And in this corner… Illyria, God-King of the Primordium and all-around scary bitch. In the opposite corner, Emma Frost, White Queen and Headbitch of Xavier's. Three… two… one… fight!
"So now what, cher? Did you have any luck with these vampire hunters?"
"I did." Emma stared out the window, feeling the sunlight wash over her as she stared down at the students playing out on the grounds. "Now, we wait for the associate they're sending to arrive. Hopefully he or she can take care of the problem quickly and easily for us." She paused as something occurred to her. "Although, given that I was told we'd be receiving a demon after I expressed concerns about anti-sapiens sentiment, I'm hoping none of us get eaten, eviscerated, or killed by him or her as some form of payment."
There was a snort from behind her and the tortured squeak of a chair told her it was from Hank, rather than Logan. "You're a very inspirational person, Emma. Have I mentioned that?"
Before Emma could let rip with a response, the door opened and there were gasps from the other members of the staff. "Wesley once told me such a thing. It was before our final battle together, when I told him that I would shred my adversaries and pull their eyes out just enough to turn them towards their mewling, mutilated faces."
"Oh my stars and garters…"
Even though she logically knew there was another person in the room with them, Emma hissed in displeasure when she turned and found a stranger standing behind Ororo and Remy. There were very few who could slip through the passive field she kept around her, making her almost impossible to sneak up on. But this new woman was completely non-existent to her telepathy. It wasn't even the blank slate that she got when butting up against Betsy's walls; her probes just flowed straight through the space where the girl should be, as if she didn't exist.
Emma looked the newcomer up and down slowly. She definitely fit the 'mutant or visibly nonhuman' criteria she'd set for the Council. A bit shorter than herself, but at 5'10", Emma was rather tall for a woman. She was wearing a red, blue, and black catsuit that looked to be made of a few different materials… almost patched together. Emma's lip curled a bit at the sight. An amateur fashion designer? And not even a good one? Lovely. But the woman had disturbingly pale blue eyes, matching streaks in her hair, and odd, veiny patches of blue along her hairline. No, there would be no mistaking this one for a simple sapiens. "And you would be?"
Tilting her head to the side, the woman studied Emma for a moment with unblinking blue eyes. "Winifred Burkle. Illyria. Both. Neither. The file I was forced to read about this location stated that you often adopt pseudonyms based on your superhuman powers. Therefore, for the duration of my 'education', you may refer to me as Illyria or Buran." She continued to study Emma, still failing to blink. "You are the headmistress here. Their leader."
If that was the only reason this Illyria recognized someone as famous as her, then she had to be a demon of some sort. But Emma decided to play nice… for now. After all, it was foolish to pick a fight when she knew nothing about her opponent save for the fact that her own powers would be ineffective. "That's correct. My name is Emma Frost."
"I am aware. I was told that as a student, I should refer to you as 'headmistress', as it is your position." Illyria slowly circled the table, coming to stand in front of Emma. "Your file was the most comprehensive that Dawn assembled for me. Emma Grace Frost, age thirty-nine. Known powers are a variety of skills centering around telepathy along with the ability to transmorph into an organic diamond form; the potential for telekinesis exists but you have not demonstrated that power as of yet. Ex-wife of Charles Francis Xavier, who you met while working as an exotic dancer for the Hellfire Club, located at 565 West 23rd Street, New York, New York. You have, to date, been photographed twenty-seven times for usage in magazines, including Maxim, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, For Him Magazine, and three separate appearances in Playboy. On a related note, you have a roughly snowflake-shaped birthmark on the upper slope of your right buttock, which is quite ironic given your surname."
Emma winced, both at the details of her life being laid bare for the others to hear and from the looks she was getting due to that last revelation. "Well then. Enough about me. Why don't you tell us more about you, hmm?"
"Wait a minute. You told me you met Chuck twenty years ago. If you're thirty-nine, that means you were nineteen then." Logan grimaced in disgust. "He was what, fifty at the time?"
Emma sighed and shook her head at how easily distracted the group was. "Forty-seven, Logan, if you must know. And I don't see why it's such a big deal. May-December relationships aren't all that uncommon."
"Yeah, if you're Dolores Haze." That got Logan several odd looks and he scowled defensively. "You know, the girl from Lolita
?" More odd looks. "What? I can't remember my real name, but I remember famous works of literature. Wanna make something of it?"
Taking a seat next to Logan, Illyria wrapped her knuckles against the table to get their attention. "I was asked for information about myself. I do not intend to repeat it, so you will be silent and listen well. I am Illyria, God-King of the Primordium. I was revived from my stasis in the Deeper Well, and consumed the essence of Winifred Burkle to resurrect myself. She has become my shell. Because I wear the body of a former colleague, the pitifully emotional members of the Council are uncomfortable with my presence and wished to be rid of me. I have been assigned to infiltrate your student body as a member to help deal with this particular issue, and then continue on to monitor the situation here. In order to do so properly, I will require access to Robert Drake."
Emma didn't understand half of that, and the half she did gave her the sense that things were rather rapidly spinning out of her control. "Wait a minute. Did I hear that correctly? You're just waltzing in here and TELLING us that you're going to be a student here? No. You're here to kill this vampire that kidnapped one of my students. And I won't be letting some demon who likes to pull peoples' eyes out near any of my living students, up to and including Bobby, without a damn good reason."
"I require a sampling from a cryokinetic's DNA to properly reformat my shell to emulate their powers. Robert Drake is the only one listed in the Council's dossiers at present." Illyria's hand came up to brush her hair back, drawing attention to the frosty blue patches of skin along her hairline. "Out of the students on hand, it was determined by Dawn to be the powers that went best with my 'look'. As for why I am 'waltzing in', you have two choices. You will allow me to enroll as a student here and monitor you, or you will deal with the military. And I believe you lost one of your senior staff members last time that happened."
Great. Even the newly arrived bizarre demon woman knew who Jean was. "Meaning?"
Illyria sat stiffly in her chair, tapping the tips of her fingers together. For a moment, Emma was reminded of the old man from that Simpsons
show the younger children found so fascinating, before dismissing the absurd thought. "The Council has been given the authority to handle vampire and demonic operations in most countries in the world right now. The military, however, retains the right to handle mutant affairs. This is an event involving both mutants and vampires. If you do not wish the Council to be involved, I do not doubt the military will take advantage of our absence. If you do wish the Council to be involved, you will agree to my plans."
There was the sick, wet pop of metal piercing flesh that accompanied the arrival of Logan's claws and then he slammed them into the table in front of Illyria. "You threatenin' us, girl?"
"No. I am laying out your options, as I was instructed to do should you resist my presence. You will either submit to my desire to stay at this location, or I will leave and you will be subjected to the 'tender mercies', as Xander put it, of the United States Army." Illyria ignored Logan, gaze firmly locked with Emma's. "The choice is yours. I would recommend the former."
Yes, things were most definitely spinning out of control. There was no way in hell Emma could allow the military anywhere near her students after the events at Alkali Lake; if Logan didn't kill them all on sight, the first sign of trouble would have the students themselves leading the attack. But this woman was… far too old to be a student, actually. "Even if I wanted you here, Illyria, you're far too old to be a student here and we have no need for new members of the teaching staff."
Illyria nodded and stood up, pushing the chair to roll all the way back until it met the wall with a thump. "I am aware. Your student body generally contains spawn between the ages of ten and eighteen, with a few exceptions for those who will go on to become your warriors." She even knew about the X-Men program? Fabulous. "I will adapt."
And then, much to Emma's surprise, the woman began to change. Years seemed to melt off Illyria, regressing her from someone in their mid-twenties to a girl the same age as her Cuckoos. The catsuit itself wriggled before reshaping itself into an ankle-length skirt and a t-shirt. The end result was just another girl, who nobody in Xavier's would look at twice. And that scared the crap out of Emma. Could all demons do this? Was there any way, short of keeping this bizarre creature around, that she could ensure there weren't other monsters wandering the halls of her school?
"Remy has seen a great many things, but that was a new one." Remy leaned forward, eyes glowing slightly as he rubbed his hands together. "Tell me, cher, do you know how to pick-pocket?"
Ororo reached up and swatted Remy across the back of his head, and he began to whisper apologies as Illyria stared at him curiously. "I was told by the others that referring to oneself in the third person is considered unusual by modern societal standards. Are you mentally deficient?"
Hah! Emma couldn't help but smirk; she might actually grow to like this Illyria… if she could impress upon her that she was in charge and things at the school were supposed to go according to HER plans. "So, since I think we can all agree that we're not keen on having the military running around… I suppose I should be the one to welcome you to Xavier's Academy for Gifted Youngsters. What do you need from Bobby to, erm, create your powers? I suppose there isn't a better term than that. And you've read up on our student body, it would appear. Do you have any preference as to who you'll be sharing a room with?"
"Indeed. I wish to be assigned to a team with Petra Kristensen, Danica Danvers, and Noriko Ashida for training exercises. And it would seem that my arrival was anticipated by the fates and there is a female student who currently occupies a room alone." Emma wracked her mind for who Illyria could possibly be referring to (setting aside her interest in the three students she'd mentioned by name, at least for the time being), and coming up with only one possibility. "I wish to keep the one known as 'Rogue' as my pet."
The formerly quiet Logan growled at that one. "Say what?"
Illyria looked at him oddly. "A pet. It is what you call a lower life form that shares your residence, you take care of, and so forth, correct? Rogue would be my pet." Turning her attention back to Emma, Illyria cocked her head to the side as she thought. "As for the acquisition of my powers, I simply need to place my hands on Robert's skin to acquire his DNA. I will then integrate it into my own genetic structure and be able to manifest cryokinesis."
"Right. I suppose I should be there to make sure he doesn't remember what happened." Emma looked around the table at where the rest of the staff was a combination of shocked and annoyed. "Alright, people, this isn't quite what I was anticipating but when life gives you lemons… actually, I bought the three stands on my street and then hired the children of my family's servants to work at them, so I've never made lemonade myself. But the theory still applies here. Hank, Logan, I want you two out and about so the students aren't wondering where all the adults ran off to. Remy, Ororo, find me Bobby… and Kitty Pryde, and bring them here. Then go for one of your walks in the garden or something public."
Three of the four nodded and hustled out of the room, likely wanting to get away from Illyria as much as Emma herself did, but Logan was a bit slower in moving. "Why Kitty?"
Emma shrugged. "She, Bobby, and Rogue seem to be reforming their awkward love triangle. I figure I can give it a little push toward the option that DOESN'T involve coma-inducing make out sessions by implanting memories of the two of them spending the afternoon together after Illyria is done with Bobby." Logan scowled and stomped out of the room, leaving Emma with a silent Illyria. "Do you drink?" The blue-tinged girl shook her head. "Your loss."
Reaching into her bag, Emma patted herself for having the foresight to pack the small insulated bag before coming to the meeting. One glass… four ice cubes… this situation was definitely worth putting a dent in the '26 Macallan she'd recently acquired. Emma took a sip and sighed. Ahh, scotch on the rocks. If there was a better way to handle a demon invading your school, announcing she was staying, and deciding she wanted the most dangerous student on campus as her 'pet', she couldn't think of it.
And her day had started out so well…