It had been four months since everything changed drastically. Since the advent of her powers. She'd learned later from the PHO that what she'd gone through actually had a name, Trigger Event. She'd known peripherally that powers generally came after some horrible event but not the name. It seemed like too small a name for the reality of what had happened…
Taylor shook her head. Not really a road she wanted to go down right now… or ever really. Suppressing the shiver of disgust and other horrible emotions that threatened to creep up and overwhelm her she directed her thoughts towards a more pleasant subject.
Gazing down, her eyes focused on the tattoo that had become emblazoned on her forearm. It was the only physical sign she'd gained powers. A sprawling mess of barely legible symbols in some archaic and vaguely Asian language she'd never seen before colored in a bright red. It curled around the inside of her forearm in a rough spiral with a highly stylistic tribal design of what she knew now to be a toad.
Given the earful that she'd gotten when she accidentally called one of her summons a frog, Taylor doubted that she would ever confuse the two again.
It looked kind of cool she supposed. Though, not necessarily something she would have picked herself. The thought of her father's reaction to seeing his teenage daughter with a tattoo caused the girl to shake her head. The image was a strange mix of amusing and depressing. A soft laugh strangled midway into a sigh broke the contemplative silence. Truthfully, Taylor imagined he'd be shocked more than anything. At least at first. No, she'd have to be careful. Lying to her father wasn't something she was practiced in, and it made her feel uncomfortable. But the alternative… no, she reaffirmed to herself. She'd just have to be careful.
That was her power in effect. The ability to summon toads of varying sizes. It certainly gave the tattoo a bit of context if nothing else.
Not a particularly noteworthy power aside from its oddity. At least not until one considered that the toads she was able to summon got as tall as 30-40 feet in size and had access to their own cape powers.
Oh and lest she forgets to mention they were also freaking ninja toads? Taylor could still barely believe that part herself.
Well, viewed in that light, her power was still odd. But it was also very versatile and potentially incredibly strong.
It turned out that things got even stranger though. Because instead of projections like she'd initially thought they were, it turned out her power had another surprise in store for her. These toads weren't just a manifestation of her power, and her power wasn't to simply create projections. Rather, she summoned real, living, intelligent creatures from another dimension.
It sounded insane even within the privacy of her thoughts and the benefit of firsthand experience. Other dimensions exist of course, she'd seen the Earth Aelph movies to prove it. After Professor Haywire that was a fact everyone knew. But to actually summon denizens of another dimension? She knew powers could be incredibly strange at times. There were examples in her own city even of some incredibly out there powers. Newter and Gregor from Faultline's crew or Night from the Nazi faction, the E88 just to name a few. Her research into the local cape scene had become a lot less casual of late now that it was likely going to be so important for her day-to-day life with her powers.
But summoning a race of intelligent ninja toads from another dimension was a bit beyond the pale. She probably still wouldn't have believed it if the first toad she'd summoned, the one she'd named her main battle partner; which was apparently a somewhat important title within the Toad clan, hadn't summoned her back to the mountain he called home so that the family could meet their new summoner.
Thinking back to that visit brought a smile to the thin brunette's face. Taylor maintained that Mount Myoboku was the single most beautiful place she'd ever seen in her life.
The brunette cast her thoughts back to her first meeting with her partner and the meeting she'd had with his family. She wouldn't change a damn thing.
Because while her powers might be insane, they'd given her something she'd been yearning for since the death of her mother and the betrayal of her former best friend. With her dad drifting after her mother's death, and her own descent into numbness and apathy from the constant bullying. It had been what felt like an eternity since she'd felt like she'd had people, well toads in this case, that she could rely on. Truthfully she'd sort of given up on the idea as a bit of a lost cause. It had been easier that way. To see loneliness as an inevitability. Something to be endured rather than railed against.
But it hadn't been. Thanks to her power, she now had something that nothing could steal from her. Not Emma or Sophia and their flock of cruel and inane followers. Not the cesspit of failure and decay that was Winslow High School. Not even Brockton Bay, cape gangland capital of the East Coast. A city that she'd loved and hated in equal measure. None of it could touch the real gift her powers had given her. Friends that she could have faith in.
Taylor felt a wide grin stretch across her lips behind her mask as she gazed out at the sunset over Brockton Bay.
She shook her head.
Enough reminiscing. It was time for action.
Bringing her hands up in front of her chest she felt them flicker through the strange signs that seemed necessary to direct her energy to summon. She finished at an impressive speed before stopping as her hands molded into the last symbol of the chain.
The grin never leaving her face, Taylor slammed her hand onto the roof. A large burst of smoke erupted from the point of contact and she was briefly hidden from sight.
Hidden in the smoke, Taylor felt herself rise off the ground. The surface she'd been standing on changed from the cement of the roof to the tough yet smooth hide of her summoned toad.
Somehow, impossibly, her grin stretched even wider.
She was going to do it.
Taylor Hebert was going to be a hero and no one could stop her.
Now if only she could make her partner stop calling her "Little Sis".