"Hello," Nik pursed his lips. He had to hand it to Strange, even he did not see the portal reaching out for him which pointed out the need of getting more experience when it comes to natural forces and growing more attuned and sensible to them. "I apologize for bringing you in such a hurry," Strange stated while Nik found himself sitting in his living room once again. "I would have been crazy mad that you just abducted me and expected me to simply accept your apology should I have been more normal and paranoid. Lucky for you, I am not. Go on." Nik crossed his legs and took out a packet of spicy sticks to pass his time. Since it was already established that both of them weren't fond of each other, Nik doubted that Strange would want to chat for long.
Coughing slightly at Nik's reply, Strange nodded, "I feel obliged to inform that while I am asking you to do something, I now understand your current profession as a hired labor"
"Mercenary, yes, continue, Street Magician," Nik interrupted shortly.
Recollecting himself, Strange brought his hands forward and clenched them into fists before conjuring a magical circle that displayed an image of a bald man, handsome features, and a confident smile on his face. His body was covered entirely by a dark-brown robe with his palms gloved by leather-like pairs.
"This man once belonged to our order. Sorcerer Garuk. A prodigy of his time but now he dabbles in evil sorcery. He made a move quite recently and his concoctions have caused a small village in Africa to turn into magically enhanced beasts. Of course, they do not have long to live and I want to hire you to find out Garuk's current whereabouts."
"Evil magic, really?" Nik scoffed with a chuckle. "Look at your face. Even you don't believe that."
"You are right. But the source Garuk is currently tapping into for his magic is extremely harmful to the planet. If my real self wasn't tied up, I would not have troubled you with the task but Garuk must be stopped before he causes any permanent damage."
"Alright," Nik nodded thoughtfully, "However, I would need a detailed bio of this Garuk, his likes and dislikes, and the potency of his magic. Not to mention, we still have to discuss the rewards for my... services."
"I have the knowledge that your services require 30000 dollars"
"Ha!" Nik cut Stranger off, "I am not taking any money from you. If I am going to hunt down an evil street magician for you, I want an item that matches a certain bill."
"What do you mean?" Strange furrowed his brows.
"I want a library card with all the access," Nik stated.
"To which Library?" Strange enquired.
"Yours, of course."
For a moment, Strange was stunned before he sighed softly. "I understand but I would rather not share my order's knowledge with someone else. Would you like me to send you back where you came from?" He created a mini-portal as Nik shook his head and stood up. A violet portal appearing behind him.
"No need, I've got my own mojo."
Walking into his portal and appearing near Cindy's house, Nik sighed and spread a thin layer of spirit energy around him to make sure that the same incident never occurs again and suddenly it occurred to him that he didn't need to actually keep focusing on self-defense. He had a perfect candidate to act as his bodyguard in terms of energy-portal abductions. Pickle. Not only is she a symbiote completely fused with him, but she also has almost similar talents as Nik with their bloodlines matching to the boot. Keeping the thought in his mind to later bring it up for the slime, Nik made his way to Cindy's house.
"You suck!" A childish voice emerged through the other side of the door before Nik could even ring the bell and came out running was Cindy's younger brother, Albert Jr. Before he could smack against Nik and injure himself, Nik paused the little guy by placing his palm over the kid's head as he grunted in surprise. "You! You're that guy Cindy brought!" His gaze instantly brightened before he shook off Nik's hold and ran back inside while shouting, "Why does she get to have a boyfriend then?"
"I love such a good entrance," Nik mumbled while waiting outside.
"What?" Cindy's and what seemed like her mother's scream echoed simultaneously before her mother and Cindy came rushing towards the door. One on the floor and the other racing on the ceiling with her hair hanging low.
"Nik?" Cindy's mother seemed slightly surprised before glaring at Cindy, "Get down, will you! You shouldn't play too much with your powers!" Jumping down instantly, she looked at Nik awkwardly, "Sorry about junior. Mom took his gamepad so he is... not the most beautiful kid in the world, is he?" Cindy looked at her mother and taunted, making the poor, middle-aged woman sigh deeply, "For the last time, Cindy. Your little brother is the child, not you. Act like a grown-up!"
Looking at Nik, she smiled, an expression that even Cindy and junior didn't receive daily. "We didn't even have a chance to properly appreciate your help back then. It was just that... we all were confused. Come in, please." She invited as Nik nodded and entered their home.
"I would have been more prepared if Cindy notified me about your visit today." Her mother spoke as she entered the kitchen and opened the refrigerator while settling Cindy and Nik in the living room.
"Now, Nik. You have to absolutely honest with me. When Cindy said and I quote Her first mission wasn't dangerous was she lying to me?"
Cindy instantly looked towards Nik with her brows waggling confusingly and her palms pressed against each other while she mouthed 'please.'
"Not at all," Nik smiled, "She might have fallen once or twice. But that was it."
"I saw the live broadcast of the situation," she poured orange soda in two glasses and walked out, "That hero named Vanish is the most sensible one in my opinion. He saved the hostages in the blink of an eye."
"Really?" Nik inquired with a short smirk, "I always thought that Vanish was slightly stuck up. Like the rest of the team calls him."
Cindy's lips twitched as her mother scoffed, "Oh, please. I haven't met him personally but to prioritize hostages before fighting, the only thing 'Silk' did by the way," she looked at Cindy.
"Mom!" Cindy hissed.
"What? You come home with a wide smile saying that you teamed up with Captain America. It's not funny. Your father might not say anything but we all were worried sick! Anyway, let's not do this again in front of your friend. And, Nik, please put some sense into my daughter. Being a hero is not safe."
"But you just said good things about Vanish!" Cindy shouted while her mother snorted and stood up, "Well, Vanish isn't my daughter. You are." Sighing softly, she once again nodded towards Nik, "I really hoped you visited us at an even better time but I must run back to the lab."
As she took to her leave, Cindy slumped back on her couch while Nik sipped on the soda, "Wow, your mother is really cool."
Snorting at his words, Cindy took her glass of soda and chugged it down in a single gulp before the fizz attacked her throat, making her cough and exhale loudly.
"Anyway, is your mom always coming by in the evening?" Nik inquired as Cindy shook her head.
"No, she came by to collect my blood samples. She has been running some tests on my blood to make sure nothing is actually wrong with me... besides, you know, being powerful and awesome. And... thanks for not ratting me out," she mumbled while Nik shrugged.
"Nothing to feel good about. I mean, you were fighting pretty stupidly. May I suggest that you watch some doc.u.mentaries on spiders."
"Oh, I don't know," Cindy smiled sweetly, "If only that wasn't the same advice my mum, dad, super-friend, and trainer suggested."
"The fact that you still haven't considered me your super-friend is deeply hurting," Nik coughed, making Cindy stammer with her own retort backfiring. "Oh, I didn't mean t-to... you know?"
"Break my heart?" Nik touched his left pec with a deeply hurtful stare.
As Cindy looked away, Nik continued the charade by crossing his arms and inquiring with a mean gaze, "It's Ava, isn't it?"
"For real, you are a better friend to me!" Cindy hurriedly squeaked before hearing a soft 'beep' as she looked behind and found a cellphone floating mid-air. "This is called getting dirt on someone." Nik cackled as Cindy's expression changed for the umpteenth time.
"Spider!" A woman in a white leotard with pink schemes jumped on Spider with both of them tumbling back and falling over to the stationary cup that Gwen arranged every day. "Poole," Spider grunted while standing up and pushing Poole's cheerful puppy face away. "Enough, all right!" Spider shouted.
"Aw!" Poole m.o.a.ned as she stood up, "No huggy for me?"
"Ugh, sorry about that..." Spider sighed, "I instinctually feared what comes after a hug. Anyway, where's Gwen?" Spider inquired as Poole grinned, "Take your daughters to work day, Dad said. But I overheard him planning a special lunch with Gwen to make up for being busy with work. That's also the reason why I didn't tag along. Honestly, I was getting bored but it's a good thing that you returned. Now," with her smile turning a tad dirty, she leaned forward and whispered, -'tell me everything about 'what comes after hug'-"
Spider's cheeks reddened as she silently looked away.
"Ooh~ You are hiding something spice and I need the sauce!" Poole lunged on Spider once again, tackling her down and sitting on top of her with a victorious grin.
"I have no such thing!" Spider groaned in denial while Poole leaned her back real low, her nose brushing against Spider's as she whispered, "Oh, baby, you are dripping with sauce!"
"Yeeeeh!" Spider suddenly shrieked weirdly as she felt Poole's finger slithering in between her armpits.