A feeling, and a noise, rushing past her and stimulating her mind from unconsciousness; the wind, she thought to herself. This thought pulled at her mind, and awoke her.
Around her there was nothing but sky; empty sky. Her eyes found nothing, but her magical sense cast out and found him! She angled her wings to quickly carry her to his side.
She called to him, but he did not awaken! Her hooves caught him, and they found the wound on his back! The bomb had been too strong and too fast, it had taken all of his invulnerability to survive it. It was now night where they were, and below them, fast approaching, was an island; she had to do something quick, but she was still too dazed to fly properly or use her telekinesis.
She did the only thing she could; she held onto him, closed her eyes, and released her own energy from her horn as an enormous ball of purest sunlight.
He stirred from unconsciousness and felt the sand shift beneath him. He did not remember going to the beach.
He felt Celestia nuzzle his hand, and he reached up to give her a scratch behind the ear. Her head seemed small in his hand and he raised himself up to look at her.
The second thing he noticed was the ring of large sharp rocks around him. He had apparently landed in the middle of them and crushed them into sand. However, the very first thing he noticed and took several moments to process was that Celestia was now about the size of a house cat, and looking much like a baby. He could have sworn she was almost as big as Krypto.
“Da!” she exclaimed again and jumped into his lap.
Superman chuckled as he held her and stood up. “So, I guess you reverse age yourself if you expend too much sunlight.” It was the only logical conclusion he could think of. “What exactly did you use it all up on?”
She babbled for a bit, trying to get her words to work. Finally she poked a hoof into his chest. “Da!”
“Brainiac's bomb.” He remembered. He hugged her close. “Thanks. Now, let's go home.”
He jumped up from the ground within the stone ring and sailed through the air…..for about ten yards. After that he fell back to Earth.
“Da?” Celestia asked him, worried that he was still weak.
“It's ok, Tia. I just need more time to recover. Won't take long, end of the day at most.” he gave her a reassuring pat on the head. “Not the first time I've pushed my abilities too far.”
Superman caught the arrow before it could connect with his head. The arrowhead itself was blunted to knockout a target, rather than kill. The shaft was simple wood, but the arrowhead was some kind of shining bronze and the fletching was not from any bird he knew of, and he has an eidetic memory. He looked back to where it had been shot from, and saw several female warriors straight out of a movie about ancient Greece.
One of the women, apparently impressed by him catching the arrow, stepped forward. “Man, you are where you should not be. Surrender yourself now, and-
“It's so cute!” one of the others finally said as she smiled at Celestia.
“Warrior!” the one in charge scolded her subordinate.
“Excuse me but, where am I?” Superman, wanting to focus the conversation into something peaceful, asked. “I'm a bit lost.”
The leader looked at him, in a rather judging manner, and approached him. “Before the dawn, I saw what could only be described as the sun, falling from the heavens. Yet, there the sun is in the sky now. So, stranger, were you sent by Apollo or did you try to steal his light?”
“Neither.” he did not like that they seemed to know about Apollo being real. He just hoped he hadn't traveled back through time.
“Then I repeat; surrender and- Is that an alicorn?!” she finally had got a good up close look at Celestia.
Superman glanced at Celestia, currently laying comfortably across his forearm, before he responded. “Is that what she is? Honestly, I just thought she was a crossbreed of some kind.”
Celestia didn't quite understand his meaning, for her mind was now that of a younger child, but she understood the tone and was not happy. She showed this by pouting.
“Alicorns,” the woman confirmed “they are incredibly rare, sacred, magical beings. Real ones are so rare that in this world, their name has been mistaken to mean the bone that makes up a unicorn’s horn.”
The woman stood there thinking for a moment, “May I see her?” she asked with her hands held out to hold Celestia.
Being Superman, he felt no need to say no. He was Superman after all. “Alright.”
She took Celestia in her arms. “Never have it seen an alicorn with my own eyes. They are to be protected.” and then she turned away.
“Hey!” Superman reached out, and got kicked in the stomach by what felt like a elephant. He was still a bit weak, though, not enough for a human to hurt him like that.
The woman was already halfway back to her group and passing Celestia to one of the others. “Take the alicorn to Queen Hippolyta.”
“Not happening!” Superman leaped across the beach in one bound, coming down between as he exhaled with his super breath to push the women apart while the first one still held Celestia. “You are not taking my daughter!”
“......daughter?” the woman asked, and in response to her question, Celestia reached her hooves out to him him and cried out “Da!”
After proper introductions had been made, Superman and Celestia found themselves as guests in the palace of the Queen of Paradise Island, Hippolyta. His super suit, torn from Brainiac's bomb, had been replaced by Greek cloth robes that were conveniently colored red and blue. Celestia did not enjoy being put in the booster seat while they ate.
“Has man's world changed so much that men can now fly without wings?”
“Ah, no. Not really….” Superman replied to the queen. He enjoyed meeting her and getting to see her home, but darn if it wasn't like his mom suddenly had super powers and was on the verge of giving him a lecture. “I'm a special case.”
“It see.” she sipped her wine. “And how did you come to Paradise Island? It is not often someone new finds their way to our shores.”
“Brainiac…” the little alicorn beside him growled at the name. “He was an automaton, and an evil one.”
“Should my warriors prepare for him?”
Superman reflexively put a hand to his abdomen, where an actual bruise had formed from the woman's kick. He knew he was still recovering from the bomb, but still! “As impressive as they are, that will not be necessary.”
“You destroyed him?” Hippolyta asked with an even expression.
“He sacrificed his own body to try and kill me. ….nearly succeeded, too.” he gave Celestia a pat on her head. “If not for her, I may have actually died.”
Hippolyta relaxed, she knew from experience that she was talking to a true hero and not a warrior or a fanatic. “Tell me about this Brainiac. Where did he come from, why did he seek to kill you?”
Superman looked grim for a moment as he contemplated what he knew. “......As he told me before we fought; Brainiac's people were a race of non-physical beings who had evolved as a kind of living technology and lived peacefully on their own world…
“But my people were at the height of their power, and they were not peaceful. The ancient Kryptonians still had a yellow sun to receive power from, but it was waning and they knew it. They traveled the stars, finding different worlds with much to offer in the way of technology, and they took that technology. Eventually they found their way to Colu, the home of Brainiac's people, and they took them.”
“You do not approve?” Hippolyta’s answer was a hard glare from the man. “Continue.”
“Then Coluans were enslaved and used as by the Kryptonians to make our own technology. It drained them, mentally, to the point that they simply started to fade away…
Then, in the final years of Krypton, there was only Brainiac. He was different, more aware, a genius amongst geniuses. He arranged things without anyone knowing, and kept them from knowing that our world was dying, and he left us to die.”
Hippolyta was silent for a moment “Forgive me but, it does sound more like he was justified in his actions.”
Celestia disagreed and slammed her forehooves onto the table, she then whimpered at Hippolyta in apology for breaking the table.
“He was justified, in a way, but not for what he did next.”
Hippolyta saw the anger in Superman, and she almost did not ask. “What did Brainiac do?”
“He took some technology that had been developed on Krypton, shrinking technology. He put people in a bubble, shrank them to the size of insects and kept them as a collection. He did this to a city on Krypton before he left, and he has been doing it to every world he could ever since. And then he destroys the world he has invaded, killing everything he doesn't need for his collection. He bragged about it to me, like it was a grand accomplishment.”
“Well...it is good that he is gone then.”
The hum of power running through his systems once again had awoken him. His sight returned a moment after his consciousness, but he did not recognize his surroundings.
“You are wondering where you are.” and unfamiliar voice spoke. “You have fallen so far…. You came to this world as a god! Ultimate power that actually surpassed Superman's! And you only fell because of a single, simple disadvantage….”
“He had help.” the voice laughed ecstatically at the idea. “Superman actually needed help to do something!”
“Tell me….” The speaker turned on the audio device to let him talk. “Tell me, if someone could help you get rid of him, would you ask for their help, Brainiac?”
The man stepped in front of the ‘head’ of the alien; in actuality it was his shrunken ship. Brainiac saw him; finely made clothes, bald, a smile of superiority, and a gleam of slight madness in his eyes. A quick search of the data Brainiac had taken from Earth's Internet, and his own facial recognition program gave him the man's name.
“Greetings, Lex Luthor. Would you like to help me destroy Superman?”
Far from Earth, but in the Milky Way galaxy, a rift formed into a doorway to the dimension known as the Phantom Zone. The rift lasted just long enough for a single person ship to escape it. This ship's passenger was a young woman, a teenager at best, from Krypton.