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A STITCH IN TIME
Shadows from the Netherworld held the group fast in its dark,
inescapable gloom. While the negative energy slowly leeched away
their lives, the heroes were tormented with the howls and screams
coming from the very depths of their souls, promising every horror
imaginable and eternal twilight.
Beguiler was trying desperately to shield his mind, as well as the
others from this dark assault led by Nightbringer, who had now turned
back into Deathbringer, the name he had gone by when he ran with the
Skulls. Their leader still hovered over them, his eyes reflecting
an unholy joy at what he was doing.
The empath tried to get Jon to stop, but what he found in the
man’s mind was neither human nor humane. The man before
them wasn’t the Jon they knew, but rather, an alternate version
of him. Quickly, he tied his mind to Xandria’s.
He’s not responding to mental attacks, Beguiler told her, or at least mine. I cannot attack him and keep us healed up at the same time. Besides, it’s not really Jon.
I trust you’ll explain it later.Let’s see if this works, then, replied White Diamond.
With the strength of her mind, she grabbed hold of Jon, who seemed
unaware of what was about to happen. Suddenly, Deathbringer
flew against the wall, and then was roughly jerked to the other side of
the corridor. He was thrown back to the opposite side a third
time, his head smacking against a large piece of ductwork, but White
Diamond did not relent, she slammed him a few more times against the
walls and sent him flying away from them. Jon stared stupidly at
the group for a few moments and then collapsed to the floor unconscious.
The strange inky mist that had surrounded the group began to dissipate,
the howls subsiding. As The Nameless stood up, and Beguiler
could sense their confusion over what had just happened, overcoming
their minds just as Deathbringer’s deadly gloom had their
bodies. With a thought, he got them all to refocus on why they
were here, and what they needed to do.
“We need to restrain him. If we teleport him to the
hospital like this, he could start attacking, or even killing, innocent
people. Any heroes that stop him would only send him to the
Zig,” stated Xandria.
“I got it, darlin’,” announced LiveWire, who produced a pair of handcuffs from a pocket inside his vest.
Xandria narrowed her eyes and shook her head at her husband.
“Do I even want to know why you brought those with you?”
LiveWire chuckled and expertly handcuffed Jon, making sure the pipe he
had their leader’s hands around were solid so he could neither
break out or slip the cuffs off of the pipe. Beguiler reached
into Jon’s mind and triggered the desire for sleep to feed back
onto itself; it would keep Jon unconscious indefinitely until they
could return him back to normal.
“Will he be alright?” asked Medusa, the worry apparent on her face.
“I’m sure he will be. He’s a fighter,
Medusa,” reassured Beguiler, putting his hand on her
shoulder. “Remember when Adamastor had almost broken out of
Moth Cemetery? He used his last bit of strength to banish him
from this world, and if he had been anyone else, he would have
died.” Everyone nodded in agreement; Jon’s dedication
to his team and to fighting the forces of evil he knew so well were
becoming the stuff of legend.
Norman coughed impatiently. “We need to go,” he
said brusquely. “This is why the city is so overrun with
petty criminals; all you do is sit around and talk.”
Turning on his heels, he led the way down the corridor. The
Rogue Isle Protector went back into his introspective silence,
confident that neither of the psychics could “hear”
him. Soon, very soon, he kept telling himself.
“Well, is it time?” asked Gamester, who loomed over
Kirk. He seemed to eye the flashes of light with eager
anticipation, but Vision could tell absolutely nothing about the
Kirk could sense all the rips in space-time forming around them;
he could even tell how far ahead or behind in time they would be.
Why Gamester would want to know which rip was the right one was beyond
He looked over at the children; Delilah, Psirene’s daughter, was
unconscious, as was Carlito. No doubt their powers made such
sedation necessary for their capture. JT, son of LiveWire and
White Diamond, had been both bound and gagged to keep him quiet.
Kirk smiled at the boy, who looked like his father, but had a quiet,
almost shy, manner. How Gamester’s minions managed to get
into their base and capture the kids still mystified him.
“So, why are you doing this?” Kirk asked. A
brief flash in his mind showed him a fight, likely future, of The
Nameless battling in this room. He shook his head to clear his mind of
the foresight; he was not receiving them as rapidly now, something he
was grateful for. The quick succession of alternate presents,
futures and pasts had almost torn his mind apart, but oddly enough,
here at the heart of the time storm, his powers worked like they always
“It’s a present to myself,” explained the Gamester,
who managed to keep his face hidden despite his proximity to
Kirk. “The future me contacted me and sent a device to
disrupt time itself. Bad? Perhaps, but you gotta admit some
of the stuff that’s been happening is pretty cool. Besides,
it was necessary.”
“Mind your own business! I just need you to tell me when a
flash 20 years from now appears!” snapped the Gamester, and
turned away from his captive.
Every step the Gamester took made a shuffling noise, and Kirk noticed
that he walked rather strangely, almost unnaturally. “What
are you, some kind of robot?” he suddenly asked.
Gamester whirled around as if he’d been stung
by a hornet. From the depth of his flowing red robes, he produced
a gun and pointed it at JT’s head.
“Keep it up, funny man! I’ll blow his head off!”
Just in time, Kirk could sense the portal Gamester
wanted. Scenes of a future twenty years away began to show
themselves to him; so enraptured by what he saw, the hero called The
Vision almost forgot to tell his captor the portal he sought had
Eagerly, Gamester jumped into the plane of
light. Kirk struggled slightly against his bonds. He
still felt too groggy to attempt teleporting himself ahead
a few seconds. Besides, he reasoned, the swarms of temporal rifts
made such a thing a very risky move. He watched Gamester’s
minions; they seemed to be too focussed on the portals to pay much
attention to him or the children. Cautiously, he struggled
against his bonds; he felt it move slightly. Stealing another
glance at his captors, he tried again, feeling the ropes moving
slightly as he did.
He felt the familiar touch of Beguiler’s
mind; the empath was searching for him. Mentally responding to
the psychic beacon, Kirk felt reassured this ordeal would be over soon.
“Kirk’s here. Along with Delilah,
Carlito, and JT,” answered Beguiler as he gathered his mind
back into himself. He paused for a moment, as if aware of
something, but then continued, “Gamester apparently
took them as well to ensure Kirk’s assistance.”
“Assistance? Why would Kirk help
Gamestuh?” asked LiveWire. Crackles of electricity could be
seen forming on his fists and Beguiler could sense all the anger
building up in him. “An’ how in the hell did he get
“The how, LiveWire, is irrelevant. Right
now, we need to rescue our loved ones.” Beguiler replied,
grateful his twin wasn’t here. Her abilities could be more
brutal in their execution, and she wouldn’t hesitate to do
serious harm to anyone who threatened her child.
“Where are they?” asked Solanum,
who hadn’t withdrawn her claws. Her fiance could tell she
was itching for a fight.
“The main portal is through those doors, and
that’s where our targets are,” stated Norman flatly.
“However,” he added, looking over at Tristan, “It
will be no place for children.”
“You can’t tell me what to do!
I’m go-“ the teenager began to protest, but was cut
off by his father.
“He’s right. You can’t go
in. Your mother would kill me if she knew what’s happened
so far. If I allowed you into a fight, I’d probably never
get a chance to see you again until you were an adult.”
Edward told his son very gently, but in a tone that left no room for
Tristan sighed in disgust. “You
suck!” he declared and stalked off to a nearby lobby area to
sulk, flinging himself into one of the chairs. His sullen glare could
be felt almost as much as seen.
Stingray chuckled. “Sounds like me when
Sara and I would go on assignments. He’ll get over
“Tick, tock, people,” reminded the Rogue
Isle Protector in an impatient tone. “We have fifteen
minutes before the two timelines converge. Likely the rip will
get worse, and any hope we might have of fixing it will be
gone.” He took off towards the doors, the rest of the
Nameless in tow, except for Prismatic, who seemed to stall for a moment.
“The world will be doomed,”
muttered Prismatic, repeating what Can Man’s guest had told
her. Ever since arriving in Peregrine, she had heard the song
again and again, calling to her, beseeching her to come home. She
was suddenly overcome with great tiredness, tiredness of spirit.
Come home, daughter. Let go of the burdens of your travels, and come home,
called the voice to her mind once more. It seemed gentle, almost
like the voice of a mother to her child. Prismatic felt
overwhelmed by the sense of safety and security the voice
provided. She felt herself starting to slip away.
She heard the loud clanging of a large door closing. The sound brought her back to what was going on.
she mentally answered, shaking her mind free of the drowsiness.
She noticed how the voice now speaking to her was different in tone
from the one emanating from the Can Man. I need to help this city, perhaps the world.
Laughter, gentle and patient, echoed in her head. Dear
child, do you think this world will cease to be if you are no longer
upon it? The world will keep turning; people shall be born, they
will love, fight, live and die. They will continue to be whether
you are here or not.
Someone has damaged time itself, she interrupted the voice. Soon
the anomalies that flood this city shall overrun the world, and after
that, I can only assume this world will pass through the tear in the
Universe, and then it will cease to be.
For a few moments, Prismatic heard nothing, but she
could tell her people were still present, as if discussing the matter
Very well, child. To mend the tear, this is what you must do…
The portal between times seemed like a highly
polished corridor of light and shadow; details were blurred by
either. Motion seemed strange, almost like slow motion, but
somehow exaggerated. Jack couldn’t help but be excited and
scared. He knew if he could pull this off, he would go from being
a small-time crook to true supervillain.
He could hear footsteps coming down the
corridor. Quickening his pace, he rushed to meet the
person. A tall, broad-shouldered man was approaching. He
was dressed oddly, like a nobleman from several centuries ago; red
jacket, white ruffled shirt, black pants tucked into his boots. A
black mask covered his face, but Jack knew who he was.
“I always wondered what I would say to myself
if I ever went back in time,” remarked the older Jack.
“Do you have the item?” the boy asked impatiently.
“Of course.” The older Gamester
gave the younger one a box. “Crey Labs developed them,
Freakshow stole them, and I recovered them for the
Countess.” He smiled. “Believe me, she is one
person to definitely make your ally. The rewards
“Yeah, great,” Jack said as he
opened the box. A pair of innocuous bracers sat in the box.
“Uhm, how do they work?” he asked as the boy-villain put them on his forearms.
The adult version of himself drew back his sleeves,
revealing the same weaponry. “Just click,” he
started, and pressed down on a large green button. The sparking
of electricity could be heard and seen along the man’s hands and
arms. “And point!” he shouted, and with an
emphatic gesture, he extended his arm outward; a large bolt of
electricity rocketed out of his fingertips.
Jack’s eyes lit up with delight. Now he could be on
par with that snot-nosed brat Delilah and the freak Tristan.
“That is merely the beginning,” hinted his future self.
“What else can they do?” he asked.
Gamester laughed. “Let me show you.”
Gamester’s minions heard a pounding at the
door; they knew someone might attempt to stop them, but they never had
seriously expected it. They knew what was coming, and Gamester
had prepared them for this moment. Each of them pressed a button
on their belts, and they each blinked out of sight.
Kirk concentrated, trying to focus on the future,
but with all the timelines converging on each other, he couldn’t
tell whether the future he saw was the one that would be coming
true. All he could do, like anyone else, was wait.
The large, circular door opened, parting down the
center. The eight entered cautiously; and just as White Diamond
noticed Prismatic was still out in the corridor, the massive doors
whisked themselves closed, sealing the seven in the room.
Immediately, Beguiler was reaching out with his mind. “We are not alone,” he cautioned.
Norman scanned the room, dimly lit by the
milky-white glow of the activated portal,. The massive
cables and pipes that fed into the gigantic room created innumerable
shadowy hiding places, but thanks to his helmet’s visor, he could
detect a hidden body.
He slowly scanned the room, not at all letting on to
the seven heroes he had spotted Gamester’s minions already.
Norman could see that one of them was slowly moving in behind White
Diamond, who seemed to also be reaching out with her mind.
“BEHIND YOU!” He yelled, suddenly.
The telepath suddenly screamed out; the group caught
a flash of Jongleur stabbing her in the back before he blinked out of
Enraged, LiveWire suddenly sent a massive charge of
electricity to the spot he had been, creating a field that would hold
the knife-wielding villain in place. The blue electricity sparked and
crackled, but slowly faded, telling him he had missed his target.
Beguiler was immediately working on healing White
Diamond; his ability to absorb the pain of others was extraordinary,
but it came at a considerable cost to himself. He clenched
his teeth as he experienced the agonizing wounds she felt.
The rest of the group surrounded them, keeping watch in all directions
for unseen attackers.
Solanum gave the Protector an evil look.
“If you can see them, you should point them out to us.”
“I don’t want the little one hurt,” he said stiffly.
“At this point, I don’t think I can
guarantee her safety,” countered Solanum. She found the
Protector’s interest in Toyster unsettling at best, if not
As a precaution, she began to wrap herself in the
dark, shadowy mist she referred to as her death shroud. Becoming
a focal point of negative energy, it swirled around her in a wide
radius. Any enemies caught within it would begin to have their
life energies drained away; it was a tactic the clawed heroine made
frequent use of, considering it to be a secondary weapon when she
fought more than one villain.
She heard a sudden gasp, and knew someone was caught
in the field. With a wicked slash, she lunged forward, feeling
her claws strike flesh. A scream, a woman’s scream, echoed
throughout the room.
Fortuneteller materialized and threw a card at
Solanum, who tried to swat it away from herself. The card
touched the tip of her nails and detonated, and the red head took the
brunt of the blast. The force of the explosion sent her flying
over the others, tumbling head over heels.
“SARA!” yelled Beguiler and
BlueDragon at the same time, as both men rushed to her side, leaving
the rest of the team.
The Nameless were now more nervous; they were being
attacked on all sides, with no clue as to when or where the assaults
would come from. Gamester’s minions had gotten very good at
hit-and-run tactics, but now that they were caged in for a fight, the
heroes began to feel doubt about any chance of success.
Faberge was suddenly picked up and tossed aside,
crashing into a set of metal piping that fed into the heavy framework
surrounding the portal. The crystalline girl’s ultra-dense
flesh perforated the tubing, causing a small plume of smoke to jet out
of it. The pipe itself began to frost up as the supercoolant
leaked out at a prodigious rate.
An alarm began to sound; the urgency of the leak was
accentuated by the computerized voice now announcing pending disaster.
“Warning: Coolant leak.
Warning: Coolant leak. Evacuate facilities
immediately. Evacuate facilities immediately.”
Beguiler looked at Bluedragon as they both hovered
over Solanum. The empath could tell the other hero had strong
feelings for Solanum, and the feeling was mutual. He brushed
aside the jealousy for a moment and concentrated on Sara; the flesh on
her hands had been blown off in the explosion. Bracing himself
for the absolute pain he would soon inflict on himself, he took a deep
“Bluedragon, I need you to put a force field
around us. What I’m about to do will take a little time and
a good deal of my energy. Keep an eye on the others,
and whatever you do,” he looked over at the leaking coolant, and
then back at Bluedragon, “do not summon fire.”
Bluedragon smirked and brought up a shimmering force
field around the three of them. Confident he was safe,
Beguiler reached into Sara’s mind and concentrated on healing her
hand. The pain was intense, much more than what had just happened
to Xandria. His nerves seemed to be catching fire from his
fingertips all the way into his brain, making his mind feel like it
would explode. Fighting past the initial shock, he went to work,
accelerating Sara’s own healing abilities, repairing flesh and
tissues. As Solanum regained consciousness, Beguiler gasped
loudly, mentally exhausted and visibly shaking by his efforts.
Solanum looked around the room angrily. She
wanted to tear Fortuneteller apart. The Protector knew each of
their locations, but wouldn’t disclose them. She thought
quickly, and sent a mental message to Edward, confident that the Rogue
Island Protector, so intently stalking Toyster, wouldn’t detect
Can you and Xandria sense the Gamester’s minions?
Yes. They all seem to be waiting for something, he paused. What did you have in mind?
Between the two of you, could you knock them all out?
Piece of cake,
replied her fiance, and he quickly withdrew from her mind. Edward
usually linked minds with his sister, making their attacks twice as
powerful on their enemies. However, he could join his mind with
other psychics in his sister’s absence.
After explaining what they were to do, the pair went
into action, releasing a psionic salvo against enemies they could
sense, but not see.
The Gamester’s minions cried out in unison as
twin psychic attacks began to tear into their minds and cause them to
lose their focus. One by one, each of the supervillains dropped
out of invisibility. All of them were clutching their heads,
writhing on the floor.
Working quickly, The Nameless began to put
teleportation tags on them. They were about to slap one on
Toyster when the Rogue Isle Protector erupted into action.
Standing over the unconscious child villain like a bizarre guardian angel, he began to radiate intense heat.
“I told you not to harm the little one,” he warned.
Before any of the heroes could answer, a deep rumble
shook the building. They all turned to face the portal, which had
diminished in brightness. However it flared up with blinding
intensity, and a noise sounding like a small explosion came from
Travelling a fast speed, a shock wave came out from the portal, knocking everyone onto their feet.
“What’s goin’ on?” asked Jack to his older self.
“Hmm. The temporal rifts are beginning
to collapse. You’d better get out of here. I’m
sure the capes are swarming the place,” the man cautioned.
Jack snorted. “Please, all any of them
clowns care about is getting their names in the paper.”
“True, but nonetheless, you should get
going.” He handed his younger self another small device.
“It’s a teleportation tag, like what the capes use, only
programmable,” he answered the boy’s wordless
The pair felt the rumble of the building, and suddenly noticed the light surrounding them begin to fade.
“See ya later, dude!” Jack smirked, and activated the device.
“No!” Gamester screamed, but it
was too late; the boy had vanished. Teleporting within a temporal
rift caused the gateway to suddenly become unstable and collapse,
unceremoniously dumping the supervillain into the large main room.
Quickly, he took in his surroundings, and saw eight
heroes glaring at him. He knew who they were; The Nameless.
He knew they had all disbanded by his time, but another group had risen
up to take their parents’ place.
PLAYTIME!!!!” Gamester yelled enthusiastically in a
sing-song voice. “And the name of the game
is…Catch!” he quickly added, hurling twin bolts of
lightning at the group.
The Nameless all jumped out of the way of the
lightning bolts, finding safety behind the pipes and ducts around the
“So that’s Gamestuh?” asked
LiveWire. “If he’s playin’ with
‘lectricitay, bettah let me handle this.” His fists
began to charge up; he was confident he could handle anything Gamester
could dish out.
JD, please be careful,
cautioned his wife. The Southerner chuckled as he ran towards the
villain, fists glowing blue-white, electricity arcing off of
With a loud cry, LiveWire attempted to deliver a
wicked overhead punch, which would have leveled most villains.
Gamester, however, was no garden-variety crook. He reached out
and grabbed JD’s wrists, and everyone could see the electric
nimbus vanish from the hero and transfer to the villain’s
fists. The electrically charge punch intended for Gamester was
redirected towards JD, delivered in a nasty uppercut. The blow
sent LiveWire sailing backwards and crashing onto the ground.
The young hero looked dazed; no one had ever
resisted what he called his Electro-Punch. He stole a brief
glance at the rest of the team.
Xandria sent a wall of psychic energy which would
throw it’s target into the air, much like what she had done to
Nightbringer. The attack seemed to only bounce off of Gamester,
who laughed as the remaining members of the Nameless got pushed back
with great speed and force by the deflected energy.
“What the hell is going on?” demanded Beguiler.
“Reverb gloves, Beguiler. Reverb
gloves. I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you
throw, bounces off me and sticks to you!” Gamester taunted,
and then hurled another massive bolt of electricity at them. The
electricity harmlessly peeled away from them, repelled by a shimmering
green force field.
Undeterred, Gamester fired again, the bolts of
lightning shattering the force field and racing between the heroes,
violently arcing among them. The steady stream of electricity
flowed out of the supervillain, who cackled maniacally as one by one,
The Nameless began to fall.
Satisfied they would no longer be a threat, Gamester
returned his attention to the portal, which had gone dim. With a
few punches on the console, the great door between worlds re-opened,
lighting the room once more.
He was about to step into it when a glint of metal
caught his eye. Looking down, he saw one of Jongleur’s
throwing blades. Picking it up, a wicked thought crossed
Gamester’s mind. He knew what role The Nameless would take
in the years to come, as well as the threat their children posed to
him. Looking at the unconscious supergroup, as well as the bound
and gagged children, he made his resolution.
Gamester crossed the cavernous room towards the
adults; right now, they were the biggest threat. He stood over
the one known as Madam Medusa, and absentmindedly twirled the blade in
his hand. With his back to the room’s entrance, he
didn’t realize the growing light levels outside the room.
He knelt down beside Medusa, and brought the knife crashing down
towards her heart.
“Not that one,” someone said, stopping him inches away from his target.
Gamester looked at the speaker, a man in red and
black armor who had suddenly materialized. “And why
not?” he asked.
“She has been sought by Lord Recluse for some
time now. Leave her alone, and you can do what you want with the
others,” Norman offered.
“I don’t think you’re in any position to make a deal.”
Norman gave a short chuckle as he moved away from
the still-unconscious Toyster and towards Gamester. “I know
who you are, and I know where you live, Jack. I could very easily
report you to Lord Recluse, and he could deal with you
himself.” The Protector spoke matter-of-factly, as if
Gamester’s destruction was as good as done.
Gamester smiled. “Very well. Do
with her as you will.” He moved over towards Stingray,
whose protruding spines were leaking out a yellowish fluid.
Poised again to strike a sleeping victim, Gamester
never got a chance to bring the blade down. The great metal door
isolating the gigantic room was blasted open, and a blinding white
light came in.
Shielding his eyes, he could barely make out a
figure as the source of the light. Bands of plasma rippled across
her body as power of incredible intensity radiated out of her.
Prismatic, whose powers derived from sunlight, had
been infused with the energy of her native sun, a star greater in
brightness and energy than Sol. Her powers greatly expanded, she
slammed Gamester against the far wall with absolutely no effort.
With a scornful look at the villain, as well as at
the awestruck Rogue Isle Protector, Prismatic entered the re-activated
Come home, child, began the song. Come home.
Ignoring the plea of the voice, she followed the
instructions given her. The rip in space-time had become too
great to simply mend, she had been told. It would be more like
filling a hole in a wall, applying more matter to the material universe
To produce the matter, she needed energy, and for that, she would need to sacrifice herself.
The Universe formed in a great flash of energy and light,
she thought, and began to build up the energy within herself. If
she could hold onto it long enough, it would no longer be contained
within herself, and she would, as some energy wielders termed it,
The energy within herself began to pound in her
brain. Holding her breath, she concentrated harder, condensing
the energy further and allowing room for more to build up.
She could feel herself shaking violently, as if she would no longer be
able to hold on much longer. Prismatic knew she needed to
keep pushing farther, tapping deeper and deeper into herself if this
was going to work.
Come home, daughter, come home, the song called to her. Return to those who love you, come home, come home, come home….
Sensing she had reached her limits, Prismatic
let herself go, feeling her consciousness expand across multiple planes
of existence in a sudden, super-energized rush.
Outside the portal, the Nameless were shaking off
the effects of Gamester’s electrical attack. Angered, they
turned to face the supervillain, who charged up his gloves again.
The expected battle never came; out of the portal, a
massive shockwave of sound and plasma erupted, flattening everything in
its path and rendering all in the room unconscious again.
Norman was the first to wake up; he saw Gamester was
missing, but Toyster was still in the room. He looked the child
over; she was still alive, but barely. Angered his little one had
been so injured, he scooped her up and teleported away, promising to
keep her safe from all harm. As for Medusa, he would notify Lord
Recluse about her. The Arachnos network could easily keep tabs on
Beguiler woke with a start; quickly, he scanned the
minds of his teammates. Sensing they were alright, he cast a
greenish healing aura over all of them. The Nameless groaned as
they woke up.
“What the hell happened?” asked
White Diamond, who ran over to her child. He was rattled, but
Beguiler concentrated. “Prismatic.
She’s…gone.” He looked at the others, a
sadness in his eyes his teammates had never seen before.
“She self-destructed to save everyone.”
“What?” asked Kirk, who had been
closest to her. He seemed to be reaching out with his mind as
well. “I can still sense her! She can’t
Edward shook his head. “It’s a
death trauma, Kirk. It’s not really her. Her last
thoughts and feelings remain for a moment,” explained the
empath. “Then they fade away.”
“I guess everything would be back to normal, then?” asked Stingray as he helped Faberge up.
All eyes turned to Kirk, who closed his eyes.
Already he could sense Prismatic’s consciousness fading away.
Beyond that, he sensed the timelines seemed to be normalized, but he
could still detect little holes in the dimensional fabric.
“Yes and no,” he replied.
“But, I’m still here. I guess I’m no longer dead!” exclaimed Bluedragon.
Beguiler sighed slightly. “Lucky us. I suppose Jon would be back to normal as well.”
As they left the room, they noticed several people
were missing; Gamester was gone, the Protector was gone, Toyster was
gone. It was assumed that the Protector had taken the child with
him, but the team didn’t care; now was the time to take care of
The lobby area where Tristan had been waiting was
empty; a quick scan by Beguiler told them nothing, he couldn’t
detect his son. He recalled he had detected someone familiar when
he had first arrived at Portal Corp, someone who had been watching them
surreptitiously from the shadows.
“Death Adder,” he cursed silently.
“Who?” asked Solanum. She
had stayed behind with her fiancé while the others had gone on
ahead to check on Jon.
Edward shook his head in disbelief; of course Alyssa
would have him followed. She trusted no one, not even her husband.
“Death Adder. He’s Alyssa’s
right-hand man. Officially, he’s her major-domo.
Unofficially, he’s her assassin,” he quietly
explained. “I thought I detected him earlier, but we had
more pressing issues.”
A sudden scream from the entrance grabbed their
attention. Running at breakneck speed, the pair ran towards the
rest of the team.
“He’s gone!!!” screamed
Medusa, now in hysterics. Already upset by her husband’s
transformation into an evil version of himself, the sight awaiting them
sent her over the edge. The green-skinned heroine, normally as
stoic and as calm as a stone, fell to her knees, sobbing
uncontrollably. No one could have been prepared for the sight
The handcuffs that had restrained Jon were now
broken and lying on the floor. A piece of cloth was alongside
it. Edward picked it up, and caught the whiff of decay.
“Nocturne has him,” was all he said.
Gamester came to, and found himself seated at an
exquisitely decorated table. Not even his mother possessed the
fine china and silverware spread out before him.
To his surprise, he found that his hands were not
bound, nor was he in any sort of prison. Rather, he sat opposite
an extremely beautiful woman with night-blue skin, who regarded him
quietly with garnet-red eyes.
“I’m glad to see you are awake,
Gamester. I am Nocturne,” she said in rich tones.
“Welcome to my home.”
“Thanks for getting me away from all those
capes. I’m much too pretty for prison!” he joked.
Nocturne smiled politely at his statement. “My reasons for rescuing you are my own.”
Gamester noticed a second man at the table; he
recognized him as Nightbringer, the leader of The Nameless. The
villain shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
“You may relax, Gamester. Deathbringer
is my new royal consort, completely under my control, and will not act
against you unless I wish him to.” She nodded graciously to
the zombie servant who poured wine for the three.
“So, why did you save me, Lady Nocturne?” he asked.
She smiled, flattered he bestowed a title upon
her. “I was given a vision of things that may yet be.
I was told what was needed to prevent a horrible future for
all.” She nodded again at the zombie servant who scooped
bright green beans upon each of their plates.
“And saving me was the key?”
Gamester asked, but paid no attention to her enigmatic smile. He
hungrily took a taste of the beans and sipped the wine. “By
the way, what are these? Fava beans and chianti?”
“You’re very perceptive, Lord
Gamester.” Nocturne twirled the wine around in her glass,
as if waiting for something.
“Didn’t Lecter have this stuff with some guy’s liver?” Gamester asked suddenly.
“Did he?” asked Nocturne.
Something in her voice terrified him as he realized what was about to
Cold, undead hands grabbed Gamester and dragged him, kicking and screaming, down a dark shadowy corridor.
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