If anyone was awake at two o’clock
in the morning and happened to be looking out their window they would
have seen eleven very battered superheroes flying overhead. They would
have noticed seven of these heroes wearing uniforms that looked as
if they had been sliced with scissors and thrown into the mud. And
they would have seen four very scantily clad super heroines. Top Ten
soared through the skies over Founders Falls, across the Liberty Town
neighborhood of the zone on their way to WillowWind’s apartment.
lead them to a tall skyscraper overlooking the new university on the
right and William’s Square on the left. As the team landed on a 32nd
floor balcony they were able to see the tunnel into Talos Island and
farther to the left Louis Forest, dark with the telltale green glow
of Circle magics sporadically dotting the silent park. WillowWind
walked up to the huge sliding glass door and, on the wall at it’s
right, punched in a series of numbers on the softly glowing keypad.
The door clicked and she slid it open.
Stepping inside she flicked
a switch and as the room glowed with soft light said, "Ladies and
gentlemen, welcome to my world."
The heroes entered the large room
and began to find places to sit and rest after a long night. Because
they entered from the balcony they found themselves in the living
room. It was a large airy room with a wooden floor painted black.
The walls were a deep purple which blended into a lighter shade as
the color rose upwards. The ceiling was a light purple as well with
four large black beams extending from the four corners of the room,
meeting together in the center where a large wrought iron chandelier
A long sofa draped in swaths of red and black sat against the
wall on the right. Pillows of varying degrees of purple adorned it
and in front of it rested a large low coffee table made of thick dark
wood. A black chain wove its way around the table and down each of
it’s legs. Across from the sofa a flat fireplace, with no mantle,
stood in the middle of the wall. Inside it’s hearth lay four logs
mixed with dried flowers. Above the fireplace looked to be a large
mirror but was, in reality, a 42" flat panel plasma television.
black iron spiral staircase was at the left of the fireplace. It was
a decoration for there was no second floor to the apartment, and on
each of its steps dark flowerpots sprouted with flowers of every color.
Three reclining chairs made up the rest of the room.
the living room, one could see into the kitchen through a large square
cutout that served as a counter. The cabinets were painted black and
the countertops were blood red and Willow could be seen and heard
rummaging about, preparing the promised coffee for her guests. To
the right of the kitchen was the foyer and front door and another
door which lead to a bathroom.
WillowWind exited the kitchen balancing
a huge pot of coffee and several cups on a tray. "All right, here
it is," she smiled. She looked at the group and pointed to the door
by the kitchen. "There’s a shower in there for whoever wants to take
one." She turned and walked towards another door to the right of the
fireplace. "And ladies," she said over her shoulder, "come with me!"
Buttercup turned and gave the tablet to Tropic then faced the rest
of the room. "All right, who has my uniform?" She waited expectantly
almost tapping her foot.
Johnny rose from his place on the sofa and
handed the heroine four balled up ICON bags. "Here. Bet you thought
I lost ‘em," he grinned. Buttercup took the bags and followed the
other girls to Willow’s bedroom. "Sure you just don’t want to stay
in that outfit?", Cognito called after her as he sat back down.
she said emphatically over her shoulder.
"I’ll get to work on this
tablet," Tropic said quietly. He walked to a door next to the sofa.
It led to another bedroom, a small room containing a bed, dresser
and mirror and a desk. He flipped on the light and walked to the desk
staring at the tablet, already beginning to translate the writing
in his head.
The heroines entered Willow’s bedroom and closed the
door behind them. While the living room had a hard wood black floor
here a thick, deep black carpet met their feet. The room was big,
only slightly smaller than the living room. A black four poster bed
was against the middle of the far wall. The bed cover was a blood
red and the canopy consisted of drapes of thin gauzy pieces of red,
black and purple fabric. The top of the bed itself was almost covered
by pillows of every dimension in varying shades of black, from light
gray to midnight onyx. The night tables on each side were topped with
lamps of twisted iron and dried flowers were sprinkled on their bases.
On one wall of the bedroom a sliding door seemed to go it’s length
and sliding glass doors led out to the balcony again.
On the far wall
sat a dresser with a large mirror. The body of the dresser was a deep
black and its top a deep red. The top of the mirror’s frame was carved.
At its top, on the left and right, were etched small bat wings and
along the border it came to several points. A doorway led to an enormous
bathroom, it’s floor a checkerboard of black and red, and contained
a shower stall large enough for four people.
The other women had already
stripped off their clothes and Buttercup was happy to remove what
she was beginning to call her "tramp" outfit. She tossed three of
the bags containing the Top Ten uniforms on the bed and Miya, Tempt
and Willow went to retrieve them. Buttercup opened her bag and held
her uniform at arms length, a frown already etching itself on her
The costume was a mess. It’s midsection bore the claw marks
the demon had torn in it at the battle in Perez Park.. One of the
shoulder seams had split and tendrils of thread poked out freely.
The thing was a mass of grass and dirt stains, rips and tears. It
was, simply, ruined.
Buttercup looked up and saw the rest of women
staring at their costumes and all had the same expression. "I can’t
wear this," she said softly. The heroines in the room muttered in
WillowWind smiled broadly. "Oh, nobody worry," she said
brightly and walked to the sliding door. She pushed and watched as
the door slid effortlessly open. "You want costumes? I got costumes!"
The sliding door revealed a closet and on it’s rack were hanger after
hanger of superhero outfits. Some were Top Ten colors, others were
just a scheme that had caught her fancy that day. There were at least
thirty and the heroines stared at them with open jawed surprise.
does ICON have any left?", Temptations asked in awe.
Miyaka answered, already going through the rack trying to find one
Willow grinned and grasped Valya’s hand. "Well, it is my
plan to make ICON beg for mercy," she laughed. "Well, we’re going
to take a shower. If anyone wants to join us, come on!" The two naked
heroines padded, giggling, to the bathroom.
Miyaka stopped her search
and trotted after them. "Hey! Wait for me!", and the three women disappeared
into the bath. Soon the sound of rushing water and laughter could
be heard from the room.
Temptations turned to Buttercup and shook
her head, a crooked smile on her face. She crossed to the wall and
switched on the ceiling fan. Returning to the closet she continued
her search. "Well, let’s see what we can wear. And we get the shower
Buttercup shook her head and idly scratched her thigh. The
breeze from the fan caused her to shiver and she looked up, catching
her reflection in the mirror. The super heroine regarded herself and
smiled inwardly. "First I get dressed like a hooker," she thought,
"now I’m standing around naked in a crazy woman’s apartment." She
sighed. "It’s been a very interesting evening." She walked over and
joined Temptations as she ransacked the closet.
Forty five minutes
or so later the heroines emerged from WillowWind’s bedroom freshly
showered and wearing clean new Top Ten uniforms. The outfits were
all different in some regard; tight leggings, a miniskirt, thigh high
boots. But all were Top Ten colors of deep blue and gold, the shield
etched proudly on their chests.
The heroes were spread about the room
on the sofa and reclining chairs, some laying prone on the floor.
They noticed that Kunai had arrived and General Scrap filled them
in on what had happened in Talos Island and the disappearance of the
demon. The women joined them and Buttercup crossed to the small spare
bedroom to assist Tropic in translating the stone. The rest lay about
the living room, sleeping lightly and fitfully as the last hours to
sunrise crept by.
It was a few minutes after six thirty when Buttercup
and Tropic emerged The sun had begun to rise and the large living
room started to lighten, the bright rays shining through the glass
door. The superheroes started to stir, not fully asleep, yet not fully
awake. They all noticed their two friends standing amongst them and
the expressions on their faces served to awaken them quickly.
the color had drained from Buttercup’s face and both she and Tropic
had the same look in their eyes: worry mixed with grim resolve. And
fear. The members of Top Ten looked at them expectantly until finally
Buttercup spoke. "It’s not a demon," she stated simply.
at each other with raised eyebrows and General Scrap asked, "So, what
Buttercup looked at Tropic. The fire blaster nodded slightly
and gestured with his hand in a "go ahead" type fashion. The heroine
took a deep breath and began to reveal all they had discovered.
Circle," she began, "in their quest for world domination, I suppose,
wanted to bring something over that was powerful, as evil as they
were and could be controlled. They found the Arkandian spell…ritual…I
don’t know…and started their magics." Buttercup looked at her friends.
"But they didn’t have all the components to complete the incantation
as it was laid out."
"Components?", Elendil asked.
"Real eye of newt,
wing of bat stuff," Tropic nodded, "which, oddly enough, are ingredients
in this thing."
"So, at best, they substituted," Buttercup continued.
"At worst, they guessed. The planets and stars were all in alignment
and they had no time to search out what they were missing, so they
went ahead with the spell." The heroine tugged at her lower lip. "They
brought it over but they couldn’t control it. And it’s evil dwarfed…was
more than they could ever have expected."
The gathered heroes looked
at each other in confusion. Ryuuhoshi looked sidelong at Scrap then
turned to his two teammates. "You said it’s not a demon. What is it?"
Buttercup gazed about the room at her friends then sighed heavily
as though the weight of the truth would crush them all. She frowned
and said softly, "It’s a descendant of the first evil."
was greeted with raised eyebrows and looks of bewilderment. Their
heads turned towards one another, trying to see if anyone understood
what had been said. "What do you mean?", Willow asked with a furrowed
brow. "I don’t underst…"
"Oh my God!" exclaimed Valya from one of
the recliners. "You don’t mean…," the fear in her voice was palpable.
Tropic nodded once and the color drained from the Controller’s face.
WillowWind looked at her dear friend, the expression on her face flowing
from confusion to concern and then to frustration. "Look," she said,
"I don’t want to be stupid here but what are…"
"No!", Cadecus whispered
from his spot on the sofa. He stared at Buttercup and Tropic in horror.
"You’re sure?", he asked, his voice barely audible.
"All right, that’s
enough," Temptations said forcefully and stood beside Willow. "Explain.
What’s this ‘descendant of the first evil’?"
Tropic chewed on his
lower lip for a moment until finally he raised his head and, with
the fire flowing from his eyes said, "It’s one of Satan’s children."