"A reservation for two under Duchess de Noir."

For Minerva Valdis, slipping into the character of the evilest villain ever felt...rather comfortable after four years. The host looked down his nose at her- right now, he saw a red-haired woman with fair skin and green eyes, freckles dotting her cheeks. She made sure to keep her smile wide enough to be charming but also show her canines. Psycho had dubbed it her 'I'm a lady and I can rip your face off' smile. "And the other members of your party?"

Minerva waved her hand without care. "She's coming in a minute."

"Of course, madame. If you would come with me."

The host led her through the tables of villains and heroes, the lights 'rich person' dim. This restaurant was a neutral zone, powers banned. However, what wasn't banned was staring at the woman in a black tea dress. Minerva tried to keep an air of confidence as she walked, listening to the dull mutter of the little worlds at every table. She was led to a table in the darker corners of the restaurant, perfectly positioned to keep an eye on everyone.

Sliding into a chair, Minerva made a calm request for some water and a bottle of Merlot. Smoothing down her dress, she managed to casually push the other chair out with one of her heels. The back was caught by a gloved hand.

"Hello boss." a smooth voice said. When first hearing it, it sounded like what Minerva thought midnight sounded like. Now, it was like crushed velvet.

She managed a nod. "Medea."

Her boss smiled a toothy grin at her. She caught the scent of hot metal and burnt wood before the eldritch being across from her sat down. She was dressed in a black Victorian-style gown, wearing black silk gloves. The light around her seemed to be almost sucked into the silk.

Lowering her voice, Medea asked "Any problems?"

Minerva shook her head. She felt more confident with the boss around. "No, m'lady. Everything was ready when I got here-"


The restaurant went silent. Minerva turned as casually as she could in her chair. A man had stood from a nearby table, dressed in a tux. The air around him was freezing, probably due to the ice forming like gloves around his hands.

That was Blizzard.

A professional hero.

The woman at the table rose up as well, her hair and eyes both neon yellow. There was the hum of electricity in the air. It was dead silent. All eyes were on them.

Minerva swallowed back her urge to run. She made a blank face. "Can I help you?"

"You bastard! I can't believe you had the guts to stick your face in here!" Blizzard yelled. He looked furious. "After what you did to Shatter!"

Minerva's mind drew a blank. "Who?"

"Shatter!" Electric Majesty yelled, electricity increasing. "I know your reputation revolves around being a murderess but you didn't have to skin her alive!"


Now that rang a bell. (Hey, you couldn't blame her. She had killed a lot of people.)

Shatter was a heroine whose main power was a sonic scream. Minerva had used her in the demo of a mobile torture chamber, stocked with hundreds of torture methods. It also had the ability to keep the subject alive for months in agonizing pain. Unfortunately, Shatter had died quickly.

"I'm going to kill you." Blizzard snarled. Snowflakes had started to form in the air. "But first? I'm going to torture you like you tortured Shatter!"

Tensions built as everyone else stood up quickly, powers at the ready. Handfuls of heroes and villains alike, glaring at each other, ready to fight. Sparks, growls, smoke, and other assorted signs of power filled the air. Minerva's fingers twitched and she was reminded of the ray gun in her purse. But she didn't rise. Neither did Medea.

She took a breath. "Now, now. Let's not start a fight." Minerva rose to her feet, holding her hands up in a sign of defenselessness. It was false. "This is a neutral zone. We don't want to give the staff any issues. We're all just here for a pleasant meal." She couldn't help but bare her teeth in a grin. "Right?"

The surrounding heroes and villains all murmured to their partners and colleagues, sharing glances that spoke volumes more than their words. One or two even cast a disdainful glance at Blizzard and Electric Majesty before returning to their seats. Only the two heroes remained standing, glaring at her with unabashed loathing.

"Sir and madame, if you do not withdraw your powers and return to your seats, we will be forced to ban you from the premises." The manager and several of the waitstaff had appeared. Along with the security forces, who were all brandishing rather unpleasant looking devices. They were meant to incapacitate any unruly guests.

Blizzard sized them up. And, like he hadn't been ordered by an oversized man, he sank back into his seat. Electric Majesty soon followed. With one last glance, she glared at her and made a motion across her neck. Minerva couldn't help but pull out the gun in her purse. She threw it and caught it before stowing it back.

The message had been communicated.

After a moment, Minerva sat back down. "Well, that went well."


"Your Merlot, madame." A waitress said, setting down two glasses and the bottle. Medea aimed a toothy grin at her scientist.

The night passed on without incident. Dinner was delicious. After boxing up the leftovers and giving their waitress a good tip, the two left. They made a stop at a ball that a large group of rich people was throwing.

It was time to kick the hornets' nest.

At dawn, the two left with blood on Minerva's dress and a few injuries and a new lab rat.

Rarely did anyone approach the house.

Rarer did heroes approach. There were a few halfwits who wanted to make a name for themselves, but those skirmishes ended with them dead or as Minerva's newest lab rats.

Nobody touched Medea and Duchess de Noir or their own.

Minerva- today's form being dark haired and dark eyed- couldn't be surprised, however, when the alarms started going off before soon falling silent. The silent alarms, powered by something more than electricity, were still flashing. Peeling off her chemical stained gloves, she sat down and rolled over to the bank of monitors. Tapping a few buttons, she let out a groan.

"Oh, in the name of the old man."

"Who is it?" Medea had appeared out of nowhere again. "What idiot is trespassing on my property?!"

"Blizzard and Electric Majesty, my lady." Zooming in, she rolled her eyes. "And it looks like they brought back up."

"Weak maggots. Valdis, get your things."

"Why me?!"

Medea leaned down so they were eye to eye. "I want you to crush them under your foot like the pathetic maggots they are. Take Psycho. Show that you should never cross Medea." She turned and stormed away.

Psycho wasn't hard to find when there was trouble afoot. He was usually heading straight for it. Thankfully, she managed to stop him from breaking another window with his mace to get out. At the mention of orders from Medea, he stopped.

"So, what's the plan, Minnie?" He asked eagerly, rocking on his heels with a toothy grin. "Frontal assault? Sneak attack?" His grin grew wider when Minerva pulled out one of the guns she had created.


She pressed a button to deactivate the security system. A wide grin spread across her face.

"We let them come to us."