From the Story Arc: The Lecture

Previous Story in the Arc: Paragon City University by Comrade Hero (Tuesday, July 24, 2007)

(posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007)

Heroes, thought Rack with disgust. He had reached the library within the depths of Oranbega only to be met with a most unexpected, and unpleasant twist. Someone else was already here. Three someone’s to be exact.

Rack hissed quietly as he watched from the rocky outcrop above the library. The heroes had also entered by stealth but had discarded that the moment they had entered the library. Books and scrolls had burned, stone columns had splintered and cracked as the heroes had attacked the guardians of the library, striking at the demonic guardians that had rushed to aid the surprised mages.

The uniforms may have been garish, but the colorfully attired heroes knew how to work as a team. The Circle of Thorns mages were having a hard time containing the advance as the heroes pressed forward through the library, leaving a trail of destruction and ash in their wake.

Rack was tempted to intervene on the side of the Circle mages, but they wouldn’t welcome his assistance. And the heroes would never accept help from a villain who had taken part in the public humiliation of Statesman and his cohorts from the Freedom Phalanx.

Decisions, decisions. Rack dropped to the stone floor below. The thud as he landed was drowned out by the battle taking place around him. There was no way Rack was going to let the scrolls he was after be destroyed in a ball of fire, or whisked away by the librarians to a more secure location.

He dashed through the war zone as the heroes and Circle mages and their minions clashed. A ball of fire burst overhead, sending a shower of flaming wood splinters into the air as it struck a book shelf. Rack threw himself forward and rolled behind a shattered stone column as frozen lances of ice were hurtled past him.

Any other day and Rack would have taken part in the chaos, but that wasn’t his objective. He skirted his way around the combatants and slipped inside an archway whose surrounding walls were riddled with bullet holes. Rack stepped over the unmoving bodies of several Circle mages and entered the section of the library where the scrolls he wanted were located.

The informant’s information had been entirely accurate. Rack almost regretted having to turn the Circle mage over to the tender ministrations of the Mu Guardians. However, the informant had forgotten to mention that someone else was apparently interested in the same scrolls he was.

The room was a mess. Books and scrolls were strewn across the floor, and kneeling in the centre of the room, creating even more of a mess, was another hero. She continued to rifle through the ancient texts, oblivious to the unseen threat that lingered close behind her.

Rack stood silently behind her, quickly looking at the books and scrolls she had discarded. So far, none of them were the ones he was looking for. A great thunderclap shook the walls, stirring up dust that filtered down from the ceiling. The hero glanced about nervously for a second, then resumed her search.

And then he spotted it. The scrolls had been tossed to one side like the rest. Rack almost smiled. So the heroes weren’t here for his treasures. That was reassuring. But his curiosity was piqued. What were they here for? Rack silently took the scrolls from the floor and tucked them inside his jacket. He froze as the hero whipped around, her eyes wide. Had she heard him? Rack saw the familiar glow of power encasing her body in a bright aura. The telltale glow of an Invulnerability wielder. The metal claws that sprung from her the ends of her hands gave away the fact that she was a Scrapper class hero.

A tempting target. Rack circled around her as her gaze flickered about the small room. No, let’s see what the heroes have come for first, and then take it from them. It was oh so satisfying to see the shocked expression on heroes faces when it dawned on them that the desperate battles they had fought were all for naught.