Issue #31: It Came From a Warped Star

This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series The Descendants Vol 3: A Bright, Bright Summer

Part 5

With the sound of tortured metal, the animated steel bars snaked out toward Occult while Warpstar sent his own transformed limbs in Facsimile’s direction. The pick-hand went high, crashing into the wall behind her, throwing dust up in its wake; all the better to obscure the spear headed for Facsimile’s chest.

“Levanto esta pared!” Occult protected herself with her trademark wall and made it press forward to ward the questing weapons away.

At the same time, Isp and Osp double teamed Warpstar’s spear-hand, driving it into the ground before it could reach Facsimile. They had no time to react when that same hand curled around them and held them in a death grip.

“It’s useless.” Warpstar said. He whipped his arm like an out of control fire hose, yanking Alloy off his feet by his connection to Isp and Osp. “I’m not even after you. There’s not reason for you to even be involved.”

A trio of ice daggers drove through the arm holding Isp and Osp in response. “You made this about us.” Zero readied another volley, “When you made those ghosts attack people and hurt Auggie.”

“Huh.” Warpstar shrugged. “Maybe it is a little about you. No matter—catch.” He swung Alloy along with Isp and Osp overhead like a flail. Zero only just managed to dodge as the armored prelate crashed into the ground she’d been standing on.

“Hey!” Spark shouted.

“Don’t do it.” Warrick tried to warn her. But he was too involved in extracting his bent and broken armor from the concrete to shout it properly.

“Leave my brother alone!” Blue sparks arced between the paper clips attached to Spark’s fingers, creating a brilliant flare between her hands.

“Right. And what’s the little girl going to do to me?” Warpstar scoffed.

This!” The arc jagged into the exposed metal surrounding Warpstar before arcing up into his body. The result was spectacular. The villain screamed bloody murder as his absolute control over his body turned against him. Writhing and convulsing, and changing color, he fell to his knees. “And don’t call me little. I’m fourteen, thank you very much.” Spark sniffed.

“You won’t live to see fif—“ Struggling to regain control over his haywire body, Warpstar didn’t even manage to finish his threat before Isp and Osp caught him in the midsection and threw him back into the blockhouse.

Facsimile rose up, her own arms forming into heavy clubs. “I guess you got more than just my anger issues, huh? Bet you’re just starving and tired after all that involuntary shifting too. Well so am I, but you’re the one getting to take a nap.” Her arms thrust out to knock out the corners of the building, sending it crashing down on Warpstar’s head. “And I still have your Book!”

Barely had the last stone settled before an earsplitting scream went up from within. Concrete slab and metal reinforcement went flying as Warpstar exploded from his would be tomb. His mounting rage and resultant lack of control over his stolen powers had turned his skin copper and his lower half into a hasty composite between a snake’s tail and a tree’s roots.

“You don’t get it, do you?” He roared. “I am immortal. Indestructible. I’ll have the Books long before you can harm me in any serious way.”

“With Facsimile’s powers? Possibly.” Occult produced a cell phone from her robes and held it up so Warpstar could see. “At least from this side. But those stones of yours are vulnerable from the Astral. And as luck would have it, we’ve got an expert on Astral targeting on our side.” She pushed a button. “Right Ephemeral?” The only response anyone could see was a rose glint in Occult’s eye.

“You bitch; you’ll never get the spell off.” Warpstar snarled, but before he could move, the steel reinforcement from the blockhouse rose up and bent around him, squeezing tight.

“Wanna bet?” Alloy asked. “I think I heard you threatening my sister. Me and the boys don’t like that.”

“I don’t like it either.” Zero said, chilling the air around the villain. “I like having Spark around.”

“And you know what I’ve got to say about it.” Spark said, taking a wrench ‘borrowed’ from Tink’s work table earlier from her pocket. “My paper clips are rust, but I bet this’ll boom big.”

Occult began her spell. “Heavenly light the pierces the sky and cloud…”

“You can’t stop me. I’ve waited hundreds of years in a damned tree for this!” Warpstar’s claws began to rend the grasping metal.

“That shines upon all life. Shine now in the eyes of mine enemy…” Occult continued. A nimbus of light formed around her, pierced through by a shaft of light from above.

Spark loosed her lightning. Warpstar dodged it, slithering toward Facsimile with one clawed hand outstretched.

“Shine…” The nimbus resolved into a bow of blazing light in Occult’s hands, an arrow of the same already nocked.

Warpstar’s other hand snapped out and hit Facsimile squarely in the chest as his other finally clutched the book. The prize was his.

“Heavenly Arrow!” A column of pure white extended from the bow and into Warpstar, running him through and continuing off into the distance beyond with perfect straightness. It left no wound, but one of the yellow stones went dim.

In the silence that followed, Warpstar sneered. “I’ve still got my immortality power. You missed.” He opened the book to the exact page he needed. “And you won’t get another shot. Power beyond the stars,” A red miasma issued form the book to surround him. “Heed my… my—what is this?” He faltered and dropped the book, his body reverting to normal.

“I didn’t miss.” Occult said. “But you’ll note that you still have your metal powers too. For the moment.”

Fear filled Warpstar’s eyes as the red energy grew more intense. “That means. Auggie’s essence.. No!”

“You should have done more homework; the Book of Passions doesn’t like being tricked. It’s punishing you.” Occult said.

Whatever reply Warpstar intended to make, it was lost and the red energies closed in and both they and he faded away.

“Whoa.” Spark said, excitedly, “Is he dead? We’re not supposed to, you know…”

“No.” Occult said, letting the bow of light disappear. “Death is simple. Magic hates simple. Let’s just leave it at that.”

“I really wasn’t kidding about being tired and hungry.” Facsimile groaned from the ground. “Any chance we can ‘port by a Burger Builders on the way home?”

Zero helped her up and gave her the odd little smile that was impossible to read. “You look like you need another dozen donuts.” She chirped.

“You know, that doesn’t sound like a half bad idea to end this otherwise crap day.” Occult said, “How about we go in costume and give the locals a story?”

***

Kareem never slept very deeply. Since he was a child, even after staying up all hours and finally being forced to go to bed, even the slightest noise nearby could rouse him to waking. His father thought it had something to do with his psychic awareness. Kareem was starting to agree now that his awareness was expanding.

What woke him up this time was someone standing in the doorway.

“Oh good.” Cyn said, seeing his eyes open. “I was worried you’d put yourself in another coma after that bit with Occult earlier. Didn’t I tell you to stay here and rest, not go and possess witches for fun?”

She took a donut from the bag in her hand and offered it. When he declined, she crammed it into her mouth ravenously.

“I’m sorry, Cyn, but I couldn’t just sit here when even Warrick’s sister was fighting.” He made an effort to sit up, but was far too sore and weak to. “You all are like family to me.”

“Just don’t, you know, save our lives again or I’ll get really mad at you.” Cyn grinned.

“I’ll try to leave you in peril next time.” Kareem promised.

“Good man.” Cyn said, turning to go. “Oh, almost forgot…”

“Hmm?”

“Welcome to Freeland House, Material Plane chapter.” She left him to his rest.

***

“Sorry that took so long.” Lisa said as she came over to the table where JC and Kay were playing chess in the Dungeon. Kay was sporting white hair for the proximity to labor day. “Cyn really needed to talk, you know how it is. I bought donuts though.”

“No problem.” JC said, taking Kay’s queen with a pawn. “You’re a good friend and that’s what makes you such a good girlfriend, right?” He got a kiss for the correct answer. “Oh, sweet, Donut Boy donuts, small world, huh?”

Lisa raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“The guys over there playing Earth Delvers?” Kay pointed to a knot of college aged boys at the networked computers that made up the ‘cyber’ part of the Dungeon’s cyber-café. “One of their brothers works at the Donut Boy by the park.” She gave Lisa a knowing wink that JC missed. “Apparently, the Descendants and Occult came in and ordered donuts like half an hour ago.”

“You don’t say?” Lisa asked, taking a seat. With practiced calm, she took out a raspberry crème for herself and bit into it.

“Yeah,” JC said, “Mayfield’s getting to be like New York or Chicago; prelates just hanging around like normal people.”

“Well, I’m sure they are normal people out of costume.” Lisa pointed out.

“Nah. Can you imagine having powers like that? No way would you pass up a chance to show that off.”

“I’m sure they have their reasons.” Kay said. “I mean otherwise, they’d just be regular psionics and stuff, right?”

“Possibly.” JC shrugged, “That must blow, having cool powers, but not getting to play with them all the time like all the other psionics?”

“I’m sure it has its ups and downs.” Lisa shrugged, leaning back and just savoring her time with her best friend and her boyfriend. This was definitely an ‘up’. She would worry about the Book of Passions and Augustus another day.

***

The sound of a body hitting the ice was barely audible over the punishing winds. Biting cold gnawed at bared skin and quickly bypassed the few remaining shreds of his clothes as well.

There was a cacophony of squawking and Warpstar looked up to see dozens upon dozens of emperor penguins gathering around to marvel at the curiosity that had landed between them and their hunting ground of the sea.

He didn’t know much about where he was, but he did know that he was now a very long distance from any of The 4.

The books would have to wait. He couldn’t do anything about them if he was frozen to death in the Antarctic. He looked down and checked. Yes, the stone was still functioning; only Augustus’s essence had been taken. Good. First order of business then, was survival.

A stone encrusted hand reached toward one of the penguins. The animal didn’t have any fear of man; it merely accepted the touch. “Combine to the power of a Warped Star.”

End Issue #31

Series Navigation<< Issue #30: Strange Times At Dayspring CollegeIssue #32: Ahead/Behind >>

About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter.

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