It's a bird! It's a plane! No, wait, it is a bird! Wow!
Name: Uber Usul
Job: Works as super hero for Defenders of Neopia
Secret Lair: Terror Mountain
Talents: Making/controlling ice from thin air or freezing water
Hobbies: Fighting crime
Collections: Imprisoned villains
Honors and Awards: The Key to Neopia Central, Defenders of Neopia Ace Hero, Crime Magazine's Hero of the Year, Legendary Award, Usul of the Year, Pitcher Award for Courage, etc., etc.
Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.
Alias: Uber Usul
Job: Works at coffee shop in Catacombs
Home: Neopia central
Color: Appers silver
Talents: Making frappés
Hobbies: Roodoku, reading, jogging
Collections: Uber Usul comic books and memorbilia
Honors and Awards: UsukiCon's Uber Usul Look Alike- Gold (x3), Beauty Contest- Silver, Beauty Contest- Bronze, Least Paid Employee of the Month (x17)
Golden Cupcake Award
Suspicious Behavior: Often leaves work for several hours at a time and makes up for it later in the day, exercises extensively in any weather for no apparent reason, attends UsukiCon each year.
Effri sat idly twirling the pale hair of her ponytail and staring fixedly at the three in her Roodoku puzzle. It couldn't be there, she'd decided about five minutes ago. However, it was there, and there was no altering it. The silver Usul was beginning to wonder if it was even possible.
She was seated in the Coffee Shoppe, behind the counter filled with various coffee makers, espresso machines, and chipped mugs. Seated throughout the rest of the shop were a few regulars. The Neopian Times newsboy Chia was sitting in a corner, taking the time to read over his own wares, and two other tables were occupied by a pair of poets staring off into the distance. It was a fairly slow day, as not many Neopians bothered to visit the Catacombs, apart from a few artistic types and the occasional coin collector. Of course, there was almost always at least one poet in the shop, but they didn't really count. They invariably ordered the cheapest coffee they could, and took up space for several hours on end. Still, it paid her salary.
Effri sighed, setting her pencil down. It was hopeless. She wasn't likely to become King Roo's accountant even if the job was offered. As she looked up, however, an article in the Chia's Times caught her attention. "Hey, you got a spare copy of that?" she asked. "I'll give you a Phear Coffee for one.
"Sure, miss," he replied, tossing one of his papers.
Effri glanced at the front page, and then absent-mindedly made up the promised coffee. A theft at the Art Gallery... that was right nearby. Upon examining it further, the situation did little to improve. There weren't any traces left, not even so much as a fingerprint or a snagged tuft of fur. Some criminal was running around loose in the area and the Chia Cops had no idea who. Lovely.
The door's bell jangled, and Effri hastily flipped the paper shut and slid it down the counter, doing her best to look industrious. A yellow Shoyru flapped in with a forcedly cheerful smile on her face. "Good morning, Ms. Arca," Effri said dutifully, all the while contemplating the possibility of blowing the espresso maker up in her employer's face by pressing all of the buttons at once. Unfortunately, the work was still marginally better than fighting for a job at the Faerieland Employment Agency.
"Afternoon, actually," Ms. Arca corrected curtly. "Mornings are busier than this." Down in the Catacombs, of course, there wasn't much to base it on, so it was rather easy to lose track of what time it was.
Effri, though tempted to sigh, knew a lecture would be forthcoming if she did. Employee morale, and so on. Instead, she gave a polite nod as Ms. Arca began to wax eloquent on the imperative nature of making every single cup of coffee the best it could possibly be. Perhaps merely exploding the espresso maker wouldn't be enough. Something really vicious, such as switching the regular and decaf. That would feel good. Of course, Ms. Arca might not even notice. She couldn't stand coffee herself. Why she owned a coffee shop, Effri had never quite been able to work out. Something a little closer to head of abduction and mutation for Virtupets seemed to fit her management skills better.
"- important to balance the amount of sugar and cream," the Shoyru finished, oblivious to Effri's musings. "The secret to the downfall or success of any business is in the product it provides.
She was a veritable financial fortune cookie, Effri thought to herself. Probably a little cracked, too. She smiled at the thought of the Lunar Temple handing out bags of bosses to people who guessed the wrong phase of Kreludor. Her reverie was interrupted as the coffee maker let out a puff of steam and began blinking its light spasmodically. Blink, pause, blink, blink, blink, pause... "Oh, it looks like the coffee machine is on the fritz again," she interrupted, glad of an excuse to break the monotony. "I'll take a look at it next time I'm in. I really have to be going now, though."
Grabbing her bag and slinging it over her shoulder, Effri headed for the door, pausing to grab the newspaper she'd purchased. That might hold a clue or two. She gave a smile as she exited into the cool of the caves.
Ms. Arca took a look at the machine, which had stopped blinking. It did that at least once a week, blinking in some sort of odd pattern. Almost as if it was transmitting a message... She scoffed at the thought, and set about polishing the tables and counter. After all, who on Neopia would want to send a message to someone at the coffee shop?
Effri had suspected that she'd probably get called in over the Art Gallery burglary. Anyone able to get past the security guards, through the surveillance system, and to a picture without leaving any trace at all was good. Anyone able to get out past those guards and system while carrying the picture- in this case, an oversized portrait of a dark faerie- wasn't playing by the conventional rules of physics. Of course, neither did she, when it came to that.
She strode quickly through the increasingly sparse crowd, heading along the winding passageways to an old cave she'd stumbled upon years ago. She had to pick up her work uniform.
She finally reached it, and, checking to make sure nobody was nearby, pulled back the screen of fake lichen that concealed the entrance. A few minutes later she emerged, now garbed in light blue with a large snowflake emblazoned on the shirt. Her fur glistened with ice crystals, and her face was concealed behind a white mask.
This was no longer Effri. This was Über Usul, the hero of Neopia, terror of evildoers, and champion of the law. "Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera," she muttered under her breath, and set off in pursuit of justice.
Some time afterwards...
"Up... up... up some more... and away..." the voice echoed amidst the rock. "Almost there." Über Usul climbed hand over hand up the subterranean cliff, leading to the lower levels of the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters. Every time she touched the sheer face, ice formed against the rock, making handholds. "Some day, they are going to have to make a staircase."
As she finally reached the top after several minutes of strenuous climbing, she hauled herself up onto a ledge in front of an inconspicuous door. It was marked with the warning, "Do not enter, superheroes and janitorial staff only." She brushed her suit off with a sigh, and walked into the well-lit corridors of the DoN HQ. "At least they manage to keep me in shape," she commented idly to herself.
Two turns to the left, one to the right, another to the left, go straight, then three doors past the large scorch mark. Über Usul knocked on the door, and from inside a low drawl answered. "Come on in. Sent the message nearly ten minutes ago. You've probably got the fate of a few dozen Neopians in your hands, you know." She stepped in, revealing the speaker to be none other than Lightning Lenny, slumped in a swivel chair in front of an impressively complex control panel.
We aren't all quite so speedy as you, you know. Besides, you don't have do a blasted Shenkuu Warrior impression just to get to work," she retorted. "If you're in such a hurry, what is it?"
"You see the headlines today? Well, of course you have. It's your job. Anyways, we've got a bit of profile for the creep. Not much, I'm afraid. Right before the security cameras' lenses were smashed, they all saw nothing."
The Usul snorted derisively. "And how does that do us any good? Is it another invisible pet with delusions of grandeur? We normally let the interns handle that."
Sitting up, Lightning Lenny shook his head. "No, then they'd see the carpet or whatever they were looking at. I mean they saw nothing- a patch or arm of black void. It crept up onto the lenses, then punched right through them."
"Ah, that is serious. So I'm guessing I'm on lookout duty until we find something else."
"Exactly. Now- hold on, that's a call," the Lenny interrupted himself as there was a ringing down the hall. He got up and dashed out, creating a breeze as the air rushed into the spot he'd occupied a split second ago.
A minute later, he returned just as speedily, skidding to a halt in front of his chair. "Change of plans. We just got a report of an attack on the National Neopian, and it's the same individual. The Chia Cops' Battledome weapons aren't doing any good, and they've had to back down. Go in and see what you can do."
Über Usul was already racing down the hall and narrowly avoiding a collision with one of the janitors.
The security system of the National Neopian Bank had been intended to prevent criminals from entering and robbing the bank. If somebody looked like a criminal, the bars were dropped down and the matter investigated. It was as simple as that. And if there was a mistake, the individual was paid a small sum for their trouble.
The system was not, however, designed to stop perfectly ordinary looking checkered Kyriis from walking in with the apparent intent of making a deposit. That would be silly. What kind of criminal would waltz into a bank in broad daylight without so much as a mask? Well, apart from the Meerca Brothers, but they were easy to spot.
By the time the checkered Kyrii had entered and was surrounded by a mass of black substance apparently at his beck and call, there was very little that could be done by the Skeith managing the security system. None of the lettered buttons in front of him would do anything useful.
"Don't bother with the money," the Kyrii snapped at the teller, a tendril of darkness grasping the unfortunate employee's throat in a very persuasive manner. "Get the gold from in back. And hurry, or you'll find there are cheaper ways than paintbrushes to become a ghost."
Up above, the skylight smashed inwards, and somebody dropped from above. "Hold it right there," Über Usul called, the air around her hands sparkling with a lace-like network of ice crystals. "Or should I just say freeze?"
"Took you long enough," the crook said snidely, dropping the gasping teller to the ground and turning his attention to the new arrival. "What was it, lunch break?"
"Coffee, actually," she retorted. "But you're getting ahead of yourself. We've yet to be introduced." With this, the hero formed a pair of snowflake-shaped throwing stars out of ice, and flung them across the room. "You already know who I am, I presume."
With deft precision, an extension of the darkness encircling the Kyrii snapped up, smashing the projectiles. "Indeed. It's a pleasure to meet you at last. Just call me Nihil. And I assure you, people will soon know who I am." The inky black arm snapped forward, heading towards Über Usul, and thinning out as it lengthened.
"The pleasure is all yours." The cryogenic crusader ducked and grabbed the void as it shot overhead, intending to freeze it. But the ice just slipped off it, unable to find any purchase. "Wha-?"
"Aww, are our the ickle little superhero's powers not working? There's nothing there, you know. Quite literally. It's stable nothing, keeping its shape by keeping everything, even light, out." The Kyrii grinned wickedly, and the nothing swept down to grab the Usul. "It will be wonderful. Finally everbody will know that nothing can stop the Defenders' precious slushie slinger."
The blue clad champion rolled to the right, getting up and running forward. "Actually..." She jumped over a tendril snaking towards her feet. "I make..." Another extension caught her in the back of the head, smashing her to the ground. But as it closed in to bind her up, she whipped around, a shield of ice in her hands. "Popsicles!" Why did everybody have to make the same dumb slushie jokes? She would have said frappes, but that would have given too much away.
Nihil grimaced, snatching back a number of the arms waving about for his prey. It was too taxing to concentrate on so much of the void at the same time. "I'm sure Terror Mountain could always use another ice cream cart. You really should look into retirement." He directed the remaining three tentacles to sweep from both sides and above. "The Defenders have a terrible health plan, you know."
"Yeah, but at least they have a good pay check. Everybody knows that crime doesn't pay. Maybe you could be a waiter? I'm sure a few extra limbs couldn't hurt." A sharp edge formed on the icy shield as another layer of frozen water was added. "Catch!" she called, throwing the shield like an Altadorian discus just before the darkness closed in on her.
The villain was unable to maintain his concentration and react. All three branches of vacuum lashed back at the shield, knocking it off course. It shattered on the floor a few feet from him, shards flying outwards like diamonds.
When he looked back up again, his combatant had reached the wall, and appeared ready to stab it with an icy dagger in her hand. What was she doing?
"Nighty night..." Über Usul muttered, jabbing the ice in and short-circuiting the power. The lights overhead winked out, leaving the place almost entirely dark, only a little illumination filtering in through the skylight. Now she only had a little time to take advantage of. There was no way she could make ice fast enough to freeze the Kyrii before he knocked her unconscious with that void. But if everything worked out, she wouldn't have to.
Nihil instinctively drew the nothingness protectively around himself while his eyes adjusted to the relative dimness. When they had, however, the Usul was nowhere to be seen. "Is this how the Defenders fight? Hiding from darkness in the dark?"
Über Usul continued to climb up the pillar, icy handholds forming in the porous stone. Funny how the most unusual talents came in handy with this job, she reflected. Almost there... She stretched out her arm, smashing a sprinkler head. Water began to spray out, and the other sprinklers started to do the same as soon as the first one was triggered.
The Kyrii's head snapped up. There she was! Ignoring the water falling from the ceiling, he struck with every bit of the void at his command. "You won't stop me with a little rain!"
"Oh yeah?" The hero leapt from her vantage point, grabbing at the darkness to slow her decent and letting go before her nemesis had a chance to react. She raced along the ground as tentacles whipped back at her heels. In panic, Nihil brought the darkness around him in a shell, peering out through a small hole. As she reached him, Über Usul simply whispered, "Tag," and reached out to touch the cocoon. The water dripping along its surface and the Kyrii's fur instantly froze. "You're it."
Later that day...
Judge Hog himself was there to personally congratulate the hero of the hour once Nihil had been locked away at last. "Great work. It seems that nothing stops these new Defenders.
"Almost," she replied.
"Almost nothing? What on Neopia do you mean?"
"No. Nothing almost," Über Usul said, and smiled.
Read the sequel.
Lights, Camera, Auction!
By Neesboy for the Neopian Times
Coauthored by Me
"... And now a word from our sponsors," a voice announced as a yellow navibot popped up from under a screen encouraging the masses to stay tuned.
A camera panned around a snow covered mountain peak glistening in the cool sunlight before zooming in on a small cottage on the slope. At its door stood a silver Usul dressed in light blue. A large snowflake emblem was spread across her shirt, and a white oddly shaped mask concealed most of her face. "For those of you who don't know, I'm Über Usul, and I'm speaking on behalf of Terror Mountain Realty. From the gentle slopes of Happy Valley to the peaks of Terror Mountain and the silent majesty of the Ice Caves, Terror Mountain has something to offer everybody. With two resident faeries, historical sites from the adventures of Hannah, and a variety of entertainment venues, shouldn't you consider a change of pace?"
The Neovision set gave one last flicker before turning off. Watching it was Effri, likewise a silver Usul, but dressed in more ordinary, albeit purple, apparel. "Desperate times when superheroes have to do NV ads," she muttered, before glancing at the time and sighing. Off to work. As much as she would have loved to stay home, if she lost the job it would mean eating nothing but leftovers until she could find somewhere else that would hire her, what with her infrequent and seemingly random working hours. And since even work was preferable to eating omelette twenty-one times a week, work it was.
Grabbing her messenger bag, she headed out the door and into the lamplight. Down beneath Neopia Central, the catacombs were lit by a variety of torches, lanterns, and the occasional Meepit lamp with an extension cord, depending on what people put out to illuminate their home or shop. After some time, she arrived at the Coffee Shoppe, which was located at the rough hub of the catacomb's activity. Not caring to waste any time, she hurried in, hoping to arrive unnoticed.
No such luck. "You're early," came a shrill accusation as she stepped into the shop. It had been issued by a short yellow Shoyru with a false smile that was habitually plastered on her face "to make the customers feel welcome." Effri had always suspected it was more likely to make them feel a tad queasy.
"Yes, Ms. Arca. I didn't want to be late," she replied, summoning all her resolution to not do something that would get her fired. Even though it would be so much fun... "Would you like me to stand outside next time?
Ms. Arca, the shop's proprietor, sniffed indignantly. "People might think you were loitering. That would detract from the establishment's reputation, and result in a drop in sales. Just don't expect to be paid overtime.
Sheesh. Such a big deal over three minutes. Most people would be happy to have a motivated- well, sort of- employee who arrived early. Her job was not in any great peril, however, as Ms. Arca could hardly run the place herself. She hated coffee. It figured, really. She simply failed to see all the other lines of work that suited her personality so much better. Hubrid Nox's personal secretary, for instance. "Well, I would hate to keep you any longer. I'm sure you have something important to get out to," Effri said, tactfully doing her best to get her boss out.
The Shoyru nodded, somewhat smugly as if to imply Effri was not the sort to have important things to get out to herself. If only she knew, Effri mused. As the door closed, she was left to the company of the poets, the most common and cheapest of the Shoppe's clientele. One cheap cuppa jo, and they stared out into space for a few hours.
During the aforementioned space of a few hours, Effri had polished the various coffee making implements, employed them in making coffee, cleaned the counters, stared at the clock for a cumulative total of thirty-seven minutes, gone so far as to consider taking up knitting, and mentally started work on a hypothetical best selling novel. Despite keeping her from relying on omelettes for sustenance, a slow day at a coffee shop was like none other.
Normally, there were a number of customers circulating through. But today, even the poets eventually got up and left. So Effri was reduced to staring at the coffee maker, hoping the lights on it would blink. Which, at long last, they did. Blink, pause, blink, blink, blink, pause... "About time," she muttered, making a note on her time sheet, and hurrying out the door.
The Usul adroitly navigated the crowds, not feeling too guilty if she bumped into anybody. After all, they hadn't stopped in for some coffee. The number of people dwindled away as she continued, taking a number of winding turns and eventually reaching a dead end, with lichen growing across the rock. She pulled away the screen of fake moss, and ducked inside. Several minutes later, she emerged, now outfitted in the blue and white outfit of Über Usul, ice crystals laced throughout her fur.
"There's irony for you. By night, I fight evil. By day, I work at its coffee shop." And so saying, Über Usul set out to vanquish crime.
"Setting out... to vanquish... crime," she managed to say as she hauled one hand over another, scaling the sheer rock face, "would be a lot... nicer if setting out... were easier." The Defenders of Neopia was very careful about who had access to their high-security lower levels. Consequently, she was forced to climb a large subterranean cliff just to get to work. The fact that her uncanny ability allowed her to form hand holds out of ice only helped alleviate her annoyance a little.
Of course, there were positive aspects to the work. It was good exercise. Unpleasant things happened to heroes who started relying too much on their ability to defy physics and didn't keep in shape. Throwing fireballs was all fine and dandy until it started to rain. Then a good solid punch from the villain at large was all it took to settle the matter.
With a final surge of, if not energy, lower levels of entropy, the cryogenic crusader managed to pull onto a ledge on which a small, inconspicuous door the same color as the surrounding rock was all that indicated the bastion of justice concealed behind. Well, that, and a recently repainted warning in bright red letters, "Do not enter, superheroes and janitorial staff only."
Rolling her eyes, she stepped through. "Most advanced technology outside of Virtupets is in this place, and they can't manage a simple elevator. Naturally." The corridors were a spotless white, with the notable exception of the scorch marks the janitors had not gotten too yet, so it was by memory that she reached the control room, which housed the massive quantities of buttons, dials, and screens needed to keep the DoN headquarters running smoothly.
Getting better at the climb, I see. You're earlier than I expected." The voice emanated from a large comfortable chair, which swiveled around to reveal Lightning Lenny slumped in it.
"Oh not you too," Über Usul groaned. It seemed everybody was out to get her for arriving sooner than absolutely necessary.
"What, what'd I say? And I saw your ad. Isn't that a tad beneath you?" the Lenny asked curiously.
"Never mind. Nothing. I had to do the ad. How else am I supposed to afford any sort of secret lair? Slinging coffee doesn't exactly bring in that kind of money. Anyways, what's the scoop?"
"Triple, mint with fudge, if it isn't too much trouble." Effri glared at him. "Oh, I forgot. No ice cream jokes."
"Sure, you forgot. And I'm going to move somewhere nice and warm like the Lost Desert when I retire. Anyways, you're the one always berating me for being slow about things. So?"
"Oh, all right. Somebody's causing quite a ruckus over at the Auction House. Noisy fellow."
"And the Chia Cops aren't handling this because...?"
"Quite frankly, their fluffy earmuffs aren't cutting it. They've been doing the best, to be sure, but the situation's only barely been contained thus far. The genie's locked himself up in his lamp, what with all the commotion. We're holding you over until they..."
Lightning Lenny was interrupted as a transmission came in over one of the speakers. It was hazy, and the words 'send in back up' were barely distinguishable over a loud, off-key wailing noise.
"... request backup," he finished lamely as the transmission cut out. "You're in. And for a bit of advice, it would seem that keeping your ears plugged wouldn't go amiss."
At the scene of the crime...
The Chia Cops had been forced to move out, following the civilians in retreat. Outside, they kept the curious as well as reporters from both Neovision and Neopian Times from entering. As Über Usul walked down the brightly lit halls, only the lack of people and occasionally a gap where an item that had racked up a considerable bid had been indicated that anything was amiss. Every minute or two, a loud, sourceless thud would echo through, a warning shot across the bows. "Come out, come out, wherever you are," she called back. Who on Neopia could empty the entire Auction House just like that? Even now, they would be strolling through, taking their pick of priceless items."
She hurried on, then stopped as she caught another sound between the resonating booms. Something scraping along the floor. Moving stealthily, she rounded the corner to see a grey Wocky. He had on a set of headphones emblazoned with the Virtupets brand logo, and wore a bandolier filled with spare batteries. His ears twitched in time to some beat she could not hear, but nevertheless, he still caught her quiet movements. He looked up, and smiled. "Ah, I figured one of you would be in here soon enough. I'm flattered. No threat to anybody, apart from hearing, perhaps, and I have the Defenders after me over a few million neopoints."
Ice began to form in Über Usul's hands. "You know, you really do talk too much. I'm surprised you haven't bored me with the details of whatever preposterous name you've come up with for yourself."
The Wocky smiled broadly. "What can I say? I like noise. And if you must know, my name's Cisc. Didn't bother with a silly alter ego. I don't intend to go out in public dressed like it's a costume party." Here he gave a meaningful glance at her outfit. "And as the Chia Cops would have little trouble looking me up on the police database, there isn't any point in pretending."
The Usul blinked. This was a decided first. Most villains started by trying to kill her. "I'm warning you..."
"Oh, do get on with it. I could tell you resistance is futile, but you'd never believe me," Cisc interrupted irritably. To make his point, he grabbed a dark nova, whirled, and flung it at her.
Finally, familiar ground. She ducked easily, little troubled by the poor throw. In return, she flung a pair of her signature snow flake throwing stars, made up of razor sharp ice formed in her palms. "That the best you've got?" she challenged.
Cisc didn't open his mouth. He simply started tapping his foot, as if counting off a beat. A high pitched whine at the edge of hearing filled the room for a second, emanating from the air itself, and the throwing stars exploded half way through their flight. "Should have paid more attention in Neoschool. Ice, when vibrated at a resonant frequency, shatters. Music to my ears."
That was decidedly unpleasant. Perhaps a more conventional approach. "Well, I appreciate music myself. I'll see if I can't get you a few bars. Then you can whistle tunes with all the other jail birds." As she said this, she took a run towards him.
"I'm not sure I appreciate your tone. Try this one," Cisc retorted, and before the hero managed more than a few steps, another noise reverberated through the room. This one was most definitely audible, loud enough that she was forced to her knees as her head rang in pain. The Wocky smiled, turning to glance over the contents of the nearest table. "You care to believe me now? Nobody takes anybody's word these days. Pity, that. It'd save so much trouble." Despite the fact that his voice slid through the cacophony as if it wasn't there, Über Usul could hardly concentrate on it, the pressure of the noise was so great. Covering her ears did nothing to alleviate the matter. "Just nod if you want it all to stop. You leave me alone, and worry about other villains out there. Oh, and don't even bother thinking about that trick you tried on Nihil. Even if you do set off the sprinklers, I can break out of anything you freeze me in in an instant."
She couldn't help it. Her head was pounding, incapable of forming any thought at all, other than "stop." She nodded.
Instantly, the noise ceased. The Wocky grinned triumphantly. "Try anything, and I don't go so easy on you." He gestured towards the door, watching her intently. It was a checkmate. She was forced to walk towards that door, knowing that her opponent would get away with millions of neopoints worth of items. The consciousness of this fact showed on her face, which seemed to amuse Cisc to no end.
It kept showing, right up until she'd stepped through the door and to the side. She had to move fast. He'd been right. Sprinklers wouldn't work. But there was something else that would. There was a pillar that would work perfectly. She quickly ran over to it, scaling it smoothly with the aid of self-made handholds once again. "I hate it when HQ is right about exercise," she muttered. Upon reaching the top, she pressed one palm against the ceiling, waiting. After about a minute, Cisc strolled in to look around and make sure she was gone before continuing to plunder the various goods.
As soon as he was back in, Über Usul let the ice flow quickly from her hand. It crept along the ceiling, traveling down to the door frame and back up on the other side. Over there, it didn't simply grow outwards. It grew down, forming oversized icicles suspended precariously. She continued this for as long as she dared- it would be ruined if he moved on- before sliding down the pillar just far enough to peer through the still-open door. Perfect. He was directly under the trap. She slid down the rest of the way, and started towards the door while forming a thick shield of ice around her arm. The icicles could fall on anybody, after all.
The villain looked up in time to catch her sneaking into the room. "Quiet, or they fall," she warned, pointing upwards. "You try to run away, and I shout. Bring them all down," she added, holding the shield above her head to show she'd fare a lot better. All the while, she continued forward.
"Fine," Cisc spat back, still cautious enough to keep his voice down. "Bravo. No loud noises. Very clever of you." There was no way he could shatter them all in the time it would take them to fall. "But I've got a card up my sleeve yet," he said, and suddenly reached into the bag, hefting out a portable kiln. "Fight ice with fire.
For a second, Über Usul blanched. The portable kiln was second to no other weapon in terms of consistent attack with fire. The Wocky was twirling it, advancing towards her steadily. Only one thing for it... She charged at him, her thick ice shield held out in front. Cisc just smiled, leveling the kiln and letting out gouts of fire from it. "As I said, you should've paid more attention in Neoschool. Even a first year knows fire melts..." That was as far as he got before a solid punch from the blue clad champion knocked him unconscious.
"That's what you get for not exercising. Honestly, villains can never take a decent punch when their power's down," she muttered, sighing and slumping to the floor in relief. "And you're wrong," she addressed him coolly. "I did pay attention. Water, and consequently ice, is a poor conductor of heat. It takes time to melt all the way through." Admittedly, it didn't hurt that kilns took quite a while to get started. You were supposed to prep it before a battle.
With Cisc locked away in a sound proof cell and the stolen goods restored to their proper owners, things gradually settled back to normal. At the Coffee Shoppe, Effri smiled, right in the middle of a stern lecture from Ms. Arca. Normal. As if.
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