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NTS-HD-04 Filling in For Krypto

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    NTS-HD-04 Filling in For Krypto

    NTS-HD-04 Filling in For Krypto
    By Darrel James Vanwinkle
    April 15th, 2013

    Chapter Thirty-One

    Jonas wavied at the Bathound. "Hi Batty." He giggled a little. "Thanks!"

    Athame waved to Bathound politely. He helped James bandage the doberman's head. And it was proven he could have some gentle claws when he wasn't pissed off. He was eating a special 'gecko' pizza that had special ingredients lizards needed and loved.

    James looked up slowly, "But? Buts are not usually good. What's up?"

    Ace nodded his head. "As Dalis told you earlier, you have tests to help you iron out your mistakes. But the thing you all need to know is this: there is a real Pentad villain group out there. And while you didn't face them today, just remember... they are very very powerful. They operate outside of the union and do what they like, whenever they like. We suspect that Professor Dip works for them, and we know they have at least two magic users on their team. But the others are virtual unknowns. And now you know what you are training for. One of the Pentad members tried to kill both Jonas and James once. So don't underestimate their team if you meet them. Their goal is to conquer the QC first... then the entire Earth. I am sorry if you think this is big league stuff, but the Pentad will stop at nothing to win."

    James frowned quietly. "They're the ones related to the disappearance of the Talbot Relics and the Toonium Caper that Dip was involved in. No, this is the big league alright." He looked at me. "What you want to bet Pentad pulls something now? A group...using their name... in the papers. Even as a training exercise, it was a real run. I bet they react to it. I hope not... but I bet they do. Ace is right... These guys _ARE_ vicious. And they do NOT play by the rules."

    Jonas said, "Bah. With Harold as Darcadia and the rest of us? They don't stand a chance! I bet they're off hiding cause they're scared."

    Athame said quietly, "A wise man speaks less than he listens, thinks more than he acts, and acts only when the time is ripe. Foolish is the man who rushes in where angels tread lightly and does not give caution it's due. Fear is one thing. Prudence another."

    Rya said, "I remember reading about the Talbot Relics in the papers. If this Pentad group is responsible, then maybe they took things just to prove they could. They could have used these things by now if they were going to... unless they are missing one ingredient. But what would that ingredient be?"

    Yok glanced over. "Think not to forget that ingredient could be mixture, relic, or even a living person. James is right; we will hear from these people sooner or later."

    I said, "I am good, Jonas, but I am not foolhardy. When it comes to magic, I'm useless, just as Krypto is."

    Ace smirked. "Keep training, my friends. I have a patrol to return to. Streaky is waiting on me. Krypto is in Frontier again. If he has a secret boyfriend up there, I'll kill him." And he departed the pizza parlor.

    James hummed. "It's possible, Yok." He smiled. "But we don't have to rush to face them either. Let's have a good time and eat and enjoy what time we have."

    Jonas said, "I guess. But I still think we can take 'em. And we have friends too. Right?" He looked over at Enchantra and the others.

    Athame nodded his head but remained quiet through most of the meal; quiet and thinking.

    I was glad for the outing to be finally over with. We did good and my team had succeeded in reaching Sophomore ranked status. Therefore I did put together a pretty good team, if I do say so myself. But remember: I am still a Big Brother Sponsor with the Care Bears as well as a registered hero. I think however, I will need to get the information on my hero registration changed over to my new name. Darcadia was fitting me more and more. And not a peep out of the shady Producers. I mean, during this outing, they could have filmed my battle and had a field day... unless being with a Maverick school did exactly as No-Heart said; made them lose interest. But they weren't giving up on me just yet, obviously. I still recalled that Silver Sword had said that the Producers had offered the MYTHS instructors bribes for information on what I was doing in the school. They knew Night the Superdog was attending MYTHS but they didn't know what I was doing in the school.

    I'd let Silver Sword, the Union, and Dalis' UEC (Unstoppable Exploration Company) handle the shady Producers. To me, these twits were worse than PENTAD and I hadn't even met PENTAD as yet. And hopefully I wouldn't have to. But my next stress wouldn't have anything to do with MYTHS at all; it would involve one of my sponsor parents.

    For now, however, Arden's Pizza. The best damned pizza on QC Planet. Not bad for a bunch of sexy hell hound chefs. And I mean SEXY. I wish I knew how they got so hot.

    I shot a grin over at the cute and sexy leeezard, who of course just blushed. I knew he was going to be the best damned member in the Champions once he graduated. Tech guys like him are very rare and he pulls off the cute factor so easily.

    End of Chapter Thirty-One

    Chapter Thirty-Two

    A few days later began what I will call the worst part of my life. By now I was sharing a dorm room with Blitzkrieg (who was taking a refresher course,) a black canine who was like a superdog but was not Kryptonian (he calls himself Blackflight,) and an Australian husky named Warpdrive (this guy is just FAST!) Oh, and I live at the Champions base now; the VIP quarters was nice, but it made me feel too important. And I told Ace that, too. He agreed and showed me the rooms at the base. Much better. MYTHS was really getting packed primarily because of new hero hopefuls wanting to meet with Night the Superdog and even more, to learn from him. I wonder when they are going to learn that I call myself Darcadia now? Yes, I did get my hero name registration changed. The registrar said it showed maturity since I was getting out from under Krypto's shadow.

    And speaking of Krypto... mucka-sonna-fracking-dog-turd... he had gone AWOL and now every emergency he would ever have been given was being redirected to, you guessed it, ME. All because I was labeled as Krypto's cousin, publicly. I was having to do his patrols, fight against his enemies, and handle disturbances which Krypto would probably never lose his temper handling. And believe me... my anger would be sorely tested.

    As Ace once said, if Krypto had a new boyfriend in space, he'd kill him. And I might just help in doing that. Lets face it... these Krypto approved outings are brutal.

    Worse... I even had to fill in for him on his TV show. And you KNOW how I hated being in the spotlight. His casting crew explained that my motivation was that Krypto was under the affects of an advanced Red Kryptonite which had split him into two superdogs; I was the all black version with new powers, while Krypto was powerless. The first time I used my official spiel; you know the one; the casting crew and the show's executive had heavy words for me. Kids with dirty underwear was not a good motivator.

    10 PM in an alleyway behind a cheese shop. Jimmy the Rat (one of Ace's informants) had just swiped a wheel of cheese and was running down the back alley with his prize when all of a sudden, the spooky black mists surrounded him and I stepped directly through a solid board barrier. "Jimmy... I need to talk to you."

    "Um... Darcadia... fancy meeting you here... er... what do you need to know?" This was one smart rat. He knew not to pull my chain. I wasn't in the mood.

    "Tell me where Krypto is. Who has him? I am having to fill in for him on all of his patrols and I have to fight all of his battles. I am in a very bad state of mind. Unless you fancy dying as fun... then tell me what I want to know and you will live to attend another ASATT meeting."

    And yes, my eyes were glowing in that eerie fluorescent light.

    Jimmy ulped as he saw that I wasn't in a joking mood; he had never seen Ace like this, and he didn't like seeing me like this. "Word on the street is... that Krypto got ambushed by Snookie Wookums and he is currently a prisoner of Mechanikat in space. That happens a lot in his show, you know. But this was the first time Mechanikat ever did it outside of the script. Someone must have paid him to make Krypto disappear so you would have to do his jobs for him. And that's all I know."

    I was now growling. I knew what group had a paw in making Krypto disappear. They couldn't get me out of MYTHS any other way. The damned Producers. Well if they wanted me out in public that badly, then I was going to do things... the Darcadia way. And no one would ever forget that. "You're free, Jimmy." I handed him a duplicate of the wheel of cheese that he was holding. "You have earned this. Now stay out of trouble while I am out and about. I am through doing things the Krypto way. I am about to get... dangerous." And I simply vanished along with my spooky black mist.

    "Oh crap," said the rat. Then he checked himself. "Whew... I didn't mess myself. I better get out of here." And he ran off with his cheese.

    Bud and Lou (the Joker's hyenas) were the next ones to feel my wrath. They had just broken into a toy store through the back basement emergency doors when I made my appearance. "Shopping at midnight, boys?" I asked in that extremely spooky voice. After that, the hyenas were screaming for help as I did what Krypto and Ace would never dream of doing to their enemies. I was through playing around. I was going to create an image that no Producer would ever want to film.

    Luckily for the hyenas (as they dangled over a vat of boiling Toonium), Ace and Streaky stopped me. "Not like this, Harold," said Ace. "These two are protected by the Union. You can't just wipe them out because you're pissed. Come on... Streaky will clean up here. I'm taking you back to the school."

    En route, I told Ace what I had found out from Jimmy the Rat. "Yes, he is still alive. Sheesh."

    Ace sighed. "I knew the Producers were being too quiet. I have gotten the Union to instate an 'illegal filming clause' order on you so that if anyone outside of MYTHS tries to release anything with you in the film, they will be arrested and their company put out of business permanently. So if the Producers even try to make a profit out of your life, they will be facing Yuskay and Albert themselves. And I fear Yuskay more because he is larger than a Titano, but all sexy-smexy." He winked with a rare grin.

    "He is that hot, is he?" I asked with some interest. It was rare for the Bathound to talk about how sexual someone was.

    "If you wore jeans, they would be full of cream all the time," said Ace. "He is that hot."

    End of Chapter Thirty-Two


      Chapter Thirty-Three

      Timesheart Tiger's little project group, the Terryville All-Stars, ended up rescuing Krypto from Mechanikat. And they took a Yuskay lawyer with them. They had little issues with the feline villain. Krypto was very weak since Snookie Wookums had been force feeding him something to change him into a familiar cat... the hard way. Snookie Wookums found out that day what happens when an angry Dark Witch glares at you after you refuse to surrender.

      It was too gruesome to talk about.

      I made sure Krypto was stationed at MYTHS so I could personally take care of him. Hey, he was my Sponsor Dad; I had to take care of him.

      Of course missions for Krypto were still being directed to me; Krypto was in no condition to perform them. "Rest well, Krypto. I'll be back. Although I have no idea how you keep your cool while doing these missions. Every time I go out there... I feel like killing the bad guys. I know you would never do that, but to me it is so stressful."

      Then I departed. Little did I know that Krypto had been awake that one time and he heard me speaking all humble to him.

      After I left, Krypto opened an eye then the other. "Ace? Bring me a yellow sun lamp, please."

      Ace brought it in and set it up to shine directly on Krypto's body. "Why didn't you just tell Harold you were awake?"

      "I want to surprise him while he is on patrol, of course," was the Kryptonian canine reply.

      And speaking of patrols... Ignatius was the one to get on my bad side this time. He had activated one of his owner's lasers by accident and he couldn't get it shut off. Fortunately, Blitzkrieg and a hero from Toonmasters (that's an Earth like world full of animal like toons located in Frontier) called Donkey Guardian were both on paw to stop the laser from causing unnecessary damage. But Ignatius had probably hoped that they were all he would have to deal with that day, as the black mists surrounded him and...

      "The Grim Reaper sends his regards, Ignatius," I said in that spooky voice almost point blank to the fat iguana. "Since you caused me to get sent one of Krypto's summons, you get the Lord of Darkness this time. Surely you know that Bud and Lou almost bought the farm the other night by my paws. Why don't we see what it takes to rip your skin off your body."

      He screamed, of course, and both Blitzkrieg and Donkey Guardian were there to pull me back. Ignatius looked scared to death. And for good reason. This was NOT what he wanted to deal with. But the German canine and the green ringed donkey from another planet made sure I didn't get my claws on him.

      Around lunch time, I was at a chili dog stand getting lunch. I was pissed and I wasn't in the mood for crap from anyone. But somehow I was able to keep my cool while ordering a lunch from the vendor. Lucky him. As I said, I wasn't in the mood. All I wanted to do was eat my chili dog.

      After my meal ended, I went to toss the used napkin and wrapper away when I saw Wonder Dog, the male canine version of Wonder Woman (another former human boy from Earth who had been transformed by magic) waiting on me. "Make it good, Wonder Dog. I am in a very dark mood."

      He placed a paw on my shoulder and pulled me close. "Harold... please don't treat me like everyone else has been treating you. You're not the only one who puts up with the Producers. They seem to LOVE cases like ours. Anyway, my filming crew contacted Ace this morning and asked them if you would like to help me over in Angel City this afternoon. It is for one of my episodes and it should be right up your alley. I know you normally play the hero, but in this episode you get to play Darcadia the way you've been wanting to play him. That's right... I am supposed to be up against a vampiric canine villain from QC Europe. The actor who was supposed to play the role called ahead and said that an emergency cropped up in his home country and they were fighting an army of the undead. Eww... anyway, you are the only one who is even similar to this other canine star. Will you agree to help out for just this once? I can pay you according to Ace's rules."

      "And I get to be all spooky and 'wrong'?" I asked with a dark creepy grin.

      Wonder Dog looked shaken by my dark smile. "Um... yeah. I mean, yes, you get to be spooky and wrong. But please... follow the script." And he handed me a copy of the script with the role of the villain outlined in bold. "There is room for some ad libbing, but for the most part, PLEASE stick to the script. I am supposed to win at the end."

      "Be warned, Wonder Dog," I said. "My hide is Kryptonian, like Krypto's hide is. So if you and I get in a fight on camera, you are likely to get hurt even if I do nothing."

      Wonder Dog nodded his muzzle. "Okay, Harold. But for this afternoon, just you and me in Angel City. You might like the outing; none of your mentors dumb enemies are there."

      End of Chapter Thirty-Three


        Chapter Thirty-Four

        I have to hand it to Damian Cedalia... I mean Wonder Dog. Angel City was QC Planet's animated version of Washington D.C. and I performed my villain script beautifully. His filming crew even rewrote the ending to the episode so that Wonder Dog discovered that the vampire canine was actually being controlled by one of Wonder Dog's arch enemies. And by freeing the black canine from the mind control effect, Wonder Dog gained a possible recurring character guest star. Of course as per my wishes, that would remain to be seen. His film crew were the professionals I could respect. Everything they did was out in the open and there was no secret hanky panky to make a quick buck.

        I even got to meet the animated president residing at the time.

        Yes, Wonder Dog not only delivered for me but I was back up on cloud nine again with a smile. I had almost forgotten how to smile what with the Producers sneaking around back home. I hadn't heard a word from any of them the whole time I was in Angel City.


        I was back in Meta Star/Gotham. This was normally Ace's beat, but I wasn't patrolling for anyone this time. My black cape and silver cross made me an entity that no one wanted to deal with upon sight. I had just walked by a jewelry store when I backed up and looked in through the glass window.

        Isis, Catwoman's number one pet cat, was fighting against a new criminal feline whom I didn't know. And Isis looked as if she was losing. I knew what Ace would do, but I figured that I could handle this one. Let Ace sleep this one off. Besides, I thought, I might befriend Isis in the exchange.

        The other feline had just slammed Isis into a wall and was about to ram her with a diamond tipped spear when the spooky black fog surrounded him and then... much to Isis' relief... there came my spooky voice.

        "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. "Darcadia..." a third blast of thunder silenced everyone in view of the scene. "...of the Night." Another thunder roll was heard. "And I hunger..." Lightning flashed a final time as a deep close up of my face was point blank with the male feline criminal. "...for you."

        The next thing Isis heard in the darkness was bodily functions and the diamond spear shattering against my Kryptonian hide. Then the new feline was against the wall next to Isis and I slowly strode out of the inky shadows. But I wasn't alone when I emerged. Both Ace and Krypto were flanking me. I never knew when they showed up. But having back up was pretty classy.

        I padded over to Isis and I said, "Are you okay, Isis? You're lucky I saw the whole thing before I intervened. She's clean this time, Ace. She was defending the jewelry store from this new feline. I know you find that hard to believe, but believe it. She's not up to no good this time."

        Isis blinked her eyes. The Dark Lord of Krypton was vouching for her. And she knew not to look a gift alibi in the mouth, so she took it. "That's right, Ace. Crafty is one of Cheetah's pets. He was working this area since Wonder Dog in Angel City is often too much for him to handle. I happened to see him come in and I knew he was on my turf, so I tried to stop him. I'm not really the fighter like you canines are. Darcadia came to my rescue and then you two came in afterward. And that's the truth."

        Crafty was caged and taken away by Gotham Animal Control while I, Isis, Ace, and Krypto watched from across the street.

        I said, "You were doing pretty well before I got involved, Isis. Are you trying to put a certain dark hound into retirement?" I winked with a grin.

        Isis smiled back. "Not really. It was a one time thing. I have been trying to stay out of trouble since the last time you came after me. And now you save me, Darcadia. I owe you one." And she gave me a kiss on the muzzle.

        I could tell Ace didn't like seeing the mushy stuff and Krypto just quietly smirked as he whispered, "Harold is stealing your woman, Ace." I thought that was funny, too.

        "Shut up, Krypto," was the obvious reply.

        "Interesting silver cross," said Isis. "Going for the vampire look, are you? I mean, you certainly have the powers to match except for blood draining." And then she slowly departed. "See you around sometime, handsome." And she was gone.

        Ace watched her leave, then he looked to me with a stern gaze. "You didn't check back in at MYTHs, Harold. That's the only reason Krypto and I came looking for you. Wonder Dog called ahead and said you were on your way back and you never arrived. And then we find you doing one of MY patrols."

        End of Chapter Thirty-Four


          Chapter Thirty-Five

          My next outing wasn't for several days. Ace had me working on class work instructionals with the other students at MYTHs. He called it 'a punishment for not coming straight home from Angel City'. But when my next outing was approved, I found myself with Blitzkrieg, Warpdrive, Blackflight, Hypknot, and Krypto; the latter bringing us along on a planned Union patrol outing. There was a right way and a wrong way to handle criminals working during Union time.

          "Now remember: you five have been provided with a Union schedule list of every criminal who is legally working today," said Krypto as he explained the outing. "During an actual patrol, you don't get to hang on to the lists; you have to memorize who all is supposed to be out and about. Case in point: Lex Luthor is not working today, but Ignatius is. So when you encounter a Union member who has the day off, you cannot fight them, but it pays to be polite none the less. Also, there are a few Union referees out and about keeping a watch on this class outing. They have agreed to assist in stopping you if you should attack the wrong villain or if a villain not on schedule attacks you. The Union Reps can be your greatest friends or your worst enemies. So don't screw up."

          I was using my super memory to memorize the list since having posture problematic paws, unlike the others I was with, I couldn't hold on to a list. Memory was the only way.

          Then the dog of steel noticed me eating a hot dog and bun with the works that I'd bought from a nearby vendor. "Were you going to offer to share, Darcadia, or perhaps there is something you want to tell the class?"

          I shot a dirty look at Krypto since I was not in the mood for him pulling rank in front of the other students. "I may have to use my powers today and doing so causes an energy drain especially when I phase through solid walls. And if I have to do that with a passenger... even more energy. Perhaps you are offering to let me drink your blood instead, eh Brutus?" My eyes were already glowing, a clear indication that I was really not in the mood to be put on the spot. I continued to eat my meal.

          Krypto paled a bit when I mentioned 'blood'; he knew my mood had gotten darker over time and it wasn't the Harold he liked dealing with. In a low voice, I heard him whisper, "I'm sorry, Harold. It's just that you are so tense these days. Rudolph and I think you need to be pulled out of MYTHs, especially if the school is causing this dark mood. Maybe a Sponsor Family vacation... just the three of us?"

          When he mentioned Rudolph, my stature released the tension and I felt relaxed. Yes, a vacation was in order. God knows when I've ever had one before all this crap started. I needed to go relax somewhere... if the schedules permitted it, that is.

          During the course of the outing, we did encounter other heroes such as Streaky, Stretch-O-Mutt, and even Overcat, the latter was talking to a handsome young man on a horse. And perhaps more intriguing, the young man was a real world human, like I used to be. I wondered what mess he was stuck in, but Krypto kept our group moving.

          We arrived along side a battle in progress where a Union Rep was overseeing the activity to take note who was supposed to be there and who wasn't. And despite what you may think about the Union Reps, most of them are very handsome mouse dudes, although a few females are often seen making their patrols too. This guy was checking over his clipboard while looking at a script in the other hand.

          "This particular battle is one between Spiderman and Green Goblin," said Krypto as we watched. "No one else is supposed to be in the fight except I am clearly seeing at least four other heroes and six other villains in there."

          The Union Rep replied to no one in particular, "So many people are going to be on serious report."

          I slowly grinned and decided to do something without doing anything. The entire battle location was suddenly cloaked in inky black fog as I brought out my portable mic and started reading the narration for the actual battle as I was reading it over the Union Rep's shoulder. Who all remembers what happens when anyone who hasn't ever heard my spooky voice hears it? Well, that's literally what happened down there this time. I'd be punished for this later by both Krypto and Ace... as well as the Union Rep.

          "As the battle heated up... there came an ominous feeling... ever creeping from the nether realms... and ever flowing like a ripe tomato down every unauthorized leg within the battle zone. heh heh heh." Okay, I didn't have to ad lib in the chuckle at the end, but... it was my signature creep out effect.

          I could clearly hear Spiderman like the pro he was as he whispered, "Darcadia is around. Cool." And the Green Goblin quietly smirked, "Maybe now we can resume the real battle. Good thing we used the rest room before starting the work day."

          As for the rest... yes, bodily flatulation and soiled under garments were the order of the day. Sadly, that included the Union Rep who hadn't ever heard my spooky voice before. Remember how I said I was going to get punished for this? He was point-blank for the effect.

          Krypto rolled his eyes with a sigh. I was surely going to get it.

          End of Chapter Thirty-Five


            Chapter Thirty-Six

            My punishment thankfully only lasted three days. I wasn't permitted to leave MYTHs without a Union sanctioned escort. Talk about boring. I thought that they were taking this whole Union thing a little too far and I'd had about enough of it. The only reason I didn't just flat escape was because of the vacation that Krypto had promised me.

            When the vacation day finally arrived, Ace made a crack about making it a class outing. That was the day he learned not to make light of my vacation time with the Sponsor Family. When Krypto and I departed, Ace was almost white himself. Apparently a new power was starting to emerge that I didn't know how to control. Isis had nailed it: blood draining. The classic vampire ability. And that scared me a lot. I didn't want to be a vampire. No matter how cool they were, it just wasn't me.

            Rudolph surprised all of us by taking us to QC Europe where we went touring old castles in QC Germany. Bless his red-nosed reindeer heart. I was starting to relax once again. That is... until we arrived in Wolf Moon Bay to see Castle Eldridge. The moment we stepped off the train at the depot, I got a strange familiar chill up my spine. Even though I had never been there before... something told me that some part of me 'had'.

            Then came the reactions from the city folk we encountered. They were friendly to Krypto and Rudolph, but the moment they saw me... they would pale in complexion and excuse themselves. This continued until I had enough of the rude treatment and I blocked off the departure route of the local.

            "Why the sudden need to leave the moment I come into view?" I asked in an annoyed manner. "I guess you don't know that I am the QC American hero known as Night the Superdog. I am Krypto and Rudolph's Charge who underwent an accident which changed me into... this form. So why the obvious fear I am sensing from you and the others?"

            The local was trembling but before he could answer, a crossbow bolt shot in and... shattered against my Kryptonian body!

            I growled. "Tell me someone didn't try something THAT stupid, Krypto! A crossbow bolt against Kryptonian hide? Oh puh-lease!"

            Fortunately, stepping into view was the holder of the crossbow. He was dressed up in the garb and gear of an old world vampire hunter. And a handsome feline humanoid to boot. "I am Reliquary, the local vampire hunter. When I saw your friend threatening one of our citizens... I fired upon you. For you see... you are identical to an ancient local vampire canine who hasn't been seen in months. When everyone saw you in public, they naturally assumed that Lord Darcadia had returned."

            "Did you say 'Lord Darcadia'?" I asked as I released the local to focus on Reliquary. "Perhaps you might tell us just what was going on when Darcadia disappeared."

            Both Krypto and Rudolph were surprised by this information. I apparently was identical to the local vampire dog known as Lord Darcadia. And I had somehow went so far back in QC America to start calling myself by that name. But the moment I was in Wolf Moon Bay... I correctly identified myself as Night the Superdog. Apparently there was a mystery to solve here. And I was connected to it. Krypto quickly called Ace to let him know what was going down and where.

            Once Ace had joined us, Reliquary took us to his private museum where he served us tea.

            "Lord Darcadia is a 7th generation canine vampire lord who dwelt within Castle Eldridge, that ominous fortress just outside of the city. Once a year he would emerge to sate his need for blood. He continued to do this until the day he encountered me. But I learned fast that he wasn't evil like most vampires seemed to be. He hated to seek out fresh blood. He told me that he was trying to discover a way to suppress the need for blood and that is what he spent all of his time doing in the castle laboratory. The day before he disappeared some months ago, he had sent me a message to tell me that he was about to try out a new discovery which he hoped would defeat his need for blood. I wanted to rush right over and stop him, but... when I arrived, it was too late. The laboratory was empty and I couldn't find a trace of him. Recently I started hearing rumors from the QC World Press that Darcadia had reappeared in QC America as a superhero... who had apparently lost the blood draining ability. I knew it was only a matter of time before that ability started to resurface once again. And then... you three arrived in Wolf Moon Bay and someone got word to me fast."

            I listened to the whole tale and then I mustered up the courage to say what I thought was the truth. "I think Darcadia somehow transferred himself directly into my body during my initial transformation into my current form. At first, I was simply the all-black version of Krypto. But as my powers were developing... I learned Dark Vision which causes an inky black fog and Intangibility which permits me to phase through solid objects. But before my vacation started..."

            He finished it for me since he could see the fear in my eyes. " started to develop the blood draining ability. This is what I feared would happen. Darcadia would find his solution to be temporary only and then he would be right back at square one. Except... he stupidly threw himself into a new person by accident; you. Come... we need to go to the castle laboratory and there... we should be able to pull Lord Darcadia out of your body. Hopefully with no harm to yourself in the process."

            Ace hummed. "This is exactly what I suspected was going on. I knew Harold Dangers in no way could develop the vampire ability on his own."

            Reliquary arched an eye. "Did you say 'Dangers'?" Then he paled himself. "Come, we don't have a moment to spare."

            End of Chapter Thirty-Six


              Chapter Thirty-Seven

              Within the old castle laboratory, Reliquary had me stand upon a flat silver disc while he set up another directly beside it. "Krypto, I need you to focus your heat vision directly into this holy concave lens. The heat will power the equipment while the light from your vision will activate the holy power which will separate Night from Darcadia... in turn which will send Darcadia over to this platform. Despite his seeking to free himself from the family blood curse, like all vampires, he cannot stand the light of the holy radiance. Ace and I will monitor the equipment and work on forcing Lord Darcadia to leave Harold Dangers."

              And with encouragement from Rudolph, Krypto focused his heat vision into the lens and things started to happen fast.

              Even though I personally shouldn't have been hurt by the holy power, I felt myself being wracked with a pain which could not be fathomed by any living being. It felt worse than my initial transformation; as if part of my soul was being burned directly off of my spirit. And then I felt it... ever so slightly, I felt another body leave my own; forcibly; thank the gods. I didn't know how much more pain I could take. But the moment the other entity had left my body, all pain vanished and I collapsed on the silver disc, exhausted.

              Materializing slowly upon the other disc was Lord Darcadia, but... Reliquary was having to fight to keep the frequency attuned to the vampire canine so his molecules simply didn't disperse into the void. "Ace, take this packet of blood over to Darcadia's disc and break it open directly in front of his mouth! Do it or else we'll lose him!"

              Ace leaped into action and did as he was asked. The whole blood thing made him a little squeamish but this was to save a life. As the life blood from the plasma packet flowed directly into the dark energy, the vampire canine finally began to take a solid shape until finally... it was done.

              Lord Darcadia was back, but like me, he collapsed on the disc looking extremely weak.

              Fortunately, Reliquary had cots set up in the laboratory and while I rested upon one, the vampire canine lord rested upon the other drinking more plasma packets as if they were Capri Sun fruit drinks. the whole thought made me sick as I turned my head to focus on something else.

              Sadly, I was going to miss two of the dark powers I had been using, but getting the vampire out of my system was an equal trade off. However... without those powers, I was simply a shade of Krypto and it did little to cheer me up.

              The next day, Reliquary came and sat by my side. "When I learned that you were a Dangers, I had to go look up some information on the name and it turned out that I was right. Your family comes from a magical line of special hunters. Most of them are canine. They were based from three types of hunters: Werewolves, Hell Hounds, and Archons. The most powerful member of your family has a name that isn't spoken anymore, but everyone simply refers to him as the Wolf With No Name. He is a Dangers himself, but his first name has been stricken from the record. So he goes by his title's initials... W.W.N.N. He is the best of the best. Since you are posture problematic yourself, that rules out Werewolf which leaves the other two as possible sources for your form's powers and abilities. Albeit with Krypto's DNA mixed in."

              "So I'm a magical Kryptonian hunter?" I asked trying to grasp the concept of all of this new information. "This will take some time to get used to."

              Just then, Ace was standing nearby. "We're going to have another problem when we return home, Harold... remember when I said that I got you that non-filming clause arranged for you? That Union based clause is in Darcadia's name; not Night the Superdog. That means you are going to be putting up with the Producers all over again."

              "Can't we just have Darcadia kill them? Please?" It was a pitiful request, but one even Darcadia realized that I had to deal with that was worse than craving blood.

              That's when I saw the vampire canine lord standing in the nearby doorway. "That would be murder, Harold. But I sympathize... when I was in your body, I felt your dislike of that bunch. It is hard to believe that they are worse than my curse. But they have no power in QC Europe; we enjoy Solomon's rules."

              "Don't tempt me," I replied as I got out of bed. "Which way is the bathroom? I need to go pretty badly. And I think I need to throw up, too."

              Reliquary helped me to get there and I was probably in there longer than was healthy. But the last of the dark ooze had to be vomited and excreted out of my body. For which I was very thankful. But it left an awful taste in my mouth and a need to feed... but not upon blood; I am not a vampire. Of course, I needed a new look and a new spiel since I had to give up the dark lord portion when Darcadia was freed from my body. Fortunately, I wouldn't have to wonder long on what semblance to assume.

              We ended up spending another three days in Wolf Moon Bay but once the stay was over, we flew back to QC America via commercial air flight. I was in no mood for flying under my own power at that point. I had lost some of my most favorite powers during the restoration of Lord Darcadia. I would miss the black fog and intangibility power.

              Taking commercial flight threw the Producers off our scent for a good week or more since they figured Krypto would never ride aboard an air flight.

              End of Chapter Thirty-Seven


                Chapter Thirty-Eight

                We had been home for a week and I didn't feel like going to MYTHs at all. I just lay on a rug on my bedroom floor in the Terryville sponsor house. I felt miserable since I lost the nice spooky powers. Even the spooky voice stemmed from Lord Darcadia along with the powers. So I just lay there; a washed up super canine who had to start all over again. And I wasn't sure how I would be able to pick myself up. I was even ignoring all super calls for help. Ace even failed to cheer me up just yesterday.

                But at that moment across town, the Producers who desperately wanted to get me into a series no matter what were in a meeting when one of the Producers' sons came in from high school where he attended AniSapien High.

                "Hi dad," he said. "Still trying to find Darcadia or Night or whatever he is calling himself now?"

                "Yeah," came the reply from the second position at the table. "We know they returned from QC Europe aboard... a commercial air liner of all things. We weren't expecting that at all. Rumor is that Darcadia lost his spooky powers while he was in QC Germany. One of our informants over there said that Lord Darcadia and Reliquary were making plans on creating a new super powers team, while Night the Superdog boarded the plane with Krypto and Rudolph. They even rode in coach to avoid obvious attention."

                The leader said, "And now we don't have a clue as to where Night has disappeared to. It is hard to create a money making series when you can't even find the star."

                "Um," started the teen age young toon. "I think I know where he might be. But please give me first crack at making him see things our way. If you guys approached him, he might rip your legs off. But younger people may have more luck with him. Especially if he is in some sort of depression over losing his powers. Do we have a deal?"

                The father hummed. "My son has a point, sir. He may be able to get close to Night and pitch him an offer where we would never even get close because of Super Dog and Bat Hound. It was clever of Ace to arrange that anti-filming clause in Darcadia's name, but when Darcadia was separated from Night, the anti-filming clause stayed on Darcadia. Son, if you succeed in getting Night to star in a series, I'll buy you that motor bike you've been wanting."

                "Seriously?!" He grinned widely. "I'll be back in an hour or two. With or without Night. Just watch my smoke." And he exited the building at a run.

                The leader watched him go before turning an eye toward the number two Producer. "How long do we wait?"

                "We don't, sir. I have a tracking device embedded in my son's sneakers. Where ever he goes, we can track him with GPA and learn where Night has been hiding out."


                The boy was almost to the street where Krypto and Rudolph lived when he was suddenly grabbed from the bushes and slammed up against a tree trunk by what looked like a very dangerous and powerful werewolf.

                "Night is off limits, kid," the werewolf growled with glowing red eyes. "Now beat it or else."

                The boy nearly soiled himself as he fled the area.

                The werewolf just grinned as he pivoted an ear toward Krypto's house. "Compliments of... the Wolf With No Name. Heh Heh Heh. Good thing I was in Coopersville when High Command contacted me about Harold. Poor kid... stuck as a posture problematic dog without a stitch of hunter training. Well, I know who to send in. And I think even Krypto will approve of this guy."

                An hour later, I slowly sat up because I started smelling a fresh pizza. A meat lovers supreme. And even better... it was an Arden's special. "I hope Krypto is going to share that pizza with me. He is driving me crazy with the smell."

                I proceeded out of my room and I started down the stairs where I stopped when I saw one hell of a sexy hound with a blue backpack waiting on me. "Pizza?"

                He smiled up at me with a wink of his eye. "Hello Harold Dangers. I am Lightfang, an operative of Freelancer Debt Solutions. Reliquary asked me to contact you and see about getting you set up with your hereditary hunter abilities. He said you grew up without knowing that you were ever a member of the esteemed hunter line and how you needed the training so you could reclaim your lost heritage. As a peace offering, I brought you an Arden's Pizza which no hell hound can resist."

                I was quickly nomming on the pizza as he continued to speak to me. "Through the clever usage of time displaced realms, we can train you in your hunter abilities and have you returned home before Krypto and Rudolph return from work. So... are you interested in receiving some new powers?"

                End of Chapter Thirty-Eight


                  Chapter Thirty-Nine

                  I have to hand it to Lightfang... he knew how to use time displaced realms well. I was given a training course like no other that seemed to last for years. But at the end, Lightfang was right there with an Arden's Pizza reward and a new accessory: a bright blue cape with a blue 'N' positioned on my new flame colored collar. And in the next instant, I was back in the Terryville sponsor house where I saw the clock on the wall. It was still an hour before Krypto was to come home. Time displaced realms: cool!

                  Although I could still fly, one of my new powers was a fiery teleport akin to the hell hound lineage of my family line. I had a fiery breath weapon like a dragon. And my claws could cleave the strongest metal on QC Planet. Mix that in with my Kryptonian powers and... I was once again on cloud nine as... Night the Superdog. And my first stop was directly in front of Isis as she was cornered by Crafty who had returned for revenge. I didn't have a spooky voice to use this time, but when the fire and brimstone teleport occurred and I appeared between the two of them, Crafty seemed to recognize me on sight. Or he thought he did...

                  "Oh no! Not Darcadia again!" And he lost control of his bodily functions even though I hadn't even said a word.

                  I just grinned. "Crafty... Crafty... Crafty... Lord Darcadia is in QC Germany. I am Nighthunter... a hound from Hell." And that's when my eyes, my fangs, and my claws ignited in flames as I laughed at the now cowering heap of criminal feline. And then I closed the gap between us as I raised a claw above Crafty is an ominous striking pose. "Isis belongs to me. And now... you die." But I never brought the clawed paw down because I saw a Union Rep standing nearby with a clipboard. "Saved by the Union."

                  I turned the flames off and approached the Union Rep. When I was directly facing him, I whispered, "Tell me I didn't just interrupt a Union sanctioned legal scene."

                  The Union Rep tapped his pencil on the clipboard. "Actually... yes. But you stopped yourself before anything bad happened. New name, Night? You were going to get yourself re-registered, I hope."

                  "I am planning on doing it tomorrow. I am calling myself Nighthunter, but my title will be Night the Superdog." I glanced back out toward Crafty and I waved a paw in his direction and he was all cleaned up magically. I turned to look at the Union Rep once again. "New powers in addition to the Kryptonian powers. Using magic is fun, but not as much fun as that teleport is." I winked with a grin.

                  The Union Rep wrote something on his clipboard and then he had me sign it. He was letting me off with a warning since I did magically clean Crafty up so they could resume their scene. "Get going, Nighthunter. And try to be more careful next time. I know you've been out of circulation for a week. You know the rules."

                  I got serious at that point. "Those Producers are hounding me again, pardon the pun. Ace's anti-filming clause was set on the name Darcadia and I cannot reapply for a year. So... I get to be harassed by these Producers for a year." And then I took off flying... and I nearly collided with Krypto who was on his patrol.

                  "Um, sorry dad," I said as I looked back at him. "I needed some time away from the house. Just call me Nighthunter." I winked with a grin.

                  "I'm still on duty, son, but don't worry; my film crew can edit out your appearance... unless..." He grinned back with an idea. " agree to be an official guest star in the episode I am currently working on. Ace was supposed to be joining me, but he called in at the last second and said he couldn't make it."

                  "How about this as an idea? Ace ends up with temporary super dog powers and I simply play Ace. Believe me... I've been around him enough that I can mimic him easily."

                  After a temporary contract signing where it stated that I could fill in for Ace during emergencies, I was given the cape and cowl of the Bat Hound and then I went into my 'Ace trying to learn how to control super dog powers' act. And boy was it ever spot on. Ace would likely kill me if he ever saw this episode later.

                  After the episode ended, I handed in the cape and bat cowl, resuming my own new look, and then Krypto took me to the registration office where he had access day or night... and we got my new registration for Nighthunter completed the day before I had said I was going to do it. Krypto is sneaky like that. But that's why I love him.

                  He then took me to his and Rudolph's new penthouse apartment which was located on top of Meta Star Tower, one of the tallest apartment buildings in the city, and he introduced me to my new bedroom. "Welcome to your new home, Harold. Rudolph and I just made the purchase for this place a few days ago. You weren't in the mood for good news then, so we were slowly getting it ready just for you. Terryville is a nice place to live for summer adventures, but during the winter... we prefer this."

                  I was wowed, of course. Krypto always knew how to make me smile. This was the best thing I could ever ask for. I was immediately on the bed with a dreamy smile on my muzzle. "Thanks, dad. I love you."

                  But he wasn't finished with his surprises. "I have one more thing for you, Harold. Wonder Dog told me that you were really impressed with his filming crew. Starting tomorrow, you need to start looking over show scripts so you will have a Union based income of your own."

                  End of Chapter Thirty-Nine


                    Chapter Forty

                    The next day, I was standing in line at the Union's scripting department; a place I never thought I'd purposely be visiting. But Krypto was right; it was time I had my own show to distract me from bumbling into everyone else's shows. It was a long line and I couldn't believe the number of stars and toons who were looking for work. Most were willing to fill in any role just so they could appear on TV.

                    It took nearly three and a half hours to finally get inside the scripting department and once I was standing in front of the table, one of the scripting managers took one look at me and said, "Ever done any commercials?"

                    I blinked my eyes at such a stupid question. "Of course not."

                    He moved nine tenths of the scripts to one side and he began looking over the few left over. "How do you feel about wigs and bras?"

                    I growled at the very suggestion. "Don't be absurd."

                    He hummed as he moved another eighth tenths of the remaining pile aside. I noticed that there were only two scripts left. "How do you feel about villains?"

                    My eyes were starting to glow red even though I was trying hard not to explode. "Try again."

                    The other script writers and some of the other people in line wisely moved out of harm's way. Most knew who I was and apparently this one guy didn't.

                    "That only leaves one script, doggy boy," he said with a sneer. "The role calls for a seeing eye dog for a blind police officer. It involves leather leashes and-"

                    And that was the last he got to say as I ignited on the spot which set the entire building on fire and my heat vision fired off and...

                    I sat in Meta Star City Park by myself, still steamed and humiliated. The one stupid guy was hospitalized; all of the scripts were toast; and the building was having to be rebuilt. I was forbidden to ever be on the site ever again. I got off lucky that they assumed it was Darcadia who attacked them. None of them knew that I had a new identity. But that spelled the end of my ever having my own show in Meta Star City. Bye bye, cloud nine. I felt worse than shit now. With tears in my eyes, I took to the sky and flew out of Meta Star City and I didn't care where I was going.

                    Needless to say, when Timesheart Tiger and his crew heard what had been done to me, they personally attacked the Union themselves. No one ever messed with the All-Stars.

                    Sadly, no one knew where I had gone. I hadn't returned home to either owned location and both super dog and reindeer were very worried about me. And as was stated before when Krypto was concerned over my well being, he was impossible to be around. But he took it a step further this time: he went on strike and refused to work.

                    Six days later at a Boy Scouts camp just north of QC Pittsburgh... two counselors just just run a black dog out of the camp for setting fire to a dry fire pit. "And don't come back! Stupid dog!" The other counselor said, "I'm still trying to figure out how he set a metal grill on fire."

                    The black canine ran across a highway and just ahead in a railroad yard he saw another vagabond hound motioning for him to join him in one of the west bound cargo cars. With a final leap, he landed just inside the rail car just as the train got underway. "Th-thanks."

                    The vagabond hound said, "We tend to wear out our welcomes in the towns we visit so hounds like us have to stick together. And to think I used to be a TV star in the old days; now I have to live a life like this. But you know... some toons have it far off better than most of us and they take it for granted. Until they live our life like this, they just don't understand what it really means. Right?"

                    The black canine sighed and nodded his head quietly.

                    But then from the shadows of the rail car I said, "Vagabond Hounds... too bad no one thought of a TV series idea like this, huh guys?"

                    The two hounds slowly turned toward the glowing eyes in the darkness as the older hound said, "Um... the script writers these days... think they are god's gift to published authors. Like they are Tolstoy or something..." He paused. "Um... why are your eyes glowing like that?"

                    "Oh, no particular reason," I replied as I made my eyes stop glowing. "We're all just vagabond hounds, after all. Don't worry; we'll be just fine. Next stop: QC Detroit. I wonder if any important toons hang out in that area anymore?" I then laid my head down and tried to get some sleep.

                    End of Chapter Forty
                    End of Episode Four: Filling in For Krypto

                    Stay tuned for the next episode, Sundered Hearts