Limbo, five hours ago. ‘Direct hit, sir’ a voice calls out. ‘Now we see if the weaponized ritual is worth what we paid’ another remarks, before a chant begins: ‘Blood of Elzebus…parchment of souls…no…’. Tentacles reach through the ground of Limbo’s parched desert covering - and through a portal drag the New Mutant called Magik. The former Mistress of Limbo struggles to break free from the tentacles. She screams, and demons watch from ridges nearby, as she screams even more.
Limbo, now. The leader of the New Mutants, Cannonball, blasts past a nasty looking winged demon, while calling out to Pixie and Northstar to evacuate everyone, while his mind wanders back to a conversation with Cyclops:
Standing on the cliffside of Utopia, Cannonball tells Cyclops that it is going to be bad. ‘No matter what you say to the others, you have to know…we’re walking into something bad’. Cyclops replies that he knows, to which Cannonball reminds him that he let his own squad into a suicide mission against the Right, on Cyclops’ orders, and Karma lost her leg because of him. But Cyclops tells Cannonball that Karma lost her leg because of Cameron Hodge. ‘She’s alive because of you’ he declares. Cyclops exclaims that putting the people they care about in harm’s way is the job. ‘Bringing them home alive is the responsibility’ Cyclops adds.
Cannonball mentions Nightcrawler and Ariel, to which Cyclops declares that they knew what they signed up for, and that they have to believe that. He adds that Nightcrawler died saving Hope’s life - he got Hope to Utopia. Cyclops declares that, given the chance to do it again, the Nightcrawler he knows would do it. He tells Cannonball that they both know this is just the beginning. He exclaims that Bastion’s forces are not going to stop - that they will come after Hope, they will come after all of them. Cyclops remarks that Magik is a strategic asset, and they need her back. ‘If that means putting more people at risk…that’s what we do. That’s the job. But it’s our responsibility to get them back alive. And if we fail, we live with the losses for the rest of our lives’.
Back in Limbo, Anole dodges the demons, while Northstar finds himself being attacked from demons who reach up through the ground. Dazzler is swarmed by a horde of demons, and attempts to keep them at bay with her light powers. Cannonball finds himself in trouble though as the demons surround him and lash out at him with their jagged-tooth mouths. Nearby, Pixie stabs a demon with her soul dagger, and Hope, in her astral form, screams as the demons attack her. ‘Why do you keep screaming? They can’t hurt you in your astral form! You’re just making me freak out even more!’ Pixie tells her teammate.
Trance explains that she cannot help it, as the demons just keep jumping into her. She tells Pixie that she can’t see the others and asks where they went. Pixie replies that she doesn’t know and declares that everything keeps shifting. ‘Can’t you…I don’t know, do a spell or something?’ Trance asks. Pixie replies that she only knows one spell, and declares that they would not teach her any more. ‘That’s dumb. What are we going to do?’ Trance asks as the demons circle her. ‘We have to get to Magik. Whatever’s happening here, it’s about her. She’s the most important thing, more than us’ Pixie exclaims, muttering that Magik is always more important than them. ‘Let’s go…before something else finds us!’ she declares.
Nearby, a group of demons approaches a cave ‘Hrrr…hrrr…kill it…’ one of them exclaims. From inside the cave, a voice calls out ‘You hunting me, demons? I don’t think so!’ and with that, the demons are knocked backwards - as Gambit, a.k.a. Death, emerges. ‘I’m hunting you!’ he exclaims, holding up the decapitated head of one of the demons. His skin black, his hair white, his eyes glowing, Gambit declares that this place preys on the weak. ‘It wants to corrupt them. Kill them…it tests them. So that only the strong survive. This place is where I belong. This place is mine now. And it’s time to hunt!’ Gambit booms, as the demons kneel before him, and he throws his hands into the air.
A massive pile of demons has engulfed Dazzler as Pixie watches from nearby. Suddenly, there is a blinding light, and Dazzler emerges from the mass of demons, ‘Get off of me. Get…off!’ she screams, but a large black demon follows her as she tries to flee. ‘Tear…rip…feed…tear the light apart…kill -’ the demon exclaims, when suddenly, Northstar comes to Dazzler’s rescue. ‘I don’t think so’ the former Alphan exclaims as he uses his super speed to dart about, stopping demon after demon from reaching his good friend. ‘Jean-Paul…thank God’ Dazzler gasps, before the two friends embrace.
Northstar tells Dazzler that he has been scouring this place for hours, and that she is the first person he has found. ‘The terrain here, it moves…’ Northstar explains. ‘Hours?’ Dazzler asks. ‘We’ve only been here for twenty minutes’ she explains. Northstar tells Dazzler that he doesn’t think so, and asks her if she blacked out. Suddenly, they realize that the demons are once more surrounding them, and standing back-to-back, Northstar adds ‘And if you didn’t, you may want to consider doing it now’.
‘What happened, Jean-Paul? How did this go to hell so fast?’ Dazzler asks. ‘Most likely because our little team here was being led by Samuel the slack-jawed yokel’ Northstar replies, before Dazzler notices that the circle of demons is parting. ‘Wait…something’s happening. What…what are they doing?’ she asks. Northstar asks her if it isn’t obvious: ‘They’re making way for something even more horrific to come and kill us’ he declares. Dazzler goes wide-eyed as she sees Gambit up ahead. ‘Remy?’ she calls out. ‘Not any more, chere’ comes his reply, as the demons gather at his side.
Meanwhile, ‘I think I’m gonna barf’ Trance’s astral form complains as she glides alongside Pixie, telling her that she thinks she is starting to fade out. ‘What happens if I barf in my astral form? And would you please slow down?’ Trance asks. ‘I hate this place’ Pixie declares, adding that she hates Magik. ‘Do you even know where you’re going?’ Trance asks. Pixie ignores her, declaring that she can feel Magik out there. That she can feel her soul, the soul that Magik stole.
Trance asks Pixie if she can focus here, pointing out that they need to find the others. ‘It was like the ground just swallowed them up’ she adds, reminding Pixie that Anole was with them. ‘Then he’s dead, girl…just like you!’ booms S’ym as he appears behind the girls, accompanied by N’astirh! Trance screams in fright, while Pixie screams as S’ym attacks her from behind. Pixie spins around, and S’ym tells her that he saw her the first time she came here, and that he has seen her older than she is now. ‘Time, it doesn’t mean anything down here’. S’ym tells Pixie that every time she comes back he likes her more and more. ‘Every time I see you, that soul of yours has been chipped away, bit by bit. You’re just like her. Just like Magik’.
Suddenly, ‘Get away from her!’ Trance yells as she releases energy to move the demons away from Pixie. ‘I’m not like her. I’m nothing like her!’ Pixie exclaims, readying her soul dagger, she flies towards S’ym, who declares ‘Look…look at you. You’re a killer. Just…like…her’. Pixie warns S’ym to take it back, and is about to lash out at him. Trance calls out to her, while N’astirh moves forward: ‘Pixie. A word. If you will’ the uber-demon remarks.
Meanwhile, Gambit walks towards Dazzler and Northstar, while Dazzler asks him what he is doing, what happened to him. ‘Alison…we need to go. Right now’ Northstar tells his friend. ‘But Remy -’ Dazzler protests, to which Northstar tells her that is not Gambit, but something else all together. ‘You’re right, mon ami. Je suis mort…’ Gambit replies as he throws several playing cards towards his teammates. ‘Oh, please. Death’s come for me? You - can’t even - touch me’ Northstar exclaims as he dodges the cards with his super speed. ‘Wasn’t aiming for you’ Gambit grins, while black muck flies around Dazzler, whose eyes glow.
‘Alison…Alison, no’ Northstar exclaims - and distracted, Northstar leaves him open to a physical attack from Gambit, who lunges at him, then strikes him over the head with his staff. Gambit pins Northstar down and exclaims ‘I know you. I know what you’ve survived. You’re strong, Northstar. This place, this hell…it tests you. Tries to steal your soul. But you and the songbird, both…you’re strong. I won’t let Limbo have you. Because you’re mine now’.
Northstar tells Gambit that he has lost his mind. ‘No. What have you done?’ he gasps as Dazzler latches on to Gambit, her form now transformed so that she too is looking like Death. ‘You’re about to find out’ Gambit exclaims.
Elsewhere, ‘Cannot…freaking believe I agreed to this…’ Anole exclaims, before using his extendable tongue to latch on to a demon, and flip himself around - only he flips into the path of a flying demon, which grabs the young mutant hero, and carries him towards a pit of molten lava. ‘NO!’ Anole shouts, before screaming as the demon drops him towards the lava. ‘Gotcha!’ Cannonball exclaims as he blasts down and grabs Anole while the demon plunges into the lava.
‘Where have you been? I haven’t seen anyone in days…’ Anole tells Cannonball, who replies ‘That’s Limbo, plating with us. We just got separated ten minutes ago’. Anole asks Cannonball if he has found Pixie, Trance and the others. ‘You’re supposed to be in charge here, Sam! You have to do something!’ Anole exclaims. ‘You’re the first, you ain’t the last’ Cannonball replies, assuring Anole that they will find the others, and Magik, too - when suddenly, the two are attacked mid-air, and fall to the ground.
They tumble down a slope, while Anole exclaims ‘What was that? I didn’t think anything could hurt you when you were flying…’. Cannonball tells Anole that he thinks they have bigger problems right now. ‘Can you fly? Because flying out of here right now would be great’ Anole exclaims, adding that, he quits, and if he lives through this, he is going to find the Young Avengers and join them. But suddenly, ‘What the hell? Sam, what -?’ Anole gasps. ‘I see it. Stay back’ Cannonball replies as the transformed Gambit, Dazzler and Northstar appear before them. ‘Hello, Samuel. We should talk’ Gambit declares. ‘“Get in. Get Magik. Get Out”. Yeah, right’’ Anole mutters.
Meanwhile, Trance panics as shed stares at N’astirh, as Pixie tells the demon that she knows him, that he is Magik’s demon, that she had him on a leash. ‘We took you down before, don’t think -’ she exclaims, to which N’astirh tells her that she misunderstands, informing her that he is not here to fight her. ‘I am here to help you’ he announces. N’astirh reminds Pixie that he was present when Magik stole her soul, and claims that he can help her get it back. ‘I can give you back your soul’. But Trance tells Pixie not to listen to him. ‘You can’t listen to him. ‘I mean, just look at him! He’s a demon! From Hell! That….they lie! All the time!’ Trance exclaims. ‘…what do you want?’ Pixie asks.
‘Nothing of consequence. In exchange for the stolen piece of soul, all I require is Magik’s Soulsword’ N’astirh announces. ‘We have to go, we have to -’ Trance exclaims, before announcing to Pixie that she is fading out. ‘We have to run!’ she exclaims. Holding her soul-dagger up, Pixie asks N’astirh what he wants the Soulsword for. ‘Does it matter?’ N’astirh asks. ‘Shut up! Stop talking to her!’ Trance exclaims. ‘Just stay away!’ Trance shouts - but as N’astirh reaches out for her, she vanishes.
In the sick bay on Utopia, ‘NO!’ Trance exclaims as wakes. She gets out of the seat, ‘Ohmigod - what? Where am I?’ she asks. Mercury, Loa and Gentle look up from where they are keeping watch over Hellion and other injured mutants. Shadowcat waves from inside her chamber. Trance alerts her friends to the fact that they are in big trouble. ‘We have to find Cyclops’ she exclaims. ‘Pixie, she’s - she’s - we have to get back to Limbo’. But Mercury tells Trance that they cannot. ‘They’re coming’ she announces. ‘What? Who’s coming?’ Trance replies, unaware that several Nimrods fly towards Utopia.
Back in Limbo, Pixie stands alongside N’astirh, who tells her that all he asks for is the Soulsword, and in return, she gets her soul back, and gets to be free of this place and its darkness forever. ‘All you have to do is kill Magik!’….