"The Sensational Night Shadow in… A Hoedown In The Old West"
Created by The Spectacular SpiderDom
Gaige Hacksaw was handed a rag full of ice by his dear friend, Rebecca Aislinn, who took a seat next to him and rubbed his back. Both of them sat inside the training room, where they wondered if Sydney and/or Gwen would return. Rebecca continued rubbing Gaige's back, as she looked at his bruised face.
"Are you okay, Gaige?" she asked. I'm so sorry Sydney hit you like that."
"No worries," Gaige replied, applying extra pressure on his face. It was met with a cold sensation. "I'm fine. I didn't think Sydney would do something like that though. Heh, guess she must really like those Japanese Clubs."
Rebecca didn't bother laughing at Gaige's joke.
"Sorry, Becca. Bad time?"
"Maybe a little."
Just then, both Sydney and Gwen entered the room and approached their friends. Sydney shared one last look with her Irish friend before she sat down next to her self-proclaimed master. Taking a deep breath, she couldn't help but feel horrible as soon as she saw the bruise on Gaige's face.
"H-how are you feeling, Gaige?" she inquired.
"Fine, I guess," he answered. "It's not too horrible, but it's gonna take a while to heal."
"Gaige, I am so sorry I did this to you. I really am."
"Then, why did you do it? I told you to use those clubs responsibly and you clearly disobeyed my directions. I told you that when you're learning martial arts, you can't let aggression cloud your mind."
"I know that and I'm well aware I screwed up," Sydney placed her hand on Gaige's shoulder. "I know this is a shitty excuse, but the reason why I hit you… is because," she released one last sigh before she explained herself. "When we were sparring with each other, I imagined you as the villains I helped Night Shadow fight during his escapades. I know that sounds horrible, but it's what really happened. I allowed my own personal worries for Mason, Night Shadow, and my family's safety cloud my mind, which caused me to aggressively hit you. I'm sorry, Gaige. As I said, that's a shitty excuse, but… I want you to know that I really am sorry."
Gaige took a few moments to register all that was heard. "Huh… judging from you saying 'get away from,' I can only assume that you pictured Mason being killed by Night Shadow's enemies, huh?"
Sydney nodded. "That's… mostly it."
"Well, I'm a little offended that you pictured me as a fat furball like Mojo the Pink Gorilla."
"No, Gaige, it's not like that."
"However… I accept your apology," Gaige smiled. "I know recklessly helping people is what you do best and learning martial arts was going to be a way of furthering that; however, I think the biggest problem you have for now is your personal fears. You can't let your self-doubts get in the way of combat, especially when you're in the middle of a dire situation."
Sydney nodded. "Yeah… I realize that now… maybe now isn't the best time for me to learn martial arts. I don't want something like this to happen again."
Gaige, surprised by her answer, looked at both Gwen and Rebecca. "Well, I didn't say that, but… if that's how you feel, then I fully support your decision."
Sydney felt relieved when he said that.
"But..." Gaige spoke. Sydney wondered what his incoming response was. "If you ever decide to get back into fighting… just give me a call."
The Spanish girl smiled at that last remark, as she wrapped her best friend in a warm hug. Gaige hugged her back with one arm and removed his ice pack, wrapping his other arm around her. Gwen and Rebecca joined in the hug as well and all four of them closed their eyes, happy that this dispute was finally resolved.
Gwen opened her eyes and looked out the window, seeing something land on the building across from them. "Hey… it's Night Shadow."
Sydney turned around and saw her boyfriend swing from building to building, looking like he was in a hurry.
She smiled and closed her eyes, dreaming of fighting alongside him someday…
…but the moment was suddenly ruined when Gwen ran outside and shouted, "Hey, Night Shadow! My best friend Sydney loves you!"
"Motherf*cker!" Sydney shouted, as she ran outside and tackled Gwen, pinning her to the ground.
"Oh, boy!" Gaige ran forward. "Dogpile on Gwen!"
He leaped into the air and joined the pile.
With nothing left to do, Rebecca looked left and right, shrugged her shoulders, and jumped on top of Gaige's back.
Night Shadow and Hannah, in her physical form, laid a repaired Nelson Pines on top of his office chair. The latter pressed both of his eyes as well as a button on his right shoulder. Nelson made a small recalibrating noise, which sounded like fairy tale sparkles, as he finally awakened from his longtime slumber.
"Holy shit, Mason look out!" Nelson shouted, but he looked around and saw that his business partner was nowhere to be seen. "What the hell happened? Where's Mason? Where's the cowboy that attacked us! Night Shadow, it was crazy! Some robot cowboy attacked us, and he kidnapped my partner, Mason. Is he okay? Tell me he's okay!"
Night Shadow calmly spoke to his boss. "Easy there, Mr. Pines. Mason's fine. He ran out of the facility and I took him home. And don't fret about the cowboy because I gave him the whooping he deserved."
Nelson wiped his forehead with relief. "Phew! That's a relief. Thank you so mu-"
He paused mid-sentence when he found himself stargazed by Hannah's complexion. Her metallic shine brought out her stunning beauty and she looked at him with kind and caring eyes. She smiled and waved, as Nelson felt his robotic heart pound against his chest. His jaw dropped to the ground and his eyes were bulging out of his sockets.
Night Shadow placed one gloved finger in his mouth, struggling to contain his laughter.
"Uh…" Nelson said in awe. "H-hi, who are-"
"Greetings, Mr. Pines, my name is Hannah," she said, holding out her hand. "Night Shadow brought me here to help fix you up. Are you okay?"
Nelson was stunned by Hannah's appearance.
Realizing he was stuck in suspended animation; Nelson shook his head and pressed his hands together. "Y-yeah, I'm okay. Um, thank you for fixing me. Appreciate it, I do. I mean, I do it appreciate."
Nelson backed away towards his desk, only to trip on his feet. As Hannah helped him up, he kindly backed away and waved her and Night Shadow goodbye. He stepped right inside of his office and closed the door, praying he didn't humiliate himself badly.
In the city of Vancouver, Canada, 2035…
While everyone laid asleep in their beds for the night, there was a truck full of people who decided it would be best to take an evening stroll around the city. Taking a right-hand turn was a dark-green 2030 Chevy Trailblazer with large black tires with silver trim. The headlights were shining bright orange and the music inside of the vehicle was blasting loudly.
There were three costumed individuals inside the vehicle and all of them were singing along to Drift Away by Dobie Gray.
Driving the vehicle itself was a woman with pale skin and hair was red as a tomato. For attire, she wore a pink leather suit with a single red heart emblem on both of her shoulders. There was a red strap that ran diagonally down her right shoulder and reached her belt of the same color. The center of it was a silver buckle with the letter "V" sculpted on it. With red leather pants, she had pink kneepads and black combat boots. On her kneepads were the same heart emblems as the ones on her shoulders. Around her black fingerless gloves were red brass knuckles. Lastly, she had a pink domino mask with a red outline and white lenses for eyes.
Sitting next to her was a man with dark skin and a costume that was mostly black. With faint orangish shading on his abdominal area, he had two golden straps running down his left shoulder to his black belt with yellow pouches on both his hips. The middle of his belt had the head of a horse sculpted in gold. He had black goggles with green lenses and yellow gloves with black fingers.
Some people would think that was strange, but if they saw his legs, they'd know why.
This superhero didn't have normal human legs, no, he had the legs of a horse! Brown furry horse legs with black hooves on the bottom. Although, he did have white tuffs of fur around his ankle. Thankfully, his legs were covered by black pants with a golden strap on both of his thighs and knees.
Lastly, he had a black bow in his hand that matched the same color as his quiver. It was packed with golden arrows with silver tips.
They sang along to the music and glanced at one another. The black and yellow man blew her a kiss, as he reached for his black bow and golden arrows. He smiled at her and shot a wink, grabbing a rag and cleaning his weapons. The driver mimicked his romantic motion.
Just then, someone in the back seat popped her head up and smiled at both heroes.
For her attire, she wore a dark purple, skin-tight, suit made out of denim. She wore black combat boots with golden buckles on them and she had highlights that matched the same color as the buckles. On her back was a violet poncho with a golden streak running from the bottom to the top. She had blue gloves with black fingertips and a black belt with light blue spots. Over her left hand was a paper bag with a red button for a left eye and a blue button for the right eye. It had a purple mouth and had a drawing of a suit on it; it was drawn in black marker. Lastly, she wore a wrestling mask that matched her suit's colors. The eyes had a gold outline, and her mouth was exposed.
In her left hand was a paper bag that had red eyes drawn with a red marker, along with blue irises and black pupils. The puppet was wearing a hand-knitted light orphan blue-colored sweater with white stripes running horizontally. It also had a red neck tie.
"Oh, boy!" she said, waving the bag puppet around. She spoke in a voice that made the puppet sound like a cartoon mouse. "I love me some music! But you gotta turn this '70s shit off, play some dubstep!"
"Piss off, BagByte," the male archer rolled his eyes.
"Sorry, Sagittarius," the poncho wearing woman said, covering her puppet's mouth. "BagByte, we talked about this. When we're in Valentine's car, we listen to whatever she wants to listen to."
"I don't care!" BagByte snarled. "This music sucks!"
Sagittarius chuckled and looked at his girlfriend, who made a left-hand turn. "So, Val. Tell me what's new. See any crime we can stop?"
"Nothing at the moment," Valentine looked around. "Poncho Mom?"
The purple costumed woman peeked her head through the sunroof and looked left and right. Using her powers of Super Elasticity, she stretched her neck and arms outward and scanned the environment for any suspicious activity.
But instead, she was hit in the face by a tall road sign.
She came back inside with starts and horses roaming around her forehead. Shaking it, she rubbed her face and replied. "Negative, Valentine. There is no crime to be spotted."
"Nice work, Captain Obvious," BagByte grunted. "Why don't we just turn back around, there's obviously nothing out here. Take me home, I gotta use the restroom!"
"I told you to go before we left," Poncho Mom rolled her eyes.
"Poncho, he's a f*cking puppet, he can't pee!" Sagittarius said.
"You don't know what I got!" BagByte retorted.
Suddenly, the music on the radio shut itself off.
The three superheroes stopped their banter and looked at the radio. Valentine reached forward and went to turn it on, but instead, she was greeted to a holographic image of Hannah Van Cyrus. Screaming at the top of her lungs, she slammed on the break and stopped in the middle of the road. This nearly caused a car behind her to rear-end her vehicle. Honking at her, the driver simply went around and continued driving.
"W-what the heck is that!?" Valentine gasped.
Sagittarius drew his bow and pulled back an arrow. "Stand back, I got this!"
"Ha-ha, you're gonna shoot it with an arrow?" BagByte inquired. "It's a hologram, stupid! It ain't gonna do squat!"
"Actually, I am more than just a hologram, Miss Poncho Mom," Hannah kindly spoke. "I can project myself through any piece of digital technology as well as project a physical form. My name is Hannah Van Cyrus, and I am here on behalf of Monsoon Gal. She has something she wishes to speak to the three of you about."
Sagittarius placed his weapon away and looked at his female teammates. "Which is-"
"Yo, Monsoon Gal has a message for us!?" Poncho Mom smiled with excitement. "Let's friggin' go!"
"You just want to find out if you can make out with Night Shadow," BagByte said.
Hannah raised an eyebrow.
"BagByte, shut up!" Poncho Mom shouted.
"Go ahead, Miss Van Cyrus," Valentine smiled, leaning back in her seat. "What does Miss Monsoon Gal wish to tell us about?"
Hannah nodded before she began to speak. "She wishes for the three of you… to become part of her team."
The three vigilantes shared a glance.
"We're listening," Sagittarius raised an eyebrow, leaning close to the digital female.
And from there, Hannah continued her message.
Stepping outside of his workplace, Mason Moonstone checked to see if anyone was watching him before he stepped outside, placing his Night Shadow helmet inside of a backpack. He wrapped it around his shoulder before he started walking down the road. Dunnere emerged from his shoulder and released a loud yawn, resting against his master's neck. Mason softly chuckled and patted his demon's head.
Mason whipped out his computer handheld and spoke to Hannah's hologram. "Thanks for the help, Hannah. I appreciate it."
"You're very welcome, Night Shadow," Hannah nodded.
"Please, just call me Mason, Mason Moonstone."
"Mason Moonstone? What a lovely name."
"Well, that's what a certain lady of mine said when we first met, ha-ha. Speaking of which, what the hell am I going to tell her? She's probably working at the moment or maybe it's her night off? What day is it today?"
"Today is Thursday, April 21st, 2035."
Suddenly, a dark blue 2021 Chevy Suburban pulled up to the side of the walkway and honked its horn. At first, Mason thought someone was being a jerk and honking at him for no reason. He prepared to give the person hell before he looked and saw Gaige, Rebecca, Gwen, and Sydney inside the car. Rebecca, who was in the passenger's seat, pulled down the window and waved to the comedian's boyfriend.
"What's up, dude?" Gaige greeted.
"Hey, babe," Sydney waved.
Mason was more than relieved to see his girlfriend and his friends again. He was happier because they were real and not virtual reality clones. He approached the car and leaned against Sydney's window, where he quickly received a kiss on his cheek. Sydney got out of the car and hugged him tightly, as he did the same.
"How's everyone doing?" Mason asked.
"We're fine," Gwen replied. "Had a little bit of a kung fu incident, but we're fine."
"It's a long story," Sydney replied. "I'll explain on the way home. Thanks for dropping me off, guys. We can walk the rest of the way."
"Are you sure?" Rebecca asked. "There could be criminals somewhere out here."
"If there are," Sydney winked at her boyfriend. "I know someone I can count on to protect us."
Mason mirrored her exact motion.
"All righty then, see you tomorrow, Sydney," Gwen waved, as Rebecca rolled up the window. The three of them turned around the corner and drove down the road.
This left the happy couple to stroll down the streets.
"So, what's new with you?" Sydney asked.
"Well, to put it shortly," Mason rubbed the back of his head, as Dunnere smiled. "An old enemy of mine named Edwin Alonzo, who is a robot with cowboy armor, came back. He trapped us all in his virtual reality game called the Cyber Realm. After breaking out, we had an epic fight at Street Dawg Munchies, where Dr. Don'tbig was revealed to be Bertram Van Cyrus, the former assistant to Technolocity."
"Oh, my god."
"But it's okay though, Bertram and his robot assistant, Hannah, helped us kick Alonzo's ass. Now, he's locked up in jail and I'm left wanting to crawl into bed and skip work tomorrow."
"So, a robot cowboy trapped you inside of a video game and Technolocity's nerd had to break you out. Wow, now I've heard everything. What's next, you're gonna travel back to medieval times?"
"I wouldn't be surprised."
Sydney chuckled and leaned against her boyfriend's shoulder, kissing his cheek.
"So, what happened to you, Sydney? Gwen said something about kung-fu."
Sydney sighed. "I was trying to learn martial arts so I can take care of myself and protect you, that's all. It sadly didn't work out as well as I hoped."
"Well, martial arts isn't something you can learn in one day, but once you practice long enough, you'll become a kung fu master… like me. It took me a while before I learned how to control my powers and use them for physical violence. Yes, I get my ass kicked from time to time, but I figured out how to hold my own."
"Yeah… yeah," Sydney said softly. "Do you think maybe… you can teach me some of your tricks one day? I want to protect you just as much as you protect me."
"Sure," Mason wrapped his arm around his girlfriend. He released a loud yawn and leaned against her shoulder, closing his eyes. "But… not now, okay. I just… need some sleep."
Sydney hugged her boyfriend with one hand, as the two of them walked down the street.
One day, Mason… I'll become a real hero like you are… one day.
END OF STORY
Tune In Next Time For…
The Sensational Night Shadow – Issue #8: New Friends, Old Enemies