The Erotic Phoenix Saga: Dark Passions

BY : marvelmaster616
Category: X-men Comics > General
Dragon prints: 3073
Disclaimer: I don’t own X-Men, Avengers, or any Marvel characters. I am making no money off of this. They are the property of Marvel and Disney. Please don’t sue.

The Erotic Phoenix Saga: Dark Passions
Chapter 3: Dark Timing

Limbo – Forbidden Gateway

‘My soul is damned. My body is tainted. Every part of me is stained with darkness. I hate what I’ve become! And yet, I cannot desire anything else. I hate that even more!’

Illyana Rasputin had never been very religious. Her parents espoused a certain level of faith, as much as was possible in the former Soviet Union. It was still enough to convince Illyana that she had a soul. Now, she wished she didn’t. She was about to commit an abominable sin.

As per the instructions of the Goblin Queen, she used the Soul Sword to venture into the darkest parts of Limbo. She slashed through every boundary and barrier in her path. Her knowledge of the mystic arts was still limited, but she knew enough to understand the danger of her actions. With every line she crossed, the fragile balance between the realms became unstable. She could even hear the cries of countless demonic figures below. Even they were aghast at her actions.

She still didn’t stop. As Magik, the Darkchylde, she was unburdened by their condemnation. Her only desire was to follow those of the Goblin Queen. She hated it, but didn’t dare stop. She just kept slashing through more barriers with the Soul Sword, flying through the void and towards a forbidden destination.

“It’s close. I can feel it,” the Russian girl said with a mix of awe and dread.

She could already feel its energy. In the distance, a bright pinkish light formed at the end of a tunnel-like path. As she got closer, it took a more distinct form, eventually resembling the structure of a crystal. It was just as the Goblin Queen described. She called it the M’Kraan Barrier, a forbidden back door into the fabled White Hot Room.

It was supposedly the nexus of all creation. Every realm from Limbo to Asgard connected to it. Its power and beauty were second to none. And she’d been tasked with tainting it. Illyana hated every aspect of it, but could not turn back.

Just as the barrier came within reach, a dark figure appeared in her path. It was tall and masculine, bearing thick blackish flesh and a monstrous disposition. He had a long black tail, red glowing eyes, and snake-like hair that extended in all directions.

To most teenage girls, he was the stuff of nightmares. For Magik, he wasn’t even the tenth scariest creature she’d encountered. She even recognized him from her studies.

“Blackheart, emissary of Mephisto,” Magik said, her voice flat and unafraid.

“Stop!” Blackheart demanded with his demonic voice. “You mustn’t take another step, mortal!”

“I wish I could turn back. I really do,” she told him, “but I can’t. So, get out of the way or kill me. Believe it or not, I am fine with, either.”

The imposing creature was taken aback, but continued snarling at her menacingly. With seething anger, he looked her over. His eyes flashed, as though he was peering into her soul. He must have seen how much the Goblin Queen had tainted it because he was disgusted.

“Illyana Rasputin, wielder of the Soul Sword and Darkchylde of Limbo,” Blackheart surmised. “It appears Mephisto’s fears were correct. You mortals have really done it now! The foundation of every realm is cracking because of your actions!”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Magik said, “or better yet, shut up so I can remain blissfully unaware of my crimes.”

“You’ve no idea what you’re doing!” he continued. “The upheavals in Limbo have left the Forbidden Gateway unstable. Further disruptions could cause more fissures between realms. Hell, Heven, Asgard, Midgard, Muspelheim…the forces connecting them all could shatter. Things that cannot be will become inevitable! Destruction of one becomes destruction of all!”

“I wish I could heed your warnings. I really, really do. But I’m still going through you.”

“You would dare make such a choice?”

“If only it were my choice to make,” said Magik solemnly.

The Russian girl gripped the Soul Sword and stared down the menacing creature. Devoid of fear, driven by desires that had been forced upon her, she attacked Blackheart with the fury of a thousand Cossacks.

Her brazen move surprised the creature. Even as his imposing, malleable body evaded the slashes, he looked upon her with both disdain and disbelief. Countless legends throughout Limbo proclaimed that Blackheart was composed of pure fear. His very presence was suppose to inspire utmost terror in mortals and gods alike. For Magik, though, terror was an afterthought.

“Fight me, creature!” she yelled. “Strike me down! Send me to another Hell, if you dare!”

“Errr! Arrogant, foolish mortal!” roared Blackheart.

As he became more enraged, his body grew and his eyes flashed brighter. He grew to nearly twice his initial size, his muscles bulging and his hair turning into spike-tipped tentacles. If Blackheart was trying to scare her into tempering her attacks, he failed. She was a pawn of the Goblin Queen, her very will and soul bent to her perverse will. Even a creature of fear could only do so much to scare her.

It made her uniquely tenacious as she slashed and stabbed at Blackheart from every angle. He evaded at first, countering only with sharp tendrils that shot out of his body. Magik’s Soul Sword cut through them with relative ease, forcing him to hit back with larger blows. She countered with more agile strikes, using her mutant teleportation powers to her advantage.

Blackheart only grew more determined. He swiped and smashed his fists about, using his tendrils to try and restrain her. Magik just kept slashing away. Even when he managed to get a grip on her, she just teleported away. Even as Blackheart went on the offensive, he remained aghast. The way she fought and carried further revealed just how lost she was.

“Your soul truly is tainted, Darkchylde,” Blackheart snarled as he wrapped her in a web of tendrils.

“Errr! Don’t remind me!” yelled Magik as she slashed through them.

“Your will is not in accord with your desire. This should not be!”

“But it is! That’s why you cannot scare me!”

Such a notion was outrageous. She had spit on the primordial forces of nature. Blackheart grew his body even more, unleashing demonic roars as he surrounded her from all angles with his malleable body. He would bury her if he had to. The integrity of every realm from Heaven to Hell was at stake.

His efforts still failed. Magik, her Soul Sword now glowing brightly, slashed through every attack with relentless fervor. Years of training in Limbo, along with her perverse will, made her quite skilled with such a powerful artifact. The Soul Sword wasn’t supposed to be that effective against an emissary of Mephisto, but in the hands of a misguided Darkchylde, it caused real damage.

“Agghhh!” Blackheart yelled as the sword tore through his blackened flesh.

Magik, despite taking a few cuts and blows, stepped up her attack. With unrelenting fury, she tore through his form, hacking off chunks of demonic flesh. The integrity of the realm began to falter, the M’Kraan barrier shuddering in the presence of such chaos. It shook so hard that Blackheart could not maintain his form.

Finally, the unthinkable happened. Magik hit Blackheart right in the chest with the Soul Sword, causing him to fall back towards the barrier. In that vulnerable state, the young woman pounced, putting her foot on his neck and pointing the tip of the blade at his face.

“I do not care if you are the devil incarnate,” Magik said through labored grit, “I have to go through that gate. I have to access the White Hot Room.”

“The White Hot Room? You would taint the very nexus of creation?” Blackheart exclaimed.

“Call it what you want. That’s what I desire. I hate that I desire it, but that is beyond my control.”

“Spoken like one whose soul is already damned.”

Blackheart, determined not to fall to some tainted mortal, reformed his body and pushed her off. He took on a more defensive poise, putting himself between the Darkchyle and the M’Kraan barrier. Magik, having easily landed after Blackheart knocked her off, gripped her sword harder and stared down the sinister figure.

“You have no idea, creature,” Magik said as she prepared her next attack. “Fight me and see just how damned I’ve become! Hyaaa!”

Secret Military Installation – Project Wideawake

“I must say. These latest models are quite impressive, Bolivar,” said Senator Robert Kelly, his demeanor restless, yet poised.

“They certainly should be. The Mark 16 Sentinel required more upgrades than usual,” replied Bolivar Trask as he led the Senator through the heart of the facility.

“I saw the bill you sent. I remember having to hide it from the Pentagon,” the senator replied with mild annoyance.

“It’s still noteworthy. It should remind us how much things have changed recently.”

The famed engineer had a penchant for understatements. It was indeed a bad time to be in the Sentinel business. It was a bad time to build a political career around mutant threats, as well. Senator Robert Kelly could once rely on the inherent fear and mistrust surrounding mutants. It helped him rally enough support to win his senate seat by a wide margin. It even earned him some steady doners from defense contractors, most notably Trask Industries.

For a while, Senator Kelly was a rising star in DC. He’d become the most outspoken voice on mutant issues. He saw the growing mutant population as a threat. Many in both the Pentagon and the CIA agreed with him. An increasing number of mutant-related incidents, as well as the rise of groups like the Brotherhood of Mutants, convinced large swaths of the public.

His legitimate concern about mutants was becoming a movement. Some had even broached the idea of him running for President in the next election. That idea had plenty of appeal. It even seemed possible, if not necessary. He and Trask even discussed an ambitious plan to use the full power of the government to confront the mutant threat directly, which they dubbed Project Wideawake.

Then, X-Corp entered the picture and their political fortunes changed. And it had not changed in their favor.

“Being in the mutant containment business is a lot more dangerous, these days,” Trask commented as the passed by a large assembly array.

“I know. Believe me, I know,” said Senator Kelly in an exasperated tone. “Compared to aliens, demigods, and gamma-powered monsters, mutants just aren’t as big a threat anymore. We now have the X-Men working closer with the Avengers. And, on top of that, X-Corp has become a major player in social justice policies.”

“Are you still having problems with their lobbyists?

“It’s not just the lobbyists, Bolivar. I can handle them,” the Senator said confidently. “X-Corp has completely changed the landscape with mutants.”

This time, he was the one dealing in understatements. X-Corp’s arrival caught everyone off-guard, especially him. Almost overnight, they turned mutants from a looming menace to a novel intrigue.

They started by making friends with SHIELD, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four. That turned teams like the X-Men from a collection of rogue mutants to legitimate players in the superhero community. Then, they made connections with everyday mutants, turning them from strange outsiders to productive members of society. They were so successful in their efforts that multiple Congress people cut ties with him. It probably helped that X-Corp’s friends had deeper pockets than Trask. It put this entire endeavor in jeopardy.

The senator stopped walking for a moment, pausing in the middle of a catwalk that looked over the vast facility that was the heart of Project Wideawake. Trask stopped as well. Having designed the Sentinels and built this assembly plant out of an old military base, he had just as much to lose in this new landscape.

From afar, it looked like Project Wideawake was coming together. The facility had been producing new and improved Sentinels at a record pace. From their vantage point, they could watch several being assembled by robotic arrays. Once finished, they were placed in rows upon rows, their systems configured to optimize their mutant-hunting abilities. Two years ago, they both would’ve been confident in the success of this project. Now, they weren’t so sure.

“It’s happening more and more with each passing day,” Senator Kelly said. “Suddenly, people aren’t seeing the danger these people pose. They’re seeing the opportunities they present. Not long ago, a kid finds out they’re a mutant and they’re rightly terrified. Now, being a mutant is like winning the lottery.”

“But they’re still dangerous. We cannot overlook that,” Trask said firmly.

“I certainly haven’t. But it’s getting too easy for everyone else. If you’re a mutant, X-Corp basically gives you a free ride. You get training, a scholarship, and a well-paying job for a well-connected company. And those companies they work really like the profits they generate.”

“Then, it’s a good thing they have no say in Project Wideawake.”

“Maybe not directly,” said the Senator, “but with each passing day, we’re feeling their influence. Governments at every level, including Congress, are buying into X-Corp’s agenda. There’s just too much money to be made. And X-Corp’s PR is bombarding the public with images of happy mutants with happy families.”

“That’s a lie and a farce,” Trask scoffed. “They’re trying to hide the truth about mutants.”

“Well, they’re doing a damn good a job! If X-Corp succeeds any further, then Project Wideawake won’t just fail. It’ll backfire horribly. And we can’t have that.”

“We won’t, Senator. You have my word.”

Bolivar Trask sounded too confident for Senator Kelly’s liking, but he continued following him as he led him through the facility. He’d been the one to organize this meeting. He claimed he had a critical status update for their latest generation of Sentinels. They had to have a certain level of proficiency in order to initiate Project Wideawake to the utmost.

Even as the senator followed Trask to the end of the catwalk, he remained concerned. When they reached the end, they encountered an impressive sight. It stood at the heart of the facility, a large structure shaped like a giant Sentinel. All the assembly arrays, computer hardware, and weapons calibrations resided in this figure. It was impressive, but Senator Kelly worried it might be too little, too late to confront the mutant threat.

“It took some late nights and skilled engineering, but I think we’ve done it,” Trask said while gesturing towards the structure. “We finally worked out the kinks in the Mastermold AI.”

“Do I want to know how? Or what it cost taxpayers?” asked Senator Kelly, already dreading the final amount as he looked over the structure.

“It’s probably best you don’t. That way you won’t have to lie when you’re ask. I know how important that is to a politician.”

“I appreciate the courtesy. Just tell me it’s ready,” the senator said impatiently. “I’ve got Henry Peter Gyrich breathing down my neck daily. He wants to launch Project Wideawake yesterday. His friends at the CIA have targets, incidents, and agents in place as we speak.”

“Yes, I know they’re just as eager to get this program going. And they’ll get their wish soon enough,” Trask replied. “And while the engineer in me wants to do more tests on the AI, my inner pragmatist says we’ll make do. I’ll risk a buggy AI over pissing off the CIA.

“You and me both, Bolivar. Let’s just get Project Wideawake up and running. Every moment we waste is another moment X-Corp will exploit.”

“Then, we’ll skip the rest of the tour and get down to business,” said Trask, “because if we’re gonna have a chance at this, we’ll have to step up our timetables.”

The two men, still restless and uncertain, proceeded down a flight of stairs where some military officers awaited them. A lot was riding on Project Wideawake being a success. X-Corp presented them with significant complications. They might not get another chance to turn the tide against mutants.

While Trask and Senator Kelly met up with the officers, a figure watched from afar. In the shadows of one of the assembly arrays, a female engineer kept a constant eye on them. She also listened into their conversations, by way of a microphone she had placed in her helmet. As she listened in, her face briefly sifted between that of an ordinary engineer and that of Mystique. Her form didn’t usually falter when she was on a mission. However, this was no ordinary mission. It was also bittersweet on so many levels.

‘It’s ironic. Here’s a politician who hates mutants. He actively supports attacking them with Sentinels. In another life, I’d have gladly killed him willingly. But doing it for the goddamn Goblin Queen…it feels so hollow.’

She shifted back into her disguise, taking the form of a female engineer who had unexpected car troubles earlier that morning. She kept pretending to work on various Sentinel parts, but never lost track of her target.

The Goblin Queen gave her strict instructions. She’d been tasked with infiltrating Project Wideawake. That was the easy part. She’d also been given detailed instructions on what to do, when to do it, and how it was supposed to appear to the public. Had Mystique not despised the Goblin Queen with every fiber of her being, she might have admired her tactics. It was just her endgame that terrified her.

‘This isn’t for mutants. This isn’t for justice. This isn’t even to punish those who have wronged us. It’s just…I don’t know what the hell it is! I just know that if the Goblin Queen gets what she wants, no one wins!’

The shape shifter muttered a string of curses to herself, but still kept up her disguise. She pretended to scan more Sentinel parts while moving closer to Trask and the Senator. Her gaze narrowed on Senator Kelly. She already knew the role he played in the Goblin Queen’s plan. He might end being the lucky one. If all went accordingly, he wouldn’t have to live through the chaos that was about to unfold.

“I’ll start booting up Mastermold’s protocols,” Trask told the senator and the officers as he made his way to a command console. “You head out to the unveiling ceremony at the National Mall. I’ll have a fleet of Sentinels at the site, as soon as you arrive.”

“Be sure that you do,” said Senator Kelly, fixing his tie and gesturing towards his security detail. “The sooner we expose mutants for the threats they are, the sooner we can preserve humanity’s future.”

X-Corp Headquarters – Medical Lab

The best plans often had the best contingencies. Scott Summers learned that shortly after he joined the X-Men. Time and experience only reinforced the value of such contingencies. It was one of the most stressful parts about being a leader, thinking about everything that could go wrong and planning for it. That helped earn him his reputation an uptight boy scout who tried to plan for everything. It also helped him and his team survive.

Even after leaving the X-Men, he and Jean knew the value of a good backup. Knowing what they were up against, thanks to revelations provided by Emma Frost, they began planning a course of action. With few leads to go on, Scott formulated an ambitious contingency plan. Unlike the many others he’d prepared, this made use of X-Corp’s various connection.

“That should do it! Tony, are you getting a signal?” asked a restless Dr. Strange as he removed his surgical mask.

“Loud and clear, doc,” replied Tony Stark, who stood nearby at a holographic display. “These techno-mystic location trackers are humming like a new Ferrari. And I would know. I have eight.”

“For the record, I still don’t agree with that name,” said the Sorcerer Supreme as he wiped the sweat from his brow.

“For what we did to make these gizmos, they might as well be championship trophies,” said Tony.

“Trophies that are now inside us,” Scott pointed out. “As long as they do what we need them to do, I don’t care what you call them.”

The former X-Men leader was more restless than usual as he got up from a surgical table, rubbing his head and stretching his stiff limbs. Jean, who’d been lying on the table adjacent from his, did the same. They’d been lying still for nearly an hour while Dr. Strange and Tony Stark implemented Scott’s ambitious contingency plan. It wasn’t the most comfortable experience they’d endured, but it was the most they could hope for on such short notice.

‘I care more about what they do than what they’re called,’ Jean said through their psychic link. ‘You make putting trackers in our bodies seem like such a big deal, Scott. But calling up Tony Stark and Steven Strange to make it happen…that makes it much bigger. We’re assuming the Goblin Queen is going to get the jump on us.’

‘I don’t like assuming it, either,’ Scott replied, ‘but after what Emma told us, we need to think big. That means planning for the worst before we plan anything else.’

It seemed dire, but necessary. Jean, still not liking their plans thus far, simply nodded and sighed before slipping off the table. She didn’t hide her distress regarding the extent of his plan. Scott couldn’t blame her. A lot had happened since Emma arrived with the grim details of the Goblin Queen. It was now clear that they would not be able to continue forging a better future without going through her.

Jean remained focused on the present as she telekinetically retrieved her shirt and put it back on. Scott did the same. Dr. Strange let them wear their casual clothes for the procedure, although he insisted that Jean keep her bra on. It was mostly a means to keep Tony from getting distracted. That didn’t make it any less uncomfortable, lying on a bed while Dr. Strange used magical scalpels to implant two tiny tracking devices into their torsos.

Being a former surgeon, they were in good hands. The procedure didn’t even require any physical incisions or anesthesia. Thanks to the Sorcerer Supreme’s magic and Tony Stark’s advanced tech, the devices were effectively phased into their atomic structure. It was still a delicate procedure, but they barely felt anything. Both Dr. Strange and Tony, still in medical garb, were already running tests on a nearby holographic monitor. By all accounts, the procedure had been successful.

“So now we have tracking devices implanted in our bodies,” Jean said, looking down at herself after putting her shirt back on. “It feels more like a last resort than a contingency plan.”

“I don’t disagree,” said Scott. “Hopefully, they won’t be necessary.

Hopefully,” Jean sighed.

“Even if they aren’t, you may still find a use for them,” Tony said as he enlarged an image of the dvice. “You never know when you’ll get lost between here and the other side of the galaxy. Because that’s how good these trackers are. And since the quantum microchip is entangled with your DNA, nothing short of divine intervention will turn it off.”

He sounded proud, as he often did when he invented something that pushed his tech skills. Tony was the only one who got excited when he and Jean asked him to craft a tracker so advanced that it worked beyond the standard realms of reality. He could certainly handle the technical aspects of the request. It was the mystical elements that proved challenging. That was where Dr. Strange came in.

While the Sorcerer Supreme had been more than happy to assist, he wasn’t as enthused by the challenge. He’d sensed the disruptions that Scott and Jean had caused from their activities with the Phoenix Force. He even detected the looming consequences of those activities, even before they knew of Madelyne Pryor. Their chosen recourse thus far had left him unconvinced that they were prepared.

Being both a doctor and a sorcerer, he knew the dangers of unforeseen complications better than most. Scott and Jean might invite more problems, especially if the trackers proved necessary.

“I understand it is disconcerting,” Dr. Strange told them as he helped Tony with the test. “Anything that requires surgery – even the kind done with cutting edge tech and aethereal scalpels – it is serious cause for concern.”

“I’m a bit less concerned now, knowing others can find us if we suddenly disappear,” said Scott, now fully clothed.

“Knowledge is rarely comforting,” the Sorcerer Supreme added. “Knowing I had to borrow several rune stones from Thor to ensure Stark’s device could work through mystical forces – well, I wish I could say I’m relieved. But even the Vishanti cannot perceive a threat that warrants such measures.”

“Warranted or not, sometimes you just gotta err on the side of overkill,” said Stark, still confident in their work, “and that’s why you called a sorcerer and a tech genius. Now, you could be randomly teleported a billion light years away or to the darkest pits of Hell. We’d still know your exact location.”

Tony enlarged a holographic image of their bodies. He then focused on the tracker that now rested in their core. According to the monitors, the tracker was broadcasting perfectly. He also tried to detect it with X-rays, infrared, and electromagnetic scanners. Nothing showed up on the screen, but the signal kept coming in.

Dr. Strange also cast a spell, his hand lighting up briefly with mystical symbols. His reaction was promising. He couldn’t detect it, either. The magical incantations he’d incorporated into the trackers worked. Even if the Goblin Queen used magic, as Emma Frost had indicated, she couldn’t detect it.

Scott was satisfied with the results. With a contingency in place, they could contemplate their next move. Jean, however, wasn’t inclined to think that far ahead. There were still some lingering issues she had yet to wrap around her head.

“It’s impressive, Tony. No one’s denying that,” Jean commented as she looked at the holographic image.

“It’s also tactical,” said Scott. “You heard what Emma told us about the Goblin Queen. She has a tendency to show up unexpectedly and take you to very unpleasant places.”

“I haven’t forgotten. I just hate assuming we have no way to stop her.”

“Hey, sometimes assuming the worst is the best assumption you can make,” added Tony, “especially when it comes to psychotic women.”

“A woman who happens to be my clone, mind you,” Jean said with an unamused glare.

“Sorry. Forgot to say, no offense.”

Jean rolled her eyes at Tony’s remark. That was the one issue she still struggled to grasp. Everyone else was content to see the Goblin Queen as little more than a daunting threat. To Jean, she was more than that. She was a piece of her flesh, deranged and darkened by forces beyond their control. It was enough to warp anyone’s perspective, even with the aid of cosmic forces.

“We’re not taking this lightly. I promise,” Scott said, offering her a comforting gesture after sensing her distress. “This procedure is just one component of a much larger strategy. We’ve both worked so hard, forging these connections through X-Corp. We intend to make use of them. That’s how we’ll beat the Goblin Queen.

“Given how many of those connections have seen you naked, you can assume they’ll be plenty motivated,” added Tony.

“Thankfully, our allies’ motivation is the least of our concerns,” said the former X-Men leader. “There’s still too much we don’t know about this woman. Psychotic or not, she has an agenda. We need to have a larger strategy in place before she makes her next move.”

“If she’s as malevolent as Ms. Frost claims, then we’ll need more magic and tech to craft a proper counter,” said Dr. Strange, having finished his tests on the device.

“I’ve seen Emma Frost naked too. I take her claims seriously,” said Tony.

“Serious enough to open Stark Industries’ network to Professor Xavier?” Scott retorted, shooting him a bemused glance. “Last I heard, he and Danger need the extra bandwidth to widen his search with Cerebro.”

“Don’t push it,” said Tony with a bemused grin. “Even the power of naked women has limits.”

That remark earned Tony a few more glares, but it didn’t stop Scott from channeling his tactical skills, nor did it make Dr. Strange less determined to keep the realms intact. With the trackers now secure, they could start a larger, more coordinated effort. Thanks X-Corp’s many connections, they could get the X-Men, the Avengers, SHIELD, and the Fantastic Four involved. There were a lot of moving parts to such a strategy, but it all came back to the same target in Madelyne Pyror.

Had it been any other threat, Jean would’ve lingered. Instead, she found herself needing space from the evolving chaos. The idea that they were planning this massive effort against her clone left her with plenty of distressing feelings. She didn’t doubt that the Goblin Queen was a threat. She just struggled with the idea that such a threat came from her blood.

While the men began planning, she tactfully slipped away, hoping to get some fresh air. She trusted her husband to formulate a strategy. She only questioned whether she was ready for any strategy against a clone of hers. She might not have time to prepare herself.

As Jean contemplated the prospect of facing her clone, she passed through the sealed doors that led into X-Corp’s medical wing. Waiting in the wings, leaning back against the cold metal walls, was Emma Frost. It looked like she’d been waiting for her.

“Leaving the men to their own devices, are we?” Emma said to her. “Like that has ever gone horribly wrong.”

“Emma,” Jean said, stopping in the middle of the hall. “I thought you’d be resting. Or working on your own plans with your own people. That is what you said you’d do when you stormed off.”

“No need to remind me, darling. I know how I conduct myself when I’m in a mood.”

“A mood. Right,” said Jean with folded arms. “That’s one way of putting it.”

A tense silence followed. Emma scoffed and turned away briefly, her demeanor hiding her conflicted state. She’d been quite harsh with her and Scott after her impromptu arrival. She didn’t seem quite as harsh now – likely thanks, in part, to her romp with Scott – but Jean remained unconvinced.

“Normally, I’d respond with something snarky and trite,” Emma said, “but I’m trying not to be a bitch this time.”

“Try a little harder,” Jean muttered.

“And I concede that greater cooperation will improve our chances. The last thing I want to do is give that redheaded bitch any advantages. No offense.”

“None taken…for what that’s worth,” sighed Jean.

“It is worth something to me, Jean,” said Emma in a more serious tone, “because – and don’t make light of this – that woman came very close to breaking me. I spent a good chunk of my adult life hardening my soul. It took me so far. It helped me become the White Queen. But after just one encounter with the Goblin Queen…”

Emma stopped herself. Her usual poise faltered and her voice cracked. It was the first hint of vulnerability she’d shown towards Jean since she arrived. She still tried to hide it, but her emotions got the best of her.

Jean took on a less apprehensive stance. She sensed a very damaged woman before her. Madelyne did some horrible things to her. She assumed what Emma described was only a fraction of the horror she experienced. At the same time, the former White Queen maintained a determined strength. Even if she was a bitch, Jean still respected that.

“I’m sorry, Emma,” Jean said, offering the other woman a comforting gesture.

“Don’t, Jean,” Emma said, swatting it away. “You’re too damn compassionate, as it is.”

“I can’t help it. It’s part of who I am,” Jean said with a light smile.

“And I’m not used to that. You and Scott – people who are so damned decent and understanding – I haven’t had influences like that in my life. Some of that’s my fault, but the outcome is the same. I’m going to be callous and cold to the world around me. That worked for me before. But now…”

Emma’s words trialed off again, but with less strain in her voice. She cast Jean a look different from the cold, harsh gaze she’d given everyone since her arrival. It was somewhat jarring, but welcome.

She seemed genuinely conflicted. She really wasn’t used to people like her and Scott. They were helping her, listening to her, and even offering to comfort her in her desire to get back at the Goblin Queen. Moreover, they were doing so without anyone paying, coercing, or extorting them.

The idea of two people being understanding, compassionate, and caring seemed so radical. It reflected the world she’d come from, most prominently in the Hellfire Club. That same world had failed her and she suffered because of it. Jean almost felt sorry for her, even though it didn’t excuse her attitude.

“Emma, we’re not asking you to do more than you’re willing to offer,” Jean said, “but if you need more from us…”

“Need is not a good choice of words, right now,” said the former White Queen strongly. “The only thing I need now is the Goblin Queen dead, defeated, or utterly erased from existence. It’s what I want that has me so conflicted.

“I see. That’s a bit harder to determine,” she conceded, recalling the grim details of how Madelyne tortured her.

“Don’t remind me. I’m a telepath too. I know how often people confuse want with need. And I didn’t used to be one of them. I really thought I wanted to dominate the Hellfire Club as White Queen. Then, the Goblin Queen happened. Now, I don’t know what the hell I want anymore.

“But you’re starting to contemplate it, aren’t you?” Jean retorted.

“Why do you say that?” Emma said dryly. “Is that what every woman contemplates after she sleeps with your husband?

“Not every woman. Just more than you think.”

Emma finally cracked a smile. Jean even laughed a bit. She and Scott had developed a healthy sense of humor about the flexible nature of their marriage. Not everyone got it, but Emma appreciated it more than most.

That single smile helped lighten the mood. Emma remained reluctant to accept direct comfort, but she settled for coy humor. It gave Jean her first indication that Emma Frost wasn’t completely cold-hearted. She might have despised the Goblin Queen, but getting her vengeance wasn’t the only desire driving her. She wouldn’t have slept with Scott if it were.

Jean remained uncertain about the former White Queen. The SHIELD file on her and the Hellfire Club revealed a distressing history, one full of sex, greed, and selfish ambition. At the same time, Jean sensed the woman standing before her wasn’t the same woman she’d read about in that file. Emma said it herself. Madelyne Pryor had a profound impact on her. What that meant for her – as well as whether she could be trusted – was not yet clear.

Certain or not, Jean was prepared to give her a chance. Any woman who slept with Scott Summers deserved as such.

“But seriously, Emma,” Jean said after a brief silence. “Who you were before doesn’t matter nearly as much as who you are now. You came to us. You’re helping us confront the Goblin Queen. That tells me a lot about you.”

“Yeah. It says I’m a vindictive bitch who’s enjoys sleeping with married men,” Emma said dryly.

“Then, it’s a good thing my husband is so skilled at satisfying vindictive bitches. If he weren’t, then we wouldn’t be talking. And you wouldn’t reek of Scott’s aftershave.”

“He uses way too much, by the way.”

“I don’t disagree,” said Jean, maintaining a serious tone, “but he never would’ve done it if he didn’t sense something in you…something beyond the vindictive bitch seeking revenge on my clone.

“You sure it wasn’t just my tits and ass?” The former White Queen questioned.

“Yes, Emma. I’m sure. And just by talking to you, I’m sure too.”

That caught the former White Queen by surprised. She even cast Jean a raised eyebrow, clearly not used to anyone seeing beyond her cold demeanor or voluptuous figure. It must have been even more jarring to get this from a woman who just had sex with her husband.

In another life, it might have been a major source of contention. Thanks to her and Scott’s unique perspective on life, love, and connection, it didn’t have to be an issue. If anything, it offered Jean an insight that even psychic abilities couldn’t mirror.

“I don’t think you’re as cold as you pretend to be,” Jean said as she continued to scrutinize the other woman before her.

“You think I’m pretending?” Emma asked apprehensively.

“I think those influences you mentioned earlier made that redundant,” she answered. “But you’re here, now. Scott and I will continue to do our part, just as you’ve done yours. But if you want better influences in your life, at some point you have to make that choice. I won’t even claim Scott and I are the best.”

“You’re already better than most,” Emma conceded, “which, for me, that’s not saying much.”

“But Scott and I are willing to play that role, if we must. For what you went through at the hands of the Goblin Queen – my clone, no less – I’ll accept a greater burden, if necessary.”

“It’s not,” Emma said. “I already know you’re not her. And you’re nothing like her. Even I’m not that petty.”

“Be that as it may, we’ll still make the effort. But only if you make yours.”

Jean let Emma mull over that idea. She didn’t expect an immediate answer. The fact she didn’t immediately scoff at the notion was encouraging. It convinced Jean even more that there was more to Emma Frost than her burning hatred of the Goblin Queen.

If they were to stand a chance against someone like her, she needed that to be the case. During her time with the X-Men, Jean had seen what happened to those motivated primarily by blind hatred. It was a short-term benefit with a long-term cost. She and Scott refused to be that short-sighted in dealing with the Goblin Queen.

Madelyne Pryor was a byproduct of their choices. It was their responsibility to confront her. If they were to secure the best possible outcome, Emma Frost had to be part of that effort as well. Despite her cold persona, even Emma understood that. By just being around her and Scott, she even seemed to appreciate it.

“You’re still annoyingly compassionate, Jean,” Emma said, cracking another smile. “You and your husband.”

“I know,” Jean said teasingly.

“But I don’t think I’m ready to make that choice just yet. Right now, taking down the Goblin Queen is my top priority.”

“Ours too,” said Jean, “but it’s okay to contemplate other priorities. You’ve already come this far. You’re in a position to choose a new path when all is said and done.”

“Yes. That prospect isn’t lost on me,” said Emma as she followed Jean out of the lab. “And it has plenty of appeal. Assuming we triumph over your evil clone, I may dare to dream a bit. It’s been a long time since I charted my own future. I won’t let anything or anyone derail me again!

Xavier Institute for Higher Learning – War Room

‘Sentinels…demons…the Goblin Queen…Apocalypse…an assassination…a betrayal…so many fractures in time!’

Professor Charles Xavier was aghast. As the world’s most powerful telepath, he’d sensed many horrible things in many disturbed minds. Twisted thoughts, perverse feelings, and traumatic memories had put plenty of strain on his hardened mind. None had ever left him this shaken.

Disturbingly, it came straight form the mind of his youngest student, Kitty Pryde. Earlier, just as he’d alerted the X-Men to an emergency call from Scott and Jean Grey-Summers, she came to him with Storm bearing a most unusual development. She claimed her future self had projected her mind into the distant path, a feat he didn’t think possible, even with advanced telepathy. Then, she gave him permission to read her mind and he saw it.

It started with an assassination.

It escalated with an attack on the Goblin Queen’s base in England.

It devolved into chaos when Sentinels and demons flew through the sky, attacking anyone in their path.

Timelines became fractured. The very integrity of reality started to falter. It had all unfolded in young Kitty’s memory. He tried to share some of the grim details with his X-Men. Words and thoughts failed even his brilliant mind.

“My God…” Xavier gasped as mental images of demons and goblins flew over a dystopian landscape.

“Yeah. It’s really that bad, Professor,” said young Kitty Pryde, whose older self went by Kate.

“We failed. We did everything in our power to stop Trask and the Goblin Queen. But we failed!”

“It wasn’t just her. It wasn’t just the X-men, either,” Kate told him. “A lot went wrong on that day…or will go wrong. I’m sorry. I’m still getting used to this time.”

It was a lot to take in, even for him. Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine, who’d already suited up for the mission, struggled just as much to make sense of it all. Wolverine had been pacing throughout the room, drinking what must have been his third bottle of whiskey. Nightcrawler and Colossus just stood in stunned silence while Storm sat next to Kate, trying her best to maintain her poise as the X-Men’s leader. Even she struggled to take it all in.

Xavier had to stop his telepathic probe. He had seen too much, already. Kate’s memories weren’t clear on everything, but they were plenty vivid. She’d lived through the battle that was set to unfold. She saw how it played out, what it cost them, and why it led to such a terrible future. Even though her mind was that of an old woman, she shared these experiences through the body of a teenage girl.

Many terrible moments stood out in Kate’s memory. For Xavier, the worst was how their actions on this day ultimately doomed his dream. The choices they made, the consequences of those choices, and the resulting recourse would take them beyond the point of no return. Peace would no longer be possible. Hate, fear, and war would consume the world.

Worst of all, there was nothing they could’ve done. Everything they did was done with the best of intentions. They made every choice with the best information they had at the time. Even so, it wasn’t enough. Devious forces, along with equally devious figures, had set them up. Even if they won the battle, they would ultimately lose the war.

Charles Xavier never could’ve imagined it going so wrong. His dream was set to die today and his X-Men would play a part in killing it. The entire war room lingered in a state of horrified silence. Finally, Storm attempted to console their mentor.

“Charles…” she said, placing her hand on his shoulder.

“I’ll be fine, Storm. I just…need a moment,” said the Professor.

“Take several, Professor,” said Nightcrawler, still overwhelmed by the revelations. “What she described was horrible enough.”

“A future of Sentinels, mutant interment camps, demon invasions, and some crazy bitch in black rags…hell, I don’t know how it could be worse,” said Wolverine before gulping down another half-bottle of whiskey.

“And we played a part in making it worse. That is what troubles me most,” Storm lamented.

“That’s barely half-true, Storm,” Kate said. “The X-Men did everything they could. It just wasn’t enough. There was just no way you could’ve known the Goblin Queen’s entire plan.”

“And it’s a hell of a plan!” said Wolverine. “It’s not enough she’s messin’ up timelines. She’s gotta throw in an assassination while she’s at it. Senator Kelly is a prick, but using him to turn the world against us…she’s fucking crazy!”

“Crazy, but cunning. She set it up so that she wins in the future, even if we defeat her in the past. She didn’t care if she destroyed everything, including the timeline. Nothing was going to stop her.”

Kate painted a very dire picture, as though her memories weren’t vivid enough. It was deeply distressing to Professor Xavier and his X-Men, seeing their failure play out before the battle even began. It struck them on all on a personal level, but some felt it more than others.

As terrible as it was, seeing the chaos the Goblin Queen had unleashed, one detail hung out more than most for Colossus. The revelation that his sister, now wielding a magic sword and going by the title, Magik, left him visibly shaken. The usually strong and poised Russian nearly broke down, seeing his once-innocent younger sister partake in so much carnage.

If Kate’s vision was accurate, the Illyana hadn’t just aged since her mysterious disappearance. She’d been wholly corrupted, taking on a more demonic appearance. Others called her the Darkchylde. He just saw his beloved sister corrupted by this evil woman.

“I might need more time to make sense of this,” said Colossus, his head buried in his hands. “This future you speak of – in it, my sister is alive! That means she’s alive now!”

“There are quite a few gaps in my memory,” Kate said, “but – assuming the timeline hasn’t completely unraveled – yes, Peter. Illyana’s alive.”

“That means…I can still save her,” he said, strength emerging from his shock. “When she disappeared along with our parents, I thought I failed her. Now, I have a chance!”

“Yes, but please don’t get ahead of yourself,” Kate said. “I’ve seen how things played out for her. We all tried to save her. It did not end well.”

“I don’t care! I’m going to save her this time! We know the future now, do we not? Is that not enough to change it?”

“I wish it were, Peter,” said Storm, attempting to calm her friend, “but I doubt Kate would be here if her mere presence were enough.”

“You’re already thinking like a time traveler, Storm,” Kate said. “You always knew how to adapt on the fly. We’re gonna need that if we’re going to change history…and save multiple timelines, in the process.”

“No pressure, indeed,” Nightcrawler commented.

A tense, but hopeful mood settled over the X-Men. Kate’s vision of terrible futures and decaying timelines was abhorrent, but the revelations she’d shared provided critical insight. They knew how that their initial response to the Goblin Queen was not enough. They now had a chance to change their plan of attack, as well as the future.

Charles Xavier, still reeling from what he witnessed, regained his composure. He looked to his X-Men with new resolve. They could not make light of this chance. They had to succeed where they had ultimately failed. Thinking back to what they faced, including the complications brought on by Project Wideawake and Senator Kelly, he reassessed the X-Men’s approach towards salvaging his dream.

“Everything that happens – or will happen – it all comes back to the Goblin Queen,” Xavier said with renewed strength. “She set everything up. Killing Senator Kelly…triggering Project Wideawake…leaving mutants and humans teams divided.”

“And doing serious damage to every superhero team from the Avengers to SHIELD,” Kate added. “Apparently, their public support of X-Corp really worked against them. I remember more than one riot at Avengers Mansion.”

“It leaves the whole world vulnerable when she invades as the Apocalypse Queen. You say we subdued her on this day. But we did not defeat her.”

“So what? We just gotta be more thorough this time,” said Wolverine, drawing his claws to emphasize his point.

Normally, Xavier hesitated to embrace Wolverine’s approach in confronting dangerous threats. The Goblin Queen might qualify as one of those rare exceptions, but he remained reluctant. Someone as determined as her was not going down easily.

“I wish it were that simple,” said Kate. “A big part of the problem was how we subdued her. We just found her and attacked. We tried to overwhelm her, not knowing what else she had planned.”

“So, to change the outcome, we must also change our method of attack,” Storm reasoned, taking a more tactical approach. “That means saving Senator Kelly from assassination.”

“Damn. That’s gonna be bittersweet,” Wolverine commented.

“It’s also necessary. And I can help with that,” said Kate sternly.

“Child, I think you’ve done enough,” Storm told her, attempting to hold her back.”

“Hey! I may be in a teenager’s body, but I’m no child,” Kate said, casting off Storm’s gesture. “Technically, I’ve got more combat experience than everyone in this room.”

“But Kitten, if your presence is as vital as you claim, then is it not wise to keep you safe?” Nightcrawler responded. “If something were to happen to you…

“It’ll mess everything up even more. I know,” she conceded, albeit begrudgingly. “Believe me, I know better than any of you what’s at stake. And I need to be part of that. It’s the only way to make sure I’ll wake up in a better future.”

She might have said those words in the body of a teenage girl, but they came from someone who’d been hardened by years of battle. Charles Xavier had sensed enough trauma from victims of war and violence to know the signs. Kate Pryde had lived through plenty of untold horrors. She had every incentive to ensure those horrors never came to pass. Being an old mind in a teenage body wasn’t going to stop that.

Storm and Nightcrawler picked up on it too. They stopped trying to dissuade her. They couldn’t see her as the same cheery girl who coaxed them into spending an afternoon at the mall. She was already part of this mission. She might ultimately be the key to defeating the Goblin Queen.

“But even if we save Senator Kelly, it won’t be enough,” Kate continued. “There’s one part of this battle I can’t directly help with. And that’s the Goblin Queen.”

“Can’t say I blame you, kid,” said Wolverine. “I ain’t looking forward to meeting her.”

“It’s not just that, Wolverine. What the Goblin Queen so dangerous isn’t her tactics. It’s what drives her to begin with. We never learned until much later why she was so tenacious. We attacked her, but not what drove her.”

“And what is it that drives her so?” asked Charles Xavier.

“More importantly, how do we use that to our advantage?” pondered Storm.

Kate had been contemplating that since before Rachel sent her mind into the past. She went with some idea of what they had to do. She and Rachel had even gone over key moments from this fateful day, noting which needed to change.

As Kate recalled those moments, her gaze drifted towards the pictures posted on the walls in the War Room. They depicted past teams of X-Men, going back to the original five that included Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Beast, and Iceman. In the pictures, they were all smiling. They still had so much hope, optimism, and passion for the future. And today, if nothing changed, those sentiments would die.

Her gaze then narrowed on Scott and Jean Grey-Summers. Much of what was set to transpire revolved around them. They were destined to play an instrumental role in the Goblin Queen’s agenda, as well as the future it led to. They had to play a similar role in averting that future.

‘Life, love, and connection. They bring out the best in us. But they also reveal the worst in others. Attack that before you attack the person. It’ll reveal whether all is truly lost.’

Still looking at the picture, Kate’s demeanor hardened. Turning back towards the X-Men, she noted the time. The events leading to that dark future were already unfolding.

“Since time’s a factor, I can’t get into all the details,” Kate said, “but I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t have a plan. One involves saving Senator Kelly. The other involves retrieving something that’ll be critical in stopping the Goblin Queen. “

“That sounds ambitious,” said Storm, encouraged by Kate’s resolve. “We may require some assistance.”

“I’ve already put in a call to Sunfire, Rogue, Banshee, and Dazzler,” said Xavier. “I was going to send them to X-Corp to act as backup.”

“Well, you’d better call them back,” said Kate. “We need to adjust our battle plan, but not too much. If we do things too differently, that could disrupt the timeline even more.

“As if it ain’t fucked up enough already,” said Wolverine under his breath.

Kate, her mind still racing, turned towards Colossus. He was still reeling after the revelations about his sister. As shaken as he was, she still saw in him the same strength she remembered. It almost broke her heart, knowing what might ultimately change because they altered the course of history. She hid that inner conflict behind a stoic gaze, knowing that changing the future could change more than the outcome of this battle.

“And yes, Peter. Part of that plan involves saving your sister,” Kate told him, offering a friendly touch.

“Good,” he said, putting his large hand atop hers, “because I will not lose her again!”

“That’s going to be difficult,” she warned, “and to do that, you’ll need the right tool for the job.”

Assured of Colossus’ resolve, she turned towards back towards the War Room computer. With poise and competence that seemed unbefitting of a teenage girl, she activated the main database. Even after so many years, she remembered the Xavier Institute’s controls perfectly. It impressed her fellow X-Men while also highlighting a critical element of their renewed plan.

Once the database opened up, Kate opened a detailed file on Jamaica Bay. The X-Men knew it only as the area where Dr. Corbeau’s shuttle had crashed the night Jean and Scott embraced the power of the Phoenix Force. She knew it as the site of something even more important.

After sifting through the parts of the file everyone knew too well, Kate selected a detailed map of the bay. She then expanded the image so that it filled the entire War Room. She made sure to mark one particular area of interest.

“Storm, you should have what you need to link up with X-Corp when the time comes,” Kate said. “Professor, we need to put together a team to save Senator Kelly. But before we do any of that, we need to make a pit stop in Jamaica Bay.”

“Jamaica Bay? Why there?” asked Nightcrawler curiously.

“Ain’t that where the shuttle crash landed a couple years back?” Wolverine asked.

“Correct,” Kate affirmed, “but that’s not all that crashed there that night. You’ll see what I mean when we get there. But we need to get moving! If my memories are accurate, the Goblin Queen is about to fire the first shot.”

Meanwhile – Limbo

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Nothing was as it should’ve been. That feeling had plagued Magik since the day she crossed paths with the Goblin Queen.

Being dragged to Limbo and taking on the title of Darkchylde had done plenty to darken her soul. The sweet little Russian girl that her brother used to call snowflake was a distant memory. She’d been taught, trained, and hardened to become Magik, a child of Limbo and wielder of the Soul Sword. She could handle that and the damnation that came with it. What neither she, nor anyone else in Limbo, could handle was furthering the perverse desires of the Goblin Queen.

That sickened her more than any demonic presence in Limbo. Even Blackheart, who she battled in her effort to access the Forbidden Gateway, shared that disgust. Every aspect of this effort was an affront to integrity of all realms. Magik could feel that integrity faltering with every attack she launched, drawing Blackheart into a bitter draw.

“I can see the darkness in you, child,” Blackheart seethed, blocking her latest strike with his hulking arm. “It is a false darkness…one born of acts beyond your choosing.”

“So what are you waiting for? Slay the darkness, damn you!” Magik spat, slashing harder with the next attack.

“This is Limbo. And you are a child of Limbo,” he pointed out. “I cannot match you…even with the power granted by Mephisto.”

“Then, what good are you? If you’re not going to kill me or stop me, why bother?”

“Because, if I kill you, I further destabilize the realm. If I let you through, you taint the White Hot Room. There is no recourse! No choice that is our own!”

The creature’s frustration matched hers. They each let out an angry cry as they continued to battle. Magik employed the agility she’d learned at the hands of countless demons, leaping over Blackheart’s tentacle-like limbs and hacking through any that tried to touch her. Blackheart countered by bulking up his form, growing to twice his original size and sprouting four additional arms.

Like a monster on a rampage, Blackheart smashed and swiped his fists. With every move, he tried to drive Magik further from the gate. She continued to frustrate him, evading the targeted attacks while using her teleportation powers to escape the large ones. Her mastery of both her mutant abilities and her skills as the Darkchylde was impressive.

However, she took no satisfaction in such a feat. Nothing she did was born of her own hopes and desires. Every choice she made was pre-determined by someone else. She wasn’t a puppet, but she wasn’t free, either. It left the young Russian girl torn as she attempted to end the battle.

“I hate it too. Believe me!” Magik said angrily as she hacked off one of Blackheart’s limbs.

“Argh! I do not believe you,” Blackheart said, falling back after that blow.

“It doesn’t matter. If there’s no hope, then why bother?” she continued as she hacked off more limbs.

She let out more angry cries as she slashed away, cutting through Blackheart’s hulking form. He tried to counter by surrounding her with his blackish flesh from all sides. She just teleported away, appeared above him, and hit back with a devastating slash from her Soul Sword. It was her most devastating blow yet.

“AUGGHHH!” Blackheart howled.

The creature fell back, landing not far from the Forbidden Gate. He was not yet defeated, but clearly not strong enough to stop her. He rose back up, now hovering off the ground. He was back in his original form, but was clearly wounded. He kept sneering and snarling, his glowing red eyes scolding Magik with hellish hate. He expected to fall by her hands. She could sense it in him. She was about to slay Blackheart and carry out Blackheart’s wishes.

In that moment, something came to her. Magik, still gripping the Soul Sword, poised for one more attack, came to a painful realization.

“If we cannot choose the outcome, then we might as well choose the means,” she said. “It may very well be the last choice I freely make.”

Blackheart’s hateful gaze shifted, becoming suspicious and curious. Magik, in an act unbefitting of a Darkchylde about to triumph, let go of her sword and abandoned her attack. In any other battle, it would’ve been a foolish ploy. Blackheart would’ve slayed her where she stood. Given the state of the realms and the chaos surrounding them, he simply watched her approach.

“You’re a demon. You make deals, yes?” she asked plainly.

“I am far more than that! My being, purpose, and nature is tied to that of demons,” Blackheart answered.

“That is close enough for me. Here is my offer.”

Channeling what remained of her will and her soul, Magik stripped naked in front of the menacing creature. She didn’t try to tempt him with innocence or vulnerability. She just removed the black, leather-like attire that included her top, her boots, and her pants.

Once all had been removed, she set them aside along with the Soul Sword. She then moved in closer, displaying her naked body to Blackheart fully. She still had the distinct markings and features of the Darkchylde, but she also had the body of a teenage girl. She might not have been pure, but it was appealing enough for any demonic creature.

“Take me. Ravage me however you please,” Magik offered, gesturing towards her body. “In exchange, you let me through. And you take with you a piece of the Darkchilde’s soul.”

“That is…a menial offer,” said Blackheart, even as he drooled over her mortal sex.

“But it’s still an offer,” she pointed out. “I’ve lived in Limbo. I know how demons work. A piece of any soul – even a Darkchylde – is of great value. Take it. And you can go back to your master with something of worth.”

“You speak as though your soul has that much value.”

“It may not,” Magik admitted, “but it’s a choice I can make willingly. Is that alone not worth value to you?”

The creature just looked at her strangely, still suspicious and resentful. Blackheart knew on some level that neither of them could win this battle. They were only fighting because the Goblin Queen had caused such immense chaos to her world, Limbo, and every other connected realm. She was in control of everything. They were just stuck playing a role.

The act of resolving the battle on their terms had some inherent appeal. Sex with a young mortal woman had plenty of appeal as well. She was no innocent virgin. She’d been ravaged plenty of times by demons and the Goblin Queen’s army of well-endowed creatures. That left her body and soul quite worn.

“You’re really that willing?” said Blackheart with a mix of disgust and intrigue.

“Yes, Blackheart. I am,” Magik affirmed.

Her tone left no room for ambiguity. Magik was fully prepared to darken her soul even more. After everything she’d done at the hands of the Goblin Queen, what was one more? At the very least, she had some say in this perverse act. Blackheart seemed to recognize that too. As the twisted merit of her offer resonated, the creature sifted his body again.

He retracted all the limbs and tendrils he’d used to attack her. His stature returned to the one he had when he first appeared. As his blackish flesh stabilized, he formed a new appendage between his legs. It was a long, slithering penis. Like a living creature, it quickly stiffened into an erect form, its size and length displayed for Magik to see. If it was supposed to dissuade her, it didn’t work.

“The value of such a choice is most underappreciated…even in Hell,” Blackheart told her, his slithering cock hovering just a few inches from her body.

“So, we have a deal?” Magik asked, undeterred by such a sight.

Blackheart sneered again, his eyes still flashing briefly. Then, they changed color, becoming more pinkish. In doing so, Magik felt a wave of energy hit her. She recognized it as a demonic lust spell, often used to send the bodies of young women into a state of uncontrolled sexual arousal. She already felt its effects, her inner thighs becoming moist with arousal.

“I accept your offer, Darkchylde,” Blackheart told her. “Just know that this act is most bittersweet, even for demons.”

“Shut up and get it over with,” said Magik flatly, all too familiar with what came next.

Blackheart answered with a demonic snarl, showing just a much disdain for their predicament. Never-the-less, he secured the deal. He followed his demonic lust to ravage the Russian girl.

He began by grabbing her wrists with his powerful hands, his demonic flesh clashing with her very human skin. He then lifted her up off the ground, holding her arms up over her head so that she was powerless to stop what came next. From there, a dozen new tentacle-like appendages shot out from Blackheart’s body. Some slithered around her arms and torso, as if to caress her naked flesh. Most wrapped around her legs and pulled them apart, clearing a path to her pussy.

Most mortal women were terrified. Magik had already proved that she was not most women. With a stoic and determined demeanor, she locked eyes with Blackheart. The effects of his demonic power and penetrating gaze intensified, putting her in a state of intense sexual arousal. Blackheart didn’t take much satisfaction in her state. He just kept scowling at her while that slithering cock between his legs guided itself towards her entrance.

“Don’t enjoy this too much, mortal!” Blackheart sneered.

“Speak for yourself,” Magik muttered.

The creature let out an angry growl before pushing his cock inside her. He was not gentle, even by demon standards. Keeping a firm grasp on her wrists, Blackheart elevated her body so that she was at eye-level with him. As his phallic flesh began slithering inside her vagina, he began hammering into with furious lust.

In short order, the pace intensified. Magik shuddered with every thrust, Blackheart’s demonic cock leaving no nerve inside her unstruck. Up and down, he bounced her along his cock, her inner folds slithering along the blackish flesh. It caused both pleasure and pain, tormenting and tantalizing her. At the same time, more of Blackheart’s tendrils slithered around her upper body, like tongues tasting her naked flesh. A couple focused right on her nipples, causing more intense sensations that caused her to gasp loudly.

“Oahhhhhh!” Magik cried out, as if to let Limbo know she was being ravaged by a demon.

Blackheart let out a similar sneer, narrowing his gaze on her and making her look him in the eye. While she was moaning, he extended his snake-like tongue into her mouth, forcing her to taste his foul flesh. Magik did so willingly, knowing that was one of the critical ways demons enjoyed ravaging mortal women. They didn’t like it when they closed their eyes and tried to shut them out. They wanted the women to see the face of the demon ravaging them.

Magik, having fucked her share of demons, just stared back as Blackheart tasted her body. It was overwhelming, like being infected by a mass of malicious flesh, tainting her body and soul with these dark feelings. He kept stepping up the pace, bouncing her body harder and faster along his dick. It became hard to tell whether his dick was actually moving or if it was all from the hip thrusting. Her entire world quickly devolved into a chaotic daze of pleasure, pain, and various sensations that only manifested in Limbo.

However, the extent of their demonic sex still wasn’t enough for Blackheart. Magik remained immune to the terror and vulnerability that often consumed lesser souls. For a demon, that was hardly satisfying enough for their dark lusts.

In a fit of frustration, Balckheart formed another penis between his legs of similar size and shape. Then, just like the first, it guided itself towards Magik’s lower body. While the first one was still pumping into her pussy, the other one snaked around her thigh, pressed up against her asshole, and shoved itself into her.

“Nngh!” Magik gasped at the sudden feeling of anal penetration.

“Your flesh…so tainted,” Blackheart snarled as he fucked both her holes, “and yet…purity lingers.”

His words barely registered. Magik just grit her teeth and grunted harder, not once breaking eye-contact with Blackheart. Her gaze only hardened as he fucked her harder, pumping both throbbing cocks into her holes, filling her young body with his demonic flesh.

As her body rocked and trembled, the chaotic sensations began to accumulate. Magik knew all too well what that meant. It was that critical threshold when the body betrayed the mind. The line between the soul and flesh completely diverged. This demonic figure was fucking her with hatred, malice, and greed. He was going to make her climax, despite her inherent distrust. It was meant to be torture, turning mortal women into slaves of flesh. For Magik, it was just a formality.

While she neared that dark threshold, the Forbidden Gate behind them grew more active. A new energy formed around it, taking on a bright pinkish aura that resembled the M’Kraan Crystal. It also began to shake, showing signs of instability. It quickly spread to the rest of the realm, as though Magik’s actions had caused even greater unrest in Limbo.

It was worrying. She might have been making things worse, daring to exercise some desires of her own. Magik still couldn’t bring herself to care. She was already a child of Limbo. She was prepared to darken her body as much as her sole.

“Come on! Ravage me!” Magik yelled, her voice thick with anger and lust. “Fuck me like a demon whore!”

“I shall, Darkchylde! I shall!” Blackheart seethed.

She was close to her demonic climax. She sensed Blackheart closing in as well. He continued snarling and seething at her, as if trying to burn away whatever purity she had left inside her. Magik doubted there was anything left to burn away. She’d already been damned to a special kind of hell, serving the desires of the Goblin Queen. Any lingering purity inside her had no value.

Blackheart, still frustrated by her lack of mortal feebleness, got extra rough for the final push. As his dicks pumped harder into her pussy and ass, he guided several of the tentacles around her upper body to her mouth, making her suck them as though they were dicks. He also squeezed her breasts firmer, pushed her legs further apart, and pinned her down to the floor so that he was completely on top of her.

She was now completely at his mercy, but she still did not tremble with fear or despair. She kept matching his dark gaze, bracing for the coming climax. It was now clear that he could not break her. At most, he was going to seal the deal with his sex.

“I…am ready!” Blackheart exclaimed.

“Mmf! Me…too!” Magik said, her voice muffled by dick-shaped tendrils.

“I will fill you…with my demon cum! As you come too…our deal is final!”

“Ungh! I know the rules! Do it, already!” she barked.

The frustration boiled over, as did the sensations. In that moment, Blackheart’s expression finally faltered. Magik watched his face contort with perverse pleasure as he achieved a demonic orgasm. It effectively sealed their deal, completing his utter domination over her body.

What followed from there was both overwhelming and messy. His two throbbing, snake-like cocks tensed inside her pussy and ass. Together, they sprayed a thick load of hot cum into her depths. Demon cum always came in larger volumes and with unique effects. It was meant to burn the insides of a woman down to her soul, marking her as one who’d given into the darkest of lusts.

In addition, it effectively triggered an orgasm within her. However, it wasn’t a typical orgasm, achieved through passion and desire. It was forced like a reflex, her body hijacked in a daze of dark lust. Magik felt it before. She felt it again, her inner muscles contracting while hot waves of pleasure washed over her. It was born of perverse darkness, but the effects were the same.

“Hnnaahhhhh!” Magik moaned out.

She lingered in that dark orgasmic state, the line between pleasure, pain, and revulsion utterly blurred. Blackheart kept her pinned, watching her writhe under him until the feeling passed. His cocks stayed deep inside her, still slithering slightly to ensure every last drop filled her. Even after such ravenous sex, her soul remained hardened. Neither she nor Blackheart could draw much satisfaction from their act. Once again, only the Goblin Queen’s desires could be met.

‘Ravaged by a demon again. This should bother me. This should disgust me to no end. And yet…’

Blackheart didn’t say a word. He just lingered on top of her, having tainted her body and soul. The deal was complete. He had what she offered. It still did not suffice. Demons were rarely satisfied, even after sex with a moral. However, they did prioritize holding up their end of a deal. Having done her part, he finally withdrew his cock and released her from her grasp.

“Our transaction is complete. I have marked the piece of your soul I seek to take,” Blackheart said flately.

“What’s left of it, I’m sure,” Magik muttered, catching her breath while wiping some fluid from her face and.

“Do not overlook a soul’s worth, Darkchylde,” the demonic figure retorted. “For even a tainted soul, there is value. You will learn that lesson in due time. Mark my word.”

His words were ominous, as was his bitter undertone. Demons, especially the kind who reported to Mephisto, rarely left a conflict with loose ends. There was always another agenda at work. If that were the case, it was likely too late. Magik had received enough lessons from demons.

Blackheart still honored the basics of the deal. He disappeared into a shadowy mist the second he stepped back from her naked body. Magik, still sore and disheveled, returned to her feet and gathered her clothes. She got dressed quickly, not caring that she still reeked of sweat and demon cum. She’d given away yet another part of her soul to a demon. Now, she was about to continue serving the Goblin Queen, whose desires only caused more chaos.

Once dressed, Magik approached the Forbidden Gateway. It still radiated the same pinkish energy that had begun earlier. Looking up at it, she could sense its power, as well as its unique energy signature.

It knew what she desired. At the same time, it also knew her desires had been corrupted. It caused parts of the gateway to crack and shutter, the prospect of more chaos sending tremors throughout the realms.

“The Goblin Queen’s desires scare demons and damage hell,” Magik mused. “Perhaps I am beyond damned. At the very least, I will have plenty of company soon enough.”

Bowing her head low, bitter and resolved to her fate, Magik put the Soul Sword back in its sheath. She then made her way into the gate, causing more tremors with every step. She could hear the cries of countless demons screeching out in horror, decrying the damage she’d done and the mayhem she was about to unleash.

Those cries lingered as the gateway transported her across the realm, sending her through a tunnel-like path that carried her across space and time. It was like falling into a pit, tumbling down various paths, but ultimately reaching the center. In this case, the center was a crystalline barrier that stood between her and the nexus of all creation.

“The M’Kraan barrier…the White Hot Room…it’s so beautiful,” Magik said, hiding her awe as she approached, “and the Goblin Queen wants me to taint it.”

That bitter realization rendered her unable to admire its beauty or respect its power. Despite knowing the dire consequences of attacking the very heart of creation, Magik drew her Soul Sword as she neared the barrier. She continued fighting with all her might, searching for one last ounce of strength to resist the Goblin Queen’s hold on her.

It was no use. As Magik arrived at the barrier, she did exactly as Madelyne instructed.

“Mama…papa…big brother…forgive me,” Magik said solemnly. “I fear no one else will.”

Through bitter anguish and grit, she struck the M’Kraan barrier with the Soul Sword. The resulting impact sent shockwaves in all directions through every realm. The whole of creation shuddered as parts of the wall began to crack, causing chaotic fires to shoot out from within.

It set the heart of all things ablaze. Magik could only watch on, dreading whatever came next and fearing for whoever got caught up in it.

X-Corp Headquarters


It happened so suddenly. Everything had been tense enough at X-Corp’s Headquarters. Scott and Jean were hard at work, coordinating with friends and allies on a plan of attack against the Goblin Queen. Then, without warning, he and Jean let out pained cries as their bodies became consumed by Phoenix fire.

Scott had been at a communications hub with Dr. Strange, Tony Stark, Iceman, and Angel, talking to the Avengers and the Fantastic Four about organizing their efforts. Jean had been with Beast and Emma Frost in another room, reaching out to SHIELD in hopes of securing their assistance. Everything seemed to be moving quickly. It had to if they were to get the jump on the Goblin Queen. It seemed it was too late for that.

“The fires of creation…the foundation of all things…broken!” Scott groaned as he fell to the floor.

“So broken! So much chaos!” Jean cried out.

Swirls of cosmic flame shot out from their bodies. Their eyes flashed with a fiery orange halo, causing the lights to flicker and the systems to crash in light of the chaos. It was as though something had attacked and wounded them from afar. Through the Phoenix Force, they knew where it came from and they felt the pain.

Everyone in the area immediately fell back and took cover. Tony, not wearing his Iron Man suit, got behind Dr. Strange while he formed barriers. Iceman created ice shields for him and Angel on the other side of the room. As they tried to make sense of this unexpected surge, they watched as Scott levitated into the air, more flames shooting out in all directions and blowing away anything in its path

“Whoa! What the hell happened?” Bobby exclaimed in confusion.

“This better not be from the surgery, Stark!” Angel barked, looking over towards Tony.

“It sure as hell shouldn’t be!” Tony replied, shielding his eyes from the fiery display.

“It isn’t, my friends. It’s worse!” Dr. Strange said, the Eye of Agamotto already revealing the truth.

As Scott hovered in the fiery whirlwind, Jean stumbled in with Emma and Beast, blowing out a wall in the process. Like him, she was surrounded in a raptor-like halo, writhing and thrashing about. It was as though someone or something was attacking her. More pained cries indicated that attack was intensifying.

“No! It’s happening again!” Jean cried out. “The corruption of our flames…I feel it!”

“I see you’re dealing with a similar disturbance,” Beast commented as he and Emma kept their distance.

“As if the tortured screaming didn’t give it away,” said Iceman, expanding his ice wall so that they could hide behind the barrier too.

“And I know those screams well,” Emma dreaded.

The fiery chaos kept getting worse. Now hovering right next to each other, their respective halos came together to form a larger Phoenix emblem. That same emblem screeched and thrashed about, causing greater damage to walls, ceilings, furniture, and hardware. Parts of the ground even cracked, forcing everyone to fall back even more.

While the Phoenix Force cried in pain, Scott and Jean stopped flailing about and clutched their heads. Their eyes continued to glow brightly, but their expressions became awash in distress and pain. Tears even streamed down their cheeks, the cries of the Phoenix echoing through them. Both they and this powerful force of creation was being hurt. Few forces in the universe could achieve such a feat.

The Sorcerer Supreme knew of those forces all too well. Even without the Eye of Agamotto, he dreaded the implications.

“I see what’s causing them such pain,” he said anxiously. “Someone’s attacking the nexus of creation…the very heart of the Phoenix Force’s fire.”

“Then, we can rightly assume the Goblin Queen is behind this,” Emma Frost surmised.

“We must hurry!” said the Sorcerer Supreme. “We must get them into a containment unit!”

“I’ll prepare the containment brig in my lab,” said Hank, already attempting to work through the issue.

“There’s no time! We must open a portal to a pocket realm before…”

The Sorcerer Supreme didn’t get a chance to finish. Before any of them could help their friends, Scott and Jean became completely consumed in Phoenix fire. The outlines of their bodies was still visible, but the line between them and the cosmic force they had embraced nearly vanished.

Their pain became the Phoenix’s pain and vice versa. Whatever was attacking them – no dobut, the Goblin Queen making her move – they all felt it. They couldn’t escape it, either. Even with all their power and perspectives, they could not avoid whatever awaited them.

“Too late, Doc. It’s already happening,” said Tony, having done the math in his head.

The fiery halo around their bodies grew. The pain and chaos within Phoenix grew with it. They were nearing their breaking point. Scott and Jean tried to reach out to one another, if only to share their strength. It didn’t work. They became hopelessly lost in the flame.

More walls and ceilings gave way, so much so that it blew a sizable hole in the side of the building. Through that hole, the cosmic force shot out into the cloudless night sky, as though answering a beacon. As it ascended to the heavens, it let out an ominous warning through its hosts.

“We are fire! We are life incarnate! We are Phoenix! And we seek…AHHHHHH!”

Their booming voices quickly faded as the Phoenix disappeared into the night, heading northeast at speeds none could hope to match. It left destruction, damage, and confusion in its wake. Wind from the outside blew in, kicking up dust and sand throughout the room.

Tony, Dr. Strange, Emma Frost, Iceman, Beast, and Angel emerged from behind their barriers. They looked out into the night with a mix of dread and shock. They had been preparing for an attack since Emma told them about the Goblin Queen. Despite all their hard work, considerable resources, and powerful connections, it wasn’t enough. The Goblin Queen still found a way to attack them.

It sent a clear message about who they were up against. They were not prepared. Now, they had to save their friends.

“I’m gonna assume this is very bad,” said Iceman, breaking the heavy silence.

“It’s the Goblin Queen. It’s worse than bad,” said Emma, knowing better than most what the Goblin Queen was capable of.

“What the hell is she doing to them?” Angel exclaimed.

“If what she did to me is any indication…I genuinely fear for them,” she said, “and I’m not used to being afraid for the fate of others.”

A dire, yet urgent mood fell over the ruins of X-Corp’s research lab. There was no telling what the Goblin Queen had in store for their friends. Emma had a faint idea, but assumed that devious woman had refined her torment over the past couple years. She might not have had much of a personal connection with Scott and Jean, but even someone as cold as her wouldn’t wish such torment on anyone. That intimate moment she shared with Scott made this even more personal.

As much as she and the others feared for their friends, this was no time to lament. The Goblin Queen had made her first move and struck the first blow. They had to muster a response.

“Stark, tell me those trackers are working!” said Beast urgently.

“Already on it, Beast Man,” said Tony, bringing up the tracker on his phone. “The signal’s erratic, but still coming in. Whatever they’re in for, at least we’ll know where to strike.”

“That’s all I need to know!” said Angel with renewed resolve. “I’ll call the X-Men. You call the Avengers. We all need to assemble for this!”

“I need to make some calls too,” said Emma strongly. “I don’t care how many heroes you call. It might not be enough! “

“I fear you may be right, Ms. Frost,” Dr. Strange said. “The Eye of Agamotto is…”

Before the Sorcerer Supreme could finish, something unexpected happened within his most prized relic. The Eye of Agamotto, which rarely left his neck, flickered with a greenish light. It then radiated a series of string-like sparks and started vibrating erratically. The eyes of Dr. Strange let out similar sparks, the Eye sharing with him some unexpected insight.

While others were already on the move, preparing a response to this surprise attack, Dr. Strange lingered. He gazed out into the night sky through the gaping hole in the wall, grasping the Eye of Agamotto with a mix of uncertainty and intrigue.

“What are you waiting for, Doc? We gotta get a move on!” said Iceman, urging him along.

“I will, Iceman. I just…I sensed something unexpected,” Dr. Strange said distantly.

“Is that also a bad thing? As if we don’t have enough of that?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “The Eye of Agamotto is sensitive to significant shifts within realms. Whether it’s power, energy, or time, it notices when something important emerges. But this…”

The Eye stopped vibrating, but continued flickering. Dr. Strange remained unsure of what he sensed. It was like trying to make out an image through flashes and shadows. He could see a powerful new force acting on this realm, affecting the course of fate that laid before them. Where it came from was unknown, but when it came from might be more relevant.

“The flow of time…bending in one way, but breaking in another,” said the Sorcerer Supreme. “Who or what could be causing this?”

“Figure it out later. Let’s get moving!” said Stark, grabbing Dr. Strange’s shoulder to urge him on. “We got a date with a psycho lady! And trust me. You do not want to be late for that!”

Whilshire, England – Sinister’s Lab

‘With time, patience, and care, a fertile garden will bear the sweetest fruits. I’ve done enough. All the preparations and planning…it’s almost time.’

It was finally happening. All the time, energy, chaos, and control had been leading her to this. From the moment she drew breath, every fiber of her being drove her to complete this critical task. Her creator, Nathanial Essex, made her with a single purpose. She was finally poised to fulfill it, but she intended to do her way.

The stage was set. Her pawns were playing their part, their desires still locked into hers. The lab her creator had built for one purpose had been reconfigured to accommodate hers. She had spent the past two years acquiring resources, making preparations, and taking complete control of this task that had been locked into her being. She was ready and eager to begin the final steps.

Part of that involved dressing appropriately for the occasion. In her private quarters, once occupied by her creator, she stood in front of a full-body mirror. She’d since shed the usual attire she wore as Goblin Queen. With excitement and anticipation, she put on a piece of custom lingerie. It consisted of a black nighty that barely contained her breasts and a matching black thong. She also applied her best makeup, lipstick, and perfume. If she was going to fulfill this one burning desire, she intended to look good while doing it.

“This is it,” she said after finishing her makeup. “Since my very first breath, this is what has driven me. To bear the child of Scott Summers…to birth the ultimate mutant. I’m ready!”

The Goblin Queen took a moment to admire herself in the mirror. Between her sexy attire and having the body of Jean Grey, she had the necessary aesthetics to entice Scott Summers. He was going to like what he saw. It was sure to get his blood flowing in just the right way. If it didn’t, she had alternative methods, some being messier than others.

That was still the easy part, as well as the fun part. It was the secondary factors that might prove challenging. Still standing in front of the mirror, Madelyne lightly rubbed her abdomen.

“It won’t be much longer,” she said to herself. “Soon, I’ll feel it inside me…a child of purpose and destiny.”

Her excitement around finally fulfilling her desire extended to certain body parts as well. There was already a moist feeling between her legs, her body telling her it was ready.

She still intended to facilitate the process. Using her telekinetic abilities, she retrieved several pills from a nearby safe. She recognized them as fertility medicines, specifically formulated by Sinister. She downed all of them with a single gulp, ensuring her womb would be ready for the big moment.

She also retrieved the small vial containing the Legacy Virus, which Dr. Warren had successfully programmed using Sinister’s equipment. Holding it up, the Goblin Queen saw the final key to her success. She would not leave anything to chance. Her creator might have favored letting nature take its course for certain parts of this endeavor. She intended to control everything. Anyone who tried to undermine that control was in for a world of pain.

As the Goblin Queen relished the prospect of completing her purpose, one of her goblin creatures appeared through a small portal. Like an obedient pet, he jumped into her arms and whispered something into her ear. It was incoherent to most, but Madelyne understood perfectly.

“Ah! Thank you, little one,” she said. “We’re right on schedule. My guests of honor are on their way. I’m ready for them too!”

The Goblin Queen casually set the creature aside, allowing it to run off to join the rest of her pawns. She then used her powers to open a fresh portal to Limbo. From it, a distinct figure emerged. While much of her forces, were hard at work playing their part, she still found time to prepare one last addition to her plan. This was the fruit of that extra labor.

“Mmm…it turned out even better than I’d hoped!” Madelyne said as she admired her creation.

The figure that approached was a perfect blend of man, goblin, and genetic clone/husk. She saw it as a much more polished version of her Goblin Studs. However, she made this one with a very distinct taste in mind.

He stood at nearly six-and-a-half feet tall, had flawless masculine flesh on top of well-toned muscles, and a perfect endowment between his legs. Unlike her Goblin Studs, his skin tone was more human. He might have even passed as human, were his face not marked by goblin-like features, glowing red eyes, and a distinct reddish diamond on his forehead. To her, he was still beautiful, a near-perfect blend of Scott Summers’ DNA, Mr. Sinister’s biology, and her goblin’s dark spirit.

Madelyne still placed her hand on his chest, admiring his beauty and his purpose. He reacted with a grin worthy of any monster from Limbo. He was a product of both refinement and ambition. He was also a result of hard lessons learned from her first encounter with Emma Frost. While her Goblin Studs had proven effective with other targets, the Goblin Queen sought a more personal touch for the encounter that awaited.

“My creator had a knack for science. I prefer imagination!” she said eagerly. “My every cell may pine for the intimate touch of Scott Summers. But Jean Grey – the source of my flesh – the foundation of my being – I’m not quite as fond of.”

Saying that name triggered a potent mix of feelings. On some level, she despised being a fleshly copy of Jean Grey. She had the luxury of an intact soul, no pre-determined purpose, and many choices from which to choose. At the same time, she existed because of Jean Grey. She could not define herself without her. She couldn’t be her, but she couldn’t be without her, either.

It was a paradox, of sorts. It left her conflicted since the moment of her creation. It also convinced her that she could not fulfil her purpose without going through that woman. She wasn’t just an obstacle or a rival. Being the love of Scott Summers, she was an inescapable part of her fate. To fully realize her destiny, as well as her desires, she had to confront Jean Grey. That was where this creature came in.

“My kween,” the male figure hissed, smiling at his master’s touch.

“Good boy,” Madelyne said affectionately. “I know whose touch you crave. The blood of Scott Summers, my creator, and my dutiful Goblin Studs flow within you. I promise you’ll have what you seek soon. We both will!”

The devious creature grinned. She could sense him longing to unleash his devious lust on one particular woman. Like her, his desires had been written into his blood. It was so powerful. Jean Grey had no idea what she was in for.

While this all-new, all-different Goblin Stud stood loyally before his queen, other figures like him emerged from the portal. The all bore the same look, poise, and endowment. They also shared the dark, lustful desire for Jean Grey. Like her, they would indulge in that desire soon enough.

“My purpose…my garden…it’s so close, I can taste it!” the Goblin Queen proclaimed. “My body is ready. All else be damned!”

Up next: Dark Realizations

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