Disclaimer: Magic is real. So are the owners of Teen Titans and the animation.
Chapter 2 – First of May
"New at ten tonight, the citizens of Jump City continue to come to grips with the sudden disappearance of the Graham Brothers Circus and the appearance of what appears to be a giant dome of dark energy in the downtown area. It is believed that the villain known as Mumbo Jumbo has taken residence inside with an unknown number of hostages."
The newsman paused for a moment, looking slightly off-camera. "Police have now been focused on stopping what appears to be children being possessed by this dark energy. Reports of children robbing banks and causing mayhem have come in from all over the city, with seemingly no end in sight-
"Turn it off, Beast Boy."
"But what if we see-"
Robin glared him down. "We have more important things to worry about than the media right now."
Begrudgingly, Beast Boy powered down the TV, jumping over the couch to join the rest of the team. "Then what are we doing here?"
"We needed to regroup. We tried to corral one of those kids and got thrown halfway across the city. We need to come up with a plan and understand what's going on." Seeing Beast Boy's scoff, he sighed. "Look, I don't like it any more than you do, but I'm hoping this won't take long."
Robin brought up the map of the city on the monitor, and then turned to the rest of his team. "All right, people, what do we know?"
"Other than the fact that there's a giant dome right off the coast and people are getting sucked into it?" Cyborg quipped. "Not much else."
"We know that Mumbo's in there somewhere. He hasn't come out since the dome went up," Robin corrected. "We also know that he's using kids to do his dirty work."
Starfire hovered off to his right, deep in thought. "But Robin, the Mumbo is certainly not capable of performing arts of magic like this. Something is suspicious here."
"But who else would it be, though?" Beast Boy asked. "Mad Mod?"
Robin shook his head. "No, this isn't his style. I agree with Star. There's another player here. Maybe Slade? Didn't Mumbo have that crystal on his second wand?"
Cyborg had his own schematic up on his wrist, leafing through pages of material. "Doubtful. Through all of the tests we've run with that weird mineral, it only affect mechanical things. Not magic. It wouldn't have suddenly upgraded it from card tricks to what we saw today."
The trio turned to Beast Boy, who was busy waving his arms around.
"What's up, B?"
"If it's magic we're dealing it, should we ask the one person who knows this stuff?"
Cyborg shifted his gaze around the common room. "Yeah...where is Raven?"
Raven stood on the top of the nearest building, looking down at the energy dome with growing disdain.
"She already left. She's trying to figure out how to dispel this thing, or at least try to get inside and stop Mumbo. Beast Boy's right; she has the most experience with dark magic, and not of the rest of us are even close to her understanding. If there's a way to stop this, she'll find it."
She had no idea what to do.
By the time she had been dispatched out to the scene by Robin, the traffic of children going out and coming into the dome has ceased. All she could do was study the magic and try to find a solution.
She had agreed with Robin; something was indeed off with Mumbo. This was not his usual method of operation; Mumbo liked to do things on his own. That way, the only person that would get the money was himself.
But that stare. Raven couldn't help but flash back to the look that girl had given her. It was...evil. Mumbo was a lot of things. Comedic, villainous, foolhardy...but evil? It was such a strong word. It didn't suit him. It didn't suit this.
Raven was so lost in her thoughts she had almost missed the person floating out of the dome. It was definitely one of the children, but they were heading off toward the shopping district, not aware of the Titan. Slowly, Raven began to follow, keeping at a safe distance.
A couple of minutes late, the unknown person landed in a alleyway, just across from the Jump City bank. They were just about to cross the street and head inside...
Raven materialized in front of them, her palm held forward. "Whoever you are, I don't want to hurt you."
The human gave an almost serpentine hiss, then darted back up into the sky.
"...Well, so much for civility." Raven flew up after them, but not before she had to leap out of the way of a magic blast.
"Mumbo's passing his magic off to others? Now I know something's up."
She had half a mind to call the other Titans, but as she swerved around another building, the hood of her escapee flew down...
Raven gasped. Deja vu all over again. It was the girl from before.
"I have to do something," Raven muttered. She closed her eyes and began to focus. "Azarath..."
Her hand glowed with energy.
Raven snapped her fingers.
A large energy net appeared in front of the girl, who was not able to swerve in time. She flew headlong into the net which snared her from neck to toe.
"Let me go, you insufferable heathen!"
...OK, that was definitely not the talk of a little girl. Raven began to guide her captive back to the ground. "Whoever you are, demon, you're messing with the wrong people. They're under the protection of the Teen Titans."
"I am no demon, girl," the voice spoke. "Surely you would have figured it out by now."
"Listen to me..." Raven yelled, trying a different approach.. "I don't know your name, kid, but this isn't you. Someone's controlling you."
"I don't listen to whelps like yourself."
"Then it looks like I have no choice." The spellcaster spun the girl around and grabbed the clasp of the cloak. "Funny how everyone just started wearing these things around once the circus came into town. Is this how you're controlling them?"
"No!" The girl tried to squirm out of her trap. "Stop!"
"Looks like I guessed right." Raven flowed some energy into her hand again, aiming to weaken its hold on the cloak. "I'll just-"
The enormous magic shockwave sent both parties in opposite directions. Raven slammed into the ground, the remnants of the cloak showering over her. Recovering quickly, she looked up to see the girl careening towards an apartment building.
She swore under her breath and melted into the ground. Right before the girl hit the wall, she was able to appear between them and catch her. Her back hit the wall, aggravating the heavy pain she was already feeling.
"It's OK. I got you."
Raven floated down to the ground and set her down. She was surprised to see she was not only awake, but on the verge of tears. "Are you alright?"
"My head hurts." Her eyes were wet and bloodshot. "I was hearing very bad voices."
"Trust me, I know what that feels like," Raven quipped, her hand glowing bright blue with her healing magic. "What's your name?"
"May." The girl looked up and appeared to just notice her savior's identity, almost immediately beginning to gasp. "You're Raven!"
"Indeed I am."
"I saw you at the circus!"
"Yeah." Raven silently cursed her lack of conversational skills. "Listen..." She placed her hand on the girl's back, steadying her. "I'm going to take you back to your parents, but I need help. There's a lot of kids like you that are in trouble right now like you were. Do you remember anything from when you were in that dome?"
May narrowed her eyes in thought. "I remember the weird blue man. He was saying a bunch of weird things."
"About money or something. The man in the shiny stone didn't like that."
Raven's mind stopped. "What man?"
"There was a man that the blue guy was talking to. On his table. He kept talking really loud."
"Do you know what he looked like?"
"No." May looked down to the ground. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Raven said warmly. "Do you remember anything else about this man?"
The kid thought for a moment. "Ooh! I remember his name! But..." May got nervous again. "The blue man got yelled at whenever he said it. I don't want to get in trouble."
"Tell you what." Raven leaned forward. "You can tell me. I promise I won't tell."
May brightened and tilted her head to the Titan's ear and whispered something in a soft tone.
Raven's heart dropped.
"Are you sure?"
May nodded. "Is something wrong?"
Raven glanced behind her shoulder, not answering her question. "It's late. I need to get you back to your parents, and I need to talk to the other Titans." Putting on her bravest face, she looked back down at May. "You've been a big help, May. Now it's my turn to help everyone else."
To be honest, Raven almost wished that Slade had been behind this.
But it was not. Instead, it was him.
Raven walked into her room, the cool breeze of familiarity in her nostrils. She saw her bed and almost jumped into it. Her
body needed sleep.
Her mind disagreed.
She strode over to the large locked chest near the back wall. Steeling herself, she flipped the lid open.
The worn cover of the white and black book was still there.
The last time she had heard his name, Raven was staring into his bright red dragon eyes.
She took the book over in her hands. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. The book had not been touched since the
Titan's battle with Malchior the first time. She still remembered the entire ordeal like it was yesterday. How he had mislead her into believing he was Rorek. How he had promised to teach her magic once lost to time.
How he cared about her.
Raven shook her head. "Can't think about that right now. He needs to be stopped. The book was able to stop him before; it should be able to do it again."
"I'm afraid it's going to be more complicated than that."
The collision of the book hitting the ceiling was apparently enough to cause the mysterious voice to flinch in pain, although that was nothing compared to the scare Raven had just experienced.
"I am not doing this again," she said firmly, magic at the ready. "Malchior, you're going to remove your influence from those children-"
"I would love to do that, actually. But that foul beast is not present in this conversation."
Raven lowered her hand only slightly. "And what makes me think I should believe you?"
"Because I can show you."
Raven saw the open book begin to glow, a few of the pages beginning to turn. She half expected for the paper to materialize, the dark eyes to look at her, and the humanoid guise of Malchior to appear before her again.
Instead, a ghostly figure started to form above the book. She wasn't sure who was going to materialize, but the instant the white hair and gray armor were visible, there wasn't any more doubt.
Raven lowered her arm in shock as she stood before the magician. So much so, he could only whisper his name.