“WHAT, ARE YOU CRAZY?!” Wolverine nearly yelled out. “WE GOT BIGGER FISH TO FRY HERE!”
The Imperial Guards then rushed towards the X-Men with their spears pointed at them.
“Don’t provoke them Logan,” Beast whispered fiercely.
Wolverine just growled and crossed his arms. Storm then stepped up and said, “Lilandra, as much as we would like to help you defeat these criminals, we were in the middle of a crisis on Earth. The mutants involved in that crisis need our help as much as you need ours.”
Lilandra nodded her head in agreement and said, “That is understandable. I will not force you to do this task if it is against your will.
But I must warn you all, the two criminals identified were an alien from the Breakworld who is called Kruun and an unknown skrull who is accompanying him.”
The X-Men then looked at Lilandra in shock and Colossus said, “Kruun has escaped?!”
“I am afraid so and if we do not stop him, he will destroy the Shi’ar Empire,” said Lilandra in an urgent tone.
Cyclops then stood forward and said, “Alright, Lilandra, we’ll help you stop Kruun and the skrull.”
The other X-Men looked at Cyclops in shock and Shadowcat spoke up, “Scott, are you’re sure about this?”
“What about Emma and the students?” Storm asked in concern.
Cyclops stared intensely at the other X-Men and said, “Look, I know that we have important business to take care of down on Earth.But, if we don’t stop Kruun and this skrull from coming to the Shi’ar Empire, then they’ll not only destroy this empire, but they will also make their way towards Earth and destroy it also. We may have been lucky the first time around when Kruun came on Earth, but we may not be lucky the second time around unless we do something about this.”
The other X-Men looked uncertain for a few moments, but then they nodded their heads in agreement as they fully understood Cyclops’ assessment on the situation.
Lilandra looked relieved and then said, “Then it is settled.We will approach the enemy before they make it to the Empire. But for now, I will leave you all to prepare yourselves for the battle ahead.”
Lilandra then dismissed the royal court and the X-Men were taken to various rooms in the hallways to prepare for Kruun and Zargot’s arrival.
Later on, in the Shi’ar Empire hallways…
Kitty stood looking out of the window that was located in the hallways of the Shi’ar Empire. She saw the vastness of space and gazed in wonder at how the stars look so beautiful in the dark skies.But then, she started holding herself as a feeling of uneasiness washed over her as she remembered what it was like to be stranded out in space all alone and frightened. Then, the sound of footsteps came down the hallway and a gentle voice came from behind her:
“Katya, are you alright?”
Kitty then turned around and saw Piotr coming up towards her.She smiled briefly and then said, “Oh, it’s nothing; I’m just admiring the view from up here.The stars are so beautiful to look at.”
Piotr continued looking at Kitty with concern on his face.Kitty just sighed deeply and then said, “Aw, who am I kidding. I still can’t get over the fear of being in space, ever since I got stuck in a bullet and nearly died from it.”
Kitty then put a hand over her face and said, “Man, I can’t believe how weak I’m sounding right now.”
Piotr then stood next to Kitty, gently put his arm around her and said, “There is nothing weak about being frightened, Katya.This is coming from someone who had to endure the trauma of being brought back to life, only to be experimented on soon after.”
Piotr then turned Kitty around to face him and said, “You are the bravest and strongest woman I ever knew and I know that you will do anything to face your fears if it means protecting the people you care about.”
Kitty looked up at Piotr with emotion in her eyes and said, “Like protecting big Russian guys who can turn their skins to steel?”
Piotr smiled and said, “Especially that.”
Piotr and Kitty were silent for a few moments and then they kissed each other with a passion that was lit up like fire, for they feared that this happy and beautiful moment would be their last if they don’t succeed in this mission.
Meanwhile in another room…
Scott was getting himself ready for the battle, when Ororo stood by the doorway with a troubled expression on her face.
“May I come in?” Ororo asked.
“Sure thing,” said Scott beckoning her to come in and Ororo walked in.The two X-Men stood around silently, not speaking for a few moments. Then, Ororo spoke up, “Do you think it was wise to leave Emma in Seattle, making her deal with that ULTIMATUM group by herself?”
“We were practically teleported to the Shi’ar Empire before we had a chance to blink, Ororo.Even if we wanted to help Emma, the Shi’ar Empire would have teleported us away from Earth anyway, whether we liked it or not. Besides, now that Kruun has the Shi’ar technology embedded into him, he’s going to be a bigger threat than the ULTIMATUM group,” said Scott tiredly.
“Maybe so, but who knows what kind of destruction is happening in Seattle. Think of the innocent lives that are being lost as we speak. We should have at least tried to check to see if Emma got the children to safety or not,” said Ororo.
“Don’t worry, Emma’s a tough woman. She can handle herself and the students,” said Scott.
Ororo turned to face the window and said, “I hope so, Scott.I hope so.”
Meanwhile near the hallways…
Logan and Hank were in a small room near the hallways, preparing themselves for the battle ahead.Hank then had a troubled expression on his face and he sighed, “It seems like yesterday that we were just fighting on the Breakworld while trying to save the world at the same time; and just as our lives were about to go back to normal, here we are, fighting Kruun again who somehow got enough power to level down an entire kingdom.”
Logan just stared at Hank and said, “Well, better get used to it, furball.Being an X-Man ain’t all rainbows and sunshine since life is nothing but a big ole battlefield. You wanna make it in this world? Then you better fight for all you’re worth because I bet ya Kruun ain’t gonna care about whose life he puts on the line in getting what he wants.”
Hank just looked at Logan and said sarcastically, “Thanks Logan. You’re wisdom in survival of the fittest puts me at ease.And stop calling me furball.”
“Well, that name suits you,” grinned Logan.
Later, at the space port…
After the X-Men finished preparing themselves, they joined the Imperial Guards and Lilandra at the space port.
“So, what are we looking out for?” asked Cyclops.
“According to my sources, Kruun and the skrull have stolen a cargo ship from the ship dock near the prison they were supposed to be contained in.So, we must keep a lookout for a cargo ship that would be approaching us fast,” said Lilandra.
“A cargo ship, huh? That shouldn’t be too hard to lookout for,” said Wolverine.
“And not a moment too soon, LOOK!” yelled Beast.
Suddenly, a large cargo ship was heading towards the Shi’ar Empire at break neck speed. The Imperial Guards and the X-Men immediately ran towards the edge of the space port with Lilandra heading the army.
“FIRE AT THE SHIP AT MY COMMAND! READY…AIM…” Lilandra started to say.But then suddenly, a large figure leapt out of the ship and he immediately stretched out his robotic arms and punched the landing strip of the space port, causing a large hole to form in the ground.
The X-Men and the Imperial Guards immediately ran towards Kruun as he landed effortlessly on the ground and stretched his arms back in.
“Whoa!You weren’t kidding about the Shi’ar technology making Kruun stronger!” remarked Shadowcat.
Kruun saw the Imperial Guards and the X-Men fast approaching him and he smiled menacingly as he spoke, “Well, well, if it isn’t the X-Men coming to save the day once more!”
“Nice new duds, bub.But you ain’t gonna have them on much longer!”
Wolverine unsheathed his claws and he leaped towards Kruun.
Kruun just smiled and he stretched out his new arms and whacked Wolverine straight into another ship on the port.
“WOLVERINE!” yelled out Colossus.
“YOU ARE ALL NEXT!” screamed Kruun and he started stretching out his arms towards the X-Men.
Cyclops quickly leapt to the side and started shooting his optic beams at Kruun. But Kruun managed to block the optic beams with his arms and then he shot out his arms towards Cyclops, who managed to dodge them quickly once more.
While Kruun was distracted with Cyclops, Beast then leaped towards Kruun with his claws unsheathed.But then, Kruun shot out his other arm and grabbed Beast by the throat and threw him into the same ship that he threw Wolverine through.
Meanwhile, Shadowcat phased through the ground, came up quietly underneath Kruun and then grabbed his legs and started pulling him through the ground.But Kruun saw this trick and he immediately stretched his arms into the air and grabbed a support beam and he started pulling himself up, causing Shadowcat to let go of him.
Then, Colossus came charging towards Kruun with the intent to jump up and grab him from the support beam.Kruun saw Colossus charging towards him and he immediately leapt off the support beam and he shot out his arms and pushed Colossus into the ground with such force that he caused a crater to form in the ground.
Then, Storm flew up into the air and started up a windstorm to blow Kruun away once more.But Kruun was ready this time and he stretched his arms out and punched Storm in the face, knocking her unconscious.
As Colossus slowly got up and shook his head, he saw Storm falling towards the ground and he immediately ran towards Storm and caught her midair.He then tried to run towards the ship where Cyclops, Wolverine and Beast were at, but then he was bombarded by laser beams that came from the sky.It was then revealed that Zargot, who was still inside the cargo ship, started shooting at the Imperial Guards and the X-Men with the laser beams that were implanted into the ship.
Just as it looked like Colossus wouldn’t be able to make it to the ship, Shadowcat called out to Colossus, “COLOSSUS! HURRY! GET OVER HERE!”
Colossus then ran quickly towards Shadowcat with Storm still in his arms and Shadowcat phased them into the ground and they ended up near the ship with the other X-Men.
“Is she going to be okay?” Shadowcat asked with concern as they laid Storm on the ground.
“Her pulse is still strong, so I should definitely say that she will be alright,” said Beast as he looked Storm over.
Wolverine then slammed his fist into the ground and yelled out, “THAT STINKIN’ @#%&@#%&@@@###%%%&&&&#### ALIEN FREAK! He beat our butts into the ground!”
“That Shi’ar technology is indeed powerful.And now, he is easily pummeling the Shi’ar Imperial Guards,” said Colossus.
The other X-Men then turned to look at the Imperial Guards being whacked around by Kruun and they grimaced.
“So what do we do now?” asked Beast.
“We do what we do best.We’ll beat Kruun at his own game and I think that time has just arrived,” said Cyclops as he pointed up at the sky.
The X-Men looked up at the sky and they saw a giant purple skinned man in a red outfit flying at a fast pace towards the nearly demolished space port.