"The Sensational Night Shadow in… A Hoedown In The Old West"

Chapter 9

Created by The Spectacular SpiderDom


In the city of Los Angeles, California, 2035…

A group of thugs with thick, black leather jackets stood behind the back of an alleyway, watching a friend of theirs pull back a metal door with a crowbar. The back of their jackets had images of a man riding around on a surfboard on top of a wave of money. Their name was on the back, The Surf-Vengers. They were about to open the door when they suddenly heard a clanging noise from behind. They turned around to see what it was.

They saw a shadowy figure in the distance, who leaped forward and landed on the ground.

Three of them pulled their automatic rifles out and aimed their high. The other two took out a set of knives.

The figure came out of the shadows and revealed his true identity.

A man with light skin, cyan-colored eyes, and had blue hair that stuck up like a flame. Although, one part of his hair had a platinum streak on the right side. He had a domino mask in the shape of two lightning bolts clashing together and silver-white spandex that covered his entire body. With spikes on his wrists and a silver-white cape, he lastly had a white belt around his waist with a blue grabbling hook attached to a right holster.

His name was…

"Silver Lightning!" one of them shouted.

"Really, where!?" the white costumed hero looked left and right. "Shit, I must've missed him. That guy moves so fast, y'know?"

The soldiers aimed their weapons and the blade wielders twirled their knives, ready for a fight.

"Hey, wait a second," Silver Lightning squinted his eyes. "Did you guys bring knives to a gunfight?" He quickly facepalmed. "Guys, you've just broken criminal law number one, never bring a knife to a gunfight!"

The thugs didn't hesitate to open fire on the superhero.

Silver Lightning smirked and squinted his eyes, as he suddenly kicked up a garbage can lid and used it to shield the bullets. He covered the lid with a force of electricity, making it immune to the bullets. "Come on, boys, you know we can talk this out like civilized men."

The superhero waited until the soldiers were out of ammo to unleash his next trick. Tossing the garbage can upward, he caught it and spun around in a circle. "Hub! Chuck! Football!"

Throwing the shield like a frisbee, it whacked three of the thugs unconscious.

One of the knife wielders quickly rushed towards the fast-talker to teach him a lesson.

But Silver Lighting was just too quick, as he effortlessly dodged the slashes and kicked the knife into the air. He kicked the man in the chest, performed a front flip, and shot him with a volt of electricity, knocking him unconscious.

Only one thug was remaining.

"C'mon, bro," Silver Lightning shrugged. "Make this easier for yourself and just surrender. Or don't, I don't get paid either way."

"Son of a bitch!"

"Hey, that's not a nice thing to say about my mother."

Silver Lighting reached for his grabbling gun and shot it forward, wrapping the man in a tight rope. Yanking his weapon, he pulled the man right towards him and…

POW!

…back flip kicked the man into the air.

One last thug fell onto the ground and all of the thugs were quickly defeated.

"Well, that was… disappointing to say the least," Silver Lightning cracked his knuckles. "After a long day of gaming, streaming, editing, and driving around like a Rockstar, I assumed you guys would give me a decent challenge. I didn't even get a chance to show off my Super Shunt."

Suddenly, the superhero felt a boost of power run through his veins. He looked down and saw that his body was glowing with electricity. "Ah, shi-"

VABOOM!

At the speed of sound, the superhero hit the side of the brick wall and fell on top of a bag of garbage. Rolling on his back, he looked on his shoulder and watched his Elemental Demon appear. It was a spiky-haired female cheetah with ghostly silver-white fur, cyan eyes, and a spikey nose.

"Damn it, Arashii, we talked about this," Silver Lightning rolled his eyes. "If I just say the names of my powers, don't make me do them. But if I shout them in combat, that's when you make me look like a badass, okay?"

The cheetah whimpered an apology.

"Don't sweat it," Silver Lightning rubbed Arashii's head. "I know my powers aren't easy to control."

Suddenly, the electric hero's phone rang on the backside of his pocket. He pulled it out and a holographic image of Hannah appeared on the screen.

"Whoa, who's the babe?"

"I am not a babe, Mr. Silver Lightning. I am Hannah: An Artificial Intelligence Program created by Bertram Van Cyrus. Monsoon Gal would like to know if you're still attending The Heroes' Gathering in three weeks?"

Silver Lightning happily glanced at Arashii before he smirked. "F*ck yeah I'm in!"


In the city of Vancouver, Canada, 2035…

While everyone laid asleep in their beds for the night, there was a truck full of people who decided it would be best to take an evening stroll around the city. Taking a right-hand turn was a dark-green 2030 Chevy Trailblazer with large black tires with silver trim. The headlights were shining bright orange and the music inside of the vehicle was blasting loudly.

There were three costumed individuals inside the vehicle and all of them were singing along to Drift Away by Dobie Gray.

Driving the vehicle itself was a woman with pale skin and hair was red as a tomato. For attire, she wore a pink leather suit with multiple red heart emblems; one on the center of her chest, a line of them running down both of her arms and legs, and one on each of her shoulders. All of them had a black outline. Matching the same color as her hair, she had a strap running from her left shoulder down to her belt, but they were more of a darker shade of red. In the center of her belt was a heart with the letter V in the center and to its left and right were multiple weapons pouches.

With black gloves that had red fingertips, she wore black pants that had red holsters for boomerangs and a single dagger. She had a pink hood over her head and on her back was a bright yellow bow with a same-colored quiver full of arrows. Over her face was a purple mask with white eyes.

Sitting next to her was a man with dark skin and he had a mostly black costume, but he had dark gold bits of armor on his chest, arms, wrists, legs, and boots. Like his friend, he wore a black belt with an emblem of the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius and he also had multiple pouches for weapons on his belt and thighs. Black straps were running down his left shoulder and he had a red S stitched to the top. There were symbols of arrows running down his arms and legs and he had a hood over his head. His hair was blonde, and his mask was simply black with golden eyes.

They sang along to the music and glanced at one another. The black and yellow man blew her a kiss, as he reached for his black bow and golden arrows. He smiled at her and shot a wink, grabbing a rag and cleaning his weapons. The driver mimicked his romantic motion.

Just then, someone in the back seat popped her head up and smiled at both heroes.

For her attire, she wore a dark purple, skin-tight, suit made out of denim. She wore black combat boots with golden buckles on them and she had highlights that matched the same color as the buckles. On her back was a violet poncho with a golden streak running from the bottom to the top. She had blue gloves with black fingertips and a black belt with light blue spots. Over her left hand was a paper bag with a red button for a left eye and a blue button for the right eye. It had a purple mouth and had a drawing of a suit on it; it was drawn in black marker. Lastly, she wore a wrestling mask that matched her suit's colors. The eyes had a gold outline and her mouth was exposed.

"Oh, boy!" she said, waving the bag puppet around. She spoke in a voice that made the puppet sound like a cartoon mouse. "I love me some music! But you gotta turn this '70s shit off, play some dubstep!"

"Piss off, BagByte," the male archer rolled his eyes.

"Sorry, Sagittarius," the poncho wearing woman said, covering her puppet's mouth. "BagByte, we talked about this. When we're in Valentine's car, we listen to whatever she wants to listen to."

"I don't care!" BagByte snarled. "This music sucks!"

Sagittarius chuckled and looked at his girlfriend, who made a left-hand turn. "So, Val. Tell me what's new. See any crime we can stop?"

"Nothing at the moment," Valentine looked around. "Poncho Mom?"

The purple costumed woman peeked her head through the sunroof and looked left and right. Using her powers of Super Elasticity, she stretched her neck and arms outward and scanned the environment for any suspicious activity.

But instead, she was hit in the face by a tall road sign.

She came back inside with starts and horses roaming around her forehead. Shaking it, she rubbed her face and replied. "Negative, Valentine. There is no crime to be spotted."

"Nice work, Captain Obvious," BagByte grunted. "Why don't we just turn back around, there's obviously nothing out here. Take me home, I gotta use the restroom!"

"I told you to go before we left," Poncho Mom rolled her eyes.

"Poncho, he's a f*cking puppet, he can't pee!" Sagittarius said.

"You don't know what I got!" BagByte retorted.

Suddenly, the music on the radio shut itself off.

The three superheroes stopped their banter and looked at the radio. Valentine reached forward and went to turn it on, but instead, she was greeted to a holographic image of Hannah Van Cyrus. Screaming at the top of her lungs, she slammed on the break and stopped in the middle of the road. This nearly caused a car behind her to rear-end her vehicle. Honking at her, the driver simply went around and continued driving.

"W-what the heck is that!?" Valentine gasped.

Sagittarius drew his bow and pulled back an arrow. "Stand back, I got this!"

"Ha-ha, you're gonna shoot it with an arrow?" BagByte inquired. "It's a hologram, stupid! It ain't gonna do squat!"

"Actually, I am more than just a hologram, Miss Poncho Mom," Hannah kindly spoke. "I can project myself through any piece of digital technology as well as project a physical form. My name is Hannah Van Cyrus and I am here on behalf of Monsoon Gal. She would like to know if the three of you are still attending The Heroes' Gathering in three weeks."

Sagittarius placed his weapon away and looked at his female teammates. "Well, we're planning to-"

"Hell to the yeah we're in!" Poncho Mom smiled with excitement. "Let's friggin' go!"

"You just want to go so you can make out with Night Shadow," BagByte said.

Hannah raised an eyebrow.

"BagByte, shut up!" Poncho Mom shouted.


Back in Seattle…

Gaige Hacksaw was handed a rag full of ice by his dear friend, Rebecca Aislinn, who took a seat next to him and rubbed his back. Both of them sat inside the training room, where they wondered if Sydney and/or Gwen would return. Rebecca continued rubbing Gaige's back, as she looked at his bruised face.

"Are you okay, Gaige?" she asked. I'm so sorry Sydney hit you like that."

"No worries," Gaige replied, applying extra pressure on his face. It was met with a cold sensation. "I'm fine. I didn't think Sydney would do something like that though. Heh, guess she must really like those Japanese Clubs."

Rebecca didn't bother laughing at Gaige's joke.

"Sorry, Becca. Bad time?"

"Maybe a little."

Just then, both Sydney and Gwen entered the room and approached their friends. Sydney shared one last look with her Irish friend before she sat down next to her self-proclaimed master. Taking a deep breath, she couldn't help but feel horrible as soon as she saw the bruise on Gaige's face.

"H-how are you feeling, Gaige?" she inquired.

"Fine, I guess," he answered. "It's not too horrible, but it's gonna take a while to heal."

"Gaige, I am so sorry I did this to you. I really am."

"Then, why did you do it? I told you to use those clubs responsibly and you clearly disobeyed my directions. I told you that when you're learning martial arts, you can't let aggression cloud your mind."

"I know that and I'm well aware I screwed up," Sydney placed her hand on Gaige's shoulder. "I know this is a shitty excuse, but the reason why I hit you… is because," she released one last sigh before she explained herself. "When we were sparring with each other, I imagined you as the villains I helped Night Shadow fight during his escapades. I know that sounds horrible, but it's what really happened. I allowed my own personal worries for Mason, Night Shadow, and my family's safety cloud my mind, which caused me to aggressively hit you. I'm sorry, Gaige. As I said, that's a shitty excuse, but… I want you to know that I really am sorry."

Gaige took a few moments to register all that was heard. "Huh… judging from you saying 'get away from,' I can only assume that you pictured Mason being killed by Night Shadow's enemies, huh?"

Sydney nodded. "That's… mostly it."

"Well, I'm a little offended that you pictured me as a fat furball like Mojo the Pink Gorilla."

"No, Gaige, it's not like that."

"However… I accept your apology," Gaige smiled. "I know recklessly helping people is what you do best and learning martial arts was going to be a way of furthering that; however, I think the biggest problem you have for now is your personal fears. You can't let your self-doubts get in the way of combat, especially when you're in the middle of a dire situation."

Sydney nodded. "Yeah… I realize that now… maybe now isn't the best time for me to learn martial arts. I don't want something like this to happen again."

Gaige, surprised by her answer, looked at both Gwen and Rebecca. "Well, I didn't say that, but… if that's how you feel, then I fully support your decision."

Sydney felt relieved when he said that.

"But..." Gaige spoke. Sydney wondered what his incoming response was. "If you ever decide to get back into fighting… just give me a call."

The Spanish girl smiled at that last remark, as she wrapped her best friend in a warm hug. Gaige hugged her back with one arm and removed his ice pack, wrapping his other arm around her. Gwen and Rebecca joined in the hug as well and all four of them closed their eyes, happy that this dispute was finally resolved.

Gwen opened her eyes and looked out the window, seeing something land on the building across from them. "Hey… it's Night Shadow."

Sydney turned around and saw her boyfriend swing from building to building, looking like he was in a hurry.

She smiled and closed her eyes, dreaming of fighting alongside him someday…

…but the moment was suddenly ruined when Gwen ran outside and shouted, "Hey, Night Shadow! My best friend Sydney loves you!"

"Motherf*cker!" Sydney shouted, as she ran outside and tackled Gwen, pinning her to the ground.

"Oh, boy!" Gaige ran forward. "Dogpile on Gwen!"

He leaped into the air and joined the pile.

With nothing left to do, Rebecca looked left and right, shrugged her shoulders, and jumped on top of Gaige's back.


Night Shadow and Hannah, in her physical form, laid a repaired Nelson Pines on top of his office chair. The latter pressed both of his eyes as well as a button on his right shoulder. Nelson made a small recalibrating noise, which sounded like fairy tale sparkles, as he finally awakened from his longtime slumber.

"Holy shit, Mason look out!" Nelson shouted, but he looked around and saw that his business partner was nowhere to be seen. "What the hell happened? Where's Mason? Where's the cowboy that attacked us! Night Shadow, it was crazy! Some robot cowboy attacked us, and he kidnapped my partner, Mason. Is he okay? Tell me he's okay!"

Night Shadow calmly spoke to his boss. "Easy there, Mr. Pines. Mason's fine. He ran out of the facility and I took him home. And don't fret about the cowboy because I gave him the whooping he deserved."

Nelson wiped his forehead with relief. "Phew! That's a relief. Thank you so mu-"

He paused mid-sentence when he found himself stargazed by Hannah's complexion. Her metallic shine brought out her stunning beauty and she looked at him with kind and caring eyes. She smiled and waved, as Nelson felt his robotic heart pound against his chest. His jaw dropped to the ground and his eyes were bulging out of his sockets.

Night Shadow placed one gloved finger in his mouth, struggling to contain his laughter.

"Uh…" Nelson said in awe. "H-hi, who are-"

"Greetings, Mr. Pines, my name is Hannah," she said, holding out her hand. "Night Shadow brought me here to help fix you up. Are you okay?"

Nelson was stunned by Hannah's appearance.

"Mr. Pines?"

Realizing he was stuck in suspended animation; Nelson shook his head and pressed his hands together. "Y-yeah, I'm okay. Um, thank you for fixing me. Appreciate it, I do. I mean, I do it appreciate."

Nelson backed away towards his desk, only to trip on his feet. As Hannah helped him up, he kindly backed away and waved her and Night Shadow goodbye. He stepped right inside of his office and closed the door, praying he didn't humiliate himself badly.


Stepping outside of his workplace, Mason Moonstone checked to see if anyone was watching him before he stepped outside, placing his Night Shadow helmet inside of a backpack. He wrapped it around his shoulder before he started walking down the road. Dunnere emerged from his shoulder and released a loud yawn, resting against his master's neck. Mason softly chuckled and patted his demon's head.

Mason whipped out his computer handheld and spoke to Hannah's hologram. "Thanks for the help, Hannah. I appreciate it."

"You're very welcome, Night Shadow," Hannah nodded.

"Please, just call me Mason, Mason Moonstone."

"Mason Moonstone? What a lovely name."

"Well, that's what a certain lady of mine said when we first met, ha-ha. Speaking of which, what the hell am I going to tell her? She's probably working at the moment or maybe it's her night off? What day is it today?"

"Today is Thursday, May 21st, 2035."

"Thanks, Hannah."

"You're welcome."

Suddenly, a dark blue 2021 Chevy Suburban pulled up to the side of the walkway and honked its horn. At first, Mason thought someone was being a jerk and honking at him for no reason. He prepared to give the person hell before he looked and saw Gaige, Rebecca, Gwen, and Sydney inside the car. Rebecca, who was in the passenger's seat, pulled down the window and waved to the comedian's boyfriend.

"What's up, dude?" Gaige greeted.

"Hey, babe," Sydney waved.

Mason was more than relieved to see his girlfriend and his friends again. He was happier because they were real and not virtual reality clones. He approached the car and leaned against Sydney's window, where he quickly received a kiss on his cheek. Sydney got out of the car and hugged him tightly, as he did the same.

"How's everyone doing?" Mason asked.

"We're fine," Gwen replied. "Had a little bit of a kung fu incident, but we're fine."

"What?"

"It's a long story," Sydney replied. "I'll explain on the way home. Thanks for dropping me off, guys. We can walk the rest of the way."

"Are you sure?" Rebecca asked. "There could be criminals somewhere out here."

"If there are," Sydney winked at her boyfriend. "I know someone I can count on to protect us."

Mason mirrored her exact motion.

"All righty then, see you tomorrow, Sydney," Gwen waved, as Rebecca rolled up the window. The three of them turned around the corner and drove down the road.

This left the happy couple to stroll down the streets.

"So, what's new with you?" Sydney asked.

"Well, to put it shortly," Mason rubbed the back of his head, as Dunnere smiled. "An old enemy of mine named Edwin Alonzo, who is a robot with cowboy armor, came back. He trapped us all in his virtual reality game called the Cyber Realm. After breaking out, we had an epic fight at Street Dawg Munchies, where Dr. Don'tbig was revealed to be Bertram Van Cyrus, the former assistant to Technolocity."

"Oh, my god."

"But it's okay though, Bertram and his robot assistant, Hannah, helped us kick Alonzo's ass. Now, he's locked up in jail and I'm left wanting to crawl into bed and skip work tomorrow."

"So, a robot cowboy trapped you inside of a video game and Technolocity's nerd had to break you out. Wow, now I've heard everything. What's next, you're gonna travel back to medieval times?"

"I wouldn't be surprised."

Sydney chuckled and leaned against her boyfriend's shoulder, kissing his cheek.

"So, what happened to you, Sydney? Gwen said something about kung-fu."

Sydney sighed. "I was trying to learn martial arts so I can take care of myself and protect you, that's all. It sadly didn't work out as well as I hoped."

"Well, martial arts isn't something you can learn in one day, but once you practice long enough, you'll become a kung fu master… like me. It took me a while before I learned how to control my powers and use them for physical violence. Yes, I get my ass kicked from time to time, but I figured out how to hold my own."

"Yeah… yeah," Sydney said softly. "Do you think maybe… you can teach me some of your tricks one day? I want to protect you just as much as you protect me."

"Sure," Mason wrapped his arm around his girlfriend. He released a loud yawn and leaned against her shoulder, closing his eyes. "But… not now, okay. I just… need some sleep."

Sydney hugged her boyfriend with one hand, as the two of them walked down the street.

One day, Mason… I'll become a real hero like you are… one day.


After returning from the hospital, Bertram Van Cyrus came back to his laboratory and sat by his computer. He rubbed his face with his bear paws and stretched his arms. He logged onto his computer monitors before being greeted by his newest creation: Hannah.

"Good evening, Bertram. I'm glad you're back from the hospital."

"Thanks, Hannah. I'm about to turn in for the night, but… could you do something for me?"

"Of course. What would you like me to do?"

"Contact… my old friend."

"As you wish."

Bertram waited a few seconds for his former ally to pick up her phone, but Hannah shortly came back to him with bad news. "I am unable to get into contact with her cellular device; however, you do have the option to leave a voice message."

"Okay, whatever works. Let me know when to start."

"Initiating voice message in three… two… one… your voice message will now begin."

Bertram took a deep breath, rubbed his paws together, and spoke into the microphone. "Hey, Hound. It's me, Bertram, or as you like to call me Sire. Not sure where the name came from, but it has a nice ring to it… so, some crazy stuff happened in Seattle tonight. I was kidnapped by an enemy from my past, got trapped inside of a video game, showed myself to Monsoon Gal, Pyro Lad, and Frosty Beetle, and got shot in the chest. Don't worry though, I'm perfectly fine. I just checked out of the hospital…

"…speaking of which, there's something I need to talk to you about. While I was there, Monsoon Gal approached me and said she somehow shot you an email about joining her superhero team in three weeks. She's been organizing this since an invasion happened here a while back. She told me that four other heroes said they would be coming to the meeting, but the only person who hasn't replied… was you."


In the city of Berlin, Germany, 2035…

"I know you're the type of person who has issues trusting others, which can make you act impulsive and sometimes stubborn around other people. Heh, I learned that the hard way when you and I first met. It took a while for you and me to become the partners we used to be back then. Once I offered to redesign your suit and give you that metal bat… you accepted me as your best friend, and I couldn't be any happier knowing you're always by my side, even if we're apart…

"…but this isn't about me, this is about you. Now, I'm not forcing you to decide if you should accept this invitation or not. As I said, I know your trust in people isn't so easily won… but if I were in your shoes, now keep in mind, this is just my opinion. It doesn't mean it has to be your opinion, but if I were in your shoes… I'd give these guys a chance.

"…I've seen them in action, I've seen them work together as a team, and I've seen them treat each other as a family. Even though they don't have full trust within me because of some stuff I did in the past, they told me they're willing to accept me as one of their own. I have a feeling they'll do the same to you. I think that if you join their family, they'll be able to teach you how to become a better superhero and how to feel better about yourself mentally. Pyro Lad can teach you how to let go of your past, Monsoon Gal can teach you about leadership and working with a team, Frosty Beetle can teach you how to laugh. Let's be honest, Hound, you need to learn how to laugh more, and Night Shadow…

"He can teach you about compassion. He's the most kind-hearted, well-mannered, mature, and most heroic person out of all of them. A person who never gives up on people, even if they have no chance of redemption. Call him naïve if you will, but he has my respect. That's how I see it anyways. Again, I'm not forcing you to decide, but the only thing I can say is… think about it."

In the middle of his message, Bertram released a loud yawn.

"I've got to go. I've got a long day of work tomorrow. Just know that you and I will always remain friends, Bloodhound, even if we're farther apart. Have a good night. Take care of yourself. And I'll see you soon."

Bloodhound: The Canine Avenger heard the last part of the message and watched her phone revert back to its normal screen. She stood on top of a building, listening to the message in its entirety, struggling what to do.

Part of her didn't want to join the team, as she believed one person and/or all of them would stab her in the back. But at the same time, she also thought it would be nice to be in the same room as other superheroes. Maybe someone's going through the same rope as she's in, who knows?

Bloodhound sat on the edge of the building, taking a look at Berlin in the moonlight.

With a small breath of relaxation, she scrolled through her email and found Monsoon Gal's invitation.

To Whom It May Concern,

Hello, my name is Monsoon Gal. I am a superhero from the state of Washington, and I would like to invite you to The Heroes' Gathering. I'm putting together a team of superheroes and I would love for you to join. More information will be provided once you sent your confirmation. I hope to see you there.

From,

Monsoon Gal.

Below the letter itself was a button that said PRESS HERE TO CONFIRM INVITE.

Bloodhound's brown finger hovered over the button. Inside her head, she wondered about what would happen if she did or didn't press the button.

After a few more seconds of thinking…

…she finally pressed the button, confirming her invite.

"Let's see where this goes," she nodded with a smile, as she proudly stood on the rooftop, waiting for her next adventure.

The new heroes will soon assemble, but what will be the outcome?

END OF STORY


Adam Starshine/Silver Lightning & Arashii created by StarShine89

Alexa Ivanov/Bloodhound created by ApiphobicDalmatianLass