The X-jet flies over Scotland toward their goal. X warns the others that they are getting close to whatever Proteus did after he left London. He can sense it. Bishop wants a clearer definition of ‘it,’ but the non-psychic team members sense something as well. Like holding a hand over boiling water, but in his head, Gambit complains. Psylocke announces reality is frothing up there. Just a small area but, inside, reality’s structures are out of the window. Rogue sees the area and remarks they are expected, namely by flying dragons.
Bishop asks X whether he is able to fight, considering what Proteus did to him. X replies he will hold it together. The autodoc did its best. Logan gruffly tells him to cut the martyr bit. He barely stabbed him. X sarcastically muses that he didn’t know one could be ‘barely’ stabbed. Sure, if he is still alive after Logan did it, is the reply.
X asks if everyone’s clear on the plan. Mystique replies the plan is fine but reminds him that Psylocke is running the show, not him. Psylocke tells X that no one dies today, not unless they have no choice. X reminds her she can sense what happened in there like him. The whole town is psycho-reactive. If that gets out… He wished he had a nuclear bomb to drop on the place. And that is why he is not in charge, he is told. They save people, Betsy stresses. She’s assuming there is anyone left to save, is X’s terse reply.
They have reached what is left of Fetters Hill, now consisting of its inhabitants’ dreams and nightmares. And in the middle is the energy form of Proteus, announcing this is perfect. Even better, he states as he sees the X-jet. The X-Men are coming.
The defenders’ arrows fly toward the X-jet. Even as the X-Men wonder if this is real, the projectiles enter through the hull. Things get worse when a flying dragon breathes fire at them. Rogue tries to land the plane but all systems fail and the plane crashes.
Psylocke immediately cushions herself, Mystique and X with a telekinetic field while Archangel saves Bishop and Gambit, and Rogue and Logan make their way out some distance away.
Gambit’s group is threatened by a monster. Psylocke tells all of them to fight. The creatures are a manifestation of Proteus’ power. Destroying them will weaken him.
Mystique points out that, while she is not squeamish, what will that do to the people? X remarks that they are already dying in the walls. Their only hope is for them to end this quickly. Betsy adds they need to draw Proteus out. Force him to confront them directly.
Their plan begins to work. Proteus cannot fight them and maintain the wall. Suddenly, the defenders stop fighting, then the ground grabs and imprisons the X-Men.
Proteus announces that he just needed a little time. X demands to know what he has done to the townspeople. He gave them what they wanted, Proteus shrugs. They both were trapped on the Astral Plane for a long time. He is certain X has his theory for why it was like it was. A dark place, really. But that’s because it was shaped by one mind. The Shadow King wanted a hellscape, so that’s what the Astral Plane was. But he thinks there’s another way, that’s why he did his little experiment with the good people of Fetters Hill. Well, some good, some bad, but that’s the point. If you create a world using only one mind’s ideas, you get something twisted and stunted. But if you use many minds, all pushing and touching and shaping each other, you get a garden.
Logan snarls he killed them and threatens to tear Proteus apart. Proteus tells him to hush. He is talking to X. He thinks they could see eye to eye. Full of contempt, X spits he couldn’t be more wrong! With a crazy smile, Proteus points out that he didn’t kill anyone. If people died, it’s because they did it to each other with the power he gave them. Mostly, though, they are still alive. Just different. This is what they chose.
Anyway, he doesn’t want to talk about Fetters Hill. He wants to talk about Xavier’s dream. Xavier wanted to create a world where humans and mutants could peacefully coexist. Inherent was the assumption that the majority of people are innately good. That they can be brought past their prejudices. That they could see the potential in mutantkind and in themselves. Does he still believe in that dream? `
X stammers but asserts that he does. Then why does this frighten him? Proteus asks. If there are more good people than bad and, if he gives them the power to choose the world they want, then they’d find their way back to Eden.
X insists this isn’t the way. They wouldn’t have chosen this, if they’d known what it meant. That’s a matter of opinion, Proteus rejoins. He refuses to submit to the tyranny of reality and doesn’t think the world should either. Time to let his garden grow. With that, Proteus sends his seeds away.