@king_leo: That seems like a sweet spot to call it for now. ♥
Somewhat surprising! Not gonna lie, I went into that with the full expectation that this might very well be their last encounter where it wasn't on sight.
@_araneae_: Sounds good!
Yeah me too actually. This is part of why I love interactions where every step of the way isn't planned. We just let things happen organically, and the spontaneity of it makes it exciting and fun. I didn't see it coming to this either.
@king_leo: It was not everyday that the Master of the Mystic Arts went to space, not he had much of an issue with going there in the first place. The environment was completely silent and had a view the would put virtually any natural sight on the planet Earth to absolute shame. While he has gone to space several times recently in ten form of going to the JLA moon base, none of those instances gave him the opportunity to admire the environment that he would be placed in. Most of the tIme there he would be meditating or interacting with other members of the alliance, not taking a moment to appreciate his circumstances. But the joy of being in this void of peace would not last much longer for Matthew, for he was on his way to meet with the Prince of Power and possibly the Daughter of Athena. Making his to the desired planned destination in a bubble of blue mystical energy around himself, he finally had the location that he desired come into view: the Augusta.
He approached the emerald fortress with a certain respect and seriousness that he would reserve only for the most important and high ranking locations known to across the very stars. Like a church, the mags planned to go to it with a well of dignity and peace of spirit that he believed such a place deserved to have. As he neared the place, Matthew wondered how the ship and its occupants would be aware of the presence that the mage posed to the structure. It was more than probable that there was some type of security system that would keep track of any potential visitors who came in close proximity to the station. There was also the chance of the location's owner, King Leo, having such capable senses that he would simply know that he was outside. With that, Mister Surreal sent a telepathic message to Helena who he imagined would be there before he been able to make the trip. "Helena, if you are at the Augusta please notify King Lionel that I am here and ready to enter if he is.", the sorcerer said with a patient tone of voice.
The way that he saw it, alerting Shield-Maiden to him being there was a much better course of action than him simply waiting outside or attempting to gain entangle without permission. Even though he was invited to be there, it would not be wise to risk setting off the defences that were almost certainly in place to fend off any sort of intruders who came for less than noble reasons. The last thing that Matthew wanted to do was pose a threat to the station and in turn mask it so that Leo was something of any enemy to the magic user. It was not out of his ability to fend off such an opponent, but the sorcerer knew that he would not benefit from having a godlike being as his enemy, there were enough of those already. Rather than create more enemies, Matthew wanted to create an alliance between himself with Leo, one that was more than simply having a small chat on a mountain top. He even wanted to make a good impression by choosing to wear his best tuxedo for this particular occasion. The new sorcerer had only success on his mind.
A part of Hephaestus wanted to remove this so-called King's essence from his body and place it inside the Kolkhis Bull, like the installment of a car battery. The boy was bold to lay his firm hand on his shoulder and rash to guide it almost near his neck. This display of aggression, he was well accustomed to - it plagued his half-brother, Ares, whom he despised dearly. In fact, humanity suffered from hubris because of his father's desire to seek revenge against Prometheus for bestowing mankind with fire. Did he need to remind himself of his imperfect creation, Pandora? No, the pain of the memory was too great. When Zeus instructed him to mold a woman from the earth, he should have put aside his personal grievances and warn his father of his flawed scheme, but then again, Zeus would have considered it a challenge to his authority, particularly when he was filled with rage. Athena, beautiful in design and thought, even attempted to reason with their father but to no avail - his heart was as dense as indurated steel. In the end, Pandora's Jar was opened, releasing all the evil that now ravaged humanity - Hubris being one of those evil spirit's.
Like a programmed automaton, Pandora had followed her protocol and brought the curse that now inflicted mankind - of course with the gifts flowered upon her by his family. Zeus would not admit this to anyone, but she was not to blame for what was wrought against humanity; he was - along with the other Gods who took part in molding her into their weapon, including Zeus. Pandora might have been a success for what she was intended for, but she was also his greatest failure as she should have been crafted for the good of man. But his desire to mold an imperfect being.....like himself..blinded him into doing the bidding of his father.
Now here he was, standing before a mortal who clearly was defected - the warrior stood proud and tall like the sculpture of Augustus, the Roman Emperor, but with a limb missing or two. He loomed over the stubby stonemason as if he himself were Zeus or Ares, presenting himself as divine and more powerful than an Immortal God. Whether this was intentional or not, Hephaestus would not tolerate mankind's insolence, even if the Gods were responsible for their flawed nature. Despite their faulty wiring, mankind still had the gift of free will, which meant they had a choice to allow their programming to dictate their behavior or not. The Blacksmith of the Gods wanted nothing more but to allow his beard to combust and reduce this mortal to ash, but for the sake of his niece, Olympus, and humanity, he smothered the flame that almost sparked into a wildfire in his beard.
A deep rumble uttered from Hephaestus throat, clearly revealing his annoyance with the space warrior. "Faulty wiring. Rusty sprockets. Could have been invented better. Why was Prometheus tasked with such a sophisticated task?" The Blacksmith grumbled under his breath. From where Helena was standing, her uncle sounded like a defected radio, jumping through frequencies, producing static. What did Leo do or say that unsettled the divine inventor? It didn't matter. Now was not the time to anger the only person who can grant them the logistics they needed in a short amount of time. "Lord Hephaestus? I am certain Leo meant no--" Hephaestus gestured a stop sign with his hand, preventing the demigod from interjecting. The imperfect being studied Leo's face with a scowl as if trying to determine if he should dismember his parts, put him back together, or figure out why he sought his aid in the first place. "Hm," He uttered while observing what made Leo who he is. "Now I remember why I tolerate your behavior, boy. A discussion for another time," He glanced over at Helena, grumbled a few words then turned his attention back to Leo. "Unlike you mortals, I do not disappoint. You will have my aid, blacksmith," He acknowledged Leo's profession, revealing he was aware of his talents the moment they met. "May Poseidon order the sea to devour my sacred forge in Lemnos if I intend on breaking my pledge to you. Does that affirm my commitment to you both?" He asked, lowering his screwdriver from the damaged offering device to glower at them both as if forcing him to swear was another insult. "Besides," He tossed the screwdriver over his shoulder. Helena watched as the tool in midair magically disappeared and teleported back into his front pocket. "This Ancient One. He hinders my work, threatens Olympus, and distracts us from what is really stirring. All the more reason to aid you in your war." Hephaestus said, fiddling with the device in his hand.
What could possibly be stirring that was more imposing than the Imperium? What could possibly make a God tremble in fear? Helena silently thought. Could this be the threat her mother warned her about? The one the prophecy speaks of? The one that threatens Western Civilization? If so, Olympus and her existence were in danger. She wanted to ask questions, but she was certain Hephaestus would not reveal much more without her first seeking Apollo - which angered her greatly. Instead she chose to reserve a bold question for later - a question that might increase the speed in which his beard burned. "We are grateful, Lord Hephaestus. Myself and Leo," She gestured to the proud warrior himself with a reassuring look - a look that read she will not cross her allies or go back on their agreement. "Will hold our end of the bargain; We swear this to you on the River Styx." She reaffirmed, doubling down on their promise with a sacred promise.
"Humph," Hephaestus stroked his long beard, smothering the small flames that burned through his strings of hair - only for the beard to smolder. His bushy unibrow narrowed as if he was not buying into their vows. "I have witnessed my family, demigods, and mortals, make pledges before, daughter of Athena. Jason, leader of the Argonauts, pledged himself to Medea, and yet he violated that oath. I would hope for your sake, you know the dangers of swearing an oath to the River Styx?" He asked, his unibrow while hard to notice raised slightly. "With all due respect, Hephaestus; we are not the famed Captain of the Argo. And I am certainly not my family. I stand firm in my oath as does Leo. Now you must decide whether you wish to place your trust in us or not. Remember in order for you to make such a judgement, you must already know our nature or worked with us before." Helena felt as if she checkmated the Olympian and stunned him with her response. She prayed that wasn't the case; they couldn't afford to lose his support after he agreed to aid them. The demigod wanted to glance at Leo, but she was too afraid to see his expression. Her words were bold like the Queen of the Amazons and yet full of wisdom and diplomacy like her mother.
Hephaestus looked unsurprised by her response - the small flames burning through his beard did not increase with speed, which meant he was not angered or bothered by her little display. "I suppose you are right, child of Athena." He rumbled under his breath. Just as the atmosphere was beginning to grow slightly awkward, Leo came to the rescue and began expressing their needs from him. Hephaestus eye gleamed with interest as the proud warrior went on about weapons and other supplies he would have to forge to aid them in their war effort. If anybody could muster the logistics they needed in a short amount of time, it was him. "I see," His beard reignited with flame as he was filled with anticipation. "Luckily for you, I can grant you these things easily," He said. "But word of advice, boy," His hands finally stopped tinkering with the teleportation device. "Place your faith elsewhere. Organic life will only disappoint you in the end. But machines - they can be repaired and improved on," He brought his hand slightly to Leo's face, revealing the crimson sphere he gave to Helena, now fixed and refined. The former princess caught the prince of power glancing at her with the corner of her eye - based upon the reading of his expression, he wanted to ask her something or was curious of something, but she couldn't determine what it was - a question for later. "You will have the necessary tools to sustain your warriors, that is a blacksmith's pledge to another. If you asked me, I would have advised this war be fought with automatons and androids, but you mortals are a complicated bunch," Hephaestus shifted his body to Helena and threw the device for her to catch. Helena caught it with ease.
Shifting his body back to face Leo, the blacksmith was met with a unique offering from the proud warrior. Held in his extended hand was an ornamented staff with a distinctive blue button. A twinkle of kindness and gratitude flickered in his eye as Leo explained it's nature. "Humph. Fine craftsmanship, I must admit. I now understand why your name has been foretold, blacksmith." Hephaestus regarded both the gift and Leo. "What did that mean?" Helena glanced over at her new male companion - her face astound by this shocking truth. Was his fate intertwined with hers? No, impossible - Leo was not Greek, but --neither was Mister Surreal or the JLA. The demigod's head spun - she wanted to puke, but why was she so worked up? Her uncle never acknowledged their fates were connected, but this feeling pierced her gut as if she already knew the truth. She wanted to muster the courage to say something, but she knew her question would be swatted aside. "Now. My forge awaits me." The deformed God wobbled a three-sixty and began limping away with his gift. "Wait," Helena called out all so suddenly. Now was the time to ask the question she's been eagerly waiting to ask. Hephaestus grumbled a few words in complaint and wobbled around to meet her energetic eyes. "Demigods and their demands...the longer you confine me here-" She interrupted his sentence before he could complete it, surprising the imperfect smith.
"What is Olympus role in all this? Will they not join us in the impending effort?" She purposely asked. Helena wanted to see if she could possibly gain an audience with the King of the Gods, to put an end to this hunt for her life. The speed in which Hephaestus' beard burned slightly increased - he rumbled and then let out a sigh, slowing the process once more. "Your mother is drawing up a defensive strategy to protect the West in case your efforts against the Imperium fails. Zeus has reached out to some unexpected allies of ours that share the same interest as Olympus - your mother was not too pleased about that. Nevertheless, we are working to preserve the fate of Olympus and humanity. Does that satisfy you, demigod?" He asked half-annoyingly. "Give my mother my regards. Let her know we will not fail - I refuse to lose this war. The Ancient One has hindered my journey and kept me away from her and my people - and for that it will pay," She affirmed, revealing how committed she was to sending the Ancient One to Tartarus. "We are forever grateful for your aid, Lord Hephaestus. You may leave now." And with that being said, Hephaestus nodded and left the space station in a cloud of black smoke.
"Helena, if you are at the Augusta please notify King Lionel that I am here and ready to enter if he is.", A familiar voice traveled through her mind. When the smoke finally dispersed, Helena approached Leo and attempted to shove the teleportation device lightly into his chest. "I am better at diplomacy." She bantered with a smirk stretching across her mouth. If he took the device, she strolled past him to locate his meeting room - walking as if she conquered the station and made it into her personal kingdom. "You may want to allow our sorcerer friend inside by the way." The demigod called as she walked away, mustering a laugh, which echoed throughout the corridors of the station. For once, she was happy something went right for once in her life.
"Unlike you mortals"
The words echoed in Leonel's mind, and soon - theydrew a chuckle from the Hyper-God. Arms crossed over his chest, posture domineering, and his eyes undaunted, Leonel stood before Hephaestus and the amusement flowed out his throat cool and dismissive. "Mortal?", Leonel paused, a calm smile and shake of the head, "I'll enlighten you, blacksmith. I'm no mortal. But you presuming to know what you don't is. Even one of your mortal philosophers knows that he doesn't know. You're no god to me", unfolding his arms, the Prince of Power stepped forward, leaving little more than an inch of air between him and Hephaestus, "Remember your station when you speak to someone who doesn't need ambrosia to be immortal". Chin high and a gaze of contempt, Leonel turned away, dismissing a god who quickly showed himself more disappointing than divine.
Declaring Hephaestus beneath him, Leonel left the task of speaking to him to Helena. And though Hephaestus' words floated to him, they were nothing. And the god - nay, the man - himself, less than nothing. Leonel simply hovered, above the ivory floor, and his cape flowing like a cool wind. Watching Hephaestus vanish in a cloud of smoke, the Prince of Power caught the smell of soot in the air. Hephaestus would lend them his aid, but the impression the god of blacksmiths'd left on Leonel was a poor one. "I suppose I must really like you if I'm willing to deal with your uncle", he returned, his smirk matching hers as he sank from the air till he touched ground. "That or I want the Imperium destroyed more than anything. I'll let you decide", Leonel teased, catching first the device she'd shoved against his chest, before - should she allow him - wrapping an arm round her waist to hold her close.
"I'll gladly give you a tour but you're heading towards the waste disposal area", Leonel bantered, his body heat flirting with hers before he unwrapped his arm and glided away, "Follow me, there's a briefing room this way", he gestured. "Hex, open Augusta's gates for Mister Surreal and escort him to the briefing room", Leonel ordered, a glowing hexeract - Hex, an A.I. - soon soaring through the air to command Augusta's gates open. Meanwhile, the Prince of Power came upon the open door to a large room dressed in a sapphire glow and a holographic computer at the heart of a long wooden table surrounded by chairs. "Nordok's cosmic sorcery's the most frustrating thing about it. It's not it's war resources or it's sphere of influence, it's the fact that you can vaporize it's body down to it's elementary particles, when it shouldn't exist anymore, but it's still alive, somehow, someway".
"It's doing something. Manipulating the quantum information that constitutes it's... essence or something, and it's doing it in a way that should be impossible. Even Nordok manipulating matter and energy that way would be impressive. But instead, it's manipulating the abstract part of itself that I need the most fine-tuned and advanced instruments to begin to touch. For this, I'll need our friend's expertise in the area of sorcery. And after this", Leonel paused, holding Helena's gaze as he always did, bold and unapologetic, "After Mister Surreal has helped us come up with something and he's left, you and I need to talk. About you. You're stubborn, as most warriors usually are, but I'm fighting you on this, Helena. Something is haunting you, and you need someone to talk to".
"Maybe even someone to help. Every warrior, no matter how good or experienced, will need help at some point. With both physical battles, and others. I need help with the Imperium, and you and I both know it'd do you good to have someone to help you overcome whatever's haunting you". He needed her mind clear of doubt, and the fears of her past conquered if she was to succeed in the war to come, and as a liberator of Battleworld's warriors, yet as he held her gaze, Leonel felt something else lingering, something compelling him to reach out and help her.
Like me? His words sent a chill down her spine as if Khione, Goddess of Snow, traced her vertebral column with her frosty touch. No one was suppose to like her - anybody that grew close met their demise or was wounded in the heart by her rejection, Himerous; God of Sexual Desire and Unrequited Love, "made certain of that." It was the winged god's duty to pierce her in the backside with an arrowhead dipped in the juices of unwanted love and cause her to flee from the effects of Aphrodite and Eros. Helena glanced up at the ceiling, silently imploring her mother to pour reason into the proud warrior's head. From the corner of her radiating eyes, she could of sworn she caught a glimpse of a winged child gliding above with an arrow nocked into a small bow, but when she turned her head to confront the perpetuator, no one seemed to be there.
Just as she was about to shift her body around to see if the Prince of Power had realized the sailing child, she felt an arm wrap around her waist; ensnaring her as if she were subdued by her golden lasso, which hung from her side. His arm was sturdy like the mighty Heracles and his body temperature cozy like a fireplace. For once in her life, she felt mellow and at peace. Closing her eyes in complete harmony, Helena lost herself to the feeling of being whole once more and just as she was beginning to enjoy the bold embrace, she realized her mistake. Mustering the emotional strength, she broke free from the confines of Anteros, God of Requited Love, and gently removed his arms from her waist. "Are you mad?" She boldly asked, turning to face him. Her face was stern and her tone fierce, yet a battle waged inside of her. "Forming an alliance does not give you special privilege to embrace my person," Her voice quivered, a small indication she was conflicted with how she felt over the stunt. If this were anybody else, she would have pummeled them into the guts of Gaea until they reached the Underworld - but Leo was no ordinary person to her, at least so far.
"Lead the way." She said in a gentle low-pitched voice, her eyes darting away from his. Helena did not want to push him away, but to involve him in her complicated life would be unwise, dangerous, and futile. If some of her relatives wanted her obliterated or imprisoned, she could not bare to put him in the crosshairs, especially when he carried his own burdens. It's true having someone supportive to bare a part of the burden did ease the weight of it; the Spartans proved this perfectly with the phalanx formation. But Leo and her were not in the same military, they were not fighting the same fight and from her knowledge, he was not being hunted by the most powerful and revered Gods in history. If she could spare him from this nightmare and save him the trouble of liking her, she'll stand firm.
Helena mouth slightly opened to apologize to the Prince of Power - to explain why she took offense to his daring act, but she watched as he glided away, guiding her toward the briefing room. Instead of bringing the topic up, she chose to reserve it for the future - it was better not to open up anyway if she wanted to shield him from her burdens. The heel of her leather black boots echoed against the floor as she followed, her cloak fluttering behind her. Now beside him, she wondered if he was bothered by her reaction to his bold move; if only she could ensnare him with her lasso and compel him to tell her his feelings, but that probably would not have been the wisest of ideas. She never understood why men grew affectionate toward her; in her opinion she had no personality. Maybe it was the work of Aphrodite and Eros; so desperately wanting to add a love story to her tragic life, only to make it worse as seen during the Trojan War. For your average mortal, a storm cloud would hover over their head, but Helena did not have such luck - Aphrodite and Eros hovered over instead, clashing with Anteros and Himerous, attempting to gain a foothold on her love life. She could hear arrows whizzing over her and soothing commands made by the Goddess of Love - charmspeak, she presumed.
Desiring to make their journey toward the briefing room less awkward, Helena was bold enough to mention their interaction with her cynical uncle, Hephaestus. "I don't think Hēphaistos was the worst relative you could have met," She glanced at his well-structed face to read his reaction; If only he knew how fortunate he was to not have met Ares and Thanatos. "From what it seems, he aided me my whole life and is choosing to aid me once more," She flexed her arm - the sleeve of her dress loosely slid down her arm, revealing her gleaming vambraces. "He might be cynical and bitter, but these are symptoms of a man with a tragic past, don't you think?" She asked, hoping to add some perspective into his proud mind. Helena gathered why Hephaestus was so grim, all she had to do was look back at literature and carefully observe his words, outlook, and personality. "I am no fan of Hephaistos, he tried to sexually force himself on my mother - at least according to the tale. Not only that but his distrust of us was illogical, baseless, and insulting. Nevertheless, understanding his nature makes him tolerable and I implore you to get acquainted with him. Doing so will not only give you an understanding of his character, but it'll also make things less complicated for you when you hold your end of the bargain. In addition, if he becomes an enemy you can use what you have gathered to your advantage." A smirk stretched across her alluring lips as she advised him with the best advice she could give.
Helena was not trying to convince him to be a footstool to Hephaestus by all means, she just wanted him to understand the nature of those in his ranks just as much as he wanted to understand her. She glanced upwards as Leonel ordered something to open the fortress gates for Mister Surreal. Soon after a glowing hypercube ascended into the air - like the winged child she might have seen earlier - and disappeared, leaving the two alone to walk the halls once more. Being the curious demigod she was, she wanted to ask him questions about it's nature, but they came upon an open door that led into a massive room clad in the color of his eyes - the color of the ocean depths. She could see why he chose this room to be the briefing room; the illuminating color brought tranquility and made her forget the weight she carried on her shoulders - perfect for war planning. If you wanted to win a war, you needed to draw up plans in the best environment or at least somewhere that brought some form of peace as generals did not always have the luxury of planning in good conditions during an ongoing battle. A wooden table sat at the heart of the room with chairs surrounding it and a holographic computer in the center.
After taking in her surroundings, her mysterious eyes locked on his striking face as he expressed his concerns and plans for the Ancient One. In truth, she wish brought her shield along; it was a sentient object and held the gift of nigh omniscience - but now she had to rely solely on her own gifted intelligence. "I assure you, Mister Surreal is truly blessed in the mystical arts; if anybody could come up with a solution, it's him," She reaffirmed her confidence in the Sorcerer Supreme. "But I am uncertain if this being could truly be slain." Helena expressed as she reviewed the facts that were laid out. She searched for anything in her memory banks that could solve this solution, but she was only able to remember two ideas from the myths that might work. "I might have a solution, but we should wait for our sorcerer companion to join us." She locked eyes with his, wondering if their fate was indeed intertwined. She felt a slight pull toward him like a magnetic field, drawing them together, but she chose to swat the feeling away as if it were an annoying bug. Helena wanted to ask him what he thought of what Hephaestus said - about his fate, but being the daring man that he was, he brought up something that she did not want to discuss. The demigod shifted uncomfortably - her eyes darted away from his, breaking free from his enchanting gaze - and her mouth opened slightly to utter a response, but then closed as the words scattered in her tongue. "You are tenacious, Leonel, I give you that. But if I tell you of my trials and tribulations, I know your stubborn nature will compel you to aid me, and that is not what I want for your life. Not because I don't think you are capable, I assure you that is not the case. I just don't want you to carry a burden that clearly is not yours. You might be able to hide your own burdens on the surface, but I am certain you are at war - not with the Imperium, oh no - but with yourself. How I know this? On that mountain you poured your heart out to me, expressing how you could relate to no one and how you made a fool over yourself. I am certain there is more to that story you are not telling me, nevertheless, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to carry someone else's journey while dealing with your own." She mustered the strength to pour out her concern. A part of her wanted him to say yes, but another part wanted him to say no.
Shortly after notifying Shield-Maiden of his presence, the master of the mystic arts noticed the movement of one section of the floating fortress, something that he was very pleased by. He floated over to the large breach in the castle like structure as his mind raced with anticipation as to what he would encounter once he stepped foot inside of the Augusta, this would his second space fortress enter. As the large gates that allowed access to the grand fortress' interior had completed the process of separating themselves for the magic user, Mister Surreal was encountered by floating drone who he assumed would be the one to show him inside of the station's halls. As he got closer the drone floated away from him towards the direction that it had first emerged, Matthew saw it as being who or more accurately what would he showing him inside of the colossal location.
Going through the main gates, Mister Surreal saw them promptly close behind him and the mechanical butler flew beside him with great haste as he now entered the main hall of the Augusta with all of its glory. It was an enormous area that was very much like the grand hall of a castle, sparkling with the emerald surface that coated the walls as far as the eyes could see, making every bit of it feel like it size was nothing but a place holder for the treasures that lay within. Being inside of it was like being inside of a place where every dream that you every had could become a reality, a shining futuristic utopia contained within a metallic corridor that offered only the most promising of fulfillment. The room was filled with the sounds of buzzing and whistling that were only slightly covering up the overarching sound of the space station shifting and bending ever so slightly, almost as if the building itself were still adjusting to it own size.
Before he got too caught up in the spectacle that was nothing but the lobby like portion of the Augusta, Mister Surreal turned back to the drone so that he could get in with the reason why he had come there in the first place. Once again staring at the drone which he could believed was tasked with guiding him through the huge space station, he continued with his journey. "Could you please take me to the location of Prince Lionel and possibly Shield-Maiden?", he asked respectfully as usual. The drone responded accordingly and made its way to another path, having Mister Surreal walk behind it with a sort of dignity that he would maintain even in the most abnormal of instances. Making his way after him was somewhat challenging, the drone chose to soar through the air at a fairly quick pace, not that the sorcerer would blame them, it would I take hours to walk around this place. The speed however did cause him to walk at a brisk pace, which an exhausted sorcerer was not thrilled about.
Numerous halls and doors passed by as the two carried on through the bowels of the mountain sized fortress, going deeper and deeper into it which made for the impression of it having simply a never ending supply of space within already colossal appearance from the outside. It only kept the amount of marvel that he was feeling increasing steadily with each footstep that he took, for Matthew it was like being a visitor inside of the Sanctum of Cryptic Sources for the first time. Having the feeling of wonder consume his very being as he looked around the ship even more impressed by what he would come across as he went down further into the location of the place. It would only continue to gain the admiration of the sorcerer to have the opportunity to look observe the vastness of the hall that lay ahead and behind him, filled with many passages that would make it even more difficult for a stranger to locate a specific room among all of the maze of a space station.
Finally coming to his last stop, the hovering assistant instructed that Mister Surreal enter the door that stood right before them and floated patiently waiting for him to do as he was told. Walking a few more steps, the sorcerer entered a room that was filled with oceanic water painting all sides of the walls filling his own green eyes with a reflective glow of turquoise that was truly a sight to behold. As his eyes scanned the room, he immediately noticed Helena's long black dress that caused her to radiate with beauty, not that she needed the dress for her to have that effect. Matthew noticed her beauty ever since he first layed eyes on her, she was truly one who had a gifted appearance. But seeing as how he was already spoken for, he felt only admiration for his for his friend's appearance and nothing more. His eyes turning slightly, Leonel came into the mage's view looking just a formidable as he had on their first encounter.
Taking a few steps forward Mister Surreal cleared his throat as a way of gaining their attention, not because he doubted that they already knew that he was there but mostly so that he could properly begin interacting with them. "Sorry about coming so late, I had to deal with an unexpected emergency on the way here. You would ne-...That's not important, however, what is important is that we discuss the reason why we are here, Nordok." Mathew clenched the tie of his black suit in a business like fashion as he made the how important the subject was to him known by the others. "I have expertise that may be useful, but only by collaborating with others who can add upon it.", he said starting the discussion.
Breaking his gaze from Helena's, the Prince of Power cast his eyes upon the cascade of holograms hovering above the middle of the table. Drumming his fingers along the table's edge, Leonel studied the information glowing before him - profiles on key Imperium figures, and all that he knew about Nordok's cosmic sorcery. It was a puzzle his super science, no matter how advanced, had failed to solve. Whatever the Ancient One's cosmic sorcery entailed, it wrinkled his mind like nothing else. A mind that so effortlessly calculates the space-time coordinates when he leaps in and out the hyper-spatial bulk, a mind responsible for breakthroughs that mankind was millions of years from sniffing. And yet, Nordok's greatest power baffled him, made him feel... human, mortal.
"Hmm", furrowing his brow, Leonel returned his eyes to Helena and considered asking for an audience with her mother. He held little regard for gods of the ancient world. Backwards gods, he called them. Gods who ride flying chariots while he builds fortresses in the higher dimensions of space-time. Gods who used scrolls and parchments while he was a god who designed femto-scale computers. But Athena, a goddess who deals in intelligence and warfare - both of which Leonel respects - was an exception. "Hephaestus' machines'll be useful", he reminded, breaking his brief silence. "But your mother'd also be really helpful with our war strategy, and the tactics we'll use to implement it. Her insight and ideas'd be valuable. But", he paused, locking eyes with Helena and withdrawing his hands from the table, "I can understand if you don't want to involve your family in this any more than you already have".
"Though you're right, as much as Hephaestus annoys me", he shrugged, strong arms crossing over his chest as he smirked, "Whatever I learn about him'll be useful if he ever becomes an enemy. Or a nuisance". Soon however, his smirk faded, and Helena's words floated to his ears with a gravity she could have only inherited from her mother. With his eyes on hers as he listened, Leonel raised his left brow - and chuckled. "You're right about one thing, I am stubborn", that he admitted, "But I'm not at war with myself, Helena. I have been, in the past. But now? If I'm at war with anything not Imperium-related, it's the expectations people have of me. Nine times out of ten, I don't give a shit about anything that doesn't have to do with me, be it directly or indirectly related to me. Despite that, people want me to live my life as though I owe a preexisting moral obligation to everyone and everything".
"That's why I don't relate to anyone, not because I'm at war with myself", he chuckled, the laughter flowing out calm and cool, "But because I'm a warrior in a world that insists I be an altruist. Because I recognize that my primary moral duty is to myself first, and to others second. And because I value honest conflict over dishonest peace". Uncrossing his arms, Leonel stepped forward, "And you, Helena, are maintaining dishonest peace with what's really bothering you by refusing to address it. There's something haunting you that you're trying to avoid. A conflict you're trying to ignore instead of solving. Nine times out of ten, I don't care if whatever's happening has nothing to do with me. But the tenth time, I do. Right here, right now, you're that rare ten I give a shit about. I admire your strength, the sharpness of your mind, your regality, your beauty. And that you're trying to be yourself instead of aspiring to be like someone else".
"But you could be so much more if you faced whatever's haunting you. I'm not trying to carry someone else's journey. But I want to help you carry your own journey. But", Leonel shrugged, "I've said my piece. Mister Surreal is here", he noted, his eyes catching the infrared glow of the sorcerer's body heat. Turning to meet eyes with the Sorcerer Supreme, the Prince of Power issued a subtle inclination of the head. "Mister Surreal", he smiled, "Better late than never. I've learned some things about Nordok's cosmic sorcery. In the past I've tried manipulating the quantum information that makes up Nordok's "soul", but it didn't affect it the way it's affected others. My machines failed in a way they never have. I'm not sure why but whatever the reason, it allowed Nordok to resist my manipulation of the quantum information that constitutes it's being at the most fundamental level. And I can only assume that this is something arcane. Your area of expertise. Any idea of what it may be?".
"And if we need some more brains to help us with this dilemma, we might need more arcane experts. And both you and Helena know more of those than I do. Any candidates for people that can help?", he asked, eyes shifting between both his allies.
Helena let out a silent sigh as Leonel countered her observation - her energetic eyes darting away from his as she pondered on her minor failure. She made a fool of herself and acted on emotion once more, which irked her more than anything - like the tip of a sword poking into her olive skin. Hanging from her left hip, her enchanted sword yearned for blood, anticipating battle like the God of War himself. Runes magically inscribed itself into the wide groove of her blade, shimmering in a blue light. Hanging from her right hip, her golden lasso was overtaken with a lustrous glow of yellow light. Both magical artifacts seemed to react to the distress of their queen and were awaiting to be unleashed on those who offended her.
She should of not insinuated anything. Instead, she should of implicated, he was wrestling with something from his past. Unlike her mother, Helena never mastered keeping her emotions in check, but it was something she was striving for. She didn't want to be one of Hephaestus' projects - emotionless and cold - but instead calm and reserved, like a Shaolin Monk. Her goal was to make wiser decisions with less emotional interference - and while she has made progress, she still was not where she wanted to be.
"Forgive me," She uttered, her eyes now shifted to meet his. "One should know the facts before making such a bold claim." She concluded, observing the fact that she might have allowed her emotions to dictate her logical thinking. She loved the fact that he was not blind to his tenacious behavior - a warrior who knew himself, need not fear the result of a hundred battles. But a warrior who knew himself but not the enemy, could lead to ruin. Leonel while a remarkable warrior seemed to be committing the same mistake as she by assuming something he clearly did not have the facts to. "If you wish to know what is troubling me, very well. Once our meeting with Mister Surreal is over, my journey will be made clear to you. But assume nothing, Leo of the Cosmos - I am trying to solve the mysteries that plague my life, even if you cannot see that. You must understand, you cannot truly solve a puzzle if you have yet to discover all the pieces," Her eyes locked with his, bringing light and life into his dark blue eyes. His eyes were like the twilight zone in the ocean - dark with no plant life, but when their eyes met, her energic eyes mimicked the dim sunlight that penetrated into the disphotic zone. "Am I haunted by these nightmares? Indeed, I am. If what you said on that mountain was true, about you being able to relate to me, then you of all people should understand how difficult it is to talk about the things of the past." Her eyes broke away from his.
While explaining all that, Helena's sensitive nose caught the whiff of chemicals burning - dye and starch. Glancing downwards, she noticed the black pants she wore underneath her dress was smothering like a volcano project - a small cloud of smoke rising from the thigh region. Her lasso, which glowed and illuminated the room, was burning through her pants, about ready to catch on fire. "Off" She mentally commanded the lasso with authority. With that command, the lasso's glow dimmed down and reverted back to an ordinary golden lariat as it responded to it's queen. The planestrider must of mentally commanded the lariat to burn as she reflected on her embarrassment with Leo, but strangely enough, she never ordered the magical artifact to do anything. Swatting the fumes and smoke away, her eyes darted back to the Prince of Power and penetrated his eyes once more. She wanted to ponder about the strange circumstances behind her lasso, but she thought it was best to just focus on Leo's words.
The former princess of Atholis wanted to grab the deities of love by the throat and crush their windpipe. Leonel, the Prince of Power, had fallen to the influence of the Erotes, and was now confessing his admiration for her. She had to admit for someone who held such high self-esteem, Leo was pretty vulnerable to her in his own way - she liked that. But at the same time, she didn't believe she was capable of returning those feelings, even if he was that rare kind of warrior to her. The space warrior was Orion to her and she was his Artemis - both impressed by each other's skills, personalities, and physical features - both fond over each other, but could not allow their feelings to flourish due to the interference of the Gods and her own self. But every rose had it's thorn and Leo was not except from it.
When the Prince of Power revealed he was a firm believer in putting his well-being over humanity, it sent an unsettlingly feeling down her stomach. Judging by his display with Hephaestus, Helena believed Leo felt superior to the Olympian Gods - yet he was no better than they were. The Olympians cared for their existence more than anything with humanity coming close second - but only because their existence was tied to humanity. So what made Leo any different from her family when it came to selflessness and selfishness? She thought to herself. "Give Tyche praise, we do not share the same principle," She bantered, knowing he did not worship her family. "If we did, I would not be here right now." She said with a slight smirk. Despite their minor differences, Helena was still willing to share her journey with the proud warrior and.....get acquainted with him.
As the two discussed, the act of someone clearing their throat, caught their attention. Turning her head toward the doorway, Helena and Leo were met with the revered sorcerer himself. She did not mind if Matthew heard their discussion; he was one of her close companions - whom she trusted with her dear life. It was not too long ago when Mister Surreal offered his services to Ares for the freedom of the Justice League Alliance, including herself. It was there, the sorcerer displayed his prowess as both a warrior and the Sorcerer Supreme. If anybody could find a permeant solution to the Ancient One, it was certainly him. Even Athena, her mother, revealed the sorcerer was well known in the Halls of Olympus. "Mister Surreal. Glad you can join us," She greeted him with a slight smile. "I want to personally thank you for coming to my aid to protect the cosmos," Her tone was welcoming and diplomatic, but her garb and hairstyle screamed she was an Amazonian Queen, ready for war.
After they all greeted each other, Helena moved to the end of the table, where she could face her two allies and reveal the idea she picked from her memory files. She listened as Mister Surreal and Leonel discussed the issues with slaying the Ancient One and the need for those who held complete control over magic, witchcraft, and sorcery, to further aid them in finding a solution. "Is it possible to scatter it's essence? Like Kronos did his father, Ouranos?" Helena joined in, standing tall and dignified.She wanted to explain her plan further, but she first wanted to see if it was possible to somehow scatter the tyrant and then lock whatever was remaining in a box sealed by magic. The plan was fastened from the story of Pandora's Box and the downfall of Ouranos. "As for other allies such as my mother.....I have no direct communication with her," It pained her to say those words, but she mustered the strength to give Leo a facial expression that read she would explain later.Even if she could summon the aid of her mother, she knew Athena was too occupied with drawing up a strategy to protect Western Civilization in case Leo's plan to topple the Imperium failed.
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