As Peter arced through the air, letting his subconscious warn him of danger, he let his mind drift back so he could go over what went wrong. The last peaceful thing that had happened was getting back to the throne room with Doctor Strange and reconnecting with the other lycans brought in to defend the Alpha and his family. Tony Stark, the Iron Wolf, was next for his physical, and had even started to take off his suit coat right when the blast hit. It was something that caught everyone in the room off guard as they went hurdling through the air, Peter the only one not sent scrambling to the floor. He instead landed on the wall, and just in time to see a chunk of the masonry hurdle straight for Lady Rahne and the Alpha himself. Peter webbed it up and pulled it off course, sending it into the floor where it impacted with a crunch.
The Alpha noticed this, and nodded to Peter his appreciation. Nothing could be said however, because Victor von Doom gently glided into the room with his thruster jets engaged. His armor was brushed metal, gleaming in the light, and his long green cloak flapped in the wind created by the thrusters. His arms were crossed over his chest, and he looked down his muzzle at all of them, his eyes carrying a look of haughty superiority.
“Black Knight, I have come to take what is mine.” He said in an even and forceful tone.
“As long as I live, you will never get this sword Doom.” The Alpha snarled.
Doom held out his armored hand. “Then fall before Doom.” He replied as he fired beams of energy from his fingertips. There was one for Peter, Tony, Natasha, Steve, and the priestess. Peter calculated that Doom knew he needed to take the others out before he could get at The Alpha. The only person that didn’t doge their bolt was Steve. Without his shield, he didn’t react fast enough to move out of the way like Peter and Natasha. Tony’s armor engaged, protecting him and the high priestess was able to erect a magic barrier around herself. Steve took the hit, howling in pain, but still kept his feet. “Impressive Mister Rogers, that was enough energy to knock a lycan unconscious for some time.”
“Well, I ain’t like most lycans.” Steve said before he charged forward. Doom didn’t let him get too far before closing his fist, sending a shimmering field crashing down, pinning Steve to the ground.
“Hmpf, without that shield you aren’t a threat.” Doom retorted.
“He doesn’t need to be with us around.” Tony shot back as he fired a swarm of missiles from launchers in his shoulder armor. Doom started twisting his fingers to cast a spell, and chanted a short incantation. A field of light enveloped him, the missiles detonating on impact. The field fell, revealing Doom without a scratch.
“Pathetic Stark, you know I have countermeasures for every gadget you have in that suit.” He said as he retaliated with another beam blast. The Iron Wolf suit gave a groan as the metal buckled under the strain, then finally shattered around Tony’s chest. Doom landed, taking prideful strides to Tony’s prone form. He kicked him, rolling him over to his back, and revealing the arc reactor in Tony’s chest. “You should have not relied so much on machines. But your arc reactor technology will help power Latveria for generations.”
“Jacosta? You there?” Peter mumbled under his breath. He watched as the Alpha got Lady Rahne and Doctor Strange out of the room and to safety. Lady Rahne wasn’t too happy about leaving her husband, but the paw-like hand he put over her gravid stomach told her otherwise. She kissed him quickly and the two of them ran down one of the halls.
“Of course Mister Parker.” The female voice responded.
“I need everything you can give me to the thrusters. I got a plan.”
Jacosta was silent for a moment. “got it. Go.”
As Doom knelt down to rip the arc reactor from Tony’s unconscious form, Peter leapt from his perch and fired the thrusters. The Amazing Spider-Wolf rocketed through the air, his fist leading the way, and socked Doom across the muzzle, denting the metal and causing a loud clang to reverberate through the room. When Peter landed and looked back, Doom was staggering on his feet, and sparks were showering from the helmet. A closer look showed that even his eyes were flickering with static. This wasn’t Doom, this was one of his inanimate soldiers.
“V-very good M-mister Parker.” The Doombot said, it’s voice distorted and hissing from the damage Perter inflicted on its speakers. “The s-suit Stark made for you is qu-quite p-powerful.”
“How do you know my name?” Peter asked.
“Come n-now Mister P-parker, if one s-sets out to become the A-alpha, one needs t-to know the players. I may know all about you, y-your aunt, and your g-girlfriend, but this fight will a-always be between you and me.” The Doombot replied.
“That’s honorable of you Vic, but I don’t trust you.”
“I c-can assure y-you Mister P-parker, I am telling the truth. Without h-honor, a lycan i-is nothing.”
“Mighty honorable for you to bring a tin can to do your dirty work.” Peter retorted.
“One n-never leads in chess w-with the king, the game must b-be started with the p-pawns.” At those words, several more Doombots flew into the room through the hole the first one made.
“jacosta, give me the-“
“Stun darts?” she finished. “already loaded. Fire when ready.”
Peter aimed the gauntlets at the Doombots, firing one dart at each. They impacted against the metal armor, and activated. A large jolt of current surged through them, temporarily halting them, but not disarming them.
“Those suits are animated by magic, a current won’t disrupt them.” Jacosta said in Peter’s ear.
“Then why did you load the darts in the first place?” Peter asked. “you could have saved me the trouble.”
“Well, I was trying to be help-“
“Never mind.” Peter snapped, “Give me the sword and shield, I guess we’ll have to cut them down to size.” The hard light sword and shield materialized on the gauntlets, and Peter assumed a crude fighting stance. He had never used a sword or anything like it in combat before. He couldn’t press the attack however, because he heard another spell being cast. This one enveloped the Doombots in a red field of energy. He could see Wanda curling her fingers into different positions, but the most interesting thing was her fur. As Wanda cast her spell, intricate patterns danced the length of her arms and around her glowing red eyes. When she stopped casting, the field dissipated, and the Doombots fell to pieces.
“There, that should work for now.” Wanda said as she brushed the fur down on her arms.
Peter looked around for a second. “Has anyone seen Natasha?” he asked.
“Good work.” She said behind Peter’s shoulder, causing him to jump.
“Don’t do stuff like that!” he yelped. “My senses don’t register that as a threat, so it freaks me out.” The two of them looked at each other. “You are just going to do that all the time now aren’t you?” Peter asked when he saw the mischievous grin on her lips.
“You know it, bug boy.” She replied as she walked over to the Alpha and handed him a large circuit board. “I pulled this from one of the Doombots before it had a chance to attack. This might lead us right to Doom’s home base.” She said.
“Thank you Natasha, but I already know where Doom’s fortress is in Latveria.” He replied.
“Then let’s leave right now, surprise him and put an end to this once and for all.” Natasha said as she readied weapons fitted to her arm guards.
The Alpha shook his head. “It isn’t that simple Natasha; he is a head of state. I cannot violate his nation’s sovereign borders just because I feel like it.”
“Then why bring us together?” she snapped back. “If all we are going to do is stand around and wait for the next attack to come, then we would be better off back in America where we at least have our gear.”
“you misunderstand Miss Romanov.” The Alpha said. “I said I cannot invade his borders, but you and the rest of the team have no such restraints.”
“Um, can I ask something?” Peter interrupted. “How did you get that off one of the bots?” he said pointing to the circuit board in Natasha’s paw-like hand.
She held up her forearm, showing off the thin, glowing blue wires running along the length of her outfit’s sleeve, ending at her knuckle gloves. “you aren’t the only one outfitted with Tony’s toys Parker, these can put out enough arcane juice to stop a lycan’s heart. I used it to short circuit the bot’s systems.”
Peter thought for a second. “if these bots are driven by a computer, then why would Doom need to use an animation spell to get them working?”
“because magical reagents are far easier to come by than advanced robotics parts.” Wanda said as she looked over the remains of one of the bots she had disassembled. “I was able to stop these soldiers because I could identify what was powering them, essentially giving them life. It is much like the arcane energy that powers your suit Peter.” She said.
“But how did-“
“I’m the High priestess Peter, I am one of the world’s most powerful mages. In some circles they even call me the Scarlett Witch. I can sense the magic flowing through the circuits of your suit, giving it power to function.”
Peter just closed his muzzle, which had been hanging open now for a bit. “Okay, so advanced technology allows the bots to function, and arcane energy powers them, so why even take the blade then? Other than the status of it, what makes it so special?”
“Because it is the source of the lycan curse Peter.” The Alpha said. Gripping the handle, he pulled the blade free from its scabbard, and let the flat of the blade rest in the palm of his other hand. “This blade has been passed down from firstborn male to firstborn male for generations. Since the time of knights, this sword has been in my family. Morgan la Fae enchanted this blade so that if it’s black steel were to ever taste blood, the wielder would become a feral beast. My ancestor, the first Black Knight, was then given an impossible choice, save one of the other Knights of the Round table by cutting off his hand, or watch him die. Of course my ancestor took off the hand, and that is when Lycanthropy entered this world. Morgan wanted The Black Knight to tear the Round Table apart, even assassinate King Author and Merlin for her, but she didn’t take into account his sense of honor. He was so loyal to his brothers that he was able to resist the urge to kill long enough for Merlin to alter the curse and let him regain his sanity.”
“So when did lycans take over?” Peter asked.
“Not until much later. After the lycan population began to grow and spread, there were tensions between the humans and lycans. Eventually, it boiled over and war broke out. Another one of my ancestors believed that it would be best if no humans were killed, just turned. Eventually we converted all we could find, and out-bred the rest. As far as we can tell, there are no more un-cursed humans remaining on the planet anymore. The sword is the source of the curse, so every lycan alive is subject to its energies. I don’t like using it, but with enough concentration, I could force every living soul on this planet to act in unison. There are only a handful of lycans, Doom included, that can effectively resist the call of the Blade. They are the only people that can challenge me for leadership.”
“So if Doom gets the sword, then he rules the world. That’s a good reason not to let him get it.” Peter said.
“I don’t know about you guys, but Doom’s little army packed more of a wallop than I anticipated.” Steve said as he joined the group, rubbing the back of his neck.
“I second that Steve.” Tony said as he staggered to his feet. “Alpha, I think we need to call in the big guy.”
The Alpha’s features darkened slightly. “I don’t think that is a good idea mister Stark. You know how he feels about combat situations. Besides, he is still serving that life sentence.”
“Life sentence? Who are we talking about?” Peter asked.
“Banner, Bruce Banner, the notorious feral killer.” Tony said as he punched in some commands into a holographic interface on his forearm. The damaged metal on his chest piece began to seemingly liquefy, then reform, repairing the damage the Doombot caused.
“The big guy isn’t actually Banner, it’s someone else really, kind of a split personality.” Steve said. “he’s actually really nice.”
Peter sat down on one of the massive chunks of stone scattered around the floor, and pinched his forehead in between his padded fingers. “Okay, let me get this straight. I’m on a premier superhero team that is trying to stop the takeover of the world by a dictator who has an army of evil robotic doubles. And now we are going to bring one of the worst serial killers of all time onto the team and then storm the sovereign borders of the dictator’s country together. Does that sound about right?”
“Don’t forget the serial killer appears to have multiple personality disorder.” Wanda chimed in.
Peter pointed at her with his fingers pressed together. “Thanks Wanda, forgot that part.”
“This concerns the safety and security of the entire Lycansphere Mister Parker, we must win, by any means necessary.” The Alpha stated with authority.
After the Alpha said those words, there was an odd sensation tingling over Peter’s skin. While he was still in the suit, somehow it felt like there was a buildup of energy in the air. Before he could think about it, there were a few arcing bolts of energy sparking from the points on his armor, along with Tony’s, and the Alpha’s as well. This intensified until finally, what seemed like a lightning bolt landed in the room, sending sparks and crackles of energy cascading all around. Peter and everyone else had to shield their eyes because it was so blinding. Once things dimmed, he lowered his arm, and saw something incredible.
Out of the lightning was standing another lycan, but he was different. His fur was gold in color, a black breastplate with blue accents and silver rivets adorned his chest while his arms and legs were covered with what Peter thought was a scalemail armor. Atop his head was a silver helm, adorned with stylized wings on the sides. A brilliant cape of red flowed behind him, and a large hammer rested in his paw-like hand.
“Black Knight, I see you have gathered your warriors.” He said in a deep, booming voice. Peter didn’t know if he should be afraid or happy, since there was a joyous tone to his speech.
The Alpha dropped to one knee. “All but one, Lord Fenrir. Doom has attacked, and I fear we will need the Hulk for this fight.”
Fenrir looked at all of them, including Peter for a minute, then smiled. “Verily, with these champions, there are none who could stop us.” He said has he let loose a rumbling laugh. “Come then, there is no time to loose. Priestess, take us to the Hulk with much haste, I love a good fight.”
Wanda immediately began weaving another spell, bathing the Alpha, the team, and Fenrir in red light. All Peter could do is brace for vertigo again.