Commander Justice stared at the eerily twisted forest that surrounded Lord History’s medieval village. The trees’ gnarled, black, orange streaked trunks made it look like they’d set up shop in the world’s biggest Halloween haunted forest. He kicked a pebble.
He turned his head and followed the path of the pebble across the sky.
Bet the Sword couldn’t do that.
Commander Justice grunted. Being in a hero’s guild meant constantly taking orders from a guy who lucked onto a magic sword. Yeah, your family may have been fighting bad guys since World War II. You may have saved the lives of Presidents, Kings, and a lot of others, but does your opinion count?
No. Just go out and stand guard.
Commander Justice took a deep breath. I never used to be so bothered by this.
Before they got stranded, it’d been much easier to put up with the Sword’s nonsense. So, some Type A personality wanting to build an empire took over a comic book company that had been named after his family. The old owners never bothered to pay royalties, and the Sword made things right, even though he changed the name to the Sword Comics.
Commander Justice stared over at the vacant cottage at the edge of the town. “How long until he has us paint, ‘Welcome to Swordsville’ on the side of that building?”
“We can stop that,” said a gravelly voice from behind him.
Commander Justice turned and raised his fists. “All right, Mystic, let’s get it on!”
“I come with a proposition. I’ll help you be free of the Sword. If you accept my offer, you can reign as America’s greatest hero.”
“And how am I supposed to do that?”
“How else do you achieve the best of anything? Eliminate the competition. Think about it. Your family was the first name in superheroes and can be again. You’ll be the only American hero who will survive.”
No! That’d be murder.
“You want to,” said Dark Mystic.
Commander Justice jumped at Mystic.
Mystic pulled a knife from under his cloak and slammed it into Commander’s chest.
Dark Mystic held onto the knife, which came out as Commander fell. His body convulsed, his head thundered.
“You had your chance.”
Commander Justice struggled to his feet. “I’m gonna take you with me.”
Commander Justice lunged towards Dark Mystic. Heavy footsteps came from the village. Dark Mystic flew into the air. “I shall take care of the others later.”
Commander Justice collapsed, sucking in ragged breaths as he stared up at the sunless blue sky. Black spots danced.
“I’m going to get Curador.”
A Russian voice said, “I’m going after the Mystic.”
“No,” said Commander Justice. “It’s too dangerous.”
The footsteps rushing away indicated he hadn’t been listened to. Hopefully, he could hold out until Curador came.
Why had he been tempted by Mystic for even a second?
The Sword. He hated the Sword, loathed the guy with a passion. Being stranded with the Sword for days on end, rather than merely having to put up with the glory hog a few hours once a year, had brought it out.
He closed his eyes. “God, I’m sorry. Help me. Help me.”
Commander Justice continued pray until someone taped on his chest. “Amigo, it will be all right.”
Commander Justice opened his eyes. Curador placed his hand on Commander Justice’s chest. An electric pain coursed through him. Commander Justice screamed.
Highland Guardian held onto arms that wanted to throw Curador as far as possible. Another wave of pain went through his body.
Curador removed his hand. “The internal damage should be healed, but you’ve lost much blood, Commander. Go back to your cabin and get water and rest. We’ll talk in the morning.”
Commander Justice stared at his chest. The cut, bloodstained fabric contrasted with a chest that showed no signs of a stab wound. “Thank you, Curador.”
Highland Guardian said, “I’ll go after Defender.”
Commander Justice shook his head. “No. Defender was a fool to go after Dark Mystic. Get Champion to go with you and have Captain Zion take guard duty.“
Highland Guardian gave him the Justice Salute. “Yes, Commander.”
Commander Justice shuffled towards his cottage. Curador followed a few paces behind him. Highland Guardian dashed into Champion’s cottage.
At least someone still respects me.
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