Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.10: Mistery

Firetop was drenched.

Matthew Mist had somehow managed to increase his control over the element of water, and constantly drove Firetop back as a horde of stocky henchmen ran amok around the prestigious marina. Firetop had managed to stop a few of these strange people, but it seemed that for each one he knocked down, another two appeared. He had no choice but to signal the EFB for help, and had managed to get part of the message through before Matthew Mist’s water funnel had shattered his communication device.

“If your friends come“, Matthew taunted, “I shall drench them as well. I’m now new and improved, and with this army willing to help me I’m unstoppable. My friends, take everything you can from every boat in the marina. Everything. Cushions. Covers. Jewels. Don’t forget the jewels!”

Firetop rolled his eyes, and was about to send a fiery blast towards his opponent, when Matthew noticed what he was doing and sent another blast of water instead.

“You do realise Firetop, that water and fire do not really mix. The water will always quench the fire.” Firetop spluttered as Matthew kept this latest blast on him longer than before.

Muriel Magnificent flew in and knocked Matthew over to one side, stopping his watery blast. Firetop rolled to his side to catch his breath. Lycralad used his molecular altering abilities to fuse the leggings together of one of the stocky henchmen who carried a microwave out of one of the boats. The henchman fell forwards, flinging the microwave into the air. The Cloud swiftly leapt in and caught the microwave before it crashed to the ground. Bettystretch stretched her arms around five more of the henchmen and bound them together, although one slipped through her grip and plunged into the marina, as Betty misjudged the henchmen’s weight. Without a second thought, the Diver disappeared beneath the murky waters of the marina after the slippery henchman. Firetop sent a blast of flame across the path of another henchman who carried a jewellery box, in an attempt to stop him, but he just walked through it. Matthew sent a wave of water over to Muriel, who managed to fly above its path; the water instead knocking another henchman into the marina’s waters. Lycralad used his abilities again on another pair of henchmen, this time binding their arms to their sides, but a third henchman grabbed him from behind. The henchman shoved Lycralad forwards, and caught hold of both his ankles. He swung him around above his head, as if Lycralad weighed nothing. All the time he was striding forwards, and let Lycralad go as the Cloud stepped out from the boat where he had just returned the microwave. Lycralad bashed into the Cloud, knocking him down, but Lycra had managed to make himself weigh considerably less just a second before, so the Cloud was soon up again. Lycralad flew into the air. The Cloud managed to grab hold of a rope and wrap it around another henchman who had stepped on board the boat to retrieve some more booty. Bettystretch caught another henchman, and threw him on top of the others she was keeping pinned down by her elongated legs. Firetop used another of his blasts of fire to send another henchman into the water, who was swiftly scooped together with the other two by the Diver. He then leapt out of the water with the henchman to set them down dockside. Muriel Magnificent caught another henchman by his arm, but instead of turning him around, the arm came away in a burst of sparks.

“Eeeyaghhh!” Exclaimed Muriel, as the arm exploded. She flung it away. She looked up, and instantly noticed the other henchmen bursting apart in tiny explosions at their joints.

The Diver let his captives go as soon as they erupted into sparks. Bettystretch leapt off her captives as they did the same, shrinking back to normal size as she did so. The Cloud dropped the rope he was using to tie up his captive, as the henchman’s head left his shoulders in a shower of electrical shards. Matthew Mist tried to send another burst of water over Firetop, but Lycralad used his material fusing abilities to bind Matthew’s arms to his chest; Matthew ended soaking himself this time. He spluttered as he fell to the ground. Lycralad flew over to a very wet Firetop.

“Robots again!” He said, looking on at the very strange scene ahead of him.

“Again?” Firetop asked. Lycralad smiled as he saw Firetop using his internal heat to dry out his uniform, surrounded by a cloud of steam. Lycra looked over to Matthew.

“This is good steam, Matthew. Just in case you missed it!”

Matthew rolled his eyes and groaned at Lycralad’s very poor joke, and muttered something inaudible under his breath.

Muriel Magnificent landed beside Lycralad. “I wasn’t expecting that…” she said, looking at the scattered robotic body parts before her.

“I should have done,” Lycralad commented, thinking of the events of the previous hour.

“What’s going on?” Firetop asked. “I’d followed Matthew Mist here as I could tell he was up to no good, when suddenly this ‘army’ appeared following every command Matthew gave.”

The other superheroes joined their colleagues, all looking out over the marina.

“I’ll get the harbourmaster to let the owners know of their belongings,” The Cloud commented. “I think we’ve managed to save them all, but they’re obviously not in their correct places now.” He walked off toward the marina office.

“Another bunch of robots attacked the bank earlier, Firetop.” Lycralad explained. “But that time only their heads blew off.”

“Gross.” Firetop pulled his face.

“Matthew Mist will know something.” Bettystretch added, looking to the space when Matthew had originally sat. “He’s gone!”

“Lycralad!” A familiar voice called out from around the side of another of the harbour buildings. “Are you looking for this?” Constable Jones from the bank earlier walked around the corner, with two other policemen behind, and a handcuffed Matthew Mist struggling to walk in the middle, cuffs also around his ankles.

“Constable Jones!” Lycralad smiled. “Twice in one hour! Thanks for apprehending Mister Mist here for us!”

“No worries, Lycralad. More robots?”

“Yes. Robotic thieves seem to be the order of the day today. We still have no clue as to who is behind it though. It can’t be Matthew here.”

“Oi!” Matthew grumbled. “You will get nothing from me!” He declared stubbornly.

“That much is obviously apparent,” Firetop quipped with a broad grin, “you look even more clueless than the rest of us!”

Bettystretch’s comms alert sounded, shortly followed by Muriel’s and then the rest of the group (apart from Firetop). Muriel read aloud the words on her device’s display. “From. Invisible. Charlie. Mid. Museum. Surrounded by. Dozens. Dressed the. Same.”

“Sounds like more of our friends…” Lycralad commented. He looked at the policeman. “Sorry to leave you with this mess again, but we have to go!”

“I understand, Lycralad. Go for it!” He watched as the team sped away into the sky. He looked at another policeman and Matthew Mist. “And we think we’re busy…” he commented.

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.9: Unfortunate Circumstances Part Three

They arrived back at the headquarters in double-quick time. Lycralad opened the door swiftly and ran inside, holding it open so Angela and the Cloud could go straight in. Muriel Magnificent was walking into the kitchen when she heard the commotion.

“Lycralad? Cloud?” She asked. “What’s going – is that Angela? Goodness. What’s happened?”

“Is Nat in yet?” Lycralad asked.

“I think so.” Muriel replied. “I think I saw her when I walked passed the medicentre. I was going to pop in to see Sue, but I’ll do that later now. But Angela? What’s happened to her?”

“I’m fine, Sue,” Angela replied, her lips wobbling as she spoke. “I’m rather surprised you recognised me like this.” She joked.

“It’s your shoes, Angela. I’d know them anywhere!”

“Is Reide about?” Cloud asked.

“I think I saw him leave a few minutes ago, just before you arrived in fact. You’ve literally just missed him.”

“Good! That is just what we wanted!” Lycralad said. Lycra nodded toward Muriel as they ran passed her, to the double doors to the stairs to take them to the second floor, which housed the medical centre.

All three ran quickly up the stairs, and burst into the medical centre, startling Natalie who was putting a form away into a folder at the filing cabinet.

“What on Earth?” She asked, before noticing Angela.

“Natalie. I don’t know what’s happened. I’ve got stuck mid-transformation.”Natalie glared towards Lycralad and the Cloud. “Oh, I’ve had to tell them everything, Nat.”

“Everything?”

“Well, almost everything. About me being Angel Change.”

“At least they are good with the secret identity thing, I suppose.” Natalie smiled. “Thanks for bringing her in. I can help her now. Come through to the assessment room, Angela. Sorry, guys, but you’ll have to stay here now.”

“That’s fine, Nat. See what you can do!” Cloud replied, sitting himself down in one of the chairs in the waiting room. Lycralad sat beside him and picked up a copy of the latest Cheshire Motorways magazine.

Angela sat in the patient’s chair in the consulting room, and Natalie pulled up a small plastic one and sat opposite her. They held each other’s hands and looked deeply into each other’s eyes. A red mist appeared to form out of each of their eyes, emanating outwards, towards the opposite nurse. When the mist connected in between them, it changed colour; first to orange, then to gold, and then to the brightest of yellows. It became a bright light which then encased both of their bodies.

The light contracted to a tiny speck in the centre, leaving the two chairs where the women had once sat now empty. It then enlarged once more, covering both seats once again. It then faded, and both Angela and Natalie had returned. The ‘monster’ was gone.

Lycralad absent-mindedly flicked through the pages of the magazine. It had been all of two minutes, and he was feeling restless.

“I can’t stand this waiting!” He declared.

“Take it easy, Alex. I’m sure it will be fine.” Cloud said. “I wonder how Angela got one of our comms devices though?”

“Well, she is part of the EFB, I suppose. Support and all that. And being Angel Change she is a superhero, so she has that going for her as well.”

“Yeah. But – I wonder if Natalie and Dr Flopp are superheroes too?”

“Or worse – they could be supervillains. We don’t really know anything about them, do we? They could be anyone, and we just put our trust in them.” Lycralad was starting to talk himself out of his side of the argument.

“They are part of the team. We have to trust them. We can’t second guess them, Alex. Especially not now.” The Cloud brought them back into the realms of reason.

“We’re not very good superheroes, though.” Lycralad sighed. “We didn’t even know that Angela Chance was Angel Change. I mean to say.”

“We know now,” Cloud replied. “And we know too well the reasons why we don’t tell everyone we know who we are.”

The door to the assessment room opened, and Angela walked out first, back to normal, followed by Natalie.

“Ange – What??? How???” Cloud stood up.

Lycralad put down his magazine and stood as well. “You must be a miracle worker, Natalie. Angela, you were grotesque!”

“Thanks, Lycralad.” Angela replied frostily, but soon broke into a smile. “Natalie has seen this before. That was why I told you she could help.”

“Well, good work, Natalie.” Cloud added, with more than a hint of relief in his voice.

“I still didn’t get to pay the cheque in though, Natalie. I think I’ll let you take it tomorrow!” Angela chuckled, as she took to her seat at the receptionist desk.

“You can’t possibly think of working after all that!” Lycralad held up both of his hands towards Angela.

“I’m fine. Honestly. Worse things than that have happened, believe you me. All in a superhero’s days work. You know how it is.”

“I suppose you’re…” Lycralad was interrupted by the sound of the priority one alarm.

The Cloud dashed over to the console by the entrance to the medical centre. “It’s Firetop. He’s in trouble.”

“Go, boys!” Angela shouted. “Do your stuff!”

They ran out of the medical centre, and almost collided with the Diver who was also responding to the alarm. Bettystretch quickly followed. They ran down the stairs, and met up with Muriel Magnificent in the kitchen.

“Firetop’s under attack from Matthew Mist,” Muriel explained, “and an army of an unknown origin. It’s apparently too big a threat for him to handle on his own. He’s at Mid Marina. Good job the Diver’s responding!”

“It’s been a while…!” Diver replied, eager to get on with the job.

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.8: Unfortunate Circumstances Part Two

Lycralad was in the kitchen, making a cup of tea.

The Cloud walked in and sat at the table, waiting for him to finish. “Do you want a cuppa?” Lycralad asked, with his usual chirpy tone.

“No, not right now,” Cloud answered, somewhat down, “Thanks, though!”

“Is something wrong?” Lycralad asked, sitting at the table. He placed his cup down in front of him.

“I’m OK,” Cloud replied, “It’s just the changes around here are getting to me. We don’t seem to be the same team as we were.”

“Well, there’s only half of us left, for starters!” Lycralad replied, “And Raymond Reide certainly doesn’t make the place feel welcoming any more. It used to be like a second home here – now none of us can’t wait to get out!”

“Tell me about that!” The Cloud smiled. “Still, we have to do what we do best, whatever the circumstances!” The monitor alarm on the console just by the door sounded, and the red light above it lit up. The Cloud dashed up to read the display. “A member is in trouble. The details are coming through now… Mid and District Bank.”

“Who needs help?” Lycralad asked, standing beside the Cloud to look at the display.

“It doesn’t say – Member ID’s off. It has to be one of us, though – only we have access to this system. Sia Klath installed it especially when she joined. Funny there’s no ID though, the system’s geared to respond to our bio cells. There’s only you and me here right now, Alex. Fancy a trip to the bank?”

“I thought you’d never ask!” Lycralad winked. “Let’s get out of this place!”

They both tapped the console, which stopped the alarm and turned off the light. They swiftly left the kitchen and ran down the hallway to the front door. As they got there, it opened, and Raymond Reide walked in. He ignored the Cloud and looked at Lycralad. “Going somewhere, my boy?”

“We have an urgent situation, Mr Reide.” The Cloud answered. “Lycralad and I are attending. It is a Priority One alarm and we must attend.” Without anything further being said, the two heroes left the headquarters, leaving Raymond Reide smirking in the hallway behind them.

***

It took a few moments for them to reach the police cordon around the bank in the High Street. Lycralad tapped the policeman on his left shoulder and quickly bobbed over to his right. The policeman turned, and looked at the Cloud, who smiled as he rolled his eyes and nodded towards Lycralad. The policeman looked in the other direction.

“Constable Jones!” Lycralad smiled, “Long time no see!”

“Lycralad!” The policeman patted Lycra on his right arm. “I wondered if any of the EFB was going to turn up. We’re keeping people away as something odd is happening in the bank.”

“Can you tell us what? Or anything? We received an alert from an EFB member who is in trouble in there.”

“There are no superheroes there, Lycralad. Just some weird robot things and a monster dressed as a woman.”

“A monster dressed as a woman?” The Cloud screwed his face.

“That’s what the bank manager has reported. Nearly all of the staff and customers have fled the bank, but there are a few who were injured who can’t get through the door. The monster is in the foyer somewhere, lurking in an alcove, apparently.”

“Can we go through? The robot things?” Lycralad remembered this situation had more than one part.

“They seem to be incapacitated.” The constable replied. “Decapitated, in fact.”

“Gross!” Lycralad patted Constable Jones’ arm. “Keep everyone else away, Cloud and I will go in and see to the injured and the monster.”

***

The power had been shut down in the bank. Company protocol whenever a robbery is in progress. The digital clock on the wall showed it was 10:45. Lycralad spotted the group of injured people in the corner and dashed over to help them, as the Cloud searched through the various nooks and crannies of the bank looking for the monster. He saw movement behind an automated telling machine, and went over to look closer.

“Cloud…” came a familiar voice from behind the machine.

“Who’s there?” Cloud asked, as the woman leant forward, her face distorted out of all proportion.

“It’s me, Cloud. Angela. Angela Chance.”

“Angela? From reception? What’s happened to you?”

“They haven’t done it” Angela said, pointing over to one of the bulky robots. “I’ve somehow managed to get myself stuck.”

“You aren’t making sense, Angela. Stuck? How?”

“I’m Angel Change. My powers have somehow failed, trapping me mid-transformation. I had to hide to stop others seeing me like this. Can you get me to Natalie and she will be able to get this sorted out.”

“Natalie Byte? The other receptionist? What can she do?”

“Just get me to her. Don’t let Lycralad see me like this.”

“But he can help. He can create a cloak out of your coat to cover you, and we can get you passed all of the people outside, and the police, without being spotted. We can take you outside with the other injured and then get you back to the headquarters.”

“OK. Just do it quickly!”

The Cloud ran over to Lycralad, and explained the other person, the ‘monster’, was another injured customer, loud enough for the others to hear. Lycralad dashed over to the door, and waved for the policeman he was speaking to earlier to come over to him. He advised the ‘monster’ was a false alarm, and the only people left in the building were the injured few. They could all hobble out, so Lycralad got them to the policeman who escorted them to a couple of waiting ambulances.

“There’s one more but we need to get her back to our Medical Centre urgently.” Lycralad shouted after the policeman, who turned back around and acknowledged him. Lycralad then walked back inside the bank and used his powers to expand and alter the fibres of Angela’s coat, changing it into a large hooded cloak with the appearance of a grey blanket that covered her features.

Standing either side of Angela, Lycralad and the Cloud made it appear that they were both struggling a little to walk with her. As he walked through the door, the Cloud nodded to a policewoman who had just arrived on the scene. “The place is empty now,” he said, “so you can go in and have a look around if you like!” As he looked away from her, a bright blue light flickered slightly in the corner of his eye.

Unfortunate Circumstances concludes next week.

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.7: Unfortunate Circumstances

Angela managed to squeeze inside the door, behind the queue that stretched its way around the bank. She checked her watch, thinking ’10:30. It shouldn’t be this busy now’, but then stood and waited behind the man wearing the green jacket. She felt the presence of a large man behind her, who too managed to get completely through the door. After five minutes of not moving apart from a couple of steps forwards she began to think something wasn’t right.

The first thing she noticed was that no one was leaving. The door behind her was the only way in and out to the customer area of the bank. This in turn made her realise that she hadn’t felt the door slide open and close again since the man behind entered. She then realised how quiet the place was. Usually, the bank played gentle music for the customers as they waited, but today it wasn’t there.

Angela glanced over to the cashier desks that were along the side and back walls of the room, and each desk was in use. She noticed the people being served were all standing in a similar pose to each other, leant slightly forwards with both arms bent in front of them. As these customers also had quite large frames, she couldn’t see anything further in front of them, but just in the way they were all standing piqued her curiosity.

She glanced at the digital clock on the wall above the cashiers on the side wall, its bright red letters displaying 10:25. ‘Digital clocks shouldn’t stop’, she thought as she began to put things together. The bulky people; the non-movement; the lack of music; the stopped clock… She knew that something untoward was going on, but in a very orderly fashion. The man in the green jacket in front was blocking her view of the rest of the queue moving forwards, but Angela needed to see if she could gather any further details. She decided that she would leave the bank, and return as something very discreet. She turned to walk out through the door, but the bulky man behind her didn’t move to allow her passed. He stood, arms folded, and glaring at her. She stepped to one side to walk by him, and he moved in front of her. She smiled, and apologised for side-stepping the same way, and made herself step the other way. The man moved and blocked her again. He was deliberately keeping her in the bank. Angela glanced at the door, and saw three more bulky people facing the street outside, blocking the entrance. ‘That explains why nobody else is coming in’ she thought. She also noticed two large black boxes on either side of the door, and presumed they must be keeping the doors closed, otherwise they’d be constantly sliding back and to with the three people stood in front of them. She looked back at the man behind her in the queue who was still glaring at her, although he was now pointing some kind of weapon at her. He gestured that she turn around again. She did, but positioned herself so that she had a better view of the queue. She noticed there were about thirty people in the queue, and every fourth or fifth person was one of these bulky people. The people in between all stood compliantly looking forward. She presumed all of the bulky people had a weapon, as did the ones stood at each of the cashier desks. She glanced back at the clock on the wall, which hadn’t changed from 10:25, the colon between the 10 and 25 not blinking. The cashiers themselves weren’t moving, which Angela thought odd as if this was a robbery they would be doing something.

Angela discreetly checked her watch again, which now said 10:40. She pressed the outside of the watch face firmly into her hip, which caused the device to vibrate. The man in the green jacket started to sneeze. The bulky man from behind shoved Angela to one side as he barged passed her, and lifted the man in green off the ground, and flung him across the room into the wall next to the cashier. The people in the queue flinched, some jumping physically. It was then that Angela noticed a few other people lying by the edge of the room, in the corner that was hidden by the self-service machines, some seemingly in more pain than others. Three of the bulky people from the queue, including the one who had stood behind Angela, moved over to the corner and stood facing those who were on the floor. Angela saw the man in green crawl over to the others, before being hidden by the bulky trio.

Angela was now at the back of the queue, and no one was looking in her direction. She decided now was the time to act. As she set into motion her transformative abilities a very loud and unpleasant screeching filled the bank. The customers in the queue flinched again, some grabbing their ears. Others literally fell to the floor. The cashiers too reacted to the sound. None of the bulky people moved until the first one in the corner slumped to the ground, his head bursting with sparks. Then, in turn, each of the bulky people exploded in the same way in a chain reaction that spread around the room, and then out to the three outside.

Angela felt the doors behind her open again, the cool outside air a welcome change. Some of the customers at the back of a queue dashed out passed Angela. One woman quickly followed, looking at Angela in fear. Her face contorted as she screamed, and she cowered passed Angela. Other people escaping looked at her in the same way. Angela glanced at her reflection in the dark glass panel beside her and saw that her facial features had been grotesquely distorted. She had somehow got stuck mid-change. She swiftly tried to change herself back, and nothing happened.

To be continued.

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.6: Rage

“Thank you for coming – please come again soon!” The waitress waved after the foursome as they left the Pyramid Lounge.

“She was friendly, considering we only had one glass of water each!” Gladiator said, looking back and smiling. Stealth, Parrot Girl and Crimson Songbird walked behind him, but couldn’t get him out of the way in time as he crashed into somebody walking into the lounge.

“Owww!” declared the red-head with a wince, before noticing with whom she’d collided. “You? Again?? Here??? Who are you? Walking-Disaster-Man?”

Gladiator was taken aback. “I’m sorry, Miss. Have we met before?”

“Oh come on. I’m not stupid. I’d recognise those baby blues anywhere. And those muscles. And that cute smile. It’s me, from earlier – Rage! You threw me over your back.”

“You must have me mistaken with somebody else, Miss.” Gladiator was flustered.

“Not. Miss. RAGE!” Rage declared with a face like thunder.

Gladiator noticed that she was now wearing different clothes; a tight-fitting blue silk dress and a pair of short ankle boots. “Sorry. I’ve been here with my friends all evening.” He lied.

“I’ve just heard you say you’ve had one glass of water each, and it’s only just gone ten. Please don’t lie to me…” Rage noticed the three others were standing directly behind Gladiator, instantly recognising another one. “Oh. I love those glasses.” She said, to Crimson Songbird.

“Thank you, but if you’d please let us through, we have a bus to catch.”

“Oh yes. Sorry.” Rage’s face radiated with a warm smile. She looked at Gladiator. “I must have you mistaken for someone else. I do that all the time.” She gushingly moved out of their way so they could leave the building.

“She knows who you are, Green Gladiator” Viridian said in Gladiator’s mind as the Stealth Gentleman touched his shoulder.

“No kidding!” Gladiator said aloud, causing Rage to furiously glare at him. “No, not you!” he said after her, as she stormed away. He watched as she walked into the lounge, and then turned again, only to collide with somebody else entering the building.

“Oof!” Declared the gruff-sounding gent who had also not been looking where he’d been going. “I erm do apologise.” It was Raymond Reide. “You. All of you. Here. Together. What on Earth erm are you up to?” He smirked.

“We’re moving on.” Gladiator said, without even bothering to apologise in return. Parrot Girl put her arm around Gladiator’s and pulled him away from Reide, toward the exit. Crimson Songbird waited back while the Stealth Gentleman then walked passed the Superhero Controller. Then Crimson herself walked by without saying a word.

“Such an erm friendly lot of people in this town.” Raymond said as he thrust his jacket over to the cloakroom attendant whilst glaring out into the street. He looked back at the attendant and smiled. He then walked into the Pyramid Lounge, admiring the decor.

Outside, Gladiator quickly turned to look at the entrance before looking back to his three colleagues. He noticed a bright blue light in the corner of his eye, but blinked a couple of times and it went away. “I can’t believe that!”

“I know. Here of all places. What was Reide thinking?” Parrot Girl asked.

“No, not that – me walking into the two of them like that. I’m so clumsy!”

“Don’t worry about that,” Crimson Songbird said, with a grin. “That woman – she seems to like you. How do you know her?”

“I don’t.” Gladiator said, his cheeks burning. “And it’s so embarrassing how we met. And then just now! Like that. I don’t believe it.”

“Love makes us fall apart, my friend.” Stealth said, now joining Crimson Songbird with a smile as he patted Gladiator on his back.

“And she still knows who you are, Green Gladiator.” Viridian once again spoke into Gladiator’s mind.

“I don’t think I’m bothered about that.” Gladiator replied, this time in his thoughts only. “I may not be a superhero for much longer anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.” The link to Viridian ended as Stealth Gentleman moved his hand away.

“Cheer up!” Crimson said cheerily. “Let’s make this into a proper night out! Drink away all of our miseries and misfortunes. Leave the world to itself for tonight, and forget everything to do with super-“

“GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!” A familiar voice shouted from inside the Lounge’s entrance.

“You know that you aren’t welcome in here, Miss.” the bulky doorman said, without emotion as he carried Rage in front of him, his arms curled under her shoulders, holding her aloft. Rage swung her legs in frenzy but she couldn’t get herself free. “I’m just doing my job and putting you out.”

“I’ll put you out as soon as you put me down.” Rage answered back. “NOW PUT ME DOWN!” She swung her right leg up just high enough to clip Gladiator’s left shoulder with it. He spun around quickly just in time to see the doorman drop her to the ground, where she landed with a graceless thud.

“Woah!” Gladiator said to the doorman. “You can’t treat her like that!” The doorman stared at Gladiator blankly, turned and returned into the building. Gladiator helped Rage up. “I’m sorry about that.”

“It wasn’t your fault this time,” Rage answered, having difficulty putting weight onto her right leg. “I’m sorry for kicking you just now. I didn’t mean to do that.”

“I know.” Gladiator smiled, holding her up on her right side until she could stand unaided once again.

“My knight in shining armour!” Rage gushed, looking into Gladiator’s eyes.

“We’re going to get going,” Crimson Songbird said, feeling the awkwardness of the whole situation. “Are you coming with us, G?”

“Yes. Just a minute!” Gladiator looked back at Rage. “Why don’t you join us?”

Rage looked at the three heroes who were patiently waiting. “Thanks, but no. I’m having an awful night, so I think I’ll just go home and call it a day. Thanks, anyway. Besides, I’m sure we’ll meet again.” They all watched as she hobbled off and got into a waiting taxi.

Gladiator looked back at Crimson Songbird who was grinning broadly yet again. “She likes you.” Crimson repeated. “And you her.” Crimson poked Gladiator in his stomach as his cheeks reddened once more, and she hooked her arm around his. “C’mon, let’s paint this town the same colour as your face!” She teased.

Gladiator smiled, and quickly glanced between the Stealth Gentleman and Parrot Girl, noticing once again the flash of blue light. “Let’s go and have some fun!” he said, and the group set off walking toward Mid’s Main Street. “I think we all deserve it!”