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The twins ask Nick what's going on and he tries to convince them that the shop had a gas leak, which caused them to hallucinate. Yeah. Sure. A gas leak.
Sophie and Josh call him out on his lame excuse, so good ol' Nick decides to be straight with them.
Josh shows him some pages from the book he held onto when Dee grabbed it. The words are moving on the page, and they are not in any one language the twins know (although sometimes they recognize words that look like Egyptian hieroglyphics or Celtic Ogham).
Nick says that it's good news that these are the pages Josh grabbed—they are the most important pages for the Final Summoning. Oh, yeah, the Final Summoning. Of course.
Seriously, Nicky, can we get some scoop?
Nick tells them that the gray man who has the book is Dr. John Dee, one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the world.
He is an alchemyst, magician, sorcerer, and necromancer, and he is definitely up to no good.
Skeptical, the twins reply that there is no such thing as magic. Right?
Wrong, says Fleming. After all, what do they think they just saw? Men of clay. Golems. Sounds like magic to Shmoop.
He tells them that Dee was the Court Magician during the reign of Queen Elizabeth in England, and was born in 1527.
The twins can hardly believe him. Wouldn't that make Dr. John Dee nearly 500 years old?
And more importantly, isn't it impossible to live that long?
Fleming then reveals to them another impossibility (are you sitting down?): he's not actually Nick Fleming.
His real name is Nicholas Flamel, born in 1330, and his wife Perry's real name is Perenelle, who is 10 years older than he. Whoa.
Sophie asks the question we're all asking: "What are you and Perenelle?"
Flamel tells her that they are legend. Too bad Will Smith isn't around to help set them straight.
Now comes the cool part. Here's Flamel's story:
Once upon a time, Nick and Perry were regular people just like us, but then Flamel bought a book—the Book of Abraham the Mage, also known as the Codex—and from then on he became the Alchemyst.
Kings and princes and even the Pope wanted to use his skills, because he could change regular stones into jewels or gold.
Most awesome of all, he could brew the recipe for the secret of life, which kept him and his wife immortal.
But there's always a catch, right?
See, now that the book is gone, Flamel and Perenelle will age and die within a month, and the Elder Race (the race that existed before humans) which they fought so long against, will reclaim the earth.
If you're guessing at this point that Dee might have something to do with this Elder Race, well, then you're one smart cookie.
It turns out that Dr. John Dee is immortal (although Flamel does not know how the jerk has managed to keep himself alive all these years), and he works for a powerful Elder. Alas, we don't know who.
Now that we've got that background info under our belts, it's time for these cats to make a decision.
Nick and the stunned twins decide to escape before Dee realizes the pages are missing. Otherwise, the twins will be in serious danger.