The Crime Fighters in:
And Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them
Talk about Pyramid Power
Robert wandered around the Power Chamber, looking for some sort of clue as to where his friends had gone. The mutt's bottle was still lying on the floor next to its side of the room. Robert walked over to it and picked it up. There still seemed to be a bit of the liquid left in it. Probably it refilled itself, or something.
He set the bottle down, and then continued around the room. The dragon statue was there, where Richard had left it, and the blue diamond, stuck in the wall. He'd busted some of the heiroglyphs, but he couldn't read 'em anyway. Robert reached up to pull the diamond out, and his fingers sank into the wall as if it was made out of chalk. He was able to work the diamond free, and stuck it under his arm.
Then he looked down at the enourmous gem. Silver Bolt had taken his amulet with him, fitted it to his costume somehow. Robert tried placing it against his chest, as Silver Bolt had, but that didn't seem to do anything. It was far too big to put in a pocket. He'd have to carry it around in a backpack or something.
"Damn it." He put the diamond down next to Richard's dragon, and then walked over to the next section of wall. It was covered in heiroglyphs, but he would never be able to read them.
"Damn it, I can't read this! And Richard's not here to translate!"
He looked around the room. "And if I know Richard -- an' I do -- he jumped right in with both feet, without even botherin' to read the instructions first. He an' that dog could be anywhere by now."
"Nah... Ol' Lightning Head said he captured them. So they probably followed him. Right into some trap, no doubt. He ran out of the room that way..."
Robert followed Silver Bolt's trail down the passage that led out of the room. He walked for a short distance, and then noticed something in the shadows of the wall. He held out his hand, and it slowly began to glow, with white light. The light revealed an arrow scratched into the stone, right at eye level.
"All right, Richard! Looks like you were payin' attention in class after all."
Robert continued down the passage, his hand still glowing faintly to light the way. He had discovered the power quite by accident, after stumbling around without a flashlight for a while. He had just taken a wild guess, remembering how his body had flashed with light when he transformed, and it had worked.
As the light disappeared from sight, Silver Bolt crept back into the chamber. He was back in his Stan form, so as not to alert Robert with the electricity arcing over his body. As soon as Robert was well out of range, however, his body gave a loud crack, and again he was enveloped in a field of blue sparks.
He walked over to the heiroglyphs, studying them in the light of his power. He pulled out his notebook, and began to copy down the text.
Robert found the pit trap his friends had fallen into, and leaped over it easily. There was another arrow carved into the stone on the other side, and so Robert continued, following the trail. It wound around, clearly headed in a specific direction, but turning this way and that in a maze of passages Robert could never have found his way through alone.
Finally, he came to a metal door, blocking off an archway located to one side of the passage. There were signs of someone scuffling around the doorway, as if deciding whether to go in. He put his ear to the door, but heard nothing. He knocked on it, and it made a metallic, clanging sound.
"Anybody in there?"
"Rob--" Richard started to shout his name, but then cut himself short. "Nice try, Silver Bolt!" He heard Richard say. "So now that I've almost given your name away, buddy, what do we call you?"
"He already knows my name," Robert answered.
"Oh..." There was a short silence. "In that case, then..."
Robert interrupted. "But I suppose you can call me Blue Diamond."
"Ah. Jade Dragon, and Element Dog, then."
Robert snorted. "Element Dog?"
"Give him time, he's only an hour old..."
"Well, I suppose the other option is to be named after a bottle. Now if that's enough of that, I'll just knock this door down."
"Hold on, Blue Diamond!" his friend yelled. "First off, be careful. This guy got us with a gas trap. You might want to hold your breath..."
"Not a problem. Stand back, I'm comin' in..."
Blue Diamond slammed his fist into the metal door, punching through it like it was made out of tin foil. The force of the blow caused a deafening report, which echoed up and down the passageways.
"Ow! Careful there, man!"
"Sorry." The door was fitted into a track that it had dropped into, so it didn't have hinges. Blue Diamond grabbed onto the ripped section of metal and pulled, tearing it open. The pyramid now echoed with the shriek of bending metal. In a few seconds he had made the hole big enough that the door came apart into two pieces, and he tossed them aside.
"Well, that was melodramatic," Jade Dragon commented.
"Shut up. How in the heck did you get into this mess anyway?" Blue Diamond studied the two cages, one of yellow, the other of wood, which held his friend and his dog.
"That would be my fault," Silver Bolt's voice said, from the radio in the backpack. He then shouted something, in Egyptian, that Blue Diamond couldn't understand.
The door opposite Jade Dragon, near the entrance to the room, snapped open. Behind the metal door was another cage, its bars made out of iron. Set high in the center of the bars, however, was a huge clear gemstone. It seemed to erupt with light, as a blast of energy was drawn out of Blue Diamond's body, and into the gem.
Blue Diamond called out a stream of obscenities, as he fell to the floor. He fell onto his hands and knees, swaying dizzily, trying to remain upright. Then he collapsed onto the stone.
"Robert! What's going on!"
"Don't know... weak... can't... move..."
Jade Dragon looked up at the cage. "Damn it! It's the gem! Has to be! But what... ?"
"Feels... like I'm being drained. Can't... even stand up."
"It's... it... it's a weakness of some kind! Something out powers can't effect!" He pulled at the bars of his own cage, then suddenly looked at them, and the soft, porous yellow paint. "Fire and brimstone... the stone that burns... the heiroglyphs said something about 'beware the stone that burns'..."
Jade Dragon looked down at his arms. The mists were gone, vanished, no longer flowing from his body. He let go of the bars, and they reappeared. He moved his hand closer to one of the bars, and the moment the mists touched it, they disappeared as if consumed by an unseen flame. He counted three seconds before they returned.
Carefully, he stuck his arm out between the bars, trying not to touch them, trying not to let the mists touch them. The mists drifted up from his hand. Concentrating, he sent it across to the gem, slowly at first, then with more confidence. He built up the cloud of green smoke, making it grow darker as it spiralled in tighter around the gem. He closed his fist, a sympathetic gesture, as he willed them to crush inwards.
He could feel the resistance, the hardness of the gem, as a sort of ache in the back of his head. It was a diamond, he knew it, he could feel it, and for a moment he wondered if he was crazy, trying to crush the hardest substance known to man with a green fog. But then it shattered, with a crack almost as loud as when Blue Diamond had punched through the door.
A ball of white light was left behind, which shot back to Blue Diamond. He leaped to his feet. In a second, he had grabbed the bars of Jade Dragon's cage and ripped them out of the stone. A second later, he had freed Element Dog as well. He ripped the wooden manacles from around the dog's feet as if they were made of cardboard.
There was a muffled pop from the bag, and smoke once again billowed from it. "The gas!" Jade Dragon yelled. "I'll drive it away with my mists!"
"No!" Element Dog countered. "I do!" The dog evaporated, his body vanishing as if wiped out of existance. The two humans stood, stunned, as the cloud enveloped them. There was a long, disturbing silence, and then, all of a sudden, the gas dissipated.
Element Dog re-formed, a few feet above where he had been standing. He dropped to the ground. "What the heck just happened?" Jade Dragon asked him.
"Can't change size, yes? Get big or small? Is bad weakness. But binding things... too big to fit through bars. Think maybe binding things keep from me getting small, slip out. So can get big or small."
"Think... maybe can be big by take things. Take gas, turn into something else."
"So you... absorbed the gas into your body! But how did you know you could turn into air like that?"
"If can be rock, can be air."
"Pretty damned smart for a mangy mutt," Blue Diamond said.
"Smarter than man named after rock," Element Dog answered.
"All right, you two, let's get out of here. Silver Bolt knows we've escaped, and is probably coming after us."
He walked over to the backpack. "Not exactly, Jade Dragon," Silver Bolt said. "See, I'm not anywhere near the pyramid any more. I wouldn't want to be buried in it with you..."
There was then a massive explosion, which shook the ground under their feet. Chunks of rocks fell from the ceiling. "I'm afraid I planted some explosive charges in the passages while I was on my way out. They should be enough to seal you in there until you die of hunger. There is a way out, though... you'll have to return to the Power Chamber and use your objects to break free."
"Why are you telling us this?"
"Well, it wouldn't be any fun if you just gave up and died in there. Once you manage to get out, Blue Diamond, you'll remember we left some unfinished business topside. I'm quite sure your girlfriend has not had time to get far..."
"If you hurt her, I'll..."
"That's the idea, Blue Diamond. You'd better hurry. You don't have much time."
There was another explosion, and the archway started to give way. Blue Diamond darted forward, holding up the stone until his friends could get past. Element Dog ran out the door, but Jade Dragon dumped out the backpack, and smashed Silver Bolt's radio.
"Forget that! We've got to get out of here!"
"Not yet!" He yelled something, in Egyptian. Silver Bolt had said, "Neutralize the power of Water", but Jade Dragon now said, "Neutralize the power of Fire!"
The fourth metal door flipped open, on the far side of the room. There was a cage behind it, like the others, and as Jade Dragon watched, a cloud of steam erupted from the floor with a hiss. He ran forward, sticking his hand into the vapor, and then he tasted the condensation.
"What the Hell are you doing?"
"Burning my hand!" Jade Dragon countered. He ran past Blue Diamond, into the passage, and his stocky friend let go of the archway. The whole chamber collapsed, buried in a pile of broken stone.
"You could have been killed!"
"You can kick me later. We need to get to the Power Chamber." He set off running down the passage, followed by his two friends.
"What if this is another trap?" Blue Diamond asked. "I say we take our chances with the exit."
"No, he had no reason to lie. The objects are our only chance of getting out of here. But he's got the room booby trapped, we need to get there fast and get out."
"What makes you say that?"
"It's what I would do." Richard sighed. "I underestimated him, once. I assumed our powers would be enough to deal with any kind of danger. I'm not going to make that mistake again."
"What you do with steam?" Element Dog asked.
"Yes, that's exactly what it was, steam. That's Silver Bolt's weakness. Mine is sulphur, and yours is wood."
"That's why your skin was itching where it was touching you, and why you couldn't make your paws change shape. The bars were probably made out of metal, but covered with wood, so you couldn't absorb into them or slip out through the floor or something. The same with the walls."
"And the diamond is my weakness?" Blue Diamond asked.
"Right. A blue diamond gives you your power, I guess a regular one takes it away."
"Great. I can be overcome by any common jewelry thief. Some superhero."
Jade Dragon grinned. "Probably the size of the diamond has something to do with it. You saw that one, it was huge. I would say little ones probably won't even effect you. Not noticably, anyway."
They had retraced the path to the Power Chamber quickly. Jade Dragon and Element Dog sailed over the open pit, one held aloft by green mist, the other by golden wings. Blue Diamond simply jumped over it, effortlessly. More explosions shook the passage, as they continued to run, ducking the falling debris from the ceiling.
Finally they reached the chamber. There was a massive blast of sound and fire, and the walls started to collapse. Part of the ceiling fell onto the floor, revealing rougher stone behind it, and that began to crack as well. "This whole pyramid's coming down!" Blue Diamond yelled, putting up an arm to shield his head.
Jade Dragon stopped in the center of the chamber, extending an arm. Three tendrils of green extended out into the room, as rock and dust fell all around them. They shot towards the three objects, the jade dragon and blue diamond right next to each other, and Element Dog's golden bottle in its alcove to the right. The mists wrapped around them, and then they shot back to Jade Dragon's hand.
He turned and handed the diamond to his friend. "Here. You use this."
Jade Dragon ducked a falling stone. His mists deflected it before it could hit his arm. "I can't drill through solid rock! I might be able to shield us, but we would be trapped. Element Dog could dig us out, but it would take too long!"
"So what am I supposed to do, punch my way out?!!"
"I don't know! It's all that I've got! Maybe if you use the diamond, it will make you more powerful!"
Blue Diamond stared at it. The whole chamber was coming down around them, and even the floor was shaking. Jade Dragon surrounded them in a cloud of emerald smoke, and it seemed to deflect the worst of the debris. But the stones above them were starting to shift, making a grinding noise. Taking a deep breath, Blue Diamond closed his eyes, then took the diamond in both of his hands, and held it over his head.
For a long moment, nothing happened. But then, suddenly, there was light from the Power Chamber again, as if it were powering up. It was blinding in its intensity, and light began to flow in from the two passages, as well, and elsewhere further down in the pyramid. Jade Dragon put up a hand to shield his eyes, as the whole pyramid seemed to erupt with energy, which was then drawn into the blue diamond.
The diamond flashed with light, and then a beam of brilliant white shot upward from it. It expanded until it was a column of light, surrounding Blue Diamond, as it cut right through the stone. The beam winked out, leaving a narrow passage drilled straight upward to the sunlight.
"Grab Element Dog!" Jade Dragon shouted. "He can't fly straight up!" He rose on his own cloud of vapor and flew up the shaft towards the surface. Blue Diamond followed. There were a few tense moments, as they flew up the tunnel, as it was tight and confining, and seemed ready to fall in on them at any minute. But then they broke free into the hot desert air. The two men drifted back down to the sand, and Blue Diamond set the dog down next to him.
"Holy..." Blue Diamond was staring at the pyramid. It was not Akenaton's pyramid, the pyramid that they had explored, before. That pyramid was a few yards away. They were looking at ruins, a pile of collapsed stone blocks, half buried under a sand dune. The explosions that were still going on in the underground complex had blown most the sand away, and revealed the secret of Akenaton's tomb.
"No wonder they could never find the objects. That was never Akenaton's pyramid. It must have been built, later, on the same site, by someone else."
But Blue Diamond was staring at the neat, round hole he had drilled in the pyramid's nearest face. "Talk about Pyramid Power..."
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