WoP: Chapter 22

“Damn, I had been hoping to go to a Halloween party tonight.” Jane griped as she settled into a chair behind Orpheus in the monitoring room.

“You’re telling me, Orpheus and I were supposed to have a proper date finally.” Lily huffed as she plopped down next to her.

“I called the restaurant and got them to move our reservation to tomorrow.” Sarah informed Katherine as she took the seat next to her.

With all the members of the team assembled Orpheus brought up the conference Sage had asked them to attend on the screen. They were the last group to join and the leader of The Justice Army, a large group of people with powers who charged cities for their protection, was irritated by that fact “Why did we have to wait for this nobody and his floozies.” Direct grumbled.

Orpheus was already in a bad mood, he had to use Command to reschedule the reservations he had made because he had no clout, so he wasn’t about to let the old mercenary hero insult his team “Apologize.”

Direct coughed and sputtered as he tried to resist but he hadn’t been ready for the sheer intensity of the Command and was unable to resist “I’m sorry for my rudeness.” He blinked as the fogginess left by Command began to fade and was about to say something before he was interrupted by Hero.

“As much fun as it would be to watch Orpheus humiliate you I think we should get to the reason we are all here. As many of you know it is Halloween and that means one thing for us, the super villain duo Fear and Horror are going to be causing havoc. This time we know where they are going to strike.”

This elicited gasps from some of the other groups, Fear and Horror were one of the few known groups who were able to hide themselves from Sage and they had been wreaking havoc for the last decade. “And how do we know that.” Direct asked incredulously

“With the aid of Orpheus, we captured the Famine group of The Monsters and have been interrogating them. Since Fear and Horror are members they tell the other members where they will be operating so that they don’t get swept up in the chaos. In this case they are going to operating at a haunted house attraction at the coordinates appearing on screen.”

“That’s near us, we can take it.” Sarah responded as she read the coordinates.

“You will not be going alone. At least one of the two of them has some magical capabilities so Wizard is going with you. Tank wants to come as well but he would be to identifiable.” Sage informed them. Wizard stepped into frame to reveal that he had made himself less recognizable, probably with magic.

“We just finished training Sword and Shield, it would be their first assignment but they would be unknowns to the enemy.” Direct pitched. “I can bring them up to speed and have them there in a few hours.”

The other teams all agreed that they had too much publicity to infiltrate without ringing some alarms, though Righteous Force, the team made of Champion, Crusader and Priest, wanted to go anyway. They were eventually talked down though and so it was that the team of Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Orpheus, who had been nicknamed Unstoppable Force by the public, met with Sword and Shield outside of a creepy looking warehouse that was packed with people who had heard about the exclusive haunted house that was being held at this place. “It’s good to meet you.” Sarah greeted Sword and Shield.

“Likewise, I hate to be all business but we need to know what you guys can do. Our boss told us that you were supposedly the Elemental Four reborn but we want to hear it from you.” The elder of the two said. They were siblings from a rather promiscuous father and had briefly dated before finding out about their familial ties.

“I hold the power of Air and all the lovely things that entails. The lovely lady next to me is Water. The fiery redhead with the “I don’t want to be here” look on her face is Fire. The two love birds trying to sneak off are Earth and…well you can know him as Orpheus, he is a bit hard to explain.” Orpheus and Lily stopped in their tracks as Sarah called them out on trying to sneak away.

“We were going to head in early as a couple so that we didn’t call any extra attention to ourselves.” Orpheus explained.

“It is a good strategy.” Sarah noted. “I am going to do the same with Water.” She turned back to Sword and Shield “If it is alright with you Fire will go with you posing as a friend of yours.” They agreed and the groups split up.

Lily and Orpheus got in line first with the aid of a whispered Command and were thus the first through the front door. As they passed through the entry they felt the tell-tale tingle in back of their necks that always followed passing through a portal. They both cursed and looked behind them to find the door had disappeared and they were standing in field. The ruins of Metro city stood where once there had been a line of people and based on the distance the city was from them they figured that if they turned back around there would be their home.

Slowly they turned and revealed the remains of their home. The main house was crumbled and the bodies of everyone but Lily were just barely peeking out of the destruction. Lily was standing in between the destroyed buildings of the compound with a wicked grin on her face. Her skin was paler and Lily, the real one, grabbed Orpheus’s hand tightly as they took in her hands. They were stained a dark crimson and were dripping on the ground. The not Lily spoke with the same voice as Lily but devoid of emotion “This is what we are isn’t it. We are a killer at heart and you know it.” Her voice grew taunting and she locked eyes with the real Lily “This is the future you know, eventually whether you want to or not you are going to kill them all. Just like Mom and Dad.”

Tears had started to well up in the real Lily’s eyes when Orpheus stepped in front of her. “I told myself that I wouldn’t let someone make you cry if I could stop it. That includes whatever this weird duplicate of you is.” With that said Orpheus stuck out his hand and released a blast that covered the destroyed compound. The air from the explosion blew the tears from Lily’s eyes and as the dust settled Orpheus turned around and kissed her.

Lily started laughing into the kiss and when they pulled away she said “That was kind of sudden wasn’t it. Not that I’m complaining.” She blushed a little.

“I have to do something to make up for all those reservations we couldn’t make tonight.” Orpheus joked and he looked at the city “On a more serious note I think I know what is going on. That was your fear, wasn’t it?” Lily nodded. “I would wager that is mine” Orpheus pointed at the city and Lily turned to see storm clouds had moved in and a green gas has started to seep out of the city. “Alright let’s go find me.”

When they got to the city Orpheus had to fly to avoid the bodies on the ground. The first set of bodies were at the very edge of the city and included a few familiar faces such as Paragon, Bomb, and Darkness. As they made their way further in they found more faces they recognized. When they reached the square at the center of the city they were greeted by the bodies of the Twenty-Six and all the other people Orpheus considered important in his life. At the very center of the mound of death was an alternate version of Orpheus stooped over the body of a Lily. “It was kill or be killed.” The duplicate explained through tears “I just let the power take over and now they are all gone.” The duplicate began to cry “What do I do now?”

“You know what you have to do.” Orpheus told his clone. The city fell away and revealed a young man that Lily didn’t recognize. Orpheus introduced the newcomer “Tyler Horemberg, current holder of Wish and the man who trapped it inside him.”

“Why is he here?” Lily asked.

“He isn’t, this is just a part of my fear.” Orpheus explained. “My biggest fear is losing everyone again. But I also am afraid of what I would do to fix it.” The fake Orpheus climbed on to a slab and an unseen force tore Tyler apart. “If I lost everyone I would make myself into a true monster by giving myself Wish and hoping I could control myself long enough to fix things.” Everything faded as the process completed in front of them. “And that is the most likely result.  I would accidentally destroy everything.”

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