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Hidden Intents

Chapter Two – Shadows of Swiftness

City of Heroes and City of Villains fiction

 

By Eli J. Litzelman

 

 

Carl Withart sat down and sighed.  He was more commonly known as RoboZon, the legendary, the courageous, and all that jazz.  Today, however, he was just Carl.

 

It was his birthday.  He hated this day.  Well, maybe not hated, but he definitely did not like something as silly as his birthday.  His old mentor Archer of Ramesses, on the other hand, had some sort of fondness towards birthdays.  So, every birthday he and everyone else he knew had to come over for the little “ceremony.”

 

He took the lid off of the box in his hands.  Reaching inside, he pulled the gift out.  It was a long, dark trench coat.  Moving it around in his hands, he felt the smooth leather and saw the light reflected from the ceiling fixture.

 

Standing in front of Carl, Katie Blackwell smiled.  “I hope you like it,” she said.  “I hear it’s the new thing.”  After being rescued and discovering her new powers, she had registered as a hero under the name of Banished in Silence.

 

Carl stood up, letting the long coat fall to the floor.  “I do like it.  It’s very,” he looked up and hesitated as he glanced at her, “nice.”  Every time he looked at her, he always had that feeling rush through him and would forget what to say.

 

Before anything else could be said, the ancient Archer of Ramesses stepped forward and held out a case.  The container was very old and had intricate carvings of battles and empires on it.  As Carl opened it, the archer said, “These are the shoulder placements that Alexander the Great wore into the Battle of Chaeronea.”

 

“You fought in the Battle of Chaeronea?”

 

“I was there… only as an observer.”  The Egyptian warrior smiled briefly and a twinkle filled his eyes.  He then turned to Daughter of the Wood.  “Have you brought a present for RoboZon, apprentice?”

 

The small woman stood up from her seat.  She nodded her head quickly and pulled a small box from her robe.  Handing the item to Carl, she tapped her foot on the floor as she waited for him to open it.

 

He had a little trouble taking the lid off, much to the impatience of the heroine.  Finally wrenching it off, however, he saw a neatly folded belt inside.

 

“I made it,” said Daughter of the Wood excitedly.

 

Carl lifted it out of the box and examined the the smooth metal.  Pulling on it, he found that it was both sturdy and flexible.  “Thanks.  It’s pretty cool.”  He then turned to Archer of Ramesses and said, “I’ve wondered; when is your birthday.”

 

“Oh,” the Egyptian said, “that day has been lost to the winds of time.”  The old warrior then stood up.  His worn face that had seen too many battles to count seemed tired and weary.  Lifting his head, his eyes rose to meet Carl’s. “Please forgive me.  I have matters to attend to.”

 

Standing with his former master,  Carl replied, “Goodbye, Archer.  Thanks again.” 

 

“Before I depart, I must inform you of something.  A strange item was found in Dark Astoria where he fought the Banished Pantheon.  From what I understand, it is actually a mechanical device.  Portal Corps seemed to be interested in it. Perhaps you should check with them about it.”

 

“I will.  I wish you luck.”

 

Archer of Ramesses smiled and inclined his head.  He then walked to the door with Daughter of the Wood following close behind.

 

Standing slowly, Katie looked over at Carl.  “Well, I guess I better go,” she said weakly.

 

“Ok then.  Thanks for stopping by.”

 

“No problem.”

 

As she left, he simply stood there. It was like he had been pinned to the spot.  After what seemed like ages, he finally turned around and surveyed the room.  “Well,” he said, “I might as well see if any of this stuff fits.”  Before touching any of the items, however, he went to his closet and grabbed his suit.  Returning to the living room dressed in the high-tech outfit, the first item he picked up was the belt.  He pulled it around his waist and snapped it together.  It fit him perfectly.  Next, he picked up the trechcoat and put it on.  The black leather slid smoothly over the metal as he did so.  Last, but most definitely not least, he pulled out the ancient shoulder placements of Alexander the Great which Archer of Ramesses had given him.  Attaching each one onto his shoulders with precision, he walked over to the mirror to survey his new appearance.

 

Looking himself up and down, he was not satisfied.  It was then that he noticed an unusual lump in the back of the coat.  Reaching into the leather, he pulled out a hood.  It was not very common to have a hood on a trench coat like this, but when he slipped it over his head, it seemed to fit right in.  “One final touch,” he muttered as he became engulfed in surging white flames.  Curling up around the hood and swirling about the tall shoulder placements, embers lit the room.

 

Just as he was nodding at his image, he felt four sharp spikes slam into his back.  His head contorted back in agony as netherworld energy flowed through his body.  Barely able to gather his strength, he spun around, extracting the spikes from his back.  Before him stood a man clothed in chaotic black leather and seething with dark power.  The attacker attempted to disappear in plain view, but RoboZon was faster than that.  He lunged forward and struck out at his foe.  Before any of the strikes could reach his enemy, however, negative energy would leap from his body and deflect them.  Faster and faster RoboZon moved, but to no affect.  Then, the Rouge struck with a speed the hero had not anticipated  and RoboZon was pummeled in the face.  Trying to clear the flashes in his vision, the legendary hero jumped into the air kicking repeatedly, but the villain was no longer there.  RoboZon had not even touched the ground when he was viciously slammed in the back.  Landing in a crouch and rolling, he came up to see the dark form coursing through the air at him.

 

Hidden in Darkness found his chance; his enemy was just getting up.  RoboZon had been faster and more lethal than he had anticipated, but the hero was still only human.  The villain was lunging through the air now.  He was descending like lightning upon the hero.  His muscles were tensed like a spring in the final stroke.  This was the single blow that could kill his opponent.  Without warning, RoboZon jumped and spun with an inhuman speed.  Hidden in Darkness was slammed in the chest by two feet and thrown backwards.  He landed on his feet and slid to a stop, but the hero was gone.  Sensing that he was in danger, he did not panic but instead prepared himself.  Suddenly, he felt a hand on his chin and another on the back of his head.  He tried to resist, but it was too late.

 

RoboZon snapped the villain’s neck with a ominous crack and let him drop to the floor.  Shrugging, he mumbled, “So, I was a little harsh.”

 

 

***

 

 

Ninjado crouched in the shadows as he examined the hero.  He had not spoken a word, only watched as the fight came to its conclusion.  After a small time, his apprentice, Banmotsudo, whispered, “Shall we attack him, Master?  He is weak.”

 

“No, his mind is still focused on the art of combat.  He shall be unprepared tomorrow and he might prove useful until then.”












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