December 24th, 10:59 PM
Grim Grotto, Gotham City
A low rumble - akin to thunder - echoed throughout the Grim Grotto. They could hear the sound of the scores of mythological creatures outside attempting breach the barriers put in place upon the activation of “Lockdown Mode”. How long they could hold was anyone’s guess, however, given that they were designed with humans in mind.
The monitors of the Grim Computer now displayed a sky swarming with harpies outside, as minotaurs, centaurs and even a few mighty cyclops all converged on the Kasimir residence. The four that had attacked them earlier had apparently gotten ahead of the main body, and that was perhaps fortunate for all of them.
Lowering herself down onto a nearby crate, Karen placed her head into her palms. Her powers were gone. That meant she was useless. What was she supposed to do now? How were they supposed to fight such a ludicrous number of superhumanly powerful creatures without Lady Arcana?
“Blegh…” Samantha shook the frigid droplets of water free from her fur after having dunked her head in an ice cold bucket. “This...is unprecedented, as far as I’m aware. It shouldn’t be possible to break her connection to the Rock of Eternity: she’s the Wizard, the avatar of its power!””Well, clearly it is, because here we sit at the mouth of Shit Creek without a paddle.”
Malcolm added with an exaggerated shrug, either remarkably calm given the situation or remarkably good at hiding how much he was freaking the hell out.”Language,”
Zoey muttered, almost unheard as she was more or less unfocused from the conversation going on behind her. Spread before the billionaire on the monitors she instead kept track of the fight outside, the siege
on her castle.
And Jaina thought buying a castle was stupid. This’ll show her.
Outside the defenses on the castle were activated and lit up, many of them admittedly non-lethal - from the sticky tar-like substance that shot out like cannonballs, dragging down harpies and centaurs, to the painful riot pellets that just seemed to bounce off a cyclops. Even the more lethal options were having difficulty getting a grasp on anything - though the armor piercing rounds from a few of them were making headway, just not nearly fast enough!
On the bright side, the front door’s flamethrower was
as sufficiently cool as Zoey thought it’d be when she drunkenly installed it one night.”Is there anyway to the Rock aside from Karen?”
The billionaire finally demanded as she tore her gaze away from the monitors, only to stalk passed them. For a moment she reached out to the equipment locker containing her usual supplies, only to grimace and turn instead to the suit of armor
positioned stationary in the metal framework holding it in position. The arms of it were open, showing the inner workings, but Zoey was quick to close them up and move to start opening the back.
This was not a good time to be testing a piece of prototype equipment, but what choice did Zoey have? Grim’s usual outfit would do little against that
“None,” Samantha gently shook her head in response to Zoey’s question. “That is normally a good
thing, as it means nobody but the Wizard can access the myriad artifacts of power stored there, or tap into the limitless pool of raw arcane power the burns within it.”
Karen slowly looked up from her hands at this, glancing towards Sam. ”How exactly am I connected to the Rock, anyhow?”
“By a ‘tether’, of a sort,” Samantha replied. “It is imperceivable to all but the most magically attuned, its frequency unique. It is the line that the divine thunderbolt you call down travels through.”
The blonde tilted her head slightly at this explanation, her arms partially folding as she cupped her chin in one hand. Something about her explanation was gnawing at the back of her mind now. Wait…”If I’m connected by this tether, couldn’t someone maybe sever it?”
The black Bombay cat quickly shook her head in reply. “Not without killing
you. Besides, if that was somehow the case, then it would send a catastrophic ripple throughout the magical world...the Rock of Eternity cannot exist without the Wizard to embody its power.”
Karen pursed her lips for only a moment before amending her suggestion. ”Then...maybe just block it, somehow? So that I’m not really separated, but I can’t transform either?”
“...I wouldn’t have thought
so,” Samantha noted. “To even attempt to do something like this, you would need the exact frequency, and it is a short list of beings that have the means to obtain it.””So we need to find a way to unblock it, while dealing with a myriad of … mythical creatures…”
Zoey trailed off, her voice drifting from behind the high-tech suit. After a moment she stepped out from behind it, eyes narrowed. Her hand gripped the metal framework so tightly her knuckles were white, and her eyebrow had begun twitching once more. ”Greek mythological creatures. Blocking the power of someone powered by six Greek gods. So tell me, Sam, would a God have the power to block the Wizard’s tether?”
Samantha’s head perked up at this, her eyes falling onto the the redhead. “...Not just any God, but if it were the one through which the Rock chose to facilitate Karen’s transformation through, then...perhaps.””So Zeus?”
Karen pushed off the crate, glancing to her cat. ”You said his power was copied onto me, right?”
“To be exact, your six patron deities’ combined power acted as a ‘mold’ through which to contain the Rock of Eternity’s infinite magics,” Samantha elaborated. “Anything less than this would be unable to withstand the tremendous forces constantly at work within the body of Lady Arcana.”
Karen’s face seemed to light up at this, the teen immediately turning to Zoey. ”Quick, Zo! Do you have like...any potted plants or anything down here? Some kind of living plant!””Why would I have a plant down here?! Do I look like a plant person? Me? Metal and tech and sometimes I forget to eat, let alone feed a plant?!”
Zoey’s eyes darted left and right before she almost snarled, abruptly going to her equipment locker and grabbing another rifle, leaving it on her work table beside the first she had retrieved.”I’ll get one. Stay here. Malcolm, which closet is Buttloaf in?””Third floor, sun-room down the hall from Dave’s room.”
Said walking affront to privacy stated with a with a raised brow, staring upwards through all the stone, steel and concrete over their heads at the mayhem going on above ”...One thing sticks out, the bigger ones don’t seem to be able to fit through some of the windier, narrower stairways we have. So that’s probably your safest bet.”
A thoughtful hum was Malcolm’s response, before Zoey just gave a short nod. Finally the billionaire moved to the armor once more. The joints and panels along the back gave a leaking hiss as they opened up, and it was a bit awkward wiggling in, but it fit comfortably - of course it did, she built it herself to her own specifications. The hum of machinery came to life as the various magitech parts came to life, the back closing up and metallic arms twisting to come loose from where they hung in the framework. When Zoey spoke once more her voice rumbled, deep and low with the built-in voice modulator.”I’ll grab the plant and Buttloaf. Use the computer to reach me if needed - if you need to run get in the Grim Jet, tell it to activate autopilot. Make sure David is with you - the emergency systems should already be moving his bed to the hangar. Remind me to finish installing the one in your room after this, Malcolm,”
Absently she patted his head with a thickly encased hand before picking up the rifle, moving toward the entrance of the Grim Grotto.”Be safe, you two.”
Karen quietly paced about the Grim Grotto, her eyes closed in concentration as she felt the laylines that ran through the castle, the city. They were really agitated right now, due to the presence of so many mythological beings. She could feel the little hairs on the back of her neck practically standing up straight from what was happening in the sky. It felt like it had literally been ripped open
“You feel it, right?” Samantha kept pace with her. “The barrier between their plane and ours has been ripped open, allowing them to freely spill out.”
Karen pursed her lips so tightly that they grew pale, the strange sensation beginning to develop into a stabbing pain in the back of her skull. ”Why would Zeus want to do something like this, if he’s the one who helped make the ‘mold’ or whatever?”
“We don’t know if it is
Zeus, Karen,” Samantha reminded her. “And even if it is, the mold for Shazam’s successor was forged thousands of years ago. He may have had a change of heart in that time, especially given that you are a child.”
Karen’s eyes shot open at this, giving the cat an irritated look. ”You have no idea how fucking rude it is to keep using that against me, when your crazy band of Gods and Monsters forced this on me!”
“You accepted it willingly!” Samantha fired back.”I had just been scared shitless by ghosts, shot, and then abducted by some scrawny old Space Wizard! I wasn’t exactly in a good state of mind, okay?!”
Karen jabbed a finger in the Bombay’s face, which she didn’t hesitate to bite down on.
Releasing a pained screech, Karen furiously rolled on the ground trying to pry the irate feline off her with a string of curses.
Malcolm, for his part had been paying little heed to Karen’s pacing for the past half hour, having been staring up, stone-faced and in muted silence through the ceiling since Zoey had left, seemingly not at all distressed by what was happening… well, outwardly anyway. The fact that as soon as she’d left, Malcolm immediately found an empty box-mag to deftly toss between his hands that soon was joined by a wrench, a hammer and a bean-bag bouncing from knee-to-knee as he watched his foster-mother’s progress spoke more about the boy’s worry than his voice ever would.
Of course, if there was anything to snap him out of his reverie, it would
be Karen screeching and rolling on the ground as Sam, the fuzzy and powerful decided to take a chunk out of her fingers, causing him to lose concentration and sending everything he was juggling clattering to the ground.”Oh, fer…”
Malcolm started, but reined himself in as he took a deep breath and turned to the dynamic duo across the Grotto, and their very literal catfight. Exhaling to calm himself and wiping his face in a gesture of irritation as he strolled over and calmly grabbed hold of Karen’s wrist just as he gently pinched the back of Sam’s neck, pulling the two apart.”Guys? Not helping.”
The boy growled as he placed Sam down on a workbench and gave her a scratch behind the ear before offering his hand to the blond to help her up ”We kinda got bigger things to worry about than whatever the hell this is.”
Finally deciding not to give Karen a choice in the matter and just yanking her to her feet, Malcolm finished.”So if you could both just save it for when we’re not dealing with harpies, minotaurs and giant one-eyed-monsters, that’d be great.”
A whining started up from Buttons, him having been alternating between pressing up against Karen or Malcolm’s ankles, in this case with all the commotion having squished himself underneath the work table. However now he edged out, his whining becoming more prominent - just to bolt up when the Grim Grotto’s door once more opened.
Grim stepped inside once more, the voice modulator rumbling with every heavy breath that escaped. One of the metallic arms of the suit was around a potted plant, the end of her hand clutching onto the scruff of Ker the Corgi, her other hand free - even of the weapon she had carried out with her. However, a healthy smattering of blood ran up her metal-encased fingers, scrapes of teeth along the paint of one shoulder, and there may have been a few feathers in one of the blades of the flight pack on her back.
Without a word Zoey dropped Ker none too gently, the little buttloaf not seeming to mind as it bounded over to Buttons, and then proceeded to stare at the other occupants of the room. It looked like Karen had been rolling around on the floor from how mussed up she was, and Malcolm was wound tighter than a guitar string. Finally she just shook her head and dropped the potted plant in front of Karen with a grunt.”Hey guys it’s me again,”
Harris said, attempting to be joyful despite the worry and tiredness that was clearly in his voice, he was finally able to talk to them without fighting a giant beast created through bestiality. He couldn’t say he was exactly pleased to have to discuss this however, especially if what The Green was saying was true. Speaking of…“So, you all clearly know a bit of what’s going on, so I’m not exactly going to... want to... waste your time,”
he said haltingly, seemingly unsure of his word choice. ”I do have a friend who knows far better than me what is going on, so I’ll just let him talk.”
Harris went silent for a moment, and when he next spoke his voice was replaced with a booming voice that seemed to come from multiple mouths, it spoke English with an unidentifiable accent, unlike anything on Earth’s surface, both lyrical and harsh in diction.”Humans,”
The Green stated as a greeting. ”Wizard,”
The Green said again, directed this time at Karen.”I have lived for many millennia, and I have only once seen such an event as this. I am connected to many entities, including the Greek gods that you, Karen Hernandez, claim as the source of your power. You mortals amuse me with such grandiosity but that is not an important topic. As a result of my connection to many entities, when they are disabled I am made aware, and I am to believe that one has been disabled. Considering the presence of Greek figures and the dead walking my Earth, I am given to believe that Persephone has somehow been neutralized. I aim to bring Harris Herzog’s consciousness into Hades itself in order to reassert order. If you have any questions I may prove able to answer them.””How many fucking gods are there?”
Grim muttered under her breath, so low the words distorted in being deepened.
Karen didn’t hesitate to rush over to the potted plant after it began to speak, only offering a quick nod of gratitude to Malcolm for - rather harshly - jerking her to her feet. Smiling up at Zoey for - clearly - going through quite a bit of trouble to get it for her, she placed both hands on either side of the pot and stared down into it so she could listen to the message of first Harris, and then the Green. It was...quite informative, to say the least. Things were starting to make a bit more sense now.”Neutralized...could that have happened with the Gods on Olympus, too? Even Zeus?”
Karen’s head swivelled towards Samantha, who had quickly ran over to join her and the Green in their conversation.
“Zeus somehow neutralized?” Samantha seemed unsettled by the prospect. “Well, in an infinite universe, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible
, but even if that were
the case, your base powers are duplications of theirs and not dependent on their continued existence. If, however, someone has
Karen leaned in towards the cat slightly, tipping both herself and the plant forward towards her as if to pressure her to continue. “Not really the time for dramatic pauses, Sam.”
“Whenever you speak the previous Wizard’s name,” she continued, a small hint of irritation lacing her words, “the Rock of Eternity releases an intense concentration of its power in the form of Zeus’s divine thunderbolt. This travels down the aforementioned interdimensional ‘tether’ directly to you...though you can redirect it, with a refined enough understanding of the Rock’s power. If Zeus has been subdued, however, then it is possible that someone is using his divine thunderbolt to somehow ‘block’ the one you call down.”
Karen’s eyebrows knitted slightly, trying to comprehend the cat’s rather wordy explanation, feeling she could have simplified that quite a bit. But there was
something she said that piqued her interest. ”Wait, so if I can control it...then could I just have it, like, take a different route than the tether to me? One they couldn’t think to block?”
“Yes,” Samantha replied, causing Karen’s eyes to momentarily brighten, “If you had sufficient control over the Rock’s power. You very much do not at your current level of experience. You would far more likely send it off into space and into some unfortunate planet.”
The light once again fading from those brown orbs, the teen sunk slightly at this. ”Oh. Right…””Don’t worry,”
Grim had moved to the work table at this point, wiping off the blood, guts, and occasionally feathers that adorned her armor from the solo excursion through her home. ”We’ll think of another way to… open the tether. Or reroute it.”
The potted plant sat unmoving as The Green overheard their conversation.The Wizard’s abilities have been blocked somehow, they’re discussing alternate methods to enable her to transform.You can transfer my consciousness through yourself, correct? Is it possible for you to move her lightning bolt through yourself?It’s not something we’ve thought of trying, and she has no ability to connect with me.Here’s a funny thought, ask her.
The Green grunted and a number of its other voices began to complain, but the majority seemed to be in agreement, it’s not something that they’d think of doing, but Harris Herzog had a way of forcing strange actions into acceptably successful plans, his input would be considered.”Harris Herzog has come up with a possible solution. We are not a physical object, The Green, we are a small realm unto ourself, able to hold consciousnesses and transfer them across planets and realms. Perhaps it could be possible to transfer the lightning bolt through ourself, we are unsure as to how you could access us, but we are sure a method could be constructed.”
Karen blinked at the idea, before looking towards Samantha as if to ask if she had any input on the matter. The cat stared up at the plant for a moment, seemingly considering their options in silence for the next minute.
“You could bring the thunderbolt to her through this method,” Samantha concluded, causing Karen to once more brighten in hope. “But that’s only half the problem. The lightning represents her connection to the Rock. It is a stream running down the tether. The Green will need to host this cosmic stream of raw arcane power, and its native realm may suffer damage through the effort. If the Green suffers damage, than so does every form of plant life on Earth, am I correct in this belief?””You are correct in this belief. However, we are a conglomeration of every single plant on the planet, representing trillions of life-forms, we have yet to be damaged in any way other than external, and unless this raw arcane power is strong enough to completely destroy the entirety of Earth, we should suffer only superficial damage, and even if this power is enough to cause us damage, we will not be damaged for long.”
The Green presented itself as knowing everything, however, this was not one of its areas of expertise, they were unsure themselves if this would work.
“Well, if you’re certain of this then it is certainly worth making the attempt,” Samantha replied. “But then the problem evolves: how do we connect Karen to you?”
Karen raised her chin at this question, remembering Harris’ appearance. ”W-wait, will doing this transform me into a bug-woman or something?””I’m never putting another plant in my bedroom again…”
The Green felt a slight amount of amusement at the young wizard’s question.What are they saying?Karen Hernandez has expressed distaste towards being forced into taking your appearance.Kinda rude but okay.
The Green would have rolled their eyes had they any.”That is not a worry, Karen Hernandez,”
the green reassured in a way that was not at all reassuring. ”We never stated we were certain, feline, but in the long time that we have existed, we have learned to take a few risks,”
The Green lied, it hadn’t taken risks for the majority of its existence, it was only thanks to the success of Harris Herzog as their Avatar that they had begun to attempt more risky behaviors.”Thankfully, entering your conscience into The Green should be easy.”
The potted plant extended a web-like tendril that approached Karen slowly, seemingly aiming for the back of her head.”Fuck off for a second, Green,”
Zoey snapped harshly, before turning the glowing white gaze of her helmet to the teenager. ”Karen, you don’t have to do this if you’re not okay with it. We can find another way.”
Pursing her lips slightly at the approaching tendril, it was impossible not to feel a small twinge of fear work its way up her back. ”N-no...it’s fine. I’m okay with this…”
Karen was so
not okay with this...but she also knew what was potentially at stake here. In the time that Grim had been gone, the Grim Computer had began displaying reports from around the world of streams of mythological creatures pouring from the sky. What was happening here at Kasimir Castle was some overblown attack on her, but the prelude to a full scale invasion by some hostile outside force.
Her duty as the Wizard was to safeguard this world from outside threats, like Samantha had so often told her...and she had chosen to live as a heroine, even if she complained about it far too much. No matter how she turned it around in her head, it had
been her choice. She couldn’t back down now.”...Let’s do it,”
Karen smirked, stepping forward into the web of tendrils.
The connection was made, and Karen’s consciousness entered The Green.
To an outsider, it must have looked something like a Jackson Pollack painting, a mass of unconstructed blobs floating in empty green space. The largest of these blobs turned towards her, agonizingly slowly.”Oh hi Karen, didn’t expect to see you here.””Karen Hernandez, welcome to The Green, if you wish to take your time to prepare first, we shall wait, time in The Green passes far slower than that outside,”
The Green’s deep voice boomed through the emptiness, taking time to enunciate every syllable of every word.
To an outsider it must have been maddening.”Harris?”
Karen’s…’eyes’?...darted about the impossibly alien world, her mind struggling to comprehend everything she was seeing. If she had believed the Rock of Eternity to be a strange place, it honestly didn’t have anything
on this. It felt like she was no longer...alone in her mind?
Or rather, it felt like she was a small piece of a greater whole, one tiny section of a single finger on a person’s hand, if even that. A mere joint in the greater biological machine of the Green’s enormous body.”Holy sauceballs...this is what you see all the time, Harris?””Only when I close my eyes… or sleep… or daydream. It’s not all that bad when you’re used to it, the biggest worry is the time dilation, but I’ve found it helpful when I’m trying to think up a plan.”
Karen stood on wobbly feet, a zombie-like state. Slowly, a glob of drool slid down her face. Samantha could only stare up at her owner/ward/apprentice in concern, wondering what she could be seeing in that moment.”Karen?”
Concern managed to filter through even the synthetic roughness of Grim’s voice modulator, the older woman stepping in front of Karen. The low glow coming from the helmet’s eyes swapped to an odd, light-pink color as Zoey looked over her, metal-encased hands resting on her arms. Finally a low growl sounded from her and with a flick of her wrist a hook shot out from the suit’s arm, grasping onto the nearby chair with force just to be yanked over. Guiding Karen’s near comatose body to sit the billionaire continued to nearly growl, the sound reverberating in the modulator as she grabbed a somewhat oil-stained cloth off her worktable, using a clean edge to wipe away the drool. ”This isn’t exactly a good sign in humans, Green.””She will be fine, as long as her consciousness exists within ourselves, that part of her is functionally invulnerable. Her physical body is in a safe place as well, unless we’ve been lied to,”
The Green again reassured, this time to Samantha. The strange thing was the fact that the more times it tried to reassure, the less reassuring it became.
”So...does this mean that no matter where I am, we can communicate?”
Karen questioned, trying to scratch her face but somehow uncertain if she had any hand at the moment to do so with.”So long as the connection exists, you will be able to speak to Harris Herzog and ourselves,”
The Green confirmed with a monumental slowness. ”It may be difficult to maneuver while still maintaining the connection however, it would either take immense concentration or complete body replacement, as in the case of Harris Herzog, in order to be conscious in both planes at once.”
Karen chuckled in response to this, an almost self-deprecating sound. ”Well, I’ve been in over my head for over a year now. What’s one more extraordinarily impossible thing to deal with?”
Focusing her mind in much the same way she did when she melded the arcane energy of the laylines into the various shapes she desired, Karen immediately felt the strain of essentially trying to be in two places at the same time. It felt like her eyes were trying to stare off into opposite directions, like the respective sides of her body wanted to turn away from one another. It…hurt, in truth.”Nngh…”
An audible grunt from the teenager resonated throughout the Green, but she didn’t stop. Even as the pain mounted, she kept on pushing. It was like she could see her own skin tearing as her mind and body tried to function independently yet simultaneously.
A flash of consciousness returned to Karen’s eyes, her body now seated, which made things considerably easier in that moment. She could feel her entire body start to tremble from the strain of being in two places at once, her fingers balling so tightly that her knuckles went pale.
Hunching forward slightly, the blonde’s eyes flickered up at Zoey and Malcolm, and then down at Samantha and the plant in her hand. The lattermost wasn’t even necessary anymore, since she could communicate with The Green even without it. Still...she felt some strange affection for it now. Standing slowly on wobbling legs, she carried it over to the nearest table and gently sat it down.”You shouldn’t be standing so soon,”
Zoey rumbled, following at Karen’s heels as though afraid that she’d collapse at any minute. Considering how she woke it didn’t seem unfounded. Her fingers flexed at her side, ready to move at a moment’s notice.
The longer Karen did this, the more used to it she got. At first she couldn’t really speak clearly enough to carry on a conversation, but as minutes passed, the pain subsided into a mere pressure. It still felt really unnatural, however, being in two places at once...but she felt it was needed for what she had to do.
The Green let out what could almost be considered a chuckle. The noise left Harris awestruck, he had never, ever
seen The Green in any mood resembling whimsy.”Unexpected, but quite impressive,”
they conceded, returning to their neutral voice as usual.
Taking another minute to cement her concentration in this state, Karen’s eyes slowly ascended to the ceiling as small grains of dust began to sprinkle down onto the table she was leaning over. The Grim Grotto was being shaken, which meant the castle above wasn’t faring too well even with all of Zoey’s advanced defensive measures in place.”Zoey, open the hangar,”
Karen glanced to the redhead as she pushed off the table and began to walk towards the entrance. ”Okay, Green, are you ready for me to say it?””We are prepared, Karen Hernandez,”
The Green responded quickly and yet slowly at the same time, speaking to both portions of Karen’s split conscience. ”Show us the Wizard’s power.””Wait hold on what is she going to do? I didn’t hear the conversation, what about the Wizard’s power? Say what? I’m so confused.””Hold on,”
Zoey reached out, grasping onto Karen’s shoulder to stop her stride towards the hangar. ”Take a few minutes, at least! I haven’t even had a chance to look you over properly, your reactions aren’t exactly indicative of a healthy state right now.”
Karen reached up to squeeze Zoey’s hand reassuringly, offering the redhead a smile. ”I’m fine, Zo. You know I need to do this.””Destiny and magic, yes, I get it, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to go out to fight monsters right away after merging your consciousness with all plant-life on Earth! Fuck, let me go handle them for now!”
Another rumble acted as Zoey’s response to this, a large stone crashing down onto the metal floor below. ”I don’t think the Grim Grotto is going to survive that long...besides, you saw how many are out there right now! Only Lady Arcana can do this.””We promise you, it will work, we refuse to allow this planet fail, our lives depend on it,”
The Green responded, again attempting, and failing, to reassure.”No, you’re not the only one who can do this! Mythical creatures or not, I’ll disable them in the Grim Jet while you - you’re not going to listen to me, are you?”
Karen smirked at this, spreading her arms as she stared up at the ceiling once again. Focusing this time on her newfound connection to The Green, she shouted with everything she had. ”SHAZAM!”
In that instant the potted plant that had been sitting on the table exploded, showering the area with shards of clay as the blinding light of the divine thunderbolt cleared the distance to Karen in an instant. Vanishing in that moment, the thirteen year old was replaced by a familiar adult woman...but changed.
Instead of the familiar purple uniform, it was now a deep emerald. Vines snaked their way up her arms and legs, all of them ultimately converging around the thunderbolt that still shimmered at the center of her chest. It felt so different, but there was something else…
There was pain.”Unnnk,”
Lady Arcana raised her hand to her head, her connection to the Green being far more clear now even conscious thanks to the Intellect of Mnemosyne. She could see the stream of arcane power flowing through it, just like Samantha said, flowing into her
even if it was no longer visible to normal eyes. ”Idiot,”
Grim grumbled lowly, not hesitating to step closer to Lady Arcana. It was obvious that she was looking her over, checking the veritable God for any obvious injuries as well as taking in the morphed look. ”I wish you’d listen to me - are you in pain? Just disorientated?”
Lady Arcana glanced over at Zoey and couldn’t help but chuckle as she answered. ”Ngh...yes. But I’ll manage long enough to take care of those creatures outside.””Brave idiot.”
The arcane power flowing through her - them
was certainly enough to destroy the Earth...but mere destruction wasn’t what was happening. It was...changing things. The exposure to raw arcane power was twisting and mutating
the natural life that existed within that realm. Something like this...it couldn’t remain as it was for long. But she needed it, for just this short while.”I...nnn...I know, it hurts,”
Lady Arcana spoke to The Green, ”B-but please keep lending me your power, until I’ve cleared the castle.””Hmm…”
The Green mumbled, its voice morphed and distorted. ”This is a strange sensation, I’ve never felt this ‘pain’ before.””So uh, I don’t want to alarm anyone, but my arm just grew to the size of a beach ball, is that normal? I don’t think that’s normal.””We will try, Karen Hernandez, it may be difficult, but we will not fail this planet.”
Lady Arcana smiled at this, nodding. ”Thanks...I’m not going to either.”
With that, the now jade-colored superheroine lifted off the ground and rocked out of the now open hangar. Ascending high into the skies above Gotham, the sight she beheld was both horrifying and breathtaking. The skies had been blackened by the wings of harpies, and the castle looked to be a mere shadow of itself, the defenses overwhelmed by the surge of mythological beasts storming through it, the front walls having collapsed.
Gotham City itself was under siege by the creatures, chaos and panic clear in the street as people fled from the army that had seemingly attacked out of nowhere. It was all too much. She hadn’t dealt with numbers like these since Arabia, and at least then they weren’t intermixed with civilians.
She wanted to help the people, but at the same time, the creatures would soon break through to the Grim Grotto. The Green couldn’t keep this up forever, and if she was to have any
hope of saving the world from this, she needed her friends.
As she willed herself towards the army that was tearing apart her home-away-from-home, Lady Arcana flexed her fingers. Her powers simultaneously felt familiar and
different. She still had all her normal abilities, but there was something else
there now. An additional connect...to the grass on the front lawn, to the trees that grew there. That’s right, she’d seen Harris do much the same before.
Now that the energy that fueled her was running through The Green, she felt a far greater connection than she had as Karen. Slamming down onto the asphalt that made up the pathway from the castle, Lady Arcana pressed her hand to the surface just as several dozen minotaurs, centaurs and cyclops turned towards her. Before they could so much as wiggle a toe, a small forest of branches erupted from the Earth, ensnaring the frightened and flailing creatures within their electrified grasps. Lightning crackled through the newly formed trees, instantly paralyzing and incapacitating them.”...Holy Sauceballs, I definitely couldn’t do that before!
Karen remarked in astonishment.”But that’s my thing! Dammit Karen,”
Harris said disappointedly, before realizing with a small gasp. ”Did you just run electricity through wood? The Green is gonna kill yo-””Did you know tomatoes are fruits? I always did but no-one ever listened to me, except me, and me, and me, and the other me, and the other one who is a tomato.””Nevermind I think he’s occupied.”
Lady Arcana’s eyes shifted slowly to the side upon hearing the conversation The Green was having with itself, knowing that she had better hurry up and take care of things here. While the electricity didn’t seem to harm the branches, that in itself showed just how much she was messing with things that probably shouldn’t be messed with right now.”Let’s hurry and run them off then. There’s plenty of plants out here, so help me!”
She replied to Harris, ascending high into the sky towards the flock of harpies. They had given her trouble in much smaller numbers back in March, but she had a far better handle on her speed and flight now. Attacks that traveled at the speed of sound weren’t going to hit her.
Dodging and weaving around the sonic screams of the innumerable bird-women, Lady Arcana began to draw upon the laylines and form a sizable orb of arcane energy between her palms.
Harris was taken aback by the request for aid, but he supposed there was nothing stopping him. In an instant a number of plant tendrils shot from below, grabbing onto a number of harpies before they could react, pulling them into the ground below and burying them under a mass of plant-matter. Even if they weren’t human, it still felt weird to kill them, they were just human enough for him to not want to kill them.”Woah, I think I have plant-cancer, my fingers look more like… apples.””I am full of apples! They speak to me!””I’ll help as much as I can, I just hope that I don’t start acting like our friend Green over there.””KILL ALL THE APPLES! THEY HAVE TINY MEN IN THEM!”
Karen felt a cold bead of sweat slide down the side of her face at The Green’s increasingly...eccentric commentary. Glancing down at the beach ball-size sphere of energy between her hands, she willed it to take on the properties of electricity. Raising it high above her head, she hurled it into the mass of harpies. With a crack of thunder unlike any that could be produced by nature, it exploded into a wicked web of lightning that forked between each individual within the massive flock.
Like a something out of an apocalyptic film the bird-women began to fall to the ground, unconscious. She had been careful with the amount she had used...having faced them before as she had, Lady Arcana at least had a good idea of just how much juice these things could take. By combining the Intellect of Mnemosyne with the Speed of Hermes, she was able to quickly count their numbers and calculate how much wattage she would need to light them all up like Christmas trees.
At this point, only some of the T-Rex sized cyclops remained, with most of the centaurs and minotaurs at the castle having literally been wrapped up. Slamming down into one with a hard left hook, Lady Arcana couldn’t deny how satisfying it felt to bring down something that big, to hear it’s body thud to the ground.
Harris watched as Arcana basically defeated every single threat. After asking him to help. Despite not at all needing his help. He watched as the colossus crashed into the ground. In order to feel useful he grew vines around the creature’s arms and legs.Yeah, now I’m useful.”You were!”
Lady Arcana reassured him. ”You kept the guys on the ground occupied for me. Gnn…”
The pain in her skull was starting to become unbearable, even for Lady Arcana. She’d managed to focus on the battle and ignore it for the most part, but it was simply escalating to a ridiculous extent. ”I need to get back to the hangar…”Yeah that’s probably a good idea, The Green’s trying to make me purchase an avocado.””I told you, no browsing! Either purchase or I’ll eat your kidney and spank your monkey!””Oh god it’s getting worse. Oh hey, my eye just turned into a basketball, that’s fun, hey Josh! Look at this!”
Lady Arcana weakly nodded, pushing herself off the ground as she drifted through the air unevenly towards the hangar. Drifting inside the open cave mouth, she came to a tumbling crash-landing inside, ultimately ending up sprawled across the metal floor on her back.“...S-Shazam…”
Lady Arcana croaked out, the formerly potted plant - which had mutated into something more resembling an oversized venus flytrap by now - once again releasing the thunderbolt in her direction. In a flash, the overgrown heroine vanished, being replaced by the thirteen year old Karen Hernandez again.
From the plant, once again came the un-distorted voices of The Green, which gasped and growled, many of the voices complaining, and many more being emotional for perhaps the first time ever.”That was quite strange… to say the least,”
The Green understated. ”It was intriguing, however.”
The portion of the plant that remained attached to Karen de-attached and pulled back to the plant, removing her from the hivemind and allowing her to relax.”We’d rather not have to do that again, if we are to be honest, but it may prove a necessity, perhaps next time we should channel it through the physical form of our Avatar in order to ensure a smoother transfer…””Uh, hell no? I saw what that did to you both, I’m good thanks,”
Harris responded indignantly. ”On another note, what now? I believe I was supposed to go to Hades, but clearly Karen needs our help in order to transform, unless one of our other friends believes that they can fight a god if it turns out that one of them is a bit of… a dick? I mean they already were but… more than usual?”
The pain had subsided the instant she had returned to the form of Karen Hernandez. Being disconnected from The Green shortly after had certainly helped as well. Pushing herself up slightly, the blonde shook the dizziness from her head. Eyes shifting over to the potted plant, she couldn’t help but note that Zoey and Malcolm were now gone. Where they had gotten off to?”Where’s…”
She started, only to see Samantha bobbing up to her, the two puppies desperately seeking to knock her over with their enthusiastic affections. She didn’t seem particularly happy about this.
“They went to ensure that the castle - or whatever is left of it - is secure,” the cat explained.
Karen released a small exhale of relief, though a part of her still worried. Why was Malcolm going there? Any one of those could rip him limb from limb with utter ease. Still, she needed to focus on the task at hand.”Um, Harris makes a good point. The whole world is being invaded right now. We need to find a way to resolve this.”
Samantha nodded once at this, her paw moving to shove away the face of Buttons as he eagerly tried to lap his wet little tongue against her face. “I’ve actually been giving that some thought while you were gone. I think you may need to travel to Olympus.””O-Olympus?!”
Karen’s eyes widened. ”Like Mount Olympus?”
“The very one,” Sam confirmed. “Whatever is behind this invasion and the blocking of your ability to transform is likely there.””Hmmph, perhaps the right idea… it does beg the question of how you will defend yourself.””Maybe you should have thought about that when you had the Intellect of Mnym-myna-myno… intellect of the really smart guy. Also I’m just kidding don’t hate me.”
The Green seemed frustrated with this.”We are able to transfer consciousnesses, and as we have just learned, magic, through ourself, but we are unable to transmit physical forms, and considering the gods’ domain is usually outside mortal purview, it also begs the question of how you may get there, especially without your Wizard abilities.”
Samantha - as much as a cat was able to, at least - smiled in response to The Green’s question. “I have somebody I can contact whom I believe may be able to help with that.”