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    NTS-HD-03 Graduate Level Mission

    NTS-HD-03 Graduate Level Mission
    By Darrel James Vanwinkle
    April 15th, 2013

    Chapter Twenty-One

    I then said, "Guys... before Lemur Boy wakes up, I need to explain something important to all of you... Ace sorta tipped me off to this sort of thing before I came to the school here. LL broke the school rules by having his training level set too high. However... and this is the part that I've been tipped me off about... because of this incident, we can gain points with the instructors by reporting his action to them and possibly earn higher positioning in MYTHS. OR... and this is the important part... we can choose to say nothing and earn points with our fellow maverick students, regardless of their higher positioning than us. I can't make your decisions for you... but now you have a choice to think about. Do you want better respect from the instructors whom you may never see again once you graduate? Or do you want respect from the other mavericks of whom you may encounter during your hero patrols after graduation?"

    Rya blinked her eyes, quietly understanding what I was implying, but thinking about the pros and cons either way.

    James said, "well... We need the points to stay competitive... but... I don't like tipping off people who I wouldn't want tipping me off."

    Jonas countered with, "James! You can't even THINK about the first options. We USE this for our benefits.... By exploiting the POSSIBILITY of telling the instructors... PLUS, we can use the bonus to being trustworthy to gain more SECRETS... which we can exploit more!"

    James rolled his eyes. "Your just manipulative, Jonas. I think we should be honorable."

    Rya said, "Getting promoted into the upper teams would really be useful, I think, but having to deal with Mavericks with a grudge afterward... that might not be so great. On one paw, its the right thing to do, but on the other paw... you don't want to turn potential allies into rivals who may become enemies later on. But... I would want to be known as someone who did the right thing, regardless of rewards."

    I then reached over and pushed a button on the wall intercom unit. "Did you hear all that, Union Judge Silver Sword?"

    The head judge's voice answered from the Intercom, "Indeed I did, Harold. But weren't Athame and Yok with you?"

    "I think they are still in the command center forming a duo partnership."

    Silver Sword said, "Good. They might be on the road to recovery. As for the others... Lightspeed Lemur, you may get up now. Thank you for assisting with this test. Your comments and opinions will be recorded later."

    Lightspeed Lemur then simply sat up with his eyes open and said, "Always glad to help, sir."

    Silver Sword then addressed Rya, James, and Jonas. "I asked Harold to take you students into the team HQ and introduce you to a situation that happens often behind the faculty's backs. We sometimes don't learn about these things until well after graduation. Because we are trying to run a decent and safe school here, I wanted to find out if our beginning rookies would have chosen to side with the students who have been breaking the rules. It is a very difficult choice to make as I am well aware. Lightspeed Lemur isn't an upper class student like you were told; he's one of our undercover instructors. He teaches night classes which is why you didn't know who he was. And he knew exactly what he was doing too. Harold played his part a little too well. Level 29 was not necessary but no one was hurt. I am now going to give all of you a chance to state your case to me."

    Rya was blushing. She didn't know that this was a test that was set up by the head judge. "Sir... as I said just a moment ago... I don't want to make enemies from my fellow students, but I do want to do what is right. And not for a reward either. Apparently you are rewarding Harold with some extra credits for his bringing us here and putting us on the spot with this test."

    Silver Sword said, "Harold is a good student here. And regardless of who his sponsors are... he advanced out of his current class grouping to the sophomore level yesterday, but I insisted that we didn't announce that publicly to the school. I wanted to wait and give Harold a chance to put together a decent team who might be able to quickly advance, as he did, to sophomore level. I must admit, I was a bit shocked over his choices. But stranger teams have advanced through the ranks of this school. Jonas? James? I would like to hear from you both now."

    James blinked slightly... then said, "Figures." He shrugged a bit. "I stand by what I said though. It's a hard choice. I just want to do what would be honorable regardless of what rewards there might be. However, as a maverick, it's not always the clear choice. We often, as I understand it, have to make hard choices and even the, go with what WE believe to be right, regardless of what the law or moral compasses of others would say. It's why we're rarely called 'heroes'. I have to say, giving what I know of myself, I would probably kept it a secret and let the first one slide. Just my opinion though."

    Jonas was BLUSHING and after James finished his mini-speech, he said, "James, I doubt he wanted to hear a lecture from YOU. But... um... I agree sorta.... I'm sorry if I sounded overly manipulative... but... I have a grudge against the upper class students. They act like complete jerks to most of us. Even if they are better, it doesn't mean they have to act like that."

    Yok and Athame arrived at that point having been summoned by Silver Sword and having already given their opinions in private.

    End of Chapter Twenty-One

    Chapter Twenty-Two

    Silver Sword said, "Okay, now listen up, Mythic Warriors. Your first mission is to go into Comet City as a group and check out the First National Bank. The authorities were tipped off that someone might try to rob the place sometime this afternoon. This is normally a sophomore ranked mission, but Harold is that level already. You get to show me that your team is sophomore material. If you prevent the bank robbery, I will promote the whole team to sophomore status and you will be equal to Harold. You just let me handle the busy bodies among the faculty. Good luck and good hunting."

    Rya blinked her eyes. "We're being given a sophomore ranked mission? Wow... I didn't think I was that good yet."

    James hummed. "We'll need to make sure we approach this professionally... And do our best. We don't want to make fools of ourselves. And Harold? Do you want to take point or backup since your sophomore and probably have the most experience?"

    Jonas said, "I bet he'll wanna be first in. A bank robbery isn't that glamorous. I bet Harold could take care of the whole issue with one paw behind his back!"

    James sighed. "It's not about GLORY, Jonas. It's about a GRADE. If Harold does all the work FOR US.... We won't ever get promoted or get the experience. And we all need the experience. Especially if we're suppose to be a team. What if a bank robber has Kryptonite? Then it goes from Harold soloing it to Harold needing to be rescued. That's not what this is about. This is a team effort. I personally don't care how well Ranked Harold is.... He's our friend. We owe our placement to him and I say it's up to us to prove we deserve it more than just riding Harold's coat tails.....if he wore them."

    Athame said, while currently being held on Yok's shoulder, "I sorta agree... We should go though.... Don't they time our response time to the emergency?"

    I then said, "We go to the bank as a team, speak to the bank president, then take up positions around the bank and make sure no crooks hit the place. And you're right, James... this _IS_ for a grade. The union judges will be monitoring our progress."

    Rya hummed. "Maybe we should all have communicators so we can check with each other from our positions around the bank."

    Yok said, "Sometimes it is not the caterpillar that distracts the viewer... but the butterfly thereafter. We should be on our guard at the bank, regardless."

    James nodded his head. "I agree. Let's go."

    Jonas nod-nodded his head as well. "Sure thing. Sure thing." He then grinned. "This is EXCITING!"

    Athame looked over at the others and said, "I could make that but... I think it's more important just to get there and see what the situation is before we make plans."

    And so... the freshman team departed the base and headed into Comet City where they soon arrived at the bank and went inside. Momentarily, the team were meeting with the bank president. "...And then we got this weird letter a week ago telling us exactly when they were strike next and what they were going to be doing here. Naturally, we contacted the police, at first. But when it didn't look like they were taking this seriously enough, I personally contacted Ace." He slid the weird letter to our team.

    It read...

    We spun the wheel of crime and it landed on your bank
    In exactly one week from now we are going to swoop in and rob your bank
    We dare you to try and stop us


    Pentad overlords of infinite evil

    I giggled at the villain group name when I saw it. "With those initials, they better just surrender right now."

    Yok looked at the signature. "Pooie?"

    Rya said, "Does it really spell Pooie?" She stretched her neck over Yok's shoulder to have a look for herself.

    Athame said, "Silly Name... But we shouldn't underestimate them just from a name." He looked around quietly. "I like this place... There is a lot of useful metal here. If I had to pick a place, this would be a good one."

    End of Chapter Twenty-Two


      Chapter Twenty-Three

      James hummed. "I wonder if we could get a reading from the note itself? What do you think Jonas?"

      Jonas shrugged, "I could try if Harold thinks I should." He looked over at me. "Er.. Sorry. Darcadia." He then blushed. "I forget. Grade. Sorry."

      James chuckled. "Anyway, We could try to get a reading from the note itself for some intel. While the rest of us set up our patrol routes."

      I just grinned. "Darcadia is going to do aerial reconnaissance over the bank. Apex will man the Security Monitor Room. Yok Mauk will be taken inside the bank vault where he will stand guard inside the vault itself. Heaven help anyone who tries to rob the vault while he and his pardonable hoof is in there. Elastic Leopard and Warlock Cat will share a patrol around the building. And the Arcanist will be inside the bank lobby near but to the side of the front doors. If anyone tries to get in through the front doors, they will get a magical surprise. We have our orders. Any questions?"

      Rya said, "Nope. That does it for me. Come on, Warlock. We get to roam around outside."

      Yok said, "I... want to protect Apex. But I will guard the vault. But if he is in danger, I may leave my post. Forgive this yak if I do."

      Jonas took the note and grinned. "No problem, Darcadia. Let's go Elastic Leopard." He grinned again and started off with his assigned teammate while mumbling and examining the note. He wanted to know who wrote it and he had just the spell in mind.

      James stretched. "Well, I suppose that does it for me. I'll make sure anyone who gets by the others and Darcadia has a VERY WARM welcome." He grinned almost evilly as he walked off plotting.

      Athame looked at Yok and hugged him, "Don't Worry, Yok. I'll be fine. The Security Room is the best place for me, really. They...really, really don't wanna run into Apex there." He hopped down and started off to the back where the Security Room is locate. He looked and waved. "And don't let anyone steal anything!" Then he scurried off... along the wall then ceiling. Gecko leeezard.

      5 minutes later...

      I was in the sky over the bank, ever on alert to anything flying toward the bank, though most were either local well-known powers or toon birds, again, many I knew by name. While I patrolled, I was puzzling out the Pentad or POOIE. Pentad usually means a group or unit of five soldiers. In this case, villains. All looks quiet at the moment, but you can't let your guard down for a second. If this Pentad is five villains, then 5 directions or elements is what we should be on the lookout for. No sooner had I thought that when I was suddenly hit in rapid succession by a barrage of five super fast lightning bolts. And I saw where they originated from, too.

      Standing on a black storm cloud was a maverick Doberman senior unit. It was Blitzkrieg. "So, they put Yankee black superdog on sky watch," he taunted in his thick German accent. "Don't make me laugh until I pee!"

      I growled, "Blitzkrieg! That attack hurts even me! Oh no... please tell me you're not part of Pentad!"

      Blitzkrieg grinned. "I would like to deny you that, but I am! And so are my comrades! They should be arriving at any moment! I hope whatever team you put together for your graded test is able to defend themselves or this will be a very SHORT battle!" And then he laughed......or rather, he started to, when he got blasted off of his storm cloud by my super breath.

      On the ground, the other four were arriving on the scene... the king kodiak senior maverick known as Behemoth; the draconian senior maverick known as Leviathan; the Persian feline senior maverick known as Enchantra; and the magical, mischievous, and tiny dormouse senior maverick known as Whistleplix. They had been graded as the most powerful, heavy-hitting mavericks at MYTHS and their last assignment before they could earn their graduation was to fight against the new sophomore team and prove that they could actually take them in an important battle in Comet City. This was the test. And the hero team was about to see just what they were up against. Like P.E. in school... the coach would make two teams and then pit them against each other. And this was what the sophomore team was facing now.

      Rya blinked her eyes when she saw the group emerge from an alleyway across the street. "Silver Sword has got to be kidding! That's a group of the seniors!"

      Yok was inside the vault, so he couldn't see not hear what was going on outside.

      Inside, James himself could not hear what was going on that well either. So, he was merely on edge, waiting for word from the others.

      End of Chapter Twenty-Three


        Chapter Twenty-Four

        Jonas frowned. "Sending seniors against sophomores is so unbelievably unfair..." He looked at Rya. "I don't think they're friendly... should we make the first move?"

        Athame was quietly watching all the scene, inside and outside, through use of the surveillance equipment, modified of course. He opened an intercom to the Vault and told Yok and James what to expect. Then he looked back to what was going on. He had his own surprise to cook up.

        Rya said, "If we make our move first, they will know what our powers are and have an idea on how to counter us. But if they go first, and I don't want them to go first... then we'll be in a world of hurt. That Persian Warlock Cat is Enchantra. She graduated the Consortium last year. Like you, she was attending MYTHS at the same time. But she was a year ahead of you. And I've heard that she is a lesbian."

        Yok growled as he clopped his hoofs together in anticipation. And even though he was inside the vault when he did that, both James and Athame could easily hear him do that without augmented hearing.

        Some distance from the bank in the sky, Blitzkrieg and I continued our one-on-one solo fight. I was hoping my friends were on alert for the challenge to come.

        Leviathan exclaimed, "There's the target guys. Now remember... we win if we go in and get out with even a single bank note. But if they defend the money from our clutches, then they win. And my friends... don't bother to pull your punches. It's the freshmen, for crying out loud."

        The rest nodded their heads and stepped toward the bank.

        Jonas nodded his head. "Good point... Wait.. She's actually GRADUATED the Consortium? Oh fun..." He said, "We'll hold off until the last possible moment... Then we'll give 'em our best. This is the real thing as far I'm concerned." He grinned. "Nothing to it but to do it."

        James frowned and stretched, pacing, trying to keep alert watching for coming enemies. He was somewhat excited.

        Athame however was trying to watch the incoming enemies to try to identify enemy weaknesses for his teammates.

        Whistleplix exclaimed, "Perchance we should get things started with a bout of tea, yes?" And suddenly, all of the non-Mavericks in the Bank were falling topsy-turvy as they found themselves pinned to the ceiling! "The innocents are out of the way, good chaps! Only ones left are the, what did we call them again? Oh yes, the Doofus Squad!"

        Rya growled, "I am going to so enjoy wringing that dormouse's neck!"

        And then, Behemoth and Leviathan surged forward and literally widened the Bank doors, as they literally crashed THROUGH the door frames and part of the side windows to enter the bank!

        Then Enchantra prepared to follow, but she stopped short when she saw Jonas to the side with Rya. "Carry on, boys... Personal score settling time." And she pointed a claw at Jonas. "JONAS ATTICUS! I HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH YOU!"

        Rya blinked her eyes. "She knows you?"

        Away from the bank again, intangibility along with darkness shrouded power punches and lightning bolts flashed back and forth, as Blitzkrieg and I continued their aerial battle over Comet City, where we were about to encounter something unexpected.

        Jonas raised one brow. "I suppose so." He looked over at Enchantra. "And what, pray tell, is the bone you wish to pick? I already have a boyfriend."

        James looked at the new door, "Well. It seems we have guests. Good evening, gentlemen. I take it your here for a withdrawal? I'm sorry, but your accounts haven been frozen." He immediately cast a spell to encase their legs in ICE.

        Athame hummed. "Mousy was cute."

        Enchantra growled, "That little prank you pulled on the girls dorm in the Consortium last year! Surely you remember that, don't you?"

        Rya hummed. "She's after you, so I'll go pounce the dormouse for insulting our team." And she stretched off to handle the shrimpy dormouse.

        End of Chapter Twenty-Four


          Chapter Twenty-Five

          Leviathan suddenly heated up very hotly, causing the ice to melt. Then he turned and stalked over toward James, as Behemoth headed over to the vault door.

          Behemoth rolled his eyes a little. "They didn't even put a guard in front of the vault? What a bunch of losers!" And he opened the vault door and...

          "Pardon my hoof." POW!...and Behemoth flew backwards out of the vault and crashed through the building across the street -- totally unconscious!

          Distantly in the sky, Blitzkrieg finally made a fatal error while fighting me... and this error resulted in a super paw hitting Blitzkrieg as hard as possible from behind!

          It was Krypto! "When you crossed the city border into Meta Star-Metropolis, you entered my territory!"

          Blitzkrieg quickly said, "TIME OUT! WE'RE IN A GRADE-AWARDING BATTLE FOR MYTHS!"

          I nodded my head. "Sorry, cuz. He's right. We're in Meta Star-Metropolis?"

          Krypto said, "You crossed the city borders about a block back. I was not interfering until you crossed into my city. And I am going to be reporting this city border crossing violation to the union judges."

          Both Blitzkrieg and I made an ugh motion and sound.

          James laughed a little at the big Behemoth going flying. Then he looks at Leviathan, "So I take it you didn't like my little ice spell... So what are you gonna do about it? Mmmm? Weak as you are, you don't seem like much of a threat." He grinned again, "Of course, I could be wrong. But you'll have to prove it."

          Jonas hummed. "Let me see....mmm... not ringing any bells. I don't think I ever did that. Sorrry, you must be confused."

          Athame sniggered. "This is going pretty well so far..."

          Leviathan glared at James, then surprisingly stopped himself and grinned. "Spell you said?" He activated his communicator. "Enchantra? There are two magic users. Jonas' cousin is in here. If one isn't the one you want, then the other must be the one." He looked at James again. "Whistleplix!"

          POOF! Whistleplix appeared floating in mid air with a grin. "You bellowed?"

          "Until Enchantra gets in here," said Leviathan. "entertain the young foolish Talbot. Be warned. He has spells. Now, if Yok Mauk is here, then that cowardly muscle lizard called Apex must be here too. COME ON OUT, YOU COWARDLY GECKO! OR DO I HAVE TO FIND AND TORTURE YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS INSTEAD?!" He wants to chance Apex.

          Whistleplix blinked his eyes, then said to James, "I don't think you and I want to be near this fool when Apex appears. I've personally seen what he does to others. We'll banter our abilities elsewhere..." And both instantly were in the Vault, having change places with Yok Mauk who was now out in the lobby.

          Yok said, "Do not insult my friend, hon Leviathan."

          Leviathan saw Yok at that point so close! "I don't want to fight YOU, yak! I want to fight that coward, Apex, who hides behind technology instead of showing what real strength he has, like you do! This is between him and me! You wasted your fight with Behemoth!"

          Yok replied, "The element of surprise was Behemoth's downfall, not any action that I have done. Now apologize to my friend or I will make you apologize. I didn't hit Behemoth in the nuts, but for you... I could make an exception."

          Rya had stretched her arm around to behind Enchantra and tapped her on the shoulder, before pulling away rather quickly. When Enchantra turned to look behind her, Rya whispered to Jonas, "Do it now!"

          Blitzkrieg and I were both back in Comet City now but we weren't fighting each other. Instead, we were both sat on a rooftop with sodas and sandwiches, comparing notes about various things.

          James rolled his eyes. "Banter our abilities? Mage on Mage fights are so boring though." He shrugged though. "Since we're in the vault... and I can't really have you leaving and possibly taking something with you. I suppose for now it can't be helped." He hummed. "So what _IS_ your specialty anyway?" He cast a large magical barrier around the vault. "We have plenty of time to catch up, so why not?"

          End of Chapter Twenty-Five


            Chapter Twenty-Six

            Jonas said, "My PLEASURE." He chanted a rapid spell with a grin, twisting the end of it rather suddenly as a LARGE mystical hand grabbed Enchantra and YANKED her down through the street, burying all but her head. "OH!!! So _THAT'S_ what that spell does! Neat. Entrapment Spell 34. Awesome. I'll have to practice that some more later!"

            Apex's voice said over the intercom with a hrmph, "Idiot. I am strong but I don't have to flaunt it... Here, Let me extend the welcoming mat." He grinned as suddenly the floor where Leviathan was standing rose up forming a thick metal cage that had a few hundred thousand volts running through it for a few seconds. Enough to incapacitate a normal rhino.

            Leviathan's eyes dimmed to a point, as he fell like a sack of potatoes! He was now out of the fight!

            Yok grinned. "Told you so. You should have apologized before this happened. Two down, three to go."

            Enchantra was stuck in the ground. "Damn you! If I get my fingers free, you will be toast! And furthermore...-" and the rest was lost when Rya stuck a sock in Enchantra's open muzzle.

            Rya said, "We used teamwork, Jonas. That is sure to score some points... but that spell you cast. You cast something that you didn't know of its effect? Isn't that illegal in the Consortium?"

            Inside the bank vault, Whistleplix said to James, "Protection barrier spell. Nice touch. Too bad its actually too late. And not because I took something. I didn't really want to join this senior mission, but the alternative was to write a nineteen page essay on your favorite known superhero or super villain. And because my writing sucks balls, I didn't have a choice but to join this outing against the freshmen. My specialty is Chaotic Confusion Magic. I take normal magic and twist it to my desires." He then sighed. "Now I need to explain my 'too late' statement. Our team were in here yesterday scoping out the bank's layout. We had even been in the vault. When we returned to our senior base, Behemoth showed us that he had taken a single bank note out of the vault as insurance to ensure that we didn't fail today. I don't know where he hid the bank note at afterward but all he has to do is show up at Silver Sword's office with that bank note and hand it over to him and your team loses. I am telling you this because I want my win to be done honestly. If I knew where the note was I would return it myself."

            Jonas hummed. "Well I did know it was in the Entrapment and Punishment Spells book... And I knew it wasn't fatal... or wasn't suppose to be.... But... We're not suppose to use any Consortium spells we haven't practiced at least once in front of an instructor..." He blushed. "I forgot."

            James hrmed. "Nice. My specialty is Penetration and Barriers so far. I have a Gift for penetrating, resisting and altering Magic at a base level... though it's not especially easy by any measure... So does anyone else on your team know where it is? Or only Behemoth? If he's the ONLY one who knows where it is, then I have an idea."

            Apex blushed, "Thanks, Yok... I hope I didn't hurt him.. I REALLY wanted to... he talked bad about my family!....The cuntboy." He is still pissed about that. His family's dead and this guy was talking about hurting them more.

            Whistleplix said, "I think Behemoth told Leviathan and Enchantra, too, where the bank note is. But he didn't tell Blitzkrieg and me. Blitzkrieg would have been confined to freshman level originally when he first joined the school, primarily because he couldn't speak any English, but I quickly vouched for him and I taught him English. I'm not sorry I helped someone else. Blitzkrieg is a nice Doberman."

            At that moment in the Bank Lobby, two union judges appeared and blew their whistles loudly. One said, "Exercise challenge is over, teams! Time to grade your performances! You will be graded on efficiency, dedication, and goals! You will also be graded on safety, compassion, and power usage!"

            Blitzkrieg and I entered the bank together at that moment and stood at the ready. My super hearing heard the arrival of the judges.

            Rya and Jonas entered, though Rya was bodily wrapped around Enchantra, fair and square. Behemoth was transported back in and was being given smelling salts. Leviathan was being treated for induced shock. And then, Whistleplix and James teleported into the Lobby from the Vault, standing near Blitzkrieg and I. Apex would have to emerge, too, even if he was back in gecko form. Yok was blushing a little when he saw that Behemoth had a nice hoof-shaped bruise on his stomach, but true to Yok's word, he didn't hit the groin. This time... Apex joined his teammates, standing almost taller than Yok as he walked over slowly, "Well that went better than I originally anticipated, Yok." He gave Yok a BIG hug and then stood next to him while they were graded.

            James nodded to Whistleplix. James uses a subtle Mentalist spell to convey what Whistleplix told him privately to me along with the thought that Whistleplix and Blitzkrieg might not be as bad as he himself originally thought.

            Jonas was grinning. "We got ours, Rya. You did really really good. It was nice working with you."

            End of Chapter Twenty-Six


              Chapter Twenty-Seven

              One judge said, "The seniors were defeated. 1 Point goes to the sophomores."

              The other judge said, "The seniors did case their target in advance. 1 Point to the seniors."

              The first judge looked at Jonas. "Were this a Consortium grading scale, the spell you cast would have cost you 10 demerits. But in the practice of maverick heroing, you tried a last defense type spell and you got lucky that it only entrapped your victim instead of causing serious harm. 1 Point to the sophomores."

              The second judge added, "Because Rya and Jonas showed teamwork in defeating a power greater than themselves, 1 Point to sophomores."

              The first judge said, "James and Dorwin chose to banter rather than cause destructive damage. 1 Point to each of their teams."

              The second referee said, "Darcadia and Blitzkrieg accidentally took their battle into another hero's patrol area. The hero chose to strike the one he didn't know and is related to Darcadia. Because your opponent took unnecessary damage, Darcadia, minus 5 points. And Blitzkrieg, for not paying attention to the allowed combat terrain, minus 1 Point."

              The first judge then said, "Personal comments and observations may now be made. We are still grading, mind you, so what you say will effect your final scores." He pulled the sock out of Enchantra's mouth. "For bringing another school's complaint into the battle, minus 1 Point. You are NOT in the Consortium now, Enchantra. You are in MYTHS. What complaints you had before should have stayed at the other school."

              Enchantra lowered her head. "I'm sorry. I will take a personal grade minus, but please don't fault the team because of me."

              The first judge said, "Your request has been noted."

              Surprisingly, Jonas spoke up, "I don't think Enchantra should have to take the grade minus either. I _DID_ pull a pretty nasty prank on her that left her pretty bitter toward me. I don't think our enemies, our REAL enemies, would ever forget even the slightest embarrassment we caused them." He blushed. "And I did sorta have help fighting her so, it was really two on one there." He grinned. "So if I give up my extra point for doing mavericky what I should be penalized for, can you just sorta...even it out?"

              Apex grinned. "Going soft on us, Jonas?"

              Jonas said, "No! I'm just sayin'... It was fun. And I kinda understand why she was angry and I would be just as bad. So I can't really see her getting extra demerits for something I'm just as bad as about."

              James chuckled a little, "Well I, for one, am just glad that it's not the instructors doing the grading."

              I then said, "It was brought to my attention that Behemoth took a bank note out of the vault yesterday, sirs. Yesterday was not the official challenge, therefore, that is actually theft. He was intending to present that bank note to the head judge in the event that the seniors were defeated. I have not been informed of where this bank note is right now but if it resurfaces on Silver Sword's desk and Behemoth or one of the other seniors are the ones who hand it over, then that would be underhanded cheating." I paused as I looked at Behemoth. "Or... you can simply return the note right now and save some embarrassment later."

              Both judges looked to Behemoth at that point. "Is this true, Behemoth?"

              Behemoth sighed. "I hate losing. I was simply arranging for a surefire way to win. I told the whole team what I did but I only allowed Leviathan and Enchantra to know where I hid it. I figured that Silver Sword would return the note to the Bank and no one would be the wiser. I don't know how Darcadia found out, though. Here..." He opened his collar and pulled out the bank note handing it over to the judges.

              The first judge said, "As Darcadia just stated, Behemoth, taking this bank note yesterday was theft. Because mavericks don't do that and are actually trained to stop criminals, your actions will cost you plenty."

              The second judge said, "My partner and I need to confer in private so we can discuss what to do about this turn of events. We will be right back. No one go anywhere."

              And they both walked into the bank president's office and closed the door.

              End of Chapter Twenty-Seven


                Chapter Twenty-Eight

                Rya sighed, as she released Enchantra and said to James, "This outing just got really messy."

                Yok said, "I personally would not prevent Behemoth from graduating, but I would make him clean the mayor's toilet with his tongue for a week. We are supposed to be the heroes, not the villains."

                Enchantra looked to Jonas. "Thanks for speaking up like that. I apologize for carrying the grudge from the Consortium to here. We make mistakes," she paused and smiled. "...colleague." Getting called that by a graduate is high praise indeed.

                Whistleplix said to Behemoth, "You just had to cheat and make the seniors look bad, didn't you?"

                Blitzkrieg said, "I think I am going to have a head bruise in the morning."

                I said, "Krypto shouldn't have hit you like that. When we get back to MYTHS, I'll personally see to your nurse's station visit."

                Jonas actually blushed again and gave Enchantra a friendly hug. "All's well that end well, right?"

                Apex looked over at Behemoth... then walked over slowly, "It isn't about winning or losing. If just winning or losing was all there was to it, there wouldn't be Heroes, Mavericks, OR Villains. How you get there matters JUST as much as the outcome. I'd rather _LOSE_ than win by cheating. I don't run around like this just for that reason. Because I'm not what my powers make me. I'm a hell of a lot more than that." He shifted back to his normal small gecko form, "That's what ticked me off most about Leviathan. I really REALLY wanted to kill him. (...and I hope he's okay, I didn't really want to hurt him...) He was yelling about TORTURING my family if he didn't get to fight me. My Parents... My FAMILY is dead because of super villains. Yok's family is dead because of them. Because of people who DON'T CARE how they get to the top. If we don't care... We're not ANY better than them." Athame then turned and scurried back over to Yok and climbed up to sit on his shoulder.

                James smiled just a bit and nods, "I agree completely. Anyway. This is for a grade. Let's not let anything that happened today keep us from at least trying to get along. Most of the upper classmen treat the lower teams very badly. But why don't we start over, guys? After the test, let's get the head and grab some pizza together. I know a great place over in Spooky Harbor." He winks.

                Jonas rolled his eyes. "EVERYONE knows about Arden's Pizza, bro."

                James said, "Yeah well.. It's still the best pizza around!"

                Jonas smirked. "No argument there."

                Athame looked around. "The bank's really a mess...I'm glad I don't have to clean the place up..."

                Leviathan at that point said, "These union hired judges always seem to forget that the Senior/Freshmen challenge is implied that one of the two teams are playing the villains. What I said during the challenge is exactly what a villain would say. I did pass my Villain Recognition class in the top 3. I don't speak that way all the time, but I did it this time because the Seniors were supposed to be playing the villains. As for stealing anything, it's not stealing if you intend to return it. And I was under the impression that it would be returned. Any damages I caused here today is being covered by MYTHS, because this was part of the challenge. The fact that Behemoth and I were able to do this damage at all will tell Ace that someone on the Freshmen team wasn't in position to stop us from getting into the bank."

                Whistleplix rolled his eyes. "Here we go again! Leviathan let his lawyer side out!"

                Enchantra hummed. "Did Silver Sword actually say that if we got this bank note, quote, during the challenge, unquote, that the Freshmen would lose?"

                I wracked my super-memory. "He didn't say that to us... in fact, he said..."

                Silver Sword said, "Okay, now listen up, Mythic Warriors. Your first mission is to go into Comet City as a group and check out the First National Bank. The authorities were tipped off that someone might try to rob the place sometime this afternoon. This is normally a Sophomore ranked mission, but Harold is Sophomore level already. You get to show me that your team is Sophomore level material. If you prevent the bank robbery, I will promote the whole team to Sophomore level status and you will be equal to Harold. You just let me handle the busy bodies among the faculty. Good luck and good hunting."

                "And so according to what we were told, if we prevented the bank robbery, which we did, then we would be promoted to Sophomores, even though I am already a sophomore myself. It was an incentive to win."

                End of Chapter Twenty-Eight


                  Chapter Twenty-Nine

                  Behemoth then said, "One of the union judges told us..."

                  The union judge said, "Okay Seniors, now listen up. Your challenge is to go into Comet City pretending to be a villain group and visit the First National Bank. The authorities have been tipped off that someone might try to rob the place sometime next week. This will normally be a Sophomore ranked mission, but Darcadia is Sophomore class already and he just put together a new Freshman team. If you perform the bank robbery and get out with a single bank note you will have earned your graduation rights. But if they defend the money from your clutches, then they win. Now get going and bring me back a bank note to show me you didn't fail like a bunch of Freshman Losers."

                  "So you see, he never said we had to get the bank note during the challenge. Only to get it."

                  Leviathan hummed again, his lawyer mind at work. "If what we were both told is true, then Silver Sword and this union judge will have to confer in order to reward both teams for succeeding in their tasks. All we have to do is have the judges come with us to Silver Sword's office, with the bank note, and we will let the judges explain the challenge and the results to him. He will get to see the bank note but he will also learn that Darcadia's team defeated us and prevented us from robbing the bank."

                  I was starting to get confused over this legalese talk.

                  Athame looked at Leviathan, "You really think that makes sense, Leviathan? What if I took a car, with the intent to return it, and drove it around for a while? Does that make it any less a crime? What if I rob a diamond store, use the diamond for some gadget and then return it. Is that thievery? Legally, the definition of theft is the taking of property without consent. That's still theft, Levi. Morality aside, it's a legal issue. Also, the context of time frame, you'd think it'd be set better. We were not informed of the challenge UNTIL TODAY. So anything you did up to the time we were informed of the challenge cannot or rather should not... be applied to us. At least that's my understanding. I don't mind if you graduate or not, but we shouldn't be counted as failing for something that happened before the test was properly administered. It's clear he gave you a head start to formulate your plans. But we defended the bank successful from the start of when we knew about it since the note was NOT taken today." Athame paused. "Did the union judge really call 'the Freshmen' a 'bunch of losers'? That's bigotry. How can he be a fair judge of someone if he's already saying the team are losers?"

                  Jonas said, "I was wondering about that too but. I think Leviathan has a point. Though, Levi, if your playing a super villain... and you say something like that... no offense... expect to get the same thing a super villain would."

                  James hrmed, his own mind working over the situation scenario. "Something about this seems off to me... This whole situation. Though personally, I don't mind if you graduate either. Especially the cute dormouse." He winked.

                  Athame rolled his eyes. "Head and mane out of the gutter, James. Anyway. I think..."

                  James said, "It's not in the gutter... yet... And besides, Athame, morality lectures aren't gonna make you friends."

                  Athame blushed darkly. "I didn't mean to lecture... I just don't like..."

                  James said, "We know. As you said. Anyway."

                  Athame sighed and said, "Yeah. Anyway. I think the Judges need to consider all the evidence, including the specifics of what we were told by Silver Sword and the other union judge."

                  Behemoth looked to Blitzkrieg and said, "Don't you have anything to say, Blitz?"

                  The Doberman had been focusing on the bank president's door the whole time.

                  Rya said, "I think he's too worried to respond, Moth Boy."

                  Yok was also focusing on that door, but for different reasons.

                  James said, "Well. There isn't much we can do now but to wait."

                  Athame nod-nodded his head. "That's true."

                  Jonas paused, looking at Yok and and Blitz... then shook his head a little and sighed softly wondering himself what was going on.

                  End of Chapter Twenty-Nine


                    Chapter Thirty

                    The door then opened and the two judges emerged from the office.

                    The first judges said, "A set of decisions have been made. Regarding your teams, you both completed your assignments. The bank was not robbed today. That was the conditions for your succeeding, Freshmen. The bank note was acquired during a visit to the bank. This also meets your requirements, Seniors. Therefore, all points regarding teams will be null and void."

                    The second judge said, "Individual grading is as follows: Behemoth and Leviathan both caused unnecessary damage to the bank and both will have to help rebuild what they have broken. Behemoth will perform additional community service for robbing the bank of even a single bank note, albeit, a dollar. Theft is still a theft. Enchantra admitted her faults and her lesser spoke on her behalf, therefore, she will not be demerited. Whistleplix successfully bantered with Arcanist in the Vault, rather than cause more damage. Also you saw to it that the civilians were out of harm's way. Good job. And Blitzkrieg..."

                    At that point, Blitzkrieg fainted. The anxiety was too much for him.

                    The second judge hummed. "I was going to say that Blitzkrieg only made the error of drifting the battle into Meta Star-Metropolis. And he was the first to call for a time-out and explain things to Krypto. That showed sharp thinking and quick response to a situation that might have gotten worse had Krypto decided that you were a real villain. You were attacking his cousin, after all."

                    The first judge continued. "Night performed his side of the fight well and only made the same error as Blitzkrieg. Afterward, you both bantered away from the Bank so you both resolved your side of the issue. James also resolved his situation with Whistleplix in an intelligent manner. Rya and Jonas displayed teamwork against a far stronger opponent, and while Enchantra cannot be faulted for acting the role of a villain, your use of an unknown spell, Jonas, was a risky decision. But it paid off and you succeeded in casting the spell. Athame did an excellent job of not only monitoring the battles, but recording them on tape as well. Had the Seniors been real villains, such a tape would be irrefutable evidence in a court of law. Excellent job. And Yok Mauk..."

                    Yok gulped. "Pardon my unworthiness, sirs."

                    The first judge said, "...While your accidents of hitting below the belt are known in MYTHS, you controlled where you struck Behemoth this time and hit him in the stomach. You successfully pulled off a difficult maneuver. Had you forgotten yourself, Behemoth would be in the hospital right now."

                    The second judge said, "And we were listening to your conversations while we were inside the office, too. What you said did make things favorable on both sides. Though Leviathan... legally, in this situation, we judges are the law; not you, not Silver Sword, not Ace, not your friends. Do not presuppose that you can force Silver Sword to reward either team. If we're right, the corrupt union judge will be taking a long vacation shortly."

                    The first judge then held his UEC communicator up to his face. "Do you agree with our judgment of this challenge, Dalis, sir?"

                    Dalis' voice was then heard, "I do. I think the judgment is fair all around. Let me also congratulate both teams on a job well done. Despite mistakes, you both performed very well. That is why we have tests. To know what mistakes we need to work on so that we may become better. All of us want to win, however sometimes, the situation means making a choice between winning and saving maybe not face, but life outside of the battle at hand. ALL of you have things to work on and I'm sure you will. Carry on. Forgive a windbag panthagoyle. Good luck in the future."

                    Jonas grinned. "Alright! I think that's great! Let's all go get PIZZA to celebrate!! James' treat!"

                    James rolled his eyes but went over to help Blitzkrieg up and make sure he didn't hit his head on the ground when he landed.

                    Athame blushed at all the praise but was happy with the outcome.

                    Later at Arden's Pizza Parlor in Spooky Harbor, everyone from both teams where having pizza and drinking colas, though Yok was having iced tea. He had a delicate stomach.

                    I said to the doberman, "How's the head, Blitzkrieg?"

                    Blitzkrieg was leaning on me with his head bandaged a little. "Still stings, but not so much now."

                    Suddenly, Ace entered the Pizza Parlor and walked over to our group. "Good job on your outing. But..."

                    End of Chapter Thirty
                    End of Episode Three: Graduate Level Mission

                    Stay tuned for the next episode, Filling in For Krypto