The stygian depths of the Atlantic were freezing cold over a mile from the surface. Piercing blue-green lights danced over the sandy looking surface. The large, armored figure seemed to be tracing an invisible line through the water from above.

A large clawed hand suddenly pushed into the silt to finally pull out a simple golden band. The Ring of Fleeting Health.

"I really need to figure out a way to stop dropping you when I go purely spirit," Shelinaria complained to herself. With that she started heading back up to the air.

All that effort to get her prize Relic back. She really needed a version that was hers.


Amy had a small grin on her face as she just... relaxed. Really, why had she let Taylor talk her into going out for pizza and to watch soccer on the large TV screens above the tables? Even after that excitement with the apparition that now floated over Brockton Bay up in orbit, it had just become another fixture. It was even still visible during the day.

Oh, right. Her new acquaintance had turned into a very tentative friendship during the summer. And had actually insisted she take a break every now and then and only do so much at the hospital.

(Amy had not realized how incredibly popular it had become for very rich people to come and be treated there. It had made the company that owned the hospital quite profitable. Or, as Sarah had noted while explaining it to her, became very rich off of her work. Taylor had basically out-stubborned her and insisted she should only do the most critical and life threatening work for emergencies).

The mousey girl shook her head to shake the mental cobwebs out. She had to really work hard to not give off angry, hateful vibes at the boy sitting next to her sister.

"Dean, don't you dare tell them about that. Or else," Victoria said in a heated tone.

Said Dean rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. "Sorry, Brian. I like my spleen right where it is." He grabbed another congealing mass of cheese, meat and crust.

"How are you doing, Amy?" Sarah asked as she stretched out to grab her own pepperoni and olive slice of pizza.

"Better. Thanks again for letting me know I was being used. It seems like only capes seem to care about me as a person instead of a resource." The freckled girl had a pout on her face.

"Nah, you just need to charge a reasonable rate. You could be totally set. Can I get a discount for au natural boob job?" Sarah asked with a wicked grin on her face.

"Sarah!" Taylor said in a scolding voice.

"Ha! You secretly wish she would help you too!" the Intuitionpath crowed as Taylor blushed in response.

"Not listening," Dean said, clamping his hands over his ears.

"Smart boy," Victoria said with an approving nod.

Brian just chuckled and shook his head at their antics. He took a bite off a breadstick as he watched everyone.

"So when are you joining the Pros, Brian?" Chris asked the dark-skinned and older teen.

"December. Then I get to work with the big kids. Emphasis on kids. Have you seen Assault's homie collection?" the oldest teen asked, raising an eyebrow at the younger Tinker.

"You're kidding, right? Of course you aren't kidding." Chris took a long, loud slurp of his soda. "So you guys been following Dragon's trial up in Canada?"

"Who hasn't? It was quite the shocker for everyone when it came out she was an Artificial Intelligence. And had been basically tortured by Saint," Taylor said. "She's always been pretty nice."

"I was more shocked by the fact that Saint used Teacher to get back in control of Dragon until someone started protecting her," Dean said intently. "The difference in the legal systems is interesting."

"The politicians have been going nuts, thinking she's going to go all Terminator on us, like that movie from Earth Aleph," the blonde thinker in the group noted. "The Republicans are calling for the Protectorate to dismantle her."

"It's a damn circus," Sarah said with a scowl on her face.


An alarm went off, awakening everyone in the PRT headquarter to a new danger.

"What's the big deal?" Battery said as she finished pulling on her mask as she jogged along to the main situation room.

Director Piggot was already there, looking oddly smaller, her flesh slightly loose on her face and neck. "We just received a top priority S-Class warning from the Birdcage. One of the prisoners is attempting to escape. The situation is contained for right now, but critical."

"Critical?" Triumph asked a bit worriedly.

"Glaistig Uaine has killed one third of the inmates, just under two hundred men and women. At this point Dragon and the remaining inmates have managed to stop her for the moment, but its tenuous at best." Piggot was looking at all of them. "The Protectorate, The Guild and the PRT are open to all ideas to look at stopping Glaistig Uaine without killing the rest of the prisoners."

That got Sheila and Tattletale to frown heavily.

"Dooom!" Clockblocker called out. "If those two are frowning, it has to be bad."

"How are they going to destroy the Birdcage to try and stop Glaistig Uaine from escaping?" the young goddess asked.

"I don't know, as it's need to know," Piggot replied curtly. "My understanding is that we might be missing a few mountains afterwards."

Video appeared on the main screen of the situation room. On it could be seen Lung, if full draconic fury and over ten feet tall fighting against a woman and her three ghosts. He suddenly froze and his flesh around his head started to be disintegrated, only for huge blades to interrupt the attack. Lung's sternum suddenly shot out a huge spur of bone, near hitting Glaistig Uaine nearly fifty feet away.

Then the dragon-alien started to move again, as he either fought free or one of his allies freed him from his paralysis. The 'Fairy Princess' retreated and the camera shifted to a scene from the outside of the Birdcage itself. Thousands of drones started to fire lasers and kinetic attack, trying to pin down the villain as larger drones moved in to try and capture her in melee.

But she was matching them all for the moment.

"They've been fighting nonstop for over days. Dragon maintains that she can keep her contained for now, but it is possible that the prisoner may escape," Piggot continued somberly.

"Any hero that volunteers to enter into the fight is consigned to imprisonment for life in the Birdcage? To make sure that no Strangers or Masters can escape?"

"For now. That might change if it gets desperate enough," the director said honestly.

Skitter gulped at that. Would they actually expect them to go into that fight? With all the villains they put there? "There wouldn't be a truce, would there?"

Miss Militia nodded her head. "You are right. Too much of a chance that some villain will try to free a friend or loved one. Or that some Birdcage inmate might murder the person that put them in there."

"So we have to hope someone can kill her? Even though she's fighting off hundreds of parahumans and Dragon?" Aegis said from behind Miss Militia. The newest member of the Protectorate was not happy sounding at all.

"They are hoping that they can slow her down long enough that a real solution will come up. At least she's only gathering a new ghost ever hour now." Piggot looked at all of the Wards and Protectorate Capes. "Any ideas at all, even absurd ones, will be entertained. Dismissed."


Shelinaria was typing up a report back in the 'Wards' quarters in her cubicle a day later, which was technically still her home. A somewhat legal fiction, only enforced by her desire not to turn the Protectorate against her enmass. The report was supposed to be an exhaustive and thorough record of her new home.

Yay.

"What are you working on, wonder-goddess?" Sarah's cheerful voice. Her mask was off and she was grinning as she walked in the door.

"A report for the director, which I think was supposed to be a subtle hint not to bend the laws of reality around her," the young goddess said with a shrug.

The intuipath actually blinked at that. "You actually did something to reality? Created a new reality? No, you changed part of its deepest structure by making your home. How does that even work?"

"I made a magical realm that someday may even become a heaven," she said candidly. Of course, it might be incredibly moot if Scion went nuts and destroyed the world. Her fallback plan with Mars was decades away.

"You are working on more than one thing at a time, too," Sarah noted as she narrowed her eyes.

"Well, Dragon and I are playing a mean game of chess and I'm currently working on a new formula. This one seems to be quite complex." Shelinaria leaned back in her chair. "I may have some bad news, after a bit of thought. I don't think we actually killed Leviathan."

The older girl grabbed a chair and pulled it over. "Because it's not really in this world, it's a projection like Crusader makes. And you know that because you-" Sarah was now staring at her in consternation. "You triggered. And then did something to the source of your power. You had some sort of power of mental mastery, to force people to never leave you. But then you murdered your parahuman power."

"Correct on pretty much all accounts. Flechette's power might have actually fully killed off Behemoth or it could have just really wounded him. But my own ability to inflict inimical damage is less likely to kill across a dimensional membrane." Shelinaria sighed at that.

"Well, one good thing about you telling everyone is that they aren't likely to see about revoking your presidential pardon."

"Eh, Expo Facto rules, but I doubt that they'd do anything to the great reformation of the Undersiders," the young goddess said.

"Do you have anything else world shattering that you are working on?" Sarah asked.

"No, just finished up a new formula, but I need to have words with the owners," she replied blandly.

"Fine, fine. I'll leave you to it." With that, Sarah wandered back into the main den area of the Wards quarters.

Shelinaria flipped the little sturdy (and EMP hardened) memory stick in her hand. Then she reached over jabbed her hand to rip a hole in the air and pulled open a portal and stepped through into a drab office hallway. The portal snapped closed behind her.

"Hmm. Death of the soul. I always suspected that cubicle farms were part of the underworld," she said in mock humor. She tilted her head at the nearly invisible man coming towards her. "Hello?"

The almost invisible figure seemed confused. It then rushed her, but only hit the air as the goddess was too fast to be hit, even with pan-dimensional selves.

"That's enough, Custodian," a man said as he stepped out of an office. "Sheila, we weren't expecting you."

"Yes, I was being kept in the dark and you were wasting my potential help. Who are you?" she countered with.

"Ah, that was more of a safety precaution. The less you know of Cauldron-"

"You do know I can hear lies, right?"

That gave him pause. "It is rather hard to keep track of all of your powers, sorry. And that was more a slight stretch in the truth. You have been unstable in the past. I'm the Number Man. How exactly did you get here?" he asked carefully.

"Supernatural entities like myself can travel from mythical realms, the Underworld and the Heavens. I just pushed open the hole you kept using, so it must have considered it 'close enough' for government work. I do have the solution to your latest formula." She held up the thumb drive. "But I'm not just handing it over, because if I read it correctly it would be like having a better Eidolon. Which isn't bad in and of itself. But done incorrectly, could be incredibly bad."

"It should be fine. You first couple of designs have been used to good effect, allowing us to make even more powerful parahumans with less side effects. Powershot can hit high enough speeds that she's already visited every planetary body in the solar system," the Number Man explained.

He had been leading her down the hall as they were talking, opening another door where two women were working at a desk.

Doctor Mother narrowed her eyes. "Well, I guess that pushes things up a few weeks."

Shelia just tilted her head in question, her glowing hair flowing like sunlight over her neck.

Contessa was the one who spoke up. "We had been planning on approaching you, as you knew about Cauldron and our goals."

"Although we did not all agree on the particulars. You opening your own portal here was just quite unexpected," the Number Man explained.

"So what have you been up to other than selling improved formulas?" the young goddess asked as she stood at ease.

"Let's go to conference room two first." Doctor Mother stood up. She looked over at the younger woman, who nodded.

Five minutes later and the quick arrival of the Triumvirate, they were getting down to business.

Alexandria started off with being a killjoy on Sheila's 'success'. "The Eidolon formula is useful, but we are almost positive that it will draw from the same clusters of shards that he does-"

"-and they are running dry," Eidolon said tersely.

"Running dry? Overextended, I can see. But it should be impossible unless you are actually killing off the dimensional slugs that give you your power. They are living organisms giving you your power from an alternate Earth, after all," the young goddess noted.

"And you became an expert on this when exactly?" Legend asked carefully.

"After I murdered the slug that tried to attach itself to me," she retorted, her cheeks flushing at her anger.

That surprised everyone.

"You were a Parahuman?" Doctor Mother asked in clarification.

"I had an identity crisis when I found out I came into existence as a cosmic accident due to a magical item shattering in the face of the... original me. So I triggered and the slug tried to control my mind of all of the banned information on the entities. So I traveled to its dimension and murdered it."

Sixteen steps. Sixteen short steps. "She can do it," Contessa blurted out in surprise.

"Do what-?" Legend asked in surprise.

"She can kill Scion," Doctor Mother realized almost instantly. "But he will be actively defending himself and he has access to more power than anyone else."

"She can deliver a weapon to the real Earth where Sion's true body resides," the younger member of Cauldron explained.

"That's what I'm working towards, yes. But I think we can work a preliminary attack against the Simurgh first. I have been working on a device of planetary devastation, but we can try it with-"

"-hydrogen bombs. Ten, from several different Earths," Contessa explained with glittering, wet eyes.

Shelinaria nodded slowly. That was very abrupt and quick deduction. She tilted her head slightly while looking at Eidolon. "I might even be able to figure out a way to fix your 'dead' powers. I'd just have to travel to the dimension where your slug resides and see if it responds to healing."

"If that's possible, I think you should do it," Alexandria said simply.

"Although you don't have to go to another Earth, as Eden's body is here in a special chamber far, far below us." Doctor Mother stood up. "Let's go there right now."

"Now?" Eidolon asked, not really believing his power could fixed so simply.

Doctor Mother nodded her head. She led them to an elevator and down to a restricted level full of cells.

"Test subjects? More case 53s?" Sheila asked as they walked past some of the cells.

"Yes, part of the army we are building to fight Sion," Alexandria said, a hint of sadness in her voice.

"How were you going to lead them? They don't look very cooperative," the youngest girl said, her eyebrows furrowed.

We don't treat them maliciously and we would let them know that Scion is going to wipe out all humanity everywhere," Doctor Mother explained.

Shelinaria just stared at them. "You have done no tactical or strategic training for them at all?" The idiots.

"It's not feasible," the oldest woman explained, glad that her dark skin hid her blush.

"You need to make it feasible, because otherwise this army you made is just meat being thrown into the grinder. An effective tactical group and set up could effectively fight off Endbringers. 80 % of all Endbringer losses were because of failed tactics."

"Well, young 'goddess', it appears you need to become a general," Doctor Mother said as she led them to a special locked vault door.

It wasn't a vault, but merely an elevator. Shelinaria tilted her head. "Deep under the mountain."

"Yes," Contessa said simply.

Eventually, minutes later, the ride ended and they were in a great chamber. And the flesh garden of Eden.

"This is the body of Eden after Doctor Mother and I killed the alien after it crashed in some fluke accident," Contessa explained.

"Lobotomized, actually. It's all still alive. Sick with diseases that would take me a while to explain, but only with the lynchpin mental node 'killed' while its shards were very fragmented and wounded. It's actually quite possible to bring it back to some level of functionality," the young goddess said while they walked in towards the center. "Not that I would, but we should probably kill a few more nodes at some point to make sure it doesn't become a zombie. Each shard is capable of some thought and could develop a full identity."

Legend was the first to respond. "It's not dead?"

"Biology doesn't totally stop even after your heart and brain do. Humans are exhumed from the grave with long hair and fingernails. Basically, without its brain to regulate things its bodies are starving or overfed." Sheila actually shook her head at this next point. "And having arterial problems that isn't sending energy to different parts of it."

Legend snorted, then laughed. That got a raised eyebrow from the Number Man. The leader of the Protectorate then said to his old friend Eidolon, "Well, it sounds like the good doctor-goddess can fix your waning power problems. And here I thought I had a chance of sometimes keeping up."

Shelinaria was carefully wandering the flesh garden, curing the alien of it different disease while very carefully not healing the lynchpin shard of its damage. "That should be much better. After we've dealt with Scion, we should probably be more thorough in killing the rest of it."

"We'll need to use Doormaker to retrieve your bombs. You have to create a container to hold it?" Contessa asked.

"Correct. That way I can bring it along with me through the plank measure hole in reality that they use to connect between dimensions."

Eidolon frowned at that. "How can you use such a small hole?" It sounded very small.

"How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

Doctor Mother and Alexandria nodded at that. As many as needed of course, as they weren't physical.


It was only three weeks later that the Endbringers struck. The large, haunting and howling sirens sounded, calling all heroes and villains to battle to two locations. Flight BA020 from Los Angeles to Taiwan and a sudden rainstorm appeared over Tokyo as small tsunami started to swamp its docks.

The Simurgh was attacking a plane as if it were as important as a capital of a country while it was expected that Leviathan or his replacement would show up any minute at Tokyo.

Legend was literally there in less than a minute, firing a barrage of lasers at the winged Endbringer. He sorely wished that he had time to figure out what was going on.

Eidolon appeared with Alexandria, courtesy of one of his teleporting powers. They floated over the dawn above the Pacific Ocean.

"What does she want with this?" the purple clad hero asked Alexandria.

"There's probably someone important on that plane. I'm just glad we were able to get here so fast-" she was replying when the 747 jumbo jet disappeared in a flash of rainbow color and a sonic boom.

The Simurgh was already moving, trailing the plasma contrail that was cutting the darkness of the dawn. Whatever had the plane in its grasp was moving it very fast indeed. Legend was a moment behind the monster, passing her by with his far faster direct line speed.

He ignored the airplane wings that had been sheared off by the speed as they fell into the waters below. It actually took him a few minutes to catch up, glowing as his power started to protect him from traveling at ten times the speed of sound. The front of Flight BA020 was glowing a dull red as the air turned to plasma in front of it.

Shelinaria was dragging the airplane through the air with main strength as she flew at her utmost speed. 'Block the Simurgh until I can put the plane down in Osaka,' she sent as a telepathic thought to Legend.

He nodded and turned back, a cobolt bolt of energy that shot back towards the Simurgh were it was catching up. Legend unleashed a massive blast of homing lasers that created huge chunks of ice and flames. Under his mask, he had to admit that this was probably the most amazing fight yet, flying so fast and furiously while fighting an Endbringer.

Eidolon and Alexandria finally caught up to the Simurgh and Legend, starting their own attacks, further slowing the Endbringer. Away from anything truly important and fully fueled, Eidolon unleashed his most powerful attack that he had squandered over a decade away.

Anti-matter streams ripped wings, a leg and one forearm off the Endbringer in a light show visible over the horizon into Asia. The ocean boiled in his fury as he continued to rip the Endbringer off. The Simurgh dove into the Pacific, severely weakening the attack.

Air raid sirens were sounding as Shelinaria lowered the battered jumbojet to the ground. Her voice overpowered the alarms as her control of the skies allowed her to shout loud enough to be heard for the next two miles. "Get all of the passengers into bunkers! The Simurgh could be here any time."

And she needed to save a city from another Endbringer. In another flash of rainbow light, she disappeared.


The rain was pounding on the Wards as they appeared in the drowning streets of Tokyo.

"Shit, this is bad? Was it raining this badly when Leviathan attack Brockton Bay?" Imp asked as looked around. She really wished she had Skitter's goggles right now.

"Yeah, just about," her older brother said.

"Here kids," Velocity called out as he appeared in a blur.. He had a box of armbands that were quickly handed out and had them set up.

"Skitter," the young heroine said tersely, tapping okay to accept the name.

"Leviathan has hit the docks and is smashing through buildings. Tokyo Port and most of the docked ships and drilling rigs have already been sunk. Evacuation at only 10 %." Dragon's voice, as always, was calm and collected. "Local heroes are engaging to slow him down so that more heroes can be brought in. CD-1 down."

"Okay people! The Triumvirate and Tactics have engaged the Simurgh. We are going to have to hold the line until they can drive it off. If we can defeat the Simurgh, even better," Miss Militia called out. "Aegis? Dauntless? Are you going to be needed for the mid air battle with the Simurgh?"

"Not unless we get one hell of a speed boost. Dragon said that only people able to hit hypersonic speeds. I can't even hit MACH 1," Dauntless explained. At least yet.

Battery tilted her head at that. "And I thought I was a mover. How many heroes can actually go that fast?"

"Not nearly enough, but that's not our worry. Direct emergency evacuation to shelters if you don't have a direct combat or utility power," Miss Militia called out.

Thousands of feet out, Skitter felt Leviathan's mind heading their way. "Incoming!" she shouted as she started looking around for some place to dodge.

A quick tap of an armband and then, "Shit! Leviathan's headed here to try and kill us!" Tattletale almost screamed out in a panic.

"Ah, god damn it," Regent said even as Bitch was enhancing her dogs as quickly as possible to their largest size.

Dauntless set out his most powerful force field, barely noticing as more capes appeared at their point to add even more force fields. Narwal was on his left, while Bastion was on his right. Lady Photon and Shielder were right there at his back, giving it everything they could.

The Tokyo Titan set himself up to throw himself in the way of the Endbringer to buy just a few minutes everyone to regroup. He was over fifteen feet tall even as another pair of American women matched him for height. Purity, glowing incandescently above them unless a fusillade of helix energies that tried to slow the hunchback form of Leviathan. Lady Photon and Laserdream were right with her, shooting their white blasts at Leviathan.

It barely shifted him sideways two feet. Other heroes with ranged attacks started to send out even more blasts, but Leviathan was undeterred until he hit the shield wall and bounced.

Skitter realized they had been here scant minutes. But without the Triumvirate, they were sorely lacking in firepower. Desperately she tried to control the Endbringer, only to almost stagger as it fought back as she got a headache from the feedback. Though it did stumble even as she collapsed to one knee as she tried to force it to stop. To go away!

A massive explosion of wind suddenly blew away most of the water and drenching rain away as a guttering spark of light appeared above.

Shelinaria narrowed her eyes as Leviathan whirled around, negligently sending a tail-shadow of water to hammer the force fields of the capes. It's time to be slightly dramatic. The Moon was still above the horizon. A casual poke at the clouds in the skies opened up a small hole to send a beam of moonlight to shine on her form.

"I think that's enough rain," she called out loudly as she pulled out Hadecleus. A vertical swipe cut the clouds in the sky into two parts as Leviathan started to dash up the side of the buildings towards her. Then she parted the sky, sending the clouds over the horizon even as she zipped a hundred feet out of the way in the blink of an eye.

Leviathan had tried to cut her in have with a flat wave of water.

She pirouetted around while tracing a huge circle in the sky at the horizon with her sword, locking the skies into a cloudless state. "There."

"She stopped it raining?" Shadow Stalker said, stating the obvious. "Huh, that could help. I guess." She cocked her crossbow. Not that it would hurt the Endbringer, but she wasn't going to do nothing at all.

The Triumvirate appeared, moving like a well oiled machine as Alexandria moved into melee and started to slug the Endbringer. Legend joined the flying blasters in shooting it, but it seemed to be ignoring his attacks even more than normal.

Eidolon floated as he gathered powers, preparing to give Leviathan a battle of the ages.

Another flash of Strider's teleport deposited even more heroes. Myrddin with his Chicago Protectorate and Wards and a smattering of New York City heroes and villains. Dragonteeth filled out the vanguard.

Alexandria narrowed her eyes under mask. Leviathan seemed even faster than normal, but erratic. Like he was fighting something.

"What's wrong with Skitter?" Grue demanded as he held Skitter's shoulders while he looked at Tattletale.

"Nothing, she just trying to trip up Leviathan, but her power isn't strong enough. But she can slow him down a bit," she said absently. She trotted through the puddles, trying to catch up to Flechette. "Hey!"

"What? I'm a bit busy," the New York City Ward said as she readying her ballista.

"He's moved his core," the Intiutionpath explained. She turned towards one of the other Wards from NYC. "And yes, I can tell that with my power."

"I didn't say anything," he protested. What was that?

Dragon clomped up at a high speed. "I'm scanning him with a gamma ray sensor. Tattletale is right. It's been moved to rump and to the left." A hologram appeared from an emitter, showing a 3D model of Leviathan with a glowing red dot.

Flechette nodded as she looked at the image. "Thanks, Dragon."

Shelinaria slipped her the Ring of Fleeting Health into a special compartment on her relic armor. She shifted to her purely spiritual form and tried to move through Levithan's dimensional link on his core, only to miss. She sent a telepathic message Tattletale.

"Shelinaria says that he's moving too fast hit his core," Tattletale called out.

Indeed, Leviathan was actually zipping around in a spray of water. He was surfing at transonic speeds using just his water-shadow and starting to tear apart the weaker brutes.

"Could he always do that?" Regent asked Imp. He felt incredibly useless.

"Hell if I know!" she shot back.

Flechette aimed and then shot at where she thought Leviathan would be. Her bolt punched right through his shoulder, not even slowing down for his physics defying structure. "I've got your number-"

Leviathan spun rapidly in a tight circle, sending waves of water to smash into buildings and hastily raised forcefields. The mass smashed up into fountains of water, splashing everyone.

Tattletale blinked. He meant to do that. It was more important to get them all wet. Wait- "He can only see things with water in and on them. Dry metal based equipment would be invisible. And he can see people by the water in their bodies." Shit.

Flechette was cranking her ballista back again. So? She raised up her weapon ago and then shot another bolt at Levithan, trying to hit his rump.

The Endbringer literally blurred out of the way in a spray of mist even as a stream of water whipped around and bashed one of the flyers down. The dimensionally transcendental heavy bolt shot right through Purity's shoulder and neck without even slowing down.

"He fucking did that on purpose," Tattletale snapped out, shocked and angry at the simple trick.

"CD-92, down," Dragon announced, sounding stunned at the revelation. She had been firing her heavy railgun with the Dragonteeth armors.

He was not just a macro-hydrokinetic!

Eidolon had selected another power and suddenly let out a yellow pulse of energy and all the water on the street was suddenly shot back away, hundreds of feet away.

Brutes of all stripes charged into hand to hand, trying to hem in Leviathan as it stumbled again. Bitch's dogs, Battery and a good half dozen more threw themselves against the juggernaut. Most got knocked back, broken and bleeding after just one hit.

Stop. It had to stop, Skitter demanded with her mind. The edges of her vision were starting to waver. She put everything she could into just stopping Levithan for a second as he ripped the legs off of the Tokyo Titan and Menja.

Everything came down to a single heartbeat. Leviathan stopped for just one second, then darkness consumed Skitter's consciousness. She slumped down onto her face, blood pooling on the inside of her face mask even as blasters and brutes hammered attacks home.

Flechette swore as there were too many people in too close. She couldn't get a shot-

A burning light appeared in Leviathan's hind quarters, right where his core was now hidden. His body collapsed as if he had been a puppet and all of his strings had been cut.

And his form started to dissolve.

"Um, what happened?" Imp asked anyone.

"Shelinaria killed it somehow. She just needed him to hold still for a second. Whatever she did, it killed whatever was projecting Leviathan here," she replied absently, her mind on far more important matters. She tapped her armband. "I need immediate medical attention for Skitter. She's hemorrhaging from forcing her power." Brain damage?

Bodies were disappearing in the flicker-flash of Strider's teleport even as Shelinaria appeared, doffing her helmet.

"He's not coming back from that," she said in a flat, stoic tone. It had only been twenty minutes since the Endbringers had attacked.

"Dragon? Why aren't we deploying to the third Endbringer attack?" Miss Militia asked as she held her hand up to her commander's headset.

Dragon turned her techno-dragon head to look at her. "Because we are too late. The new teleporting Endbringer smashed into the Birdcage and freed Glaistig Uaine. They've already disappeared."

Tattletale's face went pale at that.

Both of these attacks had been distractions for the real attack.

"Fuck."