AUTHOR'S NOTES: A very big THANK YOU to FishyFloat for your review and your help fixing my first chapter. It's been over a year since I lasted posted, so I'm very rusty. I would also like to apologize for what I do to Grin this chapter. I promise that he will have a bigger part later on in the story. Hope everyone enjoys this chapter and reviews really make my day.

"Whadda ya got for me, Joe?" he asked.

"Some hikers found her, Captain" Joe answered as he lead the detective down the hallway. "It looked like she had fallen in the river and barely managed to get herself out. She was passed out, so they brought her here."

"Any ID?" Klegghorn questioned the policeman as a nurse brushed past them.

"None," Joe replied as they reached the door to the hospital room.

"So, why call me for a Jane Doe case?" Klegghorn demanded.

"This is why," Joe responded as he opened the door.

"Well isn't this just dandy," Klegghorn growled when he realized who, or more precisely what, was lying in the hospital bed.

Wildwing pulled The Migrator into the garage, shutting off the engines as soon as they had stopped. They all quietly sat in their seats, still stunned from the loss of the mask. Finally, it was Nosedive who broke the silence.

"What are we going to do, bro?" he asked softly.

"We'll head back tomorrow at first light," Wildwing answered. "We'll go over that hillside with a fine tooth comb if we have to. One way or another, we'll find the mask or that blue beak."

"Are you sure she didn't make it through the portal before the puck blew?" Duke questioned worriedly.

"I'm positive," Wildwing responded, turning to look at the former thief. "I saw it go past her and through the portal. She's still on Earth. The question is where."

"I'll get started on a sensor that'll pick up the mask's energy readings," Tanya offered as she got up and opened the hatch.

"I'll get in some target practice for when we meet up with that...thing...again," Mallory added while she followed her team mate.

"This has left my aura cloudy," Grin stated as he moved out. "I will need to meditate."

"Think I'll hit the gym," Duke said while he trailed after the others. "I think the punching bag and I need to go a few rounds."

"I can't believe it," Nosedive whispered once the others were gone. "Blue beaks are real."

"I know how you feel, baby brother," Wildwing replied. "I thought they were nothing but fairy tales, too."

After several moments of silence, Nosedive got up and headed for the door.

"I'm gonna hit the mall before it closes," Nosedive stated

"Be careful," Wildwing cautioned. "That thing is still out there and could be anywhere."

"Relax, bro," Nosedive grinned back. "We're talking about the Divester! Ain't no measly blue beak gonna catch me with my puck down."

"Take Grin with you," Wildwing suggested. "Maybe he can find his inner tranquility or his aura or whatever in the comic book shop."

"Sounds like a plan, bro!" Nosedive gleefully said as he waved to his brother and disappeared down the ramp.

Wildwing continued to sit there in the silent machine, replaying what happened that afternoon and trying to get over the shock of losing the mask. The fact that a childhood monster showed up out of nowhere wasn't helping his funk. He was still having a hard time wrapping his mind around the fact that blue beaks were real. Blue beaks were...real.

He frowned. Weren't evil monsters supposed to be ugly? The Saurians sure didn't fit anyone's idea of beauty and they were the definition of evil.

But the blue beak...she was actually pretty, if you ignored the beak and when her eyes did that creepy glowing thing. However, Lucretia DeCoy was drop dead gorgeous too and look at how she had turned out.

She had said that he had the mask under false pretenses. Boy, did she have that right. If Canard was still with them, he would just bet that the blue beak would have never been able to get the drop on them.

He ran the last fateful moments with his best friend just before he was sucked down by that electromagnetic worm. Even more than a year later, he still felt guilty for not being able to pull Canard back into the Aerowing.

Figuring it would be better to take his bad mood out on targets like Mallory or the punching bag in the gym like Duke, he got up and exited the Migrator. As he walked through the garage, Phil came through the door. He quickly looked for a place to hide to avoid the overbearing manager, but unfortunately, he was nowhere near cover.

"Wildwing, boobie," Pill called. "What's going on, man? Why the long face? We didn't lose an endorsement, did we?"

"No, Phil, we didn't lose an endorsement," Wildwing assured the human. "We lost the mask."

"Oh, that's all right then," Phil sighed until Wildwing's words sunk into his head. "Wait. What!? How did that happen?"

"A blue beak showed up out of nowhere and took it," Wildwing growled in frustration.

"What's a blue beak?" Phil asked, completely confused.

"They're monsters from my world," Wildwing snarled.

"What do they look like?" Phil questioned nervously. "Do they have claws and fangs and lots of drool? They don't have appetites for lovable managers, do they? Why would it take the mask?"

"No, they look like ducks, but with blue beaks," Wildwing answered, ignoring the last question. "And I'm pretty sure you're safe."

"So, they're just like you, but with a blue beak?" Phil inquired, bewildered. "I thought you said that they were monsters."

"They're nothing like me," Wildwing irritably snapped. "On my world, parents warn their kids that if they weren't good, the blue beaks would come and take them away. They would make the kids into mindless slaves and they would have to do all of the blue beaks bidding and they'd never be able to play hockey ever again. I used to have nightmares about them. They say the only good blue beak is a dead one."

"So, blue beaks are your world's version of the monster under the bed?"

"In an egg shell."

Before Phil could ask any more, Wildwing's communicator beeped.

"Wildwing here."

"Just the duck I wanted to talk to," Klegghorn's voice came through loud and clear. "I want you to meet me at County General Hospital."

"What for?" Wildwing asked.

"I got you an early Christmas present," Klegghorn retorted. "Just get your tail feathers down here."

The line went dead and Wildwing was left standing there with his beak hanging partially open. Figuring calling Klegghorn back would be pointless, he closed his communicator and headed for the Duckcycles.

"Wait!" Phil yelled as Wildwing strapped a helmet on. "Aren't you going to try and get the mask back from this blue beak thing?"

"We looked around the area until it got too dark," Wildwing replied. "We will be going back at first light."

"Maybe you can file a missing mask report with Klegghorn," Phil suggested.

"Yeah, I'll be sure to do that," Wildwing said, barely managing not to roll his eyes.

Wildwing quickly started the bike and revved the engine, drowning out any more of Phil's inane prattling. Without a backwards glance, he burned rubber out of the garage. In short order he was headed down the road, never realizing that his life was about to get more complicated.

"So what exactly are we looking for?" Siege demanded as he waved the hand held light around.

"I'm not entirely sure," Wraith grumbled. "The sensors picked up some strange energy readings at these coordinates."

"If the teleporter had been working properly, we would have been here while there was still light," Siege complained. "Instead, we're out here chasing our tails in the dark."

The Saurians were interrupted by the barking of a green dog chasing its tail around and around.

"Would you get serious?" Siege snarled, half tempted to take a swing at the annoying shape changer.

Chameleon, still in dog form, went running off across the well trodden meadow. He came running back a minute later, dropping something at Siege's feet.

"What's this?" Siege wondered as he picked up the item. "It's a broken puck! Those stupid ducks were here."

In his irritation, he swung his tail around barely missing Chameleon.

"Hey! No shooting the messenger!" Chameleon complained as soon as he changed back.

"That's not all that was here," Wraith intoned, examining the blacked ground not far from the cliff.

"Whadda ya got?" Siege asked, headed over to the wizard with Chameleon right behind him.

Wraith didn't answer. Instead, he took a pinch of the blackened ground between a couple fingers and rubbed them together. His frown deepened as he sniffed the small bit of dirt. He tasted the sample with the tip of his tongue and nearly flew into a rage.

"No!" Wraith snarled whirling around to look around the area as his eyes glowed with power. "It can't be!"

"What can't be?" Siege snapped.

"They're dead," Wraith muttered as he glided over to some of the trees.

"Who's dead?" Chameleon questioned while he and Siege followed the wizard.

"Those cursed mages," Wraith snapped back.

"What mages?" Siege and Chameleon asked together.

"The mages from Puckworld," Wraith answered irritably, still looking for something in the trees.

"Puckworld has mages?" Siege questioned. "Since when?"

"Since always," Wraith shot back. "They were a very small part of the population all those centuries ago. My dark ancestors put a curse on them just before they were banished to the dimensional prison we escaped from. They should all be dead by now."

"But you think one of them survived?" Siege inquired.

"I don't think, I know" Wraith snarled as he plucked something from a tree at the edge of the cliff. "There's a mage on this cursed planet and we are all doomed."

Without further explanation, Wraith teleported back to The Raptor, leaving the other two to follow suit.

Normally, he enjoyed the feeling of the wind on his beak, but not this time. This time, all he could think about was those last fateful moments before he had lost the mask. Could he have done something different? Maybe if he had tried an exploding puck on the blue beak before she had taken the mask. Of course, that would have required him knowing that she had come for it in the first place.

Fortunately, the evening traffic was light and he didn't have to deal with too many cars. He did manage to keep enough of his attention on the road not to run a red light in front of a cop on the cross street.

"Pull it together," Wildwing growled to himself. "Thinking about it isn't going to change anything."

He forced himself to ignore what happened earlier so he could make it to the hospital without the benefit of an ambulance. He soon passed the mall and shortly after that, he made it to the hospital. He could see Klegghorn waiting for him just outside the main entrance, so he went and found a place to park.

"All right, Klegghorn, I'm here," Wildwing grumbled, not happy about having to come out there.

"Well, aren't you a right bundle of sunshine," Klegghorn retorted a bit too happily.

"Why am I here?" Wildwing asked, crossing his wings over his chest.

"Come with me and I'll show you," Klegghorn answered just before turning and heading into the building.

Wildwing followed, trying not to let it bug him that Klegghorn hadn't even checked to make sure he was coming. They took the elevator up and got out several floors later. Klegghorn headed down the hall, bypassing the nurses station. They soon came to a door with a police officer standing guard.

"Any change?" he asked.

"No, sir," the cop answered.

"Ok, go get something to eat and then report back," Klegghorn ordered.

"Yes, sir," the cop replied and quickly left.

"All right, what's this all about, Klegghorn?" Wildwing demanded.

"The patient in this room might interest you," Klegghorn hedged.

"I'm a hockey player, not a doctor," Wildwing retorted.

"Already had a doctor take a look," Klegghorn stated. "Why don't you?"

Before Wildwing could think of anything to say, Klegghorn opened the door. Wildwing could see a figure in the bed. The room had very little lighting and he couldn't clearly see who was in it.

Despite himself, he quietly stepped into the room. He barely took notice of the small single lamp on the far side of the room, casting long, dark shadows. The face was turned away from him and the blankets piled up on the bed meant he couldn't even tell the gender of the person in it.

He moved closer and realized that what he had mistaken as shadow was really long black hair spread out over the pillow and over the side of the bed. He took another step and he started to see the cheek. Instead of skin, he could see dark feathers, though it was hard to tell in the low light, he was sure they were dark red.

One more step and he could finally see it. The beak. It was a light blue beak and he nearly stopped breathing. He did his best not to alert the human that there was anything wrong.

His first instinct was to shoot the still figure, but he managed to hold himself in check. He had worried and fretted about finding her and here she was, served up to him on a silver platter. Well, a hospital bed really, but it would do.

"Any idea who she is?" Klegghorn softly asked.

"Nope," Wildwing simply answered. "But I'm sure my team and I can take real good care of her."

"Good," Klegghorn said as he turned to leave.

"How did she end up here?" Wildwing questioned.

"Some hikers found her at the side of the river just outside of town," Klegghorn replied. "They brought her here."

"Why not bring her to The Pond?" Wildwing quietly mused.

"How the heck should I know?" Klegghorn retorted with a shrug. "Maybe they weren't hockey fans."

Before Wildwing could come up with a response about people not liking hockey, Klegghorn headed towards the door.

"I'm sure the doctor will want to talk to you, so stick around," Klegghorn added just before he exited the room.

"Oh, don't worry, I'm not going anywhere," Wildwing softly replied to the now empty doorway. "I'm not going anywhere at all."