Rising Sun, a contented teacher named Izumi Yasunari, worked in one of Tokyo’s most exclusive flower-arranging schools. He owed his ability to manipulate solar energy and the Sun’s own gravitational or magnetic field to the fact that he was a mutant. He had chosen his profession over the strict objections of his father, who wanted him to go into the family business.
“I will not spend my days in the stifling boardrooms of a salaryman. I have talent for working with flowers, and I will use my skills to instruct others. It is a highly popular and respected endeavor. You must accept this, since I will not change my mind!”
Those fiery words had ended the discussion and had made Izumi an outcast from his own family. However, he had a loving wife and a devoted daughter, and this was all he needed. The fact that his mutant powers enabled him to help others as Rising Sun was an added blessing. He was the kind of man who cared about others and wanted to help. He also did so in honor of his late friend Sunburst.
Now, as he fought off the pull of memory, he turned to the enchanting Sora and the capable Hikari and said, “Neither of you have met Doctor Mist. He is a wise man who has waged war on evil for longer than any of us have lived. When the Global Guardians are needed, he summons or alerts the right heroes for the job. He called to me and urged me to join you. That is why I was able to respond to your signal so swiftly.”
“We are following an advanced craft that abducted a young woman,” said Hikari. “Have you heard of the woman who was abducted? Her name is Anje Omi.”
“No,” said Rising Sun. “And I would not forget what is clearly a rather exotic name for a young woman.”
“Why anyone with the scientific knowledge to create such a ship would want to grab a woman from a rather unsavory trade is beyond me,” said Hikari.
“As you may recall, my flight is based on my ability to manipulate the Sun’s own magnetic field,” said Rising Sun. “Still, I do have normal human weaknesses. How far do you expect this trail to take us?”
“Not far, since the craft has stopped,” said Hikari. “We’re over Taiwan!”
Sora frowned and said, “I don’t see anything.”
“My special vision allows me to see the energy trail’s end,” explained Hikari. “Clearly, the ship is here and is stationary. I can find it in time.”
“Allow me to do so,” said Rising Sun. “I can generate enough heat to bring the ship into view.” He began to radiate solar energy until the waves of steam swept across the sky and formed the outline of a shielded vessel. As he stopped creating heat, he said, “Did you see it?”
Sora clapped her hands together with pleasure and said, “How wonderful! Let’s go!”
Hikari yanked her back by her white cape and said, “Do not charge blindly into battle! I told you to obey me!”
Sora nodded apologetically and said, “I am sorry! I just hate to think of that poor woman as a helpless captive. I mean, I was trying to protect her when I first became Sora.”
“Wait a moment!” said Hikari. “Tell me more! You didn’t explain this before. How does the woman have anything to do with your manifestation of power?”
“I don’t understand,” said Sora. “She was being threatened by the Seventh Samurai, and I ran to help her. Then, when he turned to attack Jiro and me, I was all super!“
Rising Sun asked, “Are you saying this little one never had her remarkable powers before the chance encounter with the victim and her abductors?”
Hikari nodded and said, “Yes. Did Anje Omi do anything? Someone said she showed no fear but also gave no indication of knowing the villains.”
“She sort of mocked them or me,” said Sora. “I mean, she said I should be Sora.”
Before they could question the blue-wigged girl further, the waters erupted as a massive, scaly beast arose from the depths to loom over the island. It roared in anger and raised its head to display rows of sharp teeth.
“What is that?” gasped Sora as she stared at the golden-scaled creature.
“A dinosaur?” said Rising Sun. “It looks like a dinosaur!”
A booming voice rang out across the city and into the air, although no speaker could be detected. “It was known in ancient mythology as the so-called slayer of the gods! It is called Ma Yuan!”
“Who?” began Hikari as a bald man in a blue robe appeared before them. He did not materialize. He literally shot upward like a human rocket.
“I am Thunderlord!” he said as Rising Sun grabbed him gently and held him aloft. “Thank you, my friend. This timely intervention will allow me to focus my powers in other directions beyond merely projecting myself upward via tightly focused sonic force-waves.”
Hikari nodded and said, “It is good to meet you once more, Thunderlord. Since you know of this creature, can you tell us how to stop it?”
Thunderlord nodded benignly and said, “I will help you. I am always glad to be of assistance to those in need.”
Sora screamed as the yellow monster grabbed her with one huge hand. She flexed her muscles and broke free of its grasp, then struck it in the eye with all of her strength. It fell backward but did not sink down into the waters.
“Allow me to try something,” said Hikari. She zoomed through the sky and erupted into a blinding display of light.
The creature roared with pain and lashed out with a massive tail. While Hikari allowed it to phase through her light form, Thunderlord urged Rising Sun to carry him closer to the monster’s face.
“The monster may not be as heavily protected from the inside,” said Thunderlord. “Drop me into its gaping jaws!”
Rising Sun hesitated and said, “My friend, that would mean the end of a promising political career!” He referred to the fact that his friend was in truth an educator turned aspiring politician in his native Taiwan. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: Thunderlord: Sound and Fury.]
As Hikari weaved in and out around the monster in a dazzling series of acrobatic swoops and dives, Sora pounded away with both fists and both feet from atop the beast’s ridged head.
“It is essential,” explained Thunderlord. “You may rely upon me to exert myself most vigorously once within the belly of the beast!”
Rising Sun nodded and said, “As you wish, my friend.” He dropped the smaller man down the creature’s open mouth and then blasted away at the snout of the monster with beams of solar energy.
“I can penetrate the creature’s scales with a tightly focused laser,” said Hikari.
“I didn’t want to hurt the poor, dumb beast, but I suppose a girl has to do what a girl has to do!” said Sora. She gripped two sections of scales and ripped them free to reveal a raw patch of skin.
Hikari blasted away at the opening, even as the beast reeled backward and began to convulse wildly. She cried, “He’ll create a tidal wave unless he is contained!”
She concentrated and began to form solidified light barriers along the shore. She knew she could not maintain the constructs for more than a matter of minutes, but she prayed that would suffice.
Meanwhile, Rising Sun’s heat generation, combined with Sora’s continual pounding, had driven the creature farther off shore, and his wild movements abruptly ceased as Thunderlord sailed out of its mouth.
Sora caught him and said, “What happened? He’s fleeing!”
Thunderlord nodded and said, “As I previously surmised, my sonic attack proved most effective from within its own body. It will be sore for some time, but I did not fatally injure it.”
“You seem to know a lot about it,” said Hikari. “What is it?”
“It is an ancient being whose kind played a role in the development of various ancient myths,” explained Thunderlord. “They slumber in the depths for most of their life cycles. I fought this one before when a wizard enslaved it.”
“Magic?” asked Sora. “Goodness! Is this wizard behind Ange’s abduction?”
“He died during our last encounter,” said Thunderlord. “I fear some new master sought to use the beast to stop our pursuit.”
“It was a distraction!” said Hikari. “It did occupy us all! The ship we followed here has been moving again — I detect a trail once more.”
“Join us, Thunderlord,” said Rising Sun to his fellow Global Guardian. “This villain is resourceful and purposeful. He is seeking something with a deliberate and ruthless efficiency.”
The scholar nodded and said, “Gladly. I wish I knew what he wanted from my homeland.”
“His destination is of more interest to me,” said Hikari. “Judging by the coordinates the trail seems to follow, I’d say we are heading for Vietnam!“