A/N - Hello everyone! After a three week hiatus due to my trip I'm back with a new chapter of this story. While I was away I was able to work on this story more than I thought I'd be able to. I have the next two chapters after this one finished so I'll be able to update once a week again for at least a little while.
This chapter is the second canon X-Men adventure for this story. It sort of stands alone as it has very little connection to the main plot so I guess it's kind of a story interlude. However X-Men #10 is one of my favorite X-Men stories from the original 66 issue run and I wanted to include it. This chapter got away from me as I was writing it and went off in a completely different direction than what I was originally thinking. When that happens it's always a good idea to let a story do what it wants rather than to try forcing it to be the specific way that was originally planned. I think it became better because of that and I like how it turned out. I hope you do too.
Disclaimer: The X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and belong to Marvel Comics. Harry Potter was created by and belongs to J.K. Rowling. I make no money from this and the only thing that's mine are the original parts of the story.
23) MAKING FRIENDS WHEREVER HE GOES
Quotes taken from X-Men #10
December 27th marked the beginning of what would be a very unusual adventure for the X-Men. It all came about because Warren wasn't at training that morning. When the others went looking for him they found him in his room watching a news report that quickly drew the attention of all of them. It was a video of something that had happened the previous day at a base in Antarctica.
"...One of the exploration party had been missing and considered lost" said the off screen newscaster, "until he was carried to the camp by a fantastic figure clad only in a loin cloth. Although our transmission is somewhat hazy, it appears that a saber tooth tiger accompanied the primitive stranger..." The story went on to show how the tiger's appearance had caused a panic with the armed members of the expedition attacking the tiger and the savage, both of whom ran amok through the camp before disappearing as mysteriously as they had come.
"It's impossible" said Scott, "saber tooth tigers have been extinct for ages! And yet...we saw it."
"What's a saber tooth tiger?" asked Sirius.
"Something that shouldn't exist anymore" said Lightning.
"Why not?" asked Remus who was staying at the mansion for the rest of the winter break and had decided to watch the training session that morning, "most mundanes think our magical creatures are mythical, but we know they're real. Why can't this animal be real too?"
"Because it's kind died out 10,000 years ago" said Beast.
"I've never seen one of those in either Fantastic Beasts" said Lightning, "or The Monster Book of Monsters, not even in the extinct animals sections."
"That wild man" said Marvel Girl speaking up now, "like a latter day Tarzan... in that frigid climate without protective clothes. Could he be...?"
"He must be" said Beast, "a mutant."
"We need to tell the professor" said Scott and he led the others down the hall to Professor Xavier's office. When they got there they found that the professor already knew about what they'd seen on TV but he told them that the wild man was not a mutant.
"If he were a true mutant" said Xavier, "my sensitive Cerebro machine would have recorded his presence. Also I would have mentally sensed it. Just like I sensed all of you when your powers first manifested."
"That's true" said Scott. It seemed that the issue would end there however Professor Xavier surprised them all when he gave them permission to investigate the story further, justifying this because they hadn't had a mission in some time "...And being young and adventurous, such a mission might be good for your morale."
This pronouncement was met with general approval by all of the X-Men and they began preparing for the mission at once. However planning for a trip to a place like Antarctica takes time, even for people as well prepared as the X-Men. It wasn't until after the start of the new year that they were able to leave. Remus could not go with them as he had to return to Hogwarts very soon and didn't have the time for the trip.
January 3rd, 1995 found them driving across the Antarctic desert in a snowcat toward the area where the wild man and his companion had last been seen. All of them were bundled up in large parkas against the cold with the exception of Iceman who had assumed his icy form as soon as they arrived in Antarctica and was perfectly fine in his usual attire. Sirius and Harry helped things with liberal uses of warming charms on everyone else. Harry also brought a camera with him as he wanted to be able to have tangible proof that he could later show his friends that yes, he had actually been to Antarctica.
"Miles and miles of nothing but nothing" muttered Jean as they drove along, "how can land such as this hold a mystery?"
"That's what we're here to find out Jean" said Scott as he drove the snowcat in the direction that the news footage had shown that the wild man had gone running. Not long after that he brought it to a stop. Not too far in front of them was a huge crevasse in the snow. They all got out of the snowcat to have a look at it. It looked like it was hundreds of feet deep.
"Could he have fallen down there?" asked Sirius, "he couldn't possibly be alive if he did."
"Maybe, maybe not" said Scott, "maybe he landed on a ledge or something. Let's see how deep this crevasse really is." He raised his glasses and fired an optic blast down into the crevasse. They didn't see what it hit but it must have triggered something because there was suddenly an eruption from behind them like a huge geyser of snow going off. When it stopped they all saw that it had uncovered a hidden tunnel in the ice heading downward and they all realized that this was where the wild man must have come from – and where he'd gone to after the cameras lost sight of him. Without any hesitation they all entered the tunnel and began heading down it to wherever it led. They all figured that if the wild man came from this tunnel it couldn't have too dangerous a slope.
It seemed like the hike took hours but it probably wasn't that long, although it did last quite some time. The tunnel sloped down, down, down getting deeper and deeper under the ice. As it got dark both Harry and Sirius lit up their wands so everyone could see. Eventually it seemed like they had gotten so far down that there could be no light coming from anywhere but –
"There's light up ahead" said Scott and everyone could see it. The ice tunnel had turned into a tunnel of rock some time ago. More importantly the temperature was getting increasingly warm. Soon it was warm enough that they could remove their parkas underneath which they were wearing their X-Man uniforms (Sirius was just dressed normally but he donned his mask to become Mage). Now the tunnel was widening out into a big underground chamber with light coming in through the other end.
Angel took to the air to scout ahead and soon called back that the cavern was full of animal bones, but –
"– They're the wrong size" Angel called, "They're the skeletons of monsters!" It certainly looked like it. The other X-Men were soon walking through the bone yard and they were stunned by the size of the bones.
"I knew there was a reason I brought a camera with me besides taking pictures of snow" said Lightning as he brought out his camera and took a few pictures of the bones.
"These look like dinosaur bones" said Iceman.
"That's impossible" said Beast, "if they were dinosaur bones they would be fossilized by now, but these bones haven't been here anywhere near long enough for that."
"Then what can they be?" asked Lightning.
"That, my electrical teammate" said Beast, "is a very good question."
"Let's follow Angel" said Cyclops, "he's just flown out of the end of the cave. Perhaps we'll find out where we are out there." They all hurried to the end of the cave and out into the open. It was a good thing they did because when they looked up they saw Angel was being pursued by several flying monstrosities who seemed determined to eat him.
"Are those Pterodactyls?" asked Marvel Girl as she stared at the pursuing beasts, "how can that be?"
"Who cares?" said Lightning, "we have to get them away from Angel." He fired bolts of lightning at some of the monsters while Cyclops opened his visor and shot optic blasts at the others. It didn't take long to scare the Pterodactyls away and Angel landed near them while they all took their first real look at the land they had entered.
"Where are we?" asked Cyclops, "what kind of place is this?" What they saw in front of them was a tropical jungle. How such a land could exist in Antarctica of all places none of them could say but there was no doubt that it was true. It could have been any equatorial jungle except that none of the plants and animals looked familiar.
"The flora and fauna are all prehistoric" observed Beast.
"What does that mean?" asked Mage.
"It means" said Beast "vegetation and animal life which ceased to exist on the surface of the Earth ages ago."
"We've seen this sort of thing many times on the late show" said Cyclops in wonder, "but to actually encounter such a world in real life... it staggers the senses!" It certainly did. Lightning looked around with an open mouth. He knew about dinosaurs of course. What kid didn't? Even though it shouldn't be true he could see living dinosaurs nearby. He quickly raised his camera again and began snapping more pictures. As he did so he gained a new appreciation for Colin Creevey's love of all things photographic. He'd be sorry not to be here now. An Ankylosaurus was munching on some plants below the hill they were on while not far away he saw an Archaeopteryx go flying by. But that wasn't all. There were prehistoric mammals in the area too. The smallest horses any of them had ever seen, not much larger than large puppies really, went charging by them and Beast declared them to be the ancestors of modern horses.
"Imagine walkin' one of these on a leash in the park" said Iceman as a couple of the small horses ran between his legs.
"I wish Hermione was here" said Lightning looking around, "she'd love it. I wonder what else this place has?" He looked around and spotted an animal that he definitely didn't recognize. It wasn't very big but it was quite distinctive. It was purple and it had a spiral horn growing out of its forehead and a pig snout for a nose. For the life of him Lightning had no idea what it could possibly be. He was sure he'd never seen such a creature before and yet somehow there was something familiar about it. He quickly took some pictures of it so that he could figure out what it was later.
"Angel went scouting ahead" said Cyclops drawing Lightning's attention back to the others, "why don't you follow him? You'll see more from above. Just watch out for those Pterodactyls."
"Okay" said Lightning. He hung his camera around his neck and took to the air. He soon caught up with Angel as they both flew across the wild landscape.
"Decided to come scouting with me?" asked Angel.
"Yeah" said Lightning, "I want to see as much of this place as possible. It's a kid's dream."
"No kidding" said Angel, "I wonder how it still exists? We're in Antarctica for God's sake!"
"Your guess is as good as mine" said Lightning as they flew along and saw even more prehistoric creatures slowly moving across the land. They flew lower to get a better look and (in Lightning's case) to take pictures – which was a mistake when they suddenly found a sizable head rising up and looking at them. They both turned sharply upwards.
"Yeeowwww!" said Angel, "you'd think they'd post a few detour signs to warn low-flying X-Men!"
"At least it isn't something that wants to eat us this time" said Lightning looking down on the giant animal as they flew over it and its head, attached to a very long neck, turned to watch them go. It was clearly a Brontosaurus and when Lightning looked forward he could see other Brontosauruses grazing in the area.
"Wow" said Lightning as he took pictures of the Brontosaurus herd, "I always wanted to see a Brontosaurus. When I was younger I thought Uncle Vernon and Dudley were going to turn into them if they kept getting fatter. I wanted to see a real one to see how much my relatives resembled them. Now I'm sorry I insulted the Brontosauruses by comparing Uncle Vernon and Dudley to them. The Brontosauruses are clearly better people."
"Ouch" said Angel, "but having seen your relatives I know what you mean."
"I thought their heads were supposed to be small" said Lightning as they looked at more of the Brontosaurus herd.
"They are compared to the rest of their bodies" said Angel, "you were smart to bring a camera. Next time I'll try to bring a video camera. We could film the science fiction classic of all time down here... and we wouldn't have to pay a cent to special effects men!"
"I'd love to see the look on Steven Spielberg's face" said Lightning, "Jurassic Park has nothing on this place."
Unfortunately all calm times get interrupted. As the two of them passed the Brontosaurus herd a large net shot up and caught both of them.
"What the –?" began Lightning as they became tangled up in it. Angel was unable to continue flying and Lightning's concentration was broken in the surprise. They both fell to the ground which thankfully wasn't far away. But as they were getting their bearings a bunch of savage looking men who all carried spears swarmed around them.
"Uh" said Lightning, "Warren, didn't we do the whole 'captured together by bad guys' thing last year?"
"Yeah" said Angel, "But who says Magneto has a monopoly on that? Can you float us out of here?"
"I'll try" said Lightning. He concentrated and the net with the two of them in it began to rise up off of the ground but before they could get more than a few feet up Lightning was hit in the face with some sort of gas that one of the savages fired at him. He was unable to avoid inhaling it and everything quickly went black.
When Lightning woke up the first thing he noticed was that he felt very woozy and weak. The second thing he noticed was that he was lying on the ground. The third thing was that his hands were tied behind his back. The fourth thing was that he couldn't concentrate to do anything about it. The last thing, oddly enough, was that his camera was still around his neck. It seemed their captors either didn't know what it was or didn't care about it.
"Ugh" he muttered as he tried to sit up, "why do I always get knocked out during these things?"
"Glad to see you're awake" said a voice and Lightning looked to see Angel sitting next to him.
"Ooh" said Lightning, "turn down the noise before my head breaks. Did you get the number of that tank?"
"You'll be okay soon" said Angel sounding much better than him as he watched Lightning sit up. He couldn't help Lightning because his hands were tied too as well as his wings which prevented him from flying away to get help.
"How long have I been out?"
"Not long" was the reply, "and we're not the only ones who got caught."
"What?" asked Lightning.
"Hi Harry" said the voice of Marvel Girl. Lightning turned and saw her. Like him her hands were tied behind her back.
"Jean?" he asked, "did the others get captured too?"
"They're still safe as far as I know" said Jean before gesturing with her head at the savages who were surrounding them, "but, they intend to make sacrifices out of us!"
"Oh joy" said Lightning sarcastically, "just what I always wanted."
"They were waiting for you to wake up first" said Angel and indeed the savages were starting to prod them with their spears to get up. It took Lightning a few tries to get to his feet and when he did he was very shaky.
"Lean on me" said Angel, "I'll help you as best I can." Lightning nodded his thanks. It wasn't easy for Angel to help him stay up with his hands tied but they managed somehow.
"How come you're not out of it too?" Lightning asked him.
"I didn't get that gas shot into my face like you did" was the reply, "but you'll be okay. Jean said she was caught by the gas when she was captured but she's fine now."
"I hope it wears off soon" said Lightning, "I can't concentrate on anything right now or I'd get these ropes off of us. Can Jean do that?"
"I thought of that" said Jean having heard the question, "But I can't. They're covered with pitch. They won't unravel."
"Well #### me with a sack of sugar and a rolling pin" Lightning blurted out and then noticed that his teammates had both stopped and were staring at him like he'd grown a second head, "what?"
"A sack of sugar and a rolling pin?" said Angel, "where did that come from?"
"Is that even legal" said Marvel Girl, "Never mind. I don't want to know."
"What are you talking about?" asked Lightning, "still really woozy – ow! Hey watch it!" This last was said to one of the savages who was prodding him to get moving with his spear.
They all started walking again. Lightning was feeling a little less woozy and was able to take in his surroundings. They were in a human settlement that was ringed by a high wooden wall. Right in front of them was a large stone mound built like a pyramid but with a flat roof. They were being led to it and soon were climbing up one side of it. As they ascended Lightning's head was slowly clearing although he still felt out of it. Once they reached the flat area on top of the mound the savages turned and went back down, leaving the three X-Men behind. Lightning immediately sat down.
"Still not fight ready" he murmured as the three of them heard the sound of grinding stone. They turned toward the sound and saw two massive doors opening up out of the building roof. This was followed by a loud roar although as he listened Lightning decided he must still be out of it because he could have sworn that the roaring sounded like something saying -Food!- Knowing that was never a good sign Lightning fought to clear his head faster and he did manage it a bit. He was able to concentrate better now but he still felt weak.
To the shock of all three of them the inhabitant of the mound began to emerge through the open doors. The only other time Lightning had ever seen a creature like this before today had been when he saw Jurassic Park. It was a Tyrannosaurus Rex and it clearly meant to eat them. Marvel Girl began to telekinetically throw boulders at it and although that was holding it back for the moment it wasn't stopping it. It was still roaring and Lightning could quite clearly hear -Food! Hungry!- coming from it. That finally snapped things into focus for Lightning as his head fully cleared.
'This can't possibly work' he thought as he pushed himself up onto his knees, 'but I'm not ready to use either of my powers yet or my magic. At least this won't make us be any worse off than we already are – I hope.' He faced the Tyrannosaurus and looked it in the eye.
-STOP!- he yelled and it came out as a loud hiss.
To everyone's surprise, especially Lightning's, the Tyrannosaurus stopped!
There was a long silence as the three X-Men looked up at the dinosaur and the dinosaur looked back at them before it finally growled but Lightning clearly heard it say -Who said that?-
-I did- said Lightning. The Tyrannosaurus turned and looked at him.
-You speak the language of the reptiles?- asked the dinosaur bending down to get a better look at Lightning.
-Yes- said Lightning with a bit of a gulp as he realized the dinosaur could bite him in half with one bite.
-How can you do this?- was the new question.
-It's a family trait- said Lightning, -but I thought it was the language of the snakes and dragons.-
-All reptiles speak this language- said the Tyrannosaurus, -it is known that human Speakers exist but until you I have only met one other.- The Tyrannosaurus straightened up.
-You are welcome here Speaker- said the dinosaur before looking at a visibly shocked Angel and Marvel Girl, -as are your friends.-
-You're not going to eat us now?- asked Lightning in a hopeful voice.
-Certainly not!- and the dinosaur actually sounded appalled by the mere notion, -I would never eat a Speaker or his friends.-
-Then it's a good thing I said something- said Lightning in a wry voice, -or you wouldn't have known.-
-Indeed. I can tell by your scent that none of you are from this land. How do you come to be here?-
-That's a bit of a story.-
-You have time- said the dinosaur. Lightning looked around himself. All of the savage villagers were standing frozen at the bottom of the pyramid as if they couldn't believe what they were seeing.
"Harry what the hell are you doing?" asked Angel.
"Oh" said Lightning, "the Tyrannosaurus isn't going to eat us. He wants to know why we're here."
"You can understand him?" said Marvel Girl, "I thought that was only snakes and dragons."
"Apparently it's all reptiles" said Lightning, "which is a good thing today."
-Speaker?- prodded the dinosaur.
-Oh, right- said Lightning and he proceeded to tell the Tyrannosaurus about why he and his teammates were in the dinosaur's land.
-You wish to find Ka-zar- said the dinosaur.
-Ka-zar- was the reply, -he is the one you are looking for. He is the human lord of this land. He is the other one I know who speaks my language as well as being able to communicate with all of the animals who live in this land.-
Lightning told Angel and Marvel Girl what the dinosaur had said.
-By the way- said Lightning suddenly remembering his manners ('and isn't this an odd situation for that?' he thought), -we haven't been properly introduced. I'm called Lightning and these are my teammates Angel and Marvel Girl. What's your name?-
-Well met all of you- was the reply, -You may call me Moltar. Are you all right Lightning? You don't look all that well.-
-I'll be okay- said Lightning, -the villagers shot me in the face with their knockout gas when they captured us. Either it's more potent than we knew or I'm very sensitive to it. I'm better but I'm not fully well yet.-
-Then I will help you- said Moltar and he lay down full length in front of the confused X-Men, -climb on my back Speaker. You may ride up on my neck. Your friends can ride lower down. I will take you to Ka-zar. We will probably find your other friends along the way as Ka-zar seems to know pretty much everything that goes on in this land. He has no love for the villagers here so if your friends found him he is probably bringing them here to rescue you.-
-Cool- said Lightning, -this will be fun. Um, Moltar, do you think we could use one of your claws to cut our bonds?-
-Of course- said the dinosaur who stuck out one of his lower legs so Lightning could access one of the claws. Lightning told the others what Moltar had said. Angel guided Lightning to one of the claws as his hands were behind his back. When Lightning found the claw he rubbed his bonds against it and severed them, bringing his hands back around to his front with a sigh of relief. Then he untied Angel's wings and hands and finally released Marvel Girl.
"Okay" he said to his companions, "Moltar's giving us ride out of here. Let's climb on."
"Wait, what?" said Marvel Girl. Lightning explained how the Tyrannosaurus was going to carry them back to find their other teammates.
"O-Kay" said Angel as he watched Lightning get on Moltar's back and sit on the top of his shoulders, "this adventure just shot up 7 more places on the weirdness scale – and it was already pretty high up there as it was. Harry this would only happen to you" he finished calling up to his friend.
"I know" said Lightning, "are you coming or not?" Angel and Marvel Girl looked at each other before Marvel Girl shrugged and they both climbed up onto Moltar's back. Moltar slowly stood up and began walking down the side of the pyramid. When he reached the ground he began heading toward the settlement gates. He walked in a bent over position with his body almost parallel to the ground and his tale held up behind him for balance. His walking this way made it easier for his riders to stay on his back.
"No one's going to believe this" said Marvel Girl.
"I don't know" said Lightning calling back to her, "I'm a wizard, remember? This kind of stuff is normal for us – although riding on a dinosaur's back is definitely a new one." He looked down at the villagers as they walked past them. Much to his surprise not only were the villagers making way for the dinosaur but they were bowing!
"Why are they bowing to us?" asked Lightning. Angel laughed.
"I don't think they are" he said, "I think they're just bowing to you. You're the one who tamed a T-Rex."
"Oh, right" said Lightning not having thought of that until now. He quickly grabbed his camera and took some pictures of the bowing villagers in order to preserve the strangeness of the moment. They were coming to the settlement gates and as they did the villagers opened it for them and let them go through without trying to stop them at all.
"This isn't how I thought things would go" said Marvel Girl as she looked back and saw the gates close behind them, "but I'm glad to be out of there. I hope we can find the others okay."
"Somehow I don't think we're going to have any problems with that" said Angel.
-Do you live in that mound?- Lightning asked Moltar. Now that the young X-Man's hand were free he considered casting the Parsel Translation spell on the dinosaur but decided against it. Neither Angel or Marvel Girl has requested to speak directly with Moltar nor was there a crowd for the dinosaur to speak to so right now there wasn't a need for it.
-I sleep there, yes- was the reply, -but I'm not there very much otherwise. There's a tunnel that goes to another exit outside the settlement so the villagers don't bother me. I usually only see them when they bring me food.-
-Why do they do that?- asked Lightning.
-I don't know- said Moltar, -I protect the village when it's really in danger so I suppose this is how they repay me for it. It's free food. Can't really say no to that, although most of the time I prefer to hunt my own meals. They don't offer humans very often. Usually it's other large animals. I prefer that because humans aren't very good.-
-We're not?- asked nervous sounding Lightning.
-No- was the reply, -most of the time you're either too fat or too skinny. I don't hunt them when I go after my own meals but if the villagers give me one who am I to say no? Free food is free food.-
Lightning felt a little queasy listening to Moltar and he had to remind himself that the Tyrannosaurus didn't live by the same standards as most humans that he knew. Moltar was still a wild animal even if he was helping them and he lived in a "kill or be killed" world. At least when he killed it was just so he could eat. It wasn't personal. Then he had a thought.
-Moltar- he said, -you said Ka-zar doesn't like the villagers. Does that include you? Will we have trouble when we find him?-
-Ka-zar and I have no quarrel with each other- said Moltar, -he knows I protect the village from large outside threats but otherwise I don't interfere with him or he with me. And what do you know? Here he is now.-
Lightning looked ahead past Moltar's head and saw a man running toward them. He was a big man with long blonde hair and a very well muscled body. He wore only a furry loin cloth around his waist and a pair of furry animal skin boots. Running at his side was a sabertooth tiger.
-That's Zabu- said Moltar to Lightning, -he's Ka-zar companion.-
-Ah- said Lightning but didn't say anymore because he now saw that running behind Ka-zar and Zabu were his other teammates.
"Angel" called Lightning.
"I see them" said Angel, "tell Moltar thanks for the lift."
"Before you go" said Lightning holding his camera out to Angel, "please get a picture of me sitting on Moltar's shoulders. I have to have it! I just HAVE to."
Angel laughed as he took the camera from Lightning. He spread his wings and took off. When he was a little distance away he circled around so that he was facing Moltar and hovered in place. He raised the camera and snapped some pictures of Lightning sitting on the Tyrannosaurus' shoulders and even got a couple of Marvel Girl sitting lower down on Moltar's back. Once that was done he gave the camera back to Lightning and flew off toward Ka-zar, Zabu, and his other teammates to let them know they were safe.
In years to come Sirius Black would almost never be able to keep a straight face whenever he told the story of how Lightning, Angel, and Marvel Girl came back to them riding on the back of a T-Rex. He, along with Cyclops, Beast, and Iceman, had been following Ka-zar as he led them toward the village to which their other teammates had been taken. The sight of Moltar showing up with people riding on his back was memorable enough but it took a few seconds before Ka-zar's group realized it was the people they were going to rescue who were the riders. When Angel flew over to them it stopped them all cold.
"Angel, you're all right" asked Cyclops as the winged X-Man arrived, "what about Lightning and Marvel Girl? And why are you with that dinosaur?"
"That's Lightning's story to tell" said Angel, "I won't ruin it for him. He and Marvel Girl are still riding on Moltar's back."
"That's the Tyrannosaurus' name" said Angel with a grin at his other teammates' evident confusion.
"It looks like there's quite a story here" said Iceman.
-Moltar- Ka-zar called up to the dinosaur, -why are you here now? Do you have the other missing members of this group?-
-Yes- was the reply, -this boy here on my shoulders can speak my language just like you.-
"Hi!" Lightning called down to Ka-zar, "the name's Lightning. The woman lower down on Moltar's back is Marvel Girl. Pleased to meet you!"
"I am Ka-zar" was the reply, "this is Zabu. You also speak to animals?"
"Only reptiles" said Lightning, "not other types I'm afraid although I do have an owl who can understand me pretty well."
Lightning and Marvel Girl both got off of Moltar's back to reunite with the rest of the team who were all very glad to see them and also to formally meet Ka-zar and Zabu.
"Pup you seem to make friends wherever you go" said Mage to his Godson "however this is one for the record books." Lightning shrugged before turning back to the dinosaur.
-Thanks for your help Moltar- he said.
-You're welcome- said Moltar, -you'll be fine now so I'm going to go hunting. I'm quite hungry.-
-Sorry about that- said Lightning, -but thanks for not eating us.-
-My pleasure- said the dinosaur, -if you ever come back here please visit me.-
-You have a deal- said Lightning, -oh, and one more thing, smile!- He quickly snapped a picture of Moltar before the Tyrannosaurus disappeared into the jungle.
"Well that's not something you see every day" said Iceman.
"True enough my frozen friend" said Beast, "I think perhaps it's time we headed home."
"Definitely" said Mage after giving Lightning a brief hug.
"Yeah" said Lightning, "I can't wait to see how these pictures come out."
On the way back to the passage that lead back to the Antarctic surface Ka-zar asked Lightning to walk with him. With Zabu walking between them (the sabertooth tiger even allowed Lightning to take a picture of him) the two of them discussed being able to talk to animals. Lightning explained that his Parseltongue ability was a family trait he'd inherited from his mother's side of the family which allowed him to communicate with reptiles but not with other animals. Ka-zar told him that he was able to communicate with animals because he had been raised by his companion Zabu and, being raised wild by him had learned to communicate with almost all animals. He was not a Parselmouth as far as he knew but he still understood and could speak the reptile language quite well. He was impressed by Lightning's abilities and told him that he could come back in the future if he wanted to.
Mage walked on Lightning's other side and filled in his Godson on what had happened to his teammates after he'd flown off following Angel. The rest of them had been attacked by the same savages whom Lightning and Angel had encountered. They were riding on giant carnivorous birds and they gassed the team into unconsciousness. Beast and Mage himself escaped being knocked out but before they could stop it Marvel Girl had been kidnapped by the savages and carried away.
Ka-zar and Zabu arrived just then and after an initial misunderstanding between them (which resulted in a fight between Ka-zar and Cyclops, Iceman, and Beast where Ka-zar had proved a match for all three of them) had agreed to help the remaining X-Men to find and rescue Marvel Girl. Ka-zar had led them through the land and eventually they met up with Lightning, Angel, and Marvel Girl riding on Moltar's back. Lightning explained to Mage what had happened to him and Angel, how they were caught, and how they all had managed to escape with Moltar's help.
When they made it back to the tunnel that led back to the Antarctic surface they said their good-byes to Ka-zar. As he was waiting to leave Lightning spotted the same purple creature that he had seen before.
"Um, Ka-Zar" he said to Ka-Zar while pointing at the purple horned creature, "what is that animal?" Ka-Zar glanced at the animal Lightning was pointing at.
"That" said Ka-Zar, "is a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. It's native to this land."
"Oh" said Lightning. He finally realized why the creature looked familiar. When he had spoken to Luna Lovegood at the Burrow the previous summer she had described several other creatures besides Wrackspurts, specifically mentioning Nargles, Blibbering Humdingers, Heliopaths, and lastly the Crumple-Horned Snorkack which she described in detail. From what Luna said she had never actually seen a snorkack but she had gone searching for them with her father during the last couple of summers. How she knew what a snorkack looked like when she had never seen one was a mystery to Lightning but he put it down to Luna being an emerging seer who just knew things sometimes. Lightning knew he had to write her to tell her that snorkacks were real and he had seen one. He even had pictures to prove it. He wondered how she would react to the news. On second thought maybe he wouldn't send her the pictures. No, it would probably be better to hold on to the pictures until the next time he had to go Hogwarts. He would make sure to hand her copies of the pictures personally.
"In a way it's lucky he's not a mutant" said Cyclops as they began the trek back up toward the surface, "we'd have our hands full persuading him to return to America with us."
"I'm glad I have the pictures though" said Lightning, "would people even believe that this place existed without them? Actually will they believe it even with the pictures?"
"You should keep the pictures to yourself" said Beast, "I think we should keep this place a secret. Can you imagine what would happen if the rest of the world found out about it?"
"That wouldn't be good" said Cyclops, "we'll tell the professor of course but after that we'll keep it to ourselves. Agreed?"
"Agreed" said the others and they headed home.
(To Be Continued)
A/N - And that's all for this week. Ka-Zar and Zabu were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and belong to Marvel Comics. They first appeared in X-Men #10 (along with their environment the Savage Land although it wasn't given that name until later) and I originally expected them to play larger roles in this chapter - but then the whole thing with Moltar unexpectedly happened and as a result there was no big fight with the savage villagers like there is in the canon issue. That's twice that Harry's presence with the X-Men has prevented a big fight from happening (See chapter 15). Yes, that's a coincidence. No, it won't happen every time the X-Men are in the field. In fact, next time it definitely won't happen and there will be fighting. That's several chapters away though so I won't say any more about it.
Originally Ka-Zar spoke in a kind of broken English manner to make him seem more primitive and "wild" I guess, but that was dropped from his character later on when he became much more articulate in his speech so I didn't bother with it here.
In case anyone is confused as to why I called Scott by his name in the first part of the chapter rather than Cyclops it's because that day in the Danger Room he wasn't in uniform and when someone isn't in uniform the narrative uses their name rather than their code name. In some of the early issues after he became the team trainer when Xavier wasn't there he sometimes led training sessions without getting into uniform himself, i.e. taking on more of a teacher's role. There was also at least one adventure where he went into the field without getting into uniform while the rest of the team did. Issue 10 is one of those sessions.
All right everyone, as usual please take a moment to leave me some feedback. Constructive comments are always welcome but no flames or trolls please. As always stay safe and well everyone.