YEAR
THREE
OCTOBER

Elementals

4

Previously: after fighting Captain McGurk to rescue Pirate Kitty, Amanda, Fire, Water and Earth feel angry that it was all part of a game between the two pirates. Shagreen sends the Scarlet and the Dark Bamf to kidnap Amanda and the elementals present go for the rescue. On Earth, while Air feels for the first time his claustrophobia, Margali activates the vase and the four are transported back, Amanda still with Shagreen's weapon (a bouquet of flowers).


Transmutation

"Ok, so now you explain it to me why weren't you with us and what the hell just happened here."

Amanda Sefton is pissed. The last 48 hours had been a roller coaster that would make a lot of superheroes to go insane, or at least get really, really tired. She became a baby-sitter for four beings, she almost battled her mother, she stopped a terrorist attack to a museum, she fought pirates and a shark-man sorcerer. She pinched herself at least twice during the ordeal in that dimension just so she would assure herself she wasn't dreaming. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't.

(Yes, this is a shameless recap, no need to point that out and laugh at my face, thank you very much.)

She was tired, hungry, sleepy. She needed a bath, a week's sleep, a prostethic limb and Armag... oops, those two last bits are from the Distinguished Competition's mature guys. All she really needed was a bath and a week's sleep. The three elementals that were along for the ride were not tired (hey, they are mystical beings formed of basic alchemical elements - why would they get tired?) and just started to do what they were doing before: watch television, only now they didn't want to watch kiddies' cartoons, but more action packed stuff: Power Rangers was on.

Unfortunately, watching the telly was the only thing they could do, since the flat was wreck: a broken window, glass all over the floor, the bed was destroyed, the water mattress had leaked and her room was a half inch flooded (Earth wouldn't go in, afraid of becoming mud like when the Thing destroyed him the last time), her shower was twisted and, well the place was a wreck. If she still had a couch she'd sit on it and stare at the distance, wondering who could have done that.

But it was all too obvious she hadn't been robbed: nothing of value had been robbed, none of her mystical amulets were missing, nothing like that had happened. No, what happened had a name: Air. After escaping his prison (a bathroom in a palace, remember?) he headed to Amanda's place. he already knew the city quite well, probably better than Amanda, who had been living there for two weeks and visited it before. He went there fast and furious, making way through the fog and finally entering her room through the window. Still slightly deranged from the panicking of feeling great claustrophobia, he destroyed everything accidentally, sort of what a crisis of epilepsy would result if the victim was superpowered.

Amanda was still holding the Nameless' Bouquet and realised how ridiculous she seemed, holding it and almost threatening Air with it. Willing to study its capacities (if it had any, since that sorcerer wasn't exactly sane), she tossed it and said:

"Earth, put in my... atop the television."

Earth stretches his body and grabs it. His body starts to glow and the other elementals immediately step away from him. He always looked like a little mound, rather the more humanoid form the other elementals had, but now he was stretching and thinning. And while his body mutated in shape it also changed its colour, from a dark brown hue to a lighter one.

When he finally stopped glowing there was a confused-looking, tall and handsome black (sorry, African-Elemental) man, completely nude and holding a bouquet of flowers.

"What?"

Even Amanda joined the elementals in their synchronised reaction.


In a shadowy corner of the Mad Hatter Pub, in London, a group is talking. A fat man in his thirties who seems not to understand his surroundings isn't listening what the blonde is saying. The other two men in the room are listening, but often whisper to each other secret commentaries. The older one is in his forties and has a bad wig, while the other, in his early thirties, is the best-looking of the bunch. But the skinny, nerdy guy is listening her very carefully as she says:

"Silence. Tomorrow we will attack the parade, understand?"

"Why?", asks the older man. He's the more practical one of the bunch.

"Yeah. Why?", says the formerly distracted guy.

"Are you questioning your leader? You are being rightfully paid; obey me. Tomorrow…"


Because of a logistics question, after Earth transformed himself, Fire was chosen the first to be transformed. Not they followed the pattern, really. As soon as Earth stopped glowing, Water rushed to him and grabbed a flower from him. Water starts glowing and its already humanoid shape starts to become more and more defined. First, it shortens. Then parts of it start to stick out. When all is done, there is a naked woman holding a flower.

"Amanda, why does Earth have one leg more? I want another leg!"

"That is not a leg. Now, silence. Air, I want you to levitate this flower and put it gently at Fire's body. Is that ok?"

Sure it was. Air was the only one that had no problems with any of the other elementals: it had no fear of changing it's state like the others did. But the others were all so apart from each other that they grew apart from Air. While Earth feared becoming mud, Fire thought he would extinguish and Water feared being evaporated, Air felt none of those fears. it felt only the fear of being incarcerated. That's why it went out that day.

As it places the flower on Fire it starts to glow too. Air ends looking in body sort of like Water did, only she looks Asian, with the darkest of hairs and eyes instead of the blue-eyed blonde Water became. Fire, meanwhile, was completely different-looking man: a redhead Caucasian. Each of them has a distinguishing figure in the end.

Worst of all, they are all naked!

Amanda conjures a simple spell she's used hundreds of times to create clothing for the four and, after dodging for fifteen minutes questions like "What does this do?" and giving them so basic teachings on manners ("No, never put anything in that hole, Water; you won't hear straight.") (you dirty little minds were thinking what, exactly?), they set on the daunting task of finding them a name.

"Can we be Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello?"

"NO!"

"Why?"

"You're neither teenagers, mutants, ninjas nor turtles! How would you like Aqua, Geos, Eola and Pyros?"

"Isn't it, like, obvious?"

'Way too much TV, they watched way too much TV.' Amanda thinks. "Say your parents were hippies."

"… weren't hippies baby-eaters?"

"No. Now I have something to tell you…"

But first, the obligatory interlude.


"Ouija tables for 3 pounds only?"

"I have not come for this gibberish. Show me the bracelet."

"Pardon me?"

"The Bracelet of Faltine."

"Oh, you are the 'mystery woman' who called me. Here it is. Do you have the 500,000 pounds, madam?"

"I think not."

And thus the body pile on Margali's past piles up a bit more…


"Travel?"

"Yes. There are urgent matters waiting for me in Germany. I thought I was going to be able to take you with me, but this way I cannot."

"Can't you teleport us, or take us in the baggage or anything like that?"

"No, Geos, I cannot."

Two things, though: she made an effort to call Earth by his new given name and she actually could. It would be difficult, but possible. Only thing is, Amanda doesn't want to take them and that stops her from admitting she can. The four look at her with a "lost puppy" face.

"I'm sorry, but I can't. You just stay here and I'll be back in one day."

The following day takes place without any major happenings that deserve our attention: Amanda sleeps in a couch she borrows from a neighbour ("Bloody hooligans destroyed mine after Manchester lost the game.") while the four cleaned the apartment and watched some more of the telly. Amanda left for the airport in the morning and left the four inside apartment. The last thing she told them was

"Behave."


Five hours later than she planned she waited edge of the woods, somewhere in Southern Germany. In a sudden blast of brimstone, a dark figure appears in front of her.

"Kurt?"

"Liebchen?"

(A note from your dear writer: I will remind you that everything Amanda said to the elementals was in German, as is the following dialogue. Now get on with the reading.)

"Why did you call me here, Kurt?"

"You know why."

"Yes, I do. It's been 6 years…"

"Since I killed your brother."

"Yes."

"I had to. He was killing those children, and I swore to Stefan that if he ever became…"

"I know that, Kurt. You loved him like a brother. You idolised him. There's no need to explain yourself to me. God knows you did it for the devil himself."

"Now, Jimaine, it was your mother's depiction of hell*. And she is not the devil anymore. She's been a zombie** ever since she…" (*X-Men Annual 4 and ** Excalibur 100 - likes-the-first-not-the-last Francisco)

"No, Kurt. She is fully back to her old self. Maybe worse."

"Do you want me to call the X-Men to help you? I think I can even get Dr. Strange to…"

"No, Kurt, I don't. In fact, I… I don't want any men in my life right now."

"Are you saying you don't want to…?"

"Yes."

A tear rolled down her eye. Kurt was making an extreme effort to hold his. There had been other women in his life and other men in hers. In fact, she disguised herself as Amanda Sefton to date him in the beginning, back when she was still not sure the reason of Stefan's death. Jimaine Szardos or Amanda Sefton, Kurt Wagner or Nightcrawler, whatever name it was they were using at that moment, a childhood passion that grew stronger with adolescence had finally died.

Kurt kissed her and murmured 'liebchen' one more time. He took her in his arms and…

No, I won't say it. You're grown people out there. Figure it out yourselves.


"Can't you push it any harder?"

"I'm trying. But why do I have to do it? I don't even want to go out there!"

"You're the strongest. Now knock this door down, you big sissy!"

"I thought I was supposed to be 'Geos'"

"Just do it."

Earth finally knocked down the door and they were free once again. Fire, Air and Water (let's use their names from now on, shall we?) stepped out of the apartment as Geos watched them. it hadn't been more than seventeen hours since Amanda left and five minutes since the lights went out and already they were disobeying her. They were on the loose.

They immediately started to explore. Using Eolos for a guide, Pyros and Aqua were going to se London. Geos stayed in the flat, cursing himself for not stopping them.

The first thing they did was to head for the Channel 9 studios. They stayed there for about half an hour, but security eventually found them. Thrown in the street, they saw something out of their telly: a giant cat floating in the air with a enormous smile in his face. Water immediately said:

"Wow. Balloons of characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice in the Wonderland Two-Hour Special!"

They stayed in the middle of the crowd watching those giant representations of Lewis Carroll's characters being paraded. A small band of anti-child abuse protestors had tried to disturb the parade, but they had no success. Of course, if a band with a good cause can't do something, a band of whackos most certainly can. As the balloons start to pop, five figures emerge from the shadows.

"I am the White Rabbit! And now, rapists of this great man's work, prepare to suffer the fury from Walrus, Shocker, Vanisher, Humbug and White Rabbit. Prepare for the fury of the… All-Winners Squad!"

At Amanda Sefton's apartment, after the lights went back on, Geos is all of a sudden paying very close attention to telly instead of worrying about his peers' and Amanda's lateness.


In a part of the London Underground long abandoned, an old and decrepit lady, wearing the most mismatched and extravagant jewels is in front of cauldron, reciting words in Latin, Ancient Greek, and other languages long forgotten by the rest of the human race. She finishes the ritual when all of her transformation is over. Her skin and hair is light-green, her raggedy clothes are now a yellow dress and she has goat horns.

"Soon…"


Meanwhile, at the parade…

"You have deformed the works of this great man. All of those who attacked Lewis Carroll's work shall suffer. After this horrendous parade is over, we are going to Disneyland!"

The White Rabbit had finally lost it. She was attacking viciously all of the balloons with her deadly razor-sharp carrots while Buck Mitty, the Humbug, used the amplified sound of a fly's flight to torture models. The Walrus was simply performing his speciality: random mass destruction. They were all doing their best to level the joyous parade celebrating "Through the Looking Glass".

The Shocker and the Vanisher, you ask? They were doing something, alright. The Shocker was keeping the crowd watching the parade away from the insane White Rabbit and the Vanisher was discreetly looting the nearby jewellery and banks, with well placed teleportation portals made of Dark Force. If both of them weren't needing money, they wouldn't be with that loony, but the Tinkerer was pressing the Shocker and the Vanisher had his luck down for quite some time.

But back to our main characters. Eolos, Aqua and Pyros immediately charged to attack the White Rabbit.

"Wow, I didn't know I could use my powers in this form."

When they saw the streak of fire cutting through the air, the Vanisher and the Shocker took the expected way out:

"My contract clearly said 'no superhumans'. Hey, Vanisher, let's scram!"

"Here, Schultz. This way."

They both escaped through one of the Vanisher's Dark Force portals.

"Cowards! But you are no match to the All-Winners Squad! Prepare to feel our might. Walrus, take the water wizard there. Humbug…"

"Call me Bucky, honey."

"Not iscram!"

"Here, Schultz. This way."

They both escaped through one of the Vanisher's Dark Force portals.

"Cowards! But you are no match to the All-Winners Squad! Prepare to feel our might. Walrus, take the water wizard there. Humbug…"

"Call me Bucky, honey."

"Not in battle, Humbug. You take the windy one. I'll handle this living flame."

Humbug obeyed his valentine-field leader and sent Eolos' way a powerful blast: the sound of two cockroaches mating.

"That tickles."

Just to remind everybody of a little physics, sound, no matter what the volume, is essentially molecules, generally air, vibrating. When it went across Eolos body it did just as much harm as would breeze. Needless to say, one down, two to go.

The Walrus wasn't being exactly the toughest foe for Aqua. Using the same technique she used to defeat the Thing back when… she hated to remember it, brought the painful memories of boiling… back then. She was drowning him. But it was actually funnier this time, since the Walrus was trying to pound her fluid body and achieved nothing more than hitting himself. With the Walrus having knocked himself out, only the leader was still to go.

"My All-Winners Squad may be defeated, but I will not go down! Eat carrots, Human Torch!"

Pyros had still not managed to become fully flame again, and was doing his best to dodge the carrots.


And now, for something different, I'll use this interlude for something slightly more dramatical than four elemental beings watching TV: thoughts on supervillains.

Why did White Rabbit use the name of a group of super-heroes? She probably doesn't know they were heroes. Why mass destruction, not looting? The White Rabbit is a loony. Why Humbug and Walrus instead of more menacing fellows like, say, Professor Power and Mechano-Marauder? Probably because even they wouldn't answer her calls.

But on with the story.


Amanda Sefton enters her flat again, she sees only Geos there, alone, she is mad. They did it again. When this is all over they'll hear a lecture like… gee, she's starting to sound like a mother.

"Where are they?"

Geos points at the telly and Amanda sees the three in the TV.

"I'm here with the new superheroes of England, who just defeated a group of supervillains at the Lewis Carroll parade. The villains are currently being deported to the United States. But let's talk with our new heroes. What are your names?"

"Eolos."

"Pyros."

"Aqua."

"Aqua like the band?"

"No, Aqua as in…"

At that instant, the three of them disappear. And the image of Margali Szardos's face takes control of Amanda's screen.

"I need the fourth one, Jimaine. Come home and give it to me."

She disappears and the image of the confused reporter comes back to the screen.

"Is there anything else you want to tell me, Eart… Geos?"

"I love you, Amanda."

"That is so sweet, Geos. Let's go."

Amanda recites a spell and they both vanish.


And here goes my thanks to Jess Nevins, who writes All-Winners Squad for MV1. The real one, with heroes from the Golden Age. Since he was a great guy and let me use the name, here are the links to his All-Winners Squad I promised. Three of them, if you count the one in the middle of the text.

Thanks, Jess.