Mage Among Superheroes 45

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Later the same day I met the vampire and sent Shockwave off who knows where with a Haste spell, I met a mummy.

“Hey.” I waved. “I didn’t know we had mummies working with the Power Brigade.”

“WhatMummiesWhere?” The figure twitchily turned in a quick circle, a few pieces of a blue outfit poking through the bandages. “Oh! You mean me?” Shockwave slowed down to normal speaking speed.

“So, I don’t mean to be rude…” I frowned, “But when I used Haste on you and you ran up the side of the building… did you jump off the roof?”

“Yeah!” Shockwave grinned.

“Haste privileges are revoked,” I crossed my arms sternly.

“What? No! It’s not like that. I jumped onto the next one. And the next one, and the one after that… I broke way fewer expensive things that way!”

“Looks like you broke a lot of yourself, though,” I pointed out.

“No no, this is from my battle with Beastro. Fortunately I arrived faster than he thought I could, and he wasn’t ready!”

“… Why would you fight someone who could do that to you when they weren’t prepared?”

“Oh. Because he was going after my gra- after Hammerfist. And I got a taunting message that I couldn’t stop him.”

“Oh. Is that… my fault?” I asked concernedly.

“It’s 90% her fault, 6% my fault, and 4% yours,” Shockwave said confidently. For some reason, I thought I saw them holding up their fingers while they said that. Shockwave sighed. “Gra- Hammerfist is kind of careless with public appearances. It was only a matter of time before her location got out, and a few people know our… connection. We managed to fight off Beastro this time though.” They gave a big smile and a thumbs up. “Anyway I made it a couple minutes earlier than expected thanks to you. That made all the difference.”

“Hmm… I suppose the story checks out,” I nodded. I’d have to verify it before more Haste privileges were given, though. “Are you alright?”

“Haha, I have to go lie in bed for a week or something, even with Doctor Mishra’s healing,” Shockwave said. “So… just gonna do that now. I only came by to say thanks.”

“Okay, have a good rest.”

One good thing about Shockwave was that they didn’t leave people waiting. I hadn’t even finished my ‘morning’ warmup yet. At least I didn’t have to worry about that situation for the moment. Though I should look up Beastro in the database.


“How about this one?” I asked Midnight.

“The balcony is nice, but does it have to be so high up?”

I decided not to point out that it was the second floor of the apartment building, which was anything but high. The first level was all communal stuff like mailboxes and laundry. Most of them would be, and the only places that would have a deck leading out to ground level were either pretty far from the most populated areas of New Bay or so expensive just looking at the prices made my eyes bleed. Even if I had been collecting combat pay every day- which I was not- some prices were insane.

The people to come out of those apartment buildings either wore fancy suits or hawaiian shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. It was weird and confusing.

I marked down a rating for the current apartment we were looking at. Soon enough Midnight would be able to rent his own place if he wanted to, but there was no reason to pay for things separately when he took up such little space. It’s not like I minded having a roommate. If we couldn’t handle that, the familiar bond probably wouldn’t last long anyway. Though of course normal bonds were between a mage and an animal- but even animals could break those bonds if they were unhappy.

“Well, there are a couple more apartments in the area to check out,” I said. We were trying to find a place a bit closer to Power Brigade HQ to save time and money on travel, plus the apartment set up by Extra was… not impressive. I didn’t have a problem with it because I came from somewhere with smaller rooms to begin with, but comparing to others it only met minimum standards. That said, for people who just needed a place to stay and access to meals… it was great. Cheap and functional. Which was another reason that it would be better to move out, since there was doubtless someone who needed it more. 

As we made our way along the street towards the next apartment, a myriad of sounds began to make its way to our ears. Things like screaming, the squealing of car wheels, and things like that. 

“Sounds like trouble,” I said to Midnight.

“Should we go help?”

“Yeah, probably,” I nodded. “I should call this in, too.”

‘Call’ wasn’t quite the right word, but I did use my phone. But instead of using the actual phone functionality, I brought up the Power Brigade app I had. It was useful for a lot of things, like looking up local threats and reporting them. It seems that a report had already come in, through the police. I pressed a button to confirm my presence near the incident and also got a short summary of what was going on. “Ooh, portals again,” I nodded.

I didn’t carry my whole outfit on me at all times, nor did I have a way to conveniently change, but I did carry my mask at least. While it might not disguise my identity that much what with the green skin and tusks, it would let people know I was there to help, instead of just being another civilian in danger. I popped it on and looked at Midnight.

“… Should we get you a mask?”

“Why?” Midnight asked.

Good point. I had to admit there were some reasons for masks, but fewer of them were relevant to Midnight.

I turned the corner where the most cars were squealing away from and people running to see a ten foot high mass of yellow-orange slime. It was still a good hundred feet away, and slowly sliding forward, leaving a gouge in the street behind it. A man was standing a good thirty feet in front of it, slowly walking backwards. And that was… sufficient. It wasn’t fast.

“Hmm,” I stroked my chin. “This is a good chance to make use of Sonic Lance.” While oozelike creatures often had weird resistances, the biggest benefit of sonic type things was natural resistance was rare. It looked familiar, but I couldn’t be sure if it was actually related to the information I knew or not. 

I started hurrying forward, though at this point the street between me and it was pretty well cleared out. There was only the one man walking slowly backwards. I would have to call out to warn him to clear the area, but I needed to get closer to be at optimal range for Sonic Lance. About half this distance would be good.

“Excuse me sir!” I called out. “If you could vacate the area, I will take care of this creature!”

The man half turned towards me, which allowed me to see that he was holding a phone in his hand. “Oh, here’s the first hero on the scene!” He swiveled around. “What’s your name kid?”

“Are you a reporter, sir? You’ll need to step away from the ooze.” Honestly the ooze was moving so slowly that he could just walk away, but it was still better for him not to be close. 

He did so, but only because he was moving towards me. “The first responder seems to have had no time to suit up, arriving heroically without any protection.” That wasn’t true, but he didn’t know that. “Can I have your name?”

“Mage,” I said as I walked past him. “Now let me just-”

“Aaaaaaaahhhh!” That was the sound of a lunatic screaming and rushing towards the giant ball of yellow-orange ooze. The lunatic in question was clad in purple and had similarly colored energy blades extending from her arms. 

The reporter swiveled around expertly. “And Dicer is on the scene! She’s one of the up-and coming stars of the latest batch of heroes in New Bay! Let’s see what she can do!”

What she could do, it seemed, was press her hands together to turn the two blades into one much longer blade. It extended to a good fifteen feet and sliced vertically through the creature and into the road. 

The angle wasn’t good to see it perfectly, but I made out a momentary sheer plane on the far side, confirming it was cut in half. And then it collapsed. Except… instead of melting into a puddle it simply became two slightly smaller clumps of slimy goop. 

“Ah crap,” I shook my head. Sometimes, it was bad to be right. “Don’t slice it!” I yelled. 

I don’t know if she didn’t hear me or straight up ignored me, but the purple woman immediately swept her arms out horizontally, slicing the new piles into two… and thus we had four. That might not have seemed like a problem, but conservation of mass wasn’t always considered with things like this. Each of them still topped seven feet at the peak of their curve, though perhaps they seemed taller because of the way they were splashing like a wave to flow over her. 

“Uh-oh! Seems like Dicer might be in a sticky situation!”

I was thinking of slapping the reporter, but I really needed to do something about this creature. Unfortunately, directly attacking it would be an issue now. “Midnight-”

It was then a blue-yellow figure leapt out of a nearby alleyway. If oozes had ears or fronts, he might have been able to mount some sort of sneak attack due to the fact that he didn’t scream to announce his presence. Instead, he just sparked with lighting as he charged towards the group.

“Don’t do elec-!” But my shout was too late, and he jumped right into the middle of the four mounds of yellow-orange ooze. They twitched and shuddered- including Dicer, who was inside one of them.

“And here’s Zappo!” the reporter said enthusiastically. “Looks like he might have done it, folks!”

The oozes continued to wobble with increasing frequency, and then exploded. Which is how they split again, and while I wasn’t completely sure about the slicing making them bigger, there was no way its individual pieces should still be so big now.

“Midnight. You’re going to want Energy Ward, focused on acid. I’ll cover both of us, you get Zappo, I’ll… do something about Dicer or whatever. And no claws or electricity!”

“You got it!” Midnight leapt off my shoulder as I finished using Energy Ward on us. 

“Oh my!” the reporter called out as I began running forward. “The two heroes seem to be in a bit of a pickle. Wrapped up like that, they don’t seem to be able to make use of their powers!”

If I had the time to explain, I would have told him they probably could, but the acid trying to dissolve them was ruining their concentration. Which was good. I shot a couple Firebolts as I jogged over, which fortunately burned a nice path through two of them. For all their size, their substance was limited. The two piles wobbled into a sludge of mush like a mixed citrus jelly left out in the summer sun.

I was close now, and one of the piles tried to slosh over me. I dodged to the side, finding it much easier to avoid than Acid Man. He was smart and quick, while these were neither. They were certainly bigger though. I managed to get to Dicer, and sunk myself arms first up to my waist into the thing. I tried to yank her out immediately, but it didn’t work. I considered just using Energy Ward, but if she stopped feeling pain she might just slice it into more copies. I knew there was some functional limit, but it was better to just get her out. I used Enlarge on myself instead, and though he wasn’t touching me I gave as much of the effect as I could to Midnight. 

Now twelve feet tall, it was pretty easy to pluck Dicer out and toss her away from the oozes, which in the process collapsed the one digesting her. Fortunately, since I was in the midst of them they were happy to glomp around my waist. Midnight saw my success with Firebolt and dove into the ooze, surgically blasting his way to Zappo before shoving the man away. The two heroes had raw red skin and would probably want to just shave their heads given what happened to their hair, but they were alive. 

Midnight and I continued to burn apart the remainder, two more each which should have left him pretty low on mana. I was at six left myself.

Then another one slimed around the corner. A full size one, which made it slightly shorter than me at the moment. Even so, it scooted its way towards me. I just pointed my arm at it and used Sonic Lance.

The resulting spray tasted like a bad lemon. Fortunately for everything not covered by Energy Ward, its acidic properties would rapidly fade. I shook the goop off my arms and looked around, but it didn’t seem there was anything else immediately happening in the vicinity. I walked past the reporter who was too busy flailing his phone around trying to un-goop it to say anything.

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