Two years of your life had been taken up with crime fighting, and
even though the two years were full of adventure and excitement, it
came as a shock to your mentor when it was time to leave for
university. You had been the side kick since you were a teenager,
but your mentor didn't seem to notice you had grown up. You were
always the kid, the one who helped out a lot but mostly got in to
trouble. You had a knack for getting into the right place at the
right time just as much as you were in the wrong place at the wrong
time. The mentor thought it was funny, although they never showed it
But then you needed to leave.
You had the distinct impression that your mentor was disappointed, as
if they wanted you to put your life on hold and run around rooftops
with them, never growing up, never grasping that rope of
responsibility. Of course they would never stand in your way, or
suggest university was a bad option. They'd had the opportunities to
study and they knew at some level that you deserved such an
But they didn't say goodbye as you took the bus out of the city.
They never called.
The butler called, all the time; and it was the butler who made sure
you had enough money to survive the first few weeks while you settled
in and found your way in the new city. But, then again, the butler
always seemed to reflect the more human side of the mentor. Looking
at the household from an outside perspective, now that you were so
far away, you wondered how such a relationship could work for so
long. There were no cracks. It was solid.
But then you left.
Would it break?
Months passed and then you went home. All the other students were
going home, so it was expected that you would too. Walking up the
front path to the house was difficult, but when the butler opened the
door you could tell from his face that things were about to get a lot
worse. You hadn't read the papers on the bus, hadn't had time. But
as you walked into the hall you caught a front page on the side table.
A crime wave?
Surely the mentor wouldn't allow crime to spiral out of control. For
a moment you thought that perhaps you really were indispensable, that
the mentor really did need you by their side fighting crime and
without you everything would fall apart. But then the butler uttered
those words which made everything seem so much worse.
The mentor was gone.
He wasn't injured or captured. He was just gone. No reason, no
clue. No ransom note or self-congratulatory announcement by some
super criminal. The mentor had simply vanished without warning,
without any belongings or attempts at accessing the bank accounts.
The criminals of the city had slowly begun to notice and the crime
wave had grown.
The butler didn't know what to do, or so he said. But you could tell
by the way he ushered you into the private chambers. He said he
needed to show you that nothing had been touched, no equipment had
been taken by the mentor. The mentor wasn't on a mission. But the
You touched the costume.
You felt the butler's eyes on your back.
Some nights you had laid awake and stared at the ceiling, thinking
about taking on the mantle of the mentor. But the mentor wasn't old
or about to retire any time soon. Perhaps, in a way, that was part
of the reason you had to leave, to put up the side kick tights and go
to school. You'd never become the mentor while the mentor was still
But now he was gone.
And the city was in trouble.
What would happen if people found out the mentor was gone? The
criminals would laugh. There was no other hero in town, and the
police were only competent with the shadowy support of the mentor.
Without the mentor the criminals would grow in confidence and the
police wouldn't be able to cope. And what about the people? If they
no longer had a guardian, what would become of them?
You turn to face the butler and he tries to suppress his satisfied
He knows you'll take on the costume, if only for a few weeks to calm
the rising chaos. Surely the mentor would return in a few weeks, or
at the very least some word would come as to their whereabouts.
And so this would only be a caretaker position. You would become the
mentor, step into their shoes, protect the reputation of the mentor
and the people they had been protecting for so many years. No one
could find out about the secret. If they knew that the person in the
costume wasn't the mentor then there would be no protection. You
wouldn't stand a chance against the hardened criminals. Only the
mentor's reputation and your burgeoning fighting skills would enable
you to pull this off.
If any cracks showed up you would be doomed - and so would the city.