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EGGMEN: MERCENARY LEGENDS: Chapter 11 (Part 1)

Wind–Egg found herself floating in a dark void of smoke that seemed to extend infinitely into all visible horizons. She found herself unable to move and in great pain as her limp body floated about the endless blackness. "Where am I?" was her first thought to herself as her mind woke up and became aware. She was dazed and confused until she finally remembered the experience immediately preceding this: being shot multiple times at point–blank range with a firearm of above–average power. She then proceeded to recollect the circumstances of her being shot and the events leading up to it, before next remembering her final moments of consciousness, wherein she had told her ally and hopeless suitor, Water–Egg, that she was dying. "Am I DEAD?" she contemplated as this prospect struck her. Wind–Egg began panicking.

"Alright everyone, this is it: our last resort. Either this works and she lives, or it doesn't and she dies."
"And the odds of either outcome?"
"I say it's a split 50/50 chance."
"Very well then; do it. Let us all pray for the best. I for one am prepared for the worst."

Throughout her upbringing by the Cult of Ket'Spallus, Wind–Egg had been told that, when Primal Deities ruled the mortal world, those who had loyally served them such as herself would be resurrected and granted eternal life through the ultimate harnessing of the Primal Energies, and that where their souls would be in the meantime would not matter when that happened. Even years before meeting Fire–Egg, she had been skeptical of this in the back of her mind, and the notion was one of the most easily–rejected of all Ket'Spallus' false teachings once she renounced the Primal Deity. Since then, she had considered herself fully redeemed, despite having murdered several people in the evil spirit's name and never showing any real remorse – she had largely taken her redemption as a given thing that was easily earned. Assuming that Wind–Egg was indeed dead, what if, then, she hadn't done enough between then and now to make up for years of servitude to an evil being, or had been doing it wrong all along? "I can't POSSIBLY be in… in…"

"It's just as the scans indicated: the organs in the lower torso are riddled with large bullets. Removing them will be difficult and risky, to say nothing of repairing or possibly even replacing the lungs and/or liver afterwards. You know, if your friend wasn't a superpowered mutant, she would absolutely be dead. But enough talk; I'm going in."

Wind–Egg didn't have much particular knowledge of the supernatural outside of Primal stuff, and she'd only read a select few parts of the Next Testament that Fire–Egg had advised she read shortly following her "conversion" before losing interest. She'd basically assumed since then that she'd go to Heaven, though this was never on her mind all that much because, like a majority of Mulshians, she wasn't very religious when it came to the true religion of God the Father, and focused much more on worldly stuff. That, and she had also continued to practice the Primal Arts through her use of familiars even after renouncing the one who had allowed her to unlock that unique power. Was that still a bad thing even if she used those powers for good? Anyway, Wind–Egg did not readily know what Hell was like, other than that it was a very, very bad and evil place. Could this really be it? If it was, where were all the demons? There were supposed to be lots of demons in Hell, she knew that much. However, this place she found herself in, this void, it was completely empty, except for her. That is, until the shape of a large figure began materializing far away in front of Wind–Egg, getting closer and its details gradually becoming visible. "No. It… it can't be him, it can't be YOU!"

"Wind–Egg will be okay, right? This man is saving her, right?"
"We've already been over this, Water–Egg; we don't know."
"What are you planning on doing if she doesn't make it?"
"My dream of a perfect team of five Eggmen will be forever lost. But we will yet continue our endeavors with just the three of us. As painful and affecting as the death of a member would be, we cannot let it get to us to the point that it stops us from continuing our lifelong mission of justice. Wind–Egg would not want that, and even if I were, God forbid, the only one of our group to remain alive I would still soldier on alone."
Water–Egg was crying with genuine despair and sorrow. "But I love her." he said. "She can't die this way! She will be okay! She will be okay!"
Fire–Egg lay his hand on his top to ease him. "I'm sorry, my apprentice, but we don't know that yet, and nothing we can do right now can help her. Wind–Egg's only chance of survival rests in the hands of this doctor, and him alone."
"I can't keep being hero without her! If she die, I… I just want to go home!" Water–Egg was still sobbing.
"Save your crying for when she's actually dead!" said Electric–Egg coldly. "And she isn't yet…" he then added with a hint of actual concern and uncertainty as he stared toward the operating table.

"Hello, Wind–Egg. I ain't seen ya' for quite some time." Wind–Egg was now joined in the dark void by the unmistakable figure of none other than her former master, Ket'Spallus. The evil deity's appearance, however, was not anything like it had been when Ket'Spallus had existed in the physical realm, aside from the general shape. His form was ethereal, dim and colorless, and his intricate stone–like body had several cracks and chips. He looked deathly ill, or the equivalent thereof for an immortal, inorganic being, and though Wind–Egg did not realize it at the time, his form was much like that of the pieces of his body from after the Eggmen had destroyed his physical form if they had been pieced back together, yet hadn't fully come back to life. This ruinous appearance, however, was not reflected in his voice, which was as confidently sinister as ever. Wind–Egg attempted to say something, yet she found that she could not make a sound as the decrepit figure of Ket'Spallus continued floating towards her until it was right in front of her. "Surprised to see me, 'eh?" he said suddenly, the movement of his face and still–smiling mouth seeming very "off" in an "uncanny valley" sort of way, "I don't blame ya'. After all, ya' probably thought I was gone for good. And in fact, ya'll would be right to think that! For when ya' banished me, ya' destroyed all my power and left me a broken shell of my former self."
Wind–Egg wanted to outright scream now, but again found that she could not make a sound or even open her mouth. She was helpless.
"Don't bother tryin' to cry for help. 'Cause even if ya' could, there ain't no one who can hear your screams from here!"
"This is impossible! This can't be happening! I renounced and vanquished you!"
"Anyway, did you really think ya' could break free of my power so easily? No; after all we've done for each other, what with me raisin' you and ya'll going around Ergnoplis and beyond killing all those people for me, nothin' short of divine intervention could truly break my hold on you. God could have saved ya' if you'd turned to him earlier, but it be far too late for that now, just as it's far too late for you to ask for my forgiveness. For you are now dead, and banished and otherwise powerless though I may be, I still own your soul. And now, it be time for me to have some 'fun' with you… after all, there ain't anything else for me to do here in oblivion… forever!"
Suddenly, Ket'Spallus' lower body began to rumble, and from between his two middle legs sprouted a gigantic, disgusting, slime–oozing, spike–covered penis, at least five feet long flaccid. And it swiftly shot up erect, doubling its length in a matter of seconds. The penis was bright red and full of life, unlike the rest of Ket'Spallus' decrepit body.

"Now, you will come to know eternal suffering and humiliation as I have, Wind–Egg! Wind–Egg! Wind–Egg!"
"Wind–Egg! Wind–Egg! Please wake up!"
Suddenly there was a flash of light, and Wind–Egg's field of vision went completely dark; no Ket'Spallus, no giant penis, nothing. Then, slowly, she realized that she could now feel her body, and that her eyes were closed. She opened them, and once adjusted to the bright light of the room she was met with the sight of both Water–Egg and an older–looking light brown Mulshian in a white coat looking down at her with concern and with a white ceiling in the backdrop.
"It… it was just a nightmare!" Wind–Egg thought to herself with relief, still lacking the strength to say this out loud.
"Wind–Egg?" said the doctor. "Can you hear me? Blink if you can hear me!"
Wind–Egg heard this and quickly blinked to signify that she could indeed hear his immensely relieving words.
"You are incredibly lucky to be alive; please don't try to get up, though. You still need a lot of rest and recovery."
"Thank God; I am alive. But that nightmare… it seemed so vivid, so real. Could it have been more than just a dream?"
"I just removed more than twenty fragments of metallic projectile from your body including some of your internal organs, and then sewed it all back together. You see, you had been shot repeatedly by one of the terrorists in that apartment building, and, in addition to me for performing the operation, you have your boyfriend Water–Egg here to thank for carrying you out of there in time to bring you to this hospital. Your mutant body is truly remarkable, for none of the organs had to be replaced and you are projected to make a full recovery within weeks, as opposed to being crippled for the rest of your life as is normally the best prognosis a normal Mulshian could hope for after sustaining anywhere near the amount of gunshot wounds you did."
Wind–Egg knew very well how she had been shot and that Water–Egg had saved her, but… "My…boyfriend?" she asked weakly.
"Ah, you can talk! And, well, yes." said the doctor. "He said he was your boyfriend, anyway."
Wind–Egg looked to Water–Egg, who gave an embarrassed smile.
Wind–Egg was about to tell the doctor that they were not in a relationship, but she decided to humor Water–Egg. He had, after all, saved her life, and she was grateful for that. "Yeah…" she said, "my boyfriend."
Fire–Egg and Electric–Egg had now come up to the bed where Wind–Egg lay, with wires connected to her arms to keep track of her heart rate, which was now stable on the monitor, and the bloody bullet pieces that had just been removed from her body in a small pile on a table in front of said heart monitor. The patient herself had a very large cast–like bandage covering her lower torso, and almost obstructing her mouth. "Wind–Egg… we're so glad you're alive." said Fire–Egg. "Let me be the first to let you know that we successfully ended the terrorist threat, thanks in no small part to Electric–Egg here; it would seem that, though brutal, his methods are in a way more effective than ours, and he even managed to rescue all of the hostages without hurting them. When the rest of Ergnoplis hears the news of that, they're bound to finally accept him. Law enforcement arrested and interrogated the surviving terrorists, and it turns out that they were planning to blow up the capital building! They had a stockpile of explosives planted beneath it, which the city is in the process of disarming and removing as we speak. Just as the doctor here said, Water–Egg saved your life, and you probably owe him something for that. But you can worry about that later; right now, you should rest."
"Indeed," said the doctor, "those stitches will dissolve when and only when your flesh is sufficiently healed so that it will not easily tear back open. You should wait several days, say… five or six, at the very least before even trying to walk."
Wind–Egg had already assumed this much. What was really on her mind, and couldn't be gotten off of it, was "Was that a dream, or something more? A vision or warning, perhaps? Or even a near–death experience? Was the Ket'Spallus I saw real, or just a figment of my mind? He said I'd spend eternity being raped by him because I hadn't embraced God…"

"Listen," said Fire–Egg, "the boys and I are gonna be going soon. Electric–Egg wants a four–man Veh–Pod, and he's convinced me to demand the money for it from the city as a reward for saving it (again). He pointed out that we're supposed to be mercenaries but usually act more like altruists. And a vehicle for four is, after all, something we'll be needing now… at least, once you get better, that is. We'll be back to check on you in about a week; you should be able to walk by then, according to Doctor Mitchstellin here. Unless, of course, you'd like us to visit before then."
"Um…" Wind–Egg was still preoccupied in her mind with the implications of her nightmarish experience. "Look, you can visit me in three days. I have to think very hard about something important that I just realized after so nearly dying, something that I'll be ready to tell you and the others about then."
"You realized something important from nearly dying? It must be deep. We can talk about it right now, none of us are in any hurry."
"I said, I'm not quite prepared to talk about it yet. I need to think about it alone some more first, and I'll be ready to talk in three days."
Fire–Egg shrugged. "Very well then. Water–Egg, Electric–Egg, Wind–Egg needs lots of rest and wants to be alone. As for us, we're finally going to get a bite to eat, for the first time in days, no less. Let's go."
Fire–Egg and Electric–Egg left a few moments later, while Water–Egg stayed there by Wind–Egg just a little longer. "I love you." he said, smiling.
"Yeah, it's a secret to no one." said Wind–Egg. "In any case, thank you. I would be dead if not for your caring for me. You're a good little guy, Water–Egg."
"Oh, thank you. So, um, since I save you, does that mean we can–"
"I'm not going to kiss you. Certainly not now. Even if I wanted to, which I don't, I barely have the energy to be saying these very words and need to get some rest."
"I wait here with you! Keep you company!"
"I recall you were complaining about being hungry before. Well, the others are going out to eat right now, and I'm sure you don't want to be left out of that. Plus, Doctor… what did Fire–Egg say your name was, again?"
"Mitchstellin, ma'am." said Doctor Mitchstellin, who could now tell that Water–Egg's "relationship" with Wind–Egg was purely one sided as far as romance was concerned.
"Right, Doctor Mitchstellin will be here to keep me company and make sure I'm safe."
"I guess you right." said Water–Egg. "And I do want to eat. So see you later Wind–Egg!" And he went hopping out of the room to where Fire–Egg and Electric–Egg were waiting for him. They then proceeded to leave the hospital and go to a nearby butchery where they feasted on meat from multiple Ergnoplian animals. After that, Water–Egg paid a visit to his adoptive sister Nancy, who was thrilled to see him for only the third time since he'd joined Fire–Egg.

"You know," said Doctor Mitchstellin to Wind–Egg after the others were gone, "that little guy really loves and cares about you, and has a big heart. I think you should give him a chance."
"I'll… think about it, I suppose." said Wind–Egg as her mind shifted once again to the issue of her "dream".

Three days passed. Fire–Egg, Water–Egg and Electric–Egg returned to Wind–Egg's room at the hospital. She was there in her bed just like before, only now the heart monitor and other mechanical equipment was gone since her condition had gotten so much better; visibly better, too. Her bandage–cast was gone, and her stitched–up chest now visible. The marks from the bullet wounds and subsequent surgical incisions were still visible but would vanish soon enough. She was just barely able to walk at this point, having stood up and done so for the first time since her admittance to the hospital earlier that same day. She was also smiling… more widely and cheerfully than they'd ever seen her smile before. Fire–Egg was the first to take note of this and realize that something was up.
"Hello, friends!" said Wind–Egg with uncharacteristic cheerfulness. "And may the Lord's blessings be with you!"
Yep, Fire–Egg thought to himself. Something was definitely up with Wind–Egg. And he already had a pretty good idea of what it was from these two sentences alone.
"Hello to you, Wind–Egg!" said Water–Egg. "You look happy. You, um, want kiss me now?" He blushed slightly, and expected rejection.
"Of course! It's the least I can do for you, after all." she grabbed Water–Egg, who was standing very close to her bed, pulled him in, and gave him a big, long kiss on the lips, much to his surprise. However, it was not a romantic–feeling kiss as Water–Egg had meant to ask for, but rather it felt like the kind of kiss one would receive from their mother. After several seconds Wind–Egg ended the kiss and released Water–Egg, who felt strangely awkward and unsatisfied by it.
It was at this point that Electric–Egg noted Wind–Egg's unusual behavior, and raised his eyes but did not say anything yet.
"Wind–Egg, are you okay?" asked Fire–Egg with concern. "This isn't like you at all."
"Oh yes, that." she replied. The smile disappeared from her face, though her expression still did not look normal for her. "I've been thinking very hard. Thinking about what I've been doing with my life and the repercussions it will have on my soul."
"Wind–Egg." said Fire–Egg, interrupting her. "Please do not tell me you're leaving to join some sect."
"Well, I'm afraid I can't fulfill that request," she said, "because that's exactly what I'm doing. I am to become a disciple of the Mulshian Rhombus of God as soon as I am released from this hospital, which the nurses say may be in as little time as one week."
The Mulshian Rhombus of God was an eccentric sect of God–obsessed pacifists with large churches in all four of Ergnoplis' capital cities, hence the name. They believed in showing unconditional love to all good people and just ignoring the bad things in the world.
"WHAT?!" yelled Fire–Egg. He was shocked even though he'd already guessed that this was the case in the back of his mind; he had desperately hoped that Wind–Egg wouldn't confirm this suspicion, however. "Why the Hell would you of all people want to join those pussies?"
"Do not speak ill of the Mulshian Rhombus of God!" Wind–Egg rebutted him. "You see, when I was shot, I did not just fall unconscious; I died. It was only by a sheer miracle that Doctor Mitchstellin was able to bring me back. But in that brief time that I was dead, I experienced what would have been the final fate of my soul."
She paused, and the other three Eggmen all looked dumbfounded at her. Even Water–Egg could not believe what she was saying.
"I… I was to be forever with Ket'Spallus in the infinite, dark void outside of the Prime Galaxy. He was to torture and sodomize my soul for all eternity. But as fate would have it, I was given a second, last chance, and for that I owe the Lord all that much more."
"Ket'Spallus?" said Fire–Egg. "But you not only renounced him, you yourself banished him from this world!"
"Indeed I did, but that was not enough to free my soul from his possession after all the years I spent doing wrong in his name. For only God Himself can save a soul such as mine that has dabbled so far in evil."
"Wind–Egg, are you sure you weren't dreaming when you were allegedly dead?"
"I'm glad you asked that, because that's one of the things I've been thinking so very hard about. After much deliberation, I've decided not to take the risk of assuming it was just a dream. I want to make sure I never go back to that horrible place, let alone be trapped there forever."
"Look, Wind–Egg." said Fire–Egg, trying to reason with her. "I know a lot more about the other realms than you do. I've read most if not all of the Next Testament and studied secondary sources, and nowhere did I ever find any mention of what you claim to have experienced as a possible fate in the afterlife. Primal worshippers generally go to Hell, not the void outside Prime Galaxy; I really think you were dreaming. And even if you are still concerned about your soul, we can go to a church where they'll pardon any leftover sins you still haven't made up for. You don't have to leave our team, and you certainly needn't do anything as extreme as join an obsessive sect. Besides, you're essential to our dynamic, and I quite frankly need you to stay with us."
"I did consider that." admitted Wind–Egg. "But then I thought about it some more; I realized then that not only was my work with you insufficient to save my soul, but it was in fact detrimental to it! I committed horrible acts of violence while serving Ket'Spallus; acts that I've neglected to speak of to you for fear that you would reject me. Thus, I realized that to truly atone, I must never partake in violence ever again, which is why I've chosen the Mulshian Rhombus of God, a pacifist sect, to be the medium for my salvation, and why I cannot continue to accompany you on your adventures."
"Wind–Egg," said Fire–Egg with genuine pity, "are you sure none of those rounds went into your brain?"
"I realize that this is difficult for you to understand, Fire–Egg, but this is my life, my soul and my choice, and I'm not even trying to force it on you. I wish you three nothing but the best of luck in your future endeavors; maybe, Fire–Egg, you'll end up finding that 'Plant–Egg' you were theorizing about somewhere out there to replace me."
"Oh, man!" thought Fire–Egg. "I forgot all about that; she just had to remind me!"
"Wind–Egg," he said, "that's precisely why you mustn't leave! We as the five elemental Mulshian mutants must all unite together to realize our full combined potential! It's a miracle that just the four of us even crossed paths, let alone wound up working together, and that gives me, us, all the more incentive to seek out the fifth and final one of our kind, the Plant–Egg! But if you leave, the whole thing goes bust."
"Hmm…" thought Wind–Egg out loud, and Fire–Egg briefly hoped that this would lead to her changing her mind until she said matter–of–factly, "I guess, then, that your egocentric little dream will just have to 'go bust', because my mind is made up no matter what you say."
"Fire–Egg," said Water–Egg, "if Wind–Egg leaving can I go with her?"
This very suggestion infuriated Fire–Egg. He was not going to let his team fall apart like this! "Absolutely not!" he screamed as he slapped Water–Egg very hard across the face in sheer frustration, knocking him down.
The sound of this caught the attention of a nurse who was walking in the hall outside, who popped her head into the room and saw Water–Egg dazed on the floor with a red slap mark on his face, crying softly. "My goodness," she said in a stereotypically puffy, feminine voice, "what on Ergnoplis is going on in here?"
Fire–Egg quickly calmed down, realized his mistake and attempted to apologize: "I'm sorry ma'am, I, we, just–"
Wind–Egg interrupted him. "Nurse," she said with her eyes closed in a condescending way, "these men are harassing me and attempting to force me to live a certain way. I'd like you to make them leave."
"Nurse, I–"
"Harassing a recovering patient, are we?" said the nurse sternly, not letting him explain himself. "Trying to boss her around? You know, this young woman suffered a life–threatening injury before coming here; she's lucky to be alive! I'm afraid I'll have to be asking you to leave."
"Please, we–"
"OUT!" screamed the nurse in an almost demonic–sounding voice that startled them all, including the delirious Wind–Egg.

"I can't believe this." said Fire–Egg as they walked out. "Wind–Egg, the most level–headed and smart of us, has gone crazy."
"She – she change her mind and come back, right?" Water–Egg asked him worriedly. He was still crying, and Fire–Egg had not yet apologized for lashing out at and slapping him, though he was more concerned about Wind–Egg than about this.
"I… don't know." replied Fire–Egg with uncertainty. "I've heard stories of seemingly sane people doing crazier things; I'd just hoped it would never happen to one of us."
"Don't worry." said Electric–Egg. "This is probably just an irrational phase. She'll get over it, realize her mistake and come crawling back to us! I'll give her… a week, two tops!"

Two weeks passed. Wind–Egg had not "come crawling back" as Electric–Egg predicted. Another week passed and she still had not come back. Then another week, and another week, and another, and another, and another… still no word from Wind–Egg.

Three years passed. It was now Age 753. Things had not been going well for the Eggmen since Wind–Egg took her leave. Water–Egg had been depressed without her, making it clear that he would not get over it unless she came back (this was related to his emotional immaturity), and to a lesser extent the lack of a female companion had gotten to Fire–Egg, who had grown more attached to Wind–Egg than he'd realized. Electric–Egg, who was emotionally unaffected by Wind–Egg's absence since he had lived most of his life completely alone, had grown harder to control with only one competent authority figure there to watch over him, and the team was much less effective. As a trio of Fire–Egg, Water–Egg and Wind–Egg, the Eggmen had developed superior tactics and group strategies together, but as Fire–Egg, Water–Egg and Electric–Egg, they just didn't work off of each other as well. Fire–Egg in particular had found that he was less effective on his own than he'd been way back before meeting Water–Egg. He felt that he had grown overdependent on his teammates, and lost some of the strength of body and character he'd spent his first ten years as an adventurer developing. Finally, and on top of all this, things were just boring. Since shortly after Wind–Egg left, there had been an increasing drought in the amount of criminals and evil–doers around for the Eggmen to fight. There were a couple reasons for this. One was that Mulshians tend to learn their lessons permanently after one severe punishment, so most of the criminals that the Eggmen fought who weren't pure evil and thus were arrested rather than killed did not do any significant wrong again. Even the ones who were sentenced to life imprisonment were even less likely to break out than before, for the Ergnoplian Planetary Penal Facility of Detainment had bolstered its security significantly ever since Electric–Egg's escape. But a more significant reason than either of these for the major drop in crime was the fact that far fewer criminals were being arrested altogether, because the rest were all mercilessly slaughtered by Electric–Egg, whose presence resulted in a far greater percentage of the Eggmen's opponents being killed rather than non–lethally subdued than ever before. This in turn was a discouraging factor for other would–be criminals, who appropriately came to fear the Eggmen more than ever before and thus were hesitant to even try to commit any crimes. Also, what little action the Eggmen did see at this point consisted entirely of average Mulshian criminals; vandals, thieves, burglars, con artists, even the occasional rapist and/or murderer; these standard varieties of wrong–doer might be more than enough for normal cops to ask for, but were boring and mundane for the Eggmen, who had faced demons such as the Ohgroid and the Gluttony demons in the Aetarnz Forest, mutants from other species like Piemika the metallic Favredian and Santnack the elastic Emlottbien, and even a Primal Deity. Even certain exceptionally mad Mulshians such as "The Prince of Carnage" and Rahrahler were interesting enough to keep the Eggmen enthusiastic about what they did. But now, there was no more of that on Ergnoplis. Just ordinary, boring criminals, and in fewer numbers than before. Now, for the general population, this was obviously a good thing. But for the Eggmen, it resulted in boredom and depression. Admittedly they were aware that it was probably selfish and unhealthy to want more crime and evil around just so they could play the heroes and stop it, but they were, for lack of a better word, addicted to heroism and knew little else in terms of making use of their time. Of the four, the one who had been closest to knowing how to live a normal life was Wind–Egg.

Fire–Egg, Water–Egg and Electric–Egg were in East Egg City, sitting in a bar, bored as usual. "I miss Wind–Egg." groaned Water–Egg with his face leaning onto the table as they loitered there.
"Water–Egg," said Fire–Egg, "it's been three years. She's not coming back, and she's probably happier where she is now, even if her lifestyle is less productive. You keep saying that, and it's really getting on our nerves now. You need to get over her. She never loved you anyway."
"I know it been three years, but story skip all that time! Readers not get to see how I miss Wind–Egg earlier."
His two partners, as well as a couple of random patrons who had overheard the nonsensical statement, looked at him strangely for a few seconds before dismissing the comment.
"You know," suggested Electric–Egg as he took a break from his beer, "maybe we should start seriously looking into getting normal part–time jobs. Since there's been so little for us to do, the cities are becoming less willing to provide for us on the grounds of our good deeds; at this point, we should at least try to make some money the normal way. That, and there's simply nothing else for us to do. The law enforcement crew is more than capable of taking care of what little crime seems to be left on the planet without our help anyway. We're not needed as crime fighters right now, and I'd appreciate it if we did something more productive than just loitering around until we are again."
"You know what?" said Fire–Egg. "You're right. For all these years I haven't even tried to live a normal life, and now that things are quiet around Ergnoplis, now would be a good time to start. Water–Egg, you used to do simple odd jobs around Eastern South Egg prior to meeting me, if I recall correctly?"
Water–Egg nodded passively.
"And as for you, Electric–Egg, could I really trust you to take up a job. It was you who suggested this in the first place, but given your history…"
"Oh, of course you can trust me!" said Electric–Egg. "My criminal days are far behind me now, and have I not kept my word to never hurt someone who isn't an enemy for this long?"
"You have a point, but still, I'll tell your whoever employs you to keep an especially close eye on you until you can prove that you won't cause any trouble while on the job."
Electric–Egg just shrugged.
"So it's settled, then." said Fire–Egg. "We are going to get normal jo–"
He was unable to finish his sentence, being interrupted when the door to the bar was swung open from outside and slammed into the wall. Now stepping into the bar was none other than the president of East Egg City, the aging Lium Nacgillcut. His loud entrance startled everyone in the bar, who looked to the now wrecked door and remained attentive to it upon seeing who it was entering. Nacgillcut was backed by several armed and armored guards just in case one or more of the drunken patrons tried to do anything to him, which did not happen since the Eggmen were there and none of them would dare to anything illegal, let alone attack the president, with them present, even though he had needlessly wrecked their door in his panicked frenzy. "Eggmen!" screamed the president. "This city needs you, no, this planet needs you! And most importantly, I need you! The Skellen Mothership is orbiting Ergnoplis; we are under attack!"
And so began the Eggmen's most epic adventure yet.
But before we tell you that story, we have to tell you this story…

Skip backwards three years to immediately after Wind–Egg's resignation. It had been exactly one week since her revelation of her "conversion" to her teammates and simultaneous alienation of said teammates when Wind–Egg checked out of the hospital and immediately thereafter sought out South Egg City's chapter of the Mulshian Rhombus of God, which was naturally located in Westside. The church building was long, rectangular with a domed top, and was multiple stories tall yet only had one actual story inside with a very, very high ceiling. On the outside it was painted beige with vertical stripes, and had patches of grass and flowers to the sides of the walkway leading up to the front door, right in front of which was a sign reading: "Mulshian Rhombus of God, South Egg Chapter. May the Lord's blessings be with you always. Bake sale on the 30th!"
Wind–Egg approached it, and stepped inside. A part of her still felt bad about abandoning her friends and her duties with them, but this rational, normal side of her was all but completely subdued by the saccharine, irrational side of her that she had allowed to emerge and take her during her recovery and in the wake of her nightmarish near–death experience. The inside of the building was typical for a church. There were rows of seats, beneath each of which were pamphlets with selected Next Testament verses, to the sides of a long red carpet that led up to the pulpit where there was a pedestal sitting on top of which was a full copy of the Next Testament. High up on the wall behind the pulpit was a large, beautiful stained glass window depicting the Four Heavenly Lords, the seven Archangels, and the Great Thorn. The church also had some other rooms to the sides of the main chamber and in the back. There were two other people in the room when Wind–Egg came in: a pair of robed nuns who were both sitting in chairs on opposite sides of the red carpet, reading centuries–old stories. They noticed the presence of a visitor without Wind–Egg having to say or do anything, and immediately they literally jumped out of their seats and flew across the room, spinning around multiple times in midair before landing right next to each other and right in front of Wind–Egg. It could now be seen that the two nuns were the splitting image of one another. Both were tall and pale with plain blue eyes and wide smiles on their faces. "Hello!" they both said simultaneously in their identical, ditzy voices.
"Um… hello…" said Wind–Egg, nervous and startled by them, "I'm Wind–Egg, and I would like to join your church."
"Say no more!" said the first nun.
"And allow us to introduce ourselves!" said the second.
"I," said the first, "am Sister Lalelela."
"And I," said the second, "am Sister Lelalale."
"Together we are the Li Sisters, the co–representative nuns of the South Egg Chapter of the Mulshian Rhombus of God, and we are at your service!" they both then said simultaneously as they bowed before Wind–Egg. Here were two young women who, going by their overly cheery demeanors and overly perfect coordination with each other, had clearly been raised by the church from birth and irreversibly indoctrinated to its strange ways. In addition, they had been raised to look and behave identically to one another in every aspect, for they were in fact biological twin sisters, and the daughters of the church's eccentric reverend who helped their father with various church–related and public duties, acting as spokespeople for their chapter of the Mulshian Rhombus of God. The old Wind–Egg would have been creeped out by them, and even as it was a part of her inside did feel this way, but again it was drowned out by her new, and currently dominant, personality that had rapidly developed as a result of a personal crisis she didn't know how to deal with properly.
"Pleased to meet you two," she thus said, "and how do I go about becoming like you?"
"It's easy!" said Sister Lalelela.
"Please, follow us!" said Sister Lelalale, as they each went ahead and grabbed one of Wind–Egg's arms and then dragged her towards the back rooms to meet their father and master.

Thus began Wind–Egg's time as a nun of the Mulshian Rhombus of God's South Egg Chapter. Following her formal initiation into the cult sect by the Li Sisters' father, Reverend Cuibbles, she spent the next three years atoning for the sins that she now believed her adventurous good deeds with the Eggmen had not been enough to alleviate by doing mundane good deeds and generally being a boring goody–goody. When she first confessed her actions to the other members, they were taken aback by the severity of some of them, but nevertheless they remained supportive of her and appreciated the courage it took her to come forward about this. Wind–Egg spent a good portion of her time acquainting herself with the content of the Next Testament, learning about the greatness of God, the Heavenly Realms and their angelic inhabitants, as well as the stories of messianic heroes from throughout Nava–Verse history, the most notable of them being the Human Connor "The Great" Thorn. When she wasn't doing that (or sleeping), she was helping to run church–funded events such as bake sales and auctions, doing community service, or performing miscellaneous odd jobs around the city, none of which are worth writing about. In short, she was, again, a boring goody–goody and a wimp who made no use of her amazing powers and thus squandered her true potential during that three year period. And she was happy about that!

Then, one day, the very same day that the other Eggmen got that unexpected visit from President Nacgillcut in that bar, in fact, it happened. The Skellen came to South Egg City, as well as to the planet's other cities. When the Skellen Mothership came into position in the orbit of Ergnoplis, it released six Sini–StarStations, each of them set to go to one of the inhabited areas of the planet and deploy a group of "ambassadors" who would cause havoc in the settlements and thus make it known to all that the Skellen were once again waging war against the Mulshians. These "ambassadors" were contained inside of Peu–Podes that were first released through the gaping maws of the Sini–StarStations as they loomed over the settlements, and then floated down into the settlements before finally releasing the Skellen they carried who would proceed to create as much chaos as possible. This was the first stage of the Skellen's plan for conquering the planet, the second phase being the bombardment of all settlements and the third being the enslavement of all remaining Mulshians as well as the extermination of those among them who resisted enslavement finally followed by permanent Skellen occupation and domination of the planet. This new plan had been concocted by the Skellen people's current leader, Skellord Blue, who was now carrying out his second attempt to conquer Ergnoplis and personally oversaw the entire operation from the Skellen Mothership.
In the case of South Egg City, one of the Peu–Podes just so happened to land right in front of the church of the Mulshian Rhombus of God. Its hatch opened, releasing much smoke as two burly, armored Skellen warriors emerged from inside. They observed their surroundings briefly before taking note of the church and heading towards it intent on bringing ruin to it…
But, again, before we tell you that story, we have to tell you this story…

This was to be the Third Skellen Wars. The Second Skellen Wars had taken place more than twenty years ago, in Ages 730 through 732, and were also started by Skellord Blue, who had spent much of the time between then and now rebuilding the Skellen Army after its defeat and reshaping the Skellen people as a whole so that they would not fail in taking over Ergnoplis again. The First Skellen Wars had taken place an additional fifty years prior, having been started by Blue's predecessor, Skellord Red. The Skellen's main mistake last time, in their own eyes, had been underestimating the Mulshians and not sending a large enough invasion force to their planet. But they would not commit this same folly again, for this time they were truly going all–out with their invasion. That, and they were in possession of a brand new secret "weapon" that they had harnessed only very recently…
General Yimf Badassic, North Egg City's Head of Law Enforcement, was all too familiar with the Skellen and their brutality, for he had fought in the Second Skellen Wars himself. He had been the field general representing North Egg. And he had been through Hell, having become deeply traumatized by the war's end. Yet at the cost of his psychological well–being, General Badassic had played a significant overall role in stopping the Skellen threat, for not only did he personally kill more than one hundred enemy units, but the men under his direct command killed thousands more… while losing hundreds of their own. Yimf Badassic rightfully harbored a deep hatred for and fear of the Skellen for their actions against his people and so many others, and had hoped that he would never have to deal with them again, for he still had traumatic flashbacks of things he had witnessed and been through during the Second Skellen Wars. And then, on that fateful day, which was supposed to be his weekly day off–duty and which he'd thought would be one just like any other in his city, he saw the Skellen Mothership there in the sky above his beloved home planet through the window in his home. The Skellen Mothership was not present near Ergnoplis during the Second Skellen Wars, but General Badassic recognized its architecture and thus knew what its presence meant. Suddenly everything that he had experienced during the previous war, including that which he had stuffed back into the deepest recesses of his mind and that which he had supposedly forgotten altogether, came back to him, and his eyes widened. "Oh S***." he said out loud, and he hurried outside to find that everyone else was also looking up at the object in the sky, not all of them knowing what it was and none of them recognizing the direness of what it meant like General Badassic did. The police chief got into his Veh–Pod, and began driving around the city, screaming to spread the word. "The Skellen are attacking our planet once again!" he said. "Get indoors! Hide your kids, hide your wife, and most importantly hide yourself, because the Skellen are coming! The Skellen are coming! The freaking Skellen are coming!" He continued repeating this last sentence ad nauseam as he went throughout the city screaming his warning. Some people listened, some did not. In any case, General Badassic knew that he would also have to gather and ready the city's law enforcement crew and the capital guard as well as anyone else who was brave enough to stand up to the incoming intruders to the city, for they would need all the help they could get. So he changed his mantra to, "Everyone hide, or else ready your arms if you are prepared to fight and die for your city, your planet and your freedom!" which he repeated as he sped towards the capital building to warn the president and council that a war was coming.
Little did he know that the Skellen "ambassadors" to North Egg had in fact already infiltrated the city. In particular, one of the Peu–Podes had landed in a secluded back alley, where it went unnoticed, and its occupants had then stealthily made their way from there to the city orphanage. This orphanage was located along the route to the capital building which General Badassic was taking. As he drove up to it, he saw a scattered crowd of people outside the building, looking generally fearful, which caught his attention and curiosity. He then noticed that there were a few police men there among them as well. So he brought his Veh–Pod to a halt and got out, approaching one of the law enforcers, his law enforcers, to see what was going on.
"Sir," said General Badassic to one of the police men in his standard authoritative voice, "what seems to be the problem here? Whatever it is, we may need to let this one go, because there's a much, much bigger problem on its way to this city and all other cities on Ergnoplis!"
"Boss, thank Bestamiak you're here! I'm afraid we're already well aware that there's about to be a big, big problem on our hands, and of what it is. You have, after all, been driving around the city screaming about it at the top of your lungs. But, the thing is, this situation right here, it's part of the big incoming problem. The children inside the orphanage are being held hostage… by Skellen!"
General Badassic's eyes bugged out once again. An image came into his mind, an image from the Second Skellen Wars: the image of a Skellen Berserker executing a defenseless child with a shotgun blast to the head, in front of a backdrop of burning buildings as the heroic general ran towards him in a vain effort to save the child. He remembered now how he had killed that particular Skellen, subduing him before stuffing his own shotgun into his mouth and then pulling the trigger. Yet he was still haunted by the fact that he had been unable to save that youngling when it had been entirely up to him to do so. Now, a similar situation was at hand, with the stakes raised many times fold; a chance for him to succeed where he had failed before. General Badassic's demeanor changed from panicked, urgent and in a hurry to calmly serious, focused and angry.
"Give me more details, private." he told the man who answer to him, using military terminology because, to him, this was already war. "What do these Skellen want? Why do they say they are here? How many others are in the city?"
"Well, boss, my partner and I received a report just minutes ago that another small group of Skellen was confronted and neutralized on the lowermost terrace after killing at least five people. The men there managed to take one of the Skellen in alive for questioning, though he says he'll die before he talks. As for the ones right here, they have announced that they will let one child go for each adult Mulshian that goes in to die in their place, and that they'll kill them all if one hour passes without someone sacrificing themselves, which they'll also do if anyone tries to go inside for any other reason."
"My God… how long has this been going on?"
"We've been here for less than an hour, boss. So far, one person from this crowd has gone in to die. Gunshots were then heard, and a child was then thrown out of the third story window. She was caught safely, thank EldaChusii."
"I can see that you are a devout follower of the Heavenly Lords, invoking their names like that."
"Indeed I am, sir. If only they were here to help us…"
"If only, indeed. But, as I'm sure you've come to realize, you can never count on divine intervention when it comes to these kind of situations. That's what people like us are for. I want you to get all these people away from here. I'm going in; tell them I've volunteered to sacrifice myself."
"Sir, you can't possibly be serious! You're far too important to sacrifice yourself, if anyone must go in to die, let it be me!"
"Don't worry, son. You need only wait out here, for I have a plan, and I promise that I will come back out either with all those children unharmed, or not at all. Preferably the first one."
General Badassic did indeed have a plan. A plan that would rely entirely on his own wits, skills, strength and adrenaline. A plan that, if it succeeded, would make him truly live up to his name.
BUT… before we tell you that story, we have to tell you yet another story, this one, to be exact (don't worry, this is the last one before we resolve the other three stories, we promise)…

Wrenchaii was a large island located to the North of the main continent of Ergnoplis. It was a humid strip of land dominated by jungles of unique, hotly–colored flora and being home to fauna not found elsewhere on the planet. Along with the Middle Landbridge, Wrenchaii was one of the locations where the Mulshian race was believed to have originated from. Some Mulshians still lived here, and like their Middle Landbridge cousins, they were largely tribal folk who were primitive compared to those who lived in the four cities. They were marginally more advanced than the Middle Landbridge tribals, as they had at least a basic communication system and sense of connection between their scattered villages, though almost no communication with the mainland (thus they had never heard of the Eggmen). However, they were, again, not nearly as technologically savvy as the mainland city–dwellers. That is, with one exception. Turvalom was truly a born genius; the smartest individual to ever born make his home on Wrenchaii, if not planet Ergnoplis itself, and ever since he had been alive, the people of Wrenchaii as a whole had been more prosperous than they ever had before thanks to his wonderful inventions which he took advantage of all the natural resources available on Wrenchaii to make. He could have made not only a tremendous living but also even better inventions than he currently created if he lived in one of the capital cities. And though Turvalom could have moved there if he really wanted, as he had created a working boat, he opted to stay on Wrenchaii so that he could continue benefiting the technologically–impaired people who had raised him. Turvalom's immense intellect was in reality thanks to the fact that he was, in fact, a mutant. The people of Wrenchaii had little understanding of what a mutant was, however, and they instead thought that he had been blessed by either the Heavens or a Primal Deity (they recognized both as "divine"). In any case, though, Turvalom's smarts were only the secondary effect of his mutations. He had another, much more obviously unnatural power, one that also provided great benefit to the other people of Wrenchaii. He could control vegetation and, through prolonged focus, create it, a form of life, from nothingness. Since it still required him a lot of effort to do this, his powers alone could not replace Wrenchaii's need for agricultural workers entirely, but he made having fruits and vegetables to eat less of an issue in times of scarcity, and allowed his peers the opportunity to experience plants that they could not otherwise, for he could generate any form of vegetation that grew naturally anywhere on Ergnoplis (though he couldn't create anything that only grew on other planets).
Because of this, Turvalom was not usually called "Turvalom", for there was another name that he went by.
This name was "Plant–Egg".

TO BE CONTINUED...
The whole chapter is not written yet as of my uploading this first part; i.e. I just finished this much so far. With Chapter 10, it was all written at once and only split into two parts because it was so long. Since this Chapter 11 will be even longer, it may even be split into three parts!

Anyway, in this part, we find out what happens to Wind–Egg after her injury, and enter a brand new threat; the biggest the Eggmen will have faced thus far, for it threatens the entire planet of Ergnoplis! Also, a previously minor character from earlier chapters returns, and finally: Enter, Plant–Egg. All of this is setup for the next part(s), which will have more action.
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:icondeepc:
DeepC Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is going to get REAL serious!

I actually thought the part with Ket'Spallus was pretty creepy.

Poor Water-Egg never gets a break, in fact, every Egg-Man is practically a Woobie in this chapter.
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:iconmoleman9000:
Moleman9000 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you, that's been one of your best feedbacks.
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:icondeepc:
DeepC Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Geez, I feel pretty bad then.

BTW, for Connor Thorn reading, what if I did an in between section to make a kind of joke with my voice as the Custodian "kicking out" the other voice in Chapter 1 saying how the Custodian can read the story properly? As a form of lampshading.
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:iconmoleman9000:
Moleman9000 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just realized that that would be especially inappropriate since it would also signify Connor's entry to the Nava–Verse. So it would be even better if you did it at the exact point that he is sent there.
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:icondeepc:
DeepC Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Not sure what you mean by that...
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:iconmoleman9000:
Moleman9000 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, I meant APPROPRIATE, not inappropriate. I was talking about what you suggested happen in your next reading.
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:icondeepc:
DeepC Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
So you say I should have The Custodian interrupt once Connor Thorn is in the Nava-Verse in story?
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:iconmoleman9000:
Moleman9000 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmoleman9000:
Moleman9000 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What do you mean, you feel bad???

And as for that suggestion, YES! YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!
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:icondeepc:
DeepC Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
BEcause I didn't say a lot.

And I'm glad I got your permission.
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