- The Descendants 96 – Kill Hope
- The Descendants 97 – Heir of Hyrilius
- The Descendants 98 – The Precocious Prodigy
- The Descendants 99 – Huddled Masses
- The Descendants 100 – Paradigm Shift
- The Descendants 101 – The Battle of Freeland House
- Descendants Special #9 – Outted
- The Descendants 102 – Tales of Consequence
- The Descendants 103 – VIRAL
- The Descendants 104 – Hardcore Fans
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 01
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 02
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 03
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 04
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 05
- Descendants #106 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 06
In the moment that the yellow gem became active, it helped—at least from Lisa’s mind—to see Warrick forming his tower shield to interpose himself between it and Cyn.
Her mission, no matter how much she wanted to focus on protecting her friends, was to protect the world first. If the thing from another world or someone under its sway got out into the larger world, it could be an apocalyptic event like Cyn described nearly happened to Device World.
And so, putting her faith in Warrick’s metallurgical might, she turned, leveling her staff at the mirror gate. “Hacerse pequeno.” She said roughly. It was a spell she rarely had to cast with any sort of urgency as it was usually a means of preparing for patrol by shrinking her staff to the size of a keychain bauble. Now, blue-white light splashed like water from the end of the staff to wash over the stately antique mirror.
The light caught on the edges, outlining it like someone was sketching out is image with glowing colored pencil. Then with a whipcrack sound, both glowing outline and mirror rapidly shrank until it was the size of something one would find in a dollhouse—too small for anyone to pass through.
Lisa only took the time necessary to assure herself the spell was in place before moving on to her next task and stamping the butt of her staff into the floor and concentrating on the tower. Grown from the tower seed Morganna once tried to use to co-opt local leylines, the tower was as much if not more of a magical construct than the walls and globes of force she conjured. Except for the furniture and magical reagents she and Kay moved in after its creation and anchoring in Alaska, everything about it was a series of spells generated and controlled by the seed which in turn she commanded with her staff.
At the speed of thought, she altered the tower’s geometry and every door in the tower ceased to exist. There had never been a door to the outside, but now all access to the other rooms of the tower—especially the resting places of the Books of Reason and Tranquility – was cut off, leaving the three of them sealed into a single room with the Entity.
Now she turned back to her friends, staff up, spells already on her lips.
But what she found was not the yellow gem or Warrick defending with his shield, or Cyn. Instead, there was a cloud of rolling yellow… something. It moved like a gas; like dry ice fog coming out of a punch bowl; but it glowed as if every droplet within as emitting its own light, and twisted in on itself with no hint of a breeze or draft to make it move.
The sound of Kay and Laurel’s voice were distant as panic gripped her. Had two of her best friends been disintegrated by what she’d been hoping was a safe experiment? Could she—should she have done something else to prevent this? Was it even too late?
That last thought won out. She was a superhero. She’d fought and beaten the odds. Standing by and not at least trying to fix things wasn’t in her nature anymore. The staff snapped out level in front of her, a counterspell against invasive magics surging to the fore. “Rechaz—”
She didn’t finish because at that moment, the veil of yellow gas was torn away, dispersing as if the force of a hurricane had struck it. Beneath it, for a brief moment was a chaotic jumble of not gold, but silver-white. And not gas, but something more substantial. Lisa couldn’t figure out what shape it was meant to be; nothing but a mess of organic lines that coiled around, mashed against, and intersected each other.
Then whatever it was lost what little cohesion it must have had and collapsed, falling to the floor in a puddle of quicksilver.
Silence fell over the lab as shock struck not only Lisa, but the two communicating remotely.
Warrick and Cyn were… gone. The Yellow World entity was similarly missing.
Lisa’s breath hitched and she swung her staff around at sudden motion out of the corner of her eye.
The Manikin didn’t even seem to notice her reaction as it peered at the liquid metal ooze on the floor. She’d completely forgotten it was there in the tower.
“Cyn?” Laurel’s voice suddenly cut through the quiet. “Warrick? Lisa?” On the screen she was leaning forward and looking down, no doubt at the screen before her. It was clear that she was trying to keep her voice steady and not to panic. “We lost the visual feed. There was a yellow flash.”
“Guys?” Kay added. “Please say something? You got about five seconds before I drop the tower into the astral.”
Suddenly remembering the safety protocol, Lisa snapped out of her shock. “I-I don’t know. Things… it activated and War and Cyn…”
She might have said more, but the puddle she and the Manikin were looking at rippled and then bubbled, making a gurgle that if she wasn’t sure her ears were playing tricks might have sounded like ‘what?’.
“Warrick and Cyn, what?” Kay asked, not nearly as skilled at keeping it together as Laurel. “What going on with Warrick and Cyn?”
Lisa couldn’t answer because the puddle started to thrash like a man panicking after falling through the ice. Shapes started to form. Sometimes they looked like flippers, sometimes they became hands or whole arms. Then a face started to form; something that could only be generously described as human but which actually more resembled a Halloween mask; shapeless except for the hollows of eyes and a gaping mouth.
Biting back a scream, Lisa took a step forward and swung her staff at the thing, activating a spell on it that multiplied the force out exponentially.
To her shock and horror, more of the silvery ooze rose up between the face and her staff. As the weapon’s head rebounded off the newly extruded mass, she recognized the form it had taken: a tower shield.
“Lisa, what’s going on? Tell us something,” ordered Laurel. “What’s going on?”
The puddle started to constrict in on itself, gaining more definition as a central body rose out of itself, slowly becoming more humanoid in form while still holding the shield out in front of itself. “That’s what I’d like to know!” Its voice, even in the span of such a short sentence, slowly went from unpleasantly liquid to something smoother.
“Yeah,” the same voice added. “What happened? And whoa… this is not right.” It lowered the shield, for the first time giving Lisa a good look at its fully defined form.
Standing just under six feet tall, the liquid metal creature had a curvy, feminine physique with sculpted muscles especially in the arms, legs and abs. Atop its head, the metal darkened, giving the impression of long ebon locks that flowed down past its shoulders in a mane worthy of Godiva—and serving much the same purpose at the moment.
The face… Lisa didn’t recognize it for a long while as she stared at the creature. There was something familiar about the oval face, the pointed chin, the strong nose and the shape of the eyes but not all of the together.
The shield started to lose definition, receding back into the creature’s body as it stopped focusing on its defense and rather on its confusion. It looked to Lisa with eyes that contrasted just enough in coloration to mimic iris and pupil. “Lis?” It waved a hand in her face. “Hello? Care to explain?” It looked around nervously, “And where is Warrick?”
“Right here.” It replied immediately to its question. “Something’s going on with me. I’m covered in some kind of metal I can’t sense out and…” It looked down at itself. “And that’s not all. Lisa, what is this?!”
It seemed to speak over itself after saying ‘right here’. “What do you mean right here? You sound like you’re coming?” It paused upon looking at itself. “Gah!” Its form shifted and for a second, Lisa saw it become the spitting image of Cyn if she’d been silver plated. This didn’t last long and the being snapped back to what was apparently its primary form. “What the…? I can’t stay in my shape? I can’t change color?” Panic filled its features as it grabbed at its body as if trying to mold itself by hand.
“Cyn?” Laurel called over the comm. “Is that you? Is everything alright?” Even a genius was sometimes the victim of asking the obviously stupid question in moments when it was most certainly not alright.
“Holy shit… Hold on, Cyn,” it said trying to look both down at itself and at Lisa at the same time.
“What?! Can’t you see I’m freaking out here? My powers are—”
“Cyn!” The being seemed to steady itself. “Look straight ahead. Is Lisa like two feet away from you looking straight at you right now?”
There was a pause as the creature—who Lisa had an uneasy guess as to who it was a this point—looked at the sorceress warily. “Yeah? And?”
Its right hand lifted, palm out toward the ceiling. “And did you just raise your right hand?”
“I don’t know why,” it replied to itself in trepidation, “But yeah.”
The being drew in a long breath, making a strange sound somewhere between a flute and a small French horn. “Okay. So I would say don’t freak out, but there is so much reason to freak out here. So don’t go nuts at least.”
“I know, but this is so weird it’s not even on my list.”
If she needed it, now Lisa had confirmation of who at least part of the entity was. Over the previous winter break, Warrick and JC had started writing up what was informally called the ‘Serious Comic Book Shit’ Protocols. They were a loose set of rules based on prior events that tried to predict and provide helpful tips for events in their lives that tracked close enough to actual comic book plots that knowledge of the relevant tropes might actually be helpful.
Such events included an ally becoming brainwashed, being trapped in a dream, body swaps, being turned into a frog (both with and without your powers intact), fears and or nightmares becoming real, children from the future showing up, and various forms of being sent to another world (as that had already happened twice).
“So here’s the deal: Lisa is right in front of me, and I just raised my hand. Only I don’t think it’s just my hand anymore. I think it’s ours. Like we’re sharing a body,” The being wiggled its fingers, then their entire hand shifted into the form of a hand mirror. “And from the looks of it, powers. Or like… combined powers. Like what you mentioned happened on Device World.”
Their jaw worked for a moment before they spat, “Warpstar. Son of a bitch, we combined to the power of two. I’m a total idiot!” They slapped themselves on the forehead. “Okay, let’s fix this then.” Thrusting both arms into the air, they said, “Decombine by the power of two!”
“Cyn? I don’t think it works that way.” They lowered their arms and their head.
“I know. But what else are we supposed to do?” They looked toward the monitors. “Hey did you guys get all that? Any ideas on fixing this?”
Kay was making a face when her opinion was asked for. “I dunno. If this is a Warpstar thing, how did he end his power stealing thing? Maybe you need to do that.”
Laurel frowned and shook her head. “We’ve never seen him power down, though he has changed out his powers by stealing a new one mid-fight. My working hypothesis is that he has a time limit, or that use tires him out. We may just have to wait it out.”
“But in the meantime, how about we keep trying in case there’s no time limit?” presumably Cyn asked, pleadingly.
“Of course. We’re going to try everything,” said Laurel. “Lisa, what about a counterspell?”
Trying to recover from the bizarre revelation as well as the others had, Lisa nodded resolutely and took a step back to give herself some room to point her staff. “Not a bad idea. Rechazo!” A volley of lavender-colored rings of light sprung from the head of the staff, only to pass through the combined Warrick and Cyn without reaction.
“Or this may take some work. And research,” she said sheepishly. “But don’t worry guys, we’ll figure this out. We’ve got the Heir of Hyrilius, one of the smartest women in the world, and a certified magic genius on the case.”
The combined entity frowned. “Maybe we can just like, separate physically. War: you go left, I’ll got right. On three: one, two, three!” They vibrated in place for a second, before the silvery substance of the body began to stretch as if gigantic hands were pulling them in half. After a second, there was a “Gah!” in stereo and the body snapped back together and dropped to a knee.
“Okay. Let us never try that again,” they groaned.
“Agreed. But we can’t just stay like this. I miss being in color and also clothes. I miss my perfect, petit body—you’ve got a lot to answer for with these by the way, War.” They cupped their chest.
“What? How is that my fault?”
“Cause you’re a guy, duh.”
“But I don’t even… you know what? This totally isn’t either of our faults. It’s probably a combined genetics thing. Women on my dad’s side are a little more… built. So combined us probably looks like what our kid would look like if we had one.”
Still kneeling, they covered their hands with their face. “Oh god. We must never let this get out to the public. The shippers would never stop after that.” After a moment, they moved their hands enough to observe them. “By the way? What they hell are we made of anyway?”
They shrugged. “I dunno. My metal sense isn’t working. Just going by properties, I’d say we’re not mercury because we’re able to stay solid when we want and also given our mass, Lisa wouldn’t be feeling so good given how toxic it is. So maybe gallium? Color’s about right. As is the liquid metal thing. Not that that helps us get turned back to normal.”
“Actually,” said Laurel. She was looking at another screen as she typed furiously, “Your metal sense not working and Cyn saying she can’t change color makes me wonder: how did this alter your powers? If we can control this combining ability, and use it to achieve new power sets… this could be the advantage we’re looking for.”
They tilted their head, an odd expression as they (or one of them) considered, “Testing it out would take our mind off things while the others figure out what to do next. Plus, if we’re going to end up like this for more than a little while, we might need to use it. What do you say?”
“I say there better not be any ‘more than a little while’. I’ve got so much stuff going on right now and losing my shifting is not helping.”
“Hey. I’m here for you. In pretty much the most literal way possible.” They winced. “It wasn’t meant to be a joke, I promise. I know how much you’re dealing with and I’d never…”
“Hold on.” Presumably Cyn said rapidly, cutting him off and drawing everyone’s attention.
“I think this just got a billion times worse,” slowly, they stood, brushing their ‘hair’ out of their face. They then moved to lean on the table that still held the open containment vessel. “Warrick? You know that part where I wondered how you could be joking at a time like this?”
“Yeah, and you called me a prick, which was a little harsh but…”
“Have I ever called you a prick or any other name before?”
There was a long beat. “No?”
“And I still haven’t” they said slowly, “Because I didn’t say that part. I only thought it.”
To Be Cotinued…