Previously: Snake-Boy is Born
Once they made it to the Three Towers Plaza, even Snake-Boy’s brothers, who had busted out of their eggs with such purposeful confidence only moments before, seemed confused. They made an anxious perimeter around the property, singing their little anthem with less and less conviction as every second passed. None of them tried to go inside the Plaza. None of them tried to do anything. It frustrated Snake-Boy. What was the plan after all? He had gotten himself all worked up over nothing. It did not occur to him that he might himself step up and lead the way. He just stood there, with the rest of them, waiting. They stared at the empty sky.
Then the Crimebusters flew out of the top of the Towers and started killing them.
Blue Spark made the first strafing run. Snake-Boy did not know the name Blue Spark at the time. He didn’t know anything about the Crimebusters. All he knew was that some guy in a silver and blue body-suit and a pointy metal hat had flown overhead, shooting blasts of energy from his hands, carving two stripes of immediate, uncompromising death to the left and the right. The smell of bubbling brother-flesh filled Snake-Boy’s mouth, fuzzy in his throat, coppery on his tongue.
Next came The Great Hunter, standing astride the Beast Mistress’ winged back, shooting arrows that were wide-headed, that were smoky with poison, flick, flick, flick, into the faces and eyeballs and backs and throats of the assembled horde, but still, somehow, narrowly missing Snake-Boy himself.
Sky Lord flew straight up from the top of the tower — so high that he looked like a star, the only one in the sky — then dropped, slamming himself, his fist and his knee, onto the ground in the center of the Plaza, knocking Snake-Boy and his brothers off their feet from the shock-wave.
Now from the ground floor of the northwesterly Tower, home of Crimebuster High, flooded the next-generation heroes, the trainees and the sidekicks, under-powered but feisty, eager to prove themselves. A girl with the face of a dog led the charge. She bit Snake-Boy on the arm. Twice. She was good, and she was fast. And by the time he had decided to try to bite her back, she was gone, tangled up in the shoulder-snakes of another snake-boy just past him. A vast, giggling cloud of nearly-microscopic Japanese schoolgirls swarmed through the scene on butterfly wings. They carried tiny knives in their tiny hands. They got in his mouth; they got in his nose. They got in his eyes. He stumbled forwards, eyes shut, mouth full of wings and itty-bitty short-skirted polyester uniforms.
“Fiend!” said somebody.
Snake-Boy said, “Blah?” He stopped, and spat, and opened his eyes.
In front of him — startlingly, touchably close — stood a young man, a boy, really: blond-haired, green-eyed, clunky-kneed and awkward of elbow, but muscular. He was wearing a headband, a white cape, and a red unitard with a hole cut in the front to show off his hairless chest. He looked ridiculous.
“Uh, Sky Prince?” said the girl with the face of a dog, who was having a little bit of trouble subduing the snake-brother with whom she had picked a fight: “a little help here?”
Sky Prince waved his hand at her without looking, “Sorry. Busy.”
He snapped his head back around to Snake-Boy, narrowed his eyes. He took off his headband, behind which a third eye had been hidden. He narrowed that one, too. Snake-Boy felt a weird, piercing tingle all over his face from the gaze of that third eye. It was not unpleasant.
Sky Prince said, this time in a whisper: “Oh. Wait. I see. You’re different, aren’t you?” Then he looked down, with a strange and sudden lack of intensity in his three eyes, as if they had all gone blind at once. He coughed up a bunch of blood, at least two mouthfuls, much of it onto Snake-Boy’s face and chest. “Eww. Sorry about that,” he said.
He fell, face-last, onto the ground at Snake-Boy’s feet.