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Bound No More, Part 1
By Sean McDonald
John O’Donnell wasn’t usually one to
read tabloids, but in the case of the Paragon Tattler, he’d make
an exception. He sipped his coffee as he found the story he was
looking for, right under the one about the Carnival of Shadows’
latest wild party. “Onami Strike Force welcomes new
member,” the headline read. Right under it was a photo of
colorful group of heroes, with John right in the middle. Of
course, when he was in his armor, they called him Spectreblade.
Soon, he’d once again appear in the paper, but this time, as a
The bells on the coffee shop door jingled to
announce the entry of man in a brown suit and a fedora. John
looked up from his paper and waved. “Hey, Brian.”
“Hi, John. How’s it going?”
Brian Sutter took a seat at the table John was sitting at. “This is some article you wrote here,” John said.
“Well, it was some battle. Without your help, we would
never have brought Dominatrix to justice,” the reporter known to
the Onami Strike Force as News Flash replied.
“Careful, Brian. We shouldn’t talk about our
adventures out of costume. I don’t want any paparazzi or
stalkers after me.”
“Sorry. Well, let’s start this interview,” Brian said as they left.
Soon they were across the street, at the Paragon
City History Museum. The two walked among a fine assortment of
relics of the past; the Pompeii exhibit featuring a plaster cast of one
of the eruption’s victims, the O’Donnell Medieval Arms and
Armor collection that John inherited, starting his association with the
museum, and finally, they arrived at a roped-off area where the
finishing touches were being put on a new exhibit. They stepped
over as Brian prepared his camera. “Here it is. The
Siren’s Call shipwreck exhibition,” John announced.
Here stood all manner of artifacts from the ships sunk by the pirate
Randall the Cunning and his strategically misplaced lighthouse which
gave the neighborhood its name. As Brian took pictures of the
objects, a young brunette woman came up to John. “Hi,
John,” she called.
“Hello, Emily,” he answered. “Any luck getting that last chest open?”
“Nope. The thing’s rusted shut. I hope I can get it open before opening day.”
“I was looking forward to seeing what was in there. I guess
we won’t be finding out anytime soon. Don’t worry too
much about it.”
Brian asked the woman, “Where is it? I’d like to get a shot of that for the paper.”
“It’s down in the basement right now. I’ll take you to it if you want me to.”
“Thanks, Emily,” John said. The group soon found
themselves in the museum’s basement, in front of the chest they
were talking about. “So, this is the chest that won’t
open, huh?” Brian said.
“Yeah,” John answered. “I’m starting to wonder if it’s sealed by magic or something.”
“If it is, there’s probably something valuable in
there,” Emily said. “It’s a miracle our workers
got it past all those villains in Siren’s Call.”
“They did a good job keeping all those artifacts out of their
hands,” John told her. “Well, I have to go check on
the rest of the exhibit. Take your time figuring out how to get
that open. It’s not the end of the world if it isn’t
ready in time.”
“Ok. Bye, John. See you tomorrow.”
That night Emily came back to the museum with a
small bag in her hand. As she walked past the security desk, the
guard asked her about it. “I stopped over at
Pandora’s Box. I got something that should open that
chest,” she told him. Then she took a hand-sewn doll out of
the bag and showed it to him. “And I got this for my daughter,
“That’s cute. She’ll love it,” the guard
said. “Well, be careful. If you need anything, just
Emily went to the basement, past shelves full of
items the exhibits didn’t have room for, through a hallway, still
wet from being repainted, and made her way to the box. The chest
was like something a treasure hunter would dig up on a beach somewhere,
except for the lock that was held in place by rust and, if
Emily’s guess was right, magic. She put down her bag and
pulled out a marble-sized charm. She held it in front of the
chest, and, slowly, it began to open. Once it was open, she
looked inside for gold, jewels, or whatever other valuables could be
inside, but it looked empty. “Come on, there has to be
something in here,” she thought. Emily reached in, hoping
she’d find a secret compartment. She felt some kind of
force push her hand to the side of the chest. She looked in and
still saw nothing. Then a crushing blow hit the side of her
head. The girl was dazed, but she knew she had just unleashed
something. Something terrible. There was only one thing for
her to do. She staggered toward the alarm on the far wall.
It wasn’t far, but she was still reeling from the hit, and had to
hold herself up against the shelves as she made her way over.
Another blow found its mark, this time a fist glowing with power struck
her right in the stomach. She doubled over in pain and fell to
her knees. Emily now had to make her way to the alarm on all
fours. She was almost within reach when a large metal foot came
down on her back, pinning her to the floor. She squirmed to get
out from under her attacker. Emily let out a scream, then fell
silent as the final blow fell.
The Onami Strike Force was meeting in the offices of
the Paragon Tattler when they heard what happened. Their leader,
the energy blaster PhoenixHawk, answered the phone. “Hello?
…What is it? … Oh, my…I’ll send someone over
He hung up the phone and turned to Spectreblade.
“There’s been a murder at the history museum. It
sounds like it’s the work of a villain, so take News Flash with
you. He might be able to use his mental powers to find
“I’m on it,” The black-and-blue knight answered,
brandishing his sword. He was not about to let something like
that happening at his place of work stand.
Spectreblade and News Flash arrived at the museum
entrance, now blocked with crime scene tape. They showed their
hero IDs to the officers as they crossed it. “So,
what’s the story here?”
“One of the employees here was murdered. We think
it’s the work whatever was in that open chest in the
basement. Judging from the wounds, it looks like an energy melee
user, definitely magic, but we don’t know much else. We
also found a newspaper with an article torn out of it. Do you
know what it was about?”
“Let me take a look at it.” News Flash said to him.
It was a copy of the Paragon Tattler, and the missing article was the
one about Spectreblade joining the Onami Strike Force.
“Well that’s creepy,” News Flash said.
They went down to the scene of the crime. News Flash sensed
something as they reached the room where the chest was. The two
heroes saw two circles adorned with strange symbols next to each other
in front of it. In one was the body of the attacker’s
victim. In the other lay a doll. News Flash said,
“Hold on. I can still sense her. She’s still
“How is that possible?” Spectreblade replied. “Look at those injuries.”
“I don’t know how, but I can still sense her.
She’s calling for help.” The mentalist soon found out
how it was possible. The mental screams were coming from the doll.