In the Morlock Tunnels an hour ago :
The Shadow King had tainted the Morlocks before Cyclops and Storm had even arrived in the tunnels. It was easy for him to push them, using their hate for the “beautiful people.” And so soon, Cyclops found himself attacked by Masque, Erg, Bliss and more.
Cyclops easily dispatched of them, but then that’s what the Shadow King expected. He just needed an opening into Cyclops’ well-trained mind, a distraction, and once inside he festers like a disease.
Cyclops hesitates, but then the Shadow King finds the doubt and fear inside and exploits it. Emma, is all that Cyclops says.
In Wakanda, Storm demands on the astral plane what Farouk wants. Furious, she is aware that he is toying with her. The static in her mind has held the Shadow King at bay before but, given time, he could take her. He believes he has already won and perhaps he is right. Everything, he replies with a toothy grin, but Wakanda is a good start.
They thought him dead, Storm recalls. They should have known better. And now her husband is paying the price.
Grinning, he points to the Black Panther’s astral form, captive within his own giant shade. Look how he struggles, he tells Storm. His spirit is strong, just like Cyclops. With T’Challla though, Wakandan blood had to be spilled before he could get in. But once he did, it was so easy. So easy to make him turn on her, so much doubt!
He lies! Ororo hisses. He doesn’t need to, comes the reply. The thoughts and feelings, are T’Challa’s, not his. He only brought to the surface what was already there. Just as part of Cyclops knows that Emma Frost will betray him. That’s why he’s in the skies over America right now, flying to stop her. He know she’s taken over the X-Men. It’s all his fault! She has to be stopped, no matter who dies in the process.
And as for Ororo’s king, well, she knows how he feels now. And over time, he’ll change. His kingdom will belong to the Shadow King. And she… she’ll get to watch. She’ll get to watch her own heart be cut out, because she’ll try so hard to save them and she’ll fail. But T’Challa is right in front of her. Imagine the things the Shadow King can make him do if she leaves. So let’s play. She has a choice to make. Try and save her love or her precious X-Men.
He releases Storm’s mind into her body and the Back Panther tells her to stand down, this is her last warning. Get your filthy claws out of my husband! she snarls. With a smile, the Panther orders his troops to kill both her and Nezhno. Enraged, she lashes out and a lightning bolt strikes the ground between them, unsettling everyone.
Ororo orders Nezhno to power up. She avoids the Dora Milaje’s attacks and tackles T’Challa, praying to the Bright Lady she will help her husband fight the Shadow King. She urges him that this is not him. He is stronger than this. They are stronger than this! Fight him. The fight is over, he tells her.
Armed forces surround Nezhno, who pleads that he doesn’t want to fight them. He begs the king that the queen is not to blame. He is the murderer, not she.
Do they think he wants this? the Panther asks. He took the boy in, raised him in his court. Storm has brought this down on them. Nezhno’s punishment is on her head. He swears to Nezhno it will be quick.
Storm snarls at him to shut his mouth. The troops fire at Nezhno but for the moment his Vibranium tattoos save him.
Another soldier intends to take out Nezhno from closer proximity but then the temperature within the gun drops about 200 degrees, making it useless. The Hatut Zeraze holding it will need skin drafts for the frost bum.
Storm grabs Nezhno’s arm and flies off with him against his will.
The Panther informs the Dora Milaje that their status as his wives in training is returned. He has been betrayed. They are to prove their devotion to him. Doing so, they jump off to find Storm and Neznno.
The advisor, N’gassi, admits he doesn’t understand. Surely the queen has not caused this. Not queen, the Panther corrects him, betrayer! N’gassi is his trusted advisor. Now he is to trust his king for once.
Storm lands hard in the jungle outside the city. What has she done? Nezhno accuses her, still calling her “my queen.” She has made them outlaws!
Ororo can’t believe he still will not call her Storm. She concentrates. Right now, she fears, Cyclops is in the Blackbird, flying from New York to San Francisco. She can feel him cutting through the atmosphere. She tells Nezhno a creature called the Shadow King has infected his mind, and he now believes with all his heart and soul that he has to kill the X-Men. This is the same creature that caused Nezhno to kill the Soul reader. This abomination has taken over her husband and now controls Wakanda. So he wishes to know what she’s doing? She’s saving the X-Men!
A thunderstorm gathers around the Blackbird and lightning hits the plane, shooting it down.
In the royal palace, the Black Panther suddenly screams in pain. He seems nonplussed for a moment, then gathers his wits. Storm, you do not disappoint, he seemingly addresses nobody. He then tells N’gassi to come. He must prepare.
In the jungle, Nezhno asks if she is saying she just killed Cyclops. She prays she hasn’t, comes the reply. If anyone could survive, Scott Summers could… he would find a way. More than likely she has simply bought the X-Men time. Time they need. They must free T’Challa.
Nezhno asks why this Shadow King made him kill the soul reader. You tell me, Storm replies. Nezhno suggests the soul reader knew. He was a threat. He could sense it and the Shadow King used Nezhno to kill him. What is this monster? Nobody knows, Storm replies. A mutant, perhaps. Pure evil. A psychic entity that feeds on hate and fear. He slips into your mind and finds the worst in you. The darkness.
The darkness in him, Nezhno muses. In all of them, Storm corrects him. He cannot… she breaks off. They are here, she announces. Who? Nezhno asks.
The Dora Milaje jump out of the jungle. The Black Panther’s body guards and formerly potential wives. Of all Wakanda’s traditions, not one of Storm’s favorites. T’Challa assured her it was a political tool. That when she became queen, they were freed of any obligation to the throne. And yet sometimes she sees the way they look at her and cannot help but think this is about to become very personal.
Each of the two girls chooses one target. Storm tries to fight hers, telling the girl the king is not himself. The Dora Milaje warns Storm if she says his name again, she will remove Storm’s tongue. Definitely personal, Storm decides and hits her.
Nezhno on the other hand refuses to fight his foe. To strike a Dora Milaje is to strike the king himself. This is what Nezhno is thinking right now. And that belief will kill him. Storm orders him to power up and fight, but he refuses.
His foe hits him with a stick. Now Storm faces both of the girls as the second girl shouts at her the king loved her. He forsook all others for her! He fought for her before the Panther God! And now she’s betrayed him, betrayed his love!
Storm asks them to help her if they truly wish to help T’Challa. Their king is in grave danger. They are blinded by… You know what? Never mind, she decides, realizing they love him too much to listen to her. She headbutts the one holding her in a deadlock and kicks the other.
But the two girls hold their own. They are excellent fighters, younger, faster and very, very motivated. They were trained by T’Challa himself and know Storm inside and out. They stay close, forcing her to defend herself hand to hand. That is what they want. They know not to let her use her powers. They begin to draw blood, and Nezhno can no longer stand to watch.
He smashes the ground with his firsts, creating a shock wave which momentarily confuses the Dora Milaje. Storm now has the chance to use a gust of wind to take out one girl while Nezhno hits the other.
He hates this! he states moments later when only he and Storm are left standing. All his life he has only wanted to be accepted by his people. He has always been an outsider and now this! Now it is truly over! He has attacked the king directly. He will never be accepted now. Storm tries to comfort him. He has saved her life and she will never forget this. He will always have a home with…
Suddenly, something strikes Nezhno from behind. He sinks down and Storm inwardly pleads. She thought he would send pawns; instead, she now faces her husband. The Shadow King knows. He can see right into her heart because, whereas she might risk killing Cyclops, she would rather kill herself than harm T’Challa, and that is why she already has lost!