The Price of Boredom
Chapter One. Arrival.
Even the bravest of men tremble when madness wears the crown. But beyond madness there is an emotion that drives men beyond fear. For when madness wears the crown men tremble, but when the crown is vexed by boredom men die.
In the Palace of Palaces, in the place that had once been known as New Hampshire, the crown was vexed. The palace covered 100 miles, built from enough black and white marble to ring the planet twice over. Its walls were 100 feet wide and a hundred feet tall. They gleamed in the sun, and an army of slaves worked hard to keep them gleaming. One day the Dark Red One had found a spot on the wall. The next army of slaves used the blood of the old slaves to clean with. Beyond the wall lay a forest filled with dark and dangerous creatures. Scattered through the forest were small cottages, each holding a terrified occupant. Once brave heros and heroines they now led small lives. Stripped of powers, cloths and in some cases sanity, they lived in constant pain and peril. They were often called: "The Lucky Ones".
The main building of the palace was a castle, built from ebony stone and lined with gold trim. Silver runes of immense power glowed in the sun. At points east, west, north and south towers were set that reached a thousand feet in height. Each tower was a different color. To the east was red, to the north blue, to the south gray and to the west violet. Inside the castle were nearly 600 rooms. Below the castle was the largest network of dungeons and tunnels known to man. 1000.5 fully stocked dungeons, 950.5 of them housing beings in so much torment Mephisto has been said to weep in envy. The half dungeon houses the first heroine to fall to the Dark Red One. Janet Van Dyne, the Winsome Wasp lays on a bed of webbing, while spiders tend to her and she bares their young. In front of her eyes floats a copy of "War and Peace". Each day Janet reads another page from the book, having been promised freedom when she finishes it. But the Dark Red One has some of the best scholars on Earth adding to the novel. Each night another chapter is added.
The main thrown room is the size of a football field. Crystal chandeliers filled with candles light the chamber. The walls are solid gold, inlaid with runes of even more power than the walls. The ceiling is made from transparent true adamantium. The floor is a series of marble blocks and trap doors. From a raised thrown Wanda Maxiomoff, once known as the Scarlet Witch, now known as Wicked Wanda, or to those who quiver in fear, The Dark Red One, sits and rules. The most striking feature about Wicked Wanda is her eyes. Deep blue, they barely serve to hide the raging lust and greed that dwell within her soul. Her features are those of a gypsy, tanned skin, full cheekbones and masterfully sculpted eye browse. She stands at five feet seven inches, with long legs, wide hips and large bust. As was her costum Wanda wore knee length red leather boots and on her arms were similar gloves. She wore a red teddy with the bust open. From pierced nipples hung rings of platinum shaped as the letter "W". A ridding crop lay across her lap.
She sighed, the sound carrying across the room. The two men in front of the thrown her the sound and grunted loudly. Thor and Hercules, gods both of them, stood locked in the midst of conflict. Sweat rolled off their naked bodies. Thor was the taller of the two, with long blonde hair and a slightly slimmer carriage. His deep blue eyes flashed with fear at the sound. Hercules was shorter than his opponent, but more heavy set and his brown eyes too showed fear. They stood, arms around each other, each seeking to throw the other to the ground, each failing.
Perhaps I should order them to make love? Wanda thought, idly gazing at each flaccid penis. But no, she leaned back on her throne, that got old after Captain America and the Red Skull.
With out a word the ruler of the world stood up and walked out of the room. Behind her the gods continued the struggle, each grateful of her exit. They relaxed inwardly and both of their members began to grow stiff.
Of all the rooms in her palace Wanda had many favorites. Rooms that she commanded must be clean and ready for use at any time of the day or night. The dungeons of course, her trophy room, her art gallery and her bedroom all received special care and cleaning. Wanda detested dust and dirt. Once when she discovered a bit of dust on her favorite trophy, Captain Americas shield, she had ordered the negligent slave turned to stone. Her home would be clean. Except for one room. The tyrant paused a moment, then pushed the door open and entered.
The room wasnt really large, nor was it small. In fact it was hard to tell one way or the other. A workbench dominated the center of the room, and around it was stacked all manor of electrical equipment ranging from a fusion generator to an 8 track player. Sitting on the bench munching a pizza of indeterminate age was a small balding man with a long gray beard and bushy eyebrows. The man might have been a dwarf, but his nose was too small, or he might have been a hobbit but his feet were hairless. He wore worn coverals with dozens of military symbols sewn into them. Weather as decoration or patches Wanda wasnt sure. He had been Wandas first henchman, found wandering the ruins of a dead tyrants castle. Skytower could build just about any gadget Wanda wanted and he had a genius for finding the Achilles heal of her foes. But he also had the attention span of a five-year-old. Dealing with him required patience mixed with the occasional physical threat.
"Hum?" he asked, glancing up from the small tv sitting in front of him.
"Im bored Skytower." Wanda said, gathering her cloak as she walked over to him. Dust swirled away from her as she walked.
"Hum." He said, shrugging.
"I said Im bored." Wanda stood in front of the set, blocking his view and absently backhanded him over the table.
"Oh." Skytower said, getting up. "That kind of bored."
"I want you to build me something that will remove memories of me from someones mind."
"Because being absolute ruler is boring me to death." Wanda said. "I need a challenge, some fun. I want you to restore one of my old arch foes."
"Thatd be a trick." The small man said, picking up an oddly shaped tube and looking through it. Not a lot left of them."
"What about the Asian Avenger?"
"Wow, you must be bored if youve forgotten what you did to her. Remember the bathtub?"
"Oh, yes." Wanda smiled. That had been so long ago, just before her forces conquered the United States. The Asian Avenger, Kimberely Chan in reality, had found out who was truly in charge of the American Right movement.
Wanda still remembered the look on the Asians face, the horror and rage in her eyes as she confronted Wanda in Avengers mansion. But like most heroines the Asian Avengers mistakes were many, and like most who faced Wanda, her luck ran out. Her first mistake was not realizing that Wanda knew that the Asian Avenger had learned of her guilt. Her second, not realizing that Skytower had devised a drug that permanently removed her powers. The battle that followed the drugged dart hitting Kims but had been very short. Unlike Kims torment.
"She never recovered from being turned into Keldars bathtub toy." Skytower said.
"No." Wanda smiled at the memory. "Neither did Keldar."
The spell she had used was pure malice. Kim had woken to a strange new body, a light one. A small one. Where she had woken up had terrified the young woman, Wanda could tell that from her eyes. Eyes that conveyed feeling even though they, and the rest of the body, had been turned into a sponge. With the Asian Avenger turned into a two foot long bathtub sponge Wanda had part of Keldars payment. As she washed Keldars body with Kims he received the rest. She had stroked his legs, arms and chest for hours, both of them laughing at Kims screams of rage and horror. The screams had really begun though, when Keldar had taken Kim from Wanda and used the sponge to masturbate. The Asian Avengers shriek as he wrapped her body around his cock actually broke a mirror hanging on the wall. Keldar had been at the top of the world an hour later when he came. His ecstasy made him careless, and he took the drink Wanda handed him without question. The last bit of pleasure the Asian Avenger ever had was the look on Keldars face as he turned to stone.
"What did I ever do with the Kimmie-Sponge?"
"Youve got one of the slaves using it to clean Keldars body in Central Park."
"Oh, yes." What of Lady Liberty?"
"Remember we lost her body after you asked me to take her brain out and wash it?"
"I remember being amazed you took my order seriously."
"Well after a year or two I found it and put the brain back in. It got a bit green, but sorta works. Shes in the garden."
"What about the men? Where is Doc Droid?"
"Dungeons 15 through 23."
"Damn cyborgs, once you take them apart you can never get them back together. Vladi Wizard?"
"He hasnt been the same since you made changed him into Supergirl. I dont think hell ever stop imperriling himself."
"Oh yes, Id forgotten." Wanda brightened. "VX?"
"You tossed him into the sun."
"What ever happened to the Goon?"
"Same as the Wizard really, he hasnt come out of his dungeon since you turned him into Batgirl."
"DynaGirl." Wanda said, brightening again. Then she saw the look on Skytowers face. Blushing he pointed to a cage in the corner of the room. Two naked women, each 12 inches tall sat listlessly on a couch. A bowl of chocolates sat on a coffee table infront of an lcd television.
"I never fixed the shrinking ray." He said.
"Yes." Wanda said, remembering the shrinking of Los Angeles. "Id forgotten they were there."
Im teaching them to do tricks." He said, holding up a small ring. "Dyna was doing fine until I lit it on fire."
"Very nice." Wanda said.
"Really bummed out about this arent you?"
"Omnipotence is boring." Wanda sighed again.
"Why not just find a new heroine?" Skytower suggested. "After fifty years of oppression theres got to be some one out there who hates your guts."
"Thousands. But none of them will ever become strong enough to challenge me. Using cloned Xaivier telepaths as a secret police force is a wonderful deterent. And Dooms anti-mutation rain storm stopped mutants from breeding a generation ago."
"What about her?" Skytower asked, pointing to the tv.
Wanda turned and almost instantly her boredom evaporated. The woman on the tv was tall, buxom, with raven black hair and blue eyes. She moved with the easy grace of an athlete, and the unconscious arrogance of a superheroine. Her costume was no more than a strapless swimsuit. An eagle covered her breast and stars covered her bottom.
"Who is she?" Wanda demanded.
"They call her Wonder Woman on her world." Skytower said. "Ive been fooling around with that stuff we got after you took out the Watcher, he was watching her a lot."
"Surprising since he turned out to be gay." Wanda said. The woman on the screen was fighting a group of German soldiers. Her strength was pretty good, Wanda guessed it to be at the Things level.
"Shes got some weird gimmicks." Skytower said, retrieving his pizza from the floor. "That golden rope on her waist? Once she ties someone up with it they have to tell the truth and obey her, and those bracelets deflect bullets."
"Really." Wanda whispered, thinking of the possible uses for the rope."
"Plus from what she said I think shes still a virgin."
I want this woman Skytower," Wanda said, whirling around to face him. I want her here and soon."
Hum." Skytower said, rubbing his beard. "Well, that could be "
"I said I want her!" Wanda shouted, iron in her voice. In a swift move her arm shot out and grabbed his throat, lifting the small man off the table. "Yesterday is not soon enough!"
"Oh, ok." Skytower choked out. "But I could use some help."
"Ill get you the help." Wanda said, releasing him. "In the meantime you find out about this Wonder Woman. Find out how to beat her."
"Dont you just hit her if you want to beat her?"
"I meant her powers idiot!" Wanda snapped, back handing him off of the table again. "How do I remove her strength, can the rope be defeated, what are those bracelets made of?
"Metal?" Skytower suggested then quickly ducked back under the table as she raised her arm.
"Find out what I need to know." Wanda said, striding toward the door. "And quickly."
The next chamber Wicked Wanda entered was similar to Skytowers room, but cleaner. Scientific equipment of all types lined the walls, and a large workbench sat in the center of the room. But there was no clutter, nor was there a tv. Instead on the table was a man stretched entirely out of shape. Reed Richards, once known as Mr.Fantastic lay naked on the table. His arms had been stretched behind him and knotted under the table. His legs were pulled out in a long V and knotted to some support beams. His penis had been pulled all over the room, wound around beams and under tables and threaded through equipment panels. The end of it was tied in a bow to a small condenser. Despite all of that Wanda could see the penis was erect. The head quivered, as if searching for something.
A woman stood over him, of medium height and slim build, with short blonde hair. Suesan Richards, purred as her husbands tongue wrapped itself around her breast and snaked into the front of her tight leather pants.
"Malice!" Wicked Wanda snapped.
The woman vanished instantly, leaving her misshapen husband to quiver in fear.
"Turn visible once more." Wanda said, stalking coldly toward the table, the sound of her boots like thunderclapps. "Or do you wish to be that way permanently?"
Sue Storm, once known as the Invisible Girl, now known as Malice faded into view once more. She stood slightly smaller than Wanda, and her face had once been pleasant, friendly and very pretty. But years of living trapped in the identity of Malice had changed that. Her blue eyes were cold, alternating between flashes of fear and rage. Her body had always been strong, yet soft, but years of obsessive workouts had caused her skin to tighten over steroid fed muscles. She wore a black mask/hood over the top of her face. A black leather bikini and belt were Sues only other garments.
"I told you." Wanda said, tapping Reeds tongue with her fingernail. It twanged in response and rolled back into his mouth. "I told you that when you failed to satisfy Doom you would never satisfy Reed again."
"Doom cant be satisfied." Sue argued. "Nothing I did worked, oils, chocolate, whips, chains, barbecue sauce, popular mechanics Nothing! The man cant cum!"
"I did it." Wanda pointed out.
"Im not you, you freak!"
Wandas reaction was instant. Her arm shot out, her hand locking around Sues ankle and lifting it off the table. Sue lost her balance and started to fall, only to be pulled sharply toward Wanda. Wandas other hand shot out, grabbing Sues breast and squeezing it harshly before throwing the woman against the wall.
"You would dare!" she hissed, stalking toward her once friend.
"Leave me alone!" Malice screamed, turning invisible. At once Wanda felt something slam into her stomach and push her across the room and into the wall. "Just leave me alone!"
"I do not let my slaves dictate to me." Wanda said, bringing her hands together on the invisible force field that held her. Instantly jagged patterns of lightning traveled across the room. They outlined a writhing Malice who quickly fell to the floor.
"Im not a slave." Malice insisted weekly, struggling to her feet. Her voice was filled with hate, but tired, exhausted hate.
"Yes you are." Wanda said, crossing the room in a single bound she took hold of Malices mask and pulled it off. "Arent you Suesan?"
"No " the woman said, a terrified look coming over her face. She sank to her knees, even as she strove to take the mask back. "Please, give her back, let her be in charge Please I cant face "
Wanda laughed and brought her knee up, slamming it into Sues stomach. The Invisible Girl collapsed, gasping for air. With a savage tug Wanda tore off her slaves bikini top and used it to tie Sues hands behind her. Then she pulled off the black leather bottoms and stuffed them into her slaves mouth.
"Stay." She ordered coldly. Sue lay on the floor and whimpered.
Wanda sighed, sitting on her slave. The "fight" had lasted two minutes. There was a time when Sue would have fought for hours. But that was before. Wanda let her mind drift back, to those happy, exiting times. The Wasp was "missing" and Scarlet had gone to Sue for help, claiming she thought the Wasp had been kidnapped by Doc Droid. The villains sexual perversions were well known, and Wanda said it would be best if two women rescued her. Sue agreed and they began to search the world. As they searched Wanda worked on Suesan Storm Richards. Using her newly developed mental powers, awakening Sues latent personality Malice. Freeing Malice from the psychic prison Sue had placed her in, allowing the alternate personality more and more power. At the same time she made sure that Sue came up against villains who were able to defeat her easily, undermining her confidence. Sue faced the worst of the worst over those months. Regent, Keldar, Spandex Girl and lost each time. And each time she lost Sue faced another rape, another degradation. It took months, but finally, during a hot night in Bangkok, Sue broke. Wanda allowed her self and Sue to be captured by a gang of white traders. During the degradation that followed (for Sue, for Wanda had herself hired the gang and gave them the means to nullify the Invisible Girls powers) Malice had finally broken free. She killed the gang, slicing them apart with invisible force fields. In her wake she left a confused and vulnerable Sue, easy prey for Scarlets manipulation. They made love, soft and tender and harsh and brutal for nearly a week. By the time that week was out Sue and Malice were both her slaves. Wanda had known the slavery was permanent when she had showed Sue the Wasp. All the time they had been searching for her the heroine had been trapped in a ring on Wandas finger.
The end of the Fantastic Four had followed within a year. With Malice secretly controlling Sue and Wanda controlling Malice. It had ended with Sues seduction of the Thing, and Reeds discovery of the affair, sending him in a jealous rage and her brother Johnny into the arms of his good friend Wanda.
With the Thing trapped in the negative zone, Reed in a mental hospital and Johnny Storm in the arms of her "best friend", Sue had spiraled into a haze of alcohol. She spent a year working in a strip club secretly owned by Wanda. Selling herself and her abilities to anyone whom could buy her a drink. Then with Johnnys mind "accidentally" destroyed by Mr. Mesmero, Sue accepted Wandas suggestion to join the Avengers. They welcomed her, and Sue became one of Wandas main tools in their eventual destruction.
"Happy times." Wanda said, twirling Malices mask around on her fingers. She slapped Sues ass hard. "Back when you were worth it." Sue simply whimpered. Sighing Wanda stood up and walked over to Reed.
"Skytower is going to need some help with a project." She said, walking over to his penis. "Now Im going to see to Sue, and by the time I get back you better be helping him." She tapped the penis hard with her fingernail. "Or Im going to use a pair of scissors to get you free."
"Yes." Read stuttered his voice scratchy from years of abuse.
"You." Wanda said, pulling a leash from out of the air. She attached it to the collar around Sues neck. "Come with me."
Wanda strode down the corridor, holding Sues leash absently, her mind wandering. Sue followed, keeping her head down. Every now and then a sob escaped from her. They walked across the castle toward the north tower. As they walked slaves turned to stare, for that was one of the Wicked Ones rules. When she treated a slave harshly all that were present were to stop and watch. This was a reminder that they could easily be next. Sue walked in jerks and fits to keep up, her naked breast bouncing. Goosebumps appeared as they approached a door made of ice. Without breaking stride Wanda shattered the door with a hex sphere and led Sue inside.
The chamber inside was a cold bright place. Sun filtered through glazed windows bounced off the facets of a thousand ice crystals. Rainbows greeted the eyes, dazzling a person with their beauty. Wanda barely noticed them, Sue kept her eyes toward the floor. Other tyrants had cooled and heated their castles mechanically, Wanda didnt. Why build a machine after all, when you had slaves.
"Bobby!" Wanda called. Out of a whole in the ice crawled a human snowman. Standing he shambled over to them, dropping to one knee.
"Oh queen." He said simply, kneeling.
"Present for you." Wanda said, handing him the leash. Bobby Drake, once a hero and an Xman had the responsibility of keeping her castle cool in the summer. From his chamber snaked hundreds of conduits that he kept filled with frost. It was all he was good for really, Wanda had long ago broken his mind. It had taken eight months in the desert and she had worn out two whips doing it, but she had broken him.
Sue gasped and Wanda smiled as a foot long icicle grew between the Icemans legs. She tried to beg through her mask as Bobby pulled her down and dragged her along the ice by her neck. Desperately she turned invisible, and for a moment the sight of Bobby dragging nothing, like some insane mime, brought another smile to Wandas face. Then she sighed and left the chamber.
A week later Wanda sat in Skytowers lab once more. Most of the junk had been done pushed into a corner where it tottered precariously. In the center of the room was a round raised pedestal. To the far side a machine of nearly un-endurable complexity covered the wall. A nervous Reed Richards rushed from one part of the machine to the other, every so often glancing at Wanda and Skytower. Wanda sat in front of a full sized holographic display. In it revolving slowly, was an image of Wonder Woman.
"Her strength is about what the Thing used to have." Skytower said, reading off of a clipboard. "But she looses it if you chain her wrist together or grab the golden belt off her. Back of her neck, base of the skull is a weak point. Also once shes tied up with that magic rope she has to tell the truth, and do anything you say."
"Would the rope affect me?"
"Ive been working on that." Skytower said. "From what I can tell the rope is linked to the mystical field of the Earth, any Earth, and draws its energy from the world. Once its around ya it surrounds you with an energy field that affects certain areas of the brain."
"Will it work on me?" Scarlet asked again, keeping the impatience out of her voice.
"Interesting." Wanda said, thinking for a moment of being bound with the rope. It had been decades since she had been at someone elses mercy. "What of her background."
"Amazon, spawned from clay, lived with women all her life, loves some guy named Steve Trevor, but seems to be afraid to tell him. Dont know why. Shes got a secret identity." He pushed a button and the Wonder Woman costume faded to be replaced by an army uniform. A bulky shirt and coat hid the womans large breast, though the knee length skirt did nothing to hide her legs. Her hair was drawn into a bun and she wore a pair of large glasses. "Diana Prince."
"Thats her only disguise?"
"Obviously a world of idiots." Wanda said.
"Well I think when shes in the costume guys dont look at her face much." Skytower said.
"What about the bracelets?"
"Believe it or not, grade C Adamantium. On their world in occurs naturally."
"The world doesnt interest me, the woman does."
"When?" Wanda asked.
"Few minutes." Skytower said, moving back to the controls. "Ready Reed?"
"Power systems are ready." Reed said, his voice suddenly calm. For a moment Wanda was reminded of the man he was, the brilliant leader. Then he caught her looking at him and his skin turned pale and his voice cracked. "Im still not sure about the co-ordinates."
Wanda looked away, disgusted.
"Lets give it a go anyway." Skytower called. "See what happens."
He started flipping switches and buttons, calling out numbers and letters as he did so. Reed responded, though the moment of the calm scientist was gone. He was unsure of himself, hitting switches by accident, calling out numbers in a strained falsetto.
The machines started to hum. The air slowly began to change, becoming acrid with the stench of ozone. Above her palace Wanda could sense a storm brewing as the dimensional wall was slowly pulled apart. She smiled, reveling in the chaos at an almost sensual level. The tyrant could imagine the mutant weather witch Storm trying desperately to stop the storm, for it only stormed over Wandas palace when Wanda wanted it too. Storm was no doubt fearing another session with Emma Frost if she failed. Wanda smiled and a light laugh escaped her body as she felt the fear in the air.
The machines reached their crescendo, Skytower and Reed ran about frantically keeping it under control. There was a bright flash of light and when it faded a woman stood on the pedestal. The woman was tall and slim, almost skinny. Her light brown hair was cut short around her shoulders and her blue eyes showed the shock she must have felt. She staggered, grasping at the railing. Wanda ignored her, turning to Skytower and Reed. When she spoke the room trembled at her tone and dread filled the air.
"What went wrong?"
Reed gave a cry of incoherent panic and stretched to a spot behind the machine, using his pliable body to squeeze through one of the cracks. Skytower stood there, looking at the woman in the Wonder Woman costume.
"Thats not right." He muttered.
"Well, its the right costume, but definitely not the right person."
"Skytower." Wanda repeated, standing up. She walked toward him.
"Chest size is definitely way off."
"Skytower!" Wanda snapped, grabbing him by the throat. Wanda was careful not to squeeze too hard. She had seen many a defeated supervillain fail because they had killed off useful lackeys. But that didnt mean she was happy. Wanda drew him in until they were face to face. "What went wrong?"
"Co-ordinates." Skytower said. "Theres a lot of dimensions out there and we were having trouble finding the right one. So Reed suggested we start looking for just the heroine, and since her costume isnt the sort of thing most women can wear, we narrowed it down to just that." He glanced at the woman on the pedestal. "It worked, sort of."
"Reeds suggestion." Wanda said. Releasing him she walked over to the wall. "Palace Security."
"Here mistress." A voice answered her.
"Find Reed Richards, put him in Dungeon 51. Prepare him for punishment."
"At once mistress."
The voice was high pitched, almost nasal. Wanda turned to see the woman who had appeared on the pedestal walking toward them. She walked awkwardly, obviously not used to her costume. The costume was not exactly correct either. She wore a short skirt of white stars on a blue background instead of the swim trunks. Though there was a rope at her side it looked only a few feet long.
"What?" Wanda asked, keeping her voice calm. Though this was no heroine Wanda sensed something about the woman. There was a quality of basic goodness around her. A quality that Wanda had found amusing more than once.
"Whats going on?"
"Guess." Wanda said sweetly, stopping Skytower with a gesture before he could speak.
"Yes." Wanda said smiling. "Guess."
The woman stuttered for a few moments, looking around before turning back to them.
"Im dreaming?" she asked hopefully.
"This is a really, really, " she looked around again, "really elaborate joke?"
"Not at all." Wanda said, enjoying the womans confusion. "Tell me, what is your name?"
"Nora, Nora Charles."
"Welcome Nora. You are not a heroine in any way are you?"
"A heroine? No, Im a reporter."
"No super strength," Wanda said, walking toward her. Nora backed up a step, but then stood her ground. Wanda saw confusion in her eyes, but no real fear. "No super speed, you cant launch mystical spells, you dont rule a planet "
"No." Nora said, still looking around nervously.
"She can do all of the above." Skytower said, pointing at Wanda.
"Oh." Nora said, but she still didnt back down. "Why am I here?"
Wanda nodded at Skytower.
"Youre wearing the costume." Skytower said. "You see we were trying to kidnap Wonder Woman, and we got the two of you mixed up."
You got ME mixed up with Wonder Woman?" Nora exclaimed.
"Well, ok " she looked around again. Now Wanda saw concern in her blue eyes. "No harm done I guess, you can just put me back where you found me and, no hard feelings."
"Put you back?"
Wanda could barely contain her laughter as Nora responded to the tone in Skytowers voice.
"You can put me back?"
"Maybe?" Nora rushed over and grabbed him. "What do you mean maybe?"
"I only built the thing for a one way trip." Skytower protested.
"Enough." Wanda said, easing them apart and successfully hiding her smile. "Skytower can the machine be re-worked to send Miss "
"Ms." Nora corrected her.
"Ms." Wanda repeated, looking at her and Nora stepped back from the look in the tyrants eyes. "Ms. Charles home?"
"Itd take a few months." Skytower said, rubbing his beard. "And we wouldnt be able to get Wonder Woman until it was done."
"Ah." Wanda turned back to Nora. "Well Im afraid youre out of luck my dear."
"Im not going to be denied Wonder Woman for a minute longer than I have to be. How long before you can get it right?" Wanda asked, turning back to Skytower.
"About a week."
"Excuse me!" Nora demanded, tapping Wanda on the shoulder. Secretly thrilled Wanda turned back to her.
"Yes." She said pleasantly.
"You cant bring me here and just not do anything about it! What am I going to do here?"
"I could use an assistant." Skytower said.
Wanda glanced back at him, completely surprised by the look in his eyes. Skytower had helped her capture and torment hundreds of heroines, the most beautiful women on the planet, seen them in all states of undress and barely seemed to notice, even when they had tried to seduce him. But she recognized a longing in his eyes.
"Thats true." She said.
"What? Im not going to be his assistant." Nora said, her tone of voice rising. "Look I dont care who you are or where I am but I demand that you send me back this instant!"
Wanda started to laugh. She couldnt help it. The moral outrage, the complete certainty that the outrage itself would achieve the desired result, the dawning of genuine fear in Noras eyes, it was all too much. She stepped back, nearly doubling over with laughter and the sight of Noras face turning red only made it worse.
"Congratulations." Skytower said to Nora. "I havent heard her laugh this hard sine the Asian Avenger told Wanda shed never get away with changing her into a sponge."
"A sponge?" Nora repeated.
"Yea, we had this big bathtub with Keldar, and then there was this whole statue thing but its a long story. Look I could really use an assistant, I mean I got stuff piled up in the cellar Ive been dying to test. Nothing worse than a torment machine gathering dust."
"What!" the word exploded from Noras mouth even as real fear began to show on her face. Wanda, who had finally been getting herself under control started to laugh once more."
"Nothing fatal." Skytower said, apparently puzzled by her reaction. "In fact the Tormentron 5000 doesnt even hurt much."
"What does it do?"
"Simulates an orc gang rape." He said, the quickly added, "But its young orcs, really young."
"Young." Nora repeated.
"Yea, short claws, no tusk."
"Look over there!" Nora shouted. Skytower looked and she grabbed a piece of metal equipment from a pile near by and slammed it against the back of his head. With a moan of pain he sunk to the floor. Before he hit it Nora had thrown the equipment at Wanda and ran for all she was worth toward the door.
Wanda dodged the equipment, still not able to contain her laughter and watched as Nora ran out the door and slammed it behind her. She could have stopped the escape of course, but Noras reaction to the danger she was in brought back too many fond memories. Princess America fighting back as Wandas enslaved Marine Corps captured her. Summer Dreams astonishment as Wanda betrayed her to the Americas Right thugs. Their faces had both conveyed shock and fear, just as Noras had. But they had known what was going on, Nora, dear darling Nora, had no idea what she had stumbled into.
"Fix the machine Skytower." Wanda said, stepping over her moaning lackey. "Ill take care of dear Nora."
"Ok." He croaked out.
Nora emerged into a corridor that rivaled any museum she had ever been in. The ceiling was over fifty feet high, covered in gold patterns. The walls and floor were solid black and white marble, with statues every few feet. The statues all showed a heroine in some form of torture or defeat. Nora heard the footsteps of Wanda in the room behind her. Picking a direction she fled.
Wanda stepped out into the corridor in time to see Nora vanish around a corner.
"Palace security." She called out. "Intruder alert, surveillance only, do not allow her to die."
"Yes mistress." A voice said, coming from nowhere.
Nora dashed in through the open doorway and quickly slammed it shut. She had been running for what seemed like hours, with those haunting, footsteps never far behind. With shaking hands the reporter turned a key in the lock then slumped against the door, trying to catch her breath.
She jumped at the sound of the voice, turning and screaming. The scream continued as she saw where the voice was coming from. It was a skeleton, on fire yet not burning. The eye seemed to have a life of some sort. It was chained by its arms and legs under a huge pot. Nora realized she was in a kitchen.
"Fear." It said in that same grotesque voice. A voice that sounded like the worst smoker Nora had ever heard. But there was an edge of sadness and longing in the voice as well. "It has been a long time since I sensed fear. Come closer girl, let me taste of fear once more."
"N no thank No thanks." Nora said, edging along the wall toward another door.
The skeleton laughed a dry lifeless laugh that sent chills down Noras back and made the hair on her arms stand on edge.
"It is not me you have to fear girl." The thing pulled at the chains. "Im harmless. Now."
"What are you?" Nora asked, edging closer to the other door.
"I am the Living Spirit of Vengeance, I am the Ghost Rider, I am Zarathos!"
If the speech had been meant to sound prideful it failed. Instead Nora felt a wave of pity for the demon. She jumped suddenly as the door she had been edging toward opened. A tall green woman walked into the kitchen. She was chewing gum and wearing a chefs apron and hat, but nothing else. Nora gaped at her, the woman was beautiful, with large full breast and a finely sculptured face. It was only her green eyes that took away from the face, they were lifeless, bored. As if the green woman had never known excitement or joy.
"Your late." She said, spotting Nora.
"Doesnt matter. Take your cloths off and lie down on the table." She gestured toward a long table just to the left of the skeleton.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Well Im not going to pile food on top of ya while you got cloths on." The green woman said. Reaching over she picked Nora up and carried her over to the table.
"Let go of me!" Nora exclaimed, struggling. It did her no good, the green woman seemed to have ten times her strength. She set Nora down on the table with enough force to shock the reporter. Then she forced Nora down onto her stomach and unzipped the back of her costume.
"Stop that!" Nora shouted, trying to push herself off of the table. The green woman ignored her, tugging Noras breastplate down and exposing a small but pert set of breast.
"Good." She said, squeezing one of the breasts. "Easier to balance things on flats."
Nora was too shocked to speak as the green woman began to unlace her boots. The reporter grabbed her breastplate and pulled it back up.
"What you want to be late for dinner?" The woman asked, pulling off Noras boot. "Medium rare Sparky." She said to the skeleton.
"She is not the one." The skeleton answered, even as his flame grew brighter under the pot. "She is the intruder."
"Her?" the green woman asked, letting go of Nora.
Nora scrambled to her feet, reaching around to pull the zipper back up.
"What the hell were you trying to do to me?" she asked hotly, snatching her boot from the green womans hand.
"Get you ready for dinner." The woman answered. "Whatd you think?"
"Dont tell me this crazy woman eats people!"
"No, she eats off of people." The green woman said.
"Thats disgusting!" Nora swore, putting her boot back on.
"You are new here arent you?"
"Just under and hour." Nora said, angrily lacing up her boot.
"I thought the schedule called for Malice today." The woman said, walking over to the wall. She picked a clipboard off of it and read down. "Yep, Malice. Who are you?"
"My names Nora Charles." Nora said, jumping off of the table. "I got stuck in this costume by a lousy joke and because of some idiot named Skytower Im stuck in this world."
"Oh, your one of Skytowers mistakes." The green woman said, her tone one of complete understanding. She held out her hand. "Im Jen, used to called the She-Hulk."
"What sort of world is this?" Nora asked, shaking Jens hand. "Whos the woman in red?"
"Her names Wanda Maximoff." Jen said, walking over to the counter. She grabbed some carrots and began to chop them up. "Used to be a heroine, one of the best. Then she decided to take over the world."
"Why do you work for her?" Nora asked, coming up behind her.
"Why else would I do?" The former She-Hulk said, dropping the carrots into the pot.
"She cant care anymore." Zarathos said. "Show her your breast green one, show her why."
Jen shrugged and pulled the apron away from her chest. Both of her breast broke free and Nora blushed for a moment at the casualness of the exposure. Then she saw a strange symbol burned into Jens breast.
"It was in the middle of the America Right war." Jen said, talking as if they were discussing a grocery list. "A revolution that we just couldnt seem to beat. They picked off heros and heroines one by one, or in groups. They knew when to hit, they knew how to hit."
"Wanda was behind them?" Nora asked.
Jen nodded. "She was in charge of the Avengers back then, and she decided we could use some help. So she talks me into asking my cousin Bruce, he was the Hulk, one of the strongest guys around, for help. I say sure. We go out into the desert to find him." Jen stopped and reached for a cucumber. "It gets hot in the desert you know."
"Yea, I know."
"So when Wanda offers me a drink I dont say no, why should I? I trusted her." Jen paused for a moment, and for that moment there was a flash of light in her eyes. Then it faded. "That stuff made me hotter than a skillet. I wanted to hump anything in sight. I got so turned on I couldnt think straight. Thats when the Hulk showed up."
"I guess he was thirsty too." Nora said.
"Thirstier than me." Jen nodded. "We musta kept going for days, I remember the sun setting at least once. Every time we slowed down Wanda would pour more of that stuff into our mouths. I think I actually came in my sleep a few times."
"Anyway it took a toll. My cousin just dropped from exhaustion and turned human. I was still pretty out of it, so when Wanda started to kiss me I wasnt gonna say no. She made me come and kept me there, then she pulls out a strange little knife, heats it with lightning and carves this into my boob." Jen gestured to the sign on her chest. "Then she reached inside and pulled out something, after that nothing really mattered."
"What about your cousin?"
"Last I heard he was in dungeon 14."
"Dont you want to help him?"
Jen shrugged and reached for a container of orange spice.
"Look as long as I give her a good meal Wanda doesnt get mad at me. I like that. I cook, I play some Scrabble with Sparky there, I watch Young and the Restless. I like it."
Suddenly they heard a pounding on the door. Noras heart stopped as Wandas voice came through the door.
"Jen, is there someone in there with you?"
Nora didnt even stop to think, she ran through the door Jen had come through.
End of part one
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