Another year, another COA loss. Oh well. For all of you who voted for me, I love you. Review and drop ideas, and I'll see what I can do. Thanks. Oh, and I know Illyria doesn't conform to her After the Fall
look in my descriptions. That thing is fucking ugly in a bad way. Like, someone shot up on acid before penciling those pages. We're in a recession, Joss. It can't be that hard to find a competent artist who wants to put food on the table.
Bobby looked at her, then at Illyria, and then back at Marie before gulping nervously. "Erm… can we talk about this?"
"Oh, I don't think we have anything to talk about, Bobby." Rocketing over, Marie twisted her body in midair and delivered a kick to his chest, sending him stumbling back a few steps. "You threw me off your team just because my powers weren't useful enough to you. Replaced me with Sam and two other girls. Do you know how much that hurt me? If we'd actually been living together, you so would have been on the couch."
Dodging to the left and then the right, Bobby did his best to avoid her follow up attacks. "Well you didn't come to Alcatraz, you don't like the Danger Room, Magneto petrifies you… I didn't think you'd care! You should have said something. We'd…" Gulping, Bobby ducked under a right cross that Marie was pretty sure would have taken his icy head off, had it connected. "…love to have you back on the New Mutants."
Oh they would, huh? Well that was a sudden change of heart. Then again, she'd just helped Illyria take out the entire team, just the two of them. Of course the New Mutants would want her back on the team. She was useful now. They just wanted to use her. And the worst part was, her boyfriend was the leader of the pack. Heh. Boyfriend. Not for long, she decided. It'd been a long time in coming, but THAT comment was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Marie decided to take a page out of Illyria's book at that point, dropping to the ground and sweeping Bobby's legs out from under him. As he fell earthward, though, she shifted to put both hands on the grass and kicked outward with her legs, catching him in the stomach and launching him across the Danger Room. Floating up into the air, she righted herself before drifting over to hover next to Illyria. "Sorry, Bobby, but I have a new team now. A team that actually wants me and respects me." She hesitated for a moment, but the buzz that came with finally being something more than the useless tagalong for the first time in her life gave Marie the courage to push onward. "Oh, and you can take your little friends who just put up with me because I'm dating you? And that relationship? And you can stick them both where the sun doesn't shine. I am so over you. Illyria?"
"I do believe I am going to enjoy this." Cracking her neck, Illyria stepped forward and then… changed. It wasn't just the ice armor shift that Marie was used to seeing with Bobby; that was mostly smooth and he still looked more or less like himself when it was done. Illyria, on the other hand, was a beast. Counting quickly, Marie saw five waving tentacle arms on each side of the girl's icy body, while said body was supported by six spidery legs instead of the normal human two. Leaning forward, she let out a roar of challenge before charging towards Bobby.
Eyes widening, Bobby took a few halting steps backward. "…oh shit." Turning, he began to run across the Danger Room at top speed and, when that failed, reached out with his powers to create an ice slide that carried him up and away from the rampaging beast. "What the hell is THAT?!"
Even though she was more than a little freaked out by Illyria's transformation, Marie couldn't help laughing at the terrified look on Bobby's face. "That? That's my team leader." Gaining some altitude, she circled around and slammed into Bobby from behind, knocking him off his ice slide and sending him plummeting to the fake grass floor of the Danger Room. "And don't look now, but I think she wants to say hello…"
Two hours later, the hidden elevator door slid open and Emma emerged, stalking out onto the ground floor of the mansion. Two hours. It had taken her TWO HOURS to help Hank, Josh, and a few other medically inclined students put the New Mutants back together. Katherine's phasing power was still malfunctioning intermittently, Bobby was missing a chunk of his left leg, three fingers on his right hand, and one ear, Sam was a mess, Jubilation had a concussion… the only two to come through things reasonably intact were Piotr and Paige, and even they had found bruises after returning to their flesh and blood forms. Reaching her office, she keyed in the security code and pushed open the door. She desperately needed a drink, some rest, and to forget she'd ever heard the name… "Illyria."
The blue-tinged creature had retaken human form and actually had the gall to sit behind her desk, tapping away at her computer even, staring at her as if Emma was the interloper in her own office. "Headmistress."
Deciding to overlook the breaking and entering for the moment, Emma focused on the greater problem. After all, part of the reason they were running the New X-Men competitions was because none of them save Ororo and Logan had the combat skills necessary to operate in the field. The former preferred to nurture rather than harm and had no interest in continuing on as an X-Man, while the latter was too unreliable. After today, Emma was acutely aware of the fact that with Illyria around, none of them were safe. And she wanted to know why. "Was it really necessary to brutally beat six of my students? And don't give me that line about wanting to discourage them from trying to come out with you; we both know that had nothing to do with it."
Shrugging, Illyria stared down at her glossy blue nails. As she took in the bluenette, Emma's anger with the god-king grew. Six of her students, albeit ones she didn't really have any particular attachment to, were lying injured in the infirmary. Illyria, on the other time, had taken that same time to shower, change, and repaint her nails from the black she'd had when they met that afternoon. And it was real paint for once; Emma could smell the sharp tang of the polish from where she was, meaning it wasn't just Illyria 'remodulating her shell' as she normally did to imitate human cosmetics. "Schadenfreude, Headmistress." Staring at Illyria, Emma arched one fine brow until the demon looked up at her. "Schadenfreude. Pleasure taken from observing the misery of another." Yes, she was familiar with the concept. What of it? "It is one of my primary forms of entertainment, now that I am forced to live among lower forms of life such as yourself. While you humans are masters of self-destruction, occasionally outside factors stem the tide of entertainment and I must create some for myself."
Emma had seen a great many questionable things in her life… even done a few of them herself. But this? This took the cake. "You and Marie brutalized six of my students… for entertainment?" Illyria tilted her head to the side, pondered that for a moment, and then nodded. "You… are… unbelievable. How on earth does your mind operate that something like that could possibly seem acceptable to you?"
"Chastising me will not undo my actions, nor will it keep me from behaving similarly in the future. And I grow tired of your bleating." Tapping a few keys caused the computer to eject a CD that Illyria claimed as she rose from Emma's chair. "I will take my leave of you for now. Before we depart to hunt vampires this evening, I will stop by again."
Stepping to the side, Emma gave the smaller being a wide berth as she passed. "…or you could not. Whatever works." She was very quickly learning to overcome her control freak tendencies with Illyria in the mansion; the less she knew about what the bluenette was up to and dealt with her, the better. As soon as the door shut behind Illyria, Emma hurried over to her desk and checked the computer. It was sitting on her desktop. Crap. How could she figure out what Illyria might have been up to?
Well, might as well combine two tasks: tracing Illyria's steps and laying the groundwork to pry the bitch out of her school. Picking up the phone, she dialed a number she had long ago committed to memory and waited for someone to pick up on the other end. "Nicholas. Emma. I need a bit of a favor." She paused for a beat. "Why should you care? Well, today Illyria turned Marie D'Ancanto into a flying tank and the pair took out six of the best-trained students in the school. Without breaking a sweat."
"No, I don't know how. But it makes Marie strong enough to throw Piotr Rasputin around like a ragdoll."
"Thought you'd see things my way."
"Cause I'm TNT… I'm dynamite! TNT… and I'll win the fight! TNT… I'm a power load. TNT… watch me explode!" The accompanying surge of heat that Danica added for effect caused the smoke detector overhead to warble and the rest of the Elementals dove for safety as the sprinkler system kicked in, dousing the pyrokine with water. "…okay, can we all just pretend that never happened and I'm actually cool?"
Waiting until Danica had stepped out from under the sprinkler's flow, Illyria moved in and looped one arm around Danica's shoulders, giving the girl a squeeze. "Technically, you're never cool." The redhead gave her a betrayed look and Illyria shrugged innocently. "What? You're not? You run at what, a hundred and five degrees on a good day?"
Danica pondered that for a moment before sticking her tongue out. "I see what you did there. Alright, might want to back off. I'm going to try being toasty with a bit more control, see if I can dry myself out." Illyria removed her arm, wandering over to stand beside Marie. After a momentary pause, Marie leaned against her - supposed, at any rate - fellow Southerner and barely even twitched as Illyria's hand came to rest on the small of her back. Together, they watched as Danica closed her eyes and concentrated, steam rising from her body as she slowly brought her temperature up to dry herself and her clothing without spiking so high as to set off the fire suppression system again. "There. Bit better."
"So, now what? We came, we saw, we watched the Hick Chicks conquer…" Noriko fidgeted from her spot against the wall, the metal fingers of her gauntlets clinking against each other. "What was the point? Why bother turning us into a team, getting us uniforms, and the whole nine yards if we're just going to be your cheerleaders? And Illyria, what the fuck was that ice monster thing you turned into?"
Marie looked over at Illyria, wondering how the demon would respond. Based on how they'd been introduced, Illyria's true nature was clearly meant to be a secret to the majority of students… but if Illyria refused to answer any or everything, what would that do to the team? And after her little scene today with Bobby, Marie needed her team. She'd already burnt the admittedly shaky bridge that remained connecting her to the New Mutants; if the Elementals turned on her too, she'd be friendless if Illyria left.
On the other hand, Noriko was walking a very fine line in demanding anything from Illyria. Simple questions were fine, Marie knew from experience, but anything beyond a casual inquiry was pushing it. And pressing her for an answer she wasn't inclined to give could get downright hazardous to one's health. Was Noriko about to lose those pretty metal gauntlets of hers… and the arms inside them? Illyria had made comments about tearing the spines out of enemies; Marie was sure the god-king could quite easily manage dismemberment.
"I will give you the explanations you desire." Oh thank God. And that meant it wasn't even a problem that Illyria had slipped out of her teen persona; that would all be explained soon. "But not in public. We will retire to the room I share with Marie, and I will answer your questions there. Is that agreeable?" Noriko nodded and Illyria looked over at Danica, who nodded, then on to Petra, who nodded as well. "Very good. Follow."
Illyria pulled away, leading the quartet of mutants down the hall toward the room she and Marie shared, and the others fell in behind her. Danica and Noriko were between her and Illyria, whispering back and forth as they debated what Illyria's secrets could possibly be, while Petra fell in beside Marie. "You know, don't you?" Marie gave a start, looking over at the normally quiet blonde. "What her secret is. You know the answer already. All the little things adding up… none of them surprise you."
Raising one hand, Marie wiggled it from side to side. "I know some things. I don't think even the headmistress knows the whole story when it comes to Illyria. And if you just sorta accept there's always going to be new stuff popping up, it makes it less shocking when it actually happens."
"Ahh. Gotcha. I'll keep that in mind." Petra returned to silence at that point, a pensive look on her face. Casting about for something else to entertain herself with, Marie pushed up onto her toes… and then stumbled as nothing happened. Hmm. So Illyria's power infusion had worn off. Poo. That flying thing had been really fun…
When they reached Illyria and Marie's dorm room, Illyria unlocked it and the group filed in. Marie was the last and closed the door behind her. Gasps rang out and Marie spun around to find that Illyria had rather abruptly shifted the skirt and t-shirt she'd been wearing into her leather catsuit. "Everything you have been told about me is a lie. I am not Illyria Burkle, teenage cryokinetic. I am Illyria, God-King of the Primordium, Shaper of Things."