Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Blue Nexus #25--Twin Nexus Pt. 1

          “No!” shouted Hood Nexus. Gargador wasted no time, though, and bounded straight for him.
Hood Nexus dodged, Gargador’s punch sending a blast of air down the street that knocked several people over and managed to knock a car back. Hood Nexus reappeared just in front of Gargador, who was quick to react as well, shifting his body so he could throw more weight into the punch he delivered to Hood Nexus.
            Gargador followed him into the air, nearly hitting him back down. Hood Nexus pushed himself away with a blast, and the two remained suspended in the air, glaring at each other.
            “It’s been a while, Nexus,” Gargador said. “Not since the Blue Nexus discovered his bracelet.”
            “Yeah, I’ve kind of been hoping we’d get the chance to properly settle the score,” Hood Nexus said. “I saw what you did to him. Not to inflate your ego, but I just figured I’d let you know that you managed to hospitalize him.”
            Gargador laughed. “Darn, I thought I would have killed him. Oh well, I’m sure he’ll come back around for another match with me anyhow!”
            Hood Nexus grunted. “You’ll have to settle fonot him, I’m going to show far less mercy on you.”
r me today, Gargador.” He raised his hand with an open palm, and a ball of energy appeared in it. “And just remember this: I’m
            Gargador laughed again, then opened his arms out to the city. “Go ahead, fire at me. Create more craters, more destruction. You’ll have me in a bind, yes, but at the cost of how many lives?”
            Hood Nexus frowned and observed the streets below him. Everyone was looking up at the two combatants, waiting for the other to make a move rather than run away. Hood Nexus scowled.
            “You’re probably right,” he said, then closed his fist.
            In an instant he was behind Gargador, opening his palm back up.
            “Let’s get out of here, then!” he shouted, and shoved his energy hand into Gargador’s back.
            The ball exploded but the impact sent Gargador flying. Hood Nexus pursued immediately, punching Gargador hard in the jaw to keep him going. He flew behind the limit, yelling as he did so, until gravity finally dragged him down beyond the city limits, creating a large rut.
            He managed to get to his feet, but jumped back as Hood Nexus launched another ball of energy at him. Gargador chuckled while Hood Nexus lowered himself to the ground.
            “I’ll give you props for thinking to take me out of the city,” he said. “But it hardly matters. Once I’m through with you I think I’ll return to wait out my real enemy.”
            “He’s already here,” Hood Nexus said, and lurched toward Gargador, forming two fists and shooting energy blasts from them.
            Gargador spewed fire from his mouth, extinguishing the energy balls. Hood Nexus swung his hand through the fire and then elbowed Gargador in his big mouth. He attempted to kick him in the temple but Gargador was much quicker. He took Hood Nexus’s leg and cast him several yards to the right. Hood Nexus caught himself, then had to put up an energy wall before Gargador came crashing through.
            Hood Nexus did a flip, then took a knee on the ground with his hand braced against the ground.
            “Ah, damn, you’re a lot faster than the last time we fought,” Hood Nexus said. “Considering how my last big foe was a demi-War God’s servant you’re sort of a step up, congratulations.”
            “I’m the strongest demi-War God you’ll meet, I’m almost at the level of a War God itself!” Gargador exclaimed. “And I’ll crush all Nexus I must.”
            “If you were a War God this fight would have been over with already,” Hood Nexus said, standing up. “But since you’re not, I have a pretty decent shot here. Now that I know your strength, I know how far to push myself.”
            He raised his glowing blue fist up, then held it out toward Gargador.

Brenda looked north, halting her walk as she seemed to also tense up significantly. Kyle stopped as well, and looked at her instead of the direction.
            “Something huge just showed up in…East City?” she wondered.
            Kyle was about to ask what when his Zanderia communicator went off. Brenda’s did as well. Kyle raised his eyebrow as he looked down to it. The ringtone wasn’t familiar at all, in fact he’d never heard it.
            His eyes lit up, though. Next to Phoenix’s name were his vital signs, and they plummeted drastically. Without a word, Brenda shot north as Kyle jumped up, swiped his finger across his bracelet, and followed her, the two going as fast as possible to get to East City. What the hell was going on that Phoenix would almost die? Kyle refused to believe that major power spike Brenda sensed was just so well-timed with Phoenix falling. Something was there.
            Kyle was afraid of what.
            In mere minutes the city’s skyline was in sight. Brenda brandished her communicator, guiding them to where Phoenix was according to their sensors. Kyle’s heart plummeted when he realized where. The ruined buildings, the torn up streets, the huge crater in the ground. It was exactly where Kyle was crushed at the hands of Gargador.
            The two landed, spotting Phoenix amongst a crowd of people instantly. They yelled for everyone to get out of the way as they burst through the crowd, careful not to harm anyone. Eventually the sea of people simply parted.
            A curious bystander had his hands on Phoenix’s mask.
            “Get away!” Kyle roared. The command seemed to echo off of the nearby walls.
            Everyone took two steps back. Kyle and Brenda approached Phoenix’s body, waving their communicators over it.
            “Ah, crap, he’s hurt pretty bad,” Kyle muttered. “Can you heal him?”
            “Of course, but, what did this to him?” she asked.
            In the distance, there was a great boom sound as two sources of energy spiked up. Both were easily distinguishable for Kyle. He clenched a fist.
            “It was Gargador, but why he would attack Phoenix is something I don’t understand,” Kyle said. He winced as something jolted in his body. Crap, he wasn’t fully healed. But he couldn’t just leave Hood Nexus out there on his own. From what he could tell, the two were evenly matched. If Kyle arrived, it would tip the odds in their favor, and the two of them could dispatch Gargador for good, hopefully.
            “You can’t go,” Brenda said. “You’re not ready to fight Gargador again.”
            “So what?” asked Kyle. “If I just sit here I’ll be sitting on my hands while Gargador is fighting someone right next to the city! I can’t let him do more damage to it.”
            Brenda hardened her face. “Blue Nexus, you know that I want the best for you. I need you to stay here with me, otherwise you may be hurt beyond repair this time.”
            It was Kyle’s turn to give Brenda a hard look. “I can’t help you here, Brenda, but I can help the fight nearby. Take Phoenix and get out of sight, heal him up if you can.”
            “No, damn you, stay here and live!” Brenda shouted. Her hands turned red.
            Kyle clenched his fists. “I’ll go and fight.”
            Without giving Brenda a second chance, he shot out of the area, dodging a red construct meant to block his path. Brenda called for him one more time before Kyle turned away from the city, headed straight for the blue ball that exploded high in the sky.
            Gargador jumped up just in time, too. Kyle, taking all of his newfound rage, rammed his shoulder straight into Gargador’s ribs. The alien blew away, far more than he had during their previous battles, and created a huge rut in the ground before coming to a stop.
            Kyle joined Hood Nexus at the start of the rut, their auras brightly alight.
            “What are you doing here?” Hood Nexus asked.
            “Helping you, what’s it look like?” asked Kyle.       
            “You’re not in fighting form, get out of here,” Hood Nexus said.
            “No, we’re going to work together and make sure Gargador never screws with us again,” Kyle said.
            “Just don’t get yourself killed,” Hood Nexus said, punching forth an energy blast that Gargador easily burned with his mouth-fire.
            The demi-War God began to strut toward the heroes. Kyle held out his hand and his lance appeared in it. He gripped it tightly.
            “So, twin Nexus against one demi-War God,” Gargador said. “Typical of you weaklings to need an ally to defeat one of my kind.”
            “Shut up and fight us,” Kyle said.
            Gargador did as instructed, pushing himself forward toward the heroes. Kyle slashed up with his lance wile Hood Nexus punched forward. Gargador dodged the lance energy slice before batting away the punch-blast.
            He was upon them in seconds. Hood Nexus backed away while Kyle blocked Gargador’s initial strike with his lance, following it up with an elbow into his mouth. Hood Nexus came back around and blasted him. Gargador remained on his feet while residual energy smoke billowed from his side.
            The heroes were unrelenting, though, not giving Gargador a moment. The alien responded in kind, moving toward them as well. Kyle swooshed to the side as Hood Nexus came flying in. Gargador saw through that attack, deflected him, and looked up for where Kyle might be.
            “Gotcha,” Hood Nexus said.
            He kicked Gargador right in the chest while an energy beam from Kyle overhead knocked him back into the ground, forming a small crater. Kyle beamed toward him, pulling up when Gargador plumed fire his way.
            Hood Nexus twirled his arms around to create small energy tornados, knocking the fire away. Kyle spun the lance in his hand, then cast it down. Gargador rolled away as the lance struck the ground, emitting blue energy and making the crater much deeper.
            Gargador looked up at the two heroes, who both rejoined each other at the top of the crater. The alien panted.
            “You’ve both certainly shown promise,” Gargador said. “However, it won’t be enough.”
            “You talk a lot,” Hood Nexus said, and his fists began to glow blue again. “I really think we should change that.”
            Kyle was silent, though. Gargador was tired, but, damn. He was taking damage as if it were nothing. Come to think of it, he was never even tired the three times they fought. Sure he’d gotten a power boost, but a stamina boost as well? Kyle himself was feeling it a little, and he only just arrived. They were performing moves that required quick-thinking and even stronger actions. Gargador was handling it just fine, almost as if he were absorbing the attacks.
            Gargador’s eyes flicked over to Kyle, who continue his glare. His snake-like eyes brought back the memory of when Gargador first attacked Adelita, going straight for Kyle, meant to hunt him down and kill him. Hood Nexus beat the crap out of him then, too, and he was just fine to flee.
            Gargador smirked. Wait, that was it! Kyle figured it out. The fire, the stamina growth. He was absorbing all of the energy, because he was…
            Kyle’s quick thinking managed to pay off. Gargador shot his arms up just as Kyle managed to dive and tackle Hood Nexus out of the way. The explosion rocked the entire area, leaving nothing but fire in its wake.
            After a moment, Kyle rolled off of Hood Nexus, his bones rattled from the attack. Gargador stood fine, his shadow visible through the smoke.
            “So, Blue Nexus, it seems you figured out that little trick of mine,” Gargador said.
            “Yeah, it was a pretty nice one,” Kyle said. Really he was just glad he wasn’t caught in another explosion. The last one sucked pretty bad.
            “Let me guess, he absorbs our attacks after a certain amount of time and then tries to blow us up with some of that energy?” asked Hood Nexus.
            “How do we beat a guy like that?” asked Kyle.
            Hood Nexus shrugged. “No idea. Our best strategy is long-ranged attacks. The guy is a live-bomb at this point. If he goes off while we’re near him we’re finished.”
            “Unless it was a trick that has to build up overtime,” Kyle said. “In which case, we have to defeat him now.”
            “I think that was the unspoken goal,” Hood Nexus said.
            Kyle helped him up, and the two turned to face their demi-War God foe. Kyle blinked. Gargador’s shadow was still in the crater, yet, Gargador had already leapt up at them and was preparing a fireball in his mouth.
            “Who—” Kyle began, then the shadow rocketed out of the crater, caught Kyle’s neck, and cast him down the plain, Kyle bouncing until he halted himself.
            “You okay?” asked Hood Nexus, flipping and landing right next to Kyle.
            A shiver ran up Kyle’s spine. No. Not again.
            “Let’s hope so!” Kyle shouted.
            The shadow moved toward Kyle again. Kyle froze. Hood Nexus attacked the shadow, but was immediately preoccupied with Gargador, who attacked him simultaneously. Kyle absorbed the hit by the shadow and tried to throw him to the side, but the shadow was simply too strong. Gargador punched Hood Nexus across the face, sending him away and pursuing him.
            Kyle turned back to the shadow, who was radiating with dark energy. It was practically dripping off of him.
            “What are you?” Kyle shrieked. Sweat rolled down his face. His fists clenched so tight he worried he would start bleeding.
            The shadow didn’t respond, and instead a black ball of energy rammed into Kyle’s chest, knocking the wind right out of him. Kyle fell back, hitting the ground hard. The shadow as atop him instantly, and punched him hard in the face once before forming a sharp blade.
            Kyle caught the blade just before it jabbed into his forehead, but neither could budge. Kyle wrapped his legs around the shadow’s chest, and threw himself up, pinning the shadow, which cut him across the ribs. Kyle punched down with an energy fist, the blast also tossing him back a little.
            The shadow was out of the ground instantly, cutting at Kyle, who dodged it. Another chill ran through Kyle’s spine. This thing was emitting real fear.
            Kyle lifted his leg to avoid getting it cut off before trying to head-butt the shadow to no avail. Instead he had to shove it away.
            The shadow vanished. Kyle heard a rustling from behind and tried to move, but was too late. The shadow cut across his right calf. Kyle cried out as he dropped to one leg, clutching his injured one that was bleeding profusely.
            The shadow was now no longer in Gargador’s shape, but in the shape of the shadow man from the forest. He held Kyle’s chin up, so Kyle could gaze right into his horrible darkness.
            “Pathetic,” he said, then held up his blade arm.

Boomer grimaced before taking a sip of his coffee. He was watching the battle from his office, as he was getting the feed off of the news, the helicopter flying overhead. Almost all local news stations, as well as a few national ones, were covering the fight.
            Boomer had his feet raised on the desk, uncaring if a student or fellow professor should walk in. He was having a rare moment of joy getting to watch the two Nexuses get pummeled by Gargador. Sadly, Gargador unveiled his secret explosive technique, one which Boomer helped him attain, but the odds were very slim for the two Nexuses.
            He became keenly interested as a shadow formed in the crater left over by Gargador. He put his feet down and examined the screen closer. What was that?
            The door opened and closed suddenly. Boomer looked up. The young archer girl stood in front of the door, completely unarmed but with a dead serious look on her face.
            “What is it?” asked Boomer.
            “My master wishes for me to join the fight, do I have your permission to do so?” she asked.
            Boomer leaned back again. “Why would he want that, what business does he have there?”
            The girl was unfazed by the question. “He’s worried it may end soon, and particularly with the death of one of the two Nexus wielders. Not to mention that a dark figure has arrived on the battlefield, meant to kill the Blue Nexus, a desire you hold for yourself.”
            Boomer chuckled, then took another sip of his coffee and nodded. “That’s true.”
            He took another moment before giving her his answer. Indeed he wanted the Nexus wielders dead, keenly Blue Nexus for thwarting his plots in the past as well as embarrassing Gargador on a consistent basis, so the thought of someone else doing him in was inexcusable. He was just curious how the girl was going to get there in time. The fight was not going to last the duration of the drive to get to East City, at best she would get there when another member of the Zanderia showed up to check out the damage done.
            Still, he may as well let her do something rather than just stand around and wait for orders from the Benefactor.
            “You may enter the fray,” Boomer said, waving his hand.
            She bowed slightly, then exited the room as fast as she had entered.
            “As if it matters,” he said, and sipped his coffee.
            Suddenly, he spit out his coffee.
            “Impossible!” he shouted.

            The shadow was about to plunge the blade down when a purple arrow lodged into its chest and exploded. Kyle was knocked back, and used the remaining strength in his left leg to bounce back until an arrow snagged him across his right shoulder as well. He scowled, then stopped.
            A slight dark aura dissipated around a woman wielding a longbow and a quiver full of purple arrows. She was wearing a short-sleeved hoodie, a worn-out one at that, as well as shorts and boots that had more arrows running along their sides. The most terrifying thing, for Kyle at least, was how she took out the shadow with just one clean strike, whereas Kyle could punch and kick and blast and do no damage.
            “And now there’s this to deal with,” he muttered.
            Hood Nexus landed next to him, facing the opposite direction.
            “Oh, great, trade one for another, I love it,” he said.
            Kyle winced. He looked down, noticing he was putting all of his weight on his left leg, and that his right leg was just limp.
            “In a bit of a handicap right now,” Kyle muttered.
            “Well hopefully she’s one of those archers where if you get in close enough they won’t know how to fight,” Hood Nexus said.
            “That hasn’t been a thing in a long time,” Kyle said. “And something about her seems familiar.”
            “Doesn’t matter, she’s trying to kill us so you need to get her off our back while I keep fighting the alien,” Hood Nexus said. “Unless you need to get out of here.”
            “No, I’m staying,” Kyle said. “I can take her.”
            “Then good luck.”
            The two shot off simultaneously, Kyle moving much slower than Hood Nexus was. The archer had an arrow nocked and immediately fired it. Kyle swayed and the arrow soared past, Kyle feeling the magic radiating off of it as if he were standing next to Brenda.
            He approached her and she took a few steps back, then reached into her quiver and nocked two arrows. She fired them both at the ground, which upended and Kyle had to pull up to avoid it.
            Another arrow just grazed his cheek, ripping through his hood. He waved his arm fiercely to move all of the dust out of the way to try and see her. Just barely, he avoided another arrow going straight for his chest. He blasted down in the general direction of where it came from, decimating the ground.
            Kyle dropped down toward the ground, looking around, trying to see through the dust. As he touched down, though, the girl leapt out from behind and caught his neck with the bow, slamming him to the ground, then nocked an arrow. Kyle rolled away, avoiding the arrow that took a second before exploding again.
            He pushed himself up, this time able to see the girl running toward him. He kicked out with his left leg, her knee crashing into it. The two spun, and the girl recovered first, swinging her bow like a sword and crashing it on Kyle’s collarbone. He punched an energy blast at her, but she dodged it like a ballerina and twirled to his side, kicking him in the back of the head.
            Kyle went face first into the ground, but with energy in his hands he was able to rocket back up. The girl fell slightly back. Kyle landed ten yards from the girl as the two stood facing each other, Kyle still on his left leg for the most part.
            The dust from their newly formed holes and craters wafted through them as a breeze carried on. Kyle heard the grunts and shouts coming from the fight behind him, as well as feeling the impact of almost every single attack. He was frustrated that some new villain like the archer here was giving him trouble, but was he was still feeling a slight chill from when the shadow attacked him.
            Rather than exchange words, the girl jumped into action, bounding toward Kyle. Her hood bounced with her, giving Kyle a second to see her exposed face.
            “Sandy?” he asked.
            The girl didn’t hear him, instead leaping through the dust and emerging with two arrows knocked. Kyle snapped back into the fight and jumped up avoiding the arrows. Hood Nexus slammed into him, the two tumbling a bit in the air before stopping.
            “I know that girl, she’s my friend!” Kyle shouted.
            “Well I didn’t know we were friends with super villains!” shouted Hood Nexus.
            Kyle ignored the comment. “I can’t fight her, you have to switch with me, you have to try and knock some sense into her.”
            “And let you take on Gargador with only one leg working?” asked Hood Nexus. “Not happening.”
            An arrow soared between them. The both glowered down at the archer, who stared blankly at them through the shadow of her cowl.
            “Then let’s pull back and regroup, trying and come at them from a different angle,” Kyle said.
            Hood Nexus hesitated, then nodded. “At this rate there won’t be a highway for people to get to the city on.”
            They both turned toward the villains, and saw that potentially Sandy was approaching Gargador. Gargador looked to her, then to the heroes, and nodded. Sandy and Gargador vanished in a puff of smoke.
            “Come on, let’s get out of here,” Hood Nexus said.
            Kyle agreed, and followed after Hood Nexus, headed south toward Adelita. They moved at a speed that the helicopter couldn’t keep up with, and were out of sight of the camera in a minute.
            They were going much slower than Kyle and Brenda had been going earlier. Hood Nexus had his arms crossed as he flew. Kyle couldn’t tell if it was because he was disappointed, or if it had something to do him possibly coming up with a strategy to take on Gargador with.
            Kyle felt a small relief sprout in his chest when Adelita appeared on the horizon. Even though he was just there a few moments before, getting to be back home after a fight was always something he looked forward to.
            The two bent their path and headed for the school. Hood Nexus landed before Kyle, holding his hands out in case Kyle came tumbling down from his injuries. They were in the courtyard, and nobody was around. Kyle was still not sure what time it was, but was sure that school was out.
            Hood Nexus sighed as Kyle braced himself against a brick pillar.
            “Damn it,” Hood Nexus said. “We had him, and then…”
            “I don’t even know what happened,” Kyle said. “The shadow, and Sandy, and…I’m sorry.”
            “For what?” asked Hood Nexus.
            “Getting involved. Brenda, you, well, you were right. I was in over my head joining the fight. I was probably the one that forced that shadow to appear, it’s been happening to me for a while now. It just keeps following me around.”
            Kyle bowed his head. Hood Nexus looked toward the building across the way.
            “Regardless, we at least know that Gargador has an explosive ability. We have to start planning around that now, and you should probably tell the Zanderia about it.”
            Kyle nodded before looking back up, confused. Footsteps echoed in the outdoor hallway. Hood Nexus looked around as well.
            “It’s not the only thing you should tell them about,” someone said. It was a woman, and a familiar voice at that.
            Kyle looked on the other side of the pillar and saw Detective Patton moving toward them. She looked about the same, with a touch of gray in her hair the only difference.
            “Long time no see, detective,” Kyle said. “What are you doing at school, when nobody is here?”
            “I took a gamble, hoped you two would show up eventually so we could have a little chat,” Patton said.
            “Yeah, what about?” asked Hood Nexus.
            “About the two hundred and fifty-three people that have vanished completely from East City,” Patton said. “And how nobody suspects a thing.”


Next time: Patton's chilling revelation spooks the Nexuses into wondering who is pulling the strings, while Boomer makes his own preparations, finally setting some secret plans in motion in "Blue Nexus #26: Boomer Sooner!"

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