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Avenger Assembled

When A Tornado Meets A Volcano (IC)

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August 25, 2013 

Pramas Bridge Between Riverside and Bayview 

 

It was probably a good day to be a weather controller, Edge decided. It was sunny, but not too sunny; warm, but not too warm. Hopefully that meant the guy he was there to meet would be interested in a little field trip. Standing fearlessly on top of the bridge's tallest super-structure, blue and gold cape fluttering in the breeze, Edge raised a megaphone to his lips and shouted up at the flying man overhead. "Hey! Boreas! Hello! Come on down!" He waved his free hand vigorously, heedless of the tremendous drop to the busy roadway below. It was a beautiful day; what could happen.

 

Looking down, Boreas could clearly see Edge, the famous young hero with the good reputation and somewhat ill-defined superpowers, standing on top of a bridge piling hundreds of feet above the roadway below and trying to get his attention. 

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Being Boreas was, funny enough, rather calm work right now. When he felt like escaping a bit, Mickey would occasionally don his mask and fly across the city to his destination rather than walk or take a bus. The wind as he flew always felt awesome, and he loved getting a view from above of different parts of the city. The bird's-eye view also granting him a chance to scope out smaller-scale crimes to bust was another advantage.

 

But most of all, it was the temporary escape. While he always had the opportunity to hurry to where he was headed or swoop in and act as the hero, he wasn't known enough to be called on specifically while he was out, and when it felt like he was always running around, obligated to do something for one reason or another, he enjoyed the extra bit of freedom that granted. Which made it all the more awkward when he heard a stranger's voice calling him by his alias in the distance.

 

He stopped above the river and turned to face the direction the call came from. He saw another super standing on top of the bridge, waving at him. Intrigued, he glided over towards Edge and hovered next to him. "Well, you sure don't mess around when you want to get a guy's attention." He stopped and tried to piece together what he remembered just from the uniform. "You're...Edge, right?"

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"That's me," said the blue and gold-clad man, reaching over to pump the teenager's hand with a firm politician's grip. For a half a moment, Mark remembered being sixteen - four years, a lifetime earlier. Geez, are all the new Claremont kids this young? "Listen, do you have time to talk?" They were high up, and Edge lacked the flight that kept Boreas up, but seemed utterly unafraid as he stood high above the river below. He made a little gesture, like shaking something off his hand, and the megaphone he'd been holding neatly faded into nothingness as it if had never been there at all. "I have an interest in people who go to my, er, alma mater." Not for the first time, he wished Claremont had had a sports team. Marcie probably had it much easier in conversations like this, with her involvement in the cheer squad. "And I might have a part-time job for you." 

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Boreas looked with fascination for a brief moment when Edge's megaphone seemed to just instantly disappear. He quickly shook his head and returned to a more friendly expression. Come on, Mickey. Can't go getting knocked off your feet by some little thing like that. He was still wrapping his head around the highly varied powers of other supers. He'd heard vaguely about Edge's abilities, but all that told him was that the full extent of his powers weren't really common knowledge.

 

But the idea of getting some direction with using his powers definitely grabbed his interest. "You have my attention," he said. He took a quick glance around and reminded himself of his surroundings. "You want to move this somewhere a little less... busy? Or are you okay?"

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"Sure. Take my hand and hang on just a second." Edge extended that firm hand to Boreas again, and when the younger man took it they both simply went away just as the megaphone had. When the lights came back on, they were in a small office looking over a city Boreas didn't recognize and a lake beyond it, with mountains rising just beyond the lake itself. The sun had seemed to move overhead, now settling in the west to reveal a lovely, mountain-dappled sunset. "Welcome to Switzerland!" said Edge cheerfully, clapping Boreas on the back before he took a seat behind what was evidently his desk. "This is my office in UNISON. You've learned about that, right?" Boreas had; UNISON was the UN agency that hired people with superpowers. "I do a lot of different stuff around here." The office itself was actually pretty sparse for someone like Edge, with just a cuckoo clock on the wall, a couple of books and a desktop computer, and a picture hanging on the wall of a whitebread suburban family - middle-aged father, younger wife, and son. "First, let me introduce myself." He pulled back his mask to reveal blonde hair and a perfect tan, and smiled with white teeth at Boreas. "I don't really worry about a secret identity with other superpeople, especially not people from Claremont. I'm Mark Lucas." 

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It took Boreas a moment to orient himself after their little jaunt to the other side of the world. He was doing his best to push the fact that he was, without warning, on another continent out of his mind. Don't question it. Roll with it. That's probably not even the weirdest thing you're gonna see today. He chuckled in an attempt to ease himself up. "Man, when I asked if you wanted to go somewhere else, I figured we'd go to a coffee shop down the street or something."

 

He looked around the office while listening to Edge. The simple setup made it feel more a little more comfortable, almost homey. Definitely not the sanctum-sanctorum that Boreas had expected a hero of this stature to work from. "Yeah, they taught us about UNISON a while back," he said. "All the other big outfits too, like AEGIS. Covered them enough that I don't think I need the crash course." He had turned to the family photo, and was attempting to silently figure out who was who in the picture (So, is he the father here? Or is it from when he was younger?) when Mark removed his mask and formally introduced himself.

 

Boreas warmly returned Mark's smile. "Great to meet you, Mister Lucas," he said with a grin. "I appreciate you being so open and everything, but I hope you won't take it the wrong way if I keep the mask on for now." He pulled his mask down further over his face. "It's nothing against you or anything, you know. Just gotta play it safe."

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"Oh, sure, I know how it is," said Mark seriously. "You never know who might be after you for your secret identity." He pulled his mask back down and faced Boreas, remembering again what it was like to be that young. Geez, just four years ago, Mark, he chided himself. Of course, a lot had happened since then. "To make a long story short, I've had an emergency come up that needs the services of a weather controller. Normally I'd go to one of the weather controllers who works here at UNISON, but right now they're all tied up on different missions. I don't need anything fancy; what I need is someone who can continuously keep temperatures at Arctic levels even in a desert during summer." He sat on his desk and looked at the younger man, unconsciously emulating some of his old teachers back at Claremont. "Now, I've cleared it with Mr, er, with Duncan Summers, so you'll be able to get away for the Labor Day weekend. But this is big stuff - you will be doing hero work outside the United States, and it will probably be an overnighter. Are you comfortable with that?" 

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"Well, lucky for us, cold is what I do best." Mickey began slowly pacing, a habit he'd picked up from his own father. His mother had commented to both of them on several occasions that even though neither of them liked to bring up personal issues with the family, she always knew they were deep in thought, because they always took to the same habits. "How big of an area are we talking here?" he asked. "I can sure get the temperature down that low, but I don't think I can, say, make it snow over a whole city at the same time." He looked out the window and motioned to the shore of the lake nearest to them. "A little more than hundred yards past that shore is as far as I can reach."

 

He took a deep breath and stopped his pacing, looking straight ahead at Edge. "I'll be honest. All of this is shaking me up a little bit. But if a man like you say I'm the guy for the job, I figure I must be the guy for the job."

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"All right, well, that will work the best for what we want to do." Not wanting to dazzle the kid with the super-science they had available at UNISON (even that was less than what he'd probably run into if he was active in Freedom City long enough), Mark turned on his computer and opened up some images. "This volcano is called Erta Ale. It's one of the most active volcanoes in the world." The display showed Boreas a volcano that, unlike the ones he'd seen in the movies, seemed placed in a crater in the ground rather than towering over the landscape. "It generally doesn't erupt, but it does have one of the largest lava lakes in the world." He showed Boreas that image too and said, "There was an earthquake there recently, and there was some damage to one of the crater walls. I don't really follow the science," he admitted, "but in layman's terms, I need to go in and put a patch on the crater wall so that the lava doesn't spill out into that valley. The Afar people who live near the mountain, they have enough troubles, they don't need a wall of lava crushing their villages," he said as if that sort of thing happened every day. "So you don't need to go into the volcano, or even get that near it; you just need to get the air cool enough around the summit so that I can get close to do my work." 

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"Oof. A volcano's a few steps up from what I've practiced with before. So is saving a village. But I shouldn't have any problems getting it cool enough for you to handle."

He took a moment to digest this information. This was his first "big job" as it were, and while Edge made it sound like a nice and simple task, Mickey wasn't able to tear his thoughts away from the consequences if the two of them came up short somehow. Don't worry about that, he told himself. Getting worked up like this ain't going to help you at all. Besides, it's no different than when I've practiced, right? You've done this a hundred times before, just do it like practice."

He realized he'd been staring at the landscape out the window this whole time and got the feel that Edge was staring at him. He cleared his throat, adjusted the shirt of his Claremont uniform and shook the thoughts from his head again. "How soon do we leave?"

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"Right now, I'm going to take you back to Freedom City so you can make your classes. Tonight, I'm going to stop by and pick you up half an hour after midnight," replied Edge, glancing down at the old-fashioned wristwatch he wore. "That'll be a little after dawn Ethiopian time. Coolest part of the day, best time to do this kind of work. I'll brief you once we're out there. Make sure you bring a water bottle of your own. Just in case our powers fail, we don't want to get stuck out there in the desert with nothing but our costumes on, right?" He grinned, looking unruffled at the prospect. "But I'm sure between the two of us, we'll do just fine. Do you want to go straight back to Claremont?" he asked, "or back to where you were on patrol?" 

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"You can drop me back where we met. I've got time and I need to make a pit stop before I head back to Claremont."

After the teleport, Boreas made a point to land and ground himself before taking off again. He adjusted his mask again and turned to face Edge. "I'd better get moving. Guess you know where to find me, though, right?." He gave Edge's hand another shake, then lifted himself off the ground. "I'll see you tonight." He pushed himself further off, then rolled and sped towards Bayview.

 

He began flying lower when he approached the neighborhood and found a quiet nook to dive into. He stowed his mask and gloves, then took to walking the rest of his way to the Day family home. He was greeted enthusiastically, in all the ways he ways he had expected. Youngest brothers Joseph and Dan tugged on his arms and asked him whether he'd had the chance to team up with the likes of Fulcrum or Geckoman. Elder brother Alton asked how many times Mickey had gotten his butt kicked since he left for Claremont. His mother berated him for not checking in nearly enough, and making her think he had dropped off the face of the Earth. And Dad and slightly-younger-brother Kent were just happy to see him. He asked them all to step into the dining room, as he wanted to talk about some news he got today.

--------

"So... what does this mean?" his mother asked.

"Well, it means that a big name has some trust and at least a little respect for me. It means I get a chance to really prove myself. At least that's how I see it."

"Well, yes, but this is a big step. I mean, what are you going to get called on to do next?"

"But that's what we wanted out of this, right?" Mickey asked. "This is training, guidance... All the stuff you said you signed me up at Claremont for."

"Yes, but I didn't think that meant you'd be going out halfway across the world on a whim."

"I'm not just flying off to Africa because I want to, I'm doing this to help other people."

Mickey's father, who'd remained silent for the last half an hour, raised both his hands, gesturing for his son and wife to be quiet and relax. "Angie, you're working the boy up with this talk. He's probably all nerves as it is. We agreed when we signed him up for the academy that we knew it would probably lead to something like this."

"I know," Angie said with a tinge of guilt in her voice. "This just kind of came out of nowhere."

"I'm gonna be fine." Mickey wrapped his arms around his mother. "He promised me it's nothing dangerous. I don't even have to get near the action. I'm just going to tag along, give him a hand, and come right home. Just like if I was going into downtown for a regular old job."

"Just promise me you'll get in touch when you get home."
"Promise."

--------

Mickey sat on his bed, back against the wall, back at Claremont Academy. After he finished his classes for the day, he'd gone back to his room, and did everything he could thing of to get ready, mostly eating his fill and getting some sleep. He now sat upright, his hand outstretched to a glass of water on his nightstand. He twirled his finger above the glass and watched the water lazily swirl in time with his movements. He turned and picked up the clock sitting beside his cup. 12:25.

Just don't think about it, he thought.

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For his part, Mark wasn't above a little worry about the whole plan. Calling up and asking if there were any new weather controllers in the Claremont student body had been an impulsive act, and he'd been a little surprised when Mr. Summers (which he had to admit was what he would call the former headmaster in his head, probably forever) had agreed. But maybe the old man thought Boreas needed the guidance that came from doing service work in the larger superhero community; maybe he thought that Claremont students needed more job training before they went off to college...it was hard to tell! Either way, at a half-hour after midnight there was a gentle knock on Boreas' door - Edge had long since learned, after several attempts, that nobody liked having teleporters just show up in their bedroom. 

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Hearing the knock at the door, Boreas took out his mask and gloves and put them back on. With a deep breath, he opened up is door and grinned at Edge. "Good to see you again," he said. "We ready to go? Or do you need to take care of anything else first?"

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"Let's go!" said Edge with a boom in his voice. "Adventure awaits!" And with that, he took Boreas' hand - 

 

And they reappeared in scene like Hell itself! They stood on the slopes of a barren mountain that rose hundreds of feet above Boreas' head and stretched hundreds of feet below, a low, omnipresent rumble and cloud of billowing smoke rising from the peak showing that they were indeed on the slopes of one of the many volcanic peaks of the ever-active Erta Ale. It was dawn here where it had been after midnight in Freedom City, the star-dappled sky showing great handfuls of glowing orbs so far from the pollution of the city...if you didn't dwell too much on the volcanic plumes of smoke, barren mountain slopes, and strange, rugged desert that stretched as far as Boreas could see. 

 

"All right, you take to the air, I'll head for the volcano!" said Edge cheerfully, looking unphased by the exotic circumstances. He slowly trudged his way up, making his way along a rugged path cut by previous geological expeditions. "You've got your Claremont commlink, right?" 

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The sudden change in scenery was, again, a sudden shock to Boreas. The heat didn't bother him very much, since he discovered some time ago that his abilities gave him a limited resistance to heat and cold. It was the world snapping itself into a completely different form around him that was disorienting. He couldn't help but take a moment to take in his surroundings, which he could only describe as barren. On one side he saw a wide, expansive desert, stretching well beyond the horizon. On another side was a mountain range, the only place where there was a notable amount of plants. But in front of him was the reason he was there. A pair of crater-like holes in the rocky ground, with an obvious crack protruding from one of them. 'Oof,' was all he could think. 'Well, no mistaking what we came here for.'

 

He was entranced enough that he almost didn't notice Edge heading in the direction of the volcano. He took off at a fast run in the same direction, then lifted himself off the ground like a plane off a runway and began flying up the cliff, staying fairly close to Edge's path. He slowed and produced his commlink from a pocket and called to his companion, "Got it right here!" He then picked up speed and flew well above the highest point in the area, taking in the scene from above.

 

Mark had been right about one thing. Erta Ale didn't look like any volcano Mickey had learned about in school. But there was no mistaking what it was from up here. He watched the lava roll and bubble within the pit. He saw Edge come close to the crack in the edge of the crater before slowing to a stop. "Just give me the word, boss, and I'll start cooling it down for ya!"

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Edge walked as close to the edge of the leaking rim of the volcano as he could, feeling his costume start to heat up and his shoes stick slightly to the superheated rocks beneath his feet. He took a moment to stand there and stare, feeling the heat rising from the ever-active volcano overwarming his skin like standing outside on a bright summer day at the Equator, feeling the rumble of the volcano and thinking about where he was and why he was there. From the depths of the Terminus to dimensions overrun by radioactive Nazis, a good old-fashioned volcano still had the power to move him. And melt me! Better not mess around with this guy. "Okay, Boreas," he called, "start cooling!" The weather controller hadn't asked how Mark was going to patch the hole, which was good because Mark wasn't exactly sure how it worked either! 

 

All he knew was what happened when he wanted it to happen; a silvery-grey metal began flowing over and down into the lavaflow, glowing slightly but not melting as it gradually began to replace the lava inside the crack. "I'm patching the hole with tungsten!" he called up to Boreas, "it's something that doesn't melt inside lava! Aw man, that would be a cool power...I mean, anyway, make sure you're keeping the lake itself cold and sluggish, so it'll melt around the tungsten and plug it up instead of just pushing it all the way out!" 

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At Mark's cue, Boreas took a deep breath and thrust his arms out to his side. White clouds began to accumulate around him and he was quickly surrounded with a rush of cold, crisp air, a sensation very familiar and calming for him. "Ahhhh, much better," he said quietly to himself as he took a moment to enjoy the feeling. After a brief tick enjoying the change in atmosphere, he focused and thrust his arms straight out again. Clearing his mind and focusing, he sent a strong gust of wind downward, towards the rolling lava beneath him.

 

Clenching his eyes shut, he willed the air around and beneath him even colder and the wind to blow nearly as hard as he could manage. He could only make an educated guess how hot a pit of lava was and he certainly hadn't tested his abilities on anything near this hot before, so he figured that he'd rather give it too much effort than not enough. He opened his eyes again and saw that the movement of the lava slowing slightly and the glow getting a bit duller.

 

"All right, Edge! It's starting to cool. I'm just going to leave it on full blast up here unless you tell me otherwise."

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It was a hot half hour or so for the two young men; Edge keeping himself hydrated with water bottles he produced from nothing while Boreas had access to the sky's moisture to stay going even in the extreme heat of the Ethiopian desert. Over a live volcano! But eventually the job was done and the volcano was patched, the tungsten settling in and looking vaguely like a metallic filling in the cavity opened in the mountain by the recent earthquake. Backing off from the crater, Edge tapped his commlink and said, "All right, Boreas, I think we did it. Come down here and we can-woah!" Suddenly the ground shook, knocking Mark off his feet, and from his aerial position Boreas saw a cloud of dust and smoke sweep over his erstwhile employer, as suddenly the entire surface of the lava lake began to tremble, smoke pouring from the crater, the molten rock rippling impossibly like a lake in a summer breeze...

 

Until something parted the surface, and began to climb out. The figure was humanoid in the loosest sense, with a head and two arms and two legs, but with a triple row of glowing red eyes running down its face, and glowing yellow and red skin that looked to be made of the same stuff as the lava. It towered high, very high, rising to nearly a hundred feet by Boreas' estimation as one clawed foot made contact with the rocky surface at the top of the sunken mountain. It threw back a crystalline head and howled in a voice like Pompeii exploding. 

"RAAAAAAAAAOOOOARRR! AT LAST, AFTER TEN THOUSAND YEARS, MAGMAR IS FREE TO LAY WASTE TO THE COLD ONES ABOVE! WHERE ARE PUNY ATLANTEAN WIZARDS?" 

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Mickey was more than ready to come down for a break. Half an hour in conditions like this was a lot more physically stressful than any training he'd gone through before, but he'd made it. He was getting ready to answer Mark when he heard the ground rumble beneath him. The lake of lava suddenly began to shift and roil, much worse than before. The earth shook and Edge disappeared from Boreas's view. Panicking, Boreas brought the Commlink back up and called into it, "Edge, are you there? Can you hear me? Edge, come on, say something!"

 

His thoughts were interrupted by a huge, humanoid... thing rising up from the pit. Boreas stared with his mouth hanging open as he waited for the thing to finish rising. It finally did about a hundred feet above the ground, twice as high as Boreas was currently floating. He flew backwards, the thing's lava-like skin making it difficult to stay close. He stared at it, taking in its full size and monstrous appearance, and all he could mutter was "Crap."

 

His first instinct was to take off then and there, or at least dive back down to the ground and look for help. But then he remembered what he was there for. The people that lived here needed him to handle this. Besides, all he needed to do was keep it contained. Edge would show back up any time, and he could help take this guy down for real. Right?

Reassuring himself that he wasn't alone and that this wasn't anything he couldn't handle, he latched on to the one lesson he was taught thoroughly by growing up with all his rough-and-tumble brothers: Never look weak. Never refuse a challenge. You're always the toughest guy in the room, not matter how big the other guy is! Mickey rocketed himself straight upward, until he was eye-to-eye, or body-to-face rather, with the giant being calling itself Magmar. With a deep breath, he shouted, "Hey, you! I don't know what grudge you have with Atlanteans or wizards or anyone, but a guy like you isn't going anywhere on my watch!"

Edited by Totally Fallacious

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The great lava-beast's roar was like one of Boreas' own winds hurled back at him, the air shimmering hazy hot around him as if he'd stuck his head in an oven. How hot was Magmar himself, itself, if even being this close was so overpoweringly hot? "ROAAAAR! MAGMAR SMASH PUNY SURFACE MAN! THEN, MAGMAR GET REVENGE ON ATLANTIS!" Slamming its giant fists together, Magmar blew a fiery cone of molten hot lava directly at Boreas, a flaming hot burst of molten rock so hot that even its passage through the air near the weather-controller was enough to burn. 

 

A little belatedly, Boreas heard through his commlink Edge's voice, sounding a little tense but generally confident despite their imposing situation. There was still no sign of the other hero in the spreading dust cloud beneath the volcano's mouth. "Oh jeez, not these guys again! It's all right, man, we can handle this if we work together!" 

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"It's okay, Boreas, you've got this!" came a friendly, albeit harried voice, from the dustcloud. "I still can't see anything yet, so you're going to have to hold him off! Listen, he's made of molten rock so ice and cold is going to hurt him real bad, right?" Mark was pretty sure how that worked; it was how it had worked with the previous lava monsters he'd fought. "Normally I'd call for backup, but he is RIGHT there and there are Afar villages just up the valley that he's going to walk through fi he heads for the ocean. We've got to take him down, fast and hard! Now he can probably smash you and I to bits if he gets ahold of us, so my advice is, don't let him! Hit him with everything you've got and slow him down, and I'll try and set him up for the knockout punch! Just remember," he added, "careful fighting around the volcano! The last thing you want to do is destroy the tungsten patch." A rampaging lava monster was bad; a rampaging lava monster plus a lava flood would ruin everyone's day. 

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"I'm on it!" Boreas called back. He'd stopped suspending himself and sent himself into a free fall in an attempt to dodge the spray of lava. He dodged the brunt of the attack but still managed to get singed by the heat. As he righted himself, he shook his limbs and patted himself, panicked that his uniform may have caught fire at a couple of points. "Owowowowow," he muttered as he shook himself focused again. He quickly realized he was positioned directly in front of the monster's torso, assuming it worked anything like a humanoid. 'Nice big target,' he thought to himself. 'I guess I should call myself lucky.' He cocked his fist back as if he were winding up a punch, then shot it forward. As he did, a jet of water coalesced in front of his fist. "Eat this, ya big ugly punk!"

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Despite the sheer bulk of the great lava monster, Boreas' attack missed; it was very different trying to blast something in the real world as opposed to a Claremont simulation! Magmar replied with an animal roar of his own, hurling this time a giant boulder of flaming rock that whizzed by Boreas so close as to make his hair start to smoulder! He was in a bad way, faced with a rampaging earthen powerhouse that was surprisingly nimble for a being of pure molten rock. At least, that was how it was looking to Edge, so far down below at ground level. "Hey, Magmar!" he yelled as the smoke around him cleared, exposing a sooty but dusty figure that faced down the giant lava monster fearlessly. Oh, crap! If I let a Claremont student get hurt on my watch, Mr. Summers is going to be so pissed! "Dodge _this!_"

 

And then, in the sky next to Boreas, a comet appeared - clear as day, a whirling ball of ice like the world's biggest hailstone (though no bigger than a man) came down and smashed into the chest of the giant lava monster, sending it staggering backwards with a howl. "C'mon, Boreas! We can take this guy!" 

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Reinvigorated by the impressive attack and inspiring words from Edge, Boreas drew his arm back again and prepared to fire another jet of water at Magmar. "On it, boss! I'll turn him to rock if I have to!"

He threw another haymaker, which in turn produced another stream directed at the giant lava monster. In his haste, Boreas sent this one flying in the wrong direction again. 'Dammit!' he thought to himself as he watched his attack veer away from its target. 'Get it together, Mickey! He's literally bigger than the broad side of a barn!'

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