Note: The events at the start of this issue follow directly from events details in Secret Wars II #1.
Cannonball, Dazzler, Rachel Summers & Shadowcat fought to survive against the landscape of Limbo. After the Beyonder pulled out Magik's demonised physical form of the Darkchilde, she instinctively teleported them to her realm. As mistress of Limbo, Darkchilde's emotional state was reflected in the environment, and her shock at having her soul exposed in front of friends and family meant that Limbo itself tried to attack her friends. Darkchilde summoned her Soulsword which was crackling with pure black energy instead of white. Shadowcat snatched it from her and gained Darkchilde's Eldritch Armour in the process. Slicing the Soulsword down it's mistress caused Darkchilde great pain, but ultimately caused her to revert her back to her normal self. Shadowcat was concerned of the effect on Magik's soul, and also for her own.
After they calmed down and changed clothes Magik teleported them back to Los Angeles. Instead of pursuing the Beyonder, they were going to liberate Sunspot & Magma from the Gladiators (see New Mutants #29). Cannonball was unable to reach the X-Men's mansion by telephone, and when they used Lila's car the others teased him about his bad driving. Cannonball explained that when the time came to learn how to drive, he was forced to go down the mines to earn money to pay for his father's hospital bills. While driving along, Dazzler offered to infiltrate the Gladiators, but Shadowcat refused the offer saying that she was best suited to do it herself.
In the Gladiator's arena, Sunspot received as many hits as he dealt. He managed to knock his opponents unconscious, therefore winning his match. However, he'd been slashed across his torso which bled heavily. Alexander Flynn's holographic image reminded Sunspot & Magma that he would send innocent runaway children into the arena if they did not fight. Outside the mansion where the Gladiators and their boss resided, Cannonball & Shadowcat were spying to see any sign of their friends. They didn't notice the Beyonder's cloaked presence watching them, just as they didn't notice Dazzler slip down the hillside until she was walking up the driveway of the mansion. Cannonball grew angry with Shadowcat for taking over, giving orders, and letting Dazzler endanger herself. However, inside the mansion Dazzler received mixed greetings. Her friends were happy to see her, but they didn't trust her until she had drank an entire flask of drugged wine. The Gladiators' mysterious leader was thrilled at Dazzler's return and killed a slave out of sheer enjoyment.
Later, Shadowcat entered the complex in disguise. She applied for the position of a behind-the-scenes-techy and was granted the job after a successful demonstration of her talents.
Meanwhile, Dazzler began her act. She began singing on stage before lurching into the foray and easily disabling her opponents with a series of blinding lights & physical attacks. Afterwards she want to see Sunspot & Magma, apologising for defeating them and bragging about how she had gone easy on them. However, they didn't trust her as they recognised her lust for the spotlight. They revealed the reason why they had chosen to stay, which was overheard by Shadowcat's new audio spying device. Using the device to communicate with Cannonball outside, she admitted that she'd made a mistake letting Dazzler go in. Rachel was unable to maintain telepathic contact because of psi-shields placed around the mansion.
During the Gladiator's practise session the next morning, Magma & Sunspot made repeated attacks against Dazzler. She had hoped that there would be a sense of camaraderie with the New Mutants, but was hurt at how they had turned on her.
Meanwhile outside, Rachel was meditating as she tried to focus on the Beyonder's presence. Cannonball and Magik discussed the reasons why the Beyonder had appeared on Earth, but Rachel announced she was no longer able to detect him.
Inside the mansion Shadowcat phased through the floor and descended into Sunspot's cell. In doing so she had tripped the alarms, but managed to inform Sunspot that there were no children being held hostage.
Outside, the others ran to help their friends but were stopped by the sudden appearance of the Beyonder. Magik threatened him with her Soulsword, but Rachel telekinetically yanked her out of the Beyonder's way. Instead, Rachel nervously reached into the Beyonder's mind. Their two minds connected an became one, she sensed his curiosity and desire to seek more information. Both Rachel and the Beyonder became consumed in a burning light, which was broken by Cannonball who blasted them all towards the mansion.
Back inside the mansion Shadowcat had separated from Sunspot to locate Dazzler. Upon finding her, she read her diary. Dazzler's inner most thoughts revealed that she was guilt-stricken and considered suicide. Shadowcat was relieved to find Dazzler awake, but Dazzler's lights began to glow hypnotically. A grotesque shadowy figure grabbed Shadowcat. Just as Shadowcat began to recognise the voice and the laugh, she was taken away.
Playing along with their captors, Magma & Sunspot took the stage. When Dazzler appeared singing on stage they knew that something was wrong. Instead of facing the Gladiators they were face-to-face with a gigantic monster, at least two-stories tall, wielding a humongous axe and mace.
Note: Illyana Rasputin is referred to as both Magik and Darkchilde, depending on her appearance. When she appears to be a normal girl she is referred to as Magik, and when she transforms into a demon-girl with horns and a tail she is called Darkchilde. This does not reflect how the characters address her, merely her appearance and mental state at that point in the story.