As the stunned Regina Mason seemed to literally dissolve beneath the red energy, the equally still form of the original Isis opened her eyes and slowly emerged from beneath the sarcophagus. She stared through vacant eyes as if she was seeing the world for the first time.
Swinging her legs over the side of the crystalline structure, she stood up slowly. She then frowned as she realized that her amulet was missing. She ignored the light emanating from the ornate orb known as the Eye of the Sun and whispered a spell before walking through the wall of the pyramid itself.
Seconds later, the gaunt form of Prince Michael Dromov materialized within the pyramid. His eyes widened with concern as he saw the vaguely feminine outline of what had been Regina Mason beneath the deadly rays of the Eye of the Sun. He cursed in his native tongue, and then, as his eyes narrowed, the orb abruptly rolled away from its resting place, and the beams faded.
“Regina!” he cried as he touched the weird white matter that had once been the girl he loved.
As if she was now made of some bizarre clay, Regina’s body began to shift and re-form itself until the lovely features of the girl could be seen again. She was deathly pale and lacked all coloration, but she was once more Regina Mason.
“What happened to me?” she stammered, even as Prince Michael used his mutant powers to calm her and to force her to accept her new form. It was a cold gesture on his part, but the alien prince lacked a true understanding of normal human emotions. For now, he merely wanted her to be all right. He would not worry about her emotions at the present moment.
“You were transformed by an ancient relic called the Eye of the Sun. I saw it all via a mental link I forged with you from my own realm. I arrived too late to do more than revive you. I fear the change is irreversible, but you are alive, and I will not allow you to be harmed again!”
“Michael? What did that crazy woman do to me?” gasped Regina as she spread her palms out, and her hands swelled hugely and then shaped themselves into massive fists. She whispered, “I’ve become some kind of human Silly Putty!”
“You may now reshape your body as you wish,” said Prince Michael. “I believe you will now be greatly resistant to injury!”
As Regina fell into his arms, Prince Michael smiled slightly and tried to make some sense of the confusing emotions that were so common to humans, even to a girl he loved.
Meanwhile, the new Isis, Adrianna Tomaz, was exulting in her newfound power. She had always known the power that came with wealth and the influence that accompanied beauty. However, now she was able to fly and control aspects of the natural world itself. It was an understatement to say that the new Isis was enjoying her power.
She tossed back her head and laughed as sunlight played upon her face, and she soared through the skies over Egypt. She had plans for the future that involved using her new might to enslave all of her native land and then the world. She would rule as a goddess, and she would relish every moment of her reign. As she flew through the sky, she laughed at Serpenhotep’s foolish belief that he could control her. No man had ever truly controlled the wild heiress.
At that moment, she spotted the original Isis on the horizon. The original heroine was as placid as ever in demeanor, but Adrianna could sense her anger. The weather seemed to reflect the mood as clouds blocked the sun and the sky darkened.
“Usurper!” cried the first Isis. “You are nothing but a pretender to my name and power!”
The new Isis dodged her attack and cried, “Lightning strike my foe, my true power show!”
The blazing bolt slammed into the original Isis and enveloped her body with a crackling nimbus of energy. She cried in pain but ignored the attack. She then grabbed the smaller Adrianna by the hair and began to grapple with her.
Both women had enhanced strength, although the first Isis had primarily displayed her more magical powers during her own career.
The second Isis brought her knee up and struck the bigger woman in the stomach. She slapped her across the face and said, “I should have destroyed you along with that insipid girl!”
The first Isis slammed her head into her opponent’s face and said, “You will regret harming any follower of the true Isis!”
The second Isis yelped in pain and realized that she was abruptly losing the fight. Her arms were held tightly by the first Isis, and she could not break free. Then she spotted a row of small homes, many of which were track houses constructed for use by temporary workers brought out from nearby cities for desert reclamation projects or academic surveys.
Struggling until her legs were pulled tightly against her body, the new Isis used her feet to flip the original Isis into a home below. She spotted the vinyl siding and smiled wickedly. “Plastic sheath entomb her now!” she shouted, though neither woman truly needed to word their spells in a rhyming diction. It was merely a matter of form.
The first Isis found herself wrapped in a clear plastic that closed in on her and brought her crashing into the sand below.
The second Isis followed her down and smiled coldly as the artificial trap shrank until her foe was curled up in fetal position. “You are truly helpless! You are not the woman you once were… by your own doing! This alteration has left you helpless, since you have no knowledge of the substance that will now serve as your burial shroud!”
The first Isis was truly helpless, since her powers did not work on synthetic substances, and her foe had managed to use her own awareness of the modern world to employ just such a product against her.
“Your ignorance of this century has defeated you, as has your own stupidity in what your old spell wrought!” said the second Isis. “You might make an amusing trophy as a crushed fly in contemporary amber, if you’ll excuse the analogy!”
Adrianna posed for a moment. There were onlookers now who had emerged from the homes to stare at them in awe. She smiled for a moment. Why not please these simple subjects with her beauty for now? They would soon know the power of her anger.
She gestured, and the nearly crushed first Isis floated upward in her wake. “I will display you in my pyramid!” said the second Isis with a smile.
Within the pyramid, Prince Michael was still comforting the transformed Regina Mason. He had also used his mutant brain to follow the actions of Isis. He felt a loyalty to the original heroine, since she had befriended him during his time at the school in which she had taught in her Andrea Thomas role. (*) Discovering her secrets had been easy for him, and his odd sense of honor made it unthinkable that he would betray her trust.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Darkly Through the Mutant’s Eyes,” Isis #8 (December, 1977-January, 1978).]
Now, as he held Regina, he made plans for Isis. “I see what has happened to her. I can’t correct it. I do understand it, though. I will do what I can to help her. No less could be expected from a royal personage!”
“I can reshape my body,” said Regina. “Surely I can regain my old looks, too?”
Prince Michael projected soothing thoughts. He would try to comfort her later. He realized that Isis was returning. He concentrated and made both Regina and himself undetectable. No one could see or hear them until he allowed it to be so.
The new Isis dropped the plastic tomb and strolled deeper into the pyramid. “I might as well explore my new domain. The infinite rooms within belie the narrow shape of the exterior!”
As she flew deeper into the vast pyramid, Prince Michael dropped the mental concealment he had created. “Now I shall merely use my molecular transformation power to free her!” he said as he touched the plastic sheath.
It did not break apart, but it slowly dissipated, and the first Isis gasped with relief as she struggled to rise to her feet. “You have liberated me! I will reward you when I have bested my rival,” she said regally.
Regina stepped forward and said, “Isis, can you help me? It’s me, Regina Mason!”
Isis shook her head as she gazed on the deathly white woman. “The Sun’s Eye or Orb of Ra, as it is properly called, truly transformed you,” she said. “I may use it to grant you greater use of your new powers, but I cannot undo its magic!” Picking up the red orb, she whispered arcane words over its smooth surface.
Regina wept as she suddenly regained her old appearance. Her blonde hair and tanned good looks were miraculously restored. “Thank you!” she cried.
“It has ever been my role to offer succor to those in need!” said Isis. “Know that you now also possess shape-shifting powers as well!”
Regina whispered to Michael, “She saved me, but she is so cold. She is nothing like the woman I met back at Rick’s school!”
“That is because she is not the same woman,” said Prince Michael. “She is merely a fragment, or one persona of many! That change has been the source of her problems!”
Isis whirled about to face the duo. “What are you saying?” she said. “How dare you describe a goddess in such a manner? I am not amused by your tone!”
Prince Michael seemed more gaunt and frail than before as the forceful woman loomed over him. “And yet you also sense the truth of my words,” he said. “Allow me to reveal the truth before your foe returns!” He projected mental images into the air, and Isis gasped as she felt something resonate within her.
“By Osiris!” whispered Isis. “I begin to remember it all! What have I done to myself?”