(August 4th, 2008)
Four weeks later
“Tremble before the awesome wrath of Firenado!”
The setting sun sent rays of light filtering across the street. They illuminated the man hovering, a foot off the ground, in the middle of the street, and overturned car burning in the flickering light behind him. He was dressed from head to toe in a cloth suit, spiralling orange and white colours in a patchwork medley with no rhyme or reason to it. Trailers of fabric hung down from his sleeves, fluttering uselessly back and forth as the wind around him shifted, and he wore a heavy mask over his eyes, which were narrowing at the surpressed laughter in his opponent's voice. Taking a deep breath, he spoke slowly. “I am a master of wind and flame. I can summon vortexes of devastation that will surround and unmake your hopes!”
“And yet, you are still named Firenado.” Timebender shrugged, swallowing a grin. “Didn't have time for literary classes in evil academy, did you?”
“You know what? Shut up. I didn't come to your damned city to get sassed.” As Timebender opened her mouth to reply, he hurried on. “And shouldn't there be more of you? I mean, there's no one here but you.”
“I'm here.” Lounging on the steps across the street, Blastwave raised a hand lazily, ponytail hanging limp despite the wind.
“You don't count, you're SEA!” Firenado's voice rose. “I'm a front-line villain, dammit, I deserve the response of a full team.”
Timebender shrugged. “Yeah, well, you picked a bad day. Some hack called Mindwar is busy attacking the downtown mall, and the Viridian Mauler's busy tearing through Miller Park.” Pulling out a notepad, she glanced over it briefly. “If you want to come back Friday, I can guarantee a full team appearance.”
For a moment, Firenado glared at her. Then he glanced around, and sighed heavily, dropping to the ground. “Yeah, sure. If I beat you, it's not really much of an accomplishment, and if you beat me… yeah.” He scratched the back of his mask for a moment, then sighed again. “Geez. Didn't know it was that busy.”
“You have no idea.” Timebender sighed in return. “Since we got declared clear to re-engage last week, we've had two to four challenges a day.” She shot a mock-glare towards the side of the street, which Blastwave met blandly.
“Yeah, I think there should be a one-a-day maximum too, hon. It's been in discussion for about ten years now, though, so don't expect a change.”
“To hell with that.” Firenado threw up his arms. “I've got some class, you know? Don't need to be lumped in with all the other wannabes. Maybe I'll come back in six months or so.”
“That would be nice. We can give you more attention then – probably, the thrill of fighting us will have worn off by then.” Timebender smiled apologetically. “Sorry about making fun of your name, earlier.”
There was a momentary pause, and then Firenado shrugged again, starting to rise into the air. “Nah, I think you're right. My last couple of names didn't work out – thought this one might be a bit better. Maybe I do need to work on it just a touch.”
As he rose into the sky, Timebender watched him go, then sagged. “Oh, thank god. I am just so worn out.” She triggered her communicator. “Folks, Firenado's a no-go; he decided to pull out. How're your fights going.”
“We're good in the mall; Mindwar's on the defensive, and Jim's looping around to catch him.” Mayfly's voice was soft over the intercom. “He's a real poser; blasted the pet shop window and got jumped by a few dozen rabbits right after.”
“Rabbits.” Timebender spoke carefully. Still sitting on the stoop, Blastwave perked up curiously.
“Yes, that's right. He sort of panicked after that. Anyway, we're all good here.”
“Not quite clear yet, but I'm just sitting observer. Mauler broke a tree.”
Timebender winced. “So how much is Ash beating on him?”
“Well, there's… let's see… about two hundred ninja trees launching pinecone grenades at him right now. I'm sticking around to make sure it doesn't get out of hand; I don't think Ash would seriously hurt him deliberately, but he might by mistake.”
“Keep an eye on it. I'm punching out for the night.” Taking off her earpiece, Amber set it to alert her if an emergency message came in, then tucked it into her pocket. “Looks like we're good.”
“Lovely.” Blastwave stretched as she stood, giving Amber a quick kiss on the cheek. “Let's get some dinner.”