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The Road to Divinity (MCU SI-OC)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Darwin-18, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Index: Chapter 1 - Different Reality

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    (SI) A Marvel fan, who decided to do the right thing and save a life, succeded but at the cost of his own. Instead of facing death, he was thrown into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coming to terms with his new surroundings, he has to navigate his way through a world full of heroes, gods, and villains. How difficult could it be? (Will include X-Men and F4)

    Chapter 1 - Different Reality

    "Hey listen, listen! I know that I'm late but-"

    "Again! You're late again, Ethan! Can you just show up on time at least once?!"

    "Look, in my defense, it took me a long time to get all the stuff," I said over the phone, trying to find a way to make a valid argument. "Not to mention the long lines, you know how long those take."

    Several seconds passed with nothing but silence. "You used that same excuse last week when we were meeting up with Frank, remember? We were supposed to meet up at his place, and you said you had to go out to get "errands" for your mom last minute? Think that I forgot about that?"

    "I-ughh…" I tried finding a valid response but failed. "Alright, look. I may have stayed up a little longer last night and woke up barely thirty minutes ago. You know I can't just stop watching when a movie begins. Oh, and by the way, Nightcrawler was just amazing. One of the best performances I've seen in a while. See? I told you I would get around to watching it."

    "You jackass," Was all he said before chuckling. "Alright, just please, please tell me you're on your way. Kind of getting impatient over here you know."

    "Yeah, I'm on my way right now," I answered, glad that the conversation is moving in the right direction. "About ten or fifteen minutes away. Before you ask, don't worry, I got everything we need for the marathon."

    "Thank god, least that is taken care of. Everything is ready on my end, just bring the food over so we can cook something before we start. Haven't eaten anything since yesterday."

    "Awesome, I'll be there soon."

    I hung up and had a long, desperate sigh of relief. Seriously though, I need to manage my time better. I swear, one of these days it's gonna screw me over, like now for instance. Still, being a few minutes late doesn't mean it's the end of the world. While walking, I tried my best to ignore the cold. It started snowing just a week ago, not that I was complaining but still found the low temperature to be a bit irritating.

    I stopped for a moment to look at my left and my right, making sure that no car will pop up out of nowhere while I cross the street.

    As I re-entered a steady pace, my attention turned to the screaming children that were in a nearby park, happily playing in the snow. They appeared to be at least four or five years old, something like that. As for the parents, they weren't that far away from the kids. There were three pairs of them, just chatting without a care in the world. My eyes jumped back to the children, unable to stop the smile forming on my face. I remember way back when I was their age, winter was always the best time of the year, for obvious reasons. Hours and hours of just wandering in the snow, building a fort, snowball fights and so much more.

    Is it weird that I want to just throw myself into the snow? Just once? Eh, why the heck not, can't remember the last time I did anything when it was snowing.


    A loud noise snapped me out of my thoughts. Looking for the source of the noise, I looked around and spotted a speeding truck up the street that seemed to have no intention of slowing down. Why was it doing that? I trailed down the path it was heading, only to see a boy running into the middle of the street to retrieve a blue board, unaware that a truck heading his way.

    Then everything clicked.

    "…Kid! Get out of the way!"

    Letting the bag drop to the ground and with all my strength, I dashed forward. The snow on the ground, which was at least a few inches deep, suppressed my feet from gaining a fast start. The parents, that were completely oblivious on the danger the child was in, all turned around after my sudden cry. A woman, which I presume is the boy's mother, shouted his name at the top of her lungs, high enough to break glass even. She broke into a run, rest of the adults following suit, but the chances of them making it in time were very thin.

    While there was some difficulty running in the snow, I got to the boy faster than I would have thought. Just as I expected, the boy was frozen with fear and probably didn't even hear his name being called out countless times. I grabbed him by his jacket and pulled him off his feet, then throwing him off several feet away. Since the snow was thick enough and the boy landed on his side, I doubt he would have any injuries.

    "Now all that's left is-"

    I didn't even get to finish the sentence in my head when I saw that the truck approaching at a speed my mind could barely comprehend. I couldn't help it, I just had to close my eyes and hope this ends quickly.

    The truck hit me, I was sure of that. But then… why didn't I feel any pain?

    I opened my eyes, ever so slowly. And I was shocked at what I was seeing. I was in space! In the literal void of space, not a single planet was nearby, only thousands of little white dots.

    Suddenly, I could feel my body starting to move, and quite fast. The speed increasing more and more. Out of nowhere, around my whole body appeared a blue sphere, it felt like it was pushing me even further.


    Just like that, I was hurtling through space, with no intent on slowing down. It felt like I was a comet shooting through space.

    In the far distance, I realized I was heading towards… Earth?! I wasn't quite sure where I was headed, everything was so blurry and moving way too fast for me to even process. Before I even blinked, I was falling through the clouds. This phenomenon ended with me hitting a brick wall and falling to the ground in pain.

    "O-Oww!" I winced, unable to figure out what specific part of my body hurts the most.

    I tried with whatever strength I had to stand up, but had great difficulty doing so. It took several minutes at best for my body to feel anything at all. After about a dozen attempts, I pulled myself up with my hands, which have only now stopped shaking. My feet got a good feel of the ground, making sure I don't lose my balance upon standing up. Another problem seemed to present itself, my back.

    Placing my hands on my back, mentally preparing for the painful ordeal that's just moments from happening. On the count of three, I attempted to fix my back-ache. When I heard the "cracking" sound, I let out a long groan of satisfaction and relief. While the pain was still present, it was less bothering now.

    Ignoring the pain in the rest of my body, I scanned my surroundings in the hopes of figuring out what the Hell just happened. From the looks of it, I ended up in an alleyway, a long one at that. Even though it seemed like it was day time, the alleyway was barely lit, accompanied by the loud noise of traffic in the distance.

    I searching my pocket for my phone, and to my surprise, it was still in one piece, considering it was on the side where I smacked the wall. The screen was heavily damaged, cracks everywhere, but it seemed salvageable. I tried turning it on multiple times, but it was dead.

    "That's just perfect…" I said in frustration, slowly feeling a migraine coming up. I rubbed my eyes, another dilemma added to the list.

    In the corner of my eye, I noticed a faint reddish glow. Now fully focusing on the glow, the source of the light was hidden behind a small and damaged cardboard box. I started taking small, but cautious, steps towards it. Crouching down, I moved the box to the side, the red glow radiated from a book, only this was no ordinary book. The book was fairly large, what I only could identify to be a tome book. The cover was made out of what I assumed was vintage leather, a big ruby gemstone embedded in the center, with four smaller ones located in the corners, topped with gold assets around them.

    The book was relatively heavy when picking it up, which is to be expected. Once it was in my hands, the glow on the gem died down. Upon opening the book and flicking through some of the pages, they had one thing in common, they were all blank.


    I asked in confusion, continuing to flip through it. Page after page of blank space, no writing, no drawings, no nothing. I could only assume this was custom-made for decorative purposes. But how does that explain the red glow? The idea of my eyes playing tricks on me is a high possibility.

    Deciding not to dwell on this matter further, I just closed the book with a sigh. Right then, the ruby started glowing slightly, lower than the first time. Out of curiosity, I started examining the gemstone in the center, slowly trailing my finger around it. When my finger reached the tip, I didn't expect for it to sharp as glass, instantly cutting my finger.

    "Ah!" I winced, waving my hand for the sting to go away.

    Suddenly, the gem started glowing once again, the same intensity when I first saw it. Above it, the small drop of blood expanded exponentially. After that, the book opened with the pages rapidly starting turning. I jumped back in shock at the sudden occurrence and landing on my butt, the book now floating. This process continued until the pages were even on both sides. The now inflated bubble of blood dropped dead center on one of the pages. At first, the surface absorbed it all, then appeared thin lines of blood that ran across the two pages. After some time, the color changed from red to yellowish gold, then the lines started forming into strange symbols, with some additional drawings of some sort. Once the pages were all full to the brim, the book closed itself and feel to the ground with a loud thud.

    What… was that? There is no logical explanation of what I just witnessed, delusional or not. I got back on my feet and approached it once more, more cautious and scared this time around. The book had a different appearance that's for sure. The five ruby gemstones were now transformed into what appeared to be emerald stones, each of them letting out a faint glow, the middle one brighter than the rest.

    I picked it up a second time, only now it was significantly lighter. It could be easily mistaken for a notebook for its current weight. Opening to the first page, I was greeted with unreadable symbols that circled a hexagonal drawing. Further studying the markings, I can't quite recall ever seeing anything like them before, not like these anyway. My finger trailing the markings until I reached the center of the hexagon, then the whole page suddenly lid up. The drawings radiated with a golden color, slight streams entering my hand until they died down.

    Then something… weird happened. The symbols, I understood them, only little that it. I can't explain it, it was like learning a new language and getting accustomed to the basics. While I could barely understand the writing, I couldn't make out what word meant what.

    "Enough of that!" I closed the book with a huff. "None of this makes any sense! How did this happen? The moment I pushed that kid away, the truck hit me than all of a sudden I'm in space?"

    I'm not going to get any answers if I just stay in this damn alleyway. I started walking towards the end of the alley, book in hand. I had no idea why I even carried the thing, but I couldn't just throw it away. Was it responsible for why I ended up here? Maybe.

    Getting closer towards the light, the noise growing louder and louder with each passing second, black silhouettes of people passing by from each side. As I was about to step out of the alley, I had to shield my eyes from the intense light. With my eyes slowly adjusting to the sunlight, I withdrew my hand and I can't say I was glad about what I saw.

    "Oh… dear… god…"

    I uttered lowly at the sight. An endless sea of cars was put to a halt, seconds later they started moving again, only a little though before stopping once more. The sun was just about to set, but the heat felt like it was. All sorts of people passing by, not an inch of space on the street was empty. A few that passed by gave me strange looks, presumably because almost everyone I saw wore t-shirts and clothes you would normally wear in the summer. Then you see someone like me, dressed in winter clothing and looking around like a lost puppy. Most of them probably thought I was crazy.

    "Hey, kid!"

    I wouldn't exaggerate when I say I almost had a heart attack from that.


    Turning around in less than a second, my focus landed on the man who called out to me. If I had to say, the man was in his forties, a bit on the larger side, wearing a construction uniform carrying a toolbox.
    "What are you doing wearing that oversized coat on ya?" The man asked, confusion on his face. "It's like what? 90° degrees out here!"

    "O-Oh, this?" I blabbered instantly, my brain working overtime for an excuse. "I have a cold! Yeah, that's it. I can't stay outside for too long if I'm not wearing something as big as this."

    The man just looked confused, like I spoke in a different language. The man just shook his head. "Aright, whatever you say kid."

    Was all he said as he walked past me and began to leave.
    "Wait, Sir!" I quickly called out to the man. He turned around and look annoyed. "Where am I? I mean, what's this place called?"

    While it seemed like a very stupid idea to just ask the first person I come across. At this point and time, I honestly didn't care. I just wanted to figure out where I am.

    "Mead St." The man answered.

    I blinked. I motioned with my hand for a more detailed answer. "As in?"

    "As in what?"

    "As in what… city, I guess?" I asked. "Honest to God, I seemed to be a little lost. I can't properly remember where I ended up. Can you be a little more… specific?"

    This is just humiliating and pathetic. Was that the best thing I could come up with?

    "Kid, are you stupid?!" The man asked with a mocking tone. "You're in Mead St., which means we're in Bronx, you idiot. And as in "The Bronx" in New York. There? Does that jog your memory, dumbass?"

    The man turned and walked away. I could still hear him cursing about today's youth or something.

    "New York…"

    Well, this is just perfect. New York, of all places to end up I get sent here. Now I know that I have vanished from part of the continent to another. I took off my coat, just now starting to register the intense heat. With no plan in mind, and still not fully believing that I was now in one of the largest cities in the world, I just started walking mindlessly along the street, blending into the array of people.

    I noticed a swarm of people down the block, they seemed to be looking through a glass window. Shortening the distance from myself and the small crowd, they appeared to be standing in front of a TV store, numerous screens having the same blond woman wearing a gray suit, a NEWS logo on the bottom right. Without a second thought, I decided to see what all the fuss was about, have to start somewhere at least.

    [And now, following up on the very, "controversial" debate that surfaced this morning at the Senate Armed Forces Committee.] The reporter stated. [The center of attention is Stark Industries' CEO, Tony Stark, also known by his alter-ego, Iron Man. Ever since his shocking reveal to the world, Senator Stern has demanded that Mr. Stark hands over the Iron Man armor so that the United States may use the same technology for military application. Senator Stern also claims that the existence of such technology possesses a threat and should not be in the hands of one man and one man alone. Stark, however, bluntly refused. He then proceeded to show evidence of foreign countries attempting to copy the suit, with all of them failing to come close to Mr. Starks' design. Among the footage shown, it also displayed fellow weapons manufacturer, Justin Hammer.]

    The screens then changed to a courtroom. The camera was focused on TV that was entirely black, lines and lines of code appeared that displayed "Welcome Back, Mr. Stark", before shifting to low-quality footage of what seemed to be an oversized humanoid robot that fell to the ground while repeatedly firing a machine gun. It changed several times, showing similar footage, all attempts failing miserably. After that was over, a Senator and a man with a goatee in a well-tailored suit stood up and exchanged a few more words, before turning around and praising himself, a wide smirk visible on his face.

    "Wait what?"

    Did I just saw Robert Downey Jr.? It… it has to be, there's no way I couldn't recognize his face. I remember this scene, it's from Iron Man 2! Now I'm completely lost. Why are they showing a scene from a movie that was released in 2010? Why is the NEWS even mentioning this? I pushed through the crowd, ignoring their complaints. My mind could hardly keep up what I just saw and heard.

    Let's go over this again. I'm positive that truck hit me, there's no way it had enough time to hit the brakes, I know for a fact that the driver didn't since I couldn't hear them. Hypothetically, let's say he did, the truck would still hit me nonetheless, and the impact would just be weaker. Still, aside from the adrenaline and fear, I didn't feel any sort of pain then. Speaking about time, why did I feel like everything slowed down, then ending up in space.

    Then it hit me. I was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Either that or I somehow survived that hit from the truck and I ended up in a coma and all of this is just a crazy dream. I'm not sure of what option I should be fonder of.
    I slapped my cheeks several times to regain focus. First things first, find a place to spend the night. A place where I don't have to pay, without worrying about a stranger lurking around while I sleep and can, hopefully, use until I figure out a better plan.

    Now… where do I find that?

    Numerous hours later, I found what I was looking for, sort of.

    It was an old abandoned warehouse. Not the most ideal place but I'm just glad I managed to find something. By now it was already night time, my feet were literally on the verge of breaking. Entering the warehouse, I was honestly surprised that the inside wasn't all that bad, machines that were out of order and tons of boxes, some of them broken to pieces. I climbed up the flight of stairs and hid behind a large crate, using my coat to soften the hard surface.
    At first, I had difficulty falling asleep. How could I? I was slowly coming to terms with that I might have ended up in a fictional world. I just kept staring at the ceiling, my mind refusing to think properly.


    Tomorrow I'll go out and find some answers. Yeah, that will do.

    Eventually, I drifted off to sleep

    When I woke up, I was able to deduct two things. The first, I was still in the same spot when I fell asleep the previous night. And the second, my back was killing me, way more than when my body was thrown against a concrete wall. Now that I think about that contributed to my back pain. The only upside was that since it was warm outside, the need to cover myself was nonexistent. At least there's that.

    For the first thirty minutes or so after waking up, I just sat in the same position, still not yet fully believing my situation. The only thing I could do is rub my temples while trying to come up with a decent plan. Then I decided, sulking here by myself won't do anything. I'm far from home with no idea how to get back. If I really am in the MCU, that NEWS report was true and it's safe to say I'm in the timeframe of Iron Man 2. So that means things are moving relatively slow, might as well and try to dig up whatever I can. But the question was where?

    Before leaving, I glanced at the mysterious book that was right next to me. I still haven't opened it since yesterday, finding a place to sleep was the main priority. I contemplated taking the book with me, but it would only be a nuisance to carry, whether it be its original weight or now that it's lighter. Ultimately, I decided to hide the two items behind a crate, adding a few smaller ones to the sides to block any view of seeing them.

    Was I paranoid? Ridiculously so. Especially when hiding in a warehouse of all places.

    With that taken care of, I left the docks, sneaking away from some construction workers that were not too far away, but they didn't seem to notice either way. Since I didn't have a goal in mind, walking around is all I could do for now. It took me about an hour to actually get anywhere, with the help of strangers that I asked for directions. With my phone being practically useless, finding a way to access the internet was key. To do that, finding a tech store somewhere was the easiest way of doing so.

    After another half hour of walking, I stood in front of a fairly large shopping center, this will have to do. Stepping inside, I scanned every store as far as my eye could see.

    "There it is."

    I muttered to myself. A small sense of relief and joy when I saw a tech store at the far back. It didn't take long before I reached the said store. There were ten or so customers inside, all of the workers that I could see we're occupied with by helping the customers, the only exception was the one behind the register.

    I walked the short distance towards the section that provided laptops. Luckily, no one near them might see what I was up to. This paranoia is starting to irritate me, I'm just going to google a few things, nothing out of the ordinary. Then I shouldn't be this paranoid. I used the touchpad to open the browser…

    What should I type in?

    This part hadn't occurred to me before. Come on, think of something. Something simple should do. Guess it's worth a try, I typed in "Tony Stark" and hit search. Immediately, I clicked on the first one at the top and skimmed through it. Yup, I'm in the MCU alright. How did I come to this conclusion you may ask? Simple, when searching upon a fictional character, it will most certainly be a Wiki page that contains dates of its release, its publisher, its powers (if they have any that is) and that kind of stuff.

    Instead of being all the things I just mentioned, it was a well-detailed page that a historical figure would have. It listed the hospital he was born in, praise for his intellect and numerous achievements at a very young age, graduating MIT at the age of seventeen, the disappearance of his parents, continuing his father's legacy when becoming CEO of Stark Industries and last but not least, his announcement to the world of him being Iron Man.

    Going further, I decided to try again to make sure this wasn't a fluke, typing in "Bruce Banner" this time. My hunch was correct. Just like Tony's, it had no mention of his alter ego, just his research on Gamma Radiation. After looking through the two pages, I decided to see what the NEWS sites had to offer. Won't be as near as useful when I now fully know where I ended up. Nothing worthwhile was there anyway, except for Tony and his court fiasco. I scrolled the page, just minor incidences here and there. But then something caught my eye, an article at the top of the page that included a name of a very important individual. I made sure I re-read the name properly at least five times.

    Reed Richards.

    The article was still relatively fresh, it was a picture of a man in a lab coat (which I assumed was Reed himself) shaking hands with an elderly man in business attire, an announcement for the renovation of a building that would soon be transformed into the Baxter Building somewhere in New York. That was just the first half, the second half consisted of basic info on Reed, Ben Grimm, Susan and Johnny Storm. It also listed an unauthorized test flight into space using an experimental rocket, which was made by Reed's design that launched close to a year ago. It said all pilots survived with no injuries after the rocket crash-landed back on Earth, but anyone who knows the history of the Fantastic Four knows that this is where they obtained their iconic powers.

    He exists in this world as well? How can this be? This can't be the MCU if the Fantastic Four are in it. Or maybe… maybe everything is the same and they are just added in, RDJ's and Mark's faces were just like in the movies. A simple deduction, yet highly plausible. It also wasn't the actor that portrayed Mr. Fantastic in the movies, he looked different.

    Then an idea popped into my head. Let's see if a certain Professor also exists. Lo and behold, he does, with very limited information available. I knew the X-Mansion was real, but the exact location was unknown. If my memory serves me right, it just outside of town. There has been some mention of "paranormal sightings" involving people doing all sorts of weird stuff, it's easy to assume that they were talking about mutants. So the X-Men, alongside the Fantastic Four are present in this version of the MCU. If the circumstances were different, I'd be jumping up and down like a madman knowing that an even better version of my favorite franchise existed!

    Well, this certainly was an eye-opener. At least I now I know where I ended up, in my favorite fictional world, full of gods, monsters, aliens. I mean, it could have been worse. I tried searching numerous other things my mind could think of, sadly, there were no results this time, nothing of importance that is. Still, I can't be too dissatisfied with what I got, so I consider this a win. Alright, that being taken care of, we move to our next problem.

    How do I get back to the warehouse?


    While the search helped immensely, finding my way back was almost impossible. I did use the same route that got me to the shopping mall, but due to the size of the city, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. By now, the sun was slowly setting and I was dead tired. I climbed up the stairs and was tempted to just fall down and sleep through the next three days. My mind refusing to work properly altogether. Food and water were a big issue. Going through the last few days with no food was horrible! I was so close to passing out from hunger. I had no money left since I spent everything I had when buying the supplies for the marathon. Still, after figuring out where I ended up, sleeping in an abandoned warehouse, a lack of food, wandering the endless streets of one the largest city in the world, alone, none of those things (believe it or not) were my biggest concern. There was only one thing I wanted to know, and I fear I may never get an answer…

    How do I get back home? Is it even possible to get back? What will mom and dad think? Oh crap, I forgot about them. They are probably freaking out right now, the worst part is that even if I do find a way back, how am I supposed to explain this to anyone?

    "Oh, right. The book." I muttered, stopping right in my tracks, I forgot about it. I moved the boxes aside and found the emerald engraved tome and coat right where I left them.

    "Wish there was a way to mark this place somehow." I sighed, rubbing my temples. "If only my phone was in my other pocket then it just might have-"

    In the middle of my small rant, the book suddenly opened with its pages rapidly turning. I jumped back in surprise, the wall preventing me from going further as I watched the book in shock and amazement. Its speed started to decrease drastically, it stopped entirely after a few moments. When it stopped, golden lines began forming on the page, then they started moving in every possible direction. I can't describe what it was, a drawing of some sort, it closely resembled a compass. Once it was finished, a beam shot out of the circle and landed a few feet away from me. In a blink of an eye, the beam disappeared, leaving a glowing symbol on the ground that also vanished moments later.

    "... Okay, that's new." I said in disbelief. To be honest, after confirming I'm in the MCU, on my way back I started thinking for what was the use for this book, or when it absorbed my blood and changed the color of the gem.

    I just couldn't wrap my head around this whole thing. All my life I could only dream of living in a world like this. When I grew older I just accepted that these are the type of things that we use to escape our daily lives, a way to entertain ourselves. Nothing more than that. But now actually seeing something like that happen before my very eyes, I couldn't describe the feeling with just mere words.

    After finally composing myself, I began thinking of a way of using it. Was it on command? Only one way of finding out.

    "Umm, find... the warehouse?" I asked it. Since it responded to my command to mark the place, maybe it would work again.

    Right after saying those words, the lines lit up once more. Some of them started to surface from the page, interlocking with one another until it resembled an arrow. When it was complete, it started rotating slowly, moving slightly back and worth, directly pointing at the marked spot.

    This is going to be a long night it seems.

    Wandering the streets of New York only proved more tiresome. Another day wasted just walking and trying to come up with a plan. If I had stayed in that warehouse a minute longer I would have gone crazy. Deciding to walk in one of the biggest cities in the world, at night of all times, maybe one of my worst ideas yet. Truth is, I honestly didn't care, I won't get anywhere by just sitting around. Relying on people is a no go. The only ones I would even consider are beyond my reach, so that pretty much narrows things down.

    Speaking about the book, the progress with it is a dead end. What I originally thought was thrown right the window. Nothing seemed to work, the small sliver of hope on figuring out the damn thing vanished. The only It only worked if I asked it to navigate to the place I marked, besides that nothing. The thing was still a complete mystery to me.

    I was contemplating going to Karma-Taj, or to simplify the trip, find the New York Sanctum Sanctorum. The Ancient One would surely know something to help me, maybe even possibly find a way to return home. She most likely noticed when I entered the MCU, it's the Ancient One for crying out loud. Turning towards her for help was one of the only options at my disposal. For that, I need to think of what to say and make sure that they believe me.

    An alternative was getting on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar but quickly dismissed that idea. The whole thing could backfire. S.H.I.E.L.D in Phase One was all over the place, trying to their hardest to keep things on the down-low, not to mention Nick Fury isn't the most trustworthy person right now. They have information on everything, the moment they spot me, I'm dead. A person who has zero info on them and practically acts like a ghost? They'll hunt me down in less than an hour.

    With an exhausted sigh, I looked up to the clear sky. Why does this have to be so complicated?

    "Help! Someone, please help us!"

    Then I heard it, a loud and terrifying scream that echoed across the empty streets that could most likely be heard from a radius of a few blocks. I looked around in quick successions to find where the scream was coming from, it belonged to a woman. Not even a few seconds later, another scream was heard, louder this time. I felt a surge of adrenaline hit me as I started running, was someone getting mugged? Either that or someone is already injured. That's when I spotted it, an entrance to the alleyway, that's most likely the source of the screams.

    I leaned onto the cold brick wall, peaking from the edge.

    "I'll say this one more time, hand over all the cash you got and you two just might walk away all in one piece." A thug said bitterly, playfully swinging a small pocket knife in his hand.

    "H-Hey man, I don't want any trouble!" The cornered man said hesitantly, protectively using his arm over the girl right beside him. "B-But listen, I swear I don't have any money on me! Honest to God!"

    "Well then…" The thug slowly crept closer. "The hard way it is."

    A mugging, five guys in total, I wouldn't be surprised if all of them had a knife. They were at least a couple of years older than me, all dressed in black clothing with punk aesthetics. Nothing more than just a bunch of junkies. The two unfortunate victims appeared to be a couple with no chance of escaping, the gang surrounding them.

    "I'm getting a sense of Deja' Vu over here..."

    What am I supposed to do here? I got no phone so I can't call the Police. Even if I did, those guys would be long gone before they even get here. Not to mention severely outnumbered, five to one, making things more complicated. I wasn't that particularly strong, I don't think I could hold my own in a one-on-one scenario, let alone against all five of them.

    The thing I'm supposed to do is just turn around and walk away. I can't do anything that might help them and it shouldn't be any of my concerns. Unfortunately, they ended up in this situation, but the last time I tried to help someone resulted in me dying, actually it was getting sent to a fictional world where Gods and superheroes are real, which is just as worse. I'm sure if they just give them what they want they'll leave the couple alone.

    Then why doesn't my body respond when I tell it to? Why am I still standing here? I got too many problems to worry about and I honestly don't want to repeat the same stupid mistake that got me here in the first place. But I can't just leave them like this,

    Damn it.

    “Hey!" I yelled as I made my presence known, stepping into the alley.

    All of them turned to the sound of my voice, one of them was the first howl back. "Beat it, kid!" The thug with the knife in his hand yelled, obviously annoyed. "Can't you see I'm busy!?"
    "With petty theft? Alright, look. How about this. You just put that knife down, leave the couple alone, and we all go our separate ways. That way, nobody gets hurt."

    The punk just scoffed. "And let me take a guess, you're the one who is going to stop me?"

    "Umm… yes?"

    "Fine then…" The thief fully turning towards my direction, a wicked smile present. "Your funeral."

    The one with the knife charged at me with full speed, quickly closing the distance between us. Here I am, going to fight a thief who has a knife, while I had what I believed was a magical relic, and I didn't know how to use it.

    So what do I do? I smacked him across the face just as he tried to stab me, sidestepping his assault in the last second. It may be just my imagination, but I'm sure I heard a "cracking" sound when the book vibrated slightly from the sheer force of the impact. He didn't expect that fast of a reaction time with a book this heavy, which of course he didn't know it's felt like swinging a small notebook. At least now I know this same effect doesn't apply to other people.

    The mugger stumbled backward till he fell to the ground, clutching his nose as his screams echoed in the now-dead silent alleyway. I could faintly see huge lines of blood running down his hands, staining his sleeves and upper side of his shirt. His hands started shaking uncontrollably as he attempted to uncover his face. Oh yeah, his nose was definitely dislocated, it should never go that far to the right. When he looked at the amount of blood on his hands, his eyes widened and instantly balled his fists, the look of shock changing to one of anger and rage.


    And that was my cue to run! I swiftly turned and made a run for it, I felt my muscles hurt from how fast my body reacted. The road was empty, not a car in sight. While running, I looked behind me, only to barely see the one I hit run out of the alley and started chasing after me, the other four not far behind. There was no way to go but straight, which is when the road reached its end and was divided into two separate paths. Deciding against going left or right, I continued going forward, running through a small gap in-between the two buildings. The whole area was dark, for me it was a good thing.

    There were three ways to move from here, I opted to take the path to my left, hoping that the others take the other two. Choosing this path may have been a bad idea, it looked exactly like the street I just passed by, that and I don't even know where I'm going.

    I made my way into another alleyway, turning my head slightly again to see if they were still on my tail. Unaware of where I was heading, I felt my foot slip on something, which sent me falling to the ground.
    "A-Ahh, damn it." I groaned from the pain, as well as the hot air hitting me directly in my face, trying to block it with my hands. While doing so, something bizarre happened. Some of the hot air went into my hand with a golden tint at the tip of my hand. I moved away, deciding now was no time to think about whatever just happened.

    Crawling to the book, I noticed something… strange. It was still closed, but there was a slight glow coming out of its side. Opening it, I flipped through the pages until I found where the glow was coming from. It didn't take that long since it was within the first ten or so pages. The first sentence on the page, it was now fully completed.

    "There he is!"

    Looking behind me, I saw the man I hit standing at the entrance. Shortly after, the rest of them appeared as well. A malicious grin plastered all over his face as his hand trailed to his pocket, taking out the small knife from before. At first, all of them slowly started walking towards me, until the thug with the knife started running at full speed.

    "Do something! Do something!" I yelled while shaking the book desperately, nothing happened. Without even realizing it, I started hitting it with my fist, my head jumping back and forth from it to the attacker that was vastly approaching. Seeing as my attempts did nothing, I quickly tapped the text numerous times instead of just hitting it with my fist.

    The text sparked slightly as it started to fade away, the tip of my finger absorbing it, gold lines briefly appeared on my hand. There was no time left to figure out what just happened as the man lunged himself towards me. I tumbled slightly back, throwing my opened hand out to try blocking the knife. Just when the knife was about to come in contact with my skin, fear took over me, my eyes closing before he could strike me.

    But the pain never came. I opened my eyes just in time to see the man, who is now a few feet in the air and pushed all the way back to his friends, who caught him before hitting the ground. Looking back at my hand, it was clear that some kind of effect happened when I tapped the completed text.

    "What the fuck was that?!" The thug yelled, a mix of confusion and anger in his voice.

    "How the Hell did he do that?" The one next to him asked.

    "Don't know, don't care, just grab him!" He yelled back.

    All the other four charged at me, the two smaller ones had the upper hand as they were much faster. The closest one was on left, mimicking the same gesture as the first time, I got to see how the "spell" looked like. It was like a miniature whirlwind, a long cone of wind released from my hand, pushing my attacker back until he hit the wall. The one on the right got even closer, managing to repeat the action just in time, this one flew until he hit the trash cans, groaning in pain. Not gonna lie, this is the thing I wanted to avoid at all costs, but this feeling was exhilarating. If anything, it feels like I was mirroring the way Iron Man uses his Repulsors!

    My moment of awe was cut short by the third thug who flung himself towards me, managing to sidestep him by the skin of my teeth. Still, he was behind me now which automatically results at a disadvantage, especially when he quickly turned around with the effort of grabbing me. I positioned my hand slightly upwards, releasing another cone that hit him in the chest from bellow, sending him flying back. He managed to land on his feet but still skidded backward grasping for air, moments later falling.

    I didn't have time to react to the fourth one, who was significantly larger than the others, grabbed me from behind, locking my arms in a tight bear hug, pulling me off my feet. My arms being locked meant I couldn't properly aim for a good hit. Feeling the air in my lungs vanishing, I struggled to break free, the grip only tightens. Then an idea popped into my head. I wasn't yet quite sure how to properly use this newfound power, it's still worth a shot nonetheless.

    Positioning my hand in the desired spot was difficult because his grip only got tighter, however, this should work. I swung my arm as far as I could, managing to hit him in his abdomen. It seemed to do the trick as I felt his whole-body vibrate rapidly, following with a strong push that knocked him down to his sides with a grunt.

    I gasped for air as I fell to my knees, taking deep breaths repeatedly. My eyes scanned the small area around me, four of them were still down, only one left. Hearing what sounded like a war cry, I turned to see the leader charging at me, a lengthy distance separating us. Repeating the same gesture as before, a problem came to my attention that I didn't account beforehand, the ability's range distance. Instead of getting flung back as I anticipated, he was only slightly pushed back which took him by surprise, his anger returning in a blink of an eye, continuing his assault.

    There wasn't much time to try again as the two who were on the ground, one on each side, quickly got up and lunged towards me. Running past them is a no go, I can't push them all away. Plan B it is then, run the other way! It wasn't long till I reached the far end, coming to a halt.

    Turning around, only four of the thugs were standing, the big guy seemed to be knocked out. They weren't huddled up close up in a group, instead, they were separated. If I were to try knocking one away the rest will beat me up before I get to the next one.

    "Think! There has to be a way out of this!" I thought urgently, my mind working overtime to figure out a plan. With each passing moment, they all crept closer, the devilish grin on the leader's face only growing wider. I turned back to the brick wall, then looking up. It wasn't like the two buildings beside it, it was at least above ten or so feet, most likely a garage or some sort of storage unit. Whatever it was, there was no way of climbing up.


    Ah, what the Hell, it's the only plan I got and it's worth a try, not like my situation can get any worse at this point. Hearing the leader's demand to jump me, which was my cue!

    Acting quickly, I positioned my arm so it faced the ground, slightly tilted so instead of just, hopefully, pushing me upwards, but a little forward as well. Before I lost my chance, I fired at the ground. Upon doing so, I felt my whole body being pulled up almost instantly. Before I even knew it, I landed on the edge of the small building.

    I couldn't believe it, it worked! I turned to see the four thugs, all having the same shocked face. I couldn't help but laugh victoriously, only pissing them off even further. That didn't sit well with the leader, turning around and racing out of the alley, signaling the rest to follow. Time for me to do the same.

    "That was so cool!" I said in-between breaths while running as fast as I could, all the while smiling like an idiot. "The looks on their faces were priceless! It took a while for it to finally do something, but it definitely paid off. Didn't think it would give me superpowers for crying out loud!"

    I have all night to geek out, can't get sidetracked right now. Running down the long storage unit was kind of a hassle, I could barely see anything, and right next to the edge didn't help either. With that being said, I failed to notice a hatch in my way, which resulted in me tripping and nearly falling off. In the split second where my body wasn't touching the ground, I threw my hand out, using the miniature cyclone to shoot me to the other side. I tumbled a few times before coming to a full stop, now lying on my back.

    "D-Damn, close one… but still cool." I uttered getting up, feeling slightly sore on the left side of my body. "Wish I knew what else this book could do."

    I jogged till I reached the end, and conveniently, I saw a ladder that was embedded in the concrete, perfect. Right then, I heard footsteps, very loud footsteps and they were getting closer. Taking a peek, I spotted one of the thugs running, instantly stopping when he noticed me, while I just took a few steps back. There honestly was no point in running back, all I had to do was wait a little. When he climbed to the top, I simply send him flying back, hitting a nearby wall and landed on the ground with a loud thud. I can't believe he really fell for that.

    Right when I climbed down, another one appeared around the corner, coming to a stop at the sight of his friend on the ground. His eyes landed on me, immediately coming close as possible then throwing a punch, barely sidestepping it. Moving back till I was in the desired position, I blasted him back, his head hitting the iron bar.

    He groaned in pain, using the ladder to prevent himself from falling. I did the same thing again, this time to disorient him completely, his head hitting the bar once more, now he was barely standing. This was my chance! I got close enough to swing a punch, hitting him across the face. Since I couldn't use my left arm for anything, I proceeded to kick him several times, his sides and stomach to be more precise. Before he had a chance to do anything, I threw my hand out, aiming at his chest, his body hitting the wall from the sheer force, at the same time, knocking the breath out of him. He just flopped to the ground, fighting to stay conscious.

    "Three down, I think?" I said looking over the unconscious men. "Where are the other two?"

    As if my question was answered, I could faintly hear footsteps, rapidly getting louder. Was it coming from the left or right? Right, these two came from the left so we'll go there. This path didn't lead very far either, to a side entrance of a junkyard to be more specific. When I entered, I stopped and hid beside several burn barrels, the closest one to me still has a spark of fire in it. I positioned myself so I could stay out of sight, a small gap from the barrels allowing me to see if they would come.

    Just as I thought, the last two came through the entrance and looked around. I couldn't hear them too clearly, but I could tell that they decided to split up. So much for that, wish they just kept running. I could sneak my way out when they wander far enough or take care of them right now? The first option it is.

    I slowly stood up, using the barrel for support. In the second that my hand opened, golden strings started radiating from the barrel, flowing into my hand. Right after witnessing that, I noticed one of the pages started glowing. I immediately began searching for the page that had the familiar text.

    "Please, please give me something good," I said flicking the pages rapidly. "Come on, come on, where are you…!"

    "I found him!"

    I looked up to see the other guy pointing at me. I rushed towards him and threw my hand out, sending him flying back, his body hitting the pile of flattened cars. His body just fell to the ground, clutching his back. I looked around for the last guy, spotting him running up quickly from the right. Just as he got close enough, I tried sending him back.
    Only for it to have no effect.


    There wasn't any time to fully react because before I knew it, a fist collided with my right cheek. I skidded backwards, dropping the book as a result. Regaining my balance carefully, I rubbed my cheek, staring down my attacker as well.

    "Not so tough now, are ya, freak?" the thug taunted with a grin, cracking his knuckles. "Time for payback."

    With that, he lunged toward me. Being inexperienced when it comes to fighting, that and never actually participating in a fight, I just moved backwards to avoid the hits, his fists barely out of reach. This is bad. Just dodging won't win me the fight. I can't get close to the book, let alone find the page that I needed. There's a good chance that his friend might get back up soon and then I'm really screwed.

    Oh well, here goes nothing.

    I held my hands up in a guard, deciding to not move as much. He wasn't that skilled either, that much was evident. His hits were sloppy, uncoordinated, no clear fighting style, just mindlessly trying to punch me. Even so, he showed no sign of slowing down any time soon. When I dodged his punch that was aimed at my head, I tried going for an uppercut, which he avoided with his other arm.

    In one swift motion, he kicked me in the left abdomen with his right leg, resulting in me stumbling backwards, while at the same time clutching my sides.

    Then the thug charged towards me with his head down, slamming directly into me. That resulted in both of us falling to the ground, him being atop of me.

    Ignoring the pain as best as I could because immediately after landing onto the ground, the man above bombarded me with attacks. I tried blocking them, but a few managed to get through. They were weak but still, my head started to feel a little fuzzy from the repeated hits. I spotted a metal pipe on the ground next to me. The moment his fists went up, I dropped my guard in an attempt to grab the pipe. Upon grabbing it, I swung as hard as I can at my attacker, hitting his elbow. He retracted both his arms to block the next few hits, giving me an opening to hit him wherever I could.

    It was just enough to get him off of me, with him falling onto his back. I jumped to my feet, quickly running to my book.

    Grabbing it, I ran as fast as I can towards the other exit, all the while flicking the pages to find the glowing page.
    As I was running, and looking down at the book, I failed to notice the man I threw to the ground jump me from behind. Both of us fell to the ground, with myself ending up lying on his chest. Before I got the chance to get up, he grabbed me in a chokehold.

    He was choking me. I tried breaking out of his hold, but no such luck there. I tried punching him several times, hoping that he would loosen up his grip. My hits weren't strong enough to make a difference. Looking down briefly, I saw the book opened on the exact page I was looking for. A line of text that was similar to the one I touched not even ten minutes go. I tried to touch it, only to be a few inches short.

    "C-Come on… just… a little… more."

    I was so close to touching it. With all my will power, I managed to move us both closer to it, finally tapping the spell. I watched as my hand absorbed gold strings, then my skin changed pigments. It changed to a dark silver-like color before returning to normal.

    On the verge of my breaking point, I knew I had to act now. With whatever strength I had left, I pushed back into him as much as I could, aiming for one last punch.

    The moment my fist collided with his face, his hold on me broke instantly.

    While gasping for air, I immediately scrambled away and stood up after a certain distance, making sure I wasn't going get jumped on again. Whatever that did, it seemed to do the trick. His screams echoed across the whole junkyard, clutching the left side of his mouth. I looked over my left hand, it seemed normal, but I could feel something else as well. When I hit him, I didn't feel any pain. Besides that, it wasn't that strong of a punch, to begin with. Does my hand have the same density from the metal I absorbed from that barrel? I'm positive that's the case here.

    The two of them were on their feet again, one in front and the other behind me. Two at the same time, just great. I tried paying equal attention to them both, waiting for them to make the first move. The leader charged first, his friend quickly following suit. Stepping slightly closer so I have some room to not worry about the one behind me, I dodged his punch and a punch of my own with my left hand, which he blocked.

    Even though he blocked it, the thug stepped back while hissing in pain, tightly holding his forearm. Turning around, I saw the other one attempting to punch me when he got close enough. I positioned my hand to block it, wanting to see if my theory was correct.

    While it was a risky gamble, it certainly paid off.

    I didn't feel anything from blocking it, while he clutched his hand as hard as he could. While he was doing that, the leader charged at me again. Instead of moving back, my body went into a defensive stance. He didn't try at throwing mindless punches this time. He managed to land a few punches to my sides. I blocked some of his hits, the pain was getting more and more noticeable. After tiring himself out, it was my turn. My attempts weren't any better, but I still had the upper hand.

    Each time he blocked my punches, he had to step back. Since my left hand was enhanced, he hissed when my hand hit his arms so many times. His guard was getting more open, that's when I saw an opening to hit him in the stomach.

    Just as he fell to the ground, I turned my attention to the other one.

    Right as I turned my head, a fist hit my right temple. While feeling slightly dizzy, I wasn't going to give up here. When he tried going for a similar attack, I ducked below and aimed at hitting his knee. With that one hit, he fell onto his knees, trying to hold in his screams. One final punch across the face was enough to take care of him for good.

    I turned around just in time to spot the leader attempting to grab me, to which I grabbed him by the wrists, now becoming a game of both us pushing back and forth, with me losing. I barely had any strength left to go on, one more minute and I'm done for. Then an idea popped into my head. With my left hand, I began squeezing his wrist as hard as I could.

    "Aghhhh!" The thug screamed at the top of his lungs. "You bastard!"

    In a fraction of a second after his outburst, he kicked me in the stomach.

    That knocked the breath of out me for sure, making me loosen my grip by a little. Even still, I wasn't going to let up.

    Powering through the pain, I stood my ground and tightened my grip on his wrist. The same action went on a couple of more times. All I had to do is hold on for a little bit longer. After a certain point, he had no other option but to back up and clutch his wrist, now was my chance. I ran up to him as close as I could and punched him across the face.

    That's when I dropped to my knees, the last bit of strength I had gone. All I could do was breathe in and out, my eyes still on the leader who just as well fell to the ground.

    Out of nowhere, the one I knocked out rushed to his aid.

    "Dude, let's get out of here!"

    The other guy came quickly to aid his friend, pulling him off the ground and motioning to run away. With some difficulty, and the leader rejecting the idea of running, finally grabbed onto his companion and made their exit, almost falling down while doing so.

    "H-Heh, that went better than I expected." I groaned while clutching my stomach while trying to stand up. Slowly moving forward, making sure my moves weren't too drastic to increase the pain, I bend downwards and picked up my book.

    "I change my mind about you, you're amazing. I only wish I knew that the ability expires after a certain period. Still, you got me out of that mess so I can't complain."

    In the corner of my eye, I spotted a brown wallet on the ground. Making my way towards it, examining it when I picked it up, it was that thug's wallet, must've fallen out when he tried choking me. I was stunned to see almost a few hundred dollar bills in there. I'm positive that the money originally belonged to him, I can't imagine a thief stealing money then immediately putting it in his own wallet right in front of them.

    There's only one thing to do with this.

    "Holy mother of God that definitely hit the spot!"

    I commented the second I scoffed down on another sandwich, instantly grabbing the next one. Going on without food for the last two days was insufferable. I got a dozen or so sandwiches with a couple of water bottles for later. After getting them I sat in a small park that was nearby, thankfully it was empty, so I could eat in peace.

    Thinking back to everything that happened tonight, I came to the conclusion that… I have no idea what to do. No idea, no plan whatsoever, still nothing. I mean, I'm glad I stopped that couple from getting mugged and all, but still, I almost got my ass kicked. Well, I got beat up nonetheless. I'm not cut out to be the hero.

    But at the same time, it felt exciting to use actual superpowers to save someone. I would be lying if I didn't find it kind of fun to use them in general. Plus I liked helping people, so yeah, maybe it was worth a few bruises. The powers were so simple and straightforward, but very effective. It makes me wonder, can they be amplified or work differently?
    The absorbing was reminiscent of how Rogue's power's worked, only watered down.

    Taking the booking with my other hand, I observed its features once more. Magic always one of my favorite powers, solely because there were so many ways to use the simplest of spells. But the question was, how do the spells work? I know that magic can be divided into different categories, three to be exact.

    It needs a proper name after all, right? Hmm, how about… the Codex of Magic! Or just simply "The Codex", yeah, that works too.

    If I figure out how this thing works and everything it can do, I just might, hopefully, find my way back home.
    In the meantime, I could do the same thing I did tonight. In a world where everything is possible, ranging from a psychotic sentient android to an actual God. Not to mention all the new additions to the MCU, things just might get a little hectic down the line. If I'm going to be stuck here, I just might end up doing some good in this crazy world. I might be a little too ambitious, but still, if I want to survive, I need to be on par with whatever comes my way.

    Being able to handle a few thugs won't be enough, I need to get strong and fast.

    Thankfully, I could use my meta-knowledge of the MCU to make things easier, but I'm not quite sure if that's a good idea. Things might not go actually like canon, due to the Fantastic Four, X-Men and who knows what else present in this universe, they might not follow the same order. I'll put a pin into that for later if the MCU as I know it plays out like it should, it would be enough.

    Ivan Vanko and his army of drones will make their debut at the Stark Expo in the next few days. Not much time to figure this thing out. Still, there will be collateral damage, lots of it. People are bound to get hurt, or worse, killed. There's no way I can prevent all that chaos from happening, hell, I'm not even sure what I should do. But there has to be a way to stop him, or at least sabotage his plans.

    After that, I'm definitely going to have to visit the Ancient One. Guess learning magic will be the most logical step to take. I'll be able to better understand the book, after tonight, I'm sure this isn't even scratching the surface of what this thing could do.

    Then it's decided. It's not much but it's a start, we'll figure everything else along the way.

    Now then, let's get to work.

    And that's it for Chapter 1.

    Honestly, it was fun writing this, for multiple reasons. First off, in most SI-OC stories on this site (and in general), the SI dies and is reincarnated to their desired world. I wasn't a fan of going this route. It gives a lot of time for the OC to plan everything out, a quick recap on their life in "X" amount of years and all that. The idea of just being dropped into the MCU without much planning and quick thinking of a possible way to survive. I do have to apologize if the Chapter is slow or dragged out, thought this would be a good scenario for the start of the story. I promise, the next few Chapters will have action but one step at a time to establish how

    Same goes for the ROB (Random Omnipotent Being for those who don't know), I decided it was better to skip that part, for now, it will be explained later down the line (or maybe not) when the plot develops. For spoiler sake, we'll just have to get to that point for it all to make sense.

    Another thing I want to address, The Codex won't always give free powers/stronger powers/give powers without drawbacks. Feel like I need to address this right off the bat. The powers are supposed to be creative and simple, for the basic ones that is. Magic will be the main focus, but so will obtaining various other powers located around the MCU. It will also take time to fully understand and figure out how some powers work and how to use them.

    As I mentioned at the start, this version of the MCU will include the X-Men and Fantastic Four. While the story will follow the main plot, it gives a lot of room to come up with other ideas and plot ideas to make it more exciting and how the MCU will be changed because of them.

    If you have an idea to further develop the plot or for some kind of power, let me know. Tell me your thoughts on the first Chapter by leaving a review. Until next time.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  2. NickNock

    NickNock Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 9, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Great first chapter! I'm a bit confused though... what exactly is the Codex?
  3. Alchto

    Alchto Like to play with pussy(cat)

    Nov 22, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Oooh mysterious, I like it, I felt the dragged out part you were saying there, that brawl with the 5 guys was very long but not bad, It was a little boring after a while because it was just 5 normal guys hitting each other... but it wasn't bad overall, you had my attention with that mysterious book, don't know how I feel about learning magic with the ancient one (kinda didn't like the dr strange movie), I liked that shield didn't mysteriously find out MC because of "high energy readings" or something, not much to say beyond that but it's definitely in my watched list. Good luck bro
  4. Anthony1967

    Anthony1967 Not too sore, are you?

    Apr 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Holy fuck this is quality
  5. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    You see, the gems that were attached to the book, turned to a different color when our MC was accepted by it. Think of Rogues powers, but with a downgrade, he can absorb properties to use that for himself. The text you saw is like the basic formula for immediate use and a starting off point for further development. Say, Ice/Freezing - He can try to absorb that, but he won't be able to create Ice right away. It starts off slow and a bit of a learning process to understand a singular property to improve that power. Further research, with magic, more and more spells can be created from that and stored, think of it as a hotkey. It's like a personal journal as well, since it only accepted him. I want to add more depth into it since magic is an interesting concept to me, so I hope to expand it as I go, our MC learned as we do.

    Hope this helps somewhat, Id go into more detail if anything else is not clear.
  6. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Thanks! Yeah, it was a little dragged out, I wrote this a few months ago (am on Ch5, will post them later), so does have its issues. But considering he has no understanding of the book and all on his own, though it would be good to start off fresh, from zero. He is a regular guy after all. The Ancient One does have a small role in the next chapters but will be expanded upon (since magic was introduced so late, this gives us a chance to explore further). Aint letting SHIELD drop by that easily will keep Fury at bay. Hope the other Chapters will be enjoyable as well!
    Alchto likes this.
  7. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Lol, thanks! Years of reading fanfics made me set a certain standard for my own works. Bends the flow if they were shorter/not as detailed.
  8. Grimmouse197

    Grimmouse197 Versed in the lewd.

    Jan 19, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Sounds like a gilmore spellbook......
  9. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    It does? Another person said they had similar traits. Haven't watches Black Clover yet, but from what I can see, I see it now. I mean, you yourself have to make a spell in order to have a hotkey spell ready, then you can have it. Sorry, shouldve done some reseach on spell books, this chap is made a few months ago, so there might get anothet look at it.
  10. Tsubasa93

    Tsubasa93 Making the rounds.

    Mar 17, 2020
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    You have my interest. Watched.
  11. Index: Chapter 2 – Operation: Sabotage

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
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    Chapter 2 – Operation: Sabotage
    "Let's see here…"

    I flopped to the ground and placed the Codex in front of me. Since the thing had a built-in GPS, finding the warehouse this time around was significantly easier. I grabbed another sandwich and opened the book, time to figure out how it works.
    From what I saw, and theorized when I first absorbed something, the text in the blank pages became visible. Simple enough. But then the question remains, can I absorb anything? Probably not, don't think it works that way. There has to be some sort of restriction to it. Still, I need to figure out how to do it properly. But before we get to that…

    I found the page that had the Miniature Whirlwind. The text was a plain black color, it wasn't until my hand was inches from the surface that the text lit up. There was a slight pause before I tapped it. I watched as my hand glowed briefly before returning to normal. It was different than the first time I did it, the light died down way sooner. Did it already recognize that I used it before? Might be.

    Jumping to my feet, I moved away a few feet to do a proper test of its capabilities. When I threw my hand out, I was greeted with the familiar spell that pushed several empty crates a little since it was barely out of reach. Before doing it again, I placed some of the crates atop of each other. When it was set up, I took a few steps back, then running up to it and blasted all of them away. Before setting the boxes up again, I decided to switch things up. With my left hand, I tapped the spell again, now having the power in both my hands. I could have a different power for each hand, that is until I learn magic properly, then I can expand my arsenal. But for the time being, practicing with what I have will do.

    Just as I was about to go down to do further tests, I stopped when I thought of something important. When do the powers expire? I almost got screwed over when fighting those thugs, I need to figure out exactly when they expire. As of now, I'd say roughly five or six minutes have passed since I got them. I threw out another Whirlwind to see if it was still there, which it was. About a minute has passed me only doing the same thing until it finally expired. Now I have to look into this.

    Refreshing the spell I started the second test. I need to figure out how much time I get when using these powers. I doubt everything I manage to do will have the same expiration time but still will come in handy with what I got now. I just starting counting when I threw the first Whirlwind. At the start of the next minute and thirty-second mark, I would throw one out. At the six-and-a-half-minute mark, the spell was gone, so I would assume it lasts about six minutes and fifteen or so seconds. This is good, this is progress. Onto the next thing

    I went back down to the ground level, preparing for my next test. Using Whirlwind helped me escape that sticky situation with those thugs, getting better at that technique will come in handy. Looking up, my eyes locked on to the first floor. I refreshed it again and positioned myself right underneath the platform.

    Taking in a deep breath, I positioned my right hand, which was titled but not by much, to fire at the ground. Moments later I slammed my hand down to the ground take off. Just like the first time, my body was pushed upwards, landing right next to the edge, almost losing my balance. Still, need to get used to this whole thing. Taking a glance at the other side of the warehouse, I got another idea. Let's see if I could make it to the other side. The gap between the floors wasn't too long but not that short either.

    I took a few steps back until I reached the wall, my focus entirely set on the opposite floor. With that being said, I bolted. The moment I jumped off, I moved my hand backward to blast me off. This time I graced the landing, kind of. I was just a few inches away from smashing through the empty crates.

    Oh yeah, this feels amazing. I just couldn't help but form a wide smile at the small development. It was just the start; things are just going to get more difficult along the way. Even still, I'm just glad that I'm getting accustomed to these powers.

    For the next hour or so, I just repeated these techniques to get a better feel to them. Haven't crashed into anything yet so we're good. With that out of the way, I started using the second spell. I won't call it Iron Fist, no way, I will think of something better later on. I used one of the many metal support beams to use as a target. Hopefully, it won't be that big of an impact to send the warehouse crashing down upon me. For the first few times, I just did basic punches. Then I started punching harder, more and more dents forming on the support beam, and until now, I haven't felt any pain from my hands hitting the metal object. Time to crank it up a little. Now I was throwing even harder punches, only now noticing the slight pain building up, but it wasn't too troubling.

    Finally, I used all my strength in one final punch, leaving a wide hole on the metal beam. I rubbed my hands together; it took all that to feel any pain. Scanning the massive hole, I made sure that it won't collapse or something, luckily, it didn't.

    After I spend more time practicing those two spells, doing the same routine with a few additional changes every now and then, I decided that for now, that will have to do. I had other things to turn my attention to. Figuring out a way to crumble Vanko's plans is going to be troublesome. There wasn't much time to properly plan this out, that and the very small number of resources I had to work with. The powers I have now aren't enough to stop all of his drones, maybe one at a time but that just won't cut it. I need them to be immobilized while I do my thing, otherwise, a cannon or a hit from those things would be very deadly.

    If I remove out their Arc Reactors, they become useless. Only thing is that I can't just waltz in backstage to take care of them, to many eyes lurking around there, not to mention the cameras. I already accepted the fact if I do this, S.H.I.E.L.D. is bound to spot me, it's a matter of time either way. I'd say I got a few days max, depending on what kind of mood Nick Fury is going to be at that time. I got an idea of how to prepare myself, but let's focus on the task at hand.

    And then it hit me, an EMP. Since this is the early phase of the MCU, I don't think the drones have that kind of protection yet. For Tony I'm not worried at all, J.A.R.V.I.S. is there and he'll quickly reboot his systems, same for Rhodey. I'm positive Vanko's drones won't stay down for long, so when the EMP goes off, ripping out their Reactors comes first. If however, some of the drones don't shut down, I'll have to think some other plan.

    Let's get the materials first.

    After a few hours, I managed to get everything I need. Copper wires, a bunch of batteries and tools, circuit boards and anything else I thought might be useful that wasn't over my budget. Along the way, I bought a few flip phones that were fairly cheap in a vending machine. It took so long because I'm not just gonna get everything one store like an idiot. A lesson I learned from watching TV shows, never buy everything from one place. Anyone with a brain will immediately realize what I'm trying to make, really don't need the police on my tail just yet.

    I began working on my miniature EMP. My grandad had a lot of old VHS players and computers disassembled to the bone, so whenever I would come and visit I'd watch him work on different electronics every time. I tried my hand at tinkering with various kinds of machinery when he first offered me the chance, quickly becoming a small hobby of mine when I got some spare time. I knew the basic inner structure of an EMP, so with the things I got, I was capable of making one. It didn't take long, it was only the skeleton that I'll store in one of the plastic lunch-boxes I bought. Another thing that I bought is a Bluetooth key so I can just place it somewhere and activate it with that. Configuring it was easy, I did the same thing to open the door of my apartment complex.

    With that little device complete, I began working on the calculator I bought. Now hear me out. I didn't get just any cheap calculator, I got a little more advanced one. With it, I could set up a timer with a basic program. I didn't have enough money to buy the things to make my makeshift timer, luckily, I found this so makes things a bit easier. To make a timer out a calculator, you need to make sure a button labeled "PRGM" is on there, then you just add in the basic code for a timer, which was several seconds you want to set it. In my case, I had to add a total thirty-six hundred seconds separately for it to be set to go off after six minutes. After I completed that I took it apart carefully, all I wanted is to configure it so that the sound was louder, just in case I miss it.

    It was time to see if this thing works. Placing the EMP and the dummy phone on the crate, I went back a few feet to see how long the range was. Upon pressing the button, I saw the screen starting to flicker, with seconds later turning off completely. Now for the next phase, I separated myself from the device even further, pressing the button again and it still shut down. So the key has a long-range, but how will the EMP differ? I placed the device into my backpack and stood at a decent distance from the phone.

    "Alright. Let's see how this test goes."

    This time around, the phone didn't respond. Well shit. I began taking small steps to see at what range it takes effect. That only happened when I was about three feet away from it. That just won't do. I tried hooking it up with another set of batteries, maybe with that kind of boost, it will be enough.

    Again standing from before, I tried once more. Still nothing. Frustrated, I took the device out and went back to tinkering. I didn't have the proper tools to boost the energy, that and I can't fully recall how to do it properly. Adding anything else onto it won't help. If I just had a bigger power source then this problem could be dealt with. Or if I overcharge the batteries, but the charger won't get it to the point I need it to.

    That's when an idea came to me. I haven't tried absorbing anything else aside from before. Let's say if I absorbed electricity, I just might find an alternative way to power this thing up.

    I grabbed the Codex and jumped down to the ground floor, looking for the small control panel located in the back. I turned it on and wouldn't you know, it still works, kind of. I took the thing apart until I found the power cable, then I turned off the machine before removing the cable. I placed my hand so it was mere inches from the cable, then I began concentrating as hard as I could. The first two times this happened I wasn't even paying any attention. This should have been the first thing that I experimented with.

    Over the next several seconds, my hand began glowing, sparks of electricity became visible on the end of the cable. It was slower than before, and the electricity turned into the familiar gold that went into my hand. After that was done I checked my book, trying to find on what page it was going to appear. After searching for a while, I found nothing. That's odd, it should have appeared by now. I checked my hand to see if anything happened. I tried focusing everything into my hand, then a small spark at the tip of my finger appeared. A glimpse of a smile forming on my face before going back to full focus mode.

    This was different, but at least I can use this. I'm going to need a lot more to power my EMP. The next ten minutes or so I spend trying to conjure more electricity, the most that I got was at the tip of each finger. I can make a separate device to store the energy then transfer that to the batteries, yeah that can work.

    Going back to the book, I need to figure out why nothing appeared.

    Maybe I didn't absorb enough? It would make sense since this was a form of energy. Knowing this, I definitely need to get the Ancient One to teach me how to further develop this skill. Absorbing any form of energy will be key to get stronger, all the applications this could be used has me already giddy. Putting this idea aside, I began thinking about how to transfer this into the book. There has to be a way to make a shortcut inside the book to store forms of energy.

    I'll put a pin on that and get back to it later. Right now, need to start building that charger.

    It took me about an hour to make such a device, if anything, it looked like a ridiculously oversized charger. The base only constructed of a motherboard from one of the disposable cameras, with two makeshift antennas sticking out from one side, while only one battery connected for now. Don't want to overdo it just yet, but it is possible to charge multiple ones at the same time. In theory, this should work, only one way to find out.

    Concentrating just enough so that my hand starts forming electricity, I positioned my hand close enough to the antennas.

    After quite some time, the battery started producing smoke.

    "No, no, no, no!"

    I quickly ran up to the small device, carefully and hastily removing the battery, throwing it away in the corner.

    "At least I know how long it takes for the battery to overheat. If I shave off a few minutes, it would be good to go."

    Maybe if I a small add-on to convert more power to it, I just might extend the radius by a fair bit. Don't feel like the overcharged batteries will give it the kick it needs. Pretty sure if I do this, the device can have two or three uses, if I'm lucky.

    Using one of the small circuit boards, I started tweaking so it was acceptable when I hook it up with my EMP. Doing this with limited tools was tricky, and quite infuriating, but after an hour passed, I was able to make it.

    After I added that to my EMP, I went to see if this would explode or work, hopefully, it's the latter. During the day, the lights inside the warehouse were on. The sun was setting, the light posts outside turning on one at a time, the perfect opportunity for testing.

    Placing the box in the center of the warehouse, I held the Bluetooth key and pressed the button moments later. With that, everything went dark. I stepped out of my hideout, seeing the lights were off in the other few warehouses with light posts as well.

    "Huh, it seems like it works."

    Turning it off, I went to add the finishing touches, like charging and replacing the batteries. I also made sure that the thing won't fail on me when I leave it behind. The expo was tomorrow at eight o'clock, until then, I'll make sure it's ready.

    Stark Expo, Main Entrance

    The next day, we arrived at the final stage of Iron Man 2. The security didn't bother me one bit, there were a few guards at the entrance, but they didn't do a full body check on anyone. Lucky me, even though I disguised the EMP to look like, good to know I won't be held up here. When I passed through, there were so many inventions that caught my eye that I just couldn't turn away from. Seeing technology advanced to this level was jaw-dropping. It truly was an amazing spectacle to witness. In less than a few hours, this entire Expo would become practically a war zone.

    Surprisingly, there weren't many people here at this time, it was still early after all. Good for me, if I can get to the main stage for tonight's event and plant this thing, I won't have to worry about it not being in range. I found my way to the main stage where the drone presentation would take place. As of now, it was empty, about a dozen people working around the stage and making preparations. Circling it, I tried to not seem suspicious while doing so, to them I was just a curious fan. Looking up slightly, without drastically moving my head, I spotted a camera that had a good view of the place. Scanning the place further, I noticed more of them at every angle.

    Before continuing onward, I hid behind a nearby wall, taking out the Codex and choosing Empowered Fist (a better name than before) in one hand, and Whirlwind in the other. My eyes landed back on the stage, that is when I found the door that, what I assume,

    Since there weren't too many eyes present, and barely any machinery turned on, I needed to activate the EMP now so the cameras don't spot me. Taking out the key from my pocket, I clicked the button and waited for the device to take effect.

    I overheard some of the workers complain that their laptop seemed to be busted, they were all the way down the steps from where I was standing, which means it worked like a dream. Sneaking down unnoticed, I got closer and closer to the door, now hiding behind a pillar. That's when I spotted a bit of a problem. The door had a keypad next to it, so either
    I bust right through or wait for someone to use it then sneak it. Just then, a construction worker exited from that very door and to top it all off, he went the opposite way.

    I quickly ran up to the door without causing a ruckus. I wasn't going to make it before it closes, instead, I shot out a Whirlwind at it, resulting in the door to burst wide open. Once I was in I closed the door in less than a second. After catching my breath, I pulled my self together, I don't have much time.

    I went further down, there, I reached a massive hexagonal field. The field itself was still empty but was marked where the droids would be set. In the far right, I saw an air went, that is where I found my hiding spot. Picking up a screwdriver that was lying around with some other tools, I bent down and unscrewed all the screws, with the vent just popping off. I took the EMP out of my backpack and placing it inside, then putting the whole thing back like it was before. Sneaking out was a lot easier than sneaking in since almost everyone was confused about why the power went off. When I made my way out of the area, I turned the EMP off to check something out. I spotted the crew arguing around the laptop, which turned on moments later.

    "Well, that's reassuring."

    Knowing that from this range the device responds, I'm positive that the plan will work, at least somewhat. It does work though, it will probably make Vanko himself to show up sooner. Still, we'll be prepared if that happens.

    Let's see what other goodies are hidden around this Expo.

    In just a few minutes from now, one loud-mouth and insufferable Justin Hammer will dance through the stage and give his cocky speech about "a new era of man", so I better get into position.

    Spending the last few hours inside the Expo, I can't list all the fascinating and interesting machines that do all kinds of wonders. All the ideas forming in my head from the sight of them, I can't wait to get my hands on this level of tech. As I crawled through the huge crowd, I got a good look at Hammer's face. My eyes then landed on Pepper Potts and Natasha Romanoff, which wasn't that difficult since they we're in the VIP section.

    One set of droids after another made their debut, the audience cheering and clapping like crazy. Not gonna lie, even if I didn't know the plot and this happened in real life, I wouldn't feel safe one bit. Sure, they were disposable and brought more firepower than regular soldiers, it's lunatics like Ivan Vanko who can set that whole operation up in flames. As history has shown, hacking through the systems of any massive corporation itself spikes concern, especially if weapons of this caliber is involved.

    And then I heard it, those thrusters, instantly goosebumps started surging through my whole body. When I turned around, just like everyone else, spotted a figure flying through the sky, that being the one and only Tony Stark, crashing his own Expo. When he stabilized and landed on the platform with a thud, the crowd erupted in another round of applause and cheers.

    "What a show-off that guy, I swear."

    I could hardly believe that I'm seeing one of my favorite heroes in the flesh. But as much as I wanted to gawk at the man in the iron suit, I had to act quickly. I took out the Codex and activated the two spells in each hand. Just as I was finished doing that, the drones started acting up. All that I need is for one of them to start shooting, can't have any people sticking around when the fireworks start.

    With that, the shooting began. People started running away, all screaming at the top of their lungs as they tried getting to safety. I stayed beside a wall so I don't get killed by the large swarm running for their lives. It wasn't till Iron Man activated his thrusters and attempted to fly away that I'm about to miss my mark.


    With the click of a button, everything went dark. All of the lights immediately shut down. The drone army that began their assault, fell to the floor one by one. Iron Man, who was several feet in the air, began falling back onto the stage, not too far away from War Machine. It seemed like the two's suits were still active, somewhat. The lights coming out of their eye holes were flickering, with both of them trying to maintain their balance. War Machine recovered quicker, charging towards his friend. Not having the ability to fly away and dodge the attack, Iron Man stood his ground until they both collided, knocking them both to the concrete floor. It wasn't so much of a fight at first, both of them were trying to overpower the other with their hands, going back and forth while doing so. While they were occupied with each other, I ran down the stairs at top speed. Since I couldn't jump onto the stage without difficulty, I set my eyes on the far end of the stage, where a small flight of stairs was located, using that to get closer to the deactivated droids.

    "Rhodey, buddy, come on!" I could hear Tony yelling through his suit as the two continued their bout. "I know you're pissed about the other day, but cut a guy some slack!"

    "Tony, I can't!" Rhodey yelled back. "I can't control the suit!

    "J.A.R.V.I.S is already working on cracking your suits' systems. Just hold on for a couple of minutes longer, buddy."

    "We don't have a couple of minutes!"

    I eliminated the Army Unit first, ripping out the Arc-Reactors since I figured they were more deadly than the Air Force Unit regardless of their capability of flight since mostly all of them could fly. They were my second target either way. So far I only managed to take care of two members of that Unit, before I got to the third one it already came back online, the Arc Reactor on it glowing brightly once again. When the droid started moving, I slammed my fist around the circular core and ripped it out, the Reactor still active even though no wires we connected to it.

    One by one, the droids that came back to life charged at Iron Man, who by now was hovering a few feet off the ground with War Machine doing the same but struggled more. With more droids noticing my presence, I flopped onto the ground and blasted myself away, tumbling up until I stopped at the end of the stage and jumping down, then ducking behind one of the many pillars.

    Within a moment of sliding down the wall, a ray of bullets were fired from both sides, the bullets luckily not piercing through the ceramic pillars.

    "That worked out just as well as I expected." I cursed as I took out my timer, hoping nothing shots me while recuperating. Only three minutes left. "Shit, already?! Gotta hurry!"

    I let go of the Arc Reactor and took out my book hastily, refreshed both spells in quick succession. My gaze fell back to the small glowing orb. These two spells won't do me much good from this distance, but maybe that's where this thing could help me out. Without a second thought, I began absorbing the
    Reactor with my right hand, which is where I had Whirlwind. The pure white energy that turned gold was flowing into my hand way faster this time, I almost had to pull away from the stinging sensation I began to feel.

    Using the same tactic I used for channeling electricity, I used the same principle here. Over time, my hand began to feel heavy as my hand formed a golden shell around my hand, slowly building up like it was going to explode. When I got to a certain point, I tried thinking about how to release it. I began imagining like I wanted it to shot out from my hand. After some time passed, it did happen, a short beam of gold-colored energy was fired out of my hand and hit the ceiling

    "This will do just nicely," I said with excitement, the fear of not having a way to fight back slowly disappearing. I peek over the edge when droids stop firing. Almost instantly after getting the droids' position, I fired a beam towards them, destroying one of their arm cannons. I moved towards another pillar, firing more beams along the way. Some of them missed the targets entirely, but a few beams hit numerous droids, heavily damaging their interior, I even managed to get a headshot. By the time I hid behind the pillar, the sentient suits of armor fired another assault towards me, slowly closing in.

    From this angle, I saw Iron Man wrestle with War Machine while flying, the droids on the ground shooting at both of them, with some of the Air Force units chasing after them. Since in my current spot, I couldn't get a clear shot at the droids firing at me, so I'll help them out first. It was a little difficult with them moving so much, still, I managed to hit quite a few of them causing heavy damage. That gave Iron Man enough time to dispose of the ones around him, then moving on to War Machine that was on his tail. Reluctant to use any heavy weaponry, he settled using only fists for now with the occasional Repulsor Beam to damage his thrusters. Since the suit was still controlled by Vanko's program and being hacked by J.A.R.V.I.S., it gave him an opening to land some good punches, for the final attack he used the Thrusters on his feet to send War Machine hurling to the ground

    For a split second, I think Iron Man saw me. My focus on him was broken when a robotic arm slammed itself to the left side of the pillar. I drooped to the ground and crawled away, shooting beams at it while doing so. Since my target was closer this time, I had an easier time to aim properly. With a few blasts to the head, another drone joined the scrap pile. I kept crawling until I reached the wall of the front row, not stopping my barrage for a second. Just as I finished shooting the next one, two more were right behind it, reading their guns.

    Before they got the chance to fire, Iron Man, swooped down to the first droid, hitting it across the face and sending the droid back, finishing it off with a blast to the head. He quickly got onto the second one, shooting it multiple times in the chest with a final blast to the head. As the droid fell to the floor, he kneeled and extended his hand, helping me up.

    "Kid, what the hell are you doing?!"

    "Umm… helping? What does it look like I'm doing?"

    "Helping? Nu-uh, the only thing you're gonna do is get out of here as fast as you-"

    Just as Tony was going to finish his sentence, several droids smashed right into him, sending off to the side till they hit one of the pillars. Two more droids began piling up, forcing him down and throwing heavy punches all around, making Tony's escape from the mountain of metal more difficult.
    I ran up to the pile of droids, shooting two droids in the back of the head. The main one that was holding Tony down, I aimed for his arms, destroying them both. Being able to move freely again, Tony used the thrusters on his feet to destroy the remaining droids.

    I looked down towards the billionaire, couldn't help but smirk while doing so. "As I said, helping."

    "How did you do that?" Tony asked, but there wasn't time to reply because I was stopped with two beams hitting the ground that made us both turn to see where it was coming from. War Machine was already up in the air, not maintain his balance but slowly improved. The other droids, including the severely busted ones, started preparing for flight as well.

    "That's my cue!"

    Iron Man activated his thrusters, flying away through the open ceiling, War Machine following right behind him with a couple of droids backing him up. All of them were now purely focused on Tony, preparing their thrusters as well. Right now, only two droids remained on the ground, preparing to fire off as well. Their backs were turned so they didn't see me coming, I ran up to one of the droids and slammed my fist in the droids back and grabbed on whatever was inside, with my other hand latching onto its shoulder plate.

    And before I knew it, the droid blasted off.

    It felt like my whole body was being pulled down from the intensity. Soaring through the sky was different than what I expected, maybe because I was clinging onto a robot while trying my hardest not to let go. Not much time has passed since we joined back with the group, going all over Star Expo at high speed. As the droids began their assault once more, Iron Man tried dodging as many bullets as he could.

    "O-Okay, in hindsight, this might have not been a good idea!" I said as I looked down at the entire Expo, finding it impossible to avert my eyes. I had to stop looking down, my eyes closed for a few seconds to regain my thoughts, while my grip on the droid tightening.

    Iron Man changed course, instead of going down towards the ground he bolted upwards, the droids doing the same. I positioned my legs on the droids hip, making sure that when I remove my left hand from the shoulder plate I won't go plummeting down. The more we went up, the more difficult it was to hang on. When I found the ideal position, I started firing.

    Since all of them were in a group, it was easier to hit them. With each blast that hit its mark, more and more debris came my way. Even so, I refused to let up. Way too late to back out now.

    Tony was caught between a rock and a hard place. There wasn't much breathing room in this situation. If he doesn't dodge the barrage of bullets, his armor could be torn to shreds by the sheer number of them. Going down the civilian population is even worse. He needed to find an isolated area to lure them in. By then, J.A.R.V.I.S. should already be done with Rhodey's suit, then they could finish them off.

    In the corner of his eye, he saw a yellow beam that went off in the sky. He re-positioned to see what was going on, scanning everything in his sight.

    "Oh, you got to be kidding me…"

    He saw that kid again, clinging on to dear life while shooting yellow beams at the droids above him. At this altitude, and the speed at their going, he could slip off at any moment.

    "Hey, J, mind giving me an update on Rhodey's suit?"

    "[At this moment, 83.1% complete, sir.]" J.A.R.V.I.S. answered. "[My sincerest apologies for the process taking so long. It would seem that Vanko's firewalls are a bit more complicated to fully crack. Rest assured, sir, it won't take that much longer to override Mr. Rhode's system.]"

    "What about the Russian mastermind himself?" Tony asked. "Where's he hiding at?"

    "[From what I can tell, it would seem that he is located at Hammer Industries' headquarters. All though, by my calculations, he may have already escaped by now.]"

    "Of course he did…" Tony sighed. "Still, if you pick up anything let me know. Until then, I'll take care of these rust buckets."

    As I was focusing my aim to hit every droid, I wasn't prepared when Iron Man did a sharp U-turn and flew back down, blowing up the droids that were first in line. I almost fell off due to how quickly the droid I was riding changed course. Right now, we were just above the mile-long fountain. War Machine, who was quite behind from the red and gold-colored superhero, went into overdrive. Before Tony could make his next move, Rhodey grabbed onto his suit, resulting in both of them spinning uncontrollably.

    Just as the two flew in the distance, Tony's suit opened a compartment that shot out miniature missiles that come into contact with the droids that were in the front, leaving a massive explosion.

    Some droids went off in different directions, but mine and a small number of others went through the cloud of smoke. I managed to shot down a couple more, before deciding to shot my ride in the head, gradually descending towards the water. Once it hit the surface, it started slowing down as it surfed the water. All the way until we reached the end, I let go of the droid's inside and stood up, jumping and rolling onto the ground upon the droid hitting the ledge.

    When my body stopped moving, I was lying on my back. Everything was spinning, even though I wasn't even moving. All I could do is breathe, for the time being. Just need a moment of rest to get back up.
    My head moved to the left, spotting the two iron-armored individuals crashing down onto the concrete ground. I rolled to my side first before anything, then from there slowly getting up. While I was on my knees, I heard the timer starting to beep.

    Talk about timing, am I right?

    "That didn't go the way I expected it to," I said while taking my backpack off and flipping through the Codex to refresh the spells once more. "I'm lucky I don't throw up in the next few seconds."

    After finishing that, I proceeded to get back on track. Now fully standing, I slowly started moving towards where the two crashed. It was only one step at a time, but I had no complaints in that department. I checked my whole body for any injuries, there weren't any I could spot. While walking, my vision steadily improving, finding it easier to focus.

    Was it just me, or did I hear thrusters booming in the distance?

    It wasn't the pair that were far away from me, that much I'm certain. Looking around, I tried to find the source of the sound. I could feel a chill go down my spine when I realized what was coming. Ivan Vanko was heading our way. When he landed, which was a lengthy distance, the ground shook.

    His suit got an upgrade. He seemed… taller than from I remember, the changes to the suit confirm that.
    The shoulder area was bulkier than the rest of the body, with two compartments on the backside that connected with his arms and the two whiplashes. Both his arms had two long machine guns. The whips under them had a larger compartment, revealing a bright circled spot on them, they were the reason why his arms seemed different. When he started moving, it was evident the changes took its toll. It was much slower than its original form, it needed more time to just to make a full rotation. His attention was first set on Iron Man and War Machine, until his head turned towards my direction, noticing me.

    He stopped for a moment, before charging up his left whiplash, swinging it towards me. Just as the whiplash reached the end of its length where it couldn't reach me, it extended in size, catching me off guard. I flew to my side just in time to dodge it. Before I managed to get back up, I saw his other whiplash approaching from the opposite direction, down to knee level. I threw a Whirlwind In front of me to propel me backward, stopping right near broken parts of previously destroyed droids. When another attack was heading my way, I grabbed the large chest piece and used it as a shield to block my sides.
    As the attack hit me, it sent me further back. Right now, I was just beside the fountain again, quickly moving around to use the small wall as cover.

    For a brief moment, I tried taking a peak, only to pull back when I saw an array of bullets flying in my direction. I closed my eyes and tried my best not to move, my body refused to move as long as I could hear the sound of gunfire. After some time, it stopped, I opened one eye slightly to make sure another assault wasn't coming. I waited a bit more before checking. As I slowly started raising myself, I took notice of more and more droids flying through the sky to aid Vanko. Upon getting a clearer view, he turned his focus back to Iron Man and War Machine, most likely assuming I didn't survive his barrage.
    The two people in question got bombarded with countless droids. They completely ignored their previous protocol, not shooting on sight any more, just surrounding and restraining them.

    Vanko made sure to take his time, enjoying the sight it would seem. Once he extended his whips, he began charging them to their max capacity. Unlike before, which the color was a simple white, they were now a more lavender purple. Their behavior was different as well, they were more wild and uncontrollable.

    "Not good… not good one bit," I whispered as I observed the scene unfolding further. "They can't even budge with that amount of droids holding them down. What to do? There's got to be… something… I can use...?"

    I trailed off when I noticed many sphere-like bombs, which were no more than a few inches in size and width, scattered on the ground alongside a severely busted drone that nearby. Immediately, I rushed to it and quickly skimmed through its remains. Aside from two submachine guns on its arms, the bombs were the only form of weaponry. Thinking on my feet, I started taking pieces off from the droid. Taking off the main chest plate, which I put on the side, for now. I kept digging deeper, it was when I found a small compartment cluttered with wires and bolts that I stopped my search. I cleaned the insides until nothing was left. Acting quickly, and carefully, I placed as many bombs until the box couldn't hold anymore. I bent another piece of metal and used it to close the box so none of the bombs drop out.

    I then took the chest plate, placing it on the ground when the small wall was out of my way. I stepped onto the chest plate and grabbed onto the iron bar that was sticking out of it, clutching the box with the same and my left thigh. My gaze fell back to the massive battle, Vanko getting closer and closer.

    "Alright… one stupid plan, coming up."

    Using my other hand, I shot out a Whirlwind that propelled me forward, using the chest plate to glide through the concrete floor. While the base speed was anything but slow, it wasn't enough. Deciding to use another one, I almost lost my grip upon doing so, but I was approaching my target a lot quicker. I did this tactic a few more times in case I suddenly stop right beside the pile of droids. I shot a beam at him to catch his attention once more. The beam hit the upper area of his back, creating a dent on the armor. Just as he turned around, I flew right past him. Breezing through the battlefield, it didn't take long before I got close to the ever-growing scrap pile. Right before I passed them, I tossed the box right next to them. I had to make this shot count.

    Acting quickly, I turned around as I was still gliding, firing multiple shots at the box that landed right next to the pile. While some of them were far from hitting the box, one hit was enough to cause a massive explosion right next to the massive drone pile. Since Iron Man and War Machine were in the middle of it all, the drones took the blast, enabling them to slip away.

    With that over with, I slammed my other hand onto the ground. I could feel my hand burning when it came into contact with the pavement, destroying in the process the further we went. While at the start, the pain wasn't too noticeable, with each passing second it got more intense. I tried holding my screams, hoping to power through it. When it finally stopped, I rolled off the chest plate, groaning loudly as I clutched my hand, the burning sensation becoming unbearable. Taking off my backpack, I took out the Codex and a piece of cloth I had stored in there, wrapping it around my hand to ease the pain. I checked the timer, which had a slight crack on the display, but still showed it had a minute left before I needed to reset.

    Right now, I can only refresh one spell, I highly doubt I can use my injured hand for anything, so I opted to use for Whirlwind to dodge his attacks.

    "He upgraded his armor, but what kind of upgrades did he make?" I tried theorizing as I surveyed his suit from a distance. Aside from the suit being bulkier in general, the most notable features were located along the arms that had blue energy lines all over the whip holder. So that's it. He decided to switch mobility for extra protection. Those compartments around his arms were used to give his whips an extra kick. I know his armor is impenetrable when it comes to bullets, but energy blasts is another things

    Guess that's the plan, get rid of those add-ons and we'll be good.

    Turning my focus back to the two armored heroes, they were just about done with the last of the droids that were on them. Now, they went to take on Whiplash. They stood their ground, with a small spark appearing on Vanko's chest plate, which wasn't hard to know it was Hammer's Ex-Wife missile. Seeing as that didn't work, Iron Man and War Machine flew at the iron menace, both letting out everything they had in their arsenal. Whiplash was quick to act, charging up his whips almost instantaneously to the purple color from before, and then launching his counter-attack. From this distance, it was hard to see if the bullets had any effect, but it seemed like they were just bouncing off. When they used their Repulsor blasts, however, it managed to damage the surface slightly. He was slower than in the movie but wasn't nothing to laugh at. Each attack that they didn't manage to dodge cost them their armor, which was taking a massive beating. Little by little, their armor was chipping away.

    While their attacks did the minimum, their coordination was the problem. Not to disrespect them, but using the same strategy as you did with the droids won't work here. As they were off the ground, Whiplash caught War Machine by the leg, throwing him back down and tossing him around, his armor malfunctioning in the process. Iron Man swiftly intervened, flying around the villain and fired back. Whiplash discarded War Machine, who had difficulty with his suit for a few moments. Being more experienced, Iron Man dodged the whips the best that he could, but he as well got caught, the whip circling his body and restrained his left arm. It wasn't long before he as well fell to the ground.

    When War Machine's suit was functional again, he tried to stop Whiplash. His attempt was short-lived as the second whip wrapped around his neck. Both of them restrained and unable to escape. They tried doing the same finishing move just like in the movie, but they didn't fire. Actually, it was like they couldn't. Could it be that the purple electricity is draining their power the longer they stay like this? Possibly.

    "Gotta stop him," I said under my breath as I took the chest plate, finding it a bit heavy to carry. "Now or never."

    With that, I charged forward. The longer I ran, the more difficult it was to maintain this pace. When I wasn't too far away, I started firing to catch his attention. The two shots that hit his right shoulder made him look towards me. He appeared to be undeterred on letting them go, so I just fired more and more.
    Come on, just let one of them go.

    It seemed I managed to make him angry, he let go off of War Machine and threw his whip at me. The makeshift shield did its job, for the most part at least. It chipped off a piece of the edge, but the impact threw me back a little. Before I regained my balance, I saw it coming again, this time from the side. I managed to block it, but it tore the whole thing in half and threw me off to the side. While I was on the ground, I proceeded to fire a few more, this time managing to hit him in the head, which in turn released Iron Man from his grip. Another whip was heading my way, I barely dodged it with a Whirlwind that sent me back.

    To my surprise, Whiplash jumped, using his thrusters to propel him closer towards me, while at the same time hurling his whips at me. I was stunned for a brief moment before my instincts kicked in and used another blast cone to move me back. Each time I did, I managed to slip away. I repeated this until I got slightly dizzy. Sadly, Whiplash didn't let up. The electric whip was coming towards me, but just as I was about to dash away, a flash of red and gold appeared in front of me, grabbing me and moving to a safer distance.

    The moment he let go of me, he started shouting.

    "Jesus, kid! I had like three heart-attacks since this morning

    "W-Wait! Listen!" I said. "If you would just listen to me for a moment-"

    "No!" Tony yelled back. "You listen to me! We got this covered, meaning you should go before you piss him off even further!"



    "I know how to stop him!" I said getting straight to the point.

    "I swear to God, kid, if you utter one more sentence that's not "I'm leaving", you will not like me the moment I come out of this suit-"

    "Both of you lost power when you got caught right?" I ignored him. "It's different when you fought him on the racecar track, that's why his whips are purple now, it drains whatever thing is caught in them. The things around his arms give him extra power. By destroying them first, you can get a fighting chance against him. Trust me."

    Tony didn't say anything back. Instead, he looked back at the battle scene, Rhodey keeping Vanko occupied as long as he could.

    "Hey, J., can you scan those whips of his?"

    "[Of course, sir.]" The A.I. said out loud, allowing me to hear his voice. "[The majority of the suit's power is running through the generators that are located under his arms. It would seem that the young man's statement is indeed correct. Upon contact, the electric whips transfer energy sources from the target to the main Reactor core. Under normal circumstances, any other machinery would be out of commission. The Arc Reactor managed to withstand such an attack, but I'd advise not doing it again for long periods of time.]"

    Tony sighed, turning back towards me. "Alright, kid, humor me. You got a plan?"

    Mentally, I screamed in excitement that he would hear me out, but I tried staying calm nonetheless.

    "It's simple. First off, you and Colonel Rhodes have to hold him off for a bit. Not long, just enough time for me to get close and blast those things to bits."

    "You do realize that this isn't a game, right?" Tony said. "If those things hit just once, you're toast, you got that?"

    I rolled my eyes, at his attempt to change my mind. "I'm still here aren't I? The sooner we do this, the sooner it's over. Alright?"

    Tony didn't like it. He couldn't let the kid walk into his death like this, but he didn't have time to get him out of here. They needed to act now, or they will all end up dead. If the kid knew what he was doing, then he had to keep Vanko at bay.

    "If this doesn't work, you turn around and run," Tony warned. "I'm not taking a "no" as an answer, am I clear?"

    I simply nodded, gesturing him to take the lead.

    Without wasting time, Tony shot off, heading towards Vanko. "Rhodey, did you get all that?"

    "[Tony, can you tell me why in the hell is a kid here with us?!]" Rhodey yelled through their comms.

    "Look, I don't know, okay!" Tony responded. "But he does have a point. We have to tank a hit or two to fry him."

    Rhodey wanted to argue back, he really did. His hands were already full with going one on one with the crazy Russian. They won't last much longer, so they have to end this quickly. "[You sure this will work?]"

    "It has to, so hope for the best!"

    Not the answer he desired but knew it was the best he will get.

    As the next whip was heading his way, instead of dodging it, he grabbed it. Immediately, he went downward, landing on the ground. The suit was going haywire again, still, he had to hold on. Tony went around him, firing two beams to his other hand. Instantly, the second whip was heading towards him.

    Firstly, he lowered himself to be closer to the ground before catching it. He could feel his Arc-Reactor losing power, fast.

    "And now…it's my turn."

    I ran towards them, firing as many beams as I could. Getting closer, my accuracy got better. He couldn't move his arms away, there wasn't any way to shield the holders. When I was just a few feet away, I got a few extra good shots, resulting in the holder to exploding, same with the mounted machine gun on the other side. The purple electricity on his right arm started decreasing, quite drastically. Because of this, Iron Man was able to break free, his power returning almost instantly. Even though his whip had no energy in them, he still tried striking me with it. Just like before, using Whirlwind allowed me to dodge all of his attempts, a few of them were close calls. Moving directly to the second one, I aimed for it but from a longer distance. Not restrained anymore, he pulled War Machine to him every time a beam would hit the compartment. Luckily, Iron Man repositioned so that he was right behind him. With our collective attacks, with War Machine shooting when the suit wasn't malfunctioning, it wasn't long until the second one blew up.

    Whiplash took several steps back, looking at his damaged weapons.

    Both of his whips were useless now.

    Rhodey went and grabbed the two lifeless whips, grabbing both of them before he tried escaping.
    Focusing all of the power into his thrusters, then flying away, pulling them back. Vanko had a difficult time maintaining his balance. He activated the claws on his feet to spring to life, holding him down for the time being.

    "Tony, now!"

    On Rhodey's signal, Tony went in for the finishing blow. Charging his own Arc Reactor to their limit, he aimed for the Arc Reactor on Vanko's chest, firing a bright beam at the Russian. Slowly but surely, the armor started disintegrating. It wasn't until the thick interior of the armor was gone that he stopped, revealing wires and an exoskeleton housing Ivan Vanko. The suit opened, falling apart in the process, releasing Vanko and dropping onto his knees. There was blood on his mouth, more coming out with each cough. He looked up to the two, a face full of anger and hatred. Vanko tried standing up, but his body wouldn't let him, he was at his limit. With the last of his strength, he looked at gold and red suit, spitting blood in front of his feet and spoke in a low, bitter tone.

    "Иди к черту, Stark."

    Those were the last words before Vanko fell to the ground, losing consciousness after a few brief moments as his face hit the concrete.

    The two friends approached the fallen Russian. After a few seconds, Tony turned towards his friend, Rhodey already having a good idea of what he was going to say.

    "Don't you-" Rhodey warned him.

    "Told you Hammer was up to something shady."

    "There it is…"

    Before the two could continue their bout, they could hear police sirens. As both of them turned around, they were greeted with numerous police cars, alongside several S.W.A.T. trucks. In a matter of seconds, the place was filled with police officers and other special forces. One car, in particular, a black Sedan stopped right in front of them.

    "Yeah, I just arrived. No, he's on the ground, out cold. I'll call you if something happens."

    An Asian policewoman with chin-length black hair, wearing a black leather jacket with dark blue jeans exited the car, closing the door with a slam. From her appearance, she was in her mid-thirties.

    "Everyone! I want this whole area closed off," The police captain shouted. "No reporters, no nothing. Nobody is getting pass us unless they have a badge. I want Vanko chained, were not letting him slip away again. Furthermore-"

    "Excuse me!" Tony called out to the Asian police officer before she passed him, catching her attention. "What took you so long? Please tell me you caught that prick, Hammer, before he got away. Please? Give me some good news for once..."

    "We already apprehended that weasel, Hammer," The woman responded. "We're in the process of busting down the doors of his factory, along with several other places to stop the production of those drones, if there are any left that is. Same goes for everyone who had dealings with him under-the-table, and believe me, there are plenty of them."

    "Yes!" Tony cheered, finally able to properly relax in days. "Finally. Why did this have to more complicated than it already was? All you had to do is listen to me."

    "I did, didn't like the position I ended up in because of just that," Rhodey shot back, then turning to the officer. "Sorry, I didn't catch your name…?"

    "Yuri Watanabe," Was her response. "Captain of the New York Police Department. Rest assured, Colonel, we'll take care of the mess. I'd save it for tomorrow's horror show with the Army, trust me, that's the least of your problems."

    Rhodey couldn't argue, no need to overwork himself. "Fair enough."

    "Alright, everyone, we don't have all night!"

    Yuri called out to her unit, her cellphone starting to ring. She said her goodbyes to the Colonel and went right passed him, going to the wreckage of oversized suit. Tony came back beside him, patting his back.

    "All's well that ends well it would seem," Tony said as he approached Rhodey, lifting his faceplate.

    "I think you and I have different understandings of that sentence," He replied, lifting his own faceplate. He looked around, "Where'd that kid go?"

    Tony looked around, not spotting that pesky child anywhere. Sure, now he vanishes when everything over. "Huh, no clue."

    "Phew, that was rough. Didn't expect Vanko to be would be this much of a pain. Luckily, I got a reward for my hard work."

    As I trailed through the streets of New York, I held the Arc Reactor in my hand and examined it. An actual power source that has an, almost, endless supply of energy. Real-life savior, it was a little stupid going in without any "secure" way to destroy the droids. None of my powers were strong enough to take a droid out in one go. But this also kind of proves my previous theory, absorbing enough energy will enable me to use it in tons of different ways. With this thing alone, I can power almost any kind of machine for the foreseeable future. Glad I snatched this when I did, I'm sure S.H.I.E.L.D. is already doing clean up before someone else starts snooping around there.

    Currently, I was getting closer to my desired destination, the Sanctum Santorum of New York. I'm not going one more day without starting to learn magic, it's the quickest and most optimal route to surviving this place. The sooner I start the better I'll be when the Chitauri invasion begins, or something equally worse before then.

    Just like that, and after another hour of walking, I arrived at the front doors of the mystical building. I didn't need to spend any time standing outside, I knew exactly what to do and what things I have to ask her. With that, I knocked twice on the door and waited for someone to answer.

    After a short while, the doors opened, revealing a slightly younger Karl Mordo.

    "Speak, child," Mordo spoke. "What brings you here this late in the night?"

    "Good evening, I'm sorry for just popping up so late at night, but this is a type of matter I think has to be addressed sooner rather than later. Mind if I come in?"

    "Don't play games, boy," Mordo said in a threatening tone. "State your name and business, now."

    "Introductions are necessary I guess, my name is Ethan Chester. Again, I apologize for knocking at this hour, and your name is?" I asked the sorcerer, only to get no reply. With no intention to get a response, I continued. "As I was saying, I request to speak to the Ancient One. To be more specific, I need some assistance with a dilemma I'm currently facing, that's it. There's only one person who can give me that kind of help. If you are still unsure, I'm not armed or anything like that. Feel free to search me if you'd like."

    With all that said, I took off my backpack and set on the ground, entered a T pose and waited for the search to be over. Mordo was weary, his expression not changing in the slightest. Once he was up in my personal space, he started his thorough search. Mordo made sure he checked every possible angle before moving on to my backpack. He took out the timer first, then the Arc Reactor. He only raised an eyebrow when he held the device, I just shrugged. Finally, he took out the Codex. That caught his intention. His gaze was fully fixated on the book, before placing it back inside and looking back at me. After a few more seconds, Mordo gave the go-ahead, motioning with his hand for me to enter. The inside was just like it was in the Doctor Strange movie, but real. You could practically smell the magic in the air.

    "Yup, this place sure is impressive."

    At the sound of doors closing, my focus shifted from the Sanctum and onto Mordo. While I was just possibly a few minutes away from talking to the Ancient One, I tried holding in my excitement. Let's see if my poker face is convincing enough.

    "I will ask again, what is it that you seek?" Mordo asked.

    "Well, I won't complicate things so I only need two simple things. For starters, I was wondering if I could be taught the ways of the Mystic Arts if that isn't too much to ask."

    "So you already know this domain's capabilities," Mordo said lowly. "If you do know such secrets, I'd advise that you don't try anything foolish, it won't end well for you if you do."

    "Please, I can promise you I bare no ill intentions." I held my hand up to stop Mordo from finishing his sentence. "All that I require is some help so that I can continue my journey onward with a way to defend myself. Heck, you can permit from learning magic altogether, I just need someone with expertise to examine an item. An item I presume you people are familiar with."

    Mordo returned to his normal stance but was still not convinced. "As for your other request?"

    I smiled for a moment before answering. "That's something I need to ask the Ancient One in person."

    "You are speaking to the Ancient One, child," Mordo spat out. "If I were in your position, showing respect would be the first thing I would consider."

    "Yeah, I would disagree on that."

    "Are you insisting that I lie?"

    "There are some things that are lacking to make me believe you in your statement, but with one particular item missing, I can easily come to the conclusion you are not the Sorcerer Supreme," I said with a grin. "Would I be correct to assume that?"

    "You most certainly are."

    A new voice entered the room. I turned around to find the Ancient One herself walking down the steps, a neutral smile plastered on her face. Eventually, she came, then turned to Mordo."Thank you for attending to our guest while I was preoccupied, but no threat, I can handle the rest. You may leave."

    "Are you sure that is wise, Master?" Mordo asked. "I still think-"

    "No need, Master Mordo." The Ancient One held her hand up. "I will make sure to find out everything
    Mordo just bowed slightly and made his leave.

    "I apologize for his aggressive behavior. He tends to do that when any newcomer arrives at the Sanctum."

    "No need to apologize, you do have to look it at from his perspective though. I'd too would be suspicious if someone shows up in three in the morning with knowledge of this place. So in reality, I'm in the wrong here."

    "Let's just both agree to disagree, does that sound fair?" Ancient One asked with a smile, to which I shook up my head. "Shall we step into a place with a little more privacy to continue this discussion?"

    Before I could give her an answer, the whole area around me changed in a blink of an eye, I was a little disoriented from the sudden change. I would assume this was her room. It was filled with bookshelves, magical artifacts that had their own stand, several tables, with a few chairs around them. Aside from that, the room resembled like any other part of the temple.

    "Please, sit." The Ancient One spoke with her back turned, doing some entirely different far down in the room. "I will be with you in just a moment."

    Doing so as she instructed, I sat in one of the two red oversized armchairs with a small table in the middle of them. Moments later, the Ancient One came back to sit in the other chair, placing a tray with two cups and a pot.

    "Would you like some tea? If so, do you have a preference?"

    "Umm...yes, please, and honey if it isn't a problem."

    Pouring in water in my cup first, the Ancient One then did multiple hand-gestures above the cup, the water now transforming honey tea for myself, then doing the same action for herself with additional hand gestures.

    "Before we start, I'd assume introductions are in order?"

    "That all depends honestly," I said with a pause, deciding if I should do this or not. "I think you already know who I am. More specifically, where I come from."

    "You are right to assume that." She said while taking a sip of her tea. "Which begs the question, do know what happened that led to the result in you getting stuck in this dimension?"

    "To be honest it happened so fast, it felt way longer but in reality, it only lasted about, thirty seconds or so." I began recalling that experience. "One moment, I was just minding my own business, nothing out of the ordinary. It was when I got hit by that truck that I started feeling disconnected from my reality. Then, moments later I find myself in space and-"

    "Excuse me." The Ancient One interrupted. "Did you just bring up the fact that you've been hit by a truck, and because of that, it transported you to another dimension?"

    "Believe me, as unrealistic and flimsy as that story sounds, I remember everything that happened. Besides, I am talking to a being who can tamper with the foundation of reality at any given moment in the day. So in a way, I suppose you don't think that some kind of ripple, in reality, occurred at that point in time, right?"

    "Well, it has been known to happen from time to time." The Ancient One said while taking a sip of her tea. "Usually, the cause of that would be if someone is breaking the laws of that dimension that results in a collapse or something minor. In this case, it seems you we're the only one effect by it. If I were you, I'd be thankful that your body remained unharmed by that predicament, as dimensional travel can be very dangerous if proper training is absent to the user. Which begs the question, how did you know of the Sanctum Santorum's existence?"

    "In my world, a lot of things are similar to yours, for the most part. You see, the difference between my world and yours, magic, amongst other things, isn't like it is here. There, not all things are the same as this place. So, I just took a wild guess.

    I stopped for a moment to drink the tea. Right after taking the first sip, I took another one, bigger than the first. "I must say, this tea is excellent."

    "As I was saying, given that I was found in a new dimension, I hoped that this world would little differences compared to my own. Sadly, that wasn't the case, so I had to think of something else.
    Realizing where I ended up, I wanted to see if I place like this exists. I would assume that this kind of supernatural phenomenon will be familiar to you. Because in all honesty, all that I need to know right off the bat, is there a way back home?"
    The Ancient One was silent and stayed like that for quite a while. Before the finally spoke.

    "No, there isn't."

    Well shit.

    "Oh, and why is that?"

    Before she continued, the Ancient One waved her hands till yellow sparks formed, creating thousands of little yellow and see-through spheres, all except one that was pitch black.

    "Every single living being has an origin trait that distinguishes them from other beings from other dimensions. In our dimension, for example," The Ancient One took one of the small orb in-between her fingers. "Has its source that it's unique to them and them alone, their own dimensional essence if you will. If one would travel from their home dimension to a different one, they would have the trait that enables them to return. To simplify, it acts as a GPS to navigate through the multiverse. In your case, however," She took the blank orb in her other hand. "There appears to be no such trait. I haven't ever encountered someone that doesn't possess it. Without it, returning to your dimension is near impossible."

    "Guess we can cross that option off the table," I said while rubbing my eyes. I stood up from the armchair and approached her. "At least you can tell me what this is."

    I grabbed my backpack and took out the Codex, handing it to the Ancient One. She studied the emerald gem on the front, then opening it. After a few minutes of looking through it, she closed it and turned to me. "This is quite an artifact you have here, I must say. Where did you acquire it?"

    "I found it not a minute after I ended up here, lying beneath some garbage."

    "Anything else?"

    "Well, at first, the rubies weren't green, they were red. It glowed brightly a couple of times as well." I explained. "I couldn't see anything that was on the pages when I first opened it. Then I touched the ruby in the center, I cut open my finger and sucked in some of the blood and ejected the pages with it, only then did the turn the color what they are now. Mind explaining what happened there?"

    "It would seem that in order to reveal its secrets, it requires a form of identification. In most cases, blood or spiritual energies are used for these kinds of items. Aside from the user, without proper knowledge of the aspects of magic, only a few have access to it. From what I can tell, with these crystals, it would seem you have the ability to obtain various energy sources and materials. While the basic properties can be used to mimic its original usage, it can be shaped into other forms as well."

    "Huh, that's good to know," I said, thinking of all the possible limits this kind of power can be used for. "I think we covered everything that needed to be addressed, so with that, can I have an answer to when, and if, I'm permitted to learn magic?"

    The Ancient One adverted her gaze from the book and looked at me. "You seem keen on learning magic, mind if I ask, why is that?"

    I didn't respond right away. I wanted to give an honest answer. "In all honesty, in a world where all these things are possible, I'm way out of my league. If I don't start somewhere, I won't make it far. You already said that there was a slim chance of finding a way back home. If I'm going to be stuck here, I need to adapt. Aside from that, I find magic to be quite versatile. If I'm bad in a particular field, I might excel at something else. You have my full commitment to learning whatever you wish to teach me. I have no wicked intentions to cause any harm. There are only two things I wish to do. Firstly, my own survival. From this point on, I'm all on my own. At least I want to have a fighting chance whatever comes my way. Secondly, no matter where I end up, I'm bound to wind up in the middle of most conflicts, all the more reason to be prepared for anything."

    The Ancient One stayed quiet for a few moments with a neutral face, before speaking up. "Very well then."

    I blinked a couple of times, not quite sure what her reply meant. "That meaning that I'm eligible to learn the Mystic Arts or…?"

    The Ancient One formed a brief smile. "Eligible? I'd say there is potential in achieving the goal you set out for yourself. It's just a matter of how much effort one is willing to put in to obtain such power. But I feel I must warn you, the deeper you intertwine yourself with this universe, more and more challenges will present themselves. Take my word when I say, none of them get easier. I just feel you should be informed on what kind of risks will arise when proceeding forward."

    "Well," I couldn't help but form a smile of my own. "I can promise you I will give everything I got."

    "Good to hear." The Ancient One said. "In order to start, there is some basic ground I recommend we cover. Seeing as you are a different case compared to other newcomers, a different approach would

    I simply nodded and let her lead the way. Just as we began walking, something popped up in my head.

    "Oh, just a small favor if you don't mind me asking before we start?"

    "That being?"

    "Would it be a problem if I use your bathroom? I've… kind of been living in a warehouse for the last few days… I'd very much like to take a shower."
    And that's Chapter 2.

    I hope the attempt at making the battle with Whiplash was better unlike in the movie. He had so much potential (along with a lot of deleted scenes), which is sad to hear. With this, I might use him later if an idea pops up. Next Chapter were gonna dive into magic, gonna have a blast writing that. Still not sure what route I want to take leading into the next one, but we will have to see until that comes.

    Anyways, hope you enjoyed. If any ideas/criticism regarding the Chapter, let me know how to improve. Until next time! (will strive for a 2 week schedule from now on).

    (Edit- While posting on other sites, it has occurred to me that I may not be satisfied with Chapters 1 and 2. Purely for the reason, I messed up some things while setting up, so I was wondering, for clarity sake, redoing some parts of it to feel more natural and such. Anyway, lemme know if some parts might be lacking, will start fixing the format for Ch3. tomorrow so there might be a difference with the first two and the third).
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
  12. Rizkyss

    Rizkyss I'm HIV Aladeen

    May 9, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Can you give marker when there are a ching of perspective, it's confusing to follow. Great job btw.
  13. HelloThereItsMeGeralt

    HelloThereItsMeGeralt Know what you're doing yet?

    Feb 21, 2020
    Likes Received:
    A line break, or name of POV character to make reading easier please.
  14. Index: Chapter 3 - One Step at a Time

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 3 – One Step at a Time
    "Come on... just a little more..."

    I uttered while struggling to maintain focus, my hands shaking slightly. My task? An attempt at manipulating water. To be more precise, a small sphere made out water that was a few inches above the bowl on its own. I got to the point of creating a shape with it, the only problem being, it was slowly falling apart.

    It's been two and a half weeks since I was accepted into Kamar-Taj. Even though my stay was quite short, I managed to pick a few useful things up relatively quickly. One of my theories was correct after all, as I could easily transform the Arc-Reactor energy into different uses. A good example is to power my other spells more efficiently. I still need to get a grasp of controlling Dimensional Energy, but this is a good cheat to master another form that gets the job done.

    At first, it didn't work out so smoothly. I didn't have any control over it, with the amount being too much for controlling for the first time, resulting in multiple burns on my hand while trying to recreate the projectiles I used for blasting those droids. A pair of gloves were needed for protection whenever I planned on using more energy than I could handle. Also, I may or may not have burned a couple of holes on the wall when doing this in my room, and Mordo might be the resident in the room next to me. Hey, I was new here, not like it was on purpose. That man needs to relax more.

    Back on topic. While I was settling in my new, and temporary room, I wanted to think up other ways to expand my arsenal. I came up with a few Wind-based moves, while at the same time getting an idea for Water attacks and to their extent. Surprisingly or not, there were endless combinations to choose from. But one key is required to do anything along these lines is energy manipulation.

    Aside from requiring a very long time to concentrate to channel that energy to your arms, I thought that would be the least difficult step, guess I was wrong in that department. The proper hand movements also needed to be correct the first few times to get properly used to them.

    About another minute later, I gave up, the small sphere of water falling back into the bowl. It wasn't much at first glance, but it was a big improvement before a week ago when the water would barely react. The worst part of it is, I knew exactly where my problem was located. The gestures required to perform it weren't it, it's the part where I already put in the energy to maintain its form and add more to manipulate it freely. Guess even with cheating on getting the required energy, I miss the step where I balance it properly along the way.
    I got up from the floor, doing multiple stretches. Doing the same motion for a few hours can become tiresome.

    Another nifty trick I picked up quickly...

    With a motioning gesture, The Codex flew from the ground and levitated just slightly above my chest, but at the right distance to make everything easier to read, especially to swipe pages rapidly. The trick was creating an aura around the desired object, then just controlling its movements. That alone will cut plenty of time of switching spells. Speaking about the Codex, I learned more about it and its mechanics as time went on. Compared to something as the Darkhold, it wasn't even close to being as dangerous as that. Along with absorbing almost any property, then converting that for my own gain in many forms. One of the benefits was that it allowed me to do more than just a spell at a time, I could infuse two at the same time to make something entirely different.

    The downside was something I had to learn the hard way. Doing that can take a pretty big toll on my body if I overdo it. I'm not a hundred percent sure if that's all of the side effects since even The Ancient One had some difficulty deciphering it, there's still plenty left to discover.

    I scrolled to the page where I wrote down some notes, trying to see what I did wrong. Most of them were important bits I've read from the numerous books, with some of my own beside them. There wasn't anything new or useful that can help me out. With a huff, I closed the book, then placing it to hang on my waist, a short blue energy line appearing when it was close. By this point, there wasn't much more to learn from books on this, it's just practice and nothing more.

    Going to my bathroom, which was a bit cramped, I turned on the water and began washing my face. As I dried my face off, my eyes fell to the small mirror on the wall for a brief moment, before looking back and taking a better look at myself.

    Almost a month after getting transported into the MCU, this is probably the first time I took a proper look at myself. My brown hair was a bit longer but was overall messier than before. My facial hair was also fairly short, so there was no need to shave just yet. I'll have to think of getting a haircut when I get back to New York. As I opened the window to let the bright sun in, the sky was somewhat cloudy with the possible chance of rain later on in the day. I looked down at the training fields and began thinking of what to do next. It was either going back to practicing water bending or go to the archives before training.

    The second option it is then.

    Fixing my robe, which was a bit different than others in Kamar-Taj. Not because I was special or anything, just preference. There were various combinations to choose from, so I couldn't resist. The upper half of the robe was laurel green with dark red lines that trailed down my arms and ended at the edges of the sleeves, along with a thin line going around my collar. The lower parts of the robe were also laurel green with a mixture of a dark gray spot on both sides of my legs, with black accents around the thighs. If anything, these things were very comfortable but didn't exactly offer too much protection. I was thinking of getting my hands on a bodysuit that can get the job done. You know, something that handle knives and bullets. Nothing wrong with a second layer of protection, even more so when it's hidden.

    Walking along the main pathway of the temple, passing through the training fields, I strolled my way until I at the large gates of the liberally.

    "Good morning, Master Khan," I greeted the Guardian of the ancient texts upon entering, making him look up from the book he was reading. "I hope I'm not disturbing you, am I?"

    "No, not at all," Master Khan smiled, putting a red marker on the page of the book, then closing it. "Already finished the three books you checked out a few days ago?"

    "Almost," I replied as I stopped at the desk. "I finished the Book of Control, but still need to finish the last parts of the other two. It took me some time to figure out how to harness and manipulate different energies, kind of forgot to finish them. Not to worry, I should be bringing it by this evening when I'm finished with them."

    "What kind of book did you have in mind for today?"

    "Umm, let's see…" I began thinking of what could come in useful in my current dilemma. "Anything similar to Control. Got to a bit of a roadblock, you see. I don't think it would be a good idea to jump to another field if I didn't manage to pass what The Ancient One tasked me with. The sooner I find out how to correctly balance this, the better."

    The Guardian stood up and went to the many bookshelves, I simply followed. "That's good to hear. Not many newcomers catch on that quickly, you shouldn't discourage yourself too much. Aside from studying, how's your training coming along?"

    "I'd say it's going well," I answered. "Never was much of a fighter, so there is a bit of a learning curve in that as well. The style is different than I initially thought, so there was some getting used to on that front. We'll just have to work more in that department."

    "All in due time," The Guardian said. "Not everything can be learned right off the start. Those who seek improvement, improve. If you continue to walk down this path, I'm positive you will rise in the ranks before you know it."

    "Heh, thank you for the kind words, Master Khan."

    "No thanks are necessary, young one. Just remember for your future endeavors; even if you fail, use that experience to overcome your obstacle the next time your approach it," Master Khan said as we stopped at one of the many bookshelves, taking one of the books from the middle section, holding it in front of me. "Here, I believe this one should help you with your troubles. If you encounter any problem whatsoever, please, don't shy away from me for further guidance."

    With a smile, I took the book from him and bowed slightly. "If I do, I know where to find you, Master."

    The Guardian returned the gesture, then turning to his desk. Instead of sitting in the massive library, I went to the Weapon's Vault this time. It was going to rain anytime soon, and I honestly didn't feel like being stuck in my room for the next few hours. Since I arrived, I spent an equal amount of time in my room, the training grounds and the library, only to repeat that same routine the next day. Making a change of scenery while studying will do some good.

    When I stepped in, I went and sat down at the nearest table. The Weapon's Vault was filled to the brim with magical artifacts, weapons of all kinds and with their descriptions. There were only a handful of people inside, some going deeper into the building or simply leaving. Cracking my knuckles, I jumped straight into it, there just might be something in here that will do the trick.

    I didn't keep track of how much time has passed, but one thing's for sure, I couldn't spend another minute in this position. While seated, I stretched as much as possible, releasing a loud groan in the process. I rubbed my eyes afterwards, looking down at the book again after doing so. Without a second thought, I stood up, refusing to go back to read the massive book.

    So far, I only managed to dig up one thing that could help me.

    In some cases, using a larger amount of energy could be more beneficial. Until now, I would use nothing but a small fraction of the Arc Reactor's energy when practicing my spells. From my point of view, it seemed logical to start small then slowly build it up the longer it goes. Starting with a larger amount and controlling it from there does sound like it would work. My only guess on why I'm struggling with this is using an unorthodox method of powering spells.

    Need to practice obtaining Dimensional Energy more. While this is a good alternative, having two sources will enable me to do things I most likely wouldn't be able to with one alone.

    I paced around the table, looking at the many magical artifacts that were on display, which was almost every corner of the whole building. This is was the only place I didn't visit since coming here. Of course, it included the normal your stereotypical weaponry a sorcerer might use. Sadly, I didn't find anything eye-catching, but I kept looking nonetheless. Anything to catch my attention, even for a few minutes to clear my head.

    And that's where I found it.

    Two short daggers, placed horizontally from one another. Their hilts were covered in brown leather but severely worn out. The color of the metal was iron-gray, an orange gem located on the edge of the hilts. The most unique feature on the dagger was that it separated into a split blade, and from the looks of it, it wasn't used in a long time.

    "Ah, the Blades of Sol," A voice called out from behind me. I was met with a familiar face, moving closer towards me. "Handcrafted by a renowned blacksmith who served under the first Sorcerer Supreme himself, Agamotto. Out of all the weapons he created, these were his favorite to use in combat. Over the years, these blades were rarely picked up. Their only purpose now is to attract dust. Such a shame."

    I smiled at the man before me, as sincerely as possible. "Good morning, Master Kaecilius. What brings you here?"

    "Nothing, in particular, just a simple stroll around the temple," Kaecilius said as he stopped right next to me, turning to the weapons on the wall. "I see these blades caught your interest."

    "Just looking," I responded. "I spent all morning practicing, needed to clear my head a bit. Since you're here, mind telling me what's so special about these daggers, aside from the gem that's on the two."

    Kaecilius took one of the blades, twirling it around. Moments later, the gem lit up, a lengthily sized orange energy blade coming to life. "On command, the blade can be the sharpest tool one might hold. A moment later, it can be dull as a rock. They can also change their length at any time, giving them more versatility. A very simple weapon, but with many applications, depending on the user."

    I couldn't hide my surprise when seeing them in action. "Interesting. They seem like useful tools, they can't possibly be overshadowed by other weapons to not be used in generations."

    "It can't be helped. All sorcerers find their weapon of choice sooner or later," Kaecilius spoke as he deactivated the blade. "It's how you use those tools that matters, keep that in mind when you discover yours."

    "I will. Thanks for the advice, Master."

    Kaecilius smiled briefly, setting the weapon back onto its stand. His focus went to the open book on the table. With a slight glance, he already knew what it was. "You having trouble with control? Last I've heard, it seemed like everything was going well."

    "Wouldn't call it "trouble", per se. More like missing one important step that I couldn't figure out," I answered, closing the book afterwards. "I think I found what I was looking for though, given my situation."

    "Ah, yes. The Ancient One told me you use a different method to conjure energy," Kaecilius said intrigued. "A fascinating predicament indeed. But, I've been at this temple for many years, and I've seen many people on their knees begging to be taught the ways of the Mystic Arts. You're exceptional compared to other beginners. In such a short amount of time, you accomplished a feat that takes months to see any development. Give it time. Although, if you want, you can join me and some other members for additional training that happens regularly after hours."

    "After hours, you say?" I raised my eyebrow at that. "I didn't know there was additional training."

    "It's not something The Ancient One overlooks. It's mostly consisted of me and a handful of other members who are willing to further explore their potential."

    "In translation, your secret meetings to one day abandon Kamar-Taj, all the while fishing for the most talented magic users to take with you," I thought, seeing right through his little plan. Sadly, that's something that isn't ever going to happen. "I'll… think about it. Already have my hands full as it is."

    "Just a thought," Kaecilius said while flashing a smile. "If you change your mind, you know where my dorm is."

    With that, Kaecilius and I said our goodbyes, for now, him leaving the same way he came in.

    Honestly, it's weird seeing a younger and slightly "normal" version of Kaecilius, even though it's just his façade. The poor guy lost his wife and will inevitably become a puppet. Oh well, can't do much in that area, if anything, I better be prepared if he does some sort of spectacle when he leaves. Anyway, seems like my time is up, I need to get to combat training.

    I exited the training hall, exhausted and could barely feel my hands and legs. While they may be considerate when it comes to hand-to-hand combat on an inexperienced fellow like myself, they like to up the ante to see the maximum potential in their students. Not that I'm complaining, of course, better to improve on the field I'm least experienced in. While it's irritating to get my ass beat up most of the time, with each training I'm getting better.

    Now that a few hours of that routine is over and done with, on to the fun part.

    If the information in the book is true, my troubles are over. Not that nearly three weeks is that much of a waste, I'm just glad I found the root of the problem sooner rather than later. As I was walking to my dorm, I stopped at the massive fountain that was right next to the building. There was a stone statue in a kneeling position in the middle, the water pouring out of its hands. I looked at the water on the bottom, a good amount of it building up in the whole thing. Looking around my surroundings, I made sure I was alone.

    Summoning the Codex, and with just one swipe, the pages started turning rapidly, stopping on the page I was going to use for my water spells. Let's try this again. I held out my hands, focusing as hard as I could. Unlike before, whereas I would feel the energy flowing through only my hands, I could feel it coursing through my whole body. When I felt like it was enough, I pointed my hands towards the water.

    The water responded very differently than my previous attempts. Before, where it wouldn't respond right away, the surface started to vibrate. Over the next few seconds, it only became wilder. With one last push, I raised my hands, all of the water instantly went upwards.

    I was completely stunned, a wide smile forming on my face at the sight. While I was happy that I managed to achieve this, it felt very heavy to properly carry. Some of it was spilled onto the ground. I tried catching the amount that started falling, which wasn't easy to do while maintaining this huge amount on my first try.

    Moving my hands slowly to the side, I split the massive sphere in half. Since that worked, I started moving my fingers one by one. From the two blobs, small streams began extending from it. It wasn't long before the two spheres diminished in size, only leaving multiple streams that went around me. Now I wanted to do something different while I could still hold it.

    I commanded the water to turn into a singular sphere again, then taking it apart again in smaller forms, quickly forcing them all back together to create a spiral. I increased the speed of my movements, moving the spiral up and down, followed by twirling it around the statue. After playing around with it for a bit, I demanded the spiral to as high as I could let it. As it reached its limit, I felt the connection break, the water falling onto me and lost my balance, falling on my back.

    I heard someone approaching me. Looking up, The Ancient One and Mordo stood above me, looking down with both of them having their eyebrows raised.

    "I don't know about you two, but I count this as a huge success."

    Mordo shook his head, followed by rubbing his eyes. The Ancient One on the other hand...

    "I believe congratulations are in order." The Ancient One announced with a slight smile on her face. "An untraditional way of approaching and accomplishing the learning curve, but nevertheless, well done."

    "That's… one way of putting it, I suppose," I replied, taking a slight pause to breathe in and out. "So, that's control down, what's next on the list?"

    "Eager are we? We'll go over that in the morning."

    "Are you ready?"

    "Do you have to even ask?"

    I shot back at Mordo, who was standing a few feet away from me with his hands behind his back. It was around eleven in the morning, the summer heat getting a bit distracting, but nothing too noticeable. The sounds of other students grunting and shouting as they did their own training, be it hand to hand or with weapons. I'm starting to like this routine, been more active these two and a half months than I've ever been in my life.

    "As you know, after a certain period, users of the Mystic Arts are granted of finding their weapon for personal use," Mordo explained as he grabbed the Staff of the Living Tribunal from his back, showcasing it. "There is nothing restricting the wielder to use multiple weapons, but I advise using one as each weapon can be deadly in its own right if mastered. Along with the addition of enhancing your weapon to your liking. Not only can it catch your opponent off guard, but most likely will give you an edge to come out victorious. I take it you already found the weapon you will be using?"

    "Sure did," I replied as I extended my hands, revealing two daggers, doing a single twirl with each of them.

    Mordo raised an eyebrow upon getting a better view. "The Blades of Sol?"

    "Out of the wide selection that was available, these stood out to me the most," I explained while admiring them. "Can change their size and sharpness at any given time and can be altered by different materials and energy sources. I'm baffled that someone else hadn't already picked them up."

    "I'm impressed. They are ignored solely for being as "flashy" when compared to other options," Mordo stated, activating his weapon right after. He entered his battle stance while putting one hand behind his back. "Let's see how well you handle them."

    "Don't worry, I'll make sure to go easy on you." I taunted back with a smirk, activating my daggers to be the same length as a sword, while the blade itself was dull. No need to set it to be sharp in a practice match.

    I entered a battle stance, one hand extended while the other positioned more closely for defense. Since I knew Mordo's fighting style and how Kamar-Taj teaches it, he was counting on me making the first move. Sadly, he can forget that from happening.

    We circled, slow steps as we both waited for either one to strike first. After a while, Mordo decided to go first, charging towards me. I tightened my grip around the handle of the daggers as I prepared myself.

    His staff clashed with both of my daggers. The longer our stalemate lasted, my chances of overpowering him lowered. Retracting one blade, I aimed for his lower body, forcing him to back off. I moved forward, slashing blades, one after another in quick succession. Mordo easily blocked every single one of them. A few seconds of forcing him back, one powerful swing from his staff broke my momentum, having me stop my assault.

    I breathed in and out to catch my breath. Mordo, on the other hand, didn't break a sweat. Twirling his staff, he took the offensive. In comparison, he was twice as fast and had more calculated movements. Having a little window to work with, all I could do is be on defense for now. In-between blows, I noticed his staff began glowing lightly, with each collision with my blades the glow got brighter. As it reached a certain point, his hits we're strong enough to knock one of my blades out of my hand, while feeling some pain in my hand

    Having no time to run and pick it up, I'll just have to make do with one. Mordo took the lead again, his charged up staff made it hard to strike him properly and to block his attacks. I was forced to bet it on all or nothing. As his staff was about to collide with my blade, I deactivated it, returning to its original state. His staff had no target so his focus was thrown off. I made an attempt for a quick blow as I activated to its previous size, aiming for his stomach.

    The only problem was that I underestimated his reflexes, again. His staff came swinging faster than I anticipated, knocking the dagger out of my hand, a kick to my chest the moment it left my hand, leaving me on the ground.

    "That was me going easy." Mordo taunted with a smirk.

    "…Best two out of three then?"

    Even though I was defeated, I had no intention of staying silent.

    "You're too slow," Mordo warned. "If this would be a real battle, making a sloppy mistake can result in giving your opponent the chance to land the finishing blow."

    "Guess we'll just have to work on not making a mistake then."

    "In that case…" Mordo entered his battle stance. "Again."

    With I sigh, I stood up and grabbed my daggers off the ground. "Sure… why not."

    These two and half months really didn't seem all that long. Each day I was slowly getting used to magic, and my particular set of powers. The more I thought about it, I knew how much problems I would have on my hands later on, this world is more complex than the original MCU. The thought of resorting to getting my hands dirty to make things easier grew bigger, but all in due time. As for making portals, now that was an interesting training routine. Using my own energy was tricky at the start, so I was forced to use Dimensional Energy for creating them, and let me tell you, it was a rough learning curve. Meditating for enabling that energy type was relaxing, and the more I did it, the more I took a liking to it.

    Naturally, since there was a hiccup, The Ancient One took it upon herself to give that last extra push. When she told me she would be helping, I already got scared that she would trap on a mountain until I get it. It seems it's a regular occurrence that when first starting out, there is going to be a lot of trial and error, all though there were a few instances of people being a natural magic-user. Every single person had their gray area where The Ancient One would use a different method.

    What was the method she used for me? Beating me to a pulp.

    My assignment was to create a portal, to any location to escape, while going up against her in a one-versus-one. I wasn't allowed to do anything else besides that, but in exchange, she would go "easy" on me. Although I'll admit, this was the worst possible way of training, I decided to swallow my complaints and go through with it. After a decent number of skirmishes, and getting my ass handed to me over and over again, I finally created one. It was on one of the many isolated locations in Kathmandu, where I walk around for some fresh air.

    While I was beyond satisfied with my achievement, adding another layer of difficulty was next in line. It was then changed to creating multiple ones in a session, to keep the consistency up. That's how mastering teleportation went.

    Another hobby I picked up to pass time when I wasn't training was sculpting. There was something I wanted to make so my appearance a little less revealing, a mask. Don't want to walk around without my identity exposed, too many eyes to worry about.

    My first thirteen attempts at making it were... seriously bad. It didn't resemble one at all, the instructor even asked me if I was planning it to be some sort of bowl, which was a compliment compared to how it looked like. Eventually, alongside some help, I created my ideal version of my mask. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Bionicle toy line, the different and creative concepts with each figure is what drew me in the most. The unique masks were my favorite part of them. Naturally, I had to take the opportunity to use them for inspiration.

    The main example I used was the Mask of Life, where a figure is set in a T-pose, arms going slightly upward and legs spread. That same figure, which was outlined and went up from the front by two or three inches. In between the legs, where the mouth section would open, I removed the legs altogether and added a bigger shell to make a respirator later on, to be safe from any poisonous gas, or anything similar for that matter.

    Finally, after many attempts, and getting the proper dimensions for my head, the final version was complete.
    A small detail I added when it was done, I made it so that eye sockets, when used, would form green shields to cover my eyes. A good way to avoid a cheap move if someone tries that, and would now completely keep my face hidden without anything exposed. Since I was most likely going to up against Magneto at one point, I wanted to be extra cautious, so I asked to add an enchantment. A non-visible energy field surrounding the mask that can negate his magnetic powers, now I don't have to worry about my head getting crushed like a watermelon.

    When it was finished, I was so excited to try it on. When I placed it on my head, the compartments from behind clicked, keeping the mask in place.

    After I was done, I went for a walk around the temple, admiring my creation. Passing through the main hall, I noticed the doors of the chamber that held the Eye of Agamotto, or the Time Stone, sitting on its pedestal in its full glory. This is the first time that I got a look inside, as before it was always closed and didn't have time to explore the room. Since my curiosity got the best of me, I had to go in.

    Looking up, I saw the massive and deactivated Orb of Agamotto, rotating slowly. The three doors that led to the three different Sanctums closed off as well. Then my eyes met with the Stone itself. One of six elements of the universe and it was locked away inside of a container. Now imagine having that kind of power at your fingertips.

    Then an idea came to my mind. How would my body react if I tried absorbing the powers of an Infinity Stone? There are two possible answers. One, my body would explode by that kind of power, or two, a result similar to what happened to Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Either way, some safeguards have to be placed beforehand to prevent anything going wrong. I'm ways off from opening that box, but until then, I'll know all the ins and out when going on that kind of scale.

    "Seems like you finally stumbled upon this chamber."

    Breaking my train of thought, I was greeted by The Ancient One as she entered the room.

    "Oh, sorry," I apologized. "Never been in this room before, wanted to see that's so special about this place when you and the other Masters meet up every now and then. So this is the famous Eye of Agamotto. First time I get to see it up close."

    "Most people have a similar reaction, this is the crown jewel of what magic has to offer after all," The Ancient One said. "The very concept of time can be altered by this item, with it also being the most powerful asset the Sorcerer Supreme can use."

    "I'd say," I spoke whole still admiring the Eye. "Never would have thought that the entire concept of time is held and controlled in such a small vessel."

    "Looks can be deceiving, can they?" The Ancient One said. "It would foolish to keep it locked away in one location if it would mean anyone can lay their hands on it."

    "Does that mean you use it regularly?"

    "Quite the contrary, believe it or not," The Ancient One corrected. "Tampering with the natural law is never a good way of resolving things, or for seeking answers. There are too many loose ends to watch out for, too many factors to take into consideration."

    "Really? What kind of factors?"

    "The simplest I can explain it is that… it's best to only see to a certain point, to not get overwhelmed."

    "What do you mean that you "see to a certain point"?"

    I knew exactly what she meant, but I wasn't given an answer from her, she just remained silent. She believes that until a certain point, even after all this time, she can just peacefully die when her successor can take up the mantle, that being Doctor Strange. Still, I can't let that happen. She is too powerful and is one of the smartest individuals in the universe. I can ignore the fact she uses the Dark Dimension to extend her life, even if it goes against the belief she tries to teach others. Perhaps, if I persuade her to look beyond her death, Thanos and God knows who else, can be taken care of just a little bit easier.

    I stayed quiet for a few seconds, before speaking softly. "You know when you will die, correct?"

    Her eyes slightly widened at my claim. For a short while, she was speechless. "How did you know?"

    I let out a slight chuckle. "It's obvious, isn't it? Everyone would want to know when and how they will pass away, but nobody would want to face knowing the truth," I tapped the Eye slightly. "With an item such as this and a person of your stature, it's not hard to come to that conclusion. There has to be some sort of line somewhere."

    "I guess it is a bit obvious. The truth is… I've lived a long life. While I am obliged to protect

    "Why... don't you check anyway?"

    The Ancient One raised her eyebrow at my question. "Might I ask why?"

    Well, I got one chance at this, so better make it count.

    "You see, ever since I came here, I've been thinking… how I ended up here, and its effects it might have. Now hear me out. One universe has its timetable, its actions, and events that are set to happen from the start. That is if there is nothing preventing any key moments in time, right?" I asked for her confirmation, where she replied with a nod. "Okay, so, I come in, out of nowhere, from a different universe altogether.
    Doesn't that… tip the scale on this reality as a whole? I mean, in the grand scheme of things I'm just a fly, compared to the entire universe. But it can't possibly be just that. If something like this can happen, who's to say an event far worse can happen as well. What other kinds of possibilities might or might not happen if that's the case."

    After I was finished, I was met with silence. The Ancient One seemed to be deep in thought, trying to find an appropriate response. "That… is quite plausible."

    "So, what do you say?" I asked. "Is it worth a look?"

    "Why are you so fixated on this? What makes you so sure that something like that might happen?"

    "That's just my point, I'm not," I explained. "You are the only person who can truly know if any of this is possible. I've been taught that our job is to prevent anomalies that tamper with our, your, reality. I just want to know if because of me, will it cause further damage and changes in the long run."

    That seemed to seal the deal. Her focus went to the Eye itself, most likely contemplating whether or not my theory was true. After a full minute, she turned to me and finally spoke.

    "Only one way to find out, it seems."

    She moved closer to the pedestal, hovering her hands over the Eye. Followed by several precise hand movements, the shell opened, revealing a bright green light. Extending both her index and little finger while closing her fists, she closed her eyes as mystical green runes of energy surrounded her arms and wrists, the inner-parts of the shell slowing down. Her head moved slowly side to side, no indication of any danger.
    Suddenly, her eyebrows twitched.

    Eventually, her head movements became faster.

    The further she saw into the future, her state worsened. Just as I thought she was going to stop, she went in further. She held out several whimpers, trying to not lose focus, but it was more and more difficult for her. At a certain point, it got too much for her to handle.


    The Ancient One screamed as she backed away, the spell rings on her arms disappearing.

    I went to her aid. "Master, are you alright? What did you see?" It was obvious I wasn't going get a concrete answer, but still wanted to see what kind of info I can get.

    She didn't face me, instead, she focused on the Eye, then lowly uttering. "Something horrible."

    "How horrible are we talking here?"

    Again, she didn't respond to my question. She took a moment to calm herself, straitening her attire a little. With a sigh, she turned towards me. "Thank you, I know what I must do now."

    She activated the Orb of Agamotto, the globe turning to the Hong Kong and London Sanctums. After going over each of them, she had a look of disappointment.

    "None of them are available, why now..." The Ancient One muttered, before turning to me. "Mind if I ask you for a favor?" She abruptly asked.

    "A favor? Uh…sure, what is it?"

    "You'll figure it out when you see it."

    What kind of answer is that? Before I got to ask for further details, she was already making her way out of the room, I just decided to follow along. She was moving swiftly, with a face of determination mixed with uncertainty, which means bad is bound to happen soon.


    She addressed the man without batting an eye as we passed through the hall as we made our way to the main entrance of the temple. Mordo immediately realized something was up, tagging along and keeping up with us. He tried asking The Ancient One what was wrong, only to be met with no response.

    "What is going on?" Mordo turned to be as we walked behind her. "Why is she like this?"

    "Your guess is as good as mine," I said, both of us trying to keep up. "She wasn't like this not too long ago."

    After about a minute with nothing but silence, we arrived at the main entrance, which was very similar to the New York Sanctum. Going down the stairs, we found Kaecilius rearranging some items on a table that was right next to the doors. Noticing us coming down, he turned towards us.

    "Master? Is something wrong?"

    Kaecilius asked, with a sincere face.

    Wait… don't tell me she's going to-

    "Forgive me, Kaecilius. This will hurt me more than you could ever imagine."

    The moment she finished, she summoned the familiar magical shield, flinging it towards Kaecilius, hitting him directly in his left shoulder. Kaecilius stumbled from the hit, using the table behind him to prevent his fall. Mordo slightly jumped at The Ancient One's doing but remained silent.

    Yup, that was my first guess.

    Clutching his shoulder, Kaecilius' looked up towards us. The face that not too long ago, was neutral and non-threatening, was filled with rage.

    "H-How dare you!?" Kaecilius' voice boomed, taking several slow steps forward. "

    "I didn't want to do this, Kaecilius, but you leave me with no other choice," The Ancient One spoke. "I know what you will become, and now I know it's too late to change that. It's my fault you are what you are, and it's my responsibility to stop you from yourself."

    "Your fault, eh?" Kaecilius scoffed. "It took you this long to realize that? Fifteen years, fifteen years I've spent at this temple, and for what?! To be treated as a mindless minion and follow orders that will not bring me any closer to my only desire? Yet, I held out hope, that one day I'll find out what happened to my beloved. Now after failing to keep your promise, you decided to hold me accountable for wanting to leave Kamar-Taj after I learned what I needed to continue on my own. I know far too well there a secrets you refused to tell me. I'll find a way, no matter the cost, even if I have to face you to achieve it!"
    The Ancient One didn't react to his screaming, deciding to remain silent.

    "No words left to say? And yet, you demand forgiveness for your actions. Pathetic."

    Kaecilius clasped his hands together, creating a faint red glow. Several seconds passed, with several portals opening behind him, some familiar faces appearing. There were way more Zealots than when he went to infiltrate the temple to steal that page. Kaecilius was the first to start off, with his Zealots in sync with his movements. All of them had a light-purple aura following their hands. They slammed their fists to the ground, generating a massive purple shockwave going towards us. The Ancient One wasn't affected in the slightest, but Mordo and I got swept off our feet, flying all the way to the first floor. With a grunt, I crawled to the railing, grabbing it to help me stand up, Mordo joining me shortly.

    The Ancient One only made one Tao Mandala for her right hand, the other placing behind her back. Kaecilius took out his Scythe Daggers and charging first, his followers' right behind him. The Ancient One did nothing but dodge Kaecilius' attacks, slapping him with her shield when he gave her an opening. The Zealots didn't fare any better against her, not one managing to land a hit on her. Kaecilius was already back at the front, desperately trying to land a blow on his Master, not once succeeding One swing with her shield was enough to thrust her attackers away. The Zealots formed energy blades and whips to help in the fight, but because of her agility, it made no difference to her.

    Considering she was going up against her own students and only using one weapon, it would be an understatement to say that she was going easy on them.

    "What should we do?" I asked Mordo, not taking my eyes off the battle.

    "We help."

    Mordo stood up and jumped over the railing, landing on the ground floor with ease, attacking his now-former peers without hesitation.

    "She did ask me a favor, safe to assume this is it."

    I thought as I put my mask on, ready to join in. With just one wave, I flipped the Codex wide open, opening on the page with the energy sources. I absorbed as much as I could, hopefully, it will be enough. With both my hands, I began creating my desired weapon. A few moments later, I held a long jade-colored energy chain with a hook, which was very reminiscent of a Japanese Kusarigama.

    The Ancient One had no trouble dealing with Kaecilius, with the many Zealots trying to catch her off guard, we weren't even in the Mirror Dimension. Anyway, time to help out.

    After a few swings over my head for the proper build-up, I threw out my weapon to catch anyone off-guard. It would seem my luck is still with me, as the one I caught was Kaecilius himself, who blocked the hit with his arm, the chain wrapping around it. That separated him from The Ancient One, who was easily handling every foe around her, with Mordo providing support.

    I stepped onto the railing and yanked the chain. Instead of pulling him towards me, I used the hook to send me flying towards him. The hook, or to be more accurate, the energy flowing around it, allowed me to stay in the air without falling and maintain speed. When I was close, I tried giving him a swift kick to the head, only to be blocked by both of his arms in the form of an X.

    With his arms, Kaecilius pushed me back while the chain disappeared, where I landed safely.

    "I'm positive you know how this will end, so I'd advise you to quit while you're still alive."

    "You cannot trust her, boy!" Kaecilius said with venom in his voice, pointing at The Ancient One. "She will feed you lies and fill your head with promises that will never see the light of day! Years of my life were wasted because of that, and that kind of fate awaits as well you if don't open your eyes before it's too late!"

    "I'll have you know…" I spoke as I drew out my blades, charging them up to be the same level as a normal sword length. "I have a different fate in mind, so you might as well drop it now."

    Kaecilius merely scoffed. Looking behind him, he saw Mordo taking out his Staff of the Living Tribunal, ready for him to make the first move. Kaecilius turned to me once more. "Shame. I was hoping to spare you."

    Kaecilius charged towards me with his two Scythe Daggers. I merely stood still, blocking his two daggers with my own. He was significantly faster and more skilled in terms of combat, but with the Blades of Sol's length, he didn't get any openings to get a proper hit. As our weapons clashed back and forth, Mordo rushed to help, aiming his staff for Kaecilius' head. He moved backwards to get enough room to block his attack with his two daggers, swiftly kicking Mordo in the stomach to push him back.

    As his back was turned, my blade made contact with his upper back, leaving a wide cut. Kaecilius was quick to respond, ducking and taking jab with his knife at my right abdomen. He tried going for a second hit, but he had to back off unless he wanted to lose his left arm. I checked my wound as Mordo kept Kaecilius busy, it wasn't that deep so there wasn't any immediate danger. We need to work together if we want to take him down, so I jumped right back in.

    Mordo and I went back and forth with Kaecilius, his fast movements were making it harder to hit him. With this kind of opponent, a different strategy was needed, so I had to keep him distracted with my repeated swings, while still staying on the defensive side. Mordo was quite aware of my plan, as he didn't leave Kaecilius with much breathing room either, having landed several hits because of that. The longer the fight lasted, Kaecilius would take heavier hits from Mordo while I supported him.

    After trading blows with our weapons, Kaecilius had enough of being on the losing side. With both weapons still in hand, he formed two purplish rectangles with a yellow circle and old forgotten text, flinging out one at me and Mordo respectively.

    The moment it connected, we were sent flying back. I didn't stop until I hit the wall behind me, sliding down right after.

    With a grunt, I grabbed my daggers and went back on my feet. If it wasn't for the mask, the hit could've been much worse. Mordo, however, drew the short end of the stick. He crashed into a table and was having difficulty getting up, with Kaecilius going in for the finishing blow. When I was about to run to stop him, a powerful shockwave erupted inside the room, throwing Kaecilius and his Zealots off to the side, Mordo and myself were the only ones spared from the impact.

    The source of the blast came from The Ancient One.

    As Kaecilius stood up, preparing for another attack, his right arm was restrained by a golden beam with a loud crackling noise, his left arm getting captured not too long after. The Ancient One held the two binds with only one hand.

    Not having many options left, Kaecilius growled in anger, forced to resort to something he despised. "Everyone! Escape from this temple! I will join you shorty, don't be caught by any means!"

    The Zealots that were still conscious were back on their feet, a group rushing to the doors and a group going up the stairs.

    "Mordo! Ethan!" The Ancient One shouted. "Do not let them escape!"

    Without a word, Mordo and I agreed. Mordo ran to the group that went upstairs, while I went after the ones who rushed out the door. Deactivating then placing my blades to their holders, I ran after them, I wasn't too far behind, but I couldn't let them get further away. The reason they ran in the first place was to teleport safely without interference. Summoning my hook, threw it out towards them, wrapping itself around one of them. As they came to a stop when the one captured called out for help, they broke the chain with their energy blades.

    "Don't make this any more difficult than it needs to be," I said while catching up to them. "Simply surrender and I'm sure you all can be spared a much more, severe punishment from the Ancient One. You're only making me do clean up."

    "We're not going back there!" One of them shouted. "Kaecilius told us the truth about Kamar-Taj and it's Masters!"

    "Come on, Ethan, you're smarter than this," Ranjan spoke softly. Most of the time he was my sparring partner for training, with few light conversations here and there. "If you want to follow The Ancient One's nonsense, feel free to do so, but let us go without a fuss. We have nothing against you."

    "Yeah, I can't just let you all walkway. I have my own job to do."

    I summoned the Codex, flipping through the pages until I commanded it to stop. My right hand was right above it, ready to duke it out.

    "Then just know, this isn't anything personal."

    The four of them entered their combat stance. Ranjan and the second one drew out their weapons, them being a broad sword and wooden staff with orange energy edges respectively. While the other two conjured the familiar golden circular spell rings. Slowly, I hid my left hand behind my back, feeling a slight spark of electricity forming.

    "Well, that works for me."

    Perfect time to show off my new tricks.

    Immediately, I channeled my energy to create a coverage of electricity that went up to my palm, the intensity increasing. The staff wielder charged first, followed by the other three. I took a few steps back the faster he approached, dodging the swings of his staff. Going with a swift strike to my side, I ducked before it could hit me. That gave me an opening. I aimed for his stomach, barely blocking it with his staff, only for it to be broken in half. Even though he blocked my first attack, my hand almost made contact with his body. Some of the electricity went through to him, shocking him for a brief moment, moving backwards as he tried to recover.

    The spell ring users came right after him. As one of them went in, I sprung towards him. Upon making contact with the ring, it dissolved, catching my attacker off guard. He tried striking me with his other ring, only for the same result to happen. The downside of this, my Lightning Strike's intensity was significantly lower from blocking it twice. Spotting the third one heading my way, instead of properly dodging his attack, I lunged forward at the defenseless Zealot, hitting him in his right deltoid. He screamed in agony, falling onto the floor.

    I didn't have time to react as the energy ring hit the right side of my helmet, sending me off to the side. I was still on my feet, so I made a small retreat, taking out my left dagger and activated it, blocking the spell ring with it as he went for another hit.

    Grabbing my second dagger, I bent slightly as I went for his legs. As my blade was traveling, I created a blade that was long just a few inches, cutting his right thigh. His body jerked from the cut, where it gave me a clean shot for a kick to his chest. Resting my dagger, I pulled the Codex and flipped the pages. While doing so, my other dagger clashed with the Ranjan's sword. I moved back with each strike I blocked.

    As our duel continued, two Zealots stood side by side, channeling some kind of spell. With a final blow, I pushed Ranjan back, tapping the page before it was too late.

    That's when I felt something hit the side of my body, a gust of golden dust pushing me off my feet and blowing me away. It wasn't until I landed on my back, right next to the fountain. I grabbed onto the fountain's edge to help me up, noticing two Zealots rushing to my position. With a wave of my hand over the water, a large and long stream erupted from the fountain and went for the Zealots, restraining the two. It wrapped around all over their joints, like an Anaconda on its prey, the tightness gradually increasing. Their grunts slowly turned into screams, dropping their weapons as the water got to their hands. Once they were, I did another wave to toss them away.

    Now fully up, controlling the water with both of my hands, I pulled the water into two massive chunks then remodeled them so their shape would roughly resemble oversized arms that hovered under my real ones. Over time, I figured out how to maintain a form without it breaking, also knowing how to change its density.

    All of them were back on their feet, just in time for round two. Instead of going one by one, they surrounded me from every side. They were cautious, not wanting to repeat the same mistake. I watched them closely, turning my head to the side to keep track of the one behind me.

    At that moment, they charged me from the front and back, accompanied to the other two by the sides. Doing a one-eighty, I went for a punch to the jaw as my opponent was getting close. I missed with my fist but got a direct hit as the water flew to his face, evading his shields and knocking him down instantly. Throwing out my arms to the side, I shout out two water whips and grabbed the other two by their legs, sweeping them off their feet. While on the ground, those same whips turned into tides that pushed them back with a strong force. I made sure it wasn't just something they could easily shrug off.

    Three down, one left.

    Turning around, I held out my arms in a guard form, the two blobs creating a singular shield. Ranjan went for two punches in a row, the water shield negating the ring's hits. He moved to the side, aiming lower for my legs as that was the only area open. Lowering my left arm slightly, I blocking the shield just barely. The Zealot did a front flip, spinning around with the spell ring with my legs being his target. As his attack failed, I went for a punch for the above, with the Zealot backing away to dodge it. The water followed my hand and split into two tides that slammed into the sides of his head.

    He stumbled a bit while walking back, and rightfully so, I doubt that he could take two or three good hits and still be able to stand. He called out to his comrades, demanding that they get up.

    Once they did, all four of them retreated. They discarded their spell rings, creating a long golden energy whip instead. Before I got a chance to react, Ranjan's whip hit my ankle, pulling my forward. To maintain my balance, I was forced on one knee. I held my hands to the side, using the water to make a shield and block from other whips hitting my body, only for a whip to wrap around my neck and pull me backwards. It was fairly tight, slowly choking me.

    My water extensions dissolved as my hands went to my neck, only for them to get caught as well. This was quite the pickle, getting restrained at four different sides.

    "Stay calm, just think, think," I held my breath, thinking of a way to get out of this jam. I tried pulling the water back up but only managed to lift it several feet and with the density being at normal levels, finding it hard to focus on increasing it. I can't just hit one, I need to get all four. Opening my right hand, I checked if the electricity expired, to where I was greeted with a slight spark. I was almost out of air, so I had to make this count.

    "Hope this works."

    Creating four low water streams on the ground, I sent them out to latch onto the Zealots' legs. Taking another shot at making a Lightning Strike, I put everything I had into it. While it wasn't strong like the first one, it would be enough. I then formed a ring of water around me, connecting to streams. Ranjan was the only one who realized my plan, quickly detaching his whip and backing away, tripping in the process. I shot the electricity at the ring, sending a massive shock through the streams.

    The three of them cried out simultaneously, breaking their hold on me. After a few seconds of them limping, they fell, fighting to stay awake while on the ground. Still kneeling, I took numerous deep breaths, rubbing my neck as well. Double-checking if they were unconscious, and it seemed to be the case. It was only Ranjan left.

    He was still on the ground, watching as his comrades fell. Covering away, then jumping to his feet for his escape.

    I stood up, feeling a sense of dizziness after getting up so quickly. Nevertheless, I ran after him. He didn't waste the chance to open a portal and jumping in, not bothering to look behind him. The portal was just about to close before I jumped through it. We were on the many rooftops of Kathmandu, the more outskirts parts of the town. Without delay, I continued my pursuit.

    The buildings themselves weren't that tall, and the distances between rooftops were short. Ranjan was fast I'll give him that, I'm going to lose him if widens the distance and open another portal. Opening my Codex, I search and tapped for a quick refresh, simultaneously making my jade-colored energy chain and throwing it at him. Sadly, it missed its mark. Going for a second try didn't have better results, as this time around he was aware it was heading his way and had no problem dodging it each time.

    Running along the rooftops got more and more tiresome the further we ran, and difficult to properly see due to it being night time. As I landed a hook around his waist and restraining his arms, I pulled the chain to propel me forward. When getting right in front of him, he did an air kick that hit me in the stomach and hard, knocking me down, but the chain was still connected. With all of his strength, Ranjan broke the chain and ran off, jumping off the ledge as he opened another portal. Following after him, having yet again almost cut off with the portal closing, landing on a different ledge of a new building.

    We weren't in Kathmandu, that's for sure. The sun was still setting while the sky was cloudy, with a light rain shower. Looking at the buildings in the distance, I spotted the Big Ben, which means we're in London now. It seems like he won't let up until he loses me.

    Ranjan didn't falter though, jumping off the building and creating a whip to give him a help him climb the wall. Following him, I used the water to lift me with little trouble. Now that I think about it, this rain can benefit me.

    Using the raindrops and puddles that built up, I created a lengthy-sized stream of water that followed me while I ran. I just had to wait for the right shot. Jumping to the next building is when I fired, the stream gliding at a rapid speed and hitting Ranjan in the back, sending him tumbling to the ground. When I reached up to him, he was rolling off to the side and getting up. Ranjan created two gray energy spheres than fitted his fists perfectly, then sprouted double blades from the sphere, some kind of yellowish aura surrounding them. I launched a stream, aiming for his upper chest. He met my attack with his blades, pushing the water away without any trouble.

    Huh, looks like he figured out a counter.

    I fired multiple small tides, Ranjan spinning his blades in every direction, propelling every attack. He charged at me, slashing through the multiple other streams I threw his way. I had to move back as his blades were close to hitting me. With each step, I motioned the water to attack him from behind. Ranjan was very fast, spinning around to push the water, while not letting me get a chance to pull out my daggers.

    When he saw an opening, he lunged towards me. I quickly made a shield and increasing its density, hoping it will be enough. The blade cut through the shield, the tip of the blade slashing my left thigh. I let out a hiss, I ignored the discomfort, immediately making another shield. Slicing through it again, leaving a cut on my arm this time.

    I had to tank a couple of more cuts as I didn't have much of a choice. The streams kept him occupied and prevented him from getting a more precise hit. Taking a peek behind me, we were rapidly approaching the ledge.

    So that's his angle. Then we're both going down if it's going to be like that.

    There was plenty of water to use, so let's use it. Instead of focusing on just one source, I wanted every single drop that I could grab. Instead of orienting my attacks from behind, I only attacked from the front. Ranjan was too focused on finishing me off, he wasn't aware of the massive wave that was building up behind him. I waited a bit more, it needed to tall and wide so that his blades' aura can't deflect it.

    As it got large enough, I pulled my hand back, releasing the wave and motioning it towards us. Realizing something was heading towards him, Ranjan looked behind him, and I could faintly see a shocked expression. I simply formed another shield.

    Just like that, both of us got thrown over the edge.

    While falling, from what I assumed was a twenty or so story building, I created a bubble with my head being just above the water and that was connected to the wall, slowing down before coming to a complete stop. Taking a look down, the street was empty, so there wasn't any threat there. All that's left is to grab Ranjan and get back to the temple. Looking around, and down again, I didn't saw him anywhere.

    "What the hell? Where is he?"

    Looking upwards, I found him hanging on the ledge with only one hand. It seemed like he found me as well, generating a similar blade in his other hand, throwing it right at me. It pierced through the water, but I moved to the side last second. Just as I dodged that, a second one came. He tried that again and again, but none of them came close.

    Let's see, how one gets themselves out of this kind of pickle, I wonder. Better think fast before he gives me the slip. Wait... slip, that's it! I know just what to do. Turning back my focus on Ranjan, or to be specific, his hand. I concentrated hard as I could, making so that the area he's clinging on to would-be extra slippery. Of course, he was oblivious to my actions as he still kept throwing his blades. When he did notice, it was already too late. As he was falling, I made the bubble bounce towards him, grabbing his hand and making the water surround us.

    I had little time to act, and one shot to survive.

    While inside, I began conjuring a portal before we hit the pavement. It was slightly difficult as my movements were slower while inside the massive bubble. Even so, I had to use the last of my strength to increase my speed to properly make the portal, all the while holding my breath. Due to the mask, it took longer for the water to build up. Before we feel to our doom, I managed to create one in the last second, revealing the floors of the hall filled with the unconscious Zealots. Instead of falling, we were now sliding along the floor, slowing us down. We didn't make a full stop until we hit the wall, the water bubble exploding upon impact.

    Once I was out, I removed my mask and tossed it to the side, coughing severely, taking in as much air as my lungs could take. I tried standing up, but with my arms and legs shaking, I had to take it easy. Looking to my left, I saw Ranjan covering away, trying to open a portal to escape, failing miserably multiple times while gasping for air.

    That's it, enough was enough.

    Ignoring the pain, I jumped to my feet and went towards him. He didn't notice that I was towering over him, which gave me the chance to kick him in his lower left quadrant. He backed up to the wall, but I didn't stop hitting him. After a few more kicks to seal the deal, he was done for.

    "Persistent bastard."

    I groaned while rubbing my arms, trying to ease the pain. Scanning my body, aside from a few cuts and bruises, they didn't hurt me too severely. Turning around, I spotted the Ancient One and Mordo coming down the stairs in a hurry. Mordo immediately going to the unconscious Zealot, restraining him.

    "There… I caught them."

    "Thank goodness," The Ancient One said sighing. "For a moment there, I thought something might have happened to you while pursing them."

    "Well, as you can see, they were no match for me," I stated with a grin, while also doing a victory pose, somewhat. Her eyes scanned the injuries around my body, a worried look appearing on her face when she was finished. "Don't worry about these, I feel fine. Could've been worse, though. Anyway, what about Kaecilius? Did he escape?"

    The Ancient One hesitated a bit, sighing before she gave her answer. "I took care of him… he will no longer be a threat to us."

    Why did she say it like that? I have a feeling that she's hiding some important detail. "What about the other traitors? Are there any more of them left in the temple?"

    "No, only the eighteen students that were by his side at the start of this were the only ones who plan to betray us," The Ancient One said. "Out of that amount, only three managed to escape with him. But enough about that. Come, your wounds must be treated."

    Honestly, I just wanted to know why she attacked Kaecilius in the first place. She may have her reasons, that vision most likely being the main one, but still, it was out nowhere. I remember that Kaecilius left the temple with his underlings, not having any sort of fight when doing so. Time to get some answers.

    While Mordo was busy rounding up all the students one by one, the Ancient One and I went to her room, where she took care of my injuries. When she was just about done, I decided to be the one to start off.


    The Ancient One looked up as she wrapped a bandage around my arm. "I assume something is on your mind, yes?"

    "Why did you do that? Attacking Kaecilius out of the blue like that, I'm guessing the Eye of Agamotto had something to do with it?"

    As she tied up the bandage, she stood up, beginning to slowly pace around the room, deep in thought.

    "Before he arrived at this temple, Kaecilius was a different man compared to what he has become now. I took him under my wing, teaching him the ways of the Mystic Arts, and the more he trained, his potential grew as well. It seemed like his path was heading in the right direction. But, as time went on, I feared that I might have misled Kaecilius and didn't provide him with the proper answers he sought out to find at Kamar-Taj. I was sure that everything I did for him, I did it with the best intentions. To guide a broken man to redemption. After seeing what's to come… I knew it was far too late for him to turn back

    I listened to The Ancient One patiently, not wanting to say anything until she finished. I may not be that all attached to them on that kind of level, it was still sad to listen to. "I'm… sorry to hear that. I can't imagine what that kind of burden that must be like to carry all on your own. I may not know the full story, but that doesn't mean everything was set in stone from the start. With some changes in certain areas, I'm sure things would have ended differently."

    "Possibly…" She uttered lowly.

    "I have to ask, why didn't you look into the future sooner?" I wanted to ask this way sooner, might as well use this opportunity. "Why not prepare for those things beforehand?"

    "Just because you have the ability to see the future, and to know how everything unfolds, doesn't mean it comes without a price. A price some wouldn't be able to comprehend. The Eye of Agamotto holds an incredible power, but it also acts as a curse. Spending days, months, or even years to tread lightly of careful planning to stop every single entity that may oppose a threat to our reality. Sometimes, having the option of not knowing, is more preferable than knowing everything."

    While I could understand her point of view to have that kind of power in your possession, it was kind of a waste, wasn't it? It was an Infinity Stone after all, and being the "easiest" one to use. Knowing how to prevent nearly anything has more pros than cons. It's a pity how people can get easily drunk with power.

    Then a couple of knocks came on the door, The Ancient One permitting to enter. As the door opened, it revealed Mordo. "It is done, Master. Everyone who planned to betray us is accounted for."

    The Ancient One sighted in relief, walking up to Mordo before speaking softly. "That's good."

    "What's going to happen to them?" I asked, standing up and heading towards the two.

    "A long, but necessary process to prevent them from using magic ever again." The Ancient One explained. "They've learned many secrets at this temple. We need to make sure they don't ever use that knowledge against us, or to harm anyone else for that matter."

    "Fair enough, I guess," If anything, their punishment is pretty tame. "So, what happens now?"

    "We tackle the next issue that needs our attention," The Ancient One proclaimed, turning to Mordo. "I take it you've notified everyone on the subject we discussed earlier?"

    Mordo nodded. "I did. After rounding up all of the traitors, most of the students came and asked what happened, which made it easier to pass the message along. Some didn't fully understand the meaning of this decision, but they understood the situation we are dealing with."

    "What are you two talking about?"

    "Kamar-Taj will be closed off, for the time being," The Ancient One said, her statement surprising me to say to the least. "Now that the traitors are dealt with, we have more pressing matters to attend to. The Hong Kong and London sanctums are in danger, with bigger threats lurking in-between. Since Mordo and I won't be available, the temple cannot continue without our presence. There is no time to waste, we must act sooner rather than later."

    "Great!" I clasped my hands in excitement, passing them as I started walking. "I take it we're leaving effective immediately. Before then, I need to-"

    "Actually, you won't be joining us."

    I stopped right in my tracks, my head snapping towards her. "Wait…what? Why not?! "

    "I don't plan to take everyone on this task," The Ancient One said. "Only me, Mordo and a few other Masters from different Sanctums. Everyone else in Kamar-Taj will be dismissed, for the time being, at least. I will not endanger my protégés in something that they are not remotely ready for."

    "I get that part, I do. But it's not like everybody here is not on that level when it comes to experience. Just lay off the beginners and-"

    "You don't seem to understand," The Ancient One in an authoritative tone. "They are not ready. You. Are. Not. Ready. The moment I let you and the rest accompany us on this task, and the ones thet come after it, there is no guarantee who will survive and who will not. I will not have blood on my hands by making that kind of mistake. I will commend you for getting this far so quickly, and as of today, I'm convinced you can handle yourself when placed in those kinds of situations. But you still have much to learn before I can even think of reconsidering my decision. For now, I think its best you do not be involved. I'll update you and everyone else if anything of importance comes up."

    Talk about getting the boot.

    "Fine... let me get my stuff then."

    Instead of walking to my room, I simply opened a portal to save time and energy. I didn't have much to pack, all there was a two extra pairs of my attire, the mask, the Arc-Reactor, and the tools I've used to make it, and my clothes from before I came to Kamar-Taj. Now I had to think about what my next move will be. I can't persuade The Ancient One to let me stay and go along with them, and the temple's going on lockdown so no training as well. The two months I've spent here have been very productive, now, that pace is going slow down big time. There has to be some sort of solution, but what?

    The archives.

    Yes, that's it. The temple is going into lockdown anyway, so I honestly doubt they would miss a few books until its back on track. If I don't get them, it's going to be difficult here on out. Let's hope this works.

    Re-opening the portal, I was once again standing in front of The Ancient One and Mordo.

    "Ready to go?" The Ancient One asked.

    "Almost," I replied, opening a portal to the archives. "Be back in a minute, again."

    Before The Ancient One and Mordo could say anything, I was already on the other side of the portal. I knew two or three books I wanted to get into in the next few days, but that's about it. Since I had only one shot at this, I had to make my choices very carefully.

    "Let's see," I uttered lowly as I passed through the many, many bookshelves, looking at every single direction. "I'll take this one… and this one. What else, what else?" Every so often, I would take a book and it to the pile. I had to take a few trips to the desk to unload them all. Almost all of them were more advanced techniques compared to the ones I studied up until this point. But that was a good thing since one individual book wasn't constrained to a specific field, giving me a wide range of variety to work with.

    Just as my portal was going to close, The Ancient One and Mordo stepped through it, catching me just as I went over my selection.

    Mordo's eyes looked over the huge pile of books. He had a good idea of what was going on, and he didn't like it. Still, he wanted confirmation. "What are you doing?"

    "Well, since Kamar-Taj will be unavailable for the foreseeable future, these books won't be in use any time soon. My training is far from complete, I don't think I'm even half-way there. And because I can't stay here while you two are off who knows where I have to continue my training somehow. You can at least grant me that, given the circumstance."

    Mordo however, didn't like that answer. "Absolutely not."

    "Oh, for crying out loud. What now?"

    Before Mordo could say anything else, The Ancient One approached the table, looking over at the books one at a time.

    "Never in all my years of attending this temple have seen such disrespect before."

    "Disrespect?" I asked. "How is this disrespect? Enlighten me. I'm a pupil of Kamar-Taj am I not? I have been at this place, sitting on that table right there, studying for hours. That aside, what's the problem if I do take some books with me, anyway?"

    "You were granted the permission to study the ancient text passed down by the ones before you, within this temple. You were not by any means allowed to steal whatever thing you-"

    "Correction, I am not "stealing" them, I'm borrowing them." I cut the man off mid-sentence. "You know, how in a library you check books out and have to return them at a later date. Same principle here."

    Mordo was left speechless, stepping towards The Ancient One, who still hasn't joined in on the debate. "You can't possibly allow this?"

    The Ancient One continued to look at books, ignoring Mordo entirely. I can't say I was glad that she didn't say a single word, it only caused more anxiety. The more it took her to finish, I got the feeling I might have taken way more than I should. When she looked over the last one, I approached her. "Look, I don't have the slightest clue what you saw in that vision, and by now I think that's its best to not judge your decisions.

    She turned to Mordo briefly, hoping that she will side with him. "You were right. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't allow this. However, I think this is the least I could do, as a show of gratitude. You've opened my eyes to the threats that are not that far away from us. That, and your assistance at dealing with Kaecilius and his accomplices. But to grant your request, there is only a condition you must follow. You may use the knowledge you use from these books in whatever way you please, I'm positive you'll make good use of it. You must not alter or remove anything from them, nor let anyone lay their hands on them. Can I trust you on that?"

    "I promise you, these books will not fall in the wrong hands. If need be, I'll put my life on the line to prevent that from ever happening."

    "That's more like it," The Ancient One said smiling. "Another piece of advice, make sure you'll be in a safe environment when practicing. It wouldn't be wise to injure yourself while doing so, and not attract unnecessary attention."

    As she gave me her blessing, I gave her a bow in appreciation, a wide smile on my face while doing so. I hand gestures necessary to make the pile of books levitate, just like I did with the Codex, splitting them into two groups of six. Then I opened a portal, ready to take my leave.

    "Well, this is it," I turned towards the two one last time. "Until the next time we meet, I suppose."

    "Take care of yourself, Ethan," The Ancient One said her parting words. "And I wish you luck as well. I expect many things from you the next time we meet."

    "You can count on it," I bowed one more time as a farewell, and because of sheer respect. I then turned to face Mordo, giving him a slight bow but not as serious, more of a joking manner if anything. "Master Mordo."

    Mordo just rolled his eyes, nevertheless returned the gesture. I walked through my portal, arriving on top of the many buildings of New York, already breathing in that familiar scent. Judging from the hot summer sun, my guess would be that it was still in the afternoon.

    In all honesty, this might be a good thing. Sure, I basically the boot from joining in on the more adventurous bits with the Master of the Mystic Arts, but now I had a lot more freedom to do many other things in this gigantic and chaotic city. There's already a lot going on, and most likely bigger things happening behind the scenes. It will be fun ruining that parade.

    Observing my enormous pile of books, a smile formed as I lightly tapped the top one. With them, I have a lot of firepower and many more techniques I have to practice to double that. To start off this new solo venture, we have to start somewhere, and only one thought was on my mind at the moment.

    "I need a burger…"

    Yeah, that's the first order of business. As exciting as Kamar-Taj was, the food was the only thing I couldn't get used to.

    I must apologize if some might consider this Chapter slow and didn't have much action, but I thought it was necessary from a character-building standpoint. I would like to clarify right off the bat; The training from Kamar-Taj is far, far from over. I decided to take this route because I have some ideas floating in my head to have them be more included later down the road. A lot of things will happen, and Kamar-Taj won't be left out. So setting up that Arc sounded fun to me.
    But now, we aren't restricted to being only in the temple and being centered around it. From here, it can go anywhere and I see no reason why that option would be off the table. I can start expanding the MCU and tackling other storylines and have there be multiple ones. Side note, for those worrying about Doctor Strange and how this will affect him, worry not, I have that planned out and won't leave out our favorite Sorcerer. If anything, I just might flesh it out even further.
    Hope ya'll enjoy it! Ideas/criticism are appreciated (as long as it's civil). Until next time!
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  15. Zeus

    Zeus King of the Gods

    Sep 30, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Water manipulation, portals and electricity
    He's off to a good start

    The fights were good but felt a like they went on for too long
    You described the fight very well
    Also he really needs to get better at using those very useful knives of his

    Nothing much to say about this chapter
    Kacaelies or Kacelious guy, he's just a stepping stone for Stephen
    He's not that important

    The best thing about this chapter would be getting the Ancient One to look even further into the future
  16. Morkail

    Morkail Not too sore, are you?

    Apr 21, 2020
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    Huh the thing that always bugs me about this universe DC and marvel is how the different types for lack of a better word don’t mix you don’t see iron man around mutant and magic is off doing its on thing most of the time. Only In fanfiction do you see them meting let alone mixing.
    Grimrr likes this.
  17. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
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    True, and im a bit sad the MCU couldn't have them right off the bat. I'm sure you're concerned how mixing them together now causes a few dilemmas in the history. Don't worry, i plan on touching on those fields so its adjusted for the story. Besides, with proper care, it can be the fine additon when picturing a "What if" for the X-Men and F4 collide with MCU, and i do intend to put a lot of effort to properly mixing them together.
  18. Index: Chapter 4 - Hunting Season

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 4 - Hunting Season
    "There it is. My ticket to the most valuable material on Earth."

    My eyes scanned the sea of ships in the open desert, but I knew which one was Ulysses Klaue's. After a week of spending back in New York, I wasted no time to plan everything out. Just before I got forced out of Kamar-Taj. I was close to tapping into the Astral Dimension so that I can use my time more efficiently. Luckily, I didn't need any other book to help me with that, since I had plenty of notes in my Codex and it took quite a bit of practice to separate your physical form into energy. The wonders of using that technique were shocking and very interesting. Time flowed quite differently, with some additional effects. An eight-hour rest was equivalent to spending in this dimension, and you hardly feel that time passes you by.

    If what I remember, it's because the subconscious that is being used to learn and process information more effectively than in my conscious state would. Like an endless study session, while you sleep comfortably with guaranteed success.

    I'll just say it right now since it's already true. Best. Spell. Ever. I wish I had this during High School, would have got me through some deadlines a lot easier.
    My time in there, I spent a while thinking about what to do next. Actually, how I would even want to do things next. On my own, I have plenty to worry about and finding resources to benefit me. For the last two months I've been contemplating what kind of route I would take, and to do it, I might have to do those deeds a little bit differently. Luckily, since there are plenty of scum bangs in this world, and always doing things the "right" way rarely works out how they should, I might want to start getting used to those thoughts and make some needed changes how I carry myself when faced with dangerous people.

    Alongside that, I refuse to let things go beyond my control and pay the price for it. I wasn't so fortunate the last time, even if it was my own choice. There are many things that I have to worry about, having plans to counter them is a must. With that established, I've got plenty of time to plan everything out. Juggling everything can be possible if I play my cards strategically, and carefully. I can accomplish so many things, and I won't let anything catch me off-guard.

    Within the Astral Dimension, I thought of multiple new ways to utilize my spells and study some new ones. My plan would be to do some inventory shopping. Teleporting to any destination on the planet enabled me to get some materials a lot quicker and less troublesome.

    I took another trip to London, stopping by its Sanctum Sanctorum. Since I had proof I was a fellow Sorcerer, there wasn't any confusion. That, and word travels fast with what happened with Kaecilius, so I did get some credit on that front. This Sanctum, in particular, is the gateway where all magical items from Kamar-Taj come from. If there is any item that needs to be sorted or examined, it usually goes through here. There were only two things I needed here, one being any more info where The Ancient One and where the other Masters went. The current and newly assigned Guardian didn't have much to tell either, so this seemed like they didn't want anyone knowing too much about their mission.

    The other thing I wanted to get was their equivalent of a Bag of Holding and some other supplies. I already knew this is the place where I could get one, I just didn't bother until now when I got booted out of the temple.

    As cool as it was to finally figure out how to use my powers and get comfortable with this world, I had more pressing matters to attend to.

    I was broke.

    So back to our Wakandan smuggler, he was first on my list. With my Astral Form, I scanned the insides of his ship from head to toe. I knew exactly where his "security system was", meaning it filled to the brim with his thugs carrying machine guns on every level, with the rest of his crew storing weapons and soon to be shipped all over the world. The only thing I couldn't find was his money, which I presume he stored in dozens of offshore accounts I couldn't reach. There were a few security cameras, but there were many blind spots I can easily bypass. At this point in time, he had a smaller amount of cargo but wasn't anything to laugh at. Container after container filled with SMGs, handguns, rifles, grenade launchers, and much more. Klaue was in the process of shipping a large number of weapons, from South America to the heart of Russia, for a large sum of money. In addition to stealing his secret stash, I'll destroy his shipments while I'm at it. Won't need to worry about other criminals having high-caliber weapons at their disposal.

    It's a win-win situation. Well, for me that is.

    While searching the ship, I found my main objective, the massive container with the Vibranium. Getting there by going through the ship is too difficult and complicated. I could teleport inside the small room that was a top of the container, but it was still guarded. Even though I can easily take care of them, my plan to steal it might be somewhat noisy.
    Challenging, but doable.

    What I needed is a distraction while I made my move and I just came with a perfect solution for a distraction, a puppet. Yes, a literal puppet.

    Since I have to spend a solid three minutes to go in, set up my stones and to power them for it to cut through a solid length of metal pathways, cut through the edges of the container, then teleport it out. I already have my location to drop it off, and figured how long and how powerful the beams needed to be.

    While doing this process, I can jump into my Astral Form to keep an eye on my little puppet and make sure nobody tries to come here while I'm taking it. Since I can see what's happening in real-time, I should be golden.

    Now for my creation.

    Getting the parts I wanted weren't that difficult to find, mostly just pieces of wasted metal and tools and other small assets. Making the joints were easy, the time spent with my side hobby at the temple paid off. The arms and legs were made out of worn-out metal beams that cut into smaller sizes to give it a real-life scale. The chest area was larger and had a more rounded shape, making the arms stick out longer. Halfway into the progress, I decided to add an extra pair of arms, just for the sake of it looking more terrifying. Just for that extra scare.

    The head was the fun piece to make. I had no intention to put much effort into its head that just made it a cooler and frightening design. Around the whole upper chest area, I made a ring that connected the two sets of arms. So when it would attack, it could spin all four arms. In the main set of arms, I placed what looked like massive gauntlets, with two pipes in its second set of arms. Small holes in the head, and its mouth joint area more revealing, only having a jaw bone and its inside hollow. Inside the skull, I attacked a small gray orb, when turned on, would radiate a red glow. It wasn't bright, so it only glowed on the left eye. The puppet was half a head shorter than me, considering I'm five foot ten. To make it look more hidden, I found a piece of light brown cloth, with a little help of magic, I extended it so it could make a hood for its head, then tying it around its neck so it doesn't fall off. The cloth was long enough to form a cloak around its body, going all the way to his knees.

    With my beautiful and terrifying creation done, now to add the finishing touch.

    The reason I wanted to use this idea because I can easily control it and leave it on its own for a short bit while I get into position. On each limb part, I attached a reflector and trigger mark. A little explanation for these two marks, a reflector mark when placed on an item, will try to move away from whatever it's approaching. While a trigger mark will force it to move closer. With minor adjustments for the marks on the shoulders and chest, the puppet will be able to stand without much support from its legs. Actually, floating would be a more accurate term but you get the idea.

    Applying the same principle to the arms, they would act more aggressively and be used to make proper attacks. Before going further, I made sure I increased the density of the metal so it doesn't get shredded and barely hold together. I'm not sure how well it would hold against a couple of dozen machine guns shooting at it, but it should be able to withstand a good amount of bullets, excluding its mobility when the reflector marks are active.

    As for how I'm going to cut through the metal, simple, with some mining stones. They work in pairs, setting each stone in the desired direction it would go and the length for the beam, which is powered with the Arc-Reactor energy to make it go faster. I needed to use eight rocks, then organize them so the beams don't go off in the wrong way. There are a few empty spaces in between the walls to place my rocks, so that area was covered. I can place them while in Astral Form since it doesn't take a lot of energy and focus to materialize small objects in that form.
    With my preparations, it was time to dive in.

    I waited a bit longer until it was nighttime, which will make things easier. Once it was time, I entered my Astral Form and flew over to the ship to see if everything was clear. Diving through the floors of the ship, things appeared to be normal, illegal weapon smuggling aside.

    "Careful, you fucking moron!"

    The voice of Ulysses Klaue echoed, somehow being louder than all the metal clanging around.

    "Do you have any idea how much this shipment is worth?!" Klaue yelled at one of his assistants who dropped a crate, getting right up in his face. The man did nothing but look away, afraid to say anything. Klaue slapped the man across the face. "That's right, you don't know. Next time, I'll cut off your arm, got it? Now move it!"

    "He seems to be in a bad mood," I thought while floating through the ship. "He's definitely not going to like what happens in the next five minutes."

    I got up to the third floor, just above the Vibranium. Just as I thought, it was Klaue's office, go figure. Luckily, the lights were off and he seemed to be busy, so I had to act fast. I placed four stones on the floor, in the form of a square. Diving down, I placed the other four on the ceiling of containers under the Vibranium one. With everything set up, it's time for the show to begin.

    In the span of a few seconds, my Astral Form was thrown back to my real body, waking up with a slight jump. Turning around, I looked down at my metal puppet, lying on the ground. Rolling up my sleeve, I found the Rune symbol I drew on my wrist to activate the marks on my puppet.
    In one of the books I took, there was a way to make a shortcut for any spell. Creating new spells required either to do a certain chant and hand gestures or convert it to a text and save it. I opted to go with the second option, since I can add and use multiple marks at a given time, so I can select what spell I want to use and switch whenever I want. The marks themselves are temporary unless they are made to last. The ink itself was just conjured with Dimensional Energy, so there wasn't any shortage of it.

    With a tap on my wrist, the marks on the puppet's let out a faint blue glow. The head was the first to act, the puppet had no difficulty standing up, not needing to use its arms. Once it stood on its feet, it didn't make a single extra move, only the sound of metal squeaking. I pulled its hood up and covered its face, only revealing the lower parts of its face. I spent some time practicing how to control it, it wasn't easy but it wasn't difficult either. If anything, it will make it even more terrifying.

    I created a small portal, just enough for me and the puppet to fit through. I landed on top of the ship without making a sound, while the puppet hovered a few inches off the ground. I kneeled on the metal surface, entering my Astral Form again. As I flew to the side of the ship, I commanded my little creation to follow me, and make as much noise as possible. I got to the makeshift entrance of the ship when I got to ground level, passing through the metal gates. Several men on the inside did notice some kind of noise but weren't sure what it was. The best part of using my Astral Form is that I could see the energy signatures of the marks I placed through the walls. I hovered until I got into a better position.

    With a flick of my fingers, the puppet sent out an amplified Whirlwind at the gates.

    Due to the gates being locked with multiple metal beams keeping it in place, but the loud noise it emitted caused every single person on the ship to turn the source of the bang. The crew that handled shipping stopped in their tracks, while the guards immediately readied their weapons, some staying in position and the other stepping closer to the doors, using the containers as cover.

    I made the puppet do two more attacks in quick succession, to gather more attention. Klaue took out his walkie-talkie, demanding that all hands come to the ground floor ASAP. I waited until the third floor was empty, that's when I returned to my body and opened a portal to the small and deserted room, right in the center of the square. Without wasting a second longer, I kneeled and clasped my hands together, activating the stones, the symbols on them glowing an arctic blue color, nothing too noticeable.

    Having done that, I went back to my Astral Form. My real body held its position, only for my head hanging down slightly. For the stones to work, all I have to do is be in range to power them. They aren't loud now, but the longer it goes, the more noise there will be.
    Going back to the entrance, the massive horde of criminals waited impatiently for the "intruder" to bust in. Deciding it was enough suspense, I had it shoot a Whirlwind at max power, blasting the doors off to the side, crushing several crates.

    They watched as the puppet made its way inside with its head down, limping with each step, accompanied the sound of metal squeaking. After a few more steps, it stopped in its place, the arms swinging slowly side to side. Klaue, being the impatient lunatic that he is, fired first with his AK.

    When he stopped his assault, the hooded intruder dropped to the ground. Satisfied with his work, Klaue let out a devilish smile, turning around while commanding his subordinates to clean up the mess. As he walked away, Klaue heard the sound of metal squeaking, followed by numerous gasps. His head snapped back to the open gate, the intruder was back on its feet. Without a second thought, he yelled out to his men.

    "What are you all waiting for?! Shot it!"

    Every single person that had a firearm in their possession started shooting at their hooded intruder. The puppet was sent backing away after eating a countless barrage of bullets. They wasted no expense to make sure that this time the trespasser would be dead for good. After another solid fifteen seconds of non-stop firing, they stopped. They carefully moved forward, some of them reloading their guns as they stayed back. I made it fall to the ground again, then instantly forced it up. As the puppet stared down its attackers, I activated its left eye, the blood-red glow making itself visible. Its mouth snapped open, releasing a fog that was quickly spreading, blinding their line of sight. The criminals rained fire again while missing their target, but stopped when Klaue ordered them to.

    The fog I created is going to disorient them nicely. I, on the other hand, can see my surroundings clearly, like the fog wasn't even there, so it was a perfect illusion. I switched to the trigger marks and prepared its gauntlets. Two Whirlwinds shot out from its gauntlets, blowing away the thugs who were closest to its position. Having only a red glow to work with, Klaue started shooting in that direction, ordering his men to do the same. I made the puppet jump to the wall on its left, using its other set of arms to pierce through the iron, then firing two cones at two thugs who were on the first floor, sending them hurdling backwards. I primarily made the puppet stay on the wall, so none of the bullets head in my direction while I'm this form. I flew further to the other end of the ship, the puppet following me with rapid movements, which forced the thugs to follow as well.

    Klaue immediately called to his men, telling them to not go on the higher levels on the ship but to stay on the ground floor, then ordering a group to step closer to the target and a group to stay behind if it tries to run back the other way.

    Now that I see my creation in action, I was blown away by how well it worked. Its inhuman movements, the metal screeching when it does move, the eerie glow coming from its head. I can only imagine how even more terrifying this would look if it used blades instead of the gauntlets. But a hard pass on that idea. I might be in a fictional world, but having a death machine cutting off limbs and leaving a blood bath doesn't sound like a good image in my head.

    Blasting away more and more thugs, the puppet landed on a large pile of wooden crates. I switched focus to the crates containing the weapons, tripling the Whirlwinds' intensity. The cones were significantly thinner than its previous version, the air traveling faster and obliterating the object in front of it. Wooden pieces went flying in every direction, while the guns inside were severely bent. As I moved in sync with my puppet, while phasing through different crates and objects, I would leave a particular set of rune markings on anything that might be considered dangerous.

    I'll get to them later.

    I flew to my unconscious body, doing a quick check-up. Everything seemed to go according to plan. Since the surface didn't need cutting, it didn't radiate much light, except for four lines that formed the square. While in-between the walls, the cube-shaped cut was almost complete, just a bit over halfway. Now, to be extra cautious, I'll have the puppet go to the opposite end of the ship. Never hurts to have a full proof plan and keep them on their toes.

    Going back to the chaotic battle, my puppet destroyed all of the supplies in that area. The guns won't be in any shape for safe usage. After taking repeated fire from various directions, it received holes all over its upper body. Even so, his havoc wasn't stopped in the slightest. As it finished up the last crate, I made it jump in the air, using its gauntlets to propel it back, and landing right next to the entrance. Then I made it reveal its second set of arms, now crawling on the ground with his first and secondary set. All of the men close to it jumped back as they witnessed how rapidly it was moving, running at fast speed before jumping onto the wall and landing on a nearby crate at the other end of the ship. This end was mostly dedicated to vehicles with machine guns mounted on them.

    First went the hood of the car then the engine, going to the mounted gun on top, then the roof entirely. After that, it jumped to the next vehicle, before going through every single one that was left. Of course, I marked several things along the way.

    I flew through to Klaue's office window, checking if my operation was soon complete. Within the next ten or so seconds, it will be done. Hovering right next to the window, I commanded my instrument to return to me. Once again crawling on the ground like a wild animal, ignoring whatever shots were fired at it. As it got closer, it jumped to the short bridge that connected the platforms, doing another jump towards the window, breaking the glass and landing right inside the marked area, just in time too. I went back to my body, waking up and created a portal underneath the container just as all of the stones were connected, letting the lower floor I cut to drop down, passing through the portal beneath it. When my package fully passed through, along with me on top of it, I closed the portal.

    And just like that, I'm gone.

    Klause breathed in and out heavily, trying to maintain focus. Leaning on the right wall inside the stairwell

    "What in the bloody hell was that thing...?!" Klaue had no clue what he was up against. In all his years of combat experience, he never saw something stay alive after more than five bullets, let alone a hailstorm of them. The worst part of it being that this thing wasn't human, nor anything that looked like that.

    Klaue closed his eyes, taking one last breath. Exhaling after a few seconds, with his eyes bursting open with determination, his sight going up the flight of stairs.

    "I'm ending this now, you metal bastard."

    Running up the flight of stairs, he took a sharp left, leaning on the wall and peeking into his office, seeing not a lot from this angle. Slowly stepping closer to get a better view, he noticed the floor was cut out, the hole appearing larger as he stepped closer into his office.
    His eyes fell with his mouth dropping, looking at the size of the hole, and realized what was missing.

    "No... No... No...!"

    Klaue rushed to the hole, only to find the whole container from underneath missing, smoke coming out of the metal that appeared to be cut. Then it hit him, that thing, it was a distraction! But that doesn't explain how? How did someone know where he hid it? More importantly, how did they even get into the ship?!

    As Klaue tried finding the answers, he started hearing…explosions?!

    Looking through his office window, Klaue saw his men jump for cover as the crates filled with weapons exploded, only pieces of the guns were left scattered on the floor. The explosions kept on going until every crate was destroyed, then it fully stopped. Klaue looked around his base with shock. Everything was ruined or blown to pieces, and his most valuable treasure was stolen from underneath his nose.

    Without a second thought, he punched his office window, leaving a massive crack on it, with his hand now bleeding.

    "Phew… a plan actually worked for once."
    I thought while I made another quick portal trip to the location where I was before my plan began. I just wanted to see how my last surprise would look like from here. With my eyes set on the ship I robbed a few seconds ago, I held up my hand and with a flick, a light pink circle inside a dark blue triangle that rotated around it.

    The marks I set back there acted like firecrackers. In terms of Kamar-Taj's teachings, this is heavily considered a beginner's move, a basic way of learning how to leave some energy in a different location and make it do an action. In this case, a simple firecracker. Now, on its own, it doesn't do much, but… have one mark and have about a two hundred ones packed into one, with some additional modifying by me to add extra power for a larger explosion radius, I'm sure it would do the trick. Now, let's see how my experiment holds up.
    I tapped the pink circle with my thumb.

    At this range, I mostly wouldn't hear such an explosion, but with a few dozen of them exploding at the same time that is a different matter. They were quite hearable, and I could see yellow sparks that escaped across the ship.

    Oh yeah, they worked alright.

    Now, I crippled Klaue's whole operation, all the while stealing his most precious cargo. I think I did enough damage to make Klaue start from scratch, but he might be a problem later on. Still, I didn't think to jump headfirst into a ship with guns aimed at me from every angle. I'll put a pin on him and work on it some other time.

    I opened a portal where I dropped on top of my newly acquired Vibranium, in the Great Basin Desert. Now, I know what you are thinking, and no, I didn't just randomly pick this location. I made sure it was barren, scanning far and wide for any living creature, mostly being desert animals. The moment I arrived here, I created an invisible shield around the area, just in case some kind of scan finds me or my Vibranium. The spell was quite beginner-friendly and easy to make, so keeping it intact while I'm away won't cause any trouble. The Pocket Dimension problem, I needed it to be connected to my bag, so I still have plenty to learn before making it and transferring the metal into it.

    Jumping off the container, I looked at all of the glorious Vibranium that was inside. Taking a step inside, I grabbed one of the cases and flipped it slightly, hearing that familiar and satisfying sound. The number of ideas that I have flowing through my mind to do this would be difficult to count, not to mention how big the supply is, so there won't be any shortage of that. I put the case in my bag, might as well have a sample on me when I find someone capable of handling it, or until I get some higher-end tech.

    Placing my pupped inside, I created a gray shield to cover up the empty space, while also blocking the view of the inside. Kneeling, my hand hovered over the sand, the golden energy streams appearing as I absorbed its properties. I didn't have any experience with Sand Manipulation, and for this, I didn't need to. Extending my arms, I aimed for a spot on the ground, beginning to cast the spell.

    From the selected spot, the sand started going upwards, slowly ramping up the speed. I waited about forty or so seconds until a deep enough hole was created. It was quite wide as well, the perfect size to hide the Vibranium for the time being until I figure out how and what to do with it. Taking a look down the hole was all that was left. Using one hand to conjure a portal was a bit hard, but since I knew where I wanted the other end of the portal to open on the other end, it wasn't that difficult. I created the portal under the container, with it sinking down, and with a loud thud, it was placed in the hole. As an extra measure of security, I went into my bag and pulled out another stone, tossing it in the hole.

    It wasn't just any stone. This stone, in particular, is enchanted with a notification spell. If someone does show up around here and starts snooping around, I will know right away. Until I can make my Pocket Dimension, this will have to do.

    Until then, we have other things to do.

    Now with the precious cargo of Vibranium in my possession, with a plan that worked way quicker than I initially thought, I was ahead of schedule.

    Currently, I was on top of a tall building, sitting right on the edge, a place where I won't have to worry about being spotted. A perfect chance to get some fresh air and enjoy the evening. I wasn't worried about falling since I could easily get out, that and I want to get used to high places, can't freely teleport on lower buildings without getting spotted. I mean, it's not that anyone can catch me but still, the more time I have without S.H.I.E.L.D. on my back the better. Besides, being extra paranoid and cautious never killed a man, did it?

    With one of my plans checked off the list, I can move onto the next one. I have a feeling that security is going to be tighter on my next raid, so I might want to put in some extra time in my planning process. But that begs the question, where do we make our move next? I do have a few things I would like to get my hands on, but the only thing I need to properly execute them is time, a lot of time.

    I was re-reading some notes I wrote down in my Codex for a few more complex spells that caught my eye. Another thing I learned at the temple that I found useful were the Power Bank Cells, they weren't called exactly like that, but I'm not using its long name that I could hardly pronounce. The spell, which involves creating several new cells into the host's body, will provide me a way to save the energy absorb for a later date.

    You can't tell me that doesn't sound like a pretty good deal? Of course, it has its drawbacks to compensate.

    Choosing to store energy in them up until a certain cap, you have to be very careful to not over-charge them. If careless when using them, your entire system can overload and have severe side effects. Worst case scenario, it can leave some serious damage to the body, but that's just scratching the surface. A healing factor to balance out this one is going to do wonders, and a better reason to acquire that kind of power.

    As for the usage of it, it can amplify your spells quite a bit, but it isn't something that it's recommended to use at all times. The best form so far was to use it in short durations, or if trained well, up to a few minutes. It isn't regarded as one of the more dangerous spells for nothing. There is still a lot to learn about these cells, and if I could master it, I'll have last resort type of weapon.

    While reading my notes in peace, I began hearing tires screeching, but the sound somewhat low. Looking down, with a few seconds passing, the sound echoed through the empty streets, the car coming into view from up here. Since I am this height, I could follow its pattern. It continued going forward until turning left around the corner.

    Now, who could be in such a rush at this time of night? Well, I have a pretty good guess what it could be, so ignoring it doesn't sit well either.

    "Honestly, I was kind of hoping for some action, no matter how foolish it might be. Better than just sitting around and reading all day. Better check it out."

    For getting by, I opened smaller portals since oversized ones weren't necessary. I would rarely make them as following their pattern wasn't that difficult, only doing so when they would turn corners constantly. Picking the best locations that were high enough to teleport had to be quick, but it seemed I took a good route to blend in and not give myself away.

    We went further into the rougher parts of town, which means we were arriving at our destination. With a turn to the left, the car entered an alleyway, and I followed suit with a portal on the roof. I came to a halt, crouching at the edge to observe the situation. While from this view, I saw where the black Sedan stopped, three guys in black clothing exciting the vehicle, all armed with hand-guns. With them, there were four other armed men with guns, along with several unconscious guys on the ground.

    Their target, who they didn't seem to manage land a single shot on, was evading them, now taking cover behind a wall. The person in question was a white male, wearing a black sweatshirt, sweatpants, and a black bandana that covered the top half of his face, with two metal pipes in both hands.

    That's when I realized who this person was; it was the man without fear himself, Matt Murdock, and he seemed to be in a pinch.

    As the men stopped firing, one of them signaled to step closer and eliminate him. The fellow approached the corner quite fast, heading off to the side to not get jumped, only for a pipe to be thrown at his face at high speed, making the thug drop his gun. Matt bolted towards him, swinging his other pipe across the man's face. One hit was enough to knock him out. Just as he took the man down, Matt didn't stop moving, tumbling towards a black SUV for cover as another round of gunfire came his way. At this rate, he will be cornered from both sides.

    Better act quickly.

    Opening the Codex, I marked my arm with Air Manipulation as a secondary defense and tapping my forearm to activate Water Manipulation, then I created my jade-colored hook. I channeled my power to create a strong Whirlwind, now resembling a wild tornado coming from above. The small group was oblivious, five of them getting thrown to the ground, only two of them still standing close together. Throwing out my hook, it latched around one of the guys' waist. Once it connected, I pulled the chain, propelling myself forward, creating an orange spell ring in my other hand. The guy I caught turned around just in time to receive my spell ring across his face.

    The guy next to him noticed and tried retaliating, I threw a backhand at him, the ring hitting him in the nose. As he fell, I saw the guy behind him getting up, I instantly flickering the spell ring at him, colliding with his face. Turning around, I shot out a powerful Whirlwind to toss the three getting up back to the wall, then firing another one to finish them off. While in this position, I aimed my arm to the ground, grabbing hold of every drop of water and creating a massive fist. Quickly turning, I commanded the Water Fist to attack the last two. Just as one of the last two got up and aimed his gun, the Fist came from above, bursting into thousands of droplets that fell on the two. As for the other thug, he dropped his phone as he got cut off mid-sentence.

    With all of them out for the count, I turned to look at the blind superhero. He stepped forward from the black SUV, slow and cautious movements, holding his pipe in a guard formation.

    "Not a threat! Not a threat!" I yelled out while holding up my hands. "I come in peace."

    Matt's head went down to the now unconscious men. His stone-cold expression did not change as he went over each of them.

    "What did you do?" Matt asked demandingly, but no indication of any hostility.

    Since I was interested in what his thoughts were, given he has a different perception of what just happened, I decided to answer with a question. "What do you think happened?"

    Matt, not pleased with the reply, merely grumbled. Nevertheless, he did want to know how the newcomer easily took out seven men so quickly, and with what. "I heard… water splashing… and like a tornado passing by, but never like that before, it felt different. I take it, that was you?"

    "Bingo. You catch on fast."

    "And who are you supposed to be?"

    "Nobody." I simply said with a shrug. "Just your everyday fellow lending a helping hand."

    "I had that under control, mind you."

    "Then I'd really like to know what it would be if it was out of your control…" I muttered under my breath, and I'm fairly positive he heard that.

    "Since that appears to be the end of it, I-"

    Matt stopped mid-sentence, focusing in the direction of the pathway where the car arrived, then turning around at other pathways behind him.

    "We got a problem."

    Just as I was about to ask for him to elaborate, I heard tires screeching. All of a sudden, lights lit up the dark pathway on my left, the other pathway lighting up as well. Two new cars arrived at the scene, a red Honda Civic and white Kia Forde. I realized what was heading our way.

    Immediately, I slammed my open hands onto the ground. The cars came to an abrupt stop, multiple guys with guns stepping out. The moment they got out and aimed at us, I created two walls made out of water that was a few inches thick, empowered with some magic for extra measure. As another shootout happened, the water walls drastically slowed the bullets' speed. When they passed through, they just fell to the ground.

    "What… is this?" Matt asked in confusion as he listened to the water nullifying the bullets from hitting the two, following the sound of bullets dropping on the ground after leaving the wall.

    "A shield made out of water, a strong one at that," I answered quickly, trying to not lose focus of the walls. "I can keep them up for quite a bit. But, I suggest we come up with a plan, fast."

    Matt observed the situation, listening closely, and tracking their adversaries' position. "There are four on each side. I'd advise we take priority of one group before moving on to the second one, that way we don't get cornered. Can you keep one wall up and remove the other?"

    "I'll do you one even better."

    Swinging my arm in the direction of one of the water walls, it was sent hurtling towards the group of four behind it. The four men were sent back as they were engulfed in the tide, pushing up the car slightly. Closing my fist, I only extended my pinky and ring finger, locking in the wall in place. The density might be lowered since my concentration isn't on it and restricted by only using one hand, it will still prevent the bullets from traveling more than a few feet.

    Matt and I charged at the fallen thugs. Due to the wave that hit them, they dropped their weapons in the process. The one I was going for crawled to his gun, I created an orange spell ring and aimed for it, cutting off a chunk of the barrel. Shocked by what the man saw, I swiftly slapped him with the ring across the face, his body going upwards then falling on his back.

    The other guy that was behind him was getting up on his feet, grabbing his weapon in the process. As he tried to aim for me, I threw my spell ring towards him, knocking the Assault SMG out of his hands. Using a similar variant of Whirlwind, I created a cone underneath the man that was slightly tilted, sending him a few feet in the air and went straight to the wall on his left. Just as he came into contact with the wall, I made another one where his body would hit, propelling him across the whole battlefield, hitting another wall and falling inside a dark green waste container, right next to Matt.

    Speaking of the blind lawyer, he was doing well in a two-versus-one situation. He easily disarmed them with his pipes, and going against him hand-to-hand didn't fare too well with the thugs. He was very agile, moving in-between hits, not spending too much time on just one of them.

    The one who crashed onto the waste container crawled to a nearby gun. As his fingers graced the grip, with one wave of my hand, the water on the ground made a small wave to push the gun away. Then Matt came in with a kick to the face to knock him out.

    I was about to compliment him, but my hand started to shake uncontrollably.

    Oh crap.

    "Hey!" I called out to Matt, with him turning towards me "Take cover, now!"

    Matt did what he was told, hiding behind the metal waste container, while I took cover behind the same wall Matt hid when I first arrived. The only problem was our distance, we were too far apart to do anything. I still had Whirlwind on the ready, but I need a stronger blast than to seal the deal. I didn't practice much using the Power Bank Cells to boost my spells, but since I'm in a bit of a pickle, I'll have to give it an early test run.

    Closing my eyes, I tapped into my stored power, feeling my chest tightening for the duration. I didn't draw too much of it, a small amount should do it. To my right, I created a small portal with the other end opening on the wall behind our attackers. Jumping through, I threw my arms out to what felt and looked like several wild tornadoes spawning from the wall. The blast itself lasted about two seconds since the travel speed was almost non-existent.

    All four of them were blown forward, about a good fifteen feet to be exact, which served Matt perfectly.

    Running towards them, Matt kneed the first member to get up in the chin. He then swung his pipe to the man beside him in his right temple, hard. With the same arm, he threw his pipe at the third thug to distract him, following with a quick punch to the jaw.

    The last man jumped forward in hopes of grabbing his gun from the ground, and ready to shot the masked vigilante when it was in his hands. Just as he aimed towards Matt, I created an Eldritch Whip to knock the gun out of his hand. Matt joined in and gave him an uppercut, the last one joining the pile.

    "There, that should do it."

    "Yeah, I think it should."

    Matt responded as we walked stepped close to one another, observing the many unconscious bodies that were scattered all around. This whole thing was blown out of proportion if you ask me. I took note at the level of weaponry these guys had. Whoever these people are, they have a lot of firepower that's for sure.
    Then, we heard an engine turning on.

    Turning around, we saw the Honda Civic going in reverse, then taking a sharp right to make its escape. I ran towards it, grabbing a stone from my bag and with an extra boost from Whirlwind, I threw it at the car, breaking its rear window. The car kept on driving, going out of view.

    Matt walked over to the car that was left behind, first checking the unconscious men then moving onto the car itself. After about a minute, he stopped with the search, not saying a word this whole time. All of a sudden, his head turned his right, then to his left.

    "The police are coming. Two cars, one from each way. If we run off to the streets, we'll be seen. It's better that we go-"

    Matt was cut off as he felt like he was falling down, only to land on his feet. In the span of two seconds, the police sirens were replaced with a crackling sound that quickly faded away, and then silence. He could still faintly hear the sirens but were further away than a few moments ago.

    "There. Now that's taken care of." I said turning to the blind hero.

    I teleported us on a rooftop, can't have the police catching us. It was nothing too far away, just enough for us to lose the heat. Matt turned to me with his usual stone-cold expression, then going off to the edge of the building, slowly turning his head from left to right.

    After a few seconds of silence, Matt spoke. "We're about five blocks away than we were just a minute ago. How?"

    "Oh, you know the saying "a magician can never reveal all of his secrets"~. So I'll keep you guessing."
    Matt didn't make any sort of expression change or respond. "Interesting. As absurd as that theory sounds, it's the most plausible one. That was no ordinary occurrence. At first, I thought it was some machine that controlled the water and air to behave that way. But I couldn't sense any new electrical devices coming here except for the cars. That aside, it doesn't explain how that ring of his appeared out of nowhere and used it as a weapon. To top it all off, jumping from point A to point B in less than two seconds? Somethings just don't add up to when not taking into account supernatural means."

    Matt, finally moving, turned to his left and turned his back against me. "Now, we're done. I should also thank you, their backup might have shown up either way if you interfered or not, saved me the trouble."

    With that, he walked away.

    Before he did, I called out to him. "Wait."

    Stopping, along with a sigh, Matt asked. "What?"

    "You're seriously going to walk away without telling me about those guys?"

    "Last I checked, it doesn't concern you," Matt said. "It's done. They are taken care of, and the police have custody. So I don't see a reason for you to take an interest in them."

    "Is that supposed to imply that there aren't any more of them? I think we both know that isn't the case," I said moving closer to him to close the distance. "Ordinary handguns and a few of them, sure, I can see that. More than a dozen sent at a time, at one man no less. It makes me think you already had some beef with them."

    Not answering, Matt just turned his head to the side. Even with the blindfold on, along with his mouth movement, I can already imagine what kind of expression he had. Still not letting up.
    I groaned. "Look, I did you a solid and honestly, didn't mind helping out. At least you could tell me what's the deal with those guys. You don't get that caliber of weapons easily. If I do come across them again, I want to know what I'm going up against."

    With a sigh, Matt gave in. The sooner he explained what he was doing there, he could leave quicker. Turning around, he began explaining. "From what I could dig up, they are a part of some bigger crew. I've been tracking them down for the better part of two weeks. This is the first time they sent this many."
    Now we're getting somewhere. "What did you do to piss them off this much, anyway?"

    "Beat up some of their men, among other things," Matt replied. "I interrogated all of them, all but one talked. He didn't reveal much, nor anything worthwhile. As for tonight, I stopped them from doing another kidnapping."

    "Another? They already did this before?"

    Matt nodded. "They did. Don't know how many they've captured, or what they plan to do with them, and they don't seem to have a particular target."

    "Well that makes things difficult," I muttered, placing my hand at the lower area of my mask. "Is there any lead? Where they operate, how many they kidnapped and whatnot?"

    Matt shook his head. "Nothing. For all I know, there could be dozens of them that got kidnapped. The cars I searched had no evidence either, so no, it's a dead-end," He explained. After a moment of silence, he perked up. "Although, there is something I found out, but it isn't much."

    "Which is?"

    "Just before I beat up the previous batch, I spied on them to see if I could get any information on their whereabouts, but no such luck there," Matt explained. "All I learned was about two of their victims. One was a girl, who described her as a "freak", using that term multiple times. The other was a man, actually, they called him an animal more than anything. Something about him being heavy to carry to the truck and getting his "blue fur" was a pain to get rid of the backseat."

    "Blue fur? Heavier than an ordinary human? Could it be a certain mutant he's describing? Along with a "freaky" girl, it's almost for sure one of the other X-Men members."

    "Huh, at least it's a trait of some sort."

    "There, I've told you everything. Can I leave now?" Matt asked in an annoyed tone. "I've got more pressing matters to attend to."

    "By all l means. Thanks for the cooperation."

    Matt turned around and started walking away, as he did, I gave a final message. "If you plan on diving into their place, give me a call. Can't have you get cornered again."

    "I work alone." He answered back, not stopping.

    "Sure, but I have a feeling I'll somehow run into you again."

    As he walked away, I noticed his head turning slightly to the right, but remained going forward until he got to the edge, jumping down the metal staircase, going out of view.

    What an interesting fellow. He took out three guys and was ready to take on four more, with more backup on the way. While it may look impossible, I'm sure that the man could somehow figure out a way out of that situation. Just like I said, I'm sure our paths will meet soon enough.

    Opening the Codex, I flipped through the pages to the page where I placed my compass. The stone I threw at the car was equipped with a location marker. Combined with the Codex's compass, adding a bit of my energy into the stone, I essentially created a way to track anything I mark. I definitely have to do more exploring of the Codex's mechanics.

    The orange-colored energy arrow appeared, turning towards North-West. Time to find their little hideout.

    After about thirty minutes of searching, which pretty much consisted of jumping through small portals and a top of large buildings to not attract attention, I found my target.

    Right now, I was on the top of a thirteen-story building looking down at a four-story red-bricked abandoned factory. In this area of the city, the factory and other smaller buildings hid behind the taller buildings and had no suspicious activity, making it a decent hideout. From this angle, I could see from behind the factory.

    Sitting down and crossing my legs, I sat in a position as I do for meditating, then entering my Astral Form. I threw myself-off the tall building, free failing down with no fear. While going down, I didn't find any cameras around the area, so that's good. Just before I hit the roof, I slowed my descent, passing through the concrete and going down to ground level, right where the entrance is.

    Looking around, I noticed there were several cameras around. The place was filled with various machinery that seemed to be out of commission. There weren't that many people all things considered, from this view, there were at least fourteen of them. On the tables, there were similar weapons like the thugs had I faced half an hour ago, with regular handguns and knives scattered around.

    One guy was arguing with a blonde woman and she seemed pretty pissed off, a second woman joining in every now and then. He had his feet up while leaning back in his chair, a wide smirk on his face while he argued with the two.

    Diving into the concrete, I only raised my hand so that my fingers were only visible by the tip. Just above the chair's leg, I focused enough to give it a push. The chair fell, sending the man into a slight panic as he traveled along with it, rolling onto his side when he met the floor.

    The two women busted out laughing.

    "That's what you get!" One of the girls said in-between laughs. "Guess that's a sign for you to stop being so annoying."

    The man got up, grunting and rubbing his sides as he did. "S-Shut the hell up, the both of you!"

    I myself couldn't resist laughing at the sight. The way he panicked when falling was priceless. Oh well, my moment for fun is over, back to work.

    I first decided to eliminate all the cameras I could find. Placing my hand inside the small device and pinching its insides slightly was enough to ruin it, without revealing anything from the outside. With that done, I wanted to find the man who was in charge. Traveling to the upper floors, I phased through each door I saw and checked what's inside, finding mostly a few people inside and others dedicated to storing equipment. It wasn't until I reached the farthest room on the second floor that I found the man I was looking for.

    The person was a Caucasian male, in what I believed was in his forties, had short light brown hair that was slicked back. He was wearing a simple black suit, with a red tie.

    "Yes, yes, I understand, sir. We took the proper precautions, we weren't spotted."

    "Seems like I dropped in right in the middle of an important call."

    He stepped closer to his desk, holding the phone with his left shoulder as he took out a small black leather planner and began writing something down, which appeared to be an address.

    I floated towards him, wanting to see how much I could overhear. By the time I got there, he already closed his planner and put it inside his jacket.

    "[-at midnight, understood?]" The voice on the other line said. "[Just like before, if you and your men aren't there right on time, it's off. I feel like I can't express how important this part is.]"

    "Don't worry, sir, we will be careful," The boss reassured. "My men and I know what we can handle. If we were incompetent, then I doubt the number of test subjects we've acquired wouldn't be that high, now would it?"

    "[Good to hear the enthusiasm, Mr. Lambert,]" The man said. "[Speaking of which, since you did complete your quota, I believe a bonus would be in order. Call it extra motivation. You can expect these bonuses the more we do business.]"

    "Of course, and thank you again, Mr. Osborn. We'll be in touch."

    My eyes widened "Osborn? He's the one behind the kidnappings? Now this is something I did not expect to happen. On the other hand, it's Norman, and that says a lot. Now the question remains, well two actually, what is he planning on doing with them and where's he keeping them?"

    Instantly, I was sent back to my body, waking up and looking over the edge. How do I want to approach this? Make another fog and use my puppet again? No, I can use something simpler, plus it would take too long to set it up. Overload the circuit box and take them out one by one? I doubt they would be that stupid to separate when their base is being raided. Mental note, work on my illusion spells, will be useful later on. Oh, wait! I just might have a solution. To do that, I might as well dive back with my Astral Form-

    My train of thought was broken when a speeding van stopped right in the empty parking space behind the factory. Three men exiting the car and opened the backseat doors, taking out two women, while the third one opened the truck and took out a man, all of them blindfolded and gagged.

    At that moment, the boss stepped out with several members of his crew.

    I couldn't hear what they were saying, but it wasn't important. They dragged the three into the factory, the victims desperately trying to wiggle out of their grip, but had no success. Either way, with multiple guns on their on their backs, they couldn't escape.

    Curse me and my bleeding heart.

    I created a portal above the guards and jumped through it, creating two spell rings on my hands, whacking one of the guys across the face upon landing, then rushing to the other guard, who turned around in the last second. He didn't have much time to react as my spell ring collided with his face, throwing him down. This alerted everyone else around me.

    The boss pulled out his gun that was around his waist, as well as ordering men to shoot me. I kneeled down quickly, using the two spell rings to shield my legs and my upper chest respectively. When I got a chance, I moved to the one closest to me, infusing some extra power into my rings so when I crashed into him, it sent him back against the concrete wall.

    Meanwhile the hostages, the men that held them captive pushed them off to the side just before the backdoor, ducking beside a few barrels.

    "Finish these first, then teleport them out of here. The costs of going in loud have now become more evident..."

    The next thug, who ran out of bullets like his boss, went to reload, and then I charged in. Flinging a spell ring, I disarmed the man fairly easily, then going for an uppercut to knock him down. Still moving, I took cover behind the parked van, then as I did that, the boss had reloaded his gun and continued to shoot me. I peeked ever now and then, the bullets hitting the side of the SUV, breaking the two windows in the process. What shocked me the most was that his man was right next to me on the ground, and he ignored him completely.

    This is how he treats his men? What a prick.

    Once he stopped firing, I saw him approach one of the girls and grab her by the hand, attempting to drag her in with him. I created an Eldritch Whip with my spell ring up and threw my whip at him. Thanks to the girl's relentless attempts, the arm he dragged her with was exposed, my whip slapping him in his bicep. He yelped in pain and retracted his arm, firing a few more shots before going through the door and closing it.

    The guy next to me tried to get up, I punched him in the face with my normal hand, knocking him back down. Moving towards the three hostages, I threw my other spell ring at the guy I tossed to the wall, hitting him in his chest and finished him off for good.

    I got to the hostages, placing thin long blue clips of energy on the tape. The girl began squirming upon being touched again, I called out to her softly. "Calm down, I'm here to help. Just hold still for a moment."

    She immediately did what she was told, the other two perking up as well. I placed two more clips for the rest. Once they were all set, I backed up a few steps and began conjuring a portal. Now, this is a bit difficult, but I can't waste any time.

    I did this a total of four times before shrugging it off and deciding to train with it a bit more some other time. I stood in between the portal and the three hostages, the portal facing them. With a push, I sent the portal towards them. As it traveled, I snapped my fingers to trigger the energy clips I made, cutting the tape that restrained their hands, all the while the sparkling circle teleported them out of here.

    The location I picked was a few blocks back, a small and empty park I passed while I was tracking these guys. All that matters is that they are safe and no longer trapped with these clowns.

    Speaking of which.

    Walking towards the door, I began working on another spell called the Lumen Sphere. This one worked like your typical light spell to light dark areas or blind enemies, but this variant provided a useful effect. It can be transformed into small forms and can be carried around your palm. I made four for now, given how bright I want them to be they should. Taking one orb into my right hand, I put my other hand on the doorknob.

    Opening the door quickly, I threw one Lumen Sphere inside and took cover. The rain of bullets came the moment the door opened, but stopped once the light blinded them all, some of them kept firing but their aim was way off. I rushed inside and grabbed another one, throwing it deep inside to buy me more time. Taking cover behind the boxes, then moving forward and stopping behind an old looking up at long lights hanging on the ceiling, I need to take them out as well.

    I did the necessary gestures to create a turquoise colored sphere with three smaller orbs orbiting around it with no particular pattern in my right hand. I figured out this one while thinking of a way to use those beams I used to take out Vanko's droids. I fired the three orbs at the lights above me, destroying it, with three new orbs coming out of the main one. I destroyed more of those lights, taking another and shot two men running on the second floor. Getting hit by one of these orbs can knock the wind out of someone, but three is the ideal ratio to stop someone from getting up.

    I grabbed the third Lumen Sphere, chucking it further down, taking cover behind a larger machine. I fired another few shots at the second floor, some missing but managing to get two more down.

    Hearing footsteps rapidly approaching, I realized it was coming from my left. I threw my last sphere down and created a spell ring before he got into view. It was a man and he kept firing with his eyes closed, going on instinct to kill me. He swung to the right with his AK while shooting, my ring blocking the bullets. When his aim was off me, and I took the opportunity to blast him away before he regained his vision. A battle cry could be heard coming from behind me. Quickly turning, I saw the blond woman running at me with a baseball bat. I fired the three spheres at her legs, and like a ragdoll, she fell face-first onto the ground. Her body was close to the machine, which allowed me a kick to the head. Not with the tip of my boot, but doing an instep kick, hear head hitting the metal of the machine. Not too hard, just enough to not keep her down.

    Holding up my orb, I peeked over the machine, one from the second floor and one rushing towards me. Shooting the guy on the first floor, two out of three orbs hitting, I hid behind the machine again. As my orb recharged, I used my other hand to create a yellow see-through circle with a square center that was connected with all sorts of lines around it a few feet away from me on my right, then firing my projectiles at the square, with them bouncing off and changing directions, all three hitting the man, his body flopping down into view.

    I created another spell ring, only this time it was red in color and its sparkling followed a rhythm of a heartbeat. These travel faster and bounce off when it hits a target. My sights were set on the boss who was running up the stairs. I flung it towards his direction, hitting his right shoulder blade. The red ring bounced all across the factory, damaging anything it came in contact with. It also worked as a good distraction, making it hard to stay in the same position. The ring somehow hit several members, enabling me to land the final blow with my projectiles.

    There were only two left, I think. The other girl and guy I threw off the chair. I caught them hiding behind several crates, taking cover. I hid behind a nearby machine while preparing my spell, yellow sparks flying around while making a small azure-colored pyramid with its shape constantly changing and turning in all directions. Looking over, I slammed the pyramid to the ground, sending a wave of blue flames towards the pile of boxes, causing all of them to explode and letting out blue flames that quickly disappeared.

    The only thing that was left, besides pieces of wood scattered all around were their unconscious bodies. That should be the last of them. I looked around for my main target, finding him nowhere in sight.

    "Where did that bastard run off to?"

    I heard an engine coming to life, and the door of the entrance wide opened. Rushing towards the window, I saw it already kick into gear, making a sharp left when entering the road. He was going to make a right turn and go around the corner. Waiting just before he made the turn, I created a portal and jumped through it.

    Just when I was about to land on the roof of the car, I drew out my dagger and created a spell ring, piercing through the metal and enabled me to hold on, while using the ring to soften my fall. That, and also for-

    A gun was fired from the passenger seat, resulting in leaving several holes that pierced the roof but were blocked by the shield, the bullets sticking onto it.

    As I was saying, that was the other reason.

    When the firing stopped, I could hear the thug say to shake me off. I held onto my dagger as best as I could, my legs sliding off the roof when rapidly turning left and right.

    Another round firing began, the shield did its work. I heard the boss, who was driving the car, said to reload and to take his gun out the window and shoot from outside. Better finish this now.

    Removing my spell ring, I got up quickly and as carefully as I could, now kneeling on the roof. Summoning my hook, I threw it at the hood of the car, it pierced through the metal and stuck itself to it thanks to the blade's sharpness. While passing through single arm light poles, I waited just for the right time, then threw the end of the chain to the arm of the pole, it wrapped around when it came close to the metal beam.

    I let go of the hook, took out my dagger and retracted it, and jumped, creating two spell rings to soften my fall by landing on the ground with them at the front, sliding off to the side. While I could as the car traveled further, it was flipped upside down, sliding and turning to the side in the center of the road, the two men still inside. The hook was still connected to the car and lamp but started disintegrating moments later.

    Getting up, I made sure I took it easy, making sure I was alright then entering a light jog towards the wreckage, then taking slower steps when I was a few feet away from it. It never hurts to be careful. I was approaching closer to the car's right side, the boss' underling was still conscious, but could only groan while lying down on the roof of the car. Should've put his seat belt on.

    Going to the other side of the car, I caught the boss opening the door, crawling out of the vehicle. Frantically looking around, he spotted me standing right next to him. His left arm went to the gun that was held in place by his belt.

    Just as he grabbed it, I slammed my foot down at his wrist, causing him to yell out in pain.

    "I'd reconsider your next move if I were you."

    I warned the crime boss as I pressed harder, not giving him any breathing room. Eventually, his grip on the gun loosened, letting it drop to the ground. Once it did, I pulled it away with my foot, shooting it off to the side. I bent down and grabbed the man by the collar of his suit, hoisting him up to my eye level.

    The boss tried to maintain composure, but his body was still shaken up from the crash. "Who the hell are you… and w-what do you want from me…?"

    "Nothing special, just some information, and you're going to give it to me," I said slowly as I brought him close. "Let's start off simple. Who's your boss?"

    The man scoffed. "I am the boss."

    "Guess I'll have to play the intimidation game. I hope it's convincing."

    I forcefully pushed him so that he hit the car, letting out a yelp, and then immediately pulled him back. With my right hand, I drew out my dagger and placed it right on his throat, his eyes widening when he felt the cold blade. "Wrong answer. I suggest you speak the truth when I ask you a question. How about we try this again. Why are you and your crew kidnaping people and where are you taking them?"

    The man's eyes jumped back and forth, looking at my dagger then at my mask. He grit his teeth then responded. "We kidnap people then hold them for ransom, the easiest way to make cash! Family, friends, whatever, as long as they pay our price we give em' back and that's it!"

    I mentally sighed, why do they have to push their luck? Activating my dagger, I created a six-inch orange energy blade, making the criminal gasp upon seeing it.

    "That's strike two, do you want to see what happens on three?" I said as threateningly as I could, the mask helping me with that effect. "I can promise you that you won't see the insides of a jail cell tonight if you don't tell me what I want to know. Now, shall we start round three?"

    The man started to quiver, and I couldn't blame him. If someone pulled out a dagger that extended its length, I would be scared too. "What's it going to be then?"

    "Alright! I'll talk, I'll talk!" The man said rapidly. "We drop them off to different locations each time we have a new batch. I don't know where they take them or do with them once we drop them off. That's it, I swear!"

    "See, was that so hard? But, I have a feeling you're leaving out a few details." I responded, the man slowly losing his composure, or what's left of it.

    "I-I don't know their names, they never told me," The man added quickly. "Just some… businessman in a suit showed up and proposed an offer, a suitcase full of money. We get the people and they would pay us every time we did."

    "Since you were supposed to have a new "batch", I'm sure you already have the address for the next meet? While you're at it, my first question about your boss, answer it. You seriously don't expect me to believe that you don't know anything about your employer, now do you?"

    "Look, I don't know, I swear," The man said, his voice cracking. "I don't know where I'm supposed to meet up with them. They haven't told me yet, and no, I don't know his name. I never even met the guy, for all I know that must have been a guy working for him or something."

    "You sure that's everything?"

    "Yes! Yes! I swear! Please, just don't kill me…!"

    I retracted my dagger, returning it to its normal state and placing it back in its holster. Just as I let go of his collar, I head-butted him in the nose, causing him to fall backwards and land on his ass, leaning back on the car. His nose was broken and was fighting to stay conscious.

    I searched through his jacket-pocket while avoiding the blood that was running down his nose, I found the small red leathered planner I was looking for. With that done, I walked off the street and entered an alleyway. I kept walking until it was total darkness, making sure I was alone.

    Now that the hostages are safe, and I got the planner I was after, there's still one thing I need to collect.

    I created a portal to the boss' office, I set my eyes on the safe that was left slightly open. Kneeling, I opened it wide and was greeted with a few several stacks of hundred dollar bills wrapped in currency straps neatly placed atop of each other. On each stack, the currency straps had "ten-thousand-dollar" marks on them, some stacks seemed lighter than others. Looks like Norman paid quite the penny for his underlings to get his test subjects.

    Oh well, finders keepers.

    I'm dealing with criminals and I'm broke, had to have a little something for myself during these troubled times. That, and I refuse to live like a caveman. Besides, I need it way more than to just let it go through a court system, I have to turn a profit somehow in this business.

    Removing the bag from my lower back and placing it right under the safe, I threw all the money inside. I'll count them properly when I get the chance. Right now, time to find a proper living space.

    At this time, it was quite the hectic time being on board the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier. On it, everything was moving like a well-oiled machine, agents walking all over the place in a hurry, monitoring and reporting everything that gets on their scanners, acting quickly if any alarms went off or assistance was needed elsewhere.

    Within the Helicarrier, every hour felt like rush hour.

    Nick Fury made sure that everything ran like clockwork. Even with his one eye, he made sure he had tabs everywhere. Right now, there can't be anything that gets past him, not at times such as this. Standing in the main room of the Helicarrier, he was looking through the window with his head lowered, focusing his attention down at the Pacific Ocean that was just a few thousand feet beneath him. Having to work twenty-four seven without much breathing room requires at least a few minutes of peace.

    It was either that or being on the verge of insanity with the amount of work on his plate.

    Phil Coulson entered the busy room and maneuvered through the agents that we're walking about. Stopping right next to his boss, he spoke.

    "Sir, I think we've got something."

    Closing his eye and letting out a sigh, Nick Fury already knew his time for rest is cut short. Oh well, until next time.

    "What is this time?" Fury turned to face his right-hand man. "And please don't tell me something else dropped out of the sky. We already had enough trouble with the last one."

    "No, sir. Nothing like that," Coulson clarified. "But I still think you should take a look."

    With a nod, Fury began to walk towards the conference room, Coulson following right behind him. After a few minutes, both entered the room filled with screens that marked different parts of the world. On one of the desks, it displayed a video of a road located in New York City, which appeared to be paused.

    "So what are we looking at?" Asked the S.H.I.E.L.D director.

    "Remember Andrew Lambert and his crew we discovered a few days ago?" Coulson began as he brought up the man in question, along with his previous records. "Well, we found their hideout, and they're quite a large number of them than we originally thought. On top of it, they seemed to be heavily armed, we're still looking into who their benefactor might be. All of the serial numbers on weapons were removed and we couldn't find the ones who sold it to them, so finding them might be tricky."

    "Is that it?" Fury asked. "I hope there's more to this. I already came to that conclusion on my own without any of this."

    "No, sir. This isn't the only reason I called you down for. Monitoring the security cameras around New York, our team pulled something from the servers. Just as we were about to investigate the Lambert crew further, this happened. The footage was caught by the surveillance from the opposite building."

    With the press of a button, Coulson started playing the recording from the start. The footage was captured from a surveillance camera from the back entrance of the factory. As the video played out, two men ran out of the building and jumped into a brown car, immediately blasting off. The scene changed with another camera spotting them driving away on the road, the screen zoomed in on the escaping perpetrators.

    As the scene changed again, Fury spotted someone hanging on the roof of the car. How? Just a second ago there was nobody on the fleeing vehicle, and all of a sudden there's a person on the roof of the car. The image itself was somewhat blurry how much it was zoomed in, but he could faintly see some sort of orange ring underneath the person's arm. By next scene, the open road was seen for a split second from a camera on a lamppost, with the car coming into view from the lower-left corner and being yanked upwards by a green chain that was attached to the front of the hood, the car sliding upside down until it came to a stop.

    But the mysterious figure wasn't on the car anymore before it crashed. At the edge of the screen, Fury watched as the figure stepped closer to the wreckage, noticing the green chain started to stepped closer to the screen, taking a good look at this new arrival, but only from the behind. He hadn't seen anyone with this particular set of clothing, especially after dark. The silver mask also wasn't far too visible from this angle, so he took a screenshot of it when the frame was just right.

    He went to the driver's seat of the now flipped car, the upper part of his mask could be seen, pausing again to take another screenshot.

    "I would like to note, that alleyway he entered leads to a dead end, with no other ways to access the buildings. While monitoring the other cameras, he never exited the alley and he was no longer there when the authorities arrived."

    Listening to Coulson's report, Fury tried to figure out the explanation for what he just saw.

    "What do you think? Some sort of tech allowing him to move or teleport in quick succession?"

    "Can't confirm," Coulson responded as he highlighted the individual screenshots. "That level of equipment required to execute that isn't anywhere visible. If he does have something like that, then it's quite well hidden. There is also a possibility that he might have help from somewhere else, but we weren't able to pick up any radio frequency in the area the moment this happened. Also, we discovered something else that ties in with this person. This footage is from a week ago and it was taken in London."

    The next video came on display, and it appeared to be a view of a side of a building. Then all of a sudden, a massive wave of water came crashing down from above. The image started to zoom in on a certain area, then someone latched on to the building, and appeared to be surrounded in water, flowing around his body while in place.

    It was him. The same masked figure he was shown in the previous video feed. Fury leaned closer and watched carefully to see what happened next. The masked figure seemed to be doing some kind of projectile. After some time, another figure came falling down and the person latched onto them, the video ending with both of them falling. A drop from that height is a guaranteed death, and yet he's up and breathing. What person was he chasing and why in London no less? If he was there, why did he come to New York, and when?

    "What do we do, sir?"

    Nick placed a hand on his chin, stroking his beard for a few moments before responding. "I want you to find me everything on this guy. Whereabouts, possible suspects, whatever. If you do find something, report it to me immediately. I have a feeling this isn't the last time we will be seeing this… stranger."

    With a nod, Phil Coulson turned and exited the room. Fury watched as his right-hand walked out, then turning to look at the various pictures on the screen, placing his hand on his chin. It seemed like they might have a new player in town. What kind of connection does this person have with the Lambert crew? What is the explanation for his skill set? A hefty number of questions circled through the Director's head, but one remained more significant than the others.

    "How do I find you?"
    And that's Chapter 4! Sorry (again...) for the delay. I kept going back and making changes to the Chapter, and it got longer than I expected. Since Magic is explained in a hurry in most cases, I tried going into more detail some of its mechanics and how it works. Found it better to do that than just say "its magic, go along with it." As for the rest of the Chapter, I hope it's a good start to our first solo Arc.
    On another note, we hit over 500 followers(on Fanfiction.Net)! Thank you all who enjoyed reading it. I didn't expect for it to get this high of a following, so I'm happy knowing there are people who like it. I might have got myself an editor from now on so the clarity of the Chapters should improve.
    Also, just to add something a bit here for those wondering. I don't plan on making my OC a bland superhero and "for justice all the time thing". The way I wanted to make my story is how he evolves into this new world, and what kind of steps he's willing to take. I will try to challenge him mentally and show his progress through his struggles and how he views his new life. He's an anti-hero, but still leaning on the lighter side, that gray area in the middle I think is a good position. Of course, that may change down the line if I make the character development properly.
    To further and properly structure this, a review would help a lot. Thanks again for reading, and until next time!
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  19. Zeus

    Zeus King of the Gods

    Sep 30, 2018
    Likes Received:
    That was cool, like always the fights were great
    I enjoyed how you portrayed it
    And he does make good plans
    Just need to be a bit more careful with the saving people thing
    Save people but don't be stupid about it, it's better to have a plan and be patient

    I like the magic stuff
    And good work with stealing vibranium
    Wouldn't Klau leave at least one person to guard his most priced possession?
    It's okay in this case as he's not expecting a magician
    And underestimated our boi

    I like that's he's got some skills now, he can handle the low level threats easily. Even medium threats can be taken out with some creativity
    He's going against Osborn and sheild(Hydra) has him their radar
    Things are gonna get complicated very fast
  20. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Thanks! But I feel like your catching on why his "saving people plan" was a bit less though out. He's learning as he goes, something i found very interesting to do for this paticular MC. It was more acting on instinct than anything, but he'll have to plan quicker and more carefuly on these situations. As for Klau, I mean he did have some guards, but as the layout of the ship allowed multiple holes for our Magician to abuse them, so he didn't really expect that.

    Oh yeah, Osborn and Hydra will be a fun and difficult bunch to handle. But he does have a plan and counter measures for SHIELD (as the data inside is all going to Hydra), so he will kill two birds with one stone with careful planing. Osborn is a bit down the road, as i need more plot ideas to make him an even bigger threat. Been thinking about including a bit older Peter Parker into the story as (in my opinion) the MCU version didn't do him full justice. That's all in the air, and have lots go over before then.
    Zeus likes this.
  21. Zeus

    Zeus King of the Gods

    Sep 30, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Okay learning as he goes, makes sense
    And the character is pretty creative
    So he will improve
    And yeah magic was an out of context problem for Klau and other normal criminals

    Both Osborn and Hydra can become really troublesome to deal with very fast
    Hydra is like an infestation, no matter what you do
    It's almost impossible to remove all of it

    One good thing about magic is there is no easy counter for it, except for attacking the one doing magic
    Still the more info they have about him The more prepared they will be
    Sheild/Hydra can make your life real difficult, if they were really invested in taking you down

    MCU spider had his moments but he's more of a spiderling/Iron spider
    Rather than Spider Man
  22. Index: Chapter 5 – Breaking In or Breaking Out?

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 5 – Breaking In or Breaking Out?
    "So, Marcus? What do you think of it?"

    "Hmm, can't lie to you Frank, it's growing on me."

    I told the elderly man while walking around the spacious apartment. After counting the money I stole, which took a while, I sought out to find a place to live. I was contemplating whether or not to simply buy a house, but then I would actually have to integrate myself into the system, which I'm not in, and attract more eyes onto me with a photo of how I look like. Instead, I opted to go the easier route, get an apartment. Which was my preferred choice than a house right now.

    I made sure I had a presentable look, some new clothes were in order as well. I wore black slim-fit jeans alongside a simple white t-shirt, I also brought along a black and white windbreaker. Even though August was ending soon, it was somewhat chilly today.

    "It's got an impressive view, no argument there."

    I commented while taking another look through the window, admiring the view of New York. Alongside a balcony, not a single building blocked the view from this location. At sunset, admiring the tall buildings of the Big Apple sounded delightful. The place itself was on the top floor of a ten-story building. In fact, the last floor only had one apartment, another feature I don't mind.

    Aside from having two bedrooms, the living room was quite spacious, they even included a fifty-five inch TV, which seemed like it was bought not too long ago. The bathroom's design was outstanding, even though it seemed somewhat cramped. Last but certainly not least, my personal favorite and deal-breaker, the kitchen. It was all state of the art, the sheer detail and design put into it made my mouth water.

    "I think my answer would be obvious by now, but yeah, I'll take it."

    Frank and I continued to talk details, after a few minutes an elderly woman, Frank's wife came through the door.

    "I'm sorry I took so long," Christine apologized with a sheepish smile as she approached us. "An old friend of mine wouldn't let me off the phone."

    "Please, don't apologize. I didn't mind the wait."

    Christine began digging through her pockets, taking out a key. "This is the spare key. I recommend hiding them in a secret place just in case you lose your main one. Also, I wrote down some things that may be useful in the future, so make sure you don't lose it."

    "Seems like that's everything," Frank said, putting a hand on his wives' shoulder. "I already told him the conditions, along with all rest. Best we be going, now."

    Christine nodded. "I hope you enjoy your stay here, Marcus. If you need anything, feel free to call us or knock on our door at any time."

    "Will do," I promised while I escorted them to the door. "Oh, and Christine."

    The old couple turned around. "Yes, dear?"

    With a smile, I extended my hand. "My ID?"

    "Oh, I completely forgot," Christine playfully slapped herself in the forehead, before searching through her other pockets. "Sorry about that, my boy. I'm getting too old for my own good."

    "Don't worry about it, Christine," I reassured the woman as I took my ID back. "What kind of man would I be if I would hold something so insignificant against you?"

    The elderly woman simply laughed it off, turning to her husband. "I like him, way more than our previous tenant…"

    "Oh, please. Don't even remind me of that troublemaker…"

    "Huh, guess that would explain why the TV appears new."

    With that said, the old couple and I exchanged our goodbyes as they began leaving, closing the door on their way out.

    I held up my ID, fully rotating it. The letters, numbers, color, the small image started disappearing. Oh, magic, how I love you so. With a simple illusion spell, I created a fake ID card out of an old gym membership I found. Pretty convenient, right?

    Well, now that this nineteen-year-old scored his own apartment, time for a quick makeover.

    I opened several portals to get all my stuff into my new place. The books go on the bookshelf alongside a disguise spell to make them appear as regular books. Some materials I put away in my bag since they seem out of the ordinary, then placing things that appeared normal in where they would belong.

    Then filling my drawer with tons of clothes. Yes, 'tons' of clothes. Not passing up a free chance to upgrade my appearance. Going into different stores and buying multiple clothes while making sure that appeared like I wasn't even there. Annoying, yes, but well worth the extra work.

    As I was done, I filled the fridge up with tons of groceries I bought from various shops around Europe. Now that I have a kitchen and an amazing one at that, I can finally cook again. Hope I just haven't lost my touch.

    Having completed all that, we move on to important business.

    Placing the Codex on the counter, with two other books for further research. Another problem I had to realize first hand, was the way I fought yesterday. I won't lie, it was kind of sloppy. Fighting hand to hand wasn't the problem, I just got used to it over the last few months of just training. I started to like using projectiles and long-range spells, so I might want to use them more frequently. I'm still contemplating on whether or not to just use anything when confronted with a fight, as long as I'm not noticed by anyone important, I should be fine. That does still raise the problem of I do get seen, and use something that would appear absurd, so we'll need to work on quick decision making.

    Better get to it then.

    First things first, set up the alarms. Or in this case, wards.

    For this one, it was simple to make, only quirk is to find what to make it with. I took a leaf of an ordinary house plant, which blends in perfectly with my environment. From one part alone, I created a fully grown plant with numerous leaves, the stem growing out of the singular leaf. Behind the leaves, however, hid a small yellow eye that was connected to it. The eye can stay well-hidden since the leaves make a good cover but will disappear if somebody steps too close to it. The plant was beaming with life, the golden aura surrounding it gave that one away.

    The eye of the small plant turned towards me, blinking several times as its eye tilted to the side. Smiling down at the newborn plant, I trailed my finger on one of its leaves, earning a wiggle from my little ward. What a fascinating creature.

    I grabbed an empty plant pot and opened a miniature portal somewhere in the forest outside of town and grabbed some soil for the pot. The ward itself didn't need soil or water to survive anymore, feeding it a very insignificant amount of energy can keep it alive for many years.

    Over a few minutes, the plant gave birth to several seeds, their appearance being of one closed yellow eye. I took the seeds and placed them in my bag, then entering my Astral Form. I planted seeds all around the area, that being absurdly easy as it seems like an ordinary plant and could be practically anywhere. Around the corners should do it, some on the rooftops, on the ground, the entrance of the building, and of course, behind my front door and along the outer-area of my window.

    They won't grow right away, might take an hour or two and they'll be active. Besides, nobody's going to notice them anyway.

    How they work is that if they spot anything suspicious, they will alert me immediately thanks to a special rune on my arm that will feel its burning if I don't check the rune if I wanted it to stop.

    Moving on, to get myself vision if such a scenario would happen, this where the second preparation begins.

    One of the things I got from the London Sanctum was an animal contract. Some contracts are harder to get than others, but one raven would be more than enough. After a little while after setting that up, I summoned my bird. As per the contract, I had to give it a name and be careful if I were to enchant as such since different animals can handle so up to a certain degree.

    Naming the bird Helix, not a very good choice for a name but moving on, I gave my new pet some useful enchantments to survive easier. Increased durability and speed should help the little guy greatly. I'll give it some time before making changes to him, just in case his body might not be used to so many changes at once.

    Finally, I needed a way to keep track of what my bird finds. The Eye of Rodkil fits this bill perfectly. It will enable me to see what my bird sees, store it if I want to review it for a later date, and I could even connect it to my wards. So in addition to keeping myself safe, being alerted if something comes up, and have my very own spy, I'll know what's heading my way and have time to prepare.

    Now that's a pretty good deal.

    Aside from grasping numerous new spells, another small detail I should mention is I figured out how to increase my durability, just by a small amount. Like the way I could absorb the properties of metal, I can convert energy to flow all over my body to take a few extra hits. It's not much, until I can get an upgrade it will work just fine.

    There are so many more things to prepare for. I refuse to die a second time. Taking into account all the possible threats, Thanos being one of them, death is all but certain. Not to mention other possible entities that can wreak havoc. I may be considered stupid for dipping my hand when given a second chance, only problem being that doing nothing is not an option for me. Even if I would travel to the edge of the galaxy, I'm not a hundred-percent guaranteed I'll survive. Before, I had no worries whatsoever, that's no longer the case sadly. I don't regret what I did, not for a second, I'll just try and keep my head up no matter what comes my way.

    It's not all doom and gloom though, since I have some free time and a free ticket to any destination on the planet, how could I say no to a break?

    "Hmm, now that's good coffee."

    I thought as I sipped my drink while admiring the scenery and busy traffic of Tokyo. I always wanted to take a trip to Japan, it's one of the destinations on my travel list. Sadly, affording such trips are expensive as is, so that dream had to be postponed for a while.

    Until now, that is.

    The ability to go anywhere, with the obvious inclusion of being extremely careful where you go and not attracting attention, being a Practitioner of the Mystic Arts does have its benefits. This particular café shop had a European aesthetic to it, and it even offered a reasonable food menu to choose from. My order was simple, a cappuccino and toasted sandwiches to get the day going.

    "Oh yeah, I can get used to this." I thought while finishing up my second sandwich. It took another few minutes to finish my coffee, nonetheless I had time to spare. I wiped my mouth with one of the napkins as I stood up, taking one last look at this beautiful place. There's always next time.

    Finding a safe location to teleport, I set foot back into New York, quite close to West forty-fourth St. to be exact. If that address rings any bells, it should since it belongs to the firm of Nelson and Murdock. It was behind the building in an alleyway, with no sight of life. Stepping out, I took a sharp left, approaching the barred door, swinging it open and heading upstairs. Going up to the second floor and going left, I moved toward the door with a cardboard sign taped to it.

    Doing three knocks on the door, I waited for some sort of response.

    Hearing a female voice giving the go-ahead, I opened the door and stepped in.

    "Hello!" Karen Page said with a bright smile, standing up from her desk. "How can I help you?"

    "Hi, this is the office of Nelson and Murdock, no?" I asked the blonde, then playfully slapping my forehead. "My bad, I shouldn't have just shown up out of the blue. Should have called beforehand and set up a meeting, huh?"

    "No, no, it's alright," Karen said reassuringly while looking around the room before turning back at me. "And yeah, this is Nelson and Murdock. I take it this isn't what you were expecting?"

    "In fact, quite the contrary," I looked around the office while making my point. "It's got character. So I think I'll be fine."

    Karen chuckled at that. "It sure does."

    After a few more seconds spent with random chatter, a man with long light brown hair in a suit entered from another room.

    "Hey, Karen? Do you have that case file for the-" The man noticed me and stopped mid-sentence, forming a smile and extending his hand towards me. "Sorry, didn't see you there."

    "Please, make nothing off it."

    I said with my own smile, accepting his handshake. Then after he tidied his suit, he introduced himself.

    "So, you're the Nelson in Nelson and Murdock. It's a pleasure to meet you, sir. Just like I said to your lovely assistant, didn't know if I should have called beforehand to see when you're available."

    "No, it's no trouble at all," Foggy abruptly stated. "My partner and I are just in the middle of reviewing some files, but we are available at the moment."

    "Is that so? Wonderful."

    "Please, this way," Foggy motioned towards the other room. Before I walked past him, he called out to his assistant. "You can go on break early, Karen. I think we'll be good here."

    "You sure?"

    "Yeah. When we finish up here, we'll go somewhere for lunch." Foggy said, then calling out to me.

    "Would you like anything? Water, coffee?"

    "Tea, please, if you have."

    "What kind? We do have a few different ones to choose from." Karen asked.

    "Surprise me."

    Foggy proceeded to lead the way towards the other part of the office. We walked until we reached a closed door, opening it and revealing the blind lawyer walking back and forth while recording something, hitting the stop button when he heard us walk in. His face turned unreadable when he realized I entered with Foggy. Seems like he already figured it out.

    "Matt, we got ourselves a client. Oh, and by the way, I never got your name."

    "McField, Jack McField." I decided to swing with another fake name just in case. Going along with Foggy, I step closer to the blind lawyer. I didn't know how to introduce myself in this situation, turning to Foggy for some help. He told Matt I wanted a handshake, so the man complied.

    "Matt Murdock. It's a pleasure to meet you." The man spoke, flashing a smile in the process as I accepted his handshake.


    Karen entered the room with, from the smell of it, it was cinnamon. I thanked her and before she left, asked again if the two lawyers needed anything, both declining and reassuring her she can go off to break.

    When she left, Foggy gestured to one of the two seats, as two of them sat on the opposite side.

    "So, Mr. McField, what can we do for you today?" Foggy started the ball rolling.

    "Well, I was wondering if we can start with some legal advice first before we move on to my small dilemma. You know, to understand the lingo a little bit and such." I told the two while taking a sip of my tea.

    "Sure, ask away. We aren't going anywhere, take your time."

    "Let's see. First off, I was wondering if-"

    I was interrupted when some music started playing, the sound muffled.

    "Oh, excuse me for just a moment please." Foggy apologized as he took out his cell phone from his jacket. Looking at the number, by the look of his face, it was obvious that he didn't recognize it.

    Answering it, he rarely got a chance to speak, only muttering a few times to signal that he was following along. Then responding "okay" numerous times, the line hung up.

    "It was... someone from City Hall. Saying I should come ASAP, something about there being some error with our files?" Foggy turned to his partner. "Didn't say any specifics, but it sounds hectic down there. Should head over there and see what's up. Will you be fine soloing this one?"

    "Yeah. I think we'll be just fine." Matt said to his partner, then shifting his focus onto me.

    "Thanks." Foggy thanked his friend, then turned to me with an apologetic look. "I'm so sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. McField."

    "No worries," I reassured the man. "Some other time perhaps. Go do what you have to, sounds important though."

    Foggy thanked and apologized once more, grabbing his suitcase and hurried out the door. I took another sip of my tea in the meantime, Matt and I staring down at one another.
    "You seriously don't expect that I'll start us off, do you?"

    I leaned in my chair and crossed my legs, placing my hands atop of one another. "I must apologize for lying to your partner just now. I'm sure you heard that gibberish over the phone, no?"

    His face hardened. "I did."

    "Good, just wanted to get out of the way," I said. "Can say, you're looking good for someone who danced with a dozen or so criminals the night before."

    "How did you find me?

    "You're a lawyer? You advertise your name, it isn't that hard to track down, you know."

    "You know what I mean," Matt said harshly, and honestly I couldn't blame him.

    "As for that, I have my methods, mind you. But don't threaten, just like our last encounter, I come in peace. Your assistant just went off to break, and since your partner has left the building, I thought it would be an opportunity to talk in a secluded environment and in a more civilized manner."
    Matt remained still, but eased up ever so slightly, leaning back in his chair. "Even then, you just show up at my workplace?"

    "I mean, yeah. You're a lawyer, which means I can only find you on working hours, and I won't even start on what we do in our free time, we both have something we want to stay secret. So I think we're fine on that front."

    Matt just grumbled at that. "Everything is so easy with you, is it?"

    "I wouldn't go that far. If it's any consultation, I did find out what you were searching for." I told him.

    "Which is?"

    "The boss of those knuckleheads with guns," I half answered. "Honestly, I can't say I was happy when I figured out who it was. Norman Osborn."

    Matt's eyes widened as his head perked up. Leaning forward, he rested one arm on the table and the other on his chin. "Why would Osborn be behind the kidnappings?"

    "Another detail I overheard while spying on those punks, they used specific terms for their hostages.

    From what I could gather, Osborn uses the people his underlings' capture as test subjects for his various experiments. I don't know yet where he keeps them, or where these experiments take place, but I should know soon enough."

    "How so?" Matt asked. "In fact, how do you know all this?"

    "I followed that car that got away and stormed their hideout."

    Matt simply raised his eyebrow ever so slowly. "What are you looking at me like that? I found you going up against a swarm of them."

    "You came in today, tricked my partner into leaving, just to tell me all this?"

    "Given the fact that the address where we fought yesterday just about crossed the line with Hell's Kitchen, where I presume where you usually operate. Along with a crazy billionaire funding random criminals with high caliber weapons, ones that most likely had their serial numbers removed, I thought it might be a fine piece of information. Isn't it?"

    "You said you visited them yesterday, correct?" Matt asked, responding with a nod. "This morning, there weren't any new files that said anything about criminals being apprehended, nor the possession of any weapons. I'm sure there was noise over there, I doubt the police weren't involved for a checkup. Hmm, strange."

    This is… interesting. So there's a chance someone's keeping them from getting into the system, as of yet at least. Damn, this could complicate things.

    Matt rubbed his chin, staying quiet for a few seconds while he processed everything. "So it was Osborn's doing. That still doesn't explain the motive. Why would a successful businessman put himself at such a high risk? Sure, even if the weapons are untraceable, that would seem irresponsible on his front if he were to get caught."

    "Well, I'm sure some shady deals are in play here, and with a figure such as Osborn, I honestly doubt he didn't take the proper precautions to keep himself an enigma." I theorized. "For his motive. From what I know, Oscorp has multiple divisions under its belt, right? With human test subjects, it isn't hard to guess what he's up to."

    "It's possible, however then comes the problem, a lack of evidence," Matt stated. "Hypothetically, if Osborn was behind it, getting proof can be impossible. The place and the people working in that field aren't that easy to dig up. Especially with Oscorp's resources."

    "And if I were to provide evidence, hard evidence, then it would be possible to put an end to them?"

    Matt raised an eyebrow. "Yes, "if" solid evidence is provided, things could get significantly easier. But that begs the question, how do you plan on getting it?"

    "It's not a question of how, but when. It might take a while before I come close to something useful, I'll drop it off when I do."

    "It would seem that's it," I stood up from my seat with a smile. "I thank you for your time, Mr. Murdock. I'll contact you if something comes up, so I'll leave you this," I reached into my pocket and placed a grey stone with a blue circle and dot in the middle. "In case you find yourself in a jam or want to talk without anyone eavesdropping, use this. Tap it three times in the center then hold for a few seconds until I respond."

    Matt took the stone in his hand, trailing his thumb around it as he was inspecting it. I said my goodbyes and went towards the door. My hand went to turn the handle, but I was stopped by Matt. "Wait."
    Turning around, I looked at the lawyer, waiting for him to continue.


    Matt asked, motioning the stone. I'm sure he already identified something strange about it. With a smile, I responded. "It would ruin the mystery if I simply gave the answer away, wouldn't it?"

    With another goodbye, I closed the door, exiting the building to continue on with my day.

    "Come on… show up already."

    I was sitting down on top of an old abandoned hospital, waiting for the clock to hit midnight. When I arrived here, I scouted the area to make sure I was the only person here. The place itself was deserted, and was near the outskirts of town, making it an ideal place for a sketchy meet like this.

    I had wards all over the place and had small circles hovering beside me to keep an eye on the place. Deciding to show up earlier was a good idea, so I can't complain too much. I'm not even sure if Osborn's men will even show up, but if what Matt said was true, the meeting isn't called off just yet.

    On the lower left window, a ward spotted a black van coming and going out of view. Taking a look at a different one, it displayed the van from another angle, then all of them showing the vehicle a few seconds later. It parked right next to the entrance.

    About time.

    Forming the necessary seal on the ground, I summoned Helix. The raven jumped to my arm and turned towards me.

    "Hey there, little guy," I trailed my finger across the bird's head, then pointing at the van on one of the circles. "See this? You need to track and follow them. There are most likely two of them, don't lose either of them when they go their separate ways. Gather as much intel as you can, every single address is important if we're to find the people they captured. It's the reason where It's the reason we're even here."

    Hearing an engine coming to life, it would seem that the time is up.

    "It's up to you, Helix," I said to my bird as I peeked over the edge, catching the van driving off. "Don't let them get away!"

    Right on cue, the bird flapped its wings and launched itself forward at immense speed. While ordinary ravens by themselves are considered fast, with all the enchantments I gave my pet it shouldn't have any problems following its target.

    With the vehicle leaving the area completely, I stood up and stretched. Now that I have taken care of, all that's left for me to do is wait. They can't be that careless to show up at their hideout right away with no delivery, it would have suspicion written all over it if they did. But then again, they haven't been caught yet so there's that. At the very least, it might take a few days before the two even go there.

    Just hope that the people they're experimenting on can hold on for just a while longer.

    "The results are in, Mr. Killian! This is our best sample yet! Furthermore, all signs point to this being the perfect sample of the Extremis Project. In comparison, none of the fatal side-effects from our previous versions haven't come up, nor any indication of them appearing at all."

    "Excellent news, Maya!" Aldrich Killian clapped loudly with a wide smile. "That's what I like to hear. Finally, after all these years, we have it!"

    The businessman and scientist continued to discuss further their achievement, going along with the other numerous scientists that were accompanied by them.

    The laboratory of the A.I.M. division was mind-boggling, to say the least. Everything was state of the art, which is to be expected considering how much Killian funded the project. This wasn't in their main headquarters, rather in one of the many testing facilities they had where ordinary folk wouldn't snoop around. Sitting on top of the roof of the lab in my Astral Form, I observed the demonstration first hand and paid attention to every single word they said. Anything that can come in useful for my plan later.

    Looking back on Iron Man 3, I'll be honest, I really liked that movie. Sure, it had its flaws and problems, and the twist with the Mandarin, I can see why it didn't sit well with some fans. But considering that the "real" Mandarin is somewhere about, it would be wise to go after one at a time. My only concern would be the Vice President, but a solution for that won't be too difficult to find later on.

    For the Extremis itself, I had no idea what to do with it, not yet at least. For all its worth, it's a powerful tool that can be useful in the future, and better for it to be in my hands than in anyone else's. I was honestly lucky that I stumbled on the completed version of Extremis. While waiting for Helix to find my two worms, I decided it might be best to do some tech shopping. While I may not be too well versed with technology that can allow me to make my own gear, having some equipment was more important.

    As for the building itself, it was relatively easy to figure out the layout and its locations. I use the term "relatively easy" as when magic is added to the equation, any problem can become significantly simpler to figure out.

    Oh yeah, way easier.

    Back to the equipment I wanted to take, I think I've already completed my list. I'm not an egghead to know the full extent of the machines and how to properly utilize them, but with the help of the Astral Dimension and learning how they operate, in addition to getting more tools, later on, I'll have an easier time in that area.

    Overhearing Killian and Maya with their discussion, the man spoke how eager he was to inject himself with the Extremis as soon as possible. The procedure for this sample took place a few days ago, or maybe even more, but given how the tests were all positive, it seemed like he couldn't contain his excitement any further. Scheduling for the procedure to take place later in the evening. The scientists took the Extremis sample in a special vault down in the lab. Oh boy, did they lock it up good. It was sent deep inside the wall, but it had nothing on the other end. Just enough space around the small container. So that's where it's hiding, smart.

    Snatching it was no problem, but I decided to give them the old switcheroo. Since he plans to inject himself with the stuff, what a worse way to end yourself than by your own creation?
    Was it cruel of me to do such a thing? I would say so, and I contemplated whether or not to do the deed. I wasn't comfortable doing it but would be the "easier" route per se.

    This man is a menace. The sooner he's out of the picture, the more problems I can cross off the list as well. Nothing good will come out the longer this man is still breathing. Since something in my stomach is preventing from straight-up killing a man, this route would ease my head a bit at least.

    Going through the different rooms of the building to find the other Extremis samples, I took one at random since I don't care, or bother checking. All of the Extremis models were stored into the same metal containers, stored into different sections of the safe, allowing me to make the switch with no problem. Another idea I should consider is wiping all of the data off their servers and save a copy for myself. My reason for this is that even if Killian is out of the picture, having that data lying around for anyone to access in the company can't just be ignored. As for Maya Hansen, she was a brilliant scientist and her talents were wasted with him. Preventing her death will allow me to recruit her, and with my calculations, I would have everything I need to persuade her, while also cleaning all the research here.

    They also made an antidote for the subject that took in the Extremis. If you act quickly, you can prevent the Extremis from spreading, and if the person didn't lose any limbs during that period, they could be saved with minimal damage. It was in such small doses, the cure was inside the barrel of a needle. I took the two that were available at the time.

    Now, of course, accessing a highly secured server containing important information and research of such a chemical isn't that easy. Hacking is a different plate I couldn't even eat from. But luckily, I found out what was needed to get in. A key card for a computer, an Identification Card from either Maya or Killian and the password. By paying attention when they went on the computer, I knew the password already. Maya had a secondary key for the computer, and Killian was trickier to get. It was on him most of the time, no clear window for me to take it. The computers they had here weren't anything special, but in their main headquarters held the master computer, that's where I'm going to grab anything important.

    This is my only shot, it's now or never. Let the show begin I suppose.

    Killian took off his suit jacket in the other room near the lab. Taking the key out, I took care of any cameras that were in my area, and the other places I plan to be at. I placed several wards around key parts of the building, I have to keep tabs on a certain target. That being the only other Extremis user. Need him to be separated, then take him by surprise with the antidote. Better to get that out of the way as easy as possible.

    Going back to my body, I teleported inside the room of the main computer, which was also the server room. Before anything else, since the place was empty and no available surveillance, I needed to reinforce the door. Finding the appropriate spell, with a few hand gestures, I sent several blue chains towards the door, along with a white rectangle that fitted perfectly. I'd be a shame If anyone catches me copying the files, that is if they have luck getting through the door that is, heh.

    A little fun fact, this computer won't be turned off by a regular power outage. Once I found where the power box was, all it took was a few seconds of amplified electricity added to the mix to send the place into darkness. I already set up a small explosive at the compound's box and backup generator as well, which should have went off by now.

    Going towards the computer, I took out the two cards and placed them in their designated ports on the large keyboard. Upon doing so, the screen lit up, requesting a password to continue. Entering the necessary code, I was greeted with a massive folder containing all of A.I.M. and just as expected, there was a simple folder titled "Project Extremis" thereafter searching for a bit.

    I took out the hard drive I'd bought, connecting it to the computer, then began copying the whole folder, along with other interesting stuff.

    I looked through all the circles that my wards provided. Killian was already fuming, going into full panic mode when everything went dark. He demanded his workers to get the power back on, but it would take a couple of minutes before everything was back up. I was more focused on finding the only person who poses a threat currently.

    "There you are."

    The bald Extremis user, wearing full black attire was on the move. He was moving along the East side of the building, appearing to be going towards Killian in quite a hurry. Hmm, let's see now, how do I do this? Since he was alone, it would be a one on one which works well in my favor. Wait... where did he take a turn? Oh! I know! That was the gym, it had two entrances and it is a short cut, along with only one camera in the corner.

    Oh, well thank you for making it easier my friend.

    I prepared my two spells I planned to use right away. Counting the seconds in my head how long it would take him to enter the gym, I opened a small portal in the other corner of the room so nothing was into view. First, I dropped in a cube of electricity that retained its form a few seconds until it was dropped in, exploding across the whole room. He should feel a slight tingle, but the camera will be out of commission for a little while. Secondly, I threw out a Lumen Sphere a little further away, it still managed to blind him.

    Opening a portal behind him while he clutched his eyes, with my left hand I shot out three dark green energy tentacles and restrained him. I choose these ones because they work well against super-strength individuals.

    As I ran towards him, the tentacles shortened their length to better accommodate me, with my other hand searching through my bag for the needle. The man's neck and face started burning up, his Extremis already activating.

    The man grabbed the tentacles with some difficulty, swiftly turning to the side while trying to break the hold on him. As a result, I was lifted off my feet, flying over some of the gym equipment, landing across the other side of the room. Once my feet met the ground, I broke off the tentacles from the middle, the three retracing back to my arm as I backed off by a few steps, crouching with that same hand while my other one was behind my back, in it held the antidote inside my sleeve.

    I wasn't even a few meters away from him when I teleported in, even then he was quick to react. I need just a second for him to be immobilized to get a proper injection without breaking the needle. Right now, I was thinking about what strategy to go about.

    When his eyes finally landed on me, he stayed still, scanning me from head to toe. Not much time had passed before his neck and face started glowing, opening his mouth to let out a beam of fire from his mouth towards me.

    So that's the way we're going to do it.

    Throwing the needle back into the bag, I slammed both my hands together, two dark blue spell rings formed from behind me, shooting out two bright green beams to stop his blast, exploding as they met each other halfway. Another round was fired right after, knocking the Extremis user away.

    The blast burned through his clothes, revealing his red glowing chest while regenerating some minor damages. The man checked his chest to see numerous holes regenerating back up. Setting his sights back on me, he went for another attack, while building up energy in his arms as well. When enough was built up, he fired three beams at his target.

    Throwing in another set of hand gestures, three additional spell rings appeared one on each side and one above me. Their color changing to light blue. Shooting my hand out, each spell rings let out a blue stream along with a white outer shell surrounding it. This one is more effective against fire-based projectiles.

    As the two attacks met, my projectiles easily cut through his, hitting him across the chest a few moments after, sending him flying backwards. He smashed through multiple gym equipment and didn't stop until he slammed into a wall, destroying the shelf and leaving a nice dent in the wall. His body fell down with his head lowered.

    From this distance, I could see that whatever was left of his clothes on his upper area was completely gone. A good portion of his skin was blown off, the clothes burt while his exposed parts tried regenerating.

    As I said, effective. I stood still, better to keep my distance after all. The man attempted to stand up, but wherever his hands touched only destroyed the remaining parts of the shelf, his body still taking some time to fully regenerate. I looked up in the upper corner, then to the two exits.

    Might as well not be too cocky.

    Turning one right towards the camera, I blew it to bits with a weak beam, but it was enough. Using two of the five rings, I sent them towards the two exits, expanding in size until it covered any possible entry.
    The man was now back on his feet with his head down, barely keeping his balance. Raising his head, I could see the left side of his face growing back. As it did, he charged towards me full speed, his hands burning as he charged up his attack.

    Alright, let's get this over with.

    "What... the fuck is going on?!"

    Aldrich Killian roared across the room, hearing frightful responses from the scientists around him. One of the male scientists took in as much courage as he could muster, and began approaching his boss.

    "It-It seems that all of our power generators are having trouble going back up!" His assistant spoke, voice trembling with fear.

    "What about that sound? I could feel it from here. Where's Eric?"

    "He was last spotted going towards the gym." A female scientist spoke up.

    Killian walked towards the numerous screens, scanning through the camera feeds. Some of them being out of function completely. Finding the camera that would display the gym, only to show a static feed.

    He slammed his hand on the desk, the hit knocking out some keys off of the numerous keyboards. "Goddammit, where is he...!?"

    "We can connect back to camera B-17, give us moment sir!"

    The male scientist began furiously typing away on his keyboard. At first, there was no change on the screen. After some time, small snippets flashed across the screen, but with a ray of red that quickly disappeared. Eventually, the view of the gym became more visible, Eric standing in the farther side of the room while using Extremis. Kilian's eyes hurriedly turned to the person that Eric was firing heat-beams at. The person wore a mask and some weird outfit, but what surprised him that this person fired its own beams to counter Eric's. Before he knew it, Eric was blown away across the room, destroying anything in his way. A flash of blue then appeared, turning the screen back to static.

    "No, no, no, no, no!"

    Killian muttered, his tone increasing each time he repeated the word, slamming his open hand on the table as well. Not now, not when everything was finally ready. Why? Why now?

    This explains the power outage, the cameras not working, he was behind this. Did this person know about Extremis? If so, knowing its completion as well?

    It has to be. This was no ordinary attack. Killian couldn't even think how this scum knows about Extremis, especially how tight under wraps it was. That wasn't the issue anymore, what's important now is to eliminate this intruder.

    What a perfect time it was.

    "Is our completed Extremis still in the safe?

    "Y-Yes, sir. There was no indication that it was-"

    "Get it ready," Killian cut off the scientist, not looking away from the static feed. "I'll deal with this rat, personally."

    I dodged and blocked the attacks from the Extremis user, not letting a chance for a single projectile to strike me. Close range combat is not much of an option, so I had to keep my distance. The rings also helped to block pieces of metal that headed my way from the destroyed gym equipment, in fact, a few more of this and it won't resemble a gym at all.

    The longer his Extremis is in use, the faster his body will regenerate. I'll have to prioritize stun spells before anything else. Another attempt of charging towards me all the while shooting heat projectiles at me, I had to be quick on my feet, moving back as my spell rings flew around me to block them, then flying at him when he got close, slicing his arms off piece by piece. His limbs quickly grew back, only to be chopped off again.

    While going backwards, I prepared the spell that would slow him down. I had to be careful where I moved since only the area I marked will be of use. When the rings sliced through his arms, two of them hovered beside the sides of his head. When it was in place, it shot out thick blue beams, the temperature around us drastically decreasing. From his head down to his shoulders, his body began freezing. The Extremis tried removing all of the ice, but it took time and more heat to overpower the beams from freezing his body.

    He began walking backwards while attempting to shield himself from the cold. I flipped through the Codex and tapped the premade spell I planned to use, tapping the text when I found it.
    From the floor, dozens of green vines erupted from beneath him, piercing through his legs and went all the way to his arms, then swiftly moving up his neck to lock him in place. The vines that got cut off grew back, only becoming harder to move. Seizing the opportunity, I ran up to him while taking out the needle, finding a clear spot on the left side of his neck.

    Quickly injecting the antidote, I left the needle in its place and moved back, the vines holding on till the last second. The rings stopped any incoming attacks, firing a few of its own at the man to push him back. The longer he tried fighting back, it became more difficult for him to keep up. Compared to before, the red glow around his body started dying down. He was still able to shoot out heat beams but were greatly weaker. While his wounds still healed, it was evident the effects were wearing off.

    The man took a knee, breathing heavily, it seems the injection was doing quick work. I walked towards him, kicking him right in the head as a finisher. Now that the only Extremis soldier was taken care of, all that's left to do is to see if I can snag some equipment while I'm here.

    This being their main location for testing, it had a lot of equipment lying around. I knew some of them and their purpose already, while I was far less familiar with the other machinery, I took it anyway. Trust me when I tell you, there were a lot of them.

    While taking more and more machinery, a strange sound grew louder. On the wall to my right, a spot on the dark gray started turning red, the area growing exponentially. After a few seconds, the wall exploded, sending large pieces of rock in my direction. I had to jump back so I wouldn't get hit.
    From the smoke, a shirtless man emerged. That man being Aldrich Killian himself.

    With what fucking kind of Extremis did I switch the main one with?!

    He was barely recognizable. His body was larger than his regular size, the arms appeared to be bulkier when in Extremis form, the same going for his upper body. It had a look similar to molten rock, his own form of armor, thick lines of red all across his arms and torso, only expectation of one line trailing up to his head, all of them connected to a glowing core in his chest. Couldn't believe the change was this drastic.

    "You picked the wrong night to pay a visit." Killian taunted, a devilish smirk on his face as he took a few steps forward.

    "I think I picked a good time." I tried showing no concern but was slightly nervous. If I make a move to teleport away, he can catch up or stop me mid-way. Not from this distance at least, but I doubt I'll get enough room to do so.

    Looks like I'm stuck.

    Killian decided to act first, clasping his hand together to combine the individual beams, forming a large one because of it. Throwing my left arm out and hitting the palm of it with my other hand to activate a see-through light blue shield to cover my body. When his beams met my shield, it still felt like a massive force hit me, it was even dragging me away slightly. My arm started to shake from holding it up against this, resorting to keeping it in place with my other hand for it not to break, fighting through the pain.
    When the heat died down, I had to act fast.

    Already having my freeze spell active, I threw my arm out to shoot a pure white beam that acted similar to cold air at Killian, diverging into multiple beams to hit him all around the body.

    The side beams did prove effective at catching him off guard, with the main beam connecting to all the spots where the other ones landed. Just as his body started freezing, the Extremis kicked into overdrive, forming enough heat around his body to easily remove the ice. Using his entire body to channel a powerful enough blast, my ice beams were repelling back.

    Pulling my left hand behind my back, I dug through my bag to pull a pink crystal sphere the size of a baseball, throwing it in the middle of the two beams. When in range, the sphere absorbed mine and Killian's beams, resulting in an explosion, brown vapour beginning to spread. Turning on my heel, taking cover by a nearby desk while forming the same shield I used not a minute ago. This particular crystal, when absorbed enough force before exploding, will cause more damage to anything breathing in the area.

    Looking back at Killian, I watched as his "armor" was slowly disintegrating, along with parts of his head. With a war cry, the lines around his body began glowing brighter, the Extremis undoing all of the damage it was dealt. Fully healed up, he charged in my direction, shooting out one heat beam after another.

    Running along the field of desks, I formed a spell ring for additional protection. I had a brief window in-between attacks to properly duck and jump to not get hit. The amount of time needed to open a portal and get through the other side is too long, I don't see myself getting a clear shot. Against this Extremis variant, it's either strong or more difficult spells to even fight.

    Screw it, I'll try anyway, he'll blow up either way. Hopefully.

    In the direction of the exit, which was about fifteen meters away, I began forming a portal. Since I was running, I was very close to passing through, but with a wave of fire with Killian in the forefront heading my way that was slightly quicker, I had to abort. Jumping off to the side, I escaped the blast by just a hair. I made other attempts, even moving the portal closer, but Killian didn't stop firing. I couldn't afford to get hit. Having no room left to turn to, I used a quick spell allowing me to run up the wall.

    Killian leaped into the air, fire forming around his body, now reminiscent of a meteor. Forming the green-jaded hook, I shot it upwards at the ceiling, pulling me Even though I managed to avoid him, the whole wall started collapsing. I was quick to react, jumping to larger pieces of rock, getting down on the ground safely. The whole area around us lit up in flames.

    Seizing the moment, I flipped the pages till I found a certain enchantment. Tapping the text, my hand was covered in a white aura, bringing my hook closer. I trailed my hand over the blade, it began to take a more frozen appearance. Now mixed with white and light blue accents, along with an icy-trail how cold it got. With my weapon ready, I flung it towards Killian.

    He dodged the first throw, then I pulled it back to strike him from behind. Seeing the change of course for the chain, Killian ducked at the last second. The hook was easily flung back towards him, changing its course was a nice trick I learned. Not expecting that quick of another assault, Killian didn't retract his left arm in time, losing half his arm because of it. The wound wasn't healing because the area was covered in growing ice, resisting the increasing heat.

    Using his other arm to fire back at me, kicking the hook away. I pulled on the chain, the end of it coming into reach. Spinning the hook to create a shield with the icy-aurora on the chain itself, blocking the fire. Repositioning, I threw it again.

    It took a few tries to get close moving around the fire, but with a pull of the chain, the blade cut off his other arm. The blade's sharpness accompanied with the frozen enchantment did wonders.
    With that done, time to fight fire with fire. Actually, water with fire.

    If I can't use a portal to make my escape at the moment, nothing stopped me from gaining a boost from it. Opening a new portal on the ceiling, water immediately came flooding in. Under these circumstances, I'll need to use some amped-up control. I'll be stuck using one hand, but that will only mean he'll have it easier. The water started calming down, sprouting numerous streams from the source.

    Throwing my hand out, I sent the first stream his way. The smirk on his face vanished instantly as the stream pierced his torso and sent him across the room, leaving a dent in the wall. It wasn't hard to tell that he was caught off guard by the attack, but this is just the beginning. Another stream came beside him, not giving him a second of rest.

    He was sent upwards, stopping when he hit the ceiling, another stream hitting him before he could fall down. The same water that was around him pushed him downward faster. As his body flopped to the ground, I didn't allow him to even stand up, another wave hitting him from above. My fingers danced up and down, with each movement commanded a new stream to pummel Killian further into the ground. With each blow, it creating a larger hole. I had to resort to using the energy I saved up, but I could feel it pulling a strain on my arm.

    I was never good at psychics, so I can't properly calculate how much force was put into them. But if I were to make an assumption, I'd say each hit was like a vehicle going at full speed. As a final blow, I created two large claws that towered around ten or so meters. Controlling the claws with one hand was tricky since two individual fingers commanded only one of them. The claws slammed down at Killian, creating another explosion around him, sending the water everywhere.

    It took a while before he would get up, the ice finally disappearing, allowing his arms to grow back. Killian shot out a wave of fire, the water easily putting a stop at his attempts. Seeing as nothing would work, Killian went for a different approach. He stood in place, fire surrounding his whole body. The marls on his body shined brighter as well.

    Then, Killian charged at me, followed along with the fire that escaped his body. He was going headfirst with an all-out attack. Commanding the water, I had it circle around him until it built up, capable of holding him inside the newly formed sphere. Clasping my hands together to hold it in place, fully setting my concentration on keeping the sphere active. I could feel sweat started to form beneath my mask, the harder it becomes to hold it up the hotter he gets. At a certain point, I noticed a change in Killian's behavior. While at the start he was calm and concentrating to break free, now his body shifted all over the place, his head going back and forth while most likely screaming. The water of the sphere started boiling, steam and bubbles on the inside.

    More fire started coming out of his mouth more than anywhere else. The beam went upwards, that area being the hardest to keep intact. It's then I realized what most likely happening.
    For a split moment, I contemplated the situation I found myself in and what I was doing, but it was too late. This wasn't like before when I can quickly change my mind at the last minute, what's done is done, and I'll have to live with that decision.

    The inside of the bubble became less visible as time went on. The last thing I could see is Killian throwing his head back, more bubbles clouding the view. Suddenly, the hear beam pierced through the sphere, followed by a powerful explosion, the water lowering the intensity but it could still be felt all around. Slowly, the sphere began falling apart, a limp body dropping onto the ground with a splash.

    Approaching the burnt body of Aldrich Killian. Getting a closer inspection of the now-deceased man, I felt a bit… nauseous. There was no head attached to the body, and there was a part around the chest in the shape of a "V" no longer there, like it was cut off. The second layer of skin started falling off in chunks, but the skin was barely sticking together. It was like the last remains of a victim caught in a trap from the Saw movies.

    I had to turn away before I threw up, it truly was a gruesome sight. I feel as like this image is never going to escape my brain. Taking in several deep breaths to regain my thoughts, I knew it was time to leave, but before I can go, however, I can't forget about this.

    A quick portal to the computer, the files were copied. Taking back my hard drive, I started the process to delete everything. Looking to my side, I could hear banging on the door. No use guys, you won't get through.

    That's it, after this, I need a slight break.

    "Okay, a pinch of this should do the trick…"

    Another benefit of teleportation, in my opinion, is to get any sort of ingredient for whatever meal. I got everything necessary to make chicken noodle soup and my favorite meal of all time, classic lasagna. Being out of the loop for three months made me a little rusty, so I didn't want to make anything too difficult.

    Adding the final touches to my lasagna, I showed it into the oven, all that's left to do is wait. In an hour and twenty minutes, my first and proper meal will be ready. Three months. Three months of
    Also, I can't begin to explain how easy and beneficial it was to mix up my cooking with magic. Not time-consuming like it was before, multiple steps being done at once, oh, and above all, it was fun. Aside from numerous things flying around and making sure everything was moving smoothly, it felt great to try a different and interesting method for cooking.

    My train of thought was broken when I heard a noise coming from behind me.

    Turning around, I saw Helix tapping the glass window with its claw. Rushing towards the window, I opened it to allow my bird to enter, jumping right onto my arm. "There you are, little guy, I was worried there for a second."

    I got out a bowl and filled it with water. Enchantment or not, taking proper care of my pet comes first. I sat down on the bar table as I placed the bowl down, signaling Helix to drink as much as he wanted. He jumped at the edge of the bowl, and after about a minute, he was already finished.

    "Now then…" I snapped my fingers, a yellow sparkling circle with no image appeared next to him. "What do we have?"

    Helix got into a more comfortable position, then creating a thin line of green energy that connected to the yellow circle. It started right where I told it to follow the van a few nights ago. With a few finger twirls here and there, I increased the speed on which the footage played. At first, it showed the van dropping off the passenger before going off on its own.

    The guy in the van hid the car in a garage far away in the city. Then it was a couple of days' speed up, neither of them did anything suspicious or even go far outside their homes. So far, everyday normal life. Then, when the sun started to set, one of them went off in the city. I paused it, then rewind a few minutes and start again at normal speed. The man used his car to get to the area where he stored the van, hiding his ride in a parking garage, then walking down a few blocks to the building with the van.

    From there it was just driving around the city, but it did have a route. It reached its destination, that being... inside a fish market? Now that's a poor choice however you make it. That one stayed in there for a while, only leaving a few hours later. In the meantime, Helix went to observe the other one. He stayed in his flat but joined a few hours later by walking for a bit and going on the bus. The two men left the building at the same time but went their respective ways.

    So this might be the place, eh? Again, not what I was expecting, but still, the whole point of it is not being suspicious. Must be somewhere underground. In that case, we have to make a detour before dinner.

    After some preparations, I opened a portal to the highest building in that area. From this height, I should be in the clear and with some security stones around me. Going into my Astral Form, I floated down to the fish market that was a few blocks away. Once I got in, I searched for a way downstairs, coming across the elevator. But here's something that didn't add up, it went only one level underground and one level up into the building.

    The room underground was nothing but storage. Okay, what's the game here? I went back into the elevator and dived down further. Lo and behold, the shaft went further down. I flew back up in the elevator, trying to find a secret button, it had to be somewhere. I found it a few seconds later. On the top left corner of the small place, there was a small compartment that popped out, revealing enough space to fit a finger inside, right there being a button on the side.

    Now that I knew that, I went back down. It's significantly deep, I'll tell you that much. When I floated down to the elevator doors, I passed through them, entering a hallway. There were three paths, down in the middle, left and right. The room on the right consisted of several men sitting around, some resting while the other ate from the numerous food containers, while the one on the left was used for storage.
    Only one room left.

    Going into the last one, I phased through the two metal doors, seeing a high-end laboratory before my eyes. Compared to the other rooms, no inch of space was wasted, filled with various machines, beds with restraints, and different types of equipment. Looking around, I saw a cage that contained a couple of people. They appeared to be asleep, but I wasn't sure, but the needle marks on their arms were enough for me.


    A loud and beastly cry echoed across the laboratory. I flew further down until I reached the corner, making a sharp left. The moment the other part of the lab came into view, I saw several scientists electrocuting the blue-furred member of the X-Men himself, Beast. He appeared to be restrained from every possible angle, with some protective glass separating them. I lunged forward, getting closer towards them. Reaching the glass cage, on my left, there was another area of the lab that was further down.

    A girl, roughly about my age, with green eyes and long black hair held on the wall. She was restrained by a full-body straight jacket, along with numerous beams that unallowed her of any movement, topped off with her head strapped in place and a metal piece covering her mouth. Wait a minute… Now that I got a better look at her, she was a bit similar to how Wolverine's daughter looked like, Laura Kinney.

    The eyes, it was the eyes. Jumping back and forth across the room, not staying in place for more than a second, with the occasional muffled screams and attempt to break free. Oh yeah, now I see the resemblance more clearly. The two scientists who observed Laura walked towards the others who were experimenting on Beast. They talked about it being time for the "subjects to be injected again", but now with a more extreme substance. They already injected Beast and Laura with something to weaken them, which was evident by their behavior.

    They went to prepare the next round of experiments.

    After seeing all this, my patience quickly evaporated.

    I disposed of every single camera that was in the lab, and the ones in the hallway. I didn't care for the ones in the other rooms since I had no intention of going into them. Since I can't do much in this form, I'll have to teleport in the hallway and go from there. Going up to the elevator, I shot a beam with two fingers and cut a line leading towards the hidden button. With that done, I was sent back to my body, and upon waking up, I dug through my bag until I found a prepaid flip phone.

    Since I plan to blow up everything when I jump inside, I need two things to happen simultaneously when I bust the mutants out, these guys getting arrested and the police to rescue them to get proper help. When I called 911, I simply told them I spotted several men entering with guns at the address I gave them. Due to my mask muffling my voice, I doubt that they believed me right then and there, so I gave them a final warning, telling them it's there's no time and that they should hurry.

    I broke the phone in half and threw it off to the side, then opening a portal to the hallway. Once I was in, I conjured two sparkling vertical rectangles in each hand, pushing them out towards the doors. When they reached the end, they extended until they fit the doors perfectly. Deciding to go the stealthy approach, I created a portal to get me through to the other side. Just as I stepped through, I saw a scientist with his back turned tinkering on a machine near the cage. I created an Eldritch Whip and threw it towards him, latching on to his arm just as he turned around. I pulled him towards me, letting out a yelp as he flew closer, grabbing him by the hair when he got in range and slammed his head onto the cage. This startled the captives, covering in fear as they woke up.

    Letting the scientist drop to the ground, I shushed them softly, pleading them to be silent while I take care of the others. Before leaving them, I made a see-through shield around the cage just in case, the moment I'm gone it will disappear. Flipping through my Codex, I found what I was looking for before I turned the corner. Channeling just enough electricity I needed, I shot out several bolts at the machinery, destroying it in an instant. From there, I made sure the bolts spread across the whole area, the bolts bouncing off to anything within its reach. The whole lab slowly became darker and darker as more lights were destroyed.

    To finish the job, I created two red spell rings on each hand, nicely stacked up together. Turning the corner, I flung my arms out to shoot the first two, flicking my wrists to send the other two off to the side. The scientists that were in view got quickly wiped out, while the others that were taking cover had a few extra moments before the rings bounced off towards them.

    As I said, no need to waste time with a bunch of nitwits.

    Approaching the protective glass, the blue-furred mutant watched me as I made my way forward.

    "You alright in there, big guy?"

    I tapped onto the glass, hoping he could hear me.

    "Y-Yeah, s-somewhat," Beast answered, his tone low and weak, barely audible. I examined his restraints, there was a little room behind the glass, but numerous metal cuffs and arms holding him in place. I don't want to harm him further, so a more delicate approach is required. Only small portals would do, but that would mean I'll have to go one at a time, make multiple portals to remove each individual restraint. That's considering if I don't break the glass at all. Going that route would take longer, removing a section of the glass it is then.

    Hearing a war cry, I turned to my left to see one of the scientists running up to me with a knife. Taking two steps back just before he came into range, I grabbed the man by the wrist, squeezing hard. The knife fell moments later, a kick going to his leg to throw him on his knees, sidestepping to give him a clean punch to the face.

    Looking over to the scientist grabbing the edge of the table, pressing a button on the control center. An Eldritch Whip to the ankle and yanking him back, his jaw hit the table in the process. He groaned as he fell back on to the floor, neither he nor his friend were able to get up.

    Of course, they have to do it the hard way.

    "You know what? Give me a minute or two and I'll have you out of there, no problem," I said to him while turning towards my book, one of my hands scrolling through the Codex with an orange aura forming in my other hand. "Where is it? I know I put it in somewhere around here…" With so many bits of information to memorize, I need a reminder every now and then in case I don't lose a finger trying something out.

    Wait, found it! Let's see… oh, that's how.

    Taking a moment to re-read the text, just in case, I mingled my hands together along with the orange aura. Once its color changed to a darker tone, it was ready. I drew lines across the glass, leaving a trail behind, stopping and going in a different direction once my finger met the edge of the metal beam. The long outlined square will do its work on its own, roughly, it should be done in less than a minute.
    In the meantime, let's free the impatient killing machine that didn't stop squirming.

    "Relax, I haven't forgotten about you," I said to Laura as I walked towards the wall, receiving a muffled reply that I couldn't properly understand. Just like with Beast, I inspected her binds to see what kind of route to take.

    Firstly, I took out the few tubes that were attached to her arms, luckily there wasn't anything being injected in her body at the moment. The metal bars that held her were tight, more focus centered around her hands so her claws wouldn't be much of a use, and since the power was acting all wonky, no use in wasting time there. I took out one dagger, creating the familiar yellow energy blade. Gonna need to put more power into this one to cut it fast.

    After a few seconds of channeling my power into the blade, it changed to a dark red color. In terms of sound, before it would make a low hum, now it was more of a sizzling sound.

    The blade cut through the metal like butter. While it did effectively do the job, I had to go slowly and be precise. For my sake, and for hers, healing factor or not. I removed the ones that restrained her head, then easily removing the cloth around her head and mouth, her black hair falling out, and finally able to speak.

    "Idiot!" Laura screamed right at my face. "There are more scumbags right around the corner!"

    "Hi, it's nice to meet you too," I said cheerfully, ignoring her hostile-like tone while cutting through the other beams. "I wouldn't worry about them. They won't be a problem."

    Laura raised an eyebrow at that. "Eh, how so?"

    Just as I was about to reply, the whole lab shook. Numerous equipment falling off the tables, along with some dirt falling from the ceiling.

    Oh, did I forgot to mention, in case those doors are broken by any chance, the only way being by brute force, they'll release a massive impact to anything that's around them. They'd be better off untouched until they naturally disappear. Ops, my bad!

    "I'm guessing that answers your question?" I replied while taking care of the other beams, moving to the removing of the straightjacket, then destroying the bonds on her hands. When they were off, her claws came to life, joining in on removing the last few binds and the rest of the jacket. Once she was free, she stumbled onto the floor with a grunt, having some difficulty standing up.

    I kneeled to help her, but she was quick to hold her hand up, claiming she was fine. Whatever these guys injected her with, it seemed they paid no expense to keep her hold her at bay. Laura stood up a couple of seconds later, wobbling her way towards Beast. Her head turned to the right just before she passed the corner, that's when the sound of an explosion went off, followed along with gunfire.

    Jumping towards her, I threw us both to the ground to take cover. I knew they had a variety of weapons, so it wouldn't be too farfetched to presume they have tranquilizer guns as well. Depending on if this time around they were even willing to restrain the mutants. If it weren't for the fact that Laura was drugged, she would have escaped my grip and immediately jumped in headfirst. The shooting stopped, but I knew that would change momentarily.

    "Stay still," I said demandingly, forcing her to stay low. To my surprise, and with a grunt, she actually agreed. I slid towards the table, leaning back on the machine while taking out a black cube with silver sides called the Gravity Cube and chucking it towards them. After hearing it pop, almost every single object inside the lab flew towards the guards. It must have been difficult to aim properly with all kinds of objects flying at you.

    In the meantime, I began conjuring electricity in my hand, using my other one to tinker around with it, molding it to be more precise. This seemed to catch Laura's attention, leaning closer to watch me bend the electricity into different shapes. Now, they appeared to resemble two snakes rocking their heads back and forth.

    Peaking over the side, I quickly backtracked that decision as another array of bullets came flying in our direction.

    Waiting a bit for the firing to ease up, I sent the snakes at the closest machine that was still in function. From there, it bounced off to every other machine, draining its power, its appearance growing in size. After flying across the room, it reached the far end, all it took was a flick of the wrist to send the snakes all over the lab, numerous screams erupting at the same time.

    Since the shield was still up for the hostages, this attack won't affect them in the slightest. Looking over the machine for a second time, I was glad to see all of them on the ground.

    "Now, move!"

    Right on my signal, Laura bolted towards her friend, I followed right behind her. Reaching the glass, the marked area was no longer see-through that much, it looked like a brown smudge was all over the glass. One tap was enough to do the trick, turning the glass into sand. We went inside, Laura using her claws and me using my blade to cut the restraints. Cutting the last one, both of us grabbed hold of Beast, carrying him out of his prison.

    "How do we get out of here?" Laura asked.

    "H-Hold on, there might be more guards around…" Beast uttered. "W-We need to t-take caution."
    "I think I may have a solution for our escape."

    Still holding onto Beast, I opened a portal right in front of us. Encouraging them that it was safe, we stepped through, just in time since our hold of Beast was gone, the blue-furred falling onto his side, Laura quickly going to his aid.

    "Oh, holy Hell that took longer than it should have," I groaned while stretching my arms. "Still, at least it wasn't too messy, could have been worse."

    Just I as I turned around, Laura was already on the defensive, standing above Beast with her claws out.

    "Wait, wait, good guy here." I held my hands up, the last thing that I want is to duke it out or yell at my apartment of all places. Slowly, my hands went to my mask, carefully removing it. "See? A friendly face, totally non-threatening."

    Laura's eyebrows furrowed at that, it took Beast pulling her arm to lower her guard. "It's alright, we should be safe now."

    "Okay, good. Now that we're a little calm, I was about to-"

    A knock could be heard. Lifting my sleeve and tapping the marked area, a circle with the image of the hallway of my floor appearing, showing Christine standing right at the other side of the door.

    "Give me a break…"

    I rushed to the couch to place my mask on there, asking Laura to sit down, and with Beast's help, she obliged. "Just a second!" I yelled back. Lucky for me, I learned the perfect trick to get myself out of this jam. In my right hand, a lime green aura appeared. Twisting it around, it turned into a long ribbon. Walking around the couch, I held the ribbon in the air, the aura falling down to the floor as I was making a full circle around the piece of furniture. The area around them becoming blurry for a brief moment, then it disappeared.

    "Don't make a sound."

    I warned the two, receiving a nod from Beast. Going towards in a bit of a hurry, I did a spin while walking, clapping my hands twice. Once the second clap went off, my attire morphed into a simpler pair of clothes consisting of gray track pants and a dark blue t-shirt with a palm tree on it. My hand found the handle, opening the door casually.

    "Oh, good evening, Christine," I greeted the old lady with a smile. "It's awfully late, is something up?"

    "Hello, Marcus," The old lady greeted me with a smile, but her face quickly turned more serious. "I'm terribly sorry to disturb you, dear, but… I heard a loud noise. It sounded like it came on the floor above me."

    "Is that so?" I hummed, pausing for a second. "I did hear a loud thud as well. Sounded like a bookshelf came crashing down."

    "Would you mind if I step in for a moment, just to be sure."

    I took a few steps back to fully open the door, allowing Christine to enter. "Please, by all means."

    The elderly woman entered the apartment. Checking my main bedroom, then the spare, followed by everywhere else.

    "Again, I'm sorry for just dropping in all of a sudden. You see, the last tenant… wasn't exactly the kindest of people I've met in my lifetime. I mean, how you can make a ruckus seven days a week, with the noise being so loud it reached all the way to the fourth floor, disturbing more than half of the people in the building is beyond me. As a matter of fact, what possesses you to throw out a perfectly good television through the bloody window?"

    While I listened closely to the woman's words and paid attention to her movements, for the sake of being polite, my eyes couldn't stop jumping towards the couch, Christine completely oblivious of the two guests sitting on it. As long as the two don't make a sound, I knew I was golden. Laura and Beast watched as Christine walked around the place, every now and then their eyes switched to me, all the while a smile was plastered on my face.

    I couldn't tell, was I nervous or was brilliant for thinking of this? I think it might be a little bit of both. Just keep breathing through the nose, keep the poker face up.

    "Guess I was wrong," Christine said with a sorrow look. "Sorry that you have to deal with this old hag snooping around."

    "Given how much trouble that fellow has done, I can't blame you for being suspicious of future tenants," I said as I walked closer towards. "Besides, I haven't lived here that long, and given the circumstances, I might have done the same thing if I were you. Can never be too careful these days."

    "Thank you so much for understanding, dear," Christine spoke sincerely. "I'll think twice next time if I hear something."

    I said goodbye to Christine and walked her out. Going back towards the two mutants, I snapped my fingers, the area that was invisible turned gray briefly before vanishing with a pop.

    "Well, with that out of the way, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ethan Chester, and welcome to my humble abode."

    "She called you Marcus just now..." Laura's face hardened. "Makes me think you're lying."
    "Yeah, well, that elderly woman lives down the floor beneath me with her husband, great man as well. I thought it would be fair to spare the old couple from my shenanigans and everything that follows. To her, I'm just your simple tenant."

    "So? Just a fake name doesn't mean the bastards who have a grudge against won't find where you live." Laura argued back.

    I simply chuckled at that. Not to be rude or brag, but in the security department, I think I'm more than covered. "I reassure you that will not happen. Wherever I go, wherever I move, I'm like a ghost. No evidence, no witnesses, no trace. I wouldn't worry all that much in that category."

    Laura wanted to argue further, but Beast groaned in pain, our attention turning towards him. His hand clutched his chest, barely holding on from falling off the couch.

    "Hold him, I think I got something that can help."

    I looked straight into Laura's eyes as I sat down on the couch. She still wouldn't light up so easily, and to a certain degree, I couldn't blame her how everything unfolded so fast. But one look to her friend was enough to leave her without much of a choice.

    "What are you going to do?"

    I scrolled through the pages of the Book of Yatik, this one containing a variety of spells used for the body. I was looking for two particular spells that I would need to execute this.

    Keep in mind, this isn't technically considered full healing. Repair some wounds, and minor accidents sure, but full-on restoring cells and body parts are still worlds beyond my expertise. I made it a habit of studying for ways to properly treat myself if the need ever arrives, and will take a long while before I get to that.

    When I found the spells I was looking for, I was good to go. I made sure to precisely read the instructions for the second one.

    Firstly, I took one of his oversized hands and turned it over. After doing the necessary gestures, in my hand, a small piece of a green energy cloth appeared, then wrapping it around his wrist. Once on, the cloth grew in size and covered more parts of his wrist.

    "The first one, you see, will scan his body for anything that shouldn't belong there," I began explaining to her while we waited for it to finish. "It works in a way, when put on someone, will recognize any drugs, damages, anything that wouldn't be in somebody's system. It works on any living creature since it can adapt to pretty much anything, immediately finding anything that's harming the user. With you and your friend being mutants, it shouldn't work any differently than if I were to use it."

    "So you know what we are, huh?"

    "First time meeting some as well. But knowledge about your kind is few and far between. Thought it might be best if I keep it that way for the time being. Speaking of which, how did you two end up with those nut jobs anyway?"

    "It's kind of... complicated." Laura said slowly.

    "Another time I guess, right now, have to move onto the second part."

    I went back to treating Beast. The cloth shrunk back to its original size, removing it and placing it on the open page of the book. The bottom left of the right page had a marked area on it, used for identifying whatever the cloth picked up. Beside it, letters began forming, stopping when two words fully formed, but were in a different language. In certain cases, some things associated with Magic will have to be translated or deciphered, but since I already studied this particular subject, there wouldn't be much of an issue. I could read and make out a general understanding, but fully forming a sentence and using them not so much. It appeared to be a type of sedative.

    "You still with us?" I asked the blue-furred mutant, receiving a weak nod in the process. "What I'm about to do next might be a bit unpleasant, but nonetheless should make you feel better afterwards. Also, don't close your mouth once I begin."


    Beast gave the green light, meaning we can continue. Closing my left fist, I placed my other opened hand on top of it, squeezing it a bit. Opening my fist, a small light blue orb stood in the middle, using my index and middle finger to expand its size, now a little smaller than a soccer ball.

    Asking for the mutant to lean back and to open his mouth, I placed the orb close to the entrance. Inside the orb, two strings appeared, slowly growing in size. The strings went out of the sphere, entering Beast's mouth. Beast clenched his fists, trying hard to ignore the uncomfortable sensation. Over time, drops of a purple liquid traveled along the string, being transferred into the blue orb. The longer the procedure took, the more of it was built up.

    "By the way, I never caught your name."

    "It's Laura, Laura Kinney."

    "A pleasure to meet you then, Laura."

    Within about twenty seconds, we will be finished. The last bits of the liquid was leaving his body and should repair whatever side effects he may have experienced. It doesn't fully clean you, but after some rest, you're good as new. When done, the strings retraced themselves back into the orb, vanishing when the full length was in. Beast coughed several times when he was finally able to move.

    "T-That's an interesting way to remove a sedative from a patient," Beast said in-between coughs. When he composed himself a little bit, he was able to speak more clearly. "In all my years involved with medicine, I never have seen something quite like this."

    "Bit of an unorthodox method, but it does get the job done," I said, holding the sphere in both hands, summoning a blaze of fire inside it, not a drop was left when the fire appeared a few moments ago. "Makes a good incinerator as well."

    The mutant extended his large hand, "Hank McCoy, happy to meet your acquaintance," I accepted his handshake, trying to match his grip. "Thank you for rescuing us."

    "Likewise, and please, don't mention it," I then turned to Laura. "Your turn. I'm guessing they must have used something stronger to keep you down."

    "No need," Laura held up her hand. "My immune system is stronger than his. They had to use four times as much to even affect me, even then they had to regularly inject me every few hours before it wears off. Drugs such as these do very little to me."

    "You sure? Never hurts to double-check, you kn-"

    "I'm fine."

    Not going to get anywhere with her on this one it seems. I stood up and made my way to the kitchen. "Anyone up for some dinner?"

    Since I already prepared soup and lasagna for myself, might as well offer it to them. Who knows when they last ate a proper meal? When I went to the kitchen to heat up the soup, I checked up on my lasagna that was still in the oven. I couldn't hide the grin that began forming on my face, just a few minutes to spare. I consider that perfect timing.

    "Just a little heads up, I haven't cooked in a while, so bear with me if the food is a little off."
    While preparing the food, the atmosphere turned silent. Well, they were the ones being quiet, and I couldn't blame them. With everything that's happened, it's not easy to open a conversation with a person you just met, ignoring the fact that the same person also saved them from captivity.

    Oh yeah, it's going to be an interesting dinner conversation for sure.

    Once the food was done, a simple spell to levitate several plates, the pot, and the plate with the lasagna. Setting two plates on top of one another, the first being for the soup and the second for the main meal. For the soup, I tapped my wrist to freely manipulate the liquid from the pot to fill our plates equally. As for the utensils, a few quick one-hand gestures to open the drawer and deliver what was needed to the table. Before I sat down, I gestured to them to join me.

    "It's chicken soup," I said while sitting down, taking the spoon and waited for them before I began eating. Luckily, the chair supported Beast's weight. "Pretty basic, I know. But it's a favorite of mine."

    The soup was just the right temperature, no need to wait for it to cool down. Taking a spoon full, I leaned down for the taste test.

    "Hmm, it's missing something, but what?"

    I tried thinking of the answer, but my mind was blank. Staring down at the bowl, I pondered what was needed. But then it hit me.


    With a few gestures, the cabinet opened and the pepper flew towards me. I grabbed it
    Then doing another taste test…

    "Perfect..." I said lowly, beyond satisfied that I could taste that homemade food I loved so much after so long. God, I'd pay anything to let them know I was alright. To a certain degree, that is.

    Beast and Laura sat down, took their respective spoons, and joined me. After taking just two spoonfuls, a growing sound of slurping, and the smashing of metal on the ceramic plate became louder. Opening my mouth to take another spoonful, I stopped the moment my eyes landed on the other side of the table.

    Laura was eating insanely fast, which may even be considered an understatement. While we barely began eating our soup, she was almost fully done. Because of that, she was totally oblivious that Beast and I were watching her.


    Beast whispered, nudging her slightly. Looking at him with a confused expression, she turned to me. Then I realized my mouth was still open and with a look that might indicate disgust.

    She turned her face away in embarrassment. I couldn't contain myself from chuckling a little. It was cute seeing her react this way, but as I said, they were starving. Can't blame the girl for wanting to satisfy that need. Not that I really minded, either way, it was nice to have some company rather than always being alone.

    "Please, it's no trouble," I said while commanding the liquid from the pot to refill the plate. "I was in the same position as you two not that long ago, so I know what it's like. If you need anything else, feel free to ask me."

    Laura looked down at her plate, staying still for a short while. She began eating, but this time, at a much slower pace to match with Beast and me. After we finished the soup, we moved on to the main dish.

    Another useful trick is to enlarge the food, so a third of the lasagna became the same size as a regular portion.

    "The meal was excellent, Mr. Chester," Hank praised as he whipped his mouth. "Thank you so much for your hospitality."

    I simply raised my hand slightly with a smile. "Please, Ethan is just fine, doesn't make me sound too old. I'm surprised myself, really. After a three month hiatus from cooking, I was just hoping I don't poison myself. I'm just glad I'm back to cooking my own food, a really enjoyable hobby of mine to pass the time," I said before stopping to take a sip of my drink. "Now that we're more rested and fed, I was hoping if you would tell me how would mutants such as yourselves get caught by those guys?"

    "If you wouldn't mind, we were hoping if you would tell us how you managed to find us."

    "And how much do you know about mutants?" Laura added.

    Mental note, mutants are still a big secret in this world. Regular people don't even know of their existence and kept in the dark, while the government we're most likely doing something about them, interesting. "Well, you see, my job description basically requires me to know about anything that's going on in the world, anything that might be considered out of the ordinary. That includes tracking down morons if they are up to no good. A... associate of mine gave me a few good tips on finding these guys, took care of them, and found the real culprits who bought you from them. I was shocked to find out how many people they captured, even more, that they had mutants as well. I actually found out about these scientists, not more than thirty minutes ago."

    "But how did you even find out exactly where we were?" Hank asked. "Our friend also has the ability to teleport, but for that, you need to have an idea of the general location. We were most likely underground, judging by the layout and how the lab appeared overall. By the way, what you did just now, tell me, are you telekinetic?"

    "I have a few tricks up my sleeve for that, it being magic," I said while waving my hand, a small gust of wind appearing on every single plate and the pot, fully cleaning within seconds. "This may come as a shock, or maybe not, but magic, real magic, exists. I'd go into more detail about it, but I can get rather confusing at times. I have a plethora of ways of using it to my advantage for any situation. It wasn't difficult getting into the lab, however, it did take a while to track them down without myself getting into trouble. Even with support, those guys weren't difficult to defeat them."

    "What about those guys that captured us?" Laura asked.

    "I beat about a dozen of them and got the answers from their boss."

    "...by yourself?"

    "In their defense, they were pretty stupid and didn't know what they were going up against," I merely shrugged. I wasn't entirely lying either. "As for mutants, I did hear a bit about them, but you two are the first I've actually met. I am aware that there are numerous groups of them, because of something called the X-Gene that triggers at some point in their lives. Since they are kept out of the public eye, getting you two out first was more preferable."

    "It wasn't supposed to end up as it did..." Hank began. "A simple recon assignment, nothing more, wouldn't need more than Laura and myself. When we got there, everything appeared empty, that's then when they ambushed us. We managed to take out two of them before they switched their weapons, their intent to capture us. Escaping was far too difficult, and being outnumbered, they landed several good shots on us. Unfortunately, I fell first. Laura tried to fight them off, but was overwhelmed from every direction. The next thing I remember is waking up in the lab with a shock."

    "Interesting, but I may have found out the person responsible for this," I stated. "That being Norman Osborn."

    Out of the two, Hank was the only one surprised. "Osborn? The businessmen? He's the one behind this?"

    "That's the name that came when doing some more digging. He does have the power to finance that, and it's obvious he's doing experiments on living subjects. Considering it's him, it's not far-fetched either. Was he the one to lure you there? Not sure, but there exists a possibility."

    "True. Given his status, he does seem capable of doing it," Hank agreed. "Even so, there is little chance that he will likely ever be stopped. He is bound to have connections to get him out of anything surfaces."

    "I put a pin on that, when I get more dirt on the man, and can make up a solid plan, I'll see to it these little operations of his are dead in the water, or anything else involving his shady work. But please, tell me something about yourselves. I summed up everything about me."

    "Since you do seem to have knowledge about mutants, and you did save us from that prison, I feel it is alright to tell you," Hank said. "Laura and I are a part of a school, you see. A school dedicated to students who are... different. It isn't very public, only when a person's X-Gene is developed that changes start to happen. Some may see a physical appearance while others develop on the inside. Tell me, do you know who Charles Xavier is by any chance?"

    "Ah, yes, Professor Charles Xavier. Yeah, I do know about him," I said trying to seem like "Brilliant, that man. I did read some of his other work, what was available that is."

    I'm not going to lie, whether anyone agrees with me or not, but Charles Xavier was a brilliant man. He did have plenty of impressive feats, and his mind did get him out of some tricky situations. But as much as I admire the man, my caution of him was most likely double than that. I can't trust my mind on its own when around him since I couldn't even tell if those memories involving him were even real. I'm going to take some measures when meeting him for sure.

    "He is the owner of the school I mentioned. He sees to it that every mutant has a home to turn to. It's his life's work. He tends to avoid the subject on public outings, more focused on other tasks, on the more political side of things. Besides, ordinary people aren't this, how should I put it, "accepting" of our kind, let alone to be invited into their own home."

    "I can assure you, I'm anything but ordinary," I said with a slight grin. "Besides, I don't look at mutants in that way."

    "And how do you look at them?" Laura spoke up after being quiet for a while.

    "I can't judge people on something they didn't have a choice on," I told them. "From my understanding, the X-Gene can be triggered at any point, maybe it can happen tomorrow or maybe never. Before that, they would be like any other human, completely normal. It just isn't in me to judge someone on their appearance, I judge a person by their character. It's just in my nature. To me, it means very little as I see everyone as equals.

    Laura and Hank stayed silent after my proclamation. After I finished, I realized how foreign it might have sounded to them. Considering mutants were inspired by real-life events, not to mention how they were treated, they most likely never heard of such a normal and natural response. It may be that simple to me, but it was sickening how different views were the solar opposite.

    "We should rest now, I'm sure you two could use it about now," I rose from my seat. "Tomorrow we'll talk, how we're going to get back to your place."

    Disposing of the dishes didn't take long, that's where we talked about sleeping arrangements. Since Hank was more than happy to take the couch, I offered Laura the guest room and the bathroom if she wanted to take a shower, which she accepted. I told them to just knock on my door if they need anything before wishing them goodnight.

    Before I go to bed, I'm going to make something really quick, a tool that will come useful for tomorrow. So we're meeting the X-Men soon. I'm curious about what kind of group this will be since you can never know with comics. I may have spent very little time with Laura and Beast, but there appears nothing bad about them. I don't want to be quick to judge, but I'll hope that's the case either way.

    A simple meet for the first time, surely, nothing can go wrong. Can it?
    And that's Chapter 5. Sorry for the ones who thought this one might be too long. Was debating whether or not to cut some stuff, but I liked it the way as it is. I had more time to flesh out conversations with our Main Character so I hope it worked. To flesh out his character a little bit more.

    The fight with Killian was fun and bit of a twist. Surely, they had countless attempts at Extremis and who can say some had different side effects.

    So, we've finally met our first mutants. I won't give too much away, but the next one is going to be a treat. Which reminds me, anyone who likes the X-Men and wanted to see them in the MCU, if you have any suggestions please let me known. Can be anything, roster, point in time of the timeline, or ideas where to take them forward. Plan on having them be a huge part later on.

    That aside, this one was intriguing to write since I wanted to show off Ethan's quick thinking of using different spells for the given situation. Feel I didn't go overboard, so I don't need to overthink there. A steady pace of learning new tricks and improving the already known ones.
    That's it for now, until next time, cya and stay safe!

    [Also note, if anyone spots mistakes or sentences ending abruptly, let me know. Possible that my word file is bugged.]
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  23. Bidan

    Bidan Getting some practice in, huh?

    Feb 27, 2018
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    Nice chapter. The only problem I have is with the fight against the extremis soldier. It feel artificial. He could just have made a portal closer to him restrain him and inject him with the cure. Maybe a shorter fight. I don' t know, it just feels too long considering all the advantages the MC has. With portals, teleportation and astral form he should act more like a stealth rogue than an artillery mage.
  24. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
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    Thats completly fair, I'll just leave my thoughts on why the fight played out like it did. While he does have a good amount of advantages, with various forms of spells, I feel like the reasoning the fight took so long is that he is yet to get into the groove of quick thinking when in an actuall fight. He plays it somewhat passive early on to see the full extent of his opponent and what to do. The second reason, I'll be honest, was an excuse to see how much and what kind of damage he does, testing his more destructive guns at first glance. Might have been too long on my part, only hope the fight with Killian delivered since it was a totally different Extremis with different effects to Killian.
  25. Pez

    Pez Spaceman

    Jul 22, 2020
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    I don't know a whole lot about Marvel comics, but didn't they make hatred of mutans an alien (Skrull?) virus? Or was that fanon? I hope that's not a thing, here. I suspect it wouldn't be, since this is MCU-verse.

    Good luck dealing with Hydra.
  26. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
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    I know there exists a virus where a mutant can be weakened when affected, so I'm not sure if what you mentioned exists or not. If it does, don't plan on using such an ass pull, seems to easy otherwise. This is the MCU-Verse but comic story-lines will be incorporated within time.

    Hydra will be a fun experience, they won't know who or what hit them.
  27. HelloThereItsMeGeralt

    HelloThereItsMeGeralt Know what you're doing yet?

    Feb 21, 2020
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    You are right. But it always felt too much like an asspull from the writers. In comics, they could have equated it with typical race-supremacists present IRL exaggerated due to powers. And it is not like mutants do not screw up at all.
  28. CmirDarthanna

    CmirDarthanna Experienced.

    Nov 25, 2018
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    No sleeping spells? SEP fields? Invisibility? You're a mage not a brawler.
  29. Darwin-18

    Darwin-18 Making the rounds.

    Jun 13, 2020
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    Been thinking about that, and didn't fit that kind of style I wanted to go for, at the time of writing this. I'll be honest, I wanted to go with a Mage-Brawler type than the same old backline mage. I'd find id boring otherwise. Its his steeping stones to become a better magic user in the long run.
    CmirDarthanna likes this.
  30. CmirDarthanna

    CmirDarthanna Experienced.

    Nov 25, 2018
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    If he put everyone to sleep he wouldn't have been in danger or let the enemy know what he's capable of.

    There's nothing wrong with fighting, it's just an unnecessary risk when he had the option not to.