‘Nightcrawler! For your sake, I hope you’re prepared for this. Your next mistake could be your last!’ a recording announces to the acrobatic Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler of the Uncanny X-Men in the Danger Room. Kurt exclaims that he will make no mistakes, so as a large missile is fired at him, he swings off the trapeze, lands on the wall and darts around the room dodging it. Eventually, Kurt waits for the missile to get very close to him – then using his mutant power, he teleports at the final moment, saving himself and causing the missile to crash into the wall and explode. The recording congratulates Kurt on surviving and for showing a certain measure of ingenuity and even panache while doing so. Kurt leaves the Danger Room, remembering that he has a big date with Amanda tonight he tells himself that he would hate to be late.
Soon, the comely Amanda Sefton opens the door to her stylish apartment and greets her X-Man boyfriend. Kurt smiles and apologizes to Amanda for being so late, and explains that there was an extra training session that he forgot about. The powerful sorceress suggests to Kurt that he never forget her, to which Kurt quickly replies ‘Never!’ Amanda and Kurt kiss, before Kurt hands Amanda some flowers.
Amanda remarks to Kurt that she doesn’t know why he puts up with it, as he is a mutant – a genetic accident – unique. ‘No one taught you to be blue and furry…or have a tail…or be able to teleport at will, you were born that way!’ Kurt agrees with his foster sister, before reminding her that he is an X-Man, and as part of that team they face great dangers together, so he owes it to the others – and to himself – to know how to use his abilities as effectively as possible.
‘Super hero!’ Amanda jokes, before telling Kurt that what he needs is a nice, normal job like hers. Kurt sarcastically replies that being a stewardess is so ordinary, adding ‘And we won’t even discuss your little hobby…’. Amanda tells Kurt that comment isn’t fair and reminds him that she isn’t “practizing” these days, ‘Oh, but you are. You enchant me whenever I look at you!’ Nightcrawler replies, complimenting the beautiful blonde.
‘Flatterer!’ Amanda exclaims, before pointing out that they still have three quarters of an hour until their dinner reservations, and asks Kurt if he would like something to drink. Kurt thanks Amanda and asks if she wants a vase of water for those flowers, before noticing her crystal ball sitting out, and asks her why she has it out, as he thought she said she was no longer practizing. As she gets their drinks ready, Amanda replies that she isn’t – not really, as it seems better not to, what with competition between magicians so cutthroat, and as there are some rather powerful magicians here in New York, it seemed smart to retire, ‘But…’ she begins. ‘But…?’ Kurt asks.
Amanda explains that a few days ago she got the strangest feeling – like something had happened to space itself, right near her apartment. Amanda assures Kurt that it felt awful, and claims that she wasn’t going to do anything, but she wanted to trace the source to see if she could learn what had happened and where it came from. Kurt frowns, but Amanda informs him that she would just like to find out who or what is responsible – in case something really goes wrong.
Kurt replies by telling Amanda that she better be careful. Amanda promises, before pointing out that there is a lot of trans-dimensional magic loose around the apartment, which is what she has been using to trace the space rift’s origin. ‘So whatever you do, you’d better not teleport!’ But it’s too late, as Kurt attempted to teleport to another location in Amanda’s apartment, mixing with the trans-dimensional magic…he disappears! ‘Kurt…’ whispers Amanda.
A Bamf signals Kurt’s arrival…but where? Kurt calls out to Amanda and mutters that he hates getting involved in magic, and wondering where he has landed this time. Examining his location, Kurt decides that this place is very pretty, and upon hearing someone approaching, he hides nearby. Two people lead a large dragon-like creature behind them, and one of them remarks that it is in his opinion that Lord Feldspar overstepped himself when he banished Prince Crystar and his followers. The other exclaims that the Prince has always been their protector, not just for the citizens of Galax, but everyone on the whole planet of Crystalium. The first person tells the second to not say that too loudly, as the Regent is a popular man and is gaining power everyday, adding that there are even some people, who in spite of all that has happened still favour Prince Moltar over his twin brother.
When the people pass, Kurt steps out from his hiding place, astonished at seeing a dragon – least of all a dragon being led around on a leash! ‘What kind of madhouse have I teleported into?’ he wonders, before looking up and seeing a green-skinned man riding on some sort of flying creature look down at Kurt and exclaim ‘Great order protect us! It’s a demon! A chaos demon!’ Kurt teleports and the green-skinned man turns and flies elsewhere. Kurt sees the green-skinned warrior depart, and is relieved.
Meanwhile, in a palace nearby, Crystar the Crystal Warrior asks his uncle, Lord Feldspar, if that concludes their business. Feldspar replies that it does, and tells his nephew that he appreciates him coming back to Galax to help him with these matters of state, before suggesting that Crystar and his followers leave the city. Crystar informs his uncle that he has enjoyed seeing him, before revealing that their camp out in the hills is getting rather hospitable, and suggests his uncle come out to visit sometime and enjoy a meal.
Feldspar hesitates before telling Crystar that he wouldn’t want to do anything that might look as though he were favoring Crystar over Moltar and his forces, that he must not compromise his neutrality. Feldspar decides though if he keeps the visit short and brought a large entourage of guards with him so that it was clearly an official visit…. Crystar agrees, and points out that taking the guards is probably a good precedent – especially if Feldspar ever gets invited to his brother Moltar’s cavern.
Feldspar asks Crystar what has come over him, pointing out that it sounds like he doesn’t trust Moltar. Crystar replies that he does trust Moltar – or at least he did, until the day Moltar stuck a knife in his back and nearly killed him. Crystar adds that he definitely doesn’t trust Zardeth the chaos wizard that Moltar has taken on as an advisor.
Crystar’s friend Ika repeats some of Feldspar’s words – “A large entourage of my guards…” and tells Koth that she sees more pomp and circumstance in the Crystal Palace every time that they visit. The green-skinned Koth agrees, and asks Ika if she hasn’t noticed how seriously Lord Feldspar takes his new position. Ika asks ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ when suddenly the green-skinned warrior that briefly encountered Nightcrawler before comes rushing in, calling out for Crystar.
‘A demon, Crystar! I saw a demon in the marketplace!’ the warrior exclaims. The warrior exclaims that it was a real one – an evil, rotten, nasty demon that vanished before him. ‘It what?’ Crystar asks when several other warriors enter and reveal that they saw it also. Crystar exclaims that it has got to be Moltar’s doing – or Zardeth’s, to which Feldspar mutters ‘There you go again – always blaming your brother!’
Ika approaches Feldspar and asks him to be reasonable, reminding him that only once that they know have there ever been demons on Crystalium in their entire history, and that was when chaos itself sent them hoping to conquer Crystalium. Koth points out that Moltar and his followers all were converted into men and women to signify their allegiance to chaos’s cause. ‘Just as we ourselves were converted to crystal to show that we sided with the right of order in that same conflict’ Koth reminds everyone.
Feldspar warns Captain Koth to have a care, and reminds everyone that he is of both types, crystal above and molten below – by his own choice. ‘Naturally, my Lord. A living symbol of neutrality. What could you have thought I meant to imply!?’ Koth asks. Crystar asks his uncle to calm down, before remarking that if there is a demon in the city and Moltar sent it, then his brother has violated the terms of his banishment. Crystar points out that if Moltar didn’t send it, then it may mean some danger to the people, therefore he asks his uncle to extend their stay until they have found the demon for him.
Back outside, Kurt decides that if strange things are going to keep happening to him, he had best be prepared – or at least dressed for it, but as he is about to change into something else, he hears a voice nearby – it’s Crystar and his friends. Someone remarks that they are surprised Feldspar agreed to let them search. Crystar exclaims that he is surprised his uncle didn’t put them all in jail for the night, ‘We were lucky!’ he exclaims, before asking Koth ‘Why do you always have to do that?’ referring to Koth’s outburst at Feldspar. ‘Do what?’ Koth replies innocently.
Crystar suggests that they might accomplish more if they split up and tells Koth to come with him, and motions in the direction for Ika and the warrior Stalax to go in, informing them that if they find anything, not to handle it on their own. ‘Of course’ replies Ika, and the warrior Stalax assures Crystar not to worry about them. Nightcrawler is standing nearby, then teleports, and Koth remarks that he could have sworn he saw something back here, before holding his nose and asking what that smell is. ‘Beats me. Some kind of sulphur…brimstone, I guess’ Crystar replies.
‘Now what!!!’ exclaims Kurt as he teleports into view, with several molten-red colored people standing before him. ‘My lord!’ exclaims a woman. ‘Welcome!’ a large male greets Nightcrawler. A man in a robe asks Kurt when it was that he got here and why he didn’t tell anyone that he was coming, before asking what they can do for him. ‘I beg your pardon?’ Kurt replies, before informing the strange beings that he would appreciate it if they would keep him away from some glass people who seem to have taken a profound dislike to him. He tells them that he cannot imagine why, as he has never seen anything like them before, nor done them any harm.
The robed man asks Nightcrawler if their masters didn’t tell him before they sent him here – the crystal men are the servants of order he explains, adding that they are the greatest enemies chaos has in Crystalium. ‘Chaos? But I don’t quite understand!’ Kurt replies. ‘Do you deny that chaos sent you here? It seems obvious!’ the woman tells Kurt has she puts an arm around his. Kurt replies that he supposes “Chaos” was the word for it.
The large red-skinned male declares that it is foolish to stand here idly; chattering in the open, for anyone who passes could eavesdrop on them, and suggests that they retire to the Caverns of Chaos. The robed man addresses the large man as Prince and tells him that is an excellent notion. Prince Moltar watches angrily as the woman leads Nightcrawler away and asks him what he is called. Kurt replies that, professionally, he is known as Nightcrawler, before asking where they are going. The woman assures Nightcrawler that he will like it there, as their headquarters is all hot and bright and lovely – not to mention filled with the scent of brimstone!
Entering the Caverns of Chaos, Kurt is shocked to see more large dragons. The woman asks him if he has never seen a dragon before, to which Kurt replies that there is one back where he comes from, but it is tiny, not like these tame, enormous monsters. Prince Moltar beckons Nightcrawler to come along as the woman pats one of the dragons on the nose, informing Kurt that the dragons are tame for them, but should an enemy come around, they can be very fierce! ‘I’ll bet…’ Kurt thinks to himself.
Prince Moltar remarks that Nightcrawler would surely want to rest after his journey and before he begins answering the questions they have. Kurt replies that is very kind of them before adding that he has some questions of his own that he would like to ask. Entering another part of the cavern, Kurt thinks to himself ‘Phew! Is that what brimstone smells like? No wonder my friends object when I teleport!’
Prince Moltar asks how urgent his “master’s” business is, to which Nightcrawler replies that it can wait a little. The robed man announces that he remembers himself how disconcerting the journey to this world can be, so he is certain Nightcrawler will want to rest and recover. Prince Moltar excuses the robed man and himself, assuring Nightcrawler that Lady Lavour will look after his every need. The robed man explains that he and Prince Moltar have an urgent conference they must conduct – privately.
Lady Lavour sits down next to Kurt and exclaims that Prince Moltar and the wizard Zardeth are so transparent, they are obviously worried Nightcrawler might be here to replace them, that somehow they have fallen in disfavour with chaos. Lady Lavour rubs a finger down Nightcrawler’s arm as she exclaims ‘But that’s not so, is it? You’d tell me, wouldn’t you, if we had anything to worry about?’
‘I beg your pardon?’ Kurt replies, unaware that Ika is crouching nearby and listening to his conversation. Ika thinks to herself that Stalax was right, this is a Chaos Demon, and she knew he would come here if she waited. Lady Lavour asks Nightcrawler why Chaos sent him here, and if he likes her or not. Kurt replies that he does, as she has been perfectly delightful since he arrived, but that there that he still doesn’t quite understand. And at that moment, someone creeps up behind Ika….
Meanwhile, Crystar and Koth walk side by side on their search, but Crystar exclaims that there is still no sign, and remarks that if anyone less reliable than Stalax had reported the sighting then he would be inclined to give up the search. ‘And imply that one of your loyal citizens was imagining things? Not you!’ replies Koth. Crystar declares that he doesn’t care what he seems to imply as he is stumped. He points out that if they don’t find anything between the Caverns of Chaos and the village then he supposes all they can do is go back to their camp and wait until the monster makes some kind of move.
Suddenly, the warrior Stalax cries out to Crystar and rushes up behind him. ‘Look at these! I found them hidden at the edge of the village! These are the clothes the demon was wearing!’ Stalax announces. Crystar asks to see them, so Stalax holds them out. Crystar asks Koth if he realizes what this means. ‘That there’s a monster running round the city naked?’ Koth replies.
The three men continue on their search and Crystar tells Koth to be serious, adding that there is no reason Stalax should recognize this type of garment, but both of them should as they wear clothes like these on Earth, the strange land they once visited by magic. Crystar suggests that the monster may not be a chaos creature at all, and if he does come from Earth, then there are only two among the people of Crystalium who have ever opened the pathway to Earth.
Koth understands, and reminds Crystar and Stalax that one is Ika’s father, the wizard Ogeode, and the other is Zardeth. Crystar remarks that their answers may lie in the Caverns of Chaos after all, and Stalax motions to a satchel and dagger lying on the ground nearby and points out that they belong to Ika. Crystar remarks that Ika must have had the same idea that they did, ‘And ran into trouble by the look of things…’ Koth adds.
Back in the caverns, Lady Lavour examines Nightcrawler’s tail and asks if everyone has tails like that where he comes from. Kurt replies that they do not, and as far as he knows, his is the only one. ‘Lucky you…’ Lady Lavour remarks. Kurt thinks to himself that the more he hears these beings speak of “chaos” the more he is certain that they are referring not to a concept, but to an actual person, and wonders what kind of mess he has bamfed into – not to mention how these lava people will take it if he tries to explain the mistake now.
Suddenly, ‘Let go of me you jerks! Let go!’ Ika cries as Prince Moltar and Zardeth pull her into the cavern where Nightcrawler and Lady Lavour are. ‘Who is this?’ Kurt asks surprised, to which Lady Lavour exclaims ‘That little witch!’ Moltar announces that they found her outside spying on them, and introduces her to Kurt as Ika the daughter of the Order wizard, Ogeode – their greatest enemy! Lady Lavour goes over to Moltar and tells him he is very clever to catch her, because now Ogeode will really regret the trouble he has been causing for them.
‘When he hears of his daughter’s fate…’ Zardeth begins, to which a shocked Kurt asks if they mean to kill her just like that. ‘Why not? It’s what her kind would do to one of us!’ Zardeth replies, to which Ika exclaims that they would not – adding that he would deserve it more than her anyway. Zardeth exclaims that they are bold words coming from a little crystal maiden who is all alone without the mighty Prince and Captains, or her father’s sorcery to protect her.
Ika exclaims that she may not be the image of her father before revealing that she is not completely helpless without him either, and unleashes some powers from her hands, aimed at Zardeth, who agrees that Ika is not helpless, but points out that she is not on his level either, and uses his own power to trap Ika is a glowing red energy. Zardeth asks what Ika’s allies could have been thinking to send a mere apprentice alone against him.
Zardeth remarks to Ika ‘It hurts, doesn’t it’ before telling her that he might be inclined to be lenient – if she begs nicely. ‘Never…curse you!’ Ika replies, when suddenly Nightcrawler turns to Moltar and tells him that there is no excuse for such cruelty. ‘Those are peculiar words coming from a Chaos Demon’ Moltar remarks, to which Lady Lavour mumbles ‘If he really does come from Chaos…’. Nightcrawler declares that if this is what their Chaos is then he is glad he is not of Chaos – nor does he want any part of it.
‘So be it!’ Zardeth exclaims as he unleashes some power upon Nightcrawler and Ika – only for Crystar to enter the cavern and block his foe’s power. Koth and Stalax are not far behind, and Koth asks Zardeth if he has resorted to shooting a man in the back, not to mention a helpless bound prisoner. Stalax motions to Nightcrawler and exclaims that Ika has found his monster, before Crystar asks Ika if she is all right.
With Prince Moltar and Lady Lavour at his side, Zardeth declares that it will be his pleasure to finish Crystar off face-to-face, but before he can attack Koth exclaims ‘Not today, Zardeth!’ and traps the wizard in a net. Zardeth orders Koth to release him, but Koth isn’t interested in taking orders. Stalax asks Ika if she is all right and hands over her dagger ad bag. Ika replies that she is fine – thanks to Nightcrawler.
Ika informs Stalax that there should be a little charm in the bag that is shaped like a key and asks him to find it for her. Stalax opens the bag and pulls the key from it while Ika introduces herself to Nightcrawler and thanks him for defending her. Nightcrawler introduces himself by his codename but adds that his friends call him Kurt. Stalax marvels at the key and asks Ika what it is. Ika takes the key and the red glow she was surrounded in fades as she informs Stalax that it is for countering spells of enchantment as he has just seen, and adds that her father face it to her for her last Birthday.
Crystar suggests that if Ika is free then they be on their way – unless of course Moltar wants to settle things between them once and for all. Moltar turns to his brother and exclaims ‘Taking a sword to an unarmed man? For shame, Crystar! That’s unworthy of you!’ Lady Lavour suddenly steps forward and holding onto a whip tells her lover Moltar that he may be unarmed but that she is not, and suggests he hurry and summon his guards.
Lavour then cracks her whip, grabbing hold of Nightcrawler by his tail. Kurt falls to the ground and Crystar rushes over to him, but trying to cut Kurt free with his sword, Crystar discovers that he cannot, as the whip shows no signs of yielding. Lavour exclaims that it will not yield any more than she yielded to Crystar when they were engaged – before she realized that Moltar was his better.
Moltar suddenly shouts ‘That’s enough, Lavour!’ telling her that he doesn’t need her to fight his battles, nor does he want her talking to Crystar and reliving their love for each other. Moltar turns to Crystar and tells him to throw down his sword then he will remind him and his monster both of why Lavour chose him – ‘Because I am the better man!’
Kurt thinks to himself that if someone doesn’t do something fast, then that lovesick maniac may hurt someone, while Zardeth, still trapped in the net, calls out to the guards, calling them morons he tells them to get in here and start defending their Prince. ‘Oh sure, Moltar! You’re very brave when we’re in your headquarters, totally outnumbered!’ Stalax exclaims as he rushes up behind Moltar, despite Ika telling him to take it easy. ‘You always were a pesky kid, Stalax!’ Moltar exclaims, blocking Stalax’s attack.
Kurt bamfs out of Lavour’s hold, surprising everyone, and they all wonder where he has gone. ‘Eeek! Did you see what he did?’ exclaims the frightened Lavour, while Ika wonders how he did it. ‘My monster!’ exclaims Stalax as Nightcrawler reappears in front of Moltar, startling Moltar who falls to the ground. Kurt advises Stalax to move away from Moltar before he gets up before teleporting up behind Zardeth who has freed himself from Koth’s net.
‘Now you’ll pay you impudent…’ Zardeth begins, but before he can unleash some magic on Koth, Kurt exclaims ‘No! Don’t shoot him…shoot me, over here!’ Zardeth turns to shoot Kurt – but Kurt teleports quickly, multiple times so that Zardeth cannot get a hold of him. Kurt teleports up onto the roof and Crystar congratulates him, before suggesting that they all clear out before the guards come, and offers to cover Kurt’s retreat. Kurt replies that it is an excellent idea, before assuring his companions not to worry about him, as he will be way ahead of them.
Crystar, Ika, Koth and Stalax take their leave, with Crystar remarking that it annoys him that they must flee like this, and suggests to Koth that the two of them turn around and settle things with Moltar. Stalax exclaims to Ika that he wants to ask the monster lots of questions, and Ika remarks that she has a few things that she wants to say herself. Koth points out to Crystar that it would give his uncle cause to say they had broken the truce and get themselves slaughtered by superior numbers in the process. ‘I hardly think you’d want that, Crystar’. Crystar admits that Koth is right, but that he still hates to run away like this.
Shortly, Nightcrawler has regrouped with his new companions and Ika exclaims ‘So you are from Earth! I wish you’d told us sooner!’ Kurt replies that he wished someone had given him the chance, adding that he didn’t know anyone here would even know about Earth. Ika reveals that she knows lots and tells Kurt that he has no idea what an education it can be, having a powerful enchanter for a parent. Kurt replies that he does indeed know, as he has this good friend back on Earth, and her mother is…his voice trails off.
Ika tells Kurt that if he is really that homesick, she could send him back to Earth. ‘Could you really? That would be wonderful!’ Kurt exclaims. Ika puts her hands on Kurt’s arms and tells him that it is the least she can do – to thank him for protecting her when the molten people and Zardeth had them surrounded, she was so grateful. With the moon shining behind them, Ika tells Nightcrawler that if he could stay a little longer she could show him how really grateful she is….
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Amanda sobs beside her fire, thinking that Kurt has been gone for hours and if only she knew what had become of him. Suddenly, there is a bamf and Kurt reappears in Amanda’s apartment. Amanda gets up and tells Kurt that she was so worried, before asking him where he had been. Kurt reveals that he traced the source of the Time / Space disruption for Amanda, explaining that it is part of a trans-dimensional mystic gate, and holding some gems in his hands informs Amanda that it leads to a wonderful place called – ‘Crystalium!’ exclaims Amanda.
Kurt is surprised, and asks Amanda if she has heard of it. ‘You bet I have!’ Amanda replies, adding ‘I’d know those gems anywhere! That hussy Ika wears these!’ before asking Kurt where he got these gems from. Nervously, Kurt asks Amanda to calm down before trying to explain himself, only getting caught up in his own words. ‘It was all…that is…she and I merely…’ he is interrupted by Amanda who exclaims ‘Merely what? I want an explanation!’ and smiling wickedly, thinks to herself ‘And knowing you, I bet it’ll be a beauty!’