Categories > Comics > X-Men > Eternal Flame

Questions and Answers

by slickboy444 0 Reviews

Takes place after Ultimate X-men 60. A new force with power similar to the Phoenix begins to manifest in Scott, leading to a confrontation with forces the likes of which the X-men have never faced ...

Category: X-Men - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance - Characters: Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Storm, Wolverine - Published: 2006/05/02 - Updated: 2006/05/02 - 5645 words

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Eternal Flame
Chapter 6: Questions and Answers


*************************************************

Upon returning to the mansion, Scott was rushed to the infirmary. The Professor meticulously checked his condition, hooking him up to numerous machines so he could monitor his vitals. But machines couldn't possibly quantify the kind of things going on in Scott's being. Jean had come to know that all too well.

During the ride back, she had been in a deep daze. She kept holding onto her unconscious boyfriend, looking as though she was trapped in her own mind. Some of the others tried to snap her out of it. Hell, even Logan gave it a shot, but even that wasn't enough.

She could feel something that they couldn't. She could see something that nobody else could see. Even Slayer was at a loss. It permeated her mind in the deepest of ways...This strange bond that formed between them the moment she felt this. It was on a level deeper than anybody could have imagined and for Jean, it had given her insight into something that went beyond the realm of human understanding.

But it wasn't the human component that disturbed her...It was the power of the dormant Phoenix that was still brewing within her that truly had her worried.

In a desire for comfort, she firmly held her unconscious lover's hand. It felt so warm even though he was out cold. It had mystified the Professor, but it barely registered with Jean. All she could think about was Scott and this strange force that had overtaken him.

Even when the others left to hear Jack's story, she decided to stay. As desperate as she was for answers, Scott's well being was her first priority. And as much as she wanted to learn about this phenomenon, a part of her already knew the truth. And the more she thought about it, the more anxious she became.

"I can still feel it, you know?" she found herself saying in a hoarse tone, "The moment that...That thing took you over. I felt it so strongly in my mind that it was as if it was reaching out to me. And I...I feel as though I was reaching out as well."

Even though Scott was unconscious, Jean could still sense him on a deeper level. It was almost surreal for her, but she knew the man she loved was still in there. He was just trapped between forces that neither of them could control.

"I remember how it felt when the Phoenix took me over," she went on to say, "It was horrible and wonderful at the same time. I had never felt so much power in the palm of my hand. It was as if I could crush the whole world with a mere thought. It was beyond anything I could ever describe. And now, you have it too...That same power engulfing your mind, body, and soul."

Suddenly, Jean's hand began to shake and her eyes started to glow. She could feel it welling up inside her, the consciousness of the Phoenix Force. Only now, it was as if her own consciousness was acting along with it. It was as if she was Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force at the same time. And as the gentle flames began to consume her, she felt this strange new connection with Scott attain new levels of mystery.

"I can feel you...So deeply. Please, I need you. Scott...Horus...My love."

*************************************************

Over in the War Room the mutant warrior known as Slayer spent nearly an hour telling Xavier and his X-men the full story. After having come in, abducted Scott, and used him in some bizarre ritual that awakened a cosmic known as Horus, he had quite a few blanks to fill in. The X-men were already very suspicious of him, but they still heard him out. By the time he was done, he had managed to answer a few questions, but that only evoked a plethora of new problems.

"Okay, let me see if I completely understand this..." said Bobby as he, the rest of the X-men, and Slayer all stood in the lower levels of the institute just outside the infirmary, "This Horus thing, as you call it, that has enough power to devour a whole planet has been connected to Scott since he was born."

"Yes, and the same applies to Jean and the Phoenix," affirmed Slayer.

"Right, which is also linked to this thing somehow," said Bobby, already rubbing his head in confusion, "And as of lately, they're both starting to manifest with a vengeance."

"Only for Jean, hers was rushed by the Hellfire Club," added in Ororo, who remembered that little ploy all too well.

"Yeah, can't forget that," muttered Bobby, "And you went along the same lines and brought it out in Scott as well."

"Guilty as charged there," shrugged Slayer, showing he had no qualms about what he had done.

"And on top of it all, this psychotic dark shadow guy who looks like something from a Wes Craven movie is out to take this power for himself."

"Yeah, that would be the Warlord Xin factor," sighed Jack, "He's the reason why I had to abduct Scott and manifest Horus prematurely. And trust me, it would have been MUCH worse if I hadn't."

"Guess we'll have to take your word for it, bub," growled Logan, showing that he still didn't like this guy.

"Okay, so we've got this Horus thing, the Phoenix, and Warlord Xin all coming together in one big mess of conflict and we just happen to be in the middle of it all," said Bobby, finishing up the last part of this complicated story.

"Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up," said Jack in an almost casual tone.

The X-men all exchanged bewildered looks. They had taken on the Magneto, Weapon X, and the Hellfire Club, but they had never come across something like this. It was a conflict taken right out of the deepest nightmares. And here they were, adrift in this vast sea of complications with little idea on how to handle them.

"Okay, I don't know about you guys, but I'm officially stumped with this one," said Bobby, throwing his hands up in defeat.

"You're not the only one, Iceman," sighed Warren, feeling all too overwhelmed by this whole thing, "We've never dealt with anything like this before! Hell, I never even believed in magic before this!"

"Well believe it rich boy," said Slayer in a strong tone, "Because both real and mystical forces are involved here and if we're to have any hope of resolving this, we're going to have to use both."

"Wonderful. I don't suppose we can solve everything by learning to pull a rabbit out of a hat," said Kitty, her poise now slouched in light of these revelations.

"I never said dealing with the forces of darkness was easy, X-men. There's a lot at stake here and if we don't stop it then you can kiss your home, your dreams, and your asses goodbye."

As the rest of the team struggled to process this, Professor Charles Xavier took a moment to think critically about this. As unbelievable as it sounded, it still involved his students so he had to play a part in this whether he liked it or not. It was a tough thing to wrap his head around, but for the sake of his X-men he was willing to give it a try.

Yet still, his team retained much of their suspicions towards the mutant warrior who seemed to be giving them so many answers.

"Vhat about you, Herr Slayer?" asked Kurt, "Vhy did you get involved?"

"Yeah, bub...What's yer angle?" said Logan in a suspicious tone, "What do you get out of all this?"

"Well, other than a world that isn't free floating cosmic dust, I have my reasons," he said, shooting Logan a stoic glare, "But I doubt you'd understand, let alone believe me. Just bear in mind that I have a history with Warlord Xin. He's been an enemy of mine for some time and he's bested me on several occasions. And I will NOT allow him to win this time."

"Yes, this Warlord Xin seems to be a very large part of the problem here," said Xavier, casting all suspicious aside as he focused further on this important detail, "But who exactly is he? And why hasn't anybody heard of him or..."

However, before Xavier could finish asking the questions, Ororo Munroe gave the answers that she knew all too well.

"I know, Professor," she said in a low, monotone voice.

"Ro?" said Logan in a surprised tone, "What do you mean? You know this guy?"

"Unfortunately, I do," she said with a sigh, "You'd be hard pressed to find somebody in Africa who hasn't in some form or another. He goes by many names, but Warlord Xin is probably the most famous. I know because I heard the stories growing up as a little girl."

"Stories? What kind of stories?" asked a curious Piotr, who had been standing beside Xavier defensively ever since they arrived back with Slayer.

"They were more or less African ghost stories. Warlord Xin was sort of our boogie man. Tales of him go back a long time telling of how he terrorized Africa for centuries with his shadow army. I grew up learning of his cruelty, ruthlessness, and terror and like every other child in Africa, I feared him and had many nightmares about him. And I just...I had no idea he could be real! He was always just a dream...One that everybody dreaded, yet nobody wanted to think about."

"Out of sight, out of mind I take it," summarized Dazzler.

"Sad, but true," said Slayer, stepping in once more to fill in the blanks, "Those stories you heard weren't entirely based in myth, Ms Monroe. Warlord Xin actually did exist. He emerged as a disembodied spirit of several cruel warlords in the Congo that were merged together in an area thick with shadow magic. And when he manifested his full form, he gained complete control over the surrounding shadows and used them to raise a great and powerful army that he could command with impunity."

"So, like, what happened to him?" asked Kitty, finding it very hard to believe, but even harder to deny after seeing it first hand.

"After untold years of terror, a group of powerful shamans and priests pooled their resources and cast a powerful magic spell that imprisoned Warlord Xin and all his armies in the thick, impenetrable jungles from where came. It ended up costing the priests and the shamans their lives, but in the end they successfully contained him."

"So how did he break free?" asked Xavier.

"By pure accident," muttered Slayer in response, "Apparently, there was some expedition into the Congo a few years ago headed by some explorers funded by Wilson Fisk. And given their bias against magic, they accidentally uncovered Warlord Xin's old complex and freed him."

"Jeez, leave it to fat crime lords to release a guy like that," commented Bobby.

"And with no shamans or priests around, I was the one who had to try and contain him," added Slayer with a slight discomfort in his tone, "But as you can probably guess, I haven't been all that successful."

Such words were not too uplifting, especially to Ororo, who found herself shifting in her poise slightly. She didn't like the idea that something from her childhood nightmares was real. But she had seen it with her own eyes. She had experienced it first hand. It truly was a nightmare come to life.

"Great, so how do we stop him?" said Piotr, trying to remain stoic, but a story like this was just too much.

Slayer ran his hands through his messy blonde hair in a show of frustration. He had taken on Warlord Xin many times and despite being a skilled warrior and mystic, he hadn't been able to best the old shadowy force. And now that these X-men were involved, everything was going to become even more complicated because with Warlord Xin, anything was possible.

"For now, we have to take it one crisis at a time," said Slayer, maintaining his stoic poise, "As long as we keep the power of Horus out of Xin's hands, then we should be okay."

"Yeah, some plan, pal!" scoffed Dazzler with a snide tone, "You said it yourself! This thing has power on a cosmic level!"

"Yes, I know, but it's still bound in a mortal vessel," reasoned Slayer.

"You mean Scott," said Kurt.

"Exactly, and as long as Scott can maintain control, then we should be okay. It's just a matter of taking the fight to Xin before he makes his move."

"Whoa, whoa, Slayer man!" shot Ororo in response, "You mean you actually want to go back out there and fight this thing?!"

"What did you expect?" quipped the mutant warrior in response, "You think it'll be any better if we just wait around here and let Warlord Xin consolidate his power? Horus may be strong, but as with every powerful force it is completely neutral. Neither good nor evil, it all depends on how it is used. Warlord Xin, on the other hand, is a creature of the shadows. He is evil in a way you can't even dream of. Now I don't know what he's planning, but whatever it is it can't be good!"

"And you believe it has something to do with using the power of Horus for himself?" inquired Xavier, trying to go over every possible angle with this matter.

"I don't just believe it, Professor...I know it!" said Jack as the mark on his eye suddenly started to glow, "I bear the power of the all seeing eye. I can look beyond deceptions and see the truths that have been shrouded in lies! And while I may be bound by human limitations, I can make out enough to know that Warlord wants this power and he wants it bad!"

"And in the hands of someone like him, it's hard to even contemplate zhe kind of destruction he vould cause," made Kurt.

"Which is exactly why we have to stop him! He's way too close to succeeding! I know it! I can't exactly see it, but I can feel it in my bones! He's going to try and tap the power of Horus! He's going to use it to make himself a god!"

"But how in the hell can he do something like that?!" exclaimed Warren, still finding this too bizarre even by their standards.

"Yeah, I mean this guy sounds pretty powerful, but even he must have his limits," added Bobby.

"And there in lies the problem, X-men" said Slayer, returning to the conflict at hand, "Of all Xin's plots, none of them have been on this scale. He's a being of the shadows. He shouldn't have the knowledge to pull of an act of mysticism on this scale. It just doesn't add up."

"But you say he's on the verge of succeeding," said Xavier, reiterating that point since he could sense that it was important, "Do you have any idea how this could be?"

"Well, there are some possibilities," said Jack, sifting through is vast mystical knowledge, "Ever since I've been fighting him, he's been using his armies to steal ancient relics from all over the world."

"Ancient relics? Why would he want those?" asked Kitty.

"I assumed it was to help him consolidate his power. But I'm know now that those were probably just steps in a much bigger plan. One of the other things that didn't feel right about our last fight was that he didn't seem to really care much about Scott or Horus. He was more focused on that figurine."

"You mean that doll you were playing with?" said Logan in response.

"That 'doll,' Logan, has a direct link with the power of Horus. It's over 5,000 years old and is laced with some of the most immense mystic forces on the face of the planet. But it's still not strong enough to act on Horus alone. It requires its medium. In other words, it requires Scott. The only conceivable way it could possibly reinstate that kind of power is..."

Suddenly, Jack froze. A heavy silence fell over the group as they saw the change in the mutant warrior's demeanor. Whether or not they trusted him was irrelevant now, for there were far greater forces at work here. Jack knew this all too well and as soon as his mind fell upon one overlooked detail, he found himself in a very precarious position.

"No!" he said, shaking his head in disbelief, "No way! That's not possible! How can it..."

"Huh? What the hell are you babbling about?!" yelled Logan, trying to snap him out of his daze.

"It's the only way. There are no other means for him to do it."

"What are you talking about? What means is he using?" asked the Professor anxiously, hoping that whatever had just struck the young warrior, it would provide them with some much needed resources.

Jack Robinson was fell silent as he turned back to face the X-men with a grave look on his face. He felt like kicking himself for not thinking of this sooner because it was the only way this mess could possibly add up. He should have seen it. He should have been able to see through Xin's deception. And now it may be too late.

"He's going to do it. He's going to use it!"

"Use what?!" exclaimed the Professor, "What is he going to do to my student?!"

"The figure! He must have found the other one too! The one that embodies the Phoenix!"

"There's a Phoenix figurine too?!" exclaimed Ororo, "Where did he get that?"

"He probably stole it from the Hellfire Club after they were disbanded! All he needs now is some sort of channeling mechanism for chi. And knowing him, he's already got one!"

"And how in the hell do you know that?!" shot Logan.

"You got any other leads, pal?!" shot Slayer in a tone leaving no room for argument, "You know anyone else with an all seeing eye?! It's explains why he's been stealing ancient relics all this time! Alone, they're can't do much, but used properly they can take a cosmic entity like Horus and work it like a puppet! And with the relics Xin already has, he's got all he needs to make it happen!"

A heavy silence fell over the team as they all tried to make sense of this seemingly impossible scenario before them. They had never dealt with such dark forces before. This was almost beyond their ability to comprehend. Yet here they were caught right in the middle of it all with the lives of two of their friends on the line.

"So then what do we do?" asked Kitty in a weary tone.

"There's not much we can do, I'm afraid," said Slayer in a grim, yet determined tone, "Our only chance is to hit Xin before he hits us!"

"Then what are we waiting for?! Let's find him and put him on ice!" said Bobby with an urgent tone.

"Hate to break it to you, Iceman, but I don't know where the hell he is!"

"You gotta be kidding me!" groaned Dazzler, "I thought you said that eye of yours can see everything!"

"That doesn't mean I can't be deceived," replied Slayer with a frustrated tone, "I'm still human. There's only so much my mortal mind can make sense of."

"But isn't there ANYTHING we can do before Warlord Xin comes and throws our souls into his shadow realm?!" exclaimed Ororo.

"Calm down, guys," said Slayer, trying to sound calm, "I know it sounds bleak, but..."

Then suddenly, he got another vision. The mark on his eye started to glow bright red and the look on his face immediately turned to dread.

"Oh no...What now?" groaned Piotr, knowing that look couldn't be good.

Slayer was seeing exactly what he had hoped to avoid. And by all accounts, it was already too late.

"He's coming!"

*************************************************

Eventually, Jean wore herself out clinging to her boyfriend's hand. She was so wrought with worry that she could barely keep her thoughts together and passed out in the chair next to his bed. Dealing with the Phoenix Force and Scott's condition had taken a toll on her. At this point, she didn't have strength to keep herself up.

With her asleep, the infirmary fell quiet. Then, just as she was finally resting peacefully, something began to manifest in the shadows of the cold, sterile room. Like disembodied ghosts of the past, the shadows throughout the room came to life and out of the floor, the elite warriors of Warlord Xin manifested.

They all bore a large cloak, hiding their imposing armor and weapons from sight. Yet they were not here to fight. No, they were just here to carry out the orders of their master. And as their eyes fell on the unconscious body of Scott Summers, they prepared to do just that.

"Come...The master wants him. And the master, we must obey."

Like angels of death, they hovered over Scott's bed, ignoring the sleeping Jean Grey beside them. More shadows gathered as they prepared to move the unconscious vessel to its rightful place amongst their master. But before they could finish the job, the doors to the infirmary flew open.

"Not so fast, ugly!" yelled Slayer, bearing his full sword as he prepared to tear into the three minions.

"Yeah, step the fuck back from the bed or I fry your eye out of your sockets!" yelled Dazzler as she and the rest of the X-men followed behind them.

However, just before Slayer could attack, one of the minions cast a spell that created a shadow barrier between them and the oncoming hoard of angry mutants.

"Pitiful mortals! Nobody can stop the master! Especially such lowly insects!"

"Err! You lousy, nauseating excuse for henchmen!" yelled Slayer as he tried to cut through the dark purplish barrier that was keeping him and the X-men from saving Scott, "Drop this barrier and fight like warriors!"

"Damn it! What is this thing?!" yelled Logan as he tried to slice through it with his claws.

"A dark chi shield!" grunted Slayer as he kept trying to break it with his sword, "One so strong that nothing goes through unless the practitioner wishes it!"

"Yes, we sort of figured that!" said Colossus as he tried to punch through it with his superhuman strength.

The shield held strong as the three minions created a shadowy swirl of dark chi around Scott's unconscious body. They ignored the determined resistance that was now trapped before them. It would have been humorous if such things hadn't been instilled in them in the first place. But while Slayer in the X-men were trapped behind a shield, they seemed to negate the fact that Jean Grey was still sleeping on the other side.

"Jean! JEAN!" yelled Kurt through the barrier.

"Come on, Jeannie! Wake up!" yelled Kitty as well, "Now is NOT the time to take a nap!"

Then suddenly, Slayer stopped trying to break the barrier as the mark over his eye began to flash bright yellow. And as soon as his gaze fell upon Jean, he was overcome with a new sense of dread.

"Oh shit!"

"Hnn...Scott!"

"Oh boy, I don't like the sound of that!" said Bobby as he took a step back.

The whole team stopped trying to break the barrier as they watched the familiar flames of the Phoenix engulf their friend. The three minions were just about done with their task when finally...The power of the Phoenix made itself known.

"YOU! GET AWAY FROM HIM FOUL CREATURES!"

However, even in the face of a cosmic force the three minions remained loyal to Warlord Xin and completed their job, sending the body of Scott Summers into a dark void that engulfed him in a haze of shadows, causing him to disappear right before their very eyes.

"You are too late, Phoenix. Now, the master has the vessel of Horus! And he shall wield its power!"

"NOOOOOOO!"

Then, in a blinding flash of fiery light, the Phoenix disembodied the three dark minions into nothingness. The body of Jean Grey was now running on the cosmic power of the Phoenix. She was engulfed in flames, blinded by rage, and full of pure unabated rage.

"Oh boy, this is NOT good!" dreaded Bobby.

"Oh really, you think?!" growled Logan.

Everybody turned to Slayer, who had been the only one capable of containing her before.

"Come on, Slayer! Do your mystic shit again before she goes nuclear!" yelled Dazzler.

Everything in the room was shaking. Jean Grey was not in control. The heat from her flames kept on growing and anything that could be telekinetically moved was thrown through the air as a deadly projectile.

'Jean! JEAN!' yelled Xavier through his mind, trying to reach out to her on a psychic level, 'Come back to us, Jean! Regain control!'

However, this time the Phoenix would not go quietly.

"I don't think so Professor Xavier!"

Suddenly, the Professor's wheelchair was hit with a heavy telekinetic burst that sent him crashing into a nearby wall, causing him to keel over in a heap of pain.

"Professor!" cried Warren as he tried to get over to their downed mentor through the hail of metal objects.

"Jean! Stop this!" yelled Ororo, trying to get through to her friend, "You can do it! You can take control!"

"Damn it, I AM in control! I shall NOT be held back any further! Jean Grey and the power of the Phoenix shall merge as one! And nothing will hold me back now! NOTHING!"

The whole infirmary was turning into a small piece of hell for the X-men as the whirlwind of debris grew increasingly menacing. Warren and Dazzler were trying to get to the Professor, who was now rubbing his sore temples from being so abruptly shoved out of Jean's mind. But it wasn't looking good, for if Xavier was unable to contain this thing, then who could?

"Anytime Slayer!" yelled Logan as he tried to protect Ororo and Kitty from incoming projectiles.

"I'm thinking! I'm thinking!" yelled the mutant warrior as he deflected several incoming surgical tools, "This is the Phoenix! A cosmic force! We can't just..."

Then suddenly, an idea came to the mutant warrior. It sounded crazy and desperate, but at the moment it was all he could come up with.

"Uh...Dude? If you stop this, consider our little beef with you officially forgiven!" yelled Bobby, trying to create an ice shield to protect himself and Kurt from the menacing swarm.

"I'll second that, comrade!" said Piotr taking cover with Wolverine as Jack remained steadfast in his confrontation with the Phoenix.

Everybody was trying to get out of the way from the growing maelstrom. Everybody that is, except Jack. The swirl of raw telekinetic mayhem was growing increasingly strong, yet the mutant warrior didn't flinch for a second.

"Phoenix!" he said in a strong tone, "You must stop this! You're angry and confused. You have no clue as to kind of power you wield. And your actions will not get Horus back any faster."

"Ha! You think you have a right to speak down to ME?! You're the one who kidnapped him! Give me one good I shouldn't disintegrate you right now!"

Then, in a show of defiance and strength, Jack Robinson raised both hand into the air and showed the divine force the symbols atop his hands. And while the Phoenix didn't recognize them immediately, Slayer knew that they would get the message across better than anything.

"Because I am Jack Robinson. I am a warrior. And like you, I wield the powers of the divine. I am the mortal vessel of the immortal spirit known as Yoshinto, the collective embodiment of all warriors, past and present. I bear the power of the all seeing eye. I wield great skill in the mystic arts. And I carry on the legacy of the greatest warriors to ever wield a sword."

Such words shocked and confused the X-men, but for the Phoenix, something seemed to resonate with her as she took in those words. The swirling fury of telekinetic power began to fade and everything was becoming calmer. It was an enigmatic gesture, but for the results they were getting, they had no reason to complain.

"Jeez, just when you think you know a guy," commented Kitty.

"I'll say," said Kurt in agreement.

The fury settled, but the Phoenix remained in control. Jean Grey was still being suppressed, but there weren't even signs of an inner struggle. At this point, all the X-men could do was watch on and hope that this guy knew what he was doing.

"Yoshinto...Slayer...Yes. I remember that divine figure. I remember his wise voice. And you are his mortal embodiment?"

"Yes," affirmed Slayer, "Just as Jean Grey is yours, I am Yoshinto's manifestation. If you don't believe me, go ahead and check."

The still possessed form of Jean Grey stepped forward and stood a mere couple of feet from the mutant warrior. He showed no fear or apprehension towards the presence of the divine force, almost as if this wasn't the first time he had done so. But still, nervousness pervaded among the worried team of mutants.

"I sure hope this guy knows what he's doing," said Warren as he helped the Professor back into his wheelchair.

"You and me both, rich boy," replied Logan skeptically as they all watched on.

The next few moments were very tense as the Phoenix locked eyes with Slayer, as if she was looking at something that could not be seen with mortal eyes. Nobody knew if this was a bluff or not, but for all their sake they hoped that this guy wasn't bullshitting her.

Finally, the Phoenix reached a verdict.

"Yes! You are him! It IS you!"

"You betcha Phoenix," said Slayer with a confident poise.

"But...How? And why?"

"Because I had a vision. I saw that you and Horus were descending into a state of chaos. And if that chaos is not balanced, then the both of you could unleash a level of destruction on a cosmic scale. And that is something that I, and the rest of the divine forces both above and below, cannot have. So I'm going to help you."

"Help me?"

"Yes, help you," said Slayer as he placed both hands on the possessed woman's shoulders, "You are confused about your state of being...Uncertain of your purpose. I can show you how to find your balance. I can show you how to attain the peace you so desperately seek."

"Peace...Balance...Yes! Please help me! I...I don't know what to do!"

"Just look me in the eye, Phoenix," said Jack as the mark over his eye began to glow a bright yellow color, "Look into the eye that sees no lies. Look at it...Use it...Feel it. Find your center. Seek a balance. Come on! You can do it!"

The Phoenix began to show signs of instability as the fires around her grew more intense. But as she looked into the mutant warrior's all seeing eye, she was bombarded with a stream of new images. And from those images, she saw what she was becoming...And knew what she had to do.

"Errrrahhhhhhhhh!"

"GET DOWN!" yelled Wolverine everybody scrambled to take cover.

"Oh boy! Here we go again!" said Bobby as he formed another ice shield for the coming havoc.

Then, in a blinding flash, the fires of the Phoenix were extinguished and Jean Grey's limp form fell to the cold floor. However, before she could collapse, Jack managed to catch her, helping her stay upright as she struggled to regain her composure.

"Jean!" exclaimed Kitty as she and the others scrambled towards their friend's side.

"Jean! Are you okay? Are you in control again?" asked a weary Piotr.

Then, as she opened her eyes, everybody was shocked to see the fiery glow in her iris. It still resembled that of the Phoenix, but the expression was that of Jean Grey. Nobody knew what to believe at this point, but for the distraught young redhead, the task before her was finally clear.

"Jean..." said the Professor, wheeling himself in close to the young woman.

"Professor..." said Jean, her eyes still glowing as she now addressed all her friends, "I know where he is! I know where Warlord Xin is keeping Scott!"

*************************************************

AN: Man, things sure are a mess now! Scott's been abducted, the Phoenix is going haywire, and the team is beginning to get an idea of just what they're up against. Quite a predicament, eh? But it's just getting warmed up, folks! Stay tuned to see how Warlord Xin seeks to use Scott and Horus and just wait until you see the role that the Phoenix plays! Oh, and for those of you who were confused by Slayer's words, that can all be explained by reading his origins in chapter 70 of a fic I helped write called "Hellfire and Brimstone" under Agent-G. That has a full history of who Slayer is and where he came from. So what do you think so far? Has it been good? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Thank you very much for reading and I wish you all the best!

PHOENIX AND HORUS COMMAND THEE! REVIEW!!!
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