- On board the 'Nyhshea Eternal,' dry-docked on the continent of Atlantis.....
WHAM! CLANG! CRASH!
"What on the seas was that!?" Rhomerho 'Rho' Kel Llurian, the accomplished medical officer of the 'Eternal', shouted out as he locked down his work-station, and left the ship's medical level to investigate the sudden commotion. "Navatu! Report!"
Moments later, the ship's command A.I. appeared in its holographic form to answer the cries of the alchemically-enhanced Neo-Atlantean. "My apologies, Officer Kel Llurian, but it would appear that Prince Ozarion is quite upset."
"What could make HIM angry, I wonder?" Rho mused out loud as he rushed to the nearest lift, taking it to the cargo hold where Navatu had set up a large stall for the wise and powerful Arcane Bolt Stallion. Navatu appeared again as Rho stepped off the lift, and they were both greeted by the deafening stomps of the arcane animals's mighty hooves on the deck.
/"LADY EMILY!!!"/ The stallion's electric-altered thoughts echoed out as he neighed and bayed at the emotions he was experiencing from the Atlantean princess. Rho and Navatu stared for a moment, and then, due to being near the Arcane Bolt Stallion, the medical officer's own augmented senses felt what Ozarion had sensed.
"Oh, no..... the Princess..." Rho whispered, and Navatu instantly understood.
"Prince Ozarion is sensing Emily's distress through his spirit link to her, Officer Kel Llurian, and due to your own prismatic chassis resonating with ambient elemental and arcane energies, now you are, too." Navatu reported, right as Ozarion finally forced his raging sensations down, and looked at Rho.
/"OFFICER KEL LLURIAN. MY LADY NEEDS ME. NOW."/ Rho wasted no time in nodding his head, and turned to Navatu.
"Navatu." The hologram looked right at Rho. "Prep my battle armor, and a full medical load-out for transport. Ozarion and I are heading into Angel Falls to see what in Poseidon's name is going on."
"Alchemic Forge: Activated. Prismatic Armor Protocol: Engaged." Navatu replied, right as a shimmering violet portal came into being! Out of the portal floated several armor components and sleek robes, all humming in tune with Rhomerho's bio-prismatic frame and eyes. Rho extended his arms and braced his feet for what was to come.
"Navatu: on my count, initiate armor link-up." Navatu nodded firmly at the individual his own memory algorithms had been modeled after.
"Ready on your count, Rhomerho." Navatu replied. Looking at his armor for the first time in three years, Rho took a deep breath, and moved forward.
"Three, two, one, MARK." Rho finished speaking, and right on cue, powerful streams of arcane energy shot out from the armor, stabbing into Rho! The Neo-Atlantean grimaced painfully, but bore the discomfort as battle gauntlets and shoulder pauldrons slapped onto his arms and shoulders, while combat boots encircled his bodysuit-lined lower legs and feet.
His alchemic chassis was then encircled by sleek nano-woven robes with a high collar, giving off the proud look of a powerful battle mage, combined with a veteran warrior of countless campaigns. As the energy streams died down, Rhomerho took another deep breath before looking himself over, and mentally going over his new alchemic heads-up display that now appeared in his diamond-shaped eyes.
"All battle systems online and functioning at 100%." Rhomerho spoke, even as Navatu floated over, handing the medical officer his sheathed battle blade. The Neo-Atlantean looked at his personalized weapon, sighed, then took it from Navatu and hefted it over his shoulder, allowing its specially-made scabbard to adhere to his back. "Navatu, you have the special saddle that Matthias commissioned you to make, ready?"
"Yes, Officer Kel Llurian." Navatu said as the glowing saddle, complete with sleek side bags, appeared nearby. Rho then looked over at the glowing Arcane Bolt Stallion.
"Prince Ozarion, may I have the honor?" Rho's request was greeting by a mighty neigh from the elemental Clydesdale.
/"YOU ARE FAMILY AS WELL, OFFICER KEL LLURIAN."/ Ozarion replied, nodding and lowering his head as Navatu moved over, placing the saddle on his massive back before securing it beneath the tall stallion. /"SHALL WE?"/ Rhomerho nodded, double-checking the saddle before hopping onto Ozarion.
"Navatu, inform Matthias that we are en route to Guardians HQ. I'm sure he has sensed Emily's distress by now, and is well on his way to ensure that she is in good hands after whatever has happened." Rho replied as he took hold of one side of the saddle, and hauled himself up onto Ozarion's back.
"Understood, Officer Kel Llurian. I will also put the ship in its stand-by and lockdown mode until either you or Matthias return. Good hunting." Navatu responded, even as the ship's upper exit hatch began to slide open.
/"HOLD ON, RHOMERHO."/ Ozarion spoke. /"AS THE HUMANS SAY HERE, YOU ARE ABOUT TO... RIDE THE LIGHTNING!!!"/
Rhomerho knew instantly what Ozarion meant, and took a strong hold on both of the saddle's bracers as the Arcane Bolt Stallion reared back on its hind legs with a mighty baying sound! Thunder boomed overhead, and an instant later, Ozarion and Rhomerho transformed into a massive lightning bolt that blasted away into the heavens!
In the medical wing of Guardians HQ, Maddie Malone, aka PhyreFrost, was waiting to hear further updates on Emily's condition after being attacked by an unclassified enemy a short while ago. She was also inspecting and going over a few system checks on her new combat armor, while Blue Tide, Coil, SilverStar, and their friend Hailey Storm were on site as well. Presently, a nearby comms alert light went off, alerting PhyreFrost that they had a call coming in from reception on the main level. She walked over, and pressed the intercom switch.
"Medical wing, PhyreFrost here." The seasoned heroine spoke up, and was quickly answered by the front desk.
"PhyreFrost, our comms level just called in with a received communique from the Nyhshea Eternal, dry-docked at Atlantis." The looks of surprise on many of the faces of the present Guardians was quite apparent.
"Whoa! Mal's calling?" Hailey spoke up.
"No, Miss Storm." The comms officer replied. "The call just came in from the ship's governing A.I., Navatu, letting us know that two of its crew are on their way here."
"Who?" PhyreFrost said, seeing as she could not remember who else would be contacting them from the Eternal, save for...
"An Officer Kel Llurian, and Prince Ozarion are en route. Unknown ETA, but judging from from their transmission, it seems they will be here shortly." The comms officer replied, garnering a look of shock on Maddie's face.
"Rho...?" Maddie began.
"... and Ose...?" Hailey added, allowing the two to look at each other, and together, finished their thoughts.
"... ARE COMING HERE!?" Their dual shouts surprised everyone.
"Oh, holy shit!" Colleen (Coil) said, realizing what was coming. Blue Tide (Becky) swore in her native tongue in sheer disbelief, which probably was not a good idea, given that Maddie was still in the room.
"Language!" Maddie bellowed. Blue Tide and Coil bowed their heads.
"Sorry..." They said, only to have the comms officer speak up again.
"The message said that they would be arriving on the roof...within the next two minutes, to boot." PhyreFrost quickly tapped the reply switch to inform the comms level to allow the arrival of Emily's friends to arrive.
"We'd better get upstairs, fast." Hailey said. "Emily's told us that Ozarion can run like the lightning, and she means it."
Everyone quickly hustled to the elevator, and as they all crowded on, SilverStar mused out loud, "Well, this is turning out to be quite the eventful day."
A minute later, everyone had piled out of the elevator onto the rooftop. As they began to look around, only Hailey looked upward, closing her eyes as she sensed the coming of the thunder clouds above. Then, she spoke up.
"They're here." She said matter of fact to the air, and just then, a powerful lightning bolt flashed down from the sky! The thunder roared as the flash of light momentarily blinded everyone, but when their vision had cleared, they saw the towering form of the Arcane Bolt Stallion, his mane crackling with electricity. Sitting on his back, in a special saddle, was Rhomerho, clad in shimmering violet and blue armored robes.
"Greetings, my friends." Rho said as he hopped down off Ozarion. "It is good to see you all doing well." Looking at PhyreFrost and the ladies, Rho walked over, extending his hand to Emily's mentor. "Rhomerho Kel Llurian, Medical and Science Officer of the Nyhshea Eternal, and First Mate to Commander Matthias Geist. It's been some time since we last spoke, Madelyn."
"Yes... it has, Rhomerho." Maddie, shaking the proffered hand, while she was still trying to process what she was seeing of Rho, who was now clad in his combat armor and had his glowing eyes gently looking at everyone. She did her best to hide the growing blush on her face from everyone. Hailey took that moment to quickly chime in, sensing innate mystical energies within him.
"You... don't resemble Matthias, from what Emily has described of him." The female mage stated, which prompted Rho to nod at her.
"Battlefield accident." Rho replied. "Neo-Atlantean endo-cybernetics and alchemic bio-prismatic chassis, miss; but, another time for that." Turning again, Rho looked at Blue Tide, Coil, and SilverStar, before stepping over and looking them in the eyes.
"So, you ladies are Emily's trusted friends, and the ones who helped keep Madelyn from ending up in a place far away from her friends, and those who care for her." Rho's words made all the ladies blush fiercely and lower her heads, only for them to look up when Rho spoke to them again. "Thank you all for your hard work, ladies. I realize that she can be a handful,... just like her ward."
"HEY!" Maddie said right at that moment, prompting everyone to burst out laughing. She then blushed fiercely, while Hailey clicked her tongue at her. Rho then smiled over at SilverStar, who had arched up an eyebrow at him, her own enhanced Apache senses focusing on him.
"Medical officer, indeed." Sarah stated. That was when everyone remembered the huge glowing Clydesdale nearby on the roof, and turned to see Ozarion standing there proudly, his horn glowing. Then, they all heard the creature speak!
/"I SENSED THE DISTRESS AND PAIN OF MY LADY THROUGH OUR LINK, AND I CAME, MISS MADELYN."/ Ozarion gently said to PhyreFrost as she stepped over to him, letting his powerful elemental aura mesh with her own elemental nature, calming her immensely and dispelling her anxiety over Emily for the time being. She slowly dried her forming tears.
"Thanks, Ose." Maddie replied, while Hailey, Colleen, Becky, and Sarah all walked over to get a much better look at the massive stallion, whom they all had heard so much about.
"Wow..." Sarah murmured, her Native American senses telling her much about the tall animal before him. "Maddie... this is Emily's spirit animal, is he not?" Maddie nodded.
"Matthias brought Emily to him on Valentine's Day last year." Maddie said. "Emily told me that they took an elemental portal to a world where elemental creatures thrive, and their spirits linked when she first saw him." Ozarion took that moment to raise his head up, his horn thrumming like a quiet level of thunder in the distance.
/"GREETINGS TO YOU ALL. I AM PRINCE OZARION, ARCANE BOLT STALLION OF THE NORTHERN CRAGS OF PANGEA. YOU HAVE MY THANKS FOR BEING SUCH STRONG ALLIES OF MY LADY EMILY."/ The powerful stallion spoke to them all, garnering even more looks of amazement at the sentient elemental being. Rho, thankfully, broke the spell by speaking up once more.
"This has been wonderfully entertaining, my friends..." Rho said. "... but now, if it's at all possible, I would like to know exactly what happened to make my brother-in-law's soon to be wife, experience such a period of anxiety." Maddie nodded.
"Let's return to the medical wing. We can give you a better explanation there." Hailey said, which Rho nodded at.
"Sounds good to me. Ozarion; shall we?" The stallion hummed in response, but paused as he sensed something in the distance. Rho also felt it a moment later, and he looked up to see the approaching flying form of Matthias Geist. His flaming elemental wings were spread wide as he soared toward Guardians HQ at an impressive clip.
A moment later, Matthias alighted on the rooftop, and his shimmering wings dispelled from his back. Rho could still tell, though, that his brother in law was both concerned for his wife to be... and very, very angry. The prismatic warrior quickly walked over to greet the elemental shaman.
"Brother." Rho greeted coolly, and Matthias quickly clasped forearms with his ship's medical officer. "Your timing is good. We can all go see your bride now." Matthias said nothing, but nodded in response, and the group walked over to the elevator. Colleen and Becky, however, were a little confused.
"Um, Rho?" Colleen asked, and the Neo-Atlantean looked over his shoulder.
"Yes, Miss Colleen?" Rho replied, prompting Becky to chime in.
"How is Ozarion going to get down to the medical wing? He won't fit in with all of us riding the elevator." Becky said, prompting Rho to smile as he looked at Matthias.
"Not to worry, Becky. Matthias, Hailey?" Rho said, and Matthias nodded, gesturing for Hailey to hold her hands out across from his. His twin elemental bracers glowed bright, and Ozarion's horn hummed, transforming the Arcane Bolt Stallion into a pure, white globe of rippling lightning, which then settled into their hands!
"Amazing..." Hailey said, staring at the newly-formed orb. "Elemental energy to solid matter transmutation, and in reverse at well..." Rho patted Hailey on the shoulder.
"Miss, you and I are going to have wonderful conversations in the future about our experiences with magic and its applications; I'm quite sure of that. But, let's take care of the current situation first, shall we?" Hailey nodded at Rho's words, and the elevator took the whole group back to the lab level.
"... and when the nanites were finished being absorbed into Maddie's body, she suited her up in her new armor, and the rest is history." Becky finished saying, even as Rho was still reviewing all the aspects of Maddie's current status. One of Rho's hands was no longer covered by his armor, and its fingers had separated into several bio-metallic tendrils, which were now dancing over the nearest keyboard.
Everyone was still in shock in seeing how well Rhomerho - in all aspects, a living, pure embodiment of the advanced fusion between organics and machinery made possible by Neo-Atlantean know-how - sped through all the available data on what had happened to Maddie, and what had been done to begin the process of restoring her powers to normal. Then, as he finished his intensive study of all that, Rho's hand retracted back into its normal form, and looked at the gathered friends with a smile.
"I will have to thank the ones responsible for the work in restoring Maddie's abilities, and keeping her safe. Superb work, without a doubt. Many young Neo-Atlanteans would have loved studying all forms of technology with them." Rho stated, before looking over at Hailey, Becky, Colleen, and SilverStar. "Ladies, you all are a true credit to the potential of the human spirit. We are truly going to have a long chat about all the things we can do together." The ladies all shyly smiled back at Rho, who then looked over at Maddie.
"As for you, Miss Madelyn..." Rho said half-sternly. "It appears I'm going to have to apply my own combat training protocols in armor to you, seeing as your new status will take some getting used to, even if you still have your powers through it." As Maddie's mouth dropped open, Rho walked over to her. "Well? Someone has to watch over that lovely backside of yours."
As Maddie and everyone in the room were further shocked by Rho's words, the smiling Neo-Atlantean took Maddie by the shoulders, and pulled her to him, capturing her lips in a deep soul-lifting kiss! "HOLY CRAP!" Hailey, Becky, Colleen, and Sarah all shouted at seeing their mentor being totally snogged by Matthias' brother-in-law, while Matthias could only shake his head, while Ozarion deeply chuckled, sounding like low thunder rumbling in the distance.
Finally, Rhomerho broke off the kiss, letting Maddie up for air, as he gently caressed her face, and the tresses of her hair. "You and I have much to talk about, Maddie. Fate did not err when you were brought into my care. We met each other for a reason." Maddie could only nod in response, before a wide grin came to her face.
"Only talk?" She teased, causing Rhomerho to laugh out loud as he hugged Maddie to himself, allowing him to whisper in her ear.
('I have had centuries of experience in pleasuring a woman, Maddie. You will NEVER be dissatisfied with me.') Maddie squeaked as she hugged Rho back, only letting go when she heard Matthias cough into his hand.
"Are we all done here, Officer Kel Llurian?" He joked half-heartedly, getting a smile from Rho before he responded to Matthias, whom he knew wanted to hear just what condition his Lightning Dancer was now in. The serious gaze Matthias had on his face said it all.
"Just one more thing before we call it a day, Matthias." Rho replied, turning to look back at the ladies all once more. "Where do I need to go to deliver my application for service as the Guardians' full-time physician, and a place on the reserve combat status list?"
Two hours later, with Rho's application being sent up to the HR department, the group dispersed for the evening: the girls heading back to their own apartments, while Hailey remained in the medical wing as Matthias, Rho, and Ozarion were allowed to see Emily as she was resting. The elemental shaman's eyes watered with concern as he saw his injured bride, reminding him of the brutal conflict that had ended when Atlantis had been lifted from the ocean depths by Emily's deranged brother, Gravitas.
Holding her hands tight, Matthias swore to her that he would spend greater time with her, training her in greater mastery of her powers, and increasing her combat experience so that she would not end up in such a state any more. He gently caressed her face and kissed her, promising that after the culprit was caught and confined, they would finalize the remaining points for their marriage. Emily beamed when she heard that from her elemental lover.
After that, Rho and Maddie spent more time talking in the cafeteria before he told her to get some rest in one of the guest rooms at Guardians HQ. Rho reminded Maddie that Emily needed her mentor to be fully rested, and after they had handled the current situation, they would talk more about their future working together, and more. Ozarion accompanied Rhomerho back to the roof in the hands of Hailey and Matthias, before resuming his true form again.
His Lady had kissed him on the snout when he had seen her at last, telling Ozarion to behave while she remained there in the medical wing recovering. The Arcane Bolt Stallion had nodded to her, nuzzling her face, even as his spirit shared her pain as he looked at her lying there in the infirmary. Now, once again atop the rooftop, Ozarion turned to look at Matthias and Rho, as well as Hailey, who had tagged along to hopefully catch a few magical pointers with the two well-aged Neo-Atlanteans.
/"NOW, RHOMERHO?"/ The booming voice resounded as Rho's eyes glowed back at his ally in a fierce stare. Matthias shared his grim mood, even as he checked his bracers and the sheathed sword on his hip.
"Yes; now, Ozarion." The Neo-Atlantean replied, his combat armor humming as his mind accessed the information he had retrieved from the Guardians mainframe about the attack earlier on that day, while Ozarion's horn crackled with power. "It is high time that the monsters in human form who hide among the people of Angel Falls answer for these cowardly attacks upon the Guardians."
Next to Rho, the elemental shaman tightly clenched his armored fists, while Hailey checked her coat, her eyes occasionally glowing. "The parasite who harmed the woman that fate graciously sent to me, and attacked my allies, will learn that when you foolishly attack the family of a Neo-Atlantean,..... we reap our vengeance for millenia, and in seas of their blood."
"Right there with ya, Mal." Hailey said, mystical flames flowing over her hands. "That piece of alien garbage that skewered Emily is going to be BARBECUE when we get done with it."
/"INDEED."/ Ozarion replied, his horn and mane now alive with electricity. Rho quickly hopped onto Ozarion's saddle, while Matthias summoned his flaming wings, and Hailey called forth 'Puff,' her flame dragon. The quartet quickly vanished into the evening sky, bloody retribution on their minds.
Moments later, Rho, Matthias, Hailey, and Ozarion were standing atop a building a few blocks away from AFPD HQ. With Ozarion locking onto the electro-magnetic life signs of the police officers coming back from their patrols, Matthias and Rho further refined their intel they had received from the Guardians. Being within the vicinity of the Arcane Bolt Stallion, Matthias and Rhomerho were able to boost their innate telepathic powers to a level where they could reach out and gently sift through the minds of all the policemen present, with no one being the wiser.
Once that was done, Ozarion used his power to tap into a nearby phone line, using it as an untraceable beacon to alert Navatu to begin tracking their movements. Matthias would then use his elemental powers to pinpoint their quarry, allowing them to hunt them down to an area without civilians, and confront it. With Ozarion creating a null field that prevented the AFPD from tracing their 'call,' the quartet quickly left the area. They then headed off for the last place that their prey had been seen: the highway where Emily had fought the parasite, and lost.