to have some Transylvitian Signamancy, y'Highness. Gray skin, flying special... attitude. You'd fit right in back home. They'd love ya there. I'll take ya to meet Don King sometime."
Albert raised one pierced eyebrow.
"But," continues Doombats, gesturing in his direction with the bagged rodent. "it ain't a perfect match. Round ears, purple eyes... and above all, straight teeth. So I was wondering if you can do this."
The Count lifted the bag to his mouth, and swiftly bit the rodent on the neck. It went limp almost at once, but for several seconds after, Count Doombats kept his mouth on it. He closed his eyes and swallowed, five or six times.
"Ah," said the Transylvitian, tilting back his head. Albert thought he saw a red stain on the Count's fangs, which quickly vanished. "Yeah, we don't have these at home. Good stuff. You wanna try?" He held out the bagged animal, which hung limp and did not move.
Albert did not "wanna try," but he knew when he was being tested. He could recognize a dare. The Transylvitian Noble was not gonna come in here and play tough guy and pull any kind of stunt that Prince Albert couldn't match.
He took the bag in both hands, intending to chomp down on the thing and rip its head off with his teeth, just to show this foreign clown who he was talking to. But he made the mistake of looking the creature in its dazed, black eyes. He saw fear and confusion, and he paused for a moment. The bag was warm. He could feel the little animal shift its body in his hands, wriggling with what little strength it had left.
He took two deep breaths, then looked up. "I don't think I have the life drain special, Count Doombats," said Albert. "Mom would've said something." He offered the animal back.
The Count nodded, taking the bag from him. "I figured."
He tucked the whacamole's head back into the bag, pulled the drawstring closed, and casually tossed the sack onto the top of the chest of drawers, where it landed with a thump and another weak squeak.
Albert winced just a tiny bit, and the Count made a curious face.
"Duzzat bother you?" he asked, pointed a thumb toward the bag.
"No," said the Prince. But it was a lie, and sounded like one even to his own ears. The Count only gave him a long, silent stare. "Shut up," added Albert after a while.
"That bothers you," said the Count, pointing again to the bag on the dresser. Then he pointed to the figure lying on the bed. "... but that doesn't?"
- ^ Whacamole Primarily a reference to the arcade game Whac-a-mole, where artificial moles poke their heads out of holes and players try to hit them with a hammer or boffer. The description as a "local delicacy" is possibly a reference to guacamole. Finally, the depiction in this panel is a reference to the Dramatic Chipmunk meme from 2007. (we are aware that it's actually a prairie dog)
- ^ sic There should be a comma after rodent, not a period.
- ^ Red stain A rare and momentary appearance of blood in Erfworld.
- ^ Biting its head off Probably a reference to the infamous act of Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat in 1982.