by Dan Swanson
With her own deep connection to magic, Kali could sense that the spectral fire had gone out, but this pit of molten rock could still be dangerous. If it reached deeply enough, it might erupt into a new volcano that would destroy the Virgin Islands, forcing her to evacuate thousands of people, and ensuring that the Super Sisters would miss their vacation. She moved downward through the molten rock until she finally reached a solid surface; she estimated that she was only a few thousand feet below the surface, not nearly deep enough to tap into the molten magma of the earth’s crust. Once this pool cooled off and the molten rock solidified, everything should be fine.
That left her free to return to her battle with Gr’bash. The goddess of the Haliphron had bested her so far, but she was Kali, and she would not be beaten. She rose upward through the molten rock until she reached the surface. Finally able to see again, she spotted Lady Victory and Majique not far away and flew toward them. She could also see the motionless body of Gr’bash slowly sinking into Pillsbury Sound.
As she approached, her teammates started hastily backing away, and she realized she was still radiating terrific heat. Hovering in place, she yelled to her teammates.
“How did you kill Gr’bash?” She realized she was somewhat disappointed; she felt as if she still had a score to settle with the goddess of watery doom.
“She’s not dead — just back in her coma,” Lady Victory called back. “Any idea about where to store her?”
“Leave it to me. I’ll be back in a couple of hours!” Kali dived into Pillsbury Sound, and came up under Gr’bash’s comatose body. Exerting herself, she lifted. It was the hardest thing she’d ever done, and if it hadn’t been for the extra power she’d absorbed earlier, she might not have been able to succeed, but she slowly lifted Gr’bash from the water, and then slowly continued to rise skyward. Kali felt as if she were trying to push the earth out of orbit, so massive was the body of the goddess. Eventually, she vanished into the sky.
When Kali returned, she found a private spot to change back to Lily Martine and went looking for her teammates. The other four were seated outside their bungalows, enjoying a drink and waiting for their teammate before heading to dinner. She was a bit miffed, because she’d spent the last few hours wrapping up the latest case, while they were relaxing on the beach.
Even in her anger, though, she was stunned at the microscopic metallic-silvery bikini Tammi Paige was wearing. How could anyone go out in public dressed like that? Then she thought of some of the strangest things she’d had to do on stage, and she realized that, for Tammi, all of life was a stage. You did what the role called for.
“So, where have you been?” Tammi asked her. “You’ve missed a lot of fun already! You have to try the massage, and make sure you ask for Frank Draegon! It was dreamy!” she sighed, dreamily. “But you gotta make an appointment early — he’s busy all day, every day.”
“Or you could ask for Tiffy,” Alex Silverstone added, glaring at her roommate. “She’s very good.”
“As usual, I was wrapping up the final details of the case, while you guys were lazing in the sun,” Lily snorted. “I figured Gr’bash would be safe on the far side of the Moon.” She smiled when Val Coppersmith handed her a giant margarita; it was tough to stay miffed in paradise. “Even if the Sword of Glory is somehow pulled again, she didn’t seem to be able to fly, so she should be stuck there. How did you guys beat her, anyway? She took my best shots without flinching.”
“I’ve been thinking about that,” Bonnie Drake replied musingly. “My plan was good, but it seemed far too easy. You must have hurt her a lot more than you thought; probably came close to knocking her out. We took advantage of her grogginess and used some of Val’s magic items to further confuse her, and Tammi and Alex convinced her that she was being attacked by her nemesis — then Anamaria and the Sword of Glory supplied the finishing touch.” Each of her teammates smiled as Bonnie gave her credit for her part in the victory.
“Speaking of Anamaria, where is she?” Lily asked.
“We thought she was gone forever when she didn’t show up for a couple of hours after you headed for the sky. Turns out she was moping; she was incredibly depressed when she discovered she’s still stuck being a ghost. She told us she’d hoped that saving the world from Gr’bash would release her from her own dying curse, and she could go on to the afterlife. But Gr’bash is still alive, so it looks like she’s stuck on earth a while longer.”
“That’s horrible,” Lily said with a shudder. “It must be awful being stuck halfway between life and afterlife.”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about her,” Tammi replied with a big grin. “I think she’ll be OK. Some handsome tourist named Chuck Caracal heard us talking, and came over and claimed to be fascinated by her ‘accent.’ He chatted her up for a while, and pretty soon he promised to help her learn modern English, if she’d teach him more about how to talk like a pirate. Smoothest line I’ve ever seen.” She added admiringly, “And I’ve seen them all!”
“Yeah, she didn’t look depressed last time I saw her!” Val added, a touch of jealousy apparent in her voice. She turned to Tammi. “Say — I tried to get an appointment with Frank today, and they told me he was all booked up. How’d you manage that?”
Tammi winked wickedly. “I have my ways! But don’t worry, we’ll be here all week. I’m sure you’ll get your turn.”