They were transcending. Space and time unfolded before them, like so many stars drifting in the Astral Sea. Black Lotus sent their inner eye out to wander once more, setting themselves adrift in the vastness of the universe. For a moment, they were everywhere. They gathered the energies of space and time around them, lifting from the earth. They were the anchor point for the univ-
There was a tug on their scarf. They could feel it, drawing them back, pulling them towards their body once more. A voice. Familiar to them. It was the Champion’s daughter. She knew not what she was interrupting. Black Lotus struggled to maintain their focus, even as the invisible energies roiled around them.
“You! Helmet head! You’re gonna help me find my father!”
Black Lotus turned their head slowly. They stared down at Little Monster. The child’s eyes shone with fierce determination, even through the gas mask that she always wore. The muffled sound of her voice did not make it harder for the Nameless to understand her.
“I heard the others talking! They called you a seeker, who can find anything. So I want you to find my dad for me!”
Black Lotus gave their head a tilt, still floating off the ground, the astral energies still surrounding them, channeled towards the steering wheel that hovered in place before them. This child sought something long since lost to this world. Black Lotus remembered the Champion, through the haze of ages. Time was a difficult thing for them to track as they wandered. As their thoughts focused on the Champion, they could feel the anchor they had established becoming destabilized. They had lost control of it.
“Hey! Are you listening to me? Helmet head!” Little Monster began to tug on the scarf, yanking on it. Black Lotus let out a choking gasp, losing what grasp they still had on the fabric of space and time to slip. The steering wheel started to fall. Black Lotus reached out their hand to grab it from the air. They had to reestablish control over the focus.
“I want my dad back! Give him to me! I want–Huh?”
Black Lotus found themselves able to breathe again as Little Monster dropped their hold on the scarf. A rift was forming, a breach in the universe. It stretched and tore itself into existence as the energies Black Lotus had sought to channel poured out towards it.
“Hahahahahaha!” Little Monster let out a villainous cackle as she rubbed her hands together. “I knew you could do it, Helmet Head! Come on!”
With that, the child ran through the portal that had been inadvertently created. Black Lotus stared at her back. This person could not comprehend the danger into which she had thrown herself. What could drive her to such compulsion? The strength of this bond she had to one not even present, it intrigued Black Lotus. They had long since shed such attachments… at least that is what they thought. The Nameless felt the tendril of curiosity working its way through their body. They would need to go to make sure that the Champion’s child did not cause too much distortion in the multiverse, but they would also have a chance to observe the strength of this bond.
Black Lotus’ feet touched the ground as they strode towards the space-time breach. They thought their mantras to the gentle rhythm of their machine’s engine, holding the wheel out in front of them. With a practiced ease, they stepped through it with confidence, attuning themselves to the astral signature left behind by Little Monster.
The world they stepped into was cold. Black mountains rose like monsters’ talons around them. Black Lotus found themself standing on a track made entirely from ice. Little Monster stood, shivering, her hands balled into fists as she shouted out into the empty frozen wasteland.
“Papa! Hey! Papa! You here?!”
They walked towards the child. Did she understand? This was not their world, but another. Black Lotus reached out, placing their hand on her shoulder to get her attention, when they heard the roar of an engine down the track. Little Monster ceased her shouting as she looked in the same direction as Black Lotus.
“Hey, it’s Coldguy! Wait…”
Indeed, the machine that was roaring towards them did bear similarity to the machine of the Frost Giant. Yet this was not the same. The exhaust pipes were shaped more like horns, the grill sharp like the jaws of a dragon. The machine glowed with a spectral green light. Behind it, it towed a truck bed filled with piles upon piles of gold.
Black Lotus grabbed Little Monster by her shirt, as the machine raced towards them, pulling the child with them outside of the material plane. The dragon-truck didn’t slow, as they phased through it, coins spilling out behind it.
“That looked just like Coldguy! But even cooler! Eh?! What’s that! That hammer’s huge!”
Another machine was coming down the ice track towards them from the other way, racing to meet the dragon-truck. Rising from its back was a giant gloved fist holding a massive hammer. The dragon-truck swerved to try to avoid it. The giant hammer crackled with electricity before it swung, smashing into the ice. Like a lightning bolt striking earth, the electricity ran through the ice towards the dragon-truck. The dragon-truck skidded, coins spilling everywhere, spitting out green fire from where it had been damaged. It spun out of control, toppling over the side of the bridge, this world’s Icebringer giving a defiant roar.
To Black Lotus, the lightning’s source seemed more divine than scientific.
“That’ll show Fafnir who’s boss!” The pilot of the hammer-truck said, leaning out the window. Thin, with long-blond hair, and a horned helmet on his head.
“Yeah!” The larger of the two said, poking his head out the other side. There was a pause. “That’s us, right Tanngnjóstr?”
“Course it’s us, Tanngrisnir! With this gold, we’ll be able to take the Bifrost right to Odin’s hall and get us some of that mead of his! Then we’ll be smarter than all the rest of ‘em, an’ no one can bar us from going inside the mead halls!”
Little Monster’s clapping drew the attention of the pair. Black Lotus had landed them both back upon the ice-bridge. “That was cool! I wanna see more stuff blow up! Do that again!” She made her hand into a fist, smashing it into her palm like the hammer had done to the ice.
“Eh? What are mortals doing on the track? Without their wagons?” Tanngnjóstr asked, scratching his head under his helmet.
“Dunno, but look!” The fatter one pointed to the sky, where a colorful blaze of light shot towards them. The rainbow beam landed upon the ice, forming a rainbow bridge behind it as a fast machine with a winged skull upon the front rode down it. The machine’s top opened and standing there was an angry-looking valkyrie, her red hair flowing behind her.
“Where have you two been?! Lord Thor needs his chariot pulled, so you two idiots better get back, fast! Before I light a fire and make goat stew!”
“Ah! It’s Thrud! Let’s book it, Tanngrisnir! ‘Fore she tells her dad.” The pair hopped back in their truck as they sped off. The valkyrie, her message delivered, turned her machine around and traveled back up the rainbow as the Bifrost disappeared.
As the bridge receded, it left behind a shimmering light where it had stood. The wheel at Black Lotus’ side hummed with the rhythm of their machine’s engine as they approached. Another breach.
Black Lotus put their hand on Little Monster’s shoulder and pointed towards the breach. To her credit, the young girl understood quite well as she took off, diving into the portal without a second thought. As before, Black Lotus followed, once more traversing the multiverse.
Her father was not here. But they would keep searching. Black Lotus wished to learn more of this bond.