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    NTS-HD-02 Champions of Myth

    NTS-HD-02 Champions of Myth
    By Darrel James Vanwinkle
    February 18th, 2013

    Chapter Eleven

    The outing with Brightheart Raccoon and Ace the Bathound went well. Actually, I assumed it had. I would learn later that Krypto, Brainy Barker, and Streaky took care of sneaky producers trying to commercialize my official first outing. Heat vision in the appropriate locations cannot be pleasant. Ow.

    Immediately upon returning to the Cloud Kingdoms, I handed in my successful progress report to Cheer Bear. Then it was off to the Japanopolis Court House to register a complaint against the video pirates who were trying to film my life and make a profit off of it. I figured that making this blatant attempt public would bring the whole train to a skidding halt. Preferably into a toon brick wall... minus the toon physics, of course.

    After registering the complaint, my next stop was one of the foremost jewelry stores in Coolsville. I went there because they had something I wanted to wear full time to match my new image. I was Night the Superdog but I also wanted to sport a small silver cross on my collar instead of the usual dog tag like Krypto wore. Little did I know that I was starting to act like an old country nobleman; someone from the spooky side of Europe. Dracula, anyone?

    With my new silver cross and collar combo, along with my new black opera like cape with an off black lining, I was scheduled for my official registration photograph. Krypto had arranged it so I knew I could trust his discreetness. Strangely up until that day, I had not been registered as a superhero as yet. Everyone simply said that I was in training and would do my registration when my training ended. Ace sent out an announcement that my training was due to the following day, which wasn't the truth, but it would give me a day to prepare myself for possible fans and production contract offers. Sure am glad I have a Yuskay Lawyer. Did I mention how hot those guys are?

    For humanoid canines, they make Chippendale's look ugly. And that's saying something.

    The lawyer agreed that Bathound's discretion in the deception was completely necessary. Otherwise, the press and producers would be waiting for me at the registration offices and I surely didn't want that. So today had to be it. And I was as ready as I was ever going to be.


    "Night the Superdog."

    "Do you have a transformation power or device?"

    "No sir."

    "Okay, strike the pose you want photographed for your official ID card, please."

    One pose and snapshot later...

    "Now, pretend I am your enemy and you just caught me in the act. I want to hear your full blown introduction spiel. If you have bells and whistles, use them. This is for the official record."

    I irked, but he did ask for it. So... I set off my shadow making power and suddenly the air inside the offices crackled with electricity as my eyes glowed with an eerie black light all their own. Thunder and flashes of light were erupting from the darkness and then came the voice that scared Cheer Bear nearly to death. And yes, Krypto, Streaky, Brainy Barker, Ace, and Dalis Hailey were observing my session through a two-way mirror for legal purposes.

    "From the dark side of Krypton..." A flash of lightning went off and a roll of loud thunder. "...comes the canine lord of shadows..." Another peal of thunder and flashes of light erupted from the darkness. "Night..." a third blast of thunder silenced everyone in view of the scene. "...the Superdog." Another thunder roll was heard. "And I hunger..." Lightning flashed a final time as a deep close up of Night's face was point blank with the registrar. "...for you."

    I think that was the day I learned how everyone within four blocks sounds like when they lose control of their bodily functions. Even Krypto, Streaky, and Ace. Dalis on the other claw merely whispered, "That's my boy!" He LIKED it!

    "...and don't you DARE mark me as an anti-hero, either. Or else you get to be my dinner - tonight. You have to leave these offices - sooner or later. And I'll be waiting."

    I then gave the guy a smile and a wink since it almost seemed as if I nearly gave him a heart attack. "Don't worry; I won't eat you. Krypto and Rudolph are taking me out for pizza later."

    A big sigh of relief was the next thing I heard. And soon after, I had my official hero ID card, which also labeled me as a Sponsor Program "Big Brother" employee. I assume Cheer Bear had something to do with that part. And that's a good thing. I didn't mean to scare Cheer Bear the other day and this guy asked for it.

    When I emerged from the session, Krypto was there with a look on his face. "If you ever do that voice in the house, you will be grounded for a month in the basement." He then smiled. "Ready for that pizza party, Harold?"

    "Yeah, I am," I replied with a smile. "And I promise... no using the spooky voice at home. That is for bad guys only. Now lets swing by a bathhouse so you guys can get cleaned up, then we'll snag Rudolph and go get some pizza."

    End of Chapter Eleven

    Chapter Twelve

    The pizza party outing was all I could expect it to be. Of course when the photographer tried to take pictures of the party, No-Heart was directly in the way with an angry glare on his face. Needless to say, that photographer departed very quickly. No-Heart then sat with us at our table.

    "What brings you here tonight?" I asked. "There is plenty of pizza for all."

    No-Heart didn't look hungry. In fact, he looked as if he was about to be the bringer of bad news. "That complaint you registered will only stop the producers for 24 hours, Harold. Your best bet to dodge these film happy morons would be if you were to join a Maverick College because doing so would make them lose interest in you. Even though you are registered as a superhero, like Krypto, all superheroes and even the Care Bears are scripted to perform in a TV show at some point in their lives. And the moment you agree to do a TV show, you will have to join the union. Thus until you are ready to do that, if you want to keep a private life, join a Maverick School."

    I growled at that bit of information. "Now what do I do, guys? Most of the Maverick schools I know about suck in educational pursuits. And I've yet to finish high school."

    Bat Hound then said, "I own and run MYTHS located in Coolsville, which is supported by the union. It's the only experimental Maverick school they will support. But Dalis sponsors one that none of the big name heroes will even talk about. MIT or the Maverick Institute of Technology which is located in Meta-Gotham. Sadly, I've heard that MIT is under fire from the investigations board and that would not be good for your reputation, Harold."

    I hummed. Scooby Dum was from Coolsville yet he was the principal in Terryville. If I enrolled at Ace's school, Principal Dum could bring me my high school home work in Coolsville and then I wouldn't have to be out in public where the Directors and Producers could get at me. I made mention of this to Bat Hound to get his response.

    "I think that is a good idea, although you still need clearance from your sponsors, Krypto and Rudolph," replied Ace as he glanced at the canine of steel. "He and I get into enough scraps without adding one more mess to the morass of things we're involved in. However... MYTHS does permit an on-campus TV show to be filmed. In fact, it would be the only way the Directors and Producers would ever get to see you legally. The name of the show is Mythical Talents. The idea of the show is to showcase up to 10 students per month in their struggles to improve themselves toward graduation and possible TV show contracts with the union."

    I hummed again. It didn't look like I was ever going to be able to escape the camera. So... if I couldn't escape from it, then perhaps I could coerce it in my favor. "Ace... do any of your classes focus on creating and managing superhero teams?"

    "There are a few that do," he commented. But then he seemed to get what I was going for and he slyly grinned. "You want to contract your own show which would be based in MYTHS, right?"

    I shot a grin at Krypto. "Do you know any Directors and Producers that you absolutely trust, dad?"

    Streaky smirked at the reference, glad I directed that at Krypto and not at him. "You know them better than I do, Krypto."

    The white canine Kryptonian hummed. "There are a few, yes. Some are better than others. What do you think, No-Heart? Maybe we can form an alliance between our filming and directing crews for Harold's idea."

    "I think Cheer Bear and Noble Heart Horse would both support this," he replied as he looked over a script of his own. "Just make sure you opt for writing your own scripts. Otherwise you might get stuck with garbage like this..." And he handed me the script to look over.

    "Let's see here... Uncle No-Heart bakes anti-caring cookies that taste badly and Beastly eats them all which changes him into a goodie-goodie which drives Shrieky crazy." I glanced at No-Heart. "You bake cookies? I thought I read on your web site that you hate cooking and that is why you have professional chefs to prepare all of your meals."

    No-Heart grabbed the script back with a grin. "Exactly. I don't cook. For anyone. I burned a boiled egg once. Me and kitchens are not a good idea."

    I turned to Ace. "I want to form a superhero team using students at MYTHS to fill the roster for a grade. You would come up with missions, jobs, and issues for the team to resolve and then you and other heroes would grade our efforts. The only filming crew allowed in the headquarters would be the approved elite that we are deciding upon right now. As for villains, for now, we would simply assist the big name heroes on missions approved by you, Ace. I get final say-so on permanent joining members of the team. During their testing period, they are referred to as Mythic Heroes. Once they are approved for joining the official team... they become Champions. What do you think?"

    Everyone at the table had that look of Olympic gold on their faces. Apparently I had come up with a good idea that even the Union would approve of.

    Krypto smiled. "I like that idea. If that is the plan, then I will okay your attending Ace's school. But you better graduate your high school homework or else I'll spank you on unscripted TV." He quickly added. "And no using the spooky voice on me, either."

    I grinned. "I didn't mean to use it on you during registration. I think that much poop is enough for one week. At least it clears constipation."

    Bathound chuckled. "Looking back on the situation, Krypto, we weren't expecting that affect. But now we do know what to expect so we might not be as affected by it the next time he does it. For now, I think we should get this party moved over to Coolsville so we can get Harold enrolled at MYTHS. Then he will be off limits to rogue filming crews and the union can keep a personal eye on him."

    End of Chapter Twelve


      Chapter Thirteen

      MYTHS in Coolsville was really something else. It was hard to believe that Ace owned a place this clean. The majority of the students were canine, but there were other species there as well. And for the record, MYTHS stood for Maverick Yeoman Techno Hero School. They didn't train you to be mavericks; the teaching method was what was truly maverick. It was... different. That was the best way to describe what it was that they did.

      However, as Ace was starting to process the registration, he ran into a snag. "Dammit. We have a problem, Harold."

      "What is it?" I asked quite curious now. As soon as I heard about it, I would soon be as angry as Krypto was regarding me.

      Ace simply looked me in the eye as he replied. "There is a really dumb Union rule that says you have to have completed high school before you can register at a hero college. And you said it yourself... you need to finish high school. I'm sorry, Harold. I really thought we could just get you straight in."

      Krypto was already growling at this turn of events. "That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. At Hero High, they'll take in toddlers with super powers and you're telling me that Harold can't get in here at his age because of his schooling?"

      "Look, buddy... I know you are upset over this turn of events and I know the film happy producers are waiting for Harold to show up in Terryville, which we cannot allow. But I think I know a way we can have Harold finish high school and the Producers won't ever see him."

      "Make it good, Ace, or else I use my heat vision on your balls," replied the white dog of steel. When Krypto is upset, it is not a good idea to pull his chain.

      Ace said, "We take Harold to Moo Mesa and let him finish high school there. As you know, the only filming crew allowed there are the bunch filming the COW-Boys of Moo Mesa. And there are no posture problematic dogs in the series. I am sure Marshal Moo would gladly help us with this problem."

      But then Brainy Barker butted in. "Actually, we can't do that, Ace. Moo Mesa is suffering from an epidemic right now and no one is being allowed in or out until they get the problem illness handled. I know it sounds like the Producers are one step ahead of you, but that route is closed. Any other suggestions?"

      "Just one and its only as a last resort," replied Ace. "The Gummy Bears have a private school in Dunwinshire. Normally they only take in members of their own species, but Zummy Gummy owes me a favor. I could cash in this favor to get Harold into their school. And believe me, unless you're scripted into their show, their filming crew will NOT film you. So its perfect for Harold's schooling. Cavan and Kaela would be a big help to Harold."

      I then said, "If that fails, maybe you can get me in contact with Papa Smurf. He's supposed to be a fair teacher."

      Krypto hummed. "Now there's a good idea. No-Heart and Gargamel know each other with the Villains Union."

      Streaky then yawned. "I also have a suggestion although its one on the shady side and not publicly known. Lord Lampwick has a school out on Pleasure Island. He doesn't advertise it to the public, but we could probably get Harold in there easily because the island's magic only works on humans and toon humans, primarily."

      Ace and Krypto were then making phone calls. I could tell it wasn't going well because at the end of each phone call, each canine hero had a pained look on their muzzle. Finally, they permitted Streaky to place his phone call. What he said was very simple. "Got room for another student, Lampy?" Pause. "Cool; we'll bring him out tonight." Another pause. "See you then." Brief pause. "I'll bring the carrots. Bye." He then turned toward me with a smile and he winked. "You're in."

      Krypto and Ace were in shock that Streaky easily got a schooling situation arranged so quickly.

      "Are you sure Lampwick will let a mangy old mutt like me in his school?" I asked out of curiosity.

      "If you carry the delivery of carrots to him," stated the super cat. "he'll be glad to have you in there. Normally, he is only training new recruiters. But this is an emergency. And there are no filming crews out there. Which means no accidental air time that you don't approve of."

      I hummed as I thought about it. Lord Lampwick was one of the sexiest toon donkeys on QC Planet. Aside from running an amusement park which was used to change bad boys into donkeys, nothing was ever said about his having a school. So perhaps this was the golden lining. And if this panned out, Streaky would get a ton of fresh fish from yours truly. He would have earned it. And I always keep my promises. Especially in cases like this. The cat's weak spot was his stomach.

      "Okay, Streaky. Let's get those carrots ready and make the trip to Pleasure Island."

      End of Chapter Thirteen


        Chapter Fourteen

        It was well after dark as the small rowboat made its way to the mist shrouded docks at the back side of Pleasure Island. The rowboat seemed to only have a single occupant within it if anyone at a distance noticed the rower at all. Particularly snoopy Directors and Producers. But as the rowboat entered the mists it was lost from sight. Dockside, Lord Lampwick and two of his top recruiter donkeys awaited the arrival of the rowboat. This was not the public entrance for the island; this route was only used by Lampwick's recruiters, usually. But tonight... it was being used to smuggle in a student who needed to finish high school in secrecy.

        Gargamel stayed in the rowboat with Streaky and Azrael, while Harold with a sack load of carrots departed the boat to the dock. Gargamel said, "There's your student, Lampwick. Not exactly a smurf, but the need for secrecy was top priority. Stupid Producers won't leave the boy alone."

        Lord Lampwick nodded his head. "I am sure the others will repay your services done tonight, Gargamel. This is for your trouble." And a bag of gold nuggets and gems was handed over to the old wizard. "Safe passage is being granted to you for the return trip. Come along, student. Captains? Bring up the rear." And he led the black canine and the two donkeys inland into the mists surrounding the island.

        Gargamel looked at Streaky. "Are you sure Harold will be okay out here? He isn't going to sprout donkey ears, a donkey tail, and hoofs... is he?"

        Streaky replied, "Lampy told me that the magic only affects people who act like jack asses while on the island; he said it doesn't affect dogs. So Harold should be safe. He isn't human anymore unless Lampwick knows something we don't. Let's get out of here. Harold has promised me all the fish I can eat if he can finish high school out here."

        Once Lampwick had Harold away from the docks where no one would see nor hear them, he stopped and turned toward the black canine of steel. "I haven't told Streaky this, but the magic on this island can affect anyone who has too much fun. Since you're trying to finish high school in privacy, I hope you can be serious in the classroom. But otherwise... you may find yourself in fun or even pleasureful situations. So please try not to start braying. Once it starts, you have to go all the way before I can perform a restoration on you. And even then, the cure isn't free. You have to work for it; meaning donkey work. Now, let's get moving. You'll need your sleep tonight; tomorrow you start your classes with my other recruiters who are getting their education." And they started off again.

        Once inside the Recruiter Dorms, I was shown my new bedroom where I got settled in and then Lampwick helped me to relax. I won't say how he did it, but some things are better left unsaid. Interestingly, I found the entire exchange to be fun. Not fun enough to grow donkey appendages, but still... it was fun. The night passed quickly.

        For the next few months, however, I was either doing class work or working one of the amusement park rides while wearing a full donkey costume. It was best that no one knew I was a black canine while I did the job I was asked to do so the costume was for the best. And everyone who saw me thought I was a real donkey. So it worked well.

        One day while I was in class, we got word that the Producers were sending Narrators around to locate where Night the Superdog had been stashed at. I quickly got back into my costume and then wore it for the next few months. I didn't want to take any chances of someone seeing the black Labrador working or schooling on Pleasure Island. Don't get me wrong; some of the Narrators are super nice and they are very trustworthy. But when they are being sent by Producers to find me, that's where I draw the line.

        So the costume stayed on. And believe me... that isn't the best thing for me. These costumes are usually shared between the donkeys, so I began to get soaked in donkey sweat and donkey scent the longer I wore the costume. It wasn't as overpowering as a skunk, but it was distracting and arousing at the same time. Most days I sported a nice sized erection which I couldn't get to go away. Other days, I found myself tasting donkey inside the donkey costume's head. And that isn't the best thing to have in your mouth, if you want the truth. Pleasure Island Donkey fluids can really mess you up badly if you get too high on the stuff. And Pleasure Island chocolate is even worse. The scent can make you do stupid things and the ingredients can change into a real donkey albeit doped up.

        Wearing the costume can be funny sometimes since it has often fooled even Lampwick when he thinks I am just another Recruiter in training. Again, I won't say what he and I ended up doing in those situations; I don't want to embarrass him. He is a really sweet donkey after all. And a good teacher.

        Finally the day came when I was taking my high school finals. Yes, I was still wearing the donkey costume. I wouldn't have to if the Producers would stop looking for me already. Lampwick did get word out to Krypto and Ace what the Producers were up to recently with the Narrators and even though we hadn't heard a peep out of the Narrators since, I wasn't taking any chances. The costume stayed on. Regardless of how it was making me feel.

        When I completed my finals, one of the top Recruiters greeted me after class and asked me out on a date. I don't know if he thought I was a real donkey or if Lampwick had told him who I was, but Clarence was one of a kind. As with Lampwick, I won't say what he and I did on our date that night. But we treaded the fine line of what is naughty.

        Needless to say, I learned that I liked getting big ones. And Clarence was a big one. In every way. Hee Hee.

        The following night, Lampwick claimed the costume and saw me off at the mist shrouded docks for my boat ride back to the mainland. I gave him a deep kiss before I left.

        End of Chapter Fourteen


          Chapter Fifteen

          Back at MYTHS, I spent the next few midnight hours in a detox bath simply to get the smell and excess donkey fluids out of my fur. Plus, I didn't need the whole school smelling me in that particular way. While I was doing this, Streaky got his 'All-the-fish-he-could-eat' reward. His idea really panned out and not a single unsolicited video appeared with me in it. I was happy, therefore Streaky was happy. He got his promised fish. As we said before, the cat's weak spot is his stomach and he knows that my promises are like gold. Streaky really came through. Once my detox bath ended, I went to the MYTHS registration office where I got to meet the officer in charge of new registrants. Now being both handsome and clean, I padded up to the desk.

          The sexy Golden Retriever with white feathered wings smiled when he saw me was standing there. "Name?"

          "Harold Dangers."

          He grinned at me because he recognized me. "Desired Maverick Identity?"

          I had been thinking about something alternate to call myself since the Producers were still hot after Night the Superdog. "Publicly, I will be called Darcadia, the Canine Lord of Shadows. But I think you know full well what name I have been registered as a hero under." I winked with a smile.

          He was quietly giggling as he wrote down this information. "What is your power or ability?"

          "I am the all-black version of Krypto of whom I will call my cousin. I was once the ward to Timesheart Tiger and was in the Sponsor Family unit of Krypto and Rudolph. They still consider me to be their adopted son."

          The retriever stood up and reached across the desk to shake my paw. "We are so proud to have you here, Harold. Ace is going to be so happy. I was told to direct you to the VIP ward, Gold Room Number 1. Welcome to Myths, Darcadia."

          I smiled and gave the retriever a kiss before I headed off toward my assigned room. Yes, Myths was unofficially getting Night the Superdog. The one, the only, the original.

          A few hours later, while I was arranging my VIP quarters with my trophies and mementos from my life in Terryville and in the Cloud Kingdoms, I could hear the other students arriving at my door, which I expected, honestly. "Students are the same as ever. Glad some things never change." In a way I was glad I was going to get to meet the other students. I knew Ace would be showing up later to give me the official tour of the Maverick School.

          I chuckled as I opened the door and smiled with a wink at the other student heroes. "Hello guys. Super hearing, you know. I am Krypto's cousin publicly." I struck my pose.

          The students all came pouring in.... and at the pose, about a third of them fell over in a dead faint. However I was soon almost covered by the tidal wave of affection... and in some cases, OVERLY affectionate students. I grinned and allowed the fans/students to touch me and ask questions. They were all very eager to find out all there was about me, a few even asked for my autograph and body-part signings. And more than one tried to snatch tufts of fur. I catered to all, except the requests for my fur.

          "It takes Superman's scissors to cut my fur. Sorry." I made a sheepish grin at that admission.

          A really cute looking male lizard said, "Are you here to stay, Night? Will you stay here long enough to spend time with ALL your fans?"

          I smiled coyly. "I am here to fulfill a promise to Ace to take classes here and to form an in-school superhero team, The Champions. So yes... I will be around a while. Maybe longer than most of you. However, please don't call me by the official public name 'Night the Superdog'. I am registered here at MYTHS as Darcadia, the Canine Lord of Shadows. Damned Producers are still actively trying to turn Night's life into a reality TV show. So MYTHS gets Darcadia."

          Another of my fans asked, "I wanna take your class... any class your in... Can we sign up for classes you will be in?"

          I smiled back at the fan. "Of course you can sign up for classes I am in. There will be several of them regarding hero team management. But let me warn you. Please don't sign up just to admire my body. That won't impress me much. I am in this to help other potential new heroes to get a fair start in a hero team."

          Another student, a female European stoat, asked, "Do you have any girlfriends, Darcadia?"

          I chuckled as I allowed my eyes to glow in that eerie purple at the question. "I am bisexual, miss. But as yet, I am not seeing anyone. I really haven't had the time, although Cheer Bear is attractive in my opinion." I winked with a smile.

          End of Chapter Fifteen


            Chapter Sixteen

            A few weeks later, I was being tested for my strength in one of MYTHS classes by an obnoxious and proud rhino instructor who cared little for who I was let alone Ace's rules. Little did he know what he was about to cause me to do to him this day.

            "Lift that weight tester, scum bucket! Do it!"

            I was starting to HATE this instructor. I knew I could lift the damn weight and probably throw it clear over the moon of Pluto.

            "Lift it! Are you too WEAK?!"

            I then growled and picked up the weight with one paw and in the next instant, the weight was wrapped around the instructor's neck and throat. Then... released, causing the instructor to slam to the floor, as I stormed out of the classroom.

            "Help? Someone? Anyone?" whimpered the instructor, clearly in some pain, but impressed none the less. It would take him some time to get free of the weight.

            Later in the MYTHS Recreation Lounge, I sat at the counter on a stool as I sipped on an orange Slush. I wasn't very happy and I didn't want to talk about what I had done to the instructor. And I really hoped that word of what I had done didn't get back to Krypto and Rudolph. They were counting on me.

            A female leopard came stretching into the lounge, sat at the counter, and ordered a cherry coke. "I want real cherry juice mixed in; not that artificial syrup crap."

            Over in a corner booth across the lounge, a male Tibetan yak sat at his table having a salad meal and a small cup of Tibetan Tea. He also was not happy with what he had done to an instructor earlier. "Perhaps I should go home to Tibet-Japanopolis. I don't fit in here at all."

            James Talbot, Jr., a male human turned anime lion man whom I knew from months before at Terryville, sighed as he walked into the lounge, barely noticing anyone else as he sat down in a booth in the back, placing his large feline head in his paws, most of his face hidden by his still growing mane. The reddish gold fur standing out nicely against deep, dark black of his body fur. He usually used his human illusionary form when in public and not in class but he was too upset to care at the moment.

            It wasn't long before a young male gecko joined his fellow MYTHS students in the lounge, sitting down in front of the bar and ordering a peaches and ice cream smoothie. He was really upset at his instructor and still muttering under his breath that he didn't think he would give out the combination anytime soon.

            Just then, a handsome male witch cat teleported in, appearing near my location as he sat down in an available booth. "Hey handsome... You look like you feel about as rotten as I feel right now. I... don't suppose you've... heard?"

            I said, "I lost my temper to an instructor and gave him a weight machine bow tie."

            The leopard overheard that and commented with... "I left my instructor in a Velcro mummy wrap."

            Across the chamber, the yak exclaimed, "Mine is unconscious. That is... if his head isn't inside his pelvis."

            James said, "Mine is unconscious in a pit of very horny slime-creatures."

            From the bar, the young gecko said, "Mine is in a high-tech custom made electrically charged cage with a three million digit hack-proof digital lock on the front."

            The witch cat blinked his eyes. "Wow.... all I did was accidentally cover a fourth of the school in shit and garbage and got four weeks of janitorial duty."

            I smiled when I heard James's voice. "So you're in here, too. Sounds like we all just had one of those really bad days." I then giggled as I mulled over how a lot of the responses sounded. "I actually miss have Pepe Le Pew was a teacher. He's a great kisser, though."

            The female leopard smiled at that point. "I'm Rya Quetzales, also known as Elastic Leopard."

            I smiled at Rya. "Harold Dangers, otherwise known as Darcadia, the Canine Lord of Shadows."

            The male yak came over and sat down nearby. "I am Yok Mauk. Martial arts master. I hate super villains. One of them killed my master from back home."

            End of Chapter Sixteen


              Chapter Seventeen

              James said, "Yeah... I'm in here too. Your right. Today's been a pretty bad day." He moved closer as well, "I'm James Jonas Talbot Jr. Just a basic magic user; nothing too fancy nor flashy."

              The male witch cat snorted. "Cousin, most people know of us. Even if we try to keep a low profile." He chuckled. "But I'm Jonas Atticus, Lord Albert's grandson. Also a magic user but I'm the Warlock Cat Lord Extraordinaire! Or I would be if I could get that summoning spell down right..."

              James snerked. "Sounds like for the next few weeks your the JANITOR extraordinaire."

              Jonas blushed hotly. "Shush you."

              James said, "Hey. I'm allowed to tease you."

              Jonas lunged over at James, wrestling with him, before getting a bite in on James' ear and poofing back to hide behind me with a grin.

              James smirked, rubbing his ear.

              The young gecko blushed hotly but came over too... a little closer. "Do they always act like that?" He introduced himself to the others and I. "I'm Athame Kingsan... er... The um... one... er... Dalis brought here..." He blushed hotly again, still not sure how to introduce himself to others. He was kinda recognizable; it was on the news.

              I shot a smile at Athame. "If Dalis vouched for you, then you have to be good, Athame. Not just anyone gets the big love panthagoyle to vouch for them."

              At that moment, Ace entered the lounge and grinned at our group. "Harold. I was looking for you."

              I grinned back at the Bathound. "I'm in a secret meeting of those who had a bad day. What do you need, Ace?"

              Ace replied, "It is time for you to gather your primary team members for that other part in which you registered here at MYTHS to complete."

              I hummed as I looked those who were already gathered there with me and I already knew that unless someone spoke up for some of these people, then it wasn't likely that any of them would ever make it into a real hero team. I glanced back over at Ace again and said, "I want James, Jonas, Athame, Rya, and Yok on my new team. Otherwise, you better move on along before you end up with a weight machine bow tie you can't get off."

              Ace giggled and said with a very serious face, "Yes, I heard that you had done that. That instructor deserved it and he is being spoken to by the Union. We have protocol here and you are to be treated right. So you want these guys, do you?"

              I replied, "Take it or leave it. That's my final word."

              Ace nodded his head and departed the lounge still giggling. His departure actually worried me. I had no idea what idea I might have stuck in the veteran canine hero's head.

              "Now I am worried," I admitted to the others. "Of course he was on board for this hero team idea when I first mentioned it before joining here."

              Rya said, "Thanks for speaking up for us, Harold. You're okay." And she gave me a kiss on the side of my muzzle.

              Yok couldn't help but to smile. "I hope you don't regret wanting me on your team, Harold. I tend to hit a little too hard." He then stood up and gave me a kiss, too. "But thank you for wanting me."

              Jonas mrphed... and gave me a BIIIIIIG KISSSS on the muzzle with a grin, sitting down in my lap. "Hey this is MINE! I own this hunky sexy dude. Get your own!!!" He laughed and gave me a silky rub. "But.. I can share. And he is the nicest guy in the universe. Sweet... And he just LOVES it when..."

              James said LOUDLY, "That's good, Harold. I'm glad you decided to have us on your team. I REALLY hope you don't mind us being on your team. You're a really great friend as always..." Thankfully cutting off what Jonas was about to say.

              Athame says, "W..w.ell... I... I'm kinda grateful. I think the Rhino probably would have put me on.... report... or have me kicked out after what I did."

              End of Chapter Seventeen


                Chapter Eighteen

                I smiled and leaned over to Athame and kissed his cute forehead. "A chance is all this group needs. And I know that most of you probably wouldn't get it. Ace is actually in my back pocket in regards to this new hero team format. So I had to speak up for you guys or it might have been several months or school years before you got a fair chance to be on the team. You're still doing it for a grade, naturally."

                Athame blushed hotly, stammering a little as he tried to say 'thank you'. Even Jonas could barely repress going 'awwwww' at that. Athame is a very small person normally and is quite shy on top of that.

                Yok grinned. "You can ride on my shoulder, Athame. I've heard of your other self... and most know that I need no other form." He winked.

                Rya chuckled. "So we're going to be on your new team? What is it called?"

                I said, "During team training, we are called Mythic Warriors, but once you pass the finals, you are given the option to join the team officially as... The Champions. Now come with me... I want to show you where the team headquarters is. Dalis gave me a tour of the place the other day. It is lofty; perfect for a panthagoyle."

                Some time later, we arrived via underground shuttle rail in the basement arrival depot of the Comet City Administrative Building (otherwise known as City Hall.) This was the mayor's home base for this burrough of Meta Star City. And the local mayor was none other than Diana Prince. That's right; Wonder Woman. Or Wonderful Woman.

                We then rode the elevator up to the penthouse level where the hero base was actually located. The training chambers were actually located below ground, so this was the main living quarters for the superhero team itself. "...and this is the Champions meeting room," I said. "I am surprised that Dalis had the place so well furnished. I come here at night, usually, to study and train in private. The library and training chamber are in perfectly good working order, too."

                Yok nodded his head. "The kitchen was actually clean. I am impressed."

                Rya said, "I actually like it. Does that big monitor work, Harold?" She was pointing at the big screen in the room.

                I smiled. "Actually, yes. It has two modes. Security Camera Mode for spying all over the MYTHS, and Communication Mode for contacting other places all over the QC and the outer world. I spoke with Miyuki, Timesheart, and Dalis just last night from this location."

                Jonas said, "I like the security camera mode." He winked. "It's useful."

                James rolled his eyes a bit but said, "I have to admit. It is odd that it is in such good condition. Do you think someone had a hand in keeping it so? And perhaps... a hand in making sure you received it, Harold?" James had a suspicious mind and the oddity seemed to be far too unusual to for him to ignore.

                Athame wowed softly. "It's... It's HUGE! BIG. I like it."

                I grinned. "If I had to guess, I would say that Dalis and Ace had a hand AND paw in my receiving it. You know how those two are. They act like they're married."

                Everyone laughed at my joke.

                James said, "That's true... But then Dalis HAS been good to you, Harold. He took an interest in you since day one."

                Jonas smirked. "Dalis also tried to DATE him, James."

                James shrugged his shoulders. "I guess but if that was his full intention, he's been the least constant lover I know. I think he just wanted Harold to trust him."

                Athame was busily examining the consoles and computers; he was really interested in the nerd side of the room. I walked over and showed the young gecko how to access the security cameras part of the system, as I turned on the big screen, which displayed every school room and hallway, and even the offices, in MYTHS. Though one of the mini-windows on the screen looked all 'brown'. It was marked as Arcane Asylum.

                I couldn't help but to grin at Jonas. "Your mess, I assume?"

                Jonas blinked his eyes. "That's...somewhat... impressive." He blushed when I mentioned the brown screen. "And yes... my mess."

                End of Chapter Eighteen


                  Chapter Nineteen

                  Rya smiled, as she pointed to a mini-window. "My instructor isn't Velcro'ed anymore."

                  Yok looked at one and sighed. "Mine is awake and reporting my strike to the dean. I'll probably get expelled now."

                  Athame hummed and fiddled with the controls some more, a soft golden aura surrounding one claw as the systems signal snowing up some before clearing and looking... newer. And suddenly, there is audio output as well as video. The quality of the signals seems to have improved a bit also. Athame grinned. "Yay! It worked!"

                  James grinned. "That's a slick job, Athame. Now we can listen in on the offices and find out what the instructors are saying to Ace and Dalis."

                  There was a meeting going on in the grading officer's chambers involving several instructors. They were complaining about my choices and how they thought based on performance that these choices simply weren't ready for the team let alone janitor duties. Perhaps after a few more weeks or MONTHS of class room training first.

                  And surprisingly, the head judge, a male stellar shark humanoid from Frontier named Silver Sword, was on my side. "Aside from Harold's little anger today, he does everything that is asked of him and he really doesn't need this school, you know. Krypto would take him back in a heartbeat - as is. I also need to remind you all that the Founder _IS_ and _HAS_ taken some sort of interest in Harold's performances here in MYTHS, so as much as the rest of you might hate this situation... until the Founder says otherwise... whatever Harold wants, he gets. Within reason, of course. And all he has asked for is a group of underachievers to be given one chance in his team. And of course if they can't cut it after one outing, then we can legally pull them back and place them in regular classes again. If it weren't for the Founder's interest, I would make my judgment based on academic reports that were provided to me by you, the instructors. Please note also that I am well aware of the bribes that the shady Producers have solicited to you for inside information on what Night the Superdog is doing in MYTHS and quite frankly, I sincerely hope you rejected those bribes or else you will be finding yourself not only out of work, but answering to the Union as well. So unless you want to take this matter up with the Founder, then this meeting is over. Is there anything else we can discuss while we're together?"

                  One of the more advanced instructors who happened to be sitting back letting the others speak stood up and said, "The more advanced students were requesting permission to take Darcadia with them on select one-time missions, for training purposes. As you said, Silver Sword, the other instructors may not like the circumstances, but Harold is very popular among the other more advanced students. They like having a Kryptonian on their side. And with Krypto not attending this school, they all want Harold."

                  Back at the base, I was actually BLUSHING now. I hadn't heard that nearly every advanced group in the school wanted me with them.

                  Rya grinned. "This should be interesting."

                  Yok looked greatly relieved that because of the Founder AND Harold, he was not going to be expelled.

                  James shook his head, silently, with a slight sigh. Uncle Atticus again. While I am grateful... Someday I hope I can work my way out my grandfather's shadow. I hope I can live up to Uncle Albert and Grandpa Jonas' names... But you can't force respect. And... I haven't done much to earn it yet.

                  Jonas grinned and nudged me. "See! I told you that you were popular!! I think I might just get jealous." He winked. "Of course I'd like to have you in bed, so I _KNOW_ why they'd want you, handsome." He grinned again. "Of course, there is a lot more to Harold Dangers than mere 'Kryptonian'."

                  Athame was just watching silently, listening carefully to the voices and just thinking. After the meeting was over, he looked at the others and said quietly, almost whispering, "One chance only."

                  Yok also noted the 'One chance only' clause of the deal. He really didn't want to blow this one chance. But the others didn't seem to get that it was only one chance. At least, they didn't act like it.

                  Rya said, "Am I seeing Ace and Dalis on mini-monitor seven heading toward Silver Sword's office?"

                  I looked at the screen. "Yeah, its them. I told you they acted like they were married."

                  Athame looked very serious as he thought about it. He didn't want to blow his chance either. Dalis got him this chance... He felt like he owed it to him to try his best. Plus he didn't really want to ever have to be that Rhino instructor's student again. Ever.

                  Jonas hrmed. "I wonder what's up with Dalis. He doesn't look... happy."

                  End of Chapter Nineteen


                    Chapter Twenty

                    James said, "I hope it's not because of our stunts today... I really don't think I could use another lecture..."

                    I smiled. "At least when Dalis lectures you, it means that he loves you and cares."

                    Jonas said, "I'm not so sure about that sometimes. But I guess your right." He scratched his ear, flicking it a little, before looking back at the monitors. "At least we all get to be on the same team."

                    James nodded his head. "True." He looked at me again. "So what else is there to see here, Harold? I rather like this place."

                    Athame looked back at the monitors, quietly, thinking still mostly to himself. He liked his new acquaintances but he's still feeling a bit like he didn't belong. Athame hoped that feeling went away after working with the others some but he's also pretty concerned over the 'one shot' deal.

                    Harold smiled. "Follow me, guys. I'll show you the training chamber and the team video library." And he started off down the hallway, leading all but Athame and Yok who chose to stay behind for a private discussion of some sort. Perhaps it was more of a bonding session. Those are always important.

                    I led the others into the training chambers and stopped short when I saw an advanced maverick training with some of the equipment set on a very high and dangerous level. "I recognize that guy," I whispered quietly. "He calls himself... Lightspeed Lemur. He is supposed to be with one of the advanced teams right now, but... if he's here, then he must have had another argument with them. And guys, they wisely keep their arguments at a level where the instructors don't learn about them. Lets not bother him while he is training."

                    Rya said, "Is he supposed to have these settings on Level 14 like this?"

                    I looked over the controls, then grinned. "Probably not, but... a little lesson should be taught for breaking training rules... accidents happen, you know..." And I changed the setting from 14 to 29, and through the safety window, my new team got to see just why a normal advanced maverick should never train in graduate conditions.

                    "What the Hell?!" Lightspeed Lemur yelled from within the now nearly deadly training environment.

                    James grinned at that and nodded his head, agreeing with Harold.

                    But Jonas looked over at Harold and said, "Do you really... think that was a good idea? I mean... If he gets severely maimed, it's going to be our fault."

                    I waited until it looked like curtains for the lemur, then... I turned the knob to ZERO and shut down the simulation, before opening the emergency door and rushing in to check on the shaken upper class maverick. "Good thing I was around, Lightspeed Lemur, or you wouldn't be here now. Any idea on what happened?"

                    Lightspeed Lemur started to say exactly what he had been doing, then he caught himself quickly when he saw the lower classed students watching from the window. "Um, I guess I didn't secure the controls at the lower setting before I came in and it slipped past what I had it set on."

                    At that point, I slapped the Lemur; not hard enough to hurt him, but enough to let him know that I knew what really happened. "Try again. I fully well saw what setting you had it set to, as did my friends. Level 14 is senior level; you know that. You're only a junior. You're not supposed to train at levels over 9. I do excel in the Training Codes class, LL. Now, do you want to tell me why you had it set to 14 before I taught you a little lesson?"

                    Lightspeed Lemur figured out fast why the simulation when ballistic at the end. "I had another argument with my group. Everyone in my group has had a chance to lead except me. Some of them had led the team two or three times already. And I've been in the group a little longer than most of them. So after the argument, I stormed out and came here to blow off some steam. I knew the place was kept up to par and I knew I could blow off steam without interruption... save for this time. What level did you teach me a lesson at?"

                    I smiled sweetly. "Level 29. Graduate Level. How do you feel?"

                    And the lemur fainted on the floor.

                    Rya said, "Looks like the truth knocked him out."

                    James LAUGHED and picked up the lemur. "Let's take the monkey boy upstairs and put him on the couch to sleep it off." Jonas simply smirked. "It's a good thing we were around though. I know what happens at the end of the sequence even on the level he was on."

                    End of Chapter Twenty
                    End of Episode Two: Champions of Myth

                    Stay tuned for the next episode, Graduate Level Mission