01 | Valor vs. Spider-Man

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MISADVENTURES IN PARADISE
i. VALOR VS. SPIDER-MAN

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   NOW, THE LAST TIME the world ended, Riley Stark missed out on the aftermath, thanks to casual intergalactic kidnapping and unintentional time travel

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   NOW, THE LAST TIME the world ended, Riley Stark missed out on the aftermath, thanks to casual intergalactic kidnapping and unintentional time travel. She wasn't around to witness the shock freeze over the universe for five years, the dust that piled beneath fallen tears, or the despair that battled wrath as everyone was forced to accept the loss of the great Infinity War.

   The last time the world ended, she only saw it in a blink before the universe was restored to its former glory. She hadn't seen the ashes, the transition from outrage to exhaustion, the drought of hope. She hadn't yet known the grueling process of grief. She had felt the world end, just in her own way.

   This was kind of like that.

   Because even though the world hadn't ended again, it had for her. Again.

   "That's right, folks!" J. Jonah Jameson boomed. "Peter Parker, a 17-year-old high school delinquent, harboring a homicidal..."

   Riley's neck craned as she gawked at the jumbotron, eyes wide, jaw agape. Everything they did, every meticulously calculated thing they did to keep Peter safe, was suddenly meaningless. All of it was undone so easily. Another mere snap of someone's fingers.

   An arm yanked her back into reality. "Is it true? Spider-Man attacked you?" a random citizen demanded.

   "Of course, he did!" another shouted. "We all saw the footage! The drones were chasing her! Why would Stark tech be programmed to harm her unless it was stolen?"

   A crowd rushed Riley, separated from the others. They hollered in her face, question after question. They gave her no room to move, close enough to steal the air from her before she could inhale it herself. All she could do was turn her head, where she could hardly see Roman as he endured the same fate. Meanwhile, the people purposely kept their distance from Peter.

   "Does Tony Stark know!?"

   "You're Spider-Man's girlfriend!?"

   "But Peter Parker's a murderer!"

   "N-No!" Riley squeaked. "Spider-Man would never murder—"

   "He tried to kill you and Roman! Who's to say he won't kill us all next? And what about Tony? Pepper? Morgan?"

   "You think Spider-Man would kill a child?"

   "He already tried to murder his girlfriend! No one's safe!"

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