The Unsuper Heroes, Chapter 12

Kefalia, Stocastin, Akintos, and Narcius all walked into the throne room somewhat nervously while Exelda hid her face as she walked behind everybody. A woman with similar features to Dason sat in one of the gilded chairs and looked at several pieces of paper exasperatedly. When she saw the five of them enter, she breathed a sigh of relief. The royal servant announced, “Princess Aleta, here are the people you requested.”

“Yes, I can see that,” Aleta responded to him dryly. She turned to the heroes and regarded them, “Oh, thank gods, you’re all here! I… Wait, where is Exelda?”

Stocastin and Narcius stepped aside to reveal Exelda, who sheepishly said, “Oh, hello there! I, um, I was just-.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” Aleta interupted her. “I’m happily married now, so I don’t care about that incident from the past! Besides, I have more important things to worry about. With my parents totally out of it and my brother missing, I’m next in line for the crown! One minute I’m living a life of luxury, and next thing I know, I’m up to my elbows in paperwork and people needing me for this and that! I don’t know what all this means!” She indicated to her paperwork. “Why do I have these bills for services you received? A bathhouse, a tailor… wow, you found a female cobbler?”

Akintos corrected her, “Actually, Nike is a guy.”

“Really?” Aleta puzzled. “Why would he go by a goddess’s name?”

“He started to tell us, but we decided we didn’t want to know,” Akintos reported.

Aleta raised an eyebrow but did not press the subject. “Whatever. Just tell me why your bills are getting sent to the palace!”

The five heroes shifted guiltily, and Exelda explained, “We received these services while on official duty. It came as a result of us fighting the monsters, and Dason promised to pay us, so we figured that you could subtract the bills from the money we’re supposed to receive.”

“Oh, that makes sense,” Aleta replied. “How much did he say he was going to give you?”

Exelda thought about it for a moment. “Hmm… I don’t think he actually said a specific amount.” The other four corroborated her conclusion.

Aelta let out an aggravated sigh. “How in the name of Plutus am I supposed to know what the proper amount to pay you is?” She buried her head into her arms, which rested on throne she sat on. “Why didn’t he write any of this down? Why did he have to go missing in the first place? I just want to go back to being a pampered housewife! That’s all I want!”

She kept her head buried as a young, teenage boy entered the room from a door behind her. He had a piece of parchment and a quill in his hand as he approached her. “Aunt Aleta?”

Not moving her head at all, Aleta muttered, “What?”

The boy requested, “Can you help me with my academic work?”

“You’re asking me this now?” She popped her head up an expression on her face as though she were about to cry from frustration. “I’m in the middle of-!”

“I’m supposed to see my tutor soon and I don’t have any of it done!” he exclaimed. “I can’t go with an incomplete assignment!”

Before Aleta could burst, Stocastin volunteered, “Perhaps I can be of assistance. I’m quite learned in the academic arts.”

The boy seemed a little skeptical. “Really? Do you know anything about mathematical formulas?”

Exelda, Narcius, Akintos, and Kefalia all laughed knowingly while Stocastin’s eyes lit up in sheer joy. Kefalia assured the boy, “Stocastin knows everything about mathematical formulas! He does them on his own for fun!”

“Really? Oh, okay!” The boy stepped off of the throne platform and sat next to Stocastin on the floor.

Aleta’s overwhelmed demeanor mollified a bit as she watched Stocastin delightedly explain how to solve the formulas on his parchment. She then turned to the papers in front of her and concluded, “I guess I can just pay these and keep a record of what you spent so we can figure out how much to pay you when the job is done.”

Exelda promised her, “We’ll try not to charge anything else to you.”

“Well, as long as you don’t crazy with your spending, you can still charge things to the palace,” Aleta decreed. “I want to make sure you have everything you need to get the job done, after all! I mean, your work is unbelievably important! Oh, I’m so glad that Dason hired you before he went missing! I don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t!”

“Well, the senate came up with this idea,” Exelda pointed out. “You would have done just fine!”

An idea suddenly struck Aleta. “The senate! Of course! Dason must have left the details of his decisions with them!” She turned to her servant and directed him, “Please bring in the senate leader!”

“Yes, Princess!” The servant half bowed before he left.

Aleta returned her attention to the heroes. “If there’s anything you need, please let me know! I’m confident that Dason will return one day, and when he does, I want to make sure you’re all in one piece! He’d kill me if anything happened to you guys! Especially you, Exelda!” Aleta winked at her.

“What do you mean, especially me?” Exelda probed.

Aleta’s face fell slightly. “Oh, he didn’t talk to you about…?” She saw Exelda’s blank expression, which answered her question. “Oh, he’s not going to like that I just said that! Oh well! Since the cat’s out of the bag now, he’s been talking about you non-stop ever since he met you! He finds you charming and sweet, and he’s infinitely intrigued by all of your achievements in the war. He thinks you’re the prettiest person in all of Greece too, so I told him-.”

“He’s wrong!” Narcius interjected. “I’m the prettiest person in all of Greece!”

Aleta looked a little perplexed at his cause for disruption, but it was Kefalia who admonished him, “You can’t interrupt the princess!”

Narcius didn’t seem deterred by her reproach. “You know it’s true!”

“I’m starting to think it’s not so important anymore!” Kefalia huffed.

Aleta was obviously confused, “so Akintos advised her, “Feel free to cut them off anytime!”

Exelda jumped in, “If Dason really felt this way about me, why didn’t he seek me out? He could have found me any time he wanted to, so why didn’t he? Did he believe all of the rumors spread about us?”

“We’re not ones to rely on rumors,” Aleta replied. “As public figures, we have all kinds of gossip swirling around about us. Do you believe any of them?” Exelda mulled it over for a second and shook her head. Aleta continued, “He always wanted to find you, but he never did because he never thought he was good enough for you.”

Exelda’s eyes went wide in shock. “Not good enough for me? But he’s a prince! He’s so handsome and smart and kind… He could have any girl in the kingdom at a moment’s notice! And yet he’s worried about not being good enough for me? Me, a disgraced soldier turned peasant woman! He could have a girl with a flatter stomach, a high social standing, and more… more everything than me, and yet he thinks he’s not good enough for me?”

Aleta sagely stated, “It’s not like he’s perfect! He has faults just like everyone else, and dating a royal comes with some baggage! Besides, you may not think much of yourself, but he thinks a lot of you!”

Exelda’s cheeks reddened immensely, and she couldn’t help but beam broadly. Kefalia cooed, “Awwwwww!”

The royal servant returned and got everyone’s attention by clearing his throat. “The senate leader, your highness.”

Cyrek entered and commented to Aleta, “You interrupted a very busy assembly… And I can’t thank you enough! How can I help you?”

“Finished!” the boy declared. “Thank gods! Who uses the Pythagorean Theorem in real life?”

“You’d be surprised, kid!” Stocastin reacted.

Exelda told Cyrek and Aleta, “We should get going! We still have a lot of research to do!”

Narcius and Kefalia groaned, but Akintos joked, “Relax guys! Every time we try to do research, we get attacked by a monster. So if you don’t want to do any book work, don’t worry, we won’t! Maybe they’ll save us a trip and attack us before we leave!”

“That’s not funny!” Exelda punched his arm. “If we do get attacked by another monster on the way, I swear to Gaia, I will-!”

A royal guard suddenly barged into the room and urgently called out, “Help! The Agrotis village is under attack!”

“By soldiers?” Akintos timidly asked.

“No,” the royal guard answered. “Our farms are under attack by a hideous monster!”

Akintos repined, “Damn!” Exelda glared at him, so he boldly asserted, “You can’t kill me ’til after we defeat the monster!”

Exelda stared at him with raised eyebrows. “You’re not allowed to make any more predictions!” She commanded to the others, “Let’s go!” They followed the royal guard out of the palace.

The Unsuper Heroes, Chapter 11

Narcius lead Polyphema to a clearing surrounded by tall, sturdy trees, and after they stopped, Narcius instructed her, “Lie down here… beautiful!”

“Okay!” Polyphema flirtatiously giggled, and then she knelt down, swung her legs around, and gently laid her back on the floor. When she spread her legs, Narcius whipped her head away and muffled his gagging so she couldn’t hear it. Polyphema adoringly notified him, “Polyphema ready!”

Stocastin turned visible next to Narcius and whispered into his ear. Narcius then directed Polyphema, “Put your hands above your head.”

“Why Polyphema do that?” she questioned.

Narcius quickly improvised, “Oh, it’s a surprise!” She tittered in anticipation and complied. Stocastin whispered something else to Narcius, and Narcius then told her, “Okay, close your eyes! Eye!” Polyphema did that and then sighed contentedly.

Stocastin silently motioned for Narcius to follow him, and they both tiptoed towards a tree to the right of her head where the others stood. Exelda stealthily crept towards Polyphema’s hands while Akintos began burning the roots off of the tree. Polyphema started to grow restless and inquired, “What take so long?”

Narcius used his super speed to zip back to his original position. “Just warming up!” He dashed back over to the tree that now stood loosely in the ground. Kefalia flew up to a higher part of the tree while Narcius and Stocastin stood at the base. Polyphema impatiently asserted, “No more waiting! Polyphema want it now!”

Staying bye the tree this time, Narcius responded, “You’ll get it now!”

Akintos made a signal to Exelda by nodding as Polyphema inquired, “Where you go?” She opened her eyes just as Exelda pinned her hands down. She roared in rage but could not move. Kefalia, Narcius, and Stocastin pushed the tree down, and as it pummeled towards her, she let out a deafening yell and kicked her feet hard enough to make the ground shake. The tree landed on her face with a loud smack, and a brown liquid erupted from her body upon impact. The forest suddenly fell silent, and she moved no more.

Exelda met up with Kefalia, Stocastin, Akintos, and Narcius as they all cheered and celebrated. Once they got over their initial thrill of victory, they were all disgusted to see that they were covered in that brown goo. “Is this blood?” Kefalia exclaimed.

“Why is it brown?” Exelda added.

“My guess would be low oxygen or an iron deficiency,” Stocastin theorized. “Then again, maybe she wasn’t totally human and had a totally different element that made up her blood, like… You know what, since it’s all over me, I don’t even want to think about it!”

Narcius stated, “There’s lots of things about today that I don’t want to think about!”

Akintos laughed mockingly at him. “Oh my gods, did you see under her toga?”

“I don’t want to talk about it!” Narcius snapped.

“That’s a yes!” Akintos chortled uproariously. “Oh, you have to share the details!”

Exelda jumped in, “Ugh, no you don’t! Come on, let’s get out of here!”

As they headed back towards the village, Kefalia bemoaned, “Don’t tell me we still have to study after this!”

“All I can think about is finding the nearest bathhouse and getting this gunk off immediately!” Exelda grimaced as she purposefully did not look down at her visage. The others heartily agreed with her.

After a quiet moment, Akintos ribbed Narcius, “So, how did she compare to the rest of the women of Chaos?”

Exelda, Kefalia, and Stocastin all groaned, and before Narcius could say anything, Exelda ordered, “For the love of Zeus, don’t answer that!” Akintos continued to chortle as they exited the clearing.

That night, Mercinon stared into the mirror he had on his wall as he majestically spoke, “As your beloved king, it is my duty to impose new laws for your own protection. Therefore, today I must issue a royal decree…” A small knock sounded at the door, but he did not hear it. “… It is now illegal to walk your camel after sunset…” The perpetrator of the knocks made another attempt, but Mercinon still didn’t notice. “… I know it may not seem fair, but there has been far too many chariot accidents lately, so I-!” All of a sudden, he heard a loud boom that almost made him lose his balance. “Ah! We’re under attack!” He hid behind his desk and shivered from fear.

The door cracked open, and Marcin cautiously stuck his head inside. “Sire?”

Mercinon popped out from his hiding spot. “Oh, it’s just you! What do you want? Are you here to tell me more bad news?”

Marcin stared at him in surprise. “How did you know that? Have the gods gifted you with clairvoyancy?”

“I’m not clairvoyant!” Mercinon rebutted. “If I was, do you think I’d let those jerks with superpowers keep killing my best monsters?”

“Well…” Marcin started to reply.

Mercinon chastised him, “You have to think about it? The answer is obvious! Please use your brain a little more! This is a very important mission!”

Marcin got down to his knees. “I keep disappointing you! Please forgive me! I’ll get it right next time, I swear!”

“Don’t make promises that you have no idea whether or not you keep!” Mercinon sharply advised him. He sat on his throne-like chair and exhaled in frustration. “So, what went wrong this time?”

“I really thought I nailed it this time!” Marcin explained. “Polyphema’s massive size and primitive rage made her the perfect force for destruction! Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would get the hots for someone while on the job!”

Mercinon remarked, “Okay, so this defeat really had nothing to do with their skills. They just got lucky!”

Marcin responded, “No, I think only one of them got lucky!”

After rolling his eyes, Mercinon commanded, “Just find another monster, but make sure this one can’t be seduced!”

“Yes, sire!” Marcin bowed before he headed out of the room.

From the other side of the door, Marcin heard Mercinon say, “For my next decree, I declare that it is now illegal to cut off your own head!” Marcin looked as though he wanted to correct him, but he shook it off and said nothing as he left.

Exelda, Stocastin, Narcius, Akintos, and Kefalia all wore new togas as they sat at the wooden table in their home eating oatmeal. Exelda started to eat so fervently that everyone else froze just watching her. “This tastes amazing! Why does this taste so good?” Exelda wondered.

Kefalia shrugged. “I put some honey in it.” She passed the clay jar over to her.

Exelda unsealed it and took a spoonful out. After she sampled it, her eyes lit up and she began chowing down on it voraciously. “How come I never noticed how good honey is?”

“It probably tastes different with wine on your tongue,” Stocastin figured.

“Um, this stuff isn’t cheap.” Kefalia tried to reach for it.

Exelda smacked her hand as it got close. “Back off!”

Stocastin assured Kefalia, “We can afford to get more since we’re saving so much money by not buying alcohol.”

“Or we can always just charge it to the palace again.” Akintos finished his breakfast and stretched out comfortably. “We got free shoes, a free bath, and free clothes! If I knew this hero stuff would come with so many perks, I would have signed up a long time ago!”

“It’s not free, we have to go through a lot to get these things!” Narcius pointed out. “No clothes or bathhouses will get certain images out of my head!”

Akintos kidded, “Are you sure you didn’t enjoy that a little?”

Kefalia retorted, “Maybe you keep making fun of him because you’re just jealous you didn’t get to see it!”

Everyone got amused by her comment, but they were also surprised that it came out of her mouth. Stocastin complimented her, “Wow, that was supremely clever!”

“Why does everyone look so shocked when I say something smart?” Kefalia probed.

The other four shifted guiltily. After an awkward silence, Exelda resumed eating her honey. With a full mouth, she opinionated, “They’ll probably take all of these things out of whatever they were going to pay us. We should really stop charging stuff to the palace; they might get mad if we spend too much.”

Akitnos dismissed this idea. “No way! They have so much money that they probably won’t even notice any is missing! Besides, if they were really mad, don’t you think they’d contact us about it by now?”

At that instance, they heard a knock at the door, Narcius, who was closest to the entrance, swallowed the last of his food and went to the door. A royal servant came in and announced, “You’re all being summoned to the palace.”

Exelda glared at Akintos, so he suggested, “Maybe it’s good news!” No one seemed to believe him as they all prepared to leave.

The Unsuper Heroes, Chapter 10

Mercinon flamboyantly practiced sword fighting with a tall, slender sword when Marcin entered. Mercinon didn’t see or hear Marcin, so after he did a quick turn, he almost stabbed him! Mercinon reprimanded him, “You really got to start knocking!”

“I’m sorry, sire!” Marcin apologized. “I’ll do better next time! It’s imperative for a mission like this to have the foresight to-.”

“Why are you babbling?” Mercinon noticed that Marcin was hanging his head and shuffling his feet around, so he clicked his tongue out of annoyance and asked, “Are you here to tell me how you screwed up this time?”

Marcin confessed, “The Sirens are dead!”

Mercinon’s eyes widened upon hearing this. “Seriously? You sounded so sure that this would work!”

“Well, we brought down the blonde girl right away, and I was so sure that the rest of them liked women!”Marcin explained.

“You idiot! You can’t make plans based off of assumptions! That’s so… ugh!” He put all of his frustration into his sword work and resumed his extravagant practicing. After a moment, he realized that Maricn hadn’t spoken in a while, so he probed, “Well? Did you get something to replace the Sirens?”

Marcin replied, “Actually, on my way back to your palace, I found Echinda…”

Mercinon got so stunned to hear him say this that he froze mid pose! “You got Echinda? The mother of all monsters?” Marcin nodded. “That’s brilliant! With Echinda on our side, our regime can continue indefinitely!” He observed Marcin shifting guiltily again. “Ugh, I should have known better than to get my hopes up! How did you blow it already?”

“It wasn’t my fault!” Marcin sniveled. “Hades came and took her for a pet.”

Mercinon growled and aggressively began his swordplay again. “Just release your next monster so-.”

Marcin repeated, “Next monster? I spent all day on the last two, I didn’t have time to-.”

“Argh!” Mercinon cried out.

“I’ll get one first thing in the morning!” Marcin whimpered.

Mercinon shouted, “You think you deserve sleep after this? You-!” He thrust his sword so violently that he lost his balance and fell down into a heap. “…Jackals…”

“Are you okay, sire?” Marcin approached him cautiously.

Still on the ground, Mercinon spouted, “Jackals!”

Marcin was able to infer the message Mercinon was trying to convey. “Okay, sire! I’m gone!” Mercinon mumbled something incoherent as Marcin dashed out of the room.

The next morning, the five heroes sat a table in the center of a vast room full of shelves and books. Exelda gazed up from the book she had and saw that Akintos had fallen asleep, so she nudged him to wake him up. “Huh?” He blinked his eyes groggily. “Where are we?”

“We’re in the heart of the academic center! Can you believe it?” Stocastin gushed. “Just look at all of these books! Think about how much time it took for each one to get handwritten and bound! Thousands of hours went into making this room fill up, but thanks to their efforts, we have pages upon pages of the thoughts of the most brilliant minds in all of Chaos! Maybe in all of Greece! We’re so fortunate to have this opportunity!”

“Yeah, real fortunate!” Akintos yawned. “Why are we here? Weren’t we just here yesterday?”

Exelda expounded, “Yes, but we spent all day getting thanked and answering questions from the locals, so we didn’t get any research done! We’re still under threat of an impending monster attack, and our prince is still missing! We have to find out all we can so we can restore peace to Chaos once more!” Akintos shrugged as he disinterestedly thumbed through a book in front of him. “Well, at least Narcius and Kefalia aren’t complaining!” She glanced over to them and cringed. “Oh, for Elysium’s sake!”

Kefalia stared at Narcius adoringly as Narcius primped himself while looking into his hand mirror. Kefalia inquired, “Narcius? Can I ask you something?”

Not taking his gaze off of this reflection, Naricus replied, “Go ahead.”

Kefalia wrung her hands nervously. “I, uh, well, I think you’re kind of handsome…”

“You’re wrong!” Narcius corrected her. “I’m not kind of handsome, I’m extremely handsome!”

Exelda jumped in, “And I think you’re extremely dumb! Here!” She tossed a children’s book to him. “If you see a picture of a monster we might face, just point and grunt.”

“I can read!” Narcius indignantly put down his mirror and picked up another book.

“Come on you guys!” Exelda urged them. “We need to learn all we can before another monster-!” Suddenly, they felt the entire building shake, which was followed by a number of people outside screaming. “Ugh, too late! Let’s go!” They put down their books and ran towards the pandemonium.

When they came out to the street, they saw a woman as tall as a small mountain with one giant eye and the brutish looks of a cave person stomping on a building down the road from them! Exelda thought out loud, “Okay, she’s human, so it’s just like killing an enemy on the battlefield… only she’s a hundred times bigger than anyone I’ve ever faced!”

Stocastin pointed out, “We would have to ensure that she fell in an exact way so that she doesn’t crush any buildings. Even if we managed to do that, the impact of her body hitting the ground would most likely cause tremors equal to that of a small earthquake.”

“So, what do we do then?” Akintos wondered.

“Don’t ask me!” Kefalia put in. “They keep tickling me, so I’m useless!”

Exelda’s eyes lit up as she made a connection. “Wait a minute! How would the monsters know to do that?” As she talked, the ground beneath them shook more and more. “They didn’t tickle you by accident, the Sirens and the Points both did it on purpose! It can’t be a coincidence! This is proof someone is controlling them! But who besides us would know her weakness?”

The vibrations became strong enough that they could hardly stand, so Narcius requested, “Can we talk about this later? What’s our plan to deal with that massive…?”

Before he could finish his sentence, a shadow suddenly loomed over them, and he saw the other four all had frightened expressions on their faces. He turned around and grew pale when he saw that he was closest to the giant, who now stood right above them! The giant spoke to him, “You call Polyphema names? Polyphema crush you!”

Her foot hovered over him, so Narcius shrieked, “I didn’t mean massive in a bad way!” She stopped and stared at him curiously. Even though he trembled tremendously, he knew he had to continue, so he fibbed, “I was going to say massive…beauty! Yes, that’s right, massive beauty!”

Polyphema put her foot down and gazed at him in surprise. “You think Polyphema beauty-ful?”

Under his breath, Narcius scolded himself, “Why did I say that?” He seemed unsure of how to respond, so he turned back to the others, who all urged him to keep going. He reluctantly faced Polyphema again, who eagerly waited for his confirmation. “Well… I can honestly say I’ve never seen a woman like you before!”

“Aw, you make Polyphema blush!” She grinned bashfully.

As Narcius continued to occupy Polyphema’s attention, the other four huddled together. Stocastin noted, “She doesn’t appear to be a threat anymore!”

“He can’t start dating her!” Kefalia eyed them jealously. “He doesn’t love her! Eventually she’ll figure that out, and when they break up, she’ll get really mad and destroy our polis again!”

“We’re just using this opportunity to buy some time,” Exelda assured her. “It’s not like we meant for them to get married and have kids!”

Akintos puzzled, “Have kids? How would that even work? He could probably walk into her malakas like a cave!”

Kefalia and Stocastin looked repulsed at the idea of doing what he described, but Exelda cried out, “That’s it!” The other three stared at her incredulously, so Exelda hastily explained, “No, not that! I mean, if Polyphema thought she was getting lucky, she would lay down willingly and we could avoid her causing an earthquake!” Stocastin, Akintos, and Kefalia all got the idea and non-verbally agreed that it had merit.

Exelda tiptoed over to Narcius, who told Polyphema, “…Surely Aphrodite has blessed you with many lovers!”

“No, Polyphema alone,” Polyphema informed him.

“No way!” Narcius said as sincerely as he could. As Polyphema looked away sheepishly, Exelda whispered into Narcius’s ear. “No way!” he reacted vehemently.

Exelda hissed, “Just do it!”

Polyphema questioned, “What you say?”

“Uh… I…” Narcius stammered.

“You say do it? Polyphema say okay! Polyphema like you!” She smiled coyly.

Trying his hardest not to wince, Narcius suggested, “Okay, let’s go get some privacy then!” He gulped as Polyphema held out her hand, and he clutched her little finger as they walked out of the village. Exelda, Kefalia, Akintos, and Stocastin followed them at a distance.

The Unsuper Heroes, Chapter 8

Marcin entered Mercinon’s office only to to see him on all fours with his rear end pointed up in the air. Marcin cautiously conversed, “Did you lose something, sire?”

Mercinon replied, “My patience, Marcin! Which is why I’ve taken up yoga.” He laid flat on the ground and lifted up his torso. “It’s an Eastern method of relaxation and inner peace.” He flipped his body over and arched his back in a way that made his stomach jut towards the ceiling. “I can’t believe it’s taking this long to take over one measly kingdom!” He laid flat again and transitioned himself into sitting with his heels touching each other. “It’s just not fair!” he shouted as he shifted into a squat with his arms extended forward.

“I don’t think this yoga thing is really working,” Marcin remarked.

“What did you say?” Mercinon probed as he stood up and raised his right foot to his left thigh.

Marcin hastily covered up his previous statement by announcing, “I said I have a piece of good news.”

As Mercinon switched so his feet so that his left one touched his right thigh, he followed up with, “Just a piece, eh? Not a whole good news segment?” Marcin shrugged, and as Mercinon stretched his left leg behind him and grabbed his ankle for balance, he asked, “Well, what is it?”

“Let me show you!” He happily skipped into the hallway.

As Mercinon did the same pose with the opposite leg, Marcin wheeled in a large cage that had Dason bound and gagged inside of it! Mercinon got such a large shock from seeing this that he lost his balance and fell face first onto the floor. He quickly picked himself up and gasped, “What did you do?”

“I kidnapped the prince.” Marcin had clearly expected to get praised for this deed and started to get nervous when he didn’t get it.

“I can see that!” Mercinon responded with a hint of annoyance in his voice. “Why in the name of Hades would you do that?”

Marcin hung his head sheepishly. “He caught me capturing a monster.”

Mercinon forcibly raised his hand to his forehead. “So you kidnapped him? You could have pretended to be an innocent villager trying to stave off another attack! Did you even try that? You do realize that even if he did catch you committing a crime that the best solution to that problem isn’t to kidnap the witness, right? Really, this is exactly the kind of thing that we have a pit of jackals for!”

“Well, I kept him alive so you could decide what you want to do with him,” Marcin explained. “You know, in case you wanted to ask the royal family for a ransom or something.”

“A ransom…” Mercinon rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Yes, I suppose we could send an anonymous letter to the palace and demand a large sum of Drachmas! We could use the extra money, especially after The Points ate a bunch of our gold! Okay Marcin, I forgive you for this stunt!” Marcin looked very pleased with himself. “But since you brought him in, you’re responsible for feeding him and cleaning up after him! Make sure you store him somewhere safe!” Through his gag, Dason clearly tried to shout a comeback to Mercinon, who reacted in appall, “Hey! Don’t insult my mother! She could be here any time!” After he uttered this, Mercinon eyeballed the room apprehensively.

Dason turned to Marcin for explanation, and Marcin advised him, “Don’t ask!”

Mercinon quickly composed himself and maintained a dignified stance as he questioned, “This new monster is less easy to destroy, isn’t it?”

“Oh, don’t worry! No man stands a chance against them!” Marcin assured him.

“Good! If those super weirdos destroy this set, I swear to gods I will…!” He trailed off as he shook his fist in the air. Marcin stared at him in confusion as to whether or not he had finished his thought, so Mercinon told him, “You can go now!” Marcin hastily grabbed the cage’s tether and dragged Dason out of the room. Mercinon sighed, sat on his desk with his legs criss-crossed, and began humming tranquilly.

Exelda stood with her hands on her hips as Narcius used a stick to practice sword fighting with an invisible Stocasting, who clearly had the upper hand and was able to get a number of jabs in as Narcius moved around the practice space trying to find him. Narcius moaned out of a growing frustration, and then suddenly Stocastin tripped over Akintos, who had been lazily lounging on the sidelines. Stocastin lost his concentration and turned visible, and seizing the opportunity, Narcius ran over to him and pinned Stocastin down with his foot. “Ah-ha! Now you can see my ancestor’s noble blood at work! I don’t even need to see my opponent to beat them!”

Exelda rolled her eyes, Kefalia fervently clapped, and Akintos sarcastically asked, “Oh, so next time we face a monster, can we blindfold you?”

Narcius proudly answered, “Yes, you certainly can!”

“No! Absolutely not!” Exelda interjected.

“Is that jealousy I hear?” Narcius arrogantly said to her.

Exelda scoffed, “No! It’s reality!”

Stocastin put in, “You know, you can get off of me any time!”

As Narcius took his foot off of Stocastin, Exelda scolded him, “You got a lucky break! Any monster we might face probably won’t be so clumsy!”

“So what you’re saying is that there is a small chance!” Narcius reacted cheekily.

Exelda didn’t acknowledge his remark other than to shake her head. “Okay, Akintos, why don’t you face Kefalia this time?”

Everyone groaned, and Akintos complained, “We’ve been practicing all day! Can’t we take a little break?”

“Don’t get complacent!” Exelda warned. “Just because we bested two sets of monsters doesn’t mean we’ll get through the next one so easily! Now, come on! Let’s go!”

“You’re no fun when you’re sober!” Akintos grumped.

Exelda looked affronted by that. “I can have fun! We just need a lot of practice!”

“His hypothesis does seem to have merit,” Stocastin opinionated. “You seem to have replaced alcoholic beverages with combat practice.”

“I’m not addicted to practicing!” Exelda refuted. “We were hired to do a very important job, so we should do all we can to make sure we do it well!”

Akintos challenged, “ Name one fun thing you’ve done since you gave up drinking!”

Exelda exclaimed, “I do lots of fun things! Like… uh…”

The men all had satisfied smirks on their faces, but Kefalia defended her. “You guys should be nicer to her, you know! She’s probably going to be the future queen!”

“Future queen?” Exelda puzzled. “What in the name of Zeus are you talking about?”

“Oh come on! If I can see it, it must be pretty obvious!” Kefalia stated, and the others agreed with her.

Exelda’s cheeks reddened, but she dismissed these claims. “That’s crazy! What makes you think I have feelings for him?”

Akintos told her, “Because you look at him the way Narcius looks at himself in the mirror!” Narcius had coincidentally been gazing into a hand mirror at that moment, but he put it down when he heard him say that.

Kefalia comfortingly pat her arm. “It’s okay! He obviously likes you too! And you won’t be so boring when we defeat all of the monsters and find your prince!”

Akintos wondered, “What makes you think we’ll find the prince when we defeat all of the monsters?”

Kefalia shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know! They happened around the same time, so I thought the same bad guy did it!”

“Of course!” Exelda cried out. “Kefalia, you’re a genius!”

“Woah! Woah! Woah!” Stocastin, Narcius, and Akintos all reacted at the same time.

Narcius expressed, “Why are we taking orders from someone with that kind of judgment?”

Exelda elaborated, “I meant that she really has a good point! Think about it! What are the odds that two major crimes occurred simultaneously without them being connected?”

“By Hera! Why didn’t I see the correlation before?” Stocastin pondered. “Sometime between the defeat of the Menoreas and the release of The Points, the acting head of state disappeared, so it stands to reason that a single person could have orchestrated both events. Why? I’m not sure. I suppose that this individual’s intentions could be to seize power through both physical and political means!”

“Exactly!” Exelda concurred. “These monsters aren’t just randomly showing up, someone is setting them onto us! So, if we find Dason’s kidnapper, we might be able to stop these attacks! Maybe we should use our powers to go look for him!”

Everyone groaned again, and Akintos whined, “So, we’re supposed to walk around all of Chaos just so we can find your boyfriend?”

“He’s not my… I mean, not that there would be anything wrong with it if I did, but I ‘m not… Oh, never mind! We don’t have to travel through the whole city-state; we can go to the Academic village and do some research.” Exelda suggested. “They probably have some maps we can study to narrow down a region that someone could hide a bunch of monsters in. Who knows, maybe they have some knowledge about potential monsters that we could face.”

“Finally! We’re doing something I wanted us to do!” Stocastin rejoiced.

The other three seemed less excited about the prospect, so Exelda pointed out, “It’s either that or we stay here and practice some more.” They suddenly became much more interested in doing research and prepared to leave immediately.

The Unsuper Heroes, Chapter 5

In a vast, gilded room, a red carpet led up to a small stage with four golden thrones overlooking the area, but only one of the chairs was occupied at that moment. A handsome man with silky, black hair, light blue eyes, fine clothing that perfectly complimented his toned body, and a laurel crown sat anxiously waiting. He looked up when he heard Kefalia exclaim, “Wow, it’s so big!”

Narcius vainly joked, “Boy, I wish I had a Drachma for every time I heard that!”

Akintos retorted, “You’d have one Drachma! We’ve all seen you at the baths!” Narcius looked a little crestfallen by that point.

Cyrek cleared his throat and subtly gestured towards the man on the throne, which made everyone sober up. Cyrek bowed and greeted him, “Prince Dason!”

Dason stepped off of the stage and told Cyrek, “Please, let’s skip the formalities! Tell me what is going on in my kingdom!”

Cyrek explained, “Well, it was hard enough to get the senate to convene let alone discuss solutions for the monster invasion, so I decided to go to the oracle, Melampia for guidance. I learned that these five people had the power to stop it.”

“And I learned not to hit on an angry oracle!” Krimeno proudly shared.

“Uh, okay…” Dason raised an eyebrow but decided not to discuss Krimeno’s statement any further. “Did you say five people?” He looked over to the heroes and saw Kefalia, Narcius, Akintos, and Stocastin very clearly. He walked over to them and noticed someone hiding behind Stocastin. He peered around him and saw Exelda trying to hide her face. When he stepped closer to her, he was able to recognize her. “Hey, I know you!”

Exelda fibbed, “No, you don’t!”

Dason chuckled, “Do you think I could forget a day like that?”

“Could you try?” Exelda shot back.

“Oh, come on! It wasn’t that bad!” Dason assured her.

Exelda pouted, “Yeah, not for you! I was humiliated!”

Stocastin jumped in, “There’s obviously a story here! You know you have to tell us! We won’t leave you alone until you do.” The others fervently agreed with him.

Exelda clearly did not want to tell the history shared between them, but she knew Stocastin was absolutely right, so she relented, “Fine! You already know that I got kicked out of the military because they found out I was a girl. Well, I lied about how they found out. It wasn’t because someone hit me in the crotch and I didn’t double over in pain. The truth is that I became a war hero, and I got called to the palace so the king and queen could reward me for my service. In addition to a large sum of money, they wanted to honor me by giving me… well…”

Dason supplied, “My sister’s hand in marriage.”

Akintos, Narcius, Stocastin, Krimeno, and Cyrek all laughed, but Kefalia seemed puzzled. “Wait, you were married?”

“No!” Exelda replied while still sulking. “She tried to kiss me, so I took off my armor to show her that I’m a woman. She got mad as if I tried to embarrass her on purpose, so King Iremio and Queen Erini told me they’d let me keep the money if I promised not to let the public hear this story. So, there, now you know everything!”

Akintos commented, “You know what would’ve made the story better? If you kissed her!” Narcius and Krimeno concurred.

Exelda rolled her eyes, but before she could respond, Dason blurted out, “Hey, the story’s already really hot!” Everyone stared at him in surprise, so he questioned, “Oh, did I say that out loud?” Kefalia, Narcius, Stocastin, Akintos, and Krimeno verified that he had, and his face flushed.

‘You think the story’s hot?” Exelda probed.

Dason’s cheeks burned red as he replied, “Sorry, it’s just that seeing a manly soldier strip down and turn into a beautiful woman is, well, rather enticing!”

“Yeah, I could see that!” Narcius acknowledged. Akintos, Stocastin, and Krimeno shared his sentiment.

“Aw, you think she’s beautiful?” Kefalia cooed.

Exelda looked surprised at that thought and turned to Dason, who didn’t respond other than to show a pronounced bashfulness. After a bout of awkward silence, Cyrek spoke up, “Okay, so you obviously know Exelda. This is Kefalia, Narcius, Stocastin, and Akintos. The five of them have volunteered to help us save Chaos from the monsters.”

“Monsters?” Exelda, Akintos, Stocastin, Kefalia, and Narcius each echoed.

“Monsters?” Narcius repeated. “As in more than one?”

Cyrek attempted to respond casually, “Yeah, didn’t I mention this already?” The five heroes shook their heads. “Oh, well, now you know.”

Akintos brought up, “I also heard you say volunteer. Not only do we have to fight multiple monsters, but we have to do it for free?”

“I’ll see to it you get paid for your services,” Dason assured them. “The first monster is at least dead now, right?”

“We left it in a state that appeared to be rigor mortis,” Stocastin reported. “Its molecular structure didn’t appear to have regenerative properties, so we believe it is fully incapacitated.”

Dason seemed a little confused, so Exelda clarified, “Yes, it’s dead.”

“Oh, thank gods!” Dason sighed in relief. “I’m glad we have our best people on the case!” Everyone in the room shifted uncomfortably. “What?”

Everyone except for Krimeno thought about how to word it politely, but Krimeno thoughtlessly divulged, “I wouldn’t say they’re the best, but they have super powers, so it balances out.”

Dason’s face conveyed skepticism, so Cyrek confirmed, “It’s true, they do have super powers, they just… need some practice.”

“I see…” Dason still displayed some doubt but apparently decided not to press the issue any further. “Well, we’ll have to periodically monitor your progress. Make sure you’re ready to go at any time because we don’t know when the next attack will come. And please reach out to me if you need anything!”

“Anything?” Akintos rubbed his chin contemplatively.

Dason amended his original thought, “Not anything!” He offered his hand to shake, and Akintos begrudgingly shook it as he turned to to leave. He shook each of their hands in turn, and when he got to Exelda, he told her, “I’ll see you soon!”

“Yes, your majesty,” Exelda responded formally.

“Please, just Dason,” he let her know. Exelda smiled but didn’t say anything else to him as she turned to leave.

Before Cyrek showed them out of the room, Kefalia waved to him. “Goodbye, Just Dason!” Dason chuckled as they went out.

Later that day, Marcin went up to Mercinon, who appeared to be sleeping with his face down on the desk. Marcin shook him gently. “Sire? Sire?”

Mercinon groggily woke up, and when he became fully alert, he wondered, “I’m still here?” He saw Marcin shrug, and when he had his arms extended, Mercinon noticed a bunch of scratch marks all over his extremities. “Wow, your new girlfriend likes it rough!”

“My girlfriend didn’t do this!” Marcin refuted. “Oh, well she did that one.” Mercin began tapping his fingers impatiently, so Marcin went on, “Anyways, I found some monsters for you. It took some persuasion, but I’ve convinced them to help us.”

“Why do I feel like there’s a big but there?” Mercinon speculated.

Marcin disputed, “My girlfriend’s butt isn’t that big!”

Mercinon growled, “I’m talking about the monsters, you moron! I can tell there’s a catch. How did you persuade them to join us.”

“Uh… well…” Marcin seemed hesitant to tell him, but when Mercinon glared at him, he admitted, “I had to promise them gold.”

Mercinon clearly expected something much more dire, so he loosened up when he heard this. “That’s it? Good! Tell them I’ll pay them after the job is done.”

Marcin nervously informed him, “They demanded the gold up front.”

After he clicked his tongue in annoyance, Mercinon gave in, “Fine! Normally, I don’t like to pay until the work is done, but-.”

“Oh, they don’t want the gold for payment purposes,” Marcin explained. “They need it as food.”

“WHAT?” Mercinon roared. “They eat gold?”

Marcin got down to his knees. “I’m so sorry! I can go find cheaper monsters. I just thought since we’re dealing with people that have super powers that you’d want me to find the most-!”

“Woah, woah, woah!” Mercinon interrupted. “People with super powers?”

Marcin’s face went pale. “I forgot to tell you about that, didn’t I?” Mercinon scowled at him. “That’s a yes. I’ll just see myself to the jackals!”

Mercinon stopped him, but he still sounded thoroughly vexed. “What do you know about these people with super powers?”

Marcin shook his head. “I don’t know anything.”

“Isn’t that the truth!” Mercinon exclaimed. “Look, I’ll spare you from the jackals if you can keep yourself useful. Go find out what you can about these supernatural people and report back to me.”

“Yes, sire!” Marcin sounded immensely relieved to have been spared. He paused and then gingerly asked, “So, do you want to feed the monsters I found or…?”

Mercinon went under his desk and grabbed a sack of coins. He tossed it to Marcin, hitting him in the stomach hard enough to make him grunt. “Find some less expensive monsters! I’m not feeding them again!”

Marcin readily agreed, “Yes, sire!” He hastily left the room, and Mercinon exasperatedly sat down at his desk. After a moment of digesting everything, he spotted a gold coin on his desk. Curious, he picked it up and tried to take a bite out of it. He found that it tasted awful and threw it away from him in disgust.

The Unsuper Heroes, Chapter 4

Cyrek and Krimeno lead Exelda, Narcius, Kefalia Stocastin, and Akintos to a part of the capitol where many buildings were destroyed and people ran around in a panic. When the five of them saw the Menoreas for the first time, they stopped dead in their tracks. Cyrek pointed out, “There’s the monster.”

“Gee, really?” Exelda responded sarcastically.

Cyrek told them, “We’ll be watching you from here. Good luck!” Cyrek and Krimeno hid behind a still standing pillar and peeked their heads out to observe.

Exelda, Narcius, Kefalia, Stocastin, and Akintos stared blankly at the Menoreas for a moment. Kefalia broke their torpor by saying, “Okay, so what’s the plan?”

“We were supposed to have a plan?” Akintos questioned.

“We’re supposed to use our powers,” Narcius put in.

Exelda turned to Stocastin and inquired, “What do you know about the Menoreas?”

Stocastin shook his head. “I’m afraid I don’t remember reading about them before.”

“What?” Exelda exclaimed. “You’re supposed to be the idea person! Ugh, how will we know which of our powers will be effective on it?”

“We’ll have to experiment and find out,” Stocastin stated.

Narcius replied, “What do you mean, experiment? We’re supposed to just take turns fighting it and see who survives?”

Stocastin retorted, “Got any better ideas?” Narcius couldn’t come up with anything.

“So, who’s going first then?” Akintos queried. They all stared at him expectantly. “What? You want me to go first?”

“Well, you can attack from a safe distance,” Exelda observed. “It’s not like it’s that hard for you!”

“Ugh, fine!” Akintos relented. He walked to a spot on the street where he could get a better shot at it and pointed his palm. “Alright! Prepare to die!” The Menoreas spotted him him before he could fire and swatted him away like a bug, sending him flying into an already wrecked building behind the rest of them! “I guess I was talking to myself!”

The Menoreas noticed the rest of them, and they slowly backed away from it as it started to move in their direction. From behind the pillars, Cyrek expressed his doubts, “Maybe this was a bad idea!”

As Cyrek and Krimeno watched Stocastin walk towards the Menoreas without using his powers, Krimeno remarked, “Well, you know, Melampia was on drugs!”

“All of the oracles are on drugs!” Cyrek said with annoyance.

Exelda, Narcius, Kefalia, and Akintos all urged Stocastin to turn invisible, but he just stood there, trembling. The Menoreas batted him away, and he landed against a water trough with a thud. He then immediately turned invisible, which made Exelda shout, “Oh, now you turn invisible!”

“It’s not easy under pressure!” Stocastin rejoindered.

Exelda groaned, but before anyone could say anything else, the Menoreas came closer to them, so she drew out her sword and bravely ran towards it. It tried to attack her, but she dodged his attempts and thrust her sword into its leg. The Menoreas did not bleed nor did it cry out in pain. She watched its skin absorb her sword into its body, and she stared at it in confusion. “Huh?” The Menoreas took advantage of her distraction and swatted her away. After she landed back by the rest of her housemates in a crumple, she yelled, “Do something!”

“What are supposed to do if a sword-?” Before Narcius could finish his thought, the Menoreas hovered over him. He gave a high pitched scream and began circling around it at top speed. He tried to stab it at various parts of the monster that he could reach, but nothing he did seemed to have an effect on the monster except for distracting it as it unsuccessfully tried to nab him.

As Akintos and Stocastin helped Exelda up, Exelda instructed Kefalia, “Fly up and attack the parts he can’t reach!”

“Okay!” Kefalia flew hesitantly flew near it and tried to attack it, and he averted his attention from Narcius to her. He attempted to bat her away, but she flew around it and dodged its blows. Cyrek and Krimeno exchanged nervous glances as they watched her vain attempts at getting the upper hand. Finally, it caught up with her and slapped her down.

Kefalia landed in a puddle, which splashed the Menoreas. When the water hit its skin, the Menoreas shrieked in pain. Exelda called out excitedly, “That’s it! Water! I have an idea!”

“Oh, thank gods!” Akintos breathed a sigh of relief.

Exelda hollered to Narcius, who was still attacking the Menoreas, “Narcius! Lead it to the fountain in front of the capitol!”

“What? Why?” Narcius questioned.

“Just do it!” Exelda ordered.

Narcius begrudgingly adhered to her instructions. He stopped long enough for the Menoreas to attempt to smash him, but before it could reach him, he zipped forward. He stopped again, and the Menoreas tried again. While Narcius kept repeating this pattern, Exelda grabbed a large rope that was nearby and told Akintos, Kefalia, and Stocastin, “Come on!” They followed Narcius and the Menoreas.

When the others caught up with them, Narcius continued to distract it while he asked, “Now what?”

Exelda directed, “Kefalia, create a distraction in the air so he doesn’t see what we’re doing on the ground!”

Kefalia flew above its head and shouted, “Distraction! Distraction! Distraction!”

As the Menoreas tried to swipe at her, Exelda handed the rope to Stocastin. “You and Akintos stretch the rope behind it.” They hastily did as they were told, and as soon as they were done, Exelda ran as fast as she could towards the monster. As she reached it, she pushed its body as hard as possible. Her impact made it step back, and when it did, it tripped over the rope and fell into the fountain. It roared in pain, but it slowly got quieter and quieter until it moved no more.

It took them a while to realize what just happened, and when it finally sunk in, Exelda vehemently rejoiced, “We did it! We won!”

Kefalia flew down and excitedly commented, “We’re still alive!” The five of them went in for a group hug in exhilaration. After a moment, they heard applause and cheers behind them. It confused them at first, but after they broke apart, they saw that the townspeople were celebrating them! They bashfully accepted their recognition.

Cyrek and Krimeno ran up to them, and Cyrek shook each of their hands. Cyrek praised them, “Congratulations! Well done! I had no doubt that you would prevail!” Krimeno opened his mouth to correct him, so Cyrek spat, “Shut up!”

A man ran up to Cyrek and informed him, “Sir, Prince Dason requests a word with you.”

“Very well.” Cyrek invited the five of them, “Would you heroes care to join us?” Exelda looked thoroughly nonplussed about the idea, but the other four readily agreed, so she knew she had no choice about going with them.

Before they left, a villager stopped them, “Wait!” All seven in the group turned around. “What are we supposed to do with that?”
He pointed to the fountain where the Menoreas’s corpse still laid. No one had really thought about that, so they didn’t know how to respond until Akintos brushed him off, “Hey, we were hired to slay a monster, not clean it up!” The others agreed with his logic and left the villager standing there slightly miffed.

Inside of his office that overlooked Chaos, Mercinon delicately stacked a playing card on top of a very large house of cards as Marcin entered the room. He gazed at Mercinon skittishly, and then he awkwardly conversed, “Bored again, sire?”

Mercinon sarcastically replied, “No, this is really important.” Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Marcin shifting uncomfortably. “What do you want?”

Marcin sputtered, “Oh, I, uh, have… interesting news.”

Still concentrating on his house of cards, Mercinon probed, “Interesting good?”

“Uh…no…”

“Well, what’s the news? Spit it out!”

Marcin took a deep breath and revealed, “The Menoreas is dead!”

This information startled Mercinon enough to make him lose his focus, which made him topple down his house of cards. “Great! Now my entire day has been a waste of time!” Marcin stared at him in cowardice, and Mercinon moaned, “How did this happen?”

Marcin answered, “You placed the card on too hard, and the pressure made-.”

“The Menoreas!” Mercinon snapped.

“Oh, sorry!” Marcin clumsily apologized. “It looks like a group of people figured out its weakness.”

“Argh!” Mercinon slumped into a throne-like chair near his desk. Marcin watched him as if he were waiting for further instruction, so Mercinon barked, “What are you just standing there for? Go find more monsters!”

“Find more?” Marcin echoed.

Mercinon irritatedly responded, “Or make them, I don’t care!”

Marcin chuckled, “Make them? Who do I look like, Zeus?” Mercinon glared at him, so he stated obediently, “I’ll get right on it!” After he exited, Mercinon rubbed his temples in frustration.

The Unsuper Heroes, Chapter 3

In a clay house with a thatched roof, a woman with dark-brown hair, golden brown eyes, beige skin, and a bronze toga on a a thick but curvy body peered out of a window with tattered, purple curtains. With a slight slur in her voice, she called out, “Hey guys, I think Chaos is under attack!”

A man with shaggy, brown hair, a pale complexion, and a pot belly lounged against a haystack near the inglenook. He yawned and stretched before he replied, “Neat! Are there any fires?”

The woman near the window insisted, “I’m serious! It looks like a lot of people are in trouble!”

From a wooden table near an open area, a woman with flowing blonde hair, blue eyes, and a taut little body played cat’s cradle with a piece of twine. “They’re in trouble for starting the fires?”

The first woman responded, “Uh, no! There’s a giant monster destroying everything in its path!”

A very thin man with short, black hair, porcelain skin, and dark-rimmed spectacles lazily scribbled mathematical formulas on a piece of parchment while sitting on a wooden staircase. “That seems highly improbable! How much have you had to drink?”

“Nothing!” The brunette woman paused and then corrected herself, “Okay, maybe a little! But my wine doesn’t make me hallucinate! There’s a monster at the capitol!”

From a hayloft on a small second story of the building, a man with finely combed, dark hair, a chiseled jawline, and a toga that showed off his muscly physique asserted, “Oh, she’s obviously playing a joke on us.” He descended the staircase, not realizing that he almost stepped on the bespectacled man’s equations. “But the situation warrants verification, and I, the descendant of the most decorated soldier in Greek history, should be the one to take on such a potentially precarious task!” He confidently approached the window as he spoke, “If there is, indeed, a monster, then we’ll need to rely on my vast courage to-.” When he got around to actually looking out of the window, his eyes went wide with horror. He let out a high pitched scream and hid behind the brunette woman.

The brunette woman shook him off of her, which sent him to the floor. She folded her arms and stated, “I told you!”

With their curiosity peaked, the other three went to the window to see what was happening. All three got shocked by what they saw! The bespectacled man declared, “This defies all logic!”

“Do you think it’d come here?” the blonde woman asked.

The shaggy haired man sniffed in disgust. “I doubt it! Everyone tries to avoid us, why should he be any different?”

The brunette woman challenged him, “What makes you think it’s a he? You don’t think a female monster is capable of such carnage?”

“I’m not saying a female monster couldn’t,” the shaggy haired man refuted. “But getting angry and destroying the city is such a dude thing to do.”

The man on the floor put in, “I doubt a monster would understand the rumors people spread about us! And if he does, then he’ll leave us alone. Nothing to worry about!”

“Except spiders!” the blonde woman added.

“Spiders? Where?” The man on the floor shot up and looked around frantically.

The brunette woman cried out, “Nothing to worry about except for a monster taking away innocent lives! We should help them!”

The bespectacled man scoffed, “Why should we help them? They haven’t been very nice to us.”

The shaggy haired man agreed, “If they needed us, they’d come over and beg for our forgiveness! The odds of that happening are as likely as me becoming a rich athlete tomorrow!”

Suddenly, they heard a knock on the door. They all seemed to find the timing uncanny, and for a moment, everyone just stared in that direction. The brunette woman cautiously went over to the door and slowly opened it. She was surprised to see Cyrek and Krimeno standing there. As they entered, the five inhabitants of the house all became pretty confused. Cyrek, who clearly felt awkward, cleared his throat, pulled out a small piece of parchment, and read out loud, “Narcius?” The muscly man raised his hand. “Akintos?” The shaggy haired man raised his hand. “Kefalia?” The blonde woman raised her hand. “Stocastin?” The bespectacled man raised his hand. “Exelda?” The brunette woman raised her hand. He put the scroll away and introduced himself, “I’m Cyrek, senate leader of Chaos, and this is my assistant, Krimeno.” Krimeno nodded. Cyrek took a deep breath before he spoke again. “On behalf of the people of Chaos, I’d like to apologize for how we treated you! We were ignorant and unfair, and we’d like to humbly beg for your forgiveness because we really need your help! Chaos is in trouble!”

“Who cares!” Akintos exclaimed. “Tomorrow, I’ll be set for life!”

Cyrek seemed a little thrown off by Akintos’s response, and after Exelda shook her head, she regarded Cyrek, “You don’t have to respond to that. So, all these years, you’ve igonred us, but now you need our help? What changed your mind?”

“We went to the oracle for answers on how to defeat the Menoreas,” Cyrek explained. “And she said you guys have the power to defeat it.”

Exelda, Akintos, Stocastin, Kefalia, and Narcius all glanced at each other with questioning looks. Stocastin reported, “It’s been our general policy not to talk about our special abilities.”

Cyrek retorted, “Then don’t talk, show me!” He took the dummy from Krimeno and walked over to a hook hanging on the wall near the fireplace. “I’d like you all to demonstrate your abilities on this dummy.” He hung the dummy up by its neck. “The dummy’s name is Krimeno. Any questions?” Krimeno raised his hand, but Cyrek ignored him.

The five others exchanged glances, non-verbally wondering if they should show them or not. Eventually, Exelda went to a corner where some old weapons were stored and grabbed a sword. Cyrek got out of the way as she stood before the dummy. She raised her sword only to have it fly out of her hand. Cyrek and Krimeno looked to each other doubtfully, but Exelda shrugged it off, “It’s okay, I don’t need it!” She ran towards the dummy and raised her fist to punch it. She missed and hit the wall, but the impact of her blow shook the whole house so much that the dummy’s head fell off!
Everyone but Exelda got knocked to the ground from the tremors she created. As they picked themselves up, Kefalia grumped, “I hate it when she does that!”

Krimeno and Cyrek had astonished expressions on their faces, and Cyrek gasped, “Wow, you’re super strong!” Exelda gave a half bow as a thank you. “Alright, let’s put Krimeno’s head back on and see what else you guys can do!” As Exelda returned the dummy’s head to its body, Cyrek noticed that Akintos hadn’t gotten up from when they were knocked down. “Are you okay?”

“I didn’t realize how comfortable our floor was before!” Akintos stretched and settled in more.

“She said all five of you had powers, so get up and show us what you can do!” Cyrek commanded.

Akintos laughed, “I don’t need to get up to show you what I can do!” He pointed his palm up, which made a fireball shoot out! It flew across the room and engulfed the dummy in flames!

“Woah!” Cyrek and Krimeno said in unison.

Cyrek requested, “Can someone pour water on the Krimeno dummy?” Kefalia threw a bucket of water on the real Krimeno, which made Cyrek grin. “No, the one made of cloth.”

As Kefalia poured water on the dummy, Narcius stepped forward. “I shall go next. As the descendant of the most decorated soldier in Greek history, I inherited a great power! But I don’t see how being the world’s greatest lover will help fight the monster!” He laughed hysterically, but no one else did. Exelda rolled her eyes, and then she picked up a piece of hay and discretely tickled the back of Narcius’s neck. Narcius shrieked, “A spider!” He zipped around the room so fast he became a blur! He passed by the dummy, and his sheer speed caused the dummy’s head to fall off again. After circling the room a few times, he finally stopped to catch his breath.

Cyrek and Krimeno both looked impressed. Stocastin, who was closest to where the dummy’s head had rolled, picked up the head and noted, “Krimeno keeps losing his head.”

“Tell me about it!” Cyrek commented, making Krimeno pout. “Since you’re already heading over there, why don’t you put on his head and show us what you can do.”

“Very well!” After Stocastin attached the head, he cleared his throat as he faced the dummy. “Did you know if you take the sum of the squares of the sides of a right triangle, it will equal to the square of-?”

Cyrek interrupted him, “What are you doing?”

Stocastin justified himself, “I intend to boggle his mind so much that it will explode!”

“That might work on the real Krimeno, but no the clothe one,” Cyrek pointed out. “Please show your actual power.”

“Very well,” Stocastin conceded. In the blink of an eye, he disappeared out of sight! They saw a small indent on the dummy that looked like a fist mark, but the dummy hardly moved. Stocastin suddenly reappeared and proclaimed, “My mathematical skills are far more impressive!”

“I disagree!” Cyrek differed. His attention then shifted to Kefalia. “Okay, your turn.”

“Turn?” Kefalia spun around in circles.

Exelda grabbed her shoulders to stop her in her tracks. “Show him your powers!”

“Oh!” Kefalia stood on her tiptoes with her arms extended, and she floated up into the air. She flew in circles around the ceiling until she hit a wooden beam. “Ow!” She returned to the ground rather abruptly.

Cyrek confirmed, “Wow! You guys really do have powers! You’re not exactly graceful, but we can work on that!” Before the five of them could respond, Cyrek passionately orated, “The oracle was right about you guys having powers, so she must be right about you being able to save Chaos! I know the people here haven’t been very nice to you, but it’s time to make them sorry for their mistreatment! You have the potential to go down in history as the greatest heroes in Chaotic history, so it would be a shame if you let that go to waste! It’s time to fulfill your destiny! Now, who’s ready to fight a monster?” The five of them stood still with their eyes wide in fright. The mumbled a halfhearted agreement, and Cyrek concluded, “Close enough! Let’s go!”