Queen to Ninja Six

June 25, 2015:

Emma is holding another Hellfire Club afternoon tea, when what to her wandering eyes should appear, but an X-Woman ninja without any reindeer. Confrontation ensues, after a fashion.

Hellfire Club Ballroom

It's a sumptuous ballroom within a private estate in the heart of Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Emma Grace Frost:
A vision of beauty, poise and grace now before you to feast your eyes, this stunning woman makes such a striking and commanding first impression that many can't tear their eyes away no matter how impolite it may be to stare. At just an inch or so shy of a full six feet in height - and that before adding the seldom-absent high heels - her willowy and sumptuous form is the equal to or envy of supermodels and the like, with platinum blonde hair perfectly coifed by one of today's best hairstylists and pale ice blue eyes that sparkle almost luminously. Her complexion is flawless, the healthy creamy pink unmarred by sun, strain or age. And her body's tone and shape are the kind of idealized miracles that have sent generation after generation of women in search of new and better ways to use and abuse themselves in vain to come anywhere close to the like. Her face's features are the perfected high cheek bones, small pert nose, symmetrical eyes, thinly arched and sculpted eyebrows, and full, ripe lips that are often called aristocratic, and given this lady's clear and firm control over herself and seemingly everyone else around her, that title is all too fitting.

A woman of such calculated perfection would not wear anything less than the absolute best, and this beauty is no different. Indeed she would seem to be the penultimate expression of that very truth. The outfit of the moment is quite obviously - to those with the experience to note such details - specifically designed and tailored to fit her and to enhance her best features. An unstructured white single-breasted jacket of raw silk covers a shimmering satin-finish pale blue silk chemise, and the top of her matching raw silk white pants. Her feet rest in a pair of open-toe white leather mules with two inch heels. Her ears are graced with a pair of dangling diamond earrings that easily cost a fortune each, and match the diamond chain choker about her neck set with a single pale blue lapis cameo at the nape of her throat. All in all, this woman doesn't just look like a million bucks. She looks like she alone is a million or two and she's wearing a few million more.

Betsy Braddock
Nearly six foot tall barefoot, and built like a strong willow, Betsy Braddock is a woman of contrasts- constantly caught between perfect control and explosive movement. Lines of muscle and sinew work under her dusky skin with the least movement, betraying a phenomenally athletic physique. At the same time, lush, full curves round out her busom and hips, giving her frame a profile that is profoundly feminine. Her face is angular and round, with wide, prominent cheekbones and a short chin. The arch of upswept eyebrows and the cant of her eyes suggests an Asian ancestry, belied by the patrician line of her nose and her full, dark lips. What little makeup she wears serves more to highlight her more prominent features with shadow rather than light- lips stained with black cherry, eyes shadowed with slate grey and an artful stroke of mascara. Her hair hangs in a loosely tamed mane around her face, teased for volume, and the inky black bears faint purple undertones under close inspection. Her long nails, expertly manicured, are a deep and subtle shade of blue. Silver with pale amethysts dangles at her ears in small coils, and a thin necklace, barely visible, lets a small locket dangle at the hollow of her throat.

A thin-strapped red cami puts her incredibly toned physique on display. Perfectly sized, it follows every curve of her body, moulding to her lines and flattering her inch by inch. Stretched tight around and under her bust, it wraps around her ribs and emphasizes the hollow nip over her strong hips, stopping just above her waistline to reveal an inch of ruddy-hued skin. Long, elastic-cotton blend black slacks in a business-casual cut flatter Betsy's long legs and athletic build at the same time. A low waist emphasizes the curve of her hips and the material fits tightly to her derriere and upper thigh, before falling loosely in a straight line to her shoes, a seam permanently ironed into the stretchy material. Thick wedge heels give her a subtle bump in height, the 4" heels lifting her to a commanding 6'3". Intricate tan straps crisscross her feet and brass locks the ankle strap in place. An expensive purple pedicure wiggles at the open end of the wedge heels.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The Hellfire Club: two parts wretched hive of scum and villainy, three parts high class social club, and all snobbery personified. Functions at the Club vary widely, and include luncheons and afternoon teas that offer a slightly more relaxed social atmosphere, without the costumery common in their later-night affairs. These still serve members as excellent opportunities to meet, greet and make connections with others of the social, political and financial elite. In short: a luncheon at the Hellfire Club gives a whole new meaning to the words 'power lunch.' Some would also imply something about 'business affair', but let's keep things civil, shall we?

Today's event is one of those afternoon teas, held in the grand ballroom with access throughout the lower floor's library, parlor, and the patio leading to the rarified atmosphere - and oppressive heat - of the private gardens. Emma Frost moves throughout the gathering, meeting this or that individual, speaking briefly, all the while continuing to weave her web of interconnections, intelligence, influence and information. Regal in her high-end stark white business attire, she stands out even amongst this crowd. Few even here know that she is in fact the White Queen and one of the erstwhile rulers of this roost. But few doubt her power, or her connections.

The conversation with Brian had been brief, and awkward, as most conversations with her brother lately went.

"I don't /care/ if you're busy. You've got obligations."

"Brian, I really don't want to get involved with them again."

"Elizabeth, they're not the Illuminati. It's a social club. Father would have wanted you to-"

"Don't you start lecturing me, Brian, I'll-"

"Don't interrupt me, you little-!"

"How dare you-!"

"How dare YOU!"


And so Betsy had banged her face into her desk for several solid minutes, dressed herself in comfortably fashionable attire, and driven her recently upgraded Aston Martin Volante a bit recklessly to the New York chapter of the Hellfire Club. "At least I'm not in a bloody corset," she muttered, handing the keys off to a valet.

Once inside the club proper, it'd been a short matter of handling club protocols- knowing the secret handshake at best got you into the parking garage- and then Betsy had headed straight to the bar for a bracer, heels clicking, head and shoulders above most of the Club members and her distinctive purple mane gliding along like she was on wheels.

Passing Emma without intruding into the woman's personal space, she raps her knuckles on the bartop to get the bartender's attention. "Vodka stinger, whiskey back," she tells him, bluntly, with an attitude that implies violence will follow a delay.

Few here would dare trespass into Emma Frost's personal space, but many brush by at close range, since that is what a soire like this is all about. Normally, Emma would take no real notice of another woman in a setting like this; whatever notice she might give would merely be to catalog a potential asset or complication for later evaluation. But Elizabeth presents a bit of a quandry to the 'usual' pattern. Her telepathic presence is not to be missed, most certainly not by the likes of Emma's talent. And that purple mane strikes a deeply-shuddering chord at her core, leaving the ever-controlled and perfect Frost inwardly rattled, for all she refuses to show a lick of it.

The bartender does not argue with a patron - be she guest or member - when an order is placed. Even so, there is the slight air of disinterested concern as he does so, providing Elizabeth's requested drinks. After all: even for an afternoon tea, it's mightily early to be hammering back this kind of alcohol. And that demeanor says 'hammer back', not 'sip daintily.'

The vision in white does not approach immediately, but waits until drinks are delivered, and the first round mostly consumed, until Elizabeth seems to be more to an 'at ease' posture. Only then does Frost drift in that direction, one pale platinum eyebrow arched delicately and fractionally. "Difficult drive?" she queries drolly, the barb of the comment missed unless one is truly at ease in these rarified heights: most here would never drive themselves. They have people for that.

"Obligatory," Betsy responds cooly. For the moment, her incredible focus is entirely on the bartender. It's impossible that she's unware of Emma's considerable psychic presence- the woman's considerable charisma and presence would, alone, be substantial gifts. Like so many attractive people, there's that aura that hangs around her like a fine perfume. Ineffable, almost invisible, but unerringly difficult to ignore.

Except for Betsy. Because drinks.

She reaches for the smokey vodka cocktail and downs it with two quick gulps, then tosses the whiskey back with it. Strong hands rest on the bar's edge and she rolls her shoulders almost to her ears.

She blinks and fumes just a little, but stays silent despite the frisson creeping across her shoulders and neck, head rolling until her neck cracks audibly. Betsy finally sighs langorously and relaxing, turns to look at Emma. If there's any indication of talent on Betsy's part, a casual 'sniff' shows none. A more focused look at her thoughts might indicate to the other woman a reasonably disciplined mind, not terribly unique at the Club.

"Social lubricant," she explains, gesturing at the still-damp glasses and turning to face Emma. The Asiatic ancestry her features suggest at might validate that particular behaviour. "Elizabeth," she says to the woman, nodding her head in something that might be a wink to a bow. "Do please call met Betsy."

Betsy's thoughts are well guarded. Too well guarded. Most people wouldn't look twice at her- Emma might be the only person in the club, possibly the city, who would sense something amiss. Betsy's disciplined mind isn't just lightly terraced- it's like she isn't there, at all. The shields of an orderly mind guard nothing but murky telepathic shadow. Many psychics guard themselves with an iron bastion of will- it's hard to tell if Betsy is a telepath, at all. Only that her mind is working quite differently than most.

Obligatory? Really? Emma is not entirely sure how to respond to that particular rejoinder, as she cannot imagine a visit to the Club ever being something any member here could be 'obligated' to do. This is something others choose to do, for their own advancement and reasons. Elizabeth's response is odd, like much about her.

The telepathic oddities of the woman's mind, however are Emma's greatest concern. Given her vision - she really needs to come up with a better mental 'word' than that, damnit - she cannot help fearing she is too late. That this woman, whose name she does not - yet - know has already been co-opted by that faceless darkness, Corrupted and broken. But Emma knows she cannot show weakness, nor any sign of her concern, lest she clue off a potential threat. That would be unacceptable. Best not to become obligated to commit murder in front of so many witnesses; the memory tampering to clean it up would be almost endless. Another solution must be found.

'Betsy' is entirely too familiar for the likes of Emma Frost, so she uses the more formal. "Elizabeth." The cool blonde's tone is neutral as she inclines her head just the tiniest hint, in greeting and acknowledgement. "Welcome to the Club. I am Emma Frost." As if Betsy wouldn't know who Emma is? Please! But the forms must be followed. But Emma does not offer her hand. It is a slight, but a tiny one in something like this, perhaps merely an oversight. Except instinct should likely conclude the likes of Emma would never fail to do the proper thing without reason. There is a sense - inexact, certainly not palapble - of an almost vibrating tension, like old 70hz hum from a bad tape erasure playing through high-end speakers.

"Miss Frost," Betsy says, quite courteously. Her tone mirrors Emma's- precisely as polite as the situation demands. She doesn't offer a hand, either. Reasons abound, of course. That irritating against-the-teeth hum of gritted nicetie is quite detectable to someone with as delicately attuned social graces as Elizabeth, but unfortunately, she's not well equipped to disarm those particular problems. That's a Jean thing. Betsy's a bit more bluntly spoken.

"I'm quite touched by your welcome," she informs the other woman. "I don't intend to sound discourteous. I'm here partially due to familial obligations and that…" her mouth twists into a pretty mouse. "rankles," she finishes. "I think there's a colloquialism for that but it escapes me at the moment. My brother is Brian Braddock," she says, offering her last name as Emma shares hers. Names have power in this club's halls, unique to themselves. Some never share their real names while enjoying these social airs. "My family has roots in the London chapter of the Club- Brian impressed on me the need for us to keep our affiliations here strong, as well." She spreads her fingers minutely, looking at Emma with a flatly unemotional face.

~You seem rather on edge. Is there something amiss here?~ she projects, her 'voice' coming from somewhere inside those murky psychic depths. She broadcasts both tone and emotional content to the other woman, piqued curiousity carrying across the gap between them.

Emma ahs softly, nodding as she listens to Elizabeth's explanation. It is a simple enough matter to glean whatever she requires to fill in the blanks of her own knowledge from the minds of others near-enouguh by to have heard Elizabeth's last name. "I see. Good of you, then, to accept that obligation and join us today. I know many here. If there are any introductions with which I can assist, please, do not hesitate to inquire." Gracious and aplumb, the platinum blonde easily handles the situation, despite that ringing tension that still remains hidden and unspoken.

Emma does not flinch or step back when Betsy's telepathic voice reaches out to her, but there is a hint of tightness that appears around her eyes, briefly. Her own response is clipped and short by comparison, slipping out from a briefly opened telepathic 'gate' in shields as high and resolute as any Elizabeth may ever have encountered.

~I am wll, thank you.~ Emma replies, honest without offering anything of a real answer to the question posed. By comparison, there is absolutely no emotional content with her return communication; it might as well be typed words transcribed by a computer. Instinct would likely tell a perceptive woman that response is indicative that there /is/ something amiss, and it is something she feels ill-equipped or ill-prepared to discuss, even telepathically.

Or would that be 'especially telepathically'?

"You're terribly gracious as a hostess," Betsy says, mirroring Emma's bored propriety. "I had heard quite a few stories of the Hellfire Club here in the City- it's my understanding this is the oldest affiliation in America. Am I correct?" Precisely the sort of bored small talk one makes for the sake of making small talk.

Among psychics, there's often a peculiar set of manners. It's terribly hard to convincingly lie psychically, or even be reasonably duplicitous. As often as not, retreating into stoic type-print communication can be as indicative of espionage as an attempt to be overly familiar or emotional. Both speak of high degrees of psychic prowess. Eliminating emotions from a conversation is a taxing discipline that calls for a highly regimented and ordered mind, just as adding said content without letting it get diluted by other feelings or thoughts requires equal skill. It's considered a bit rude to ask someone directly if they're lying, though.

~Your attempts at civility ill conceal your unease,~ Betsy projects. Ah well. Manners are for short people.

A token gesture comes, then, even as she drones on about something as mundane as history- a 'bridge' of sorts allowing a more durable and easily insulated connection, equally protected from both sides and guarded warily at the gates. The psychic equivalent of covering your mouth to whisper in someone's ear. Betsy projects herself in a dusky grey and purple qipao tunic, an eclectic blend of Western and Japanese fashion. Oddly, her psychic avatar casts two shadows. 'Behind' her, notionally, is that confusing welter of shadows and hedgerows that lead to her personal mental landscape. Best expressed in metaphors, Betsy's defenses are, simply put, based on subterfuge, attrition, and concealment rather than girding herself in iron will. The measure of her gifts remains quite uncertain, still, though she's clearly possesed of a well-ordered mind to compartmentalize two simultaneous conversations.

~I've never claimed to be particularly /good/ at civility,~ Betsy says on that mental landscape. ~Just that I acknowledge a necessity to nod at it periodically. You seemed to bristle when you saw me. Is there a problem?~

Emma does stop herself from saying 'naturally' in response to comments about her gifts as a hostess; clearly this woman does not know her reputation or her family name, and cannot be expected to realize she could never be anything but, save to someone who had given her the excuse of being a bore. "You are correct, insofar as my own studies have revealed." Emma offers in answer to Betsy's inane prattle of questions about boring history. Who cares? Not even the people talking about it give a damn. It's all a cover. Now go away.

When Emma appears on the psychic landscape before Betsy's project, she does so in a manner utterly befitting her, just as has the other woman. She steps through the only briefly-open gateway in the bastion of her defenses, and steps out onto the field to face Elizabeth, attired every inch the stoic queen in demeanor … and every inch the cold customer businesswoman she presents to the world physically, replicated here psionically and even more real and palpable than it is in the flesh. It both gives nothing way, and gives everything away. But only if one is willing to accept their perceptions as truth. And can one ever afford to do that in an Astral confrontation?

~The sight of you evokes a memory for me, of something seen and concerning, yet ill-defined.~ Emma responds. For a moment - just a hair's breadth of a second - her form flickers from businesswoman to armored queen, ready for battle with blade poised to hand, tip buried lightly in the earth at her feet. And then the businesswoman is back. ~Your telepathic manor does little to ease that concern.~ Still, she explains nothing. Emma assumes nothing. But she is as prepared as she can be for anything, because she trusts nothing and no one. Ever.

"Studies? I take it you're involved, then, in accurately recording the history of this association for posterity." Blah, blah, blah. At least they look good doing it. Betsy rests one hand on the bar's edge, standing with a primly correct poise that equals Emma's for assertive self-possession. Blue blood is the same on both sides of the pond, despite claims to the contrary. With a different accent, either one of them could be a peer of the other and no one would know the wiser. America has her own set of autocrats and aristocrats- old money, old families, wealth set in the same stones that make up some of the oldest institutions on the East coast.


Betsy lets the silence speak for her, looking at Emma with a flat and scrutinizing analysis. The battle-ready queen evokes a similar fight-ready response, almost impossible to hide- Betsy's avatar ghosts and flickers, dancing around the linkage between then for a microsecond. She's everywhere and nowhere at once, a hundred shadowy figures splintering around. Then she reassumes her form as an elegantly if simply attired woman. The dark shadows of her mindscape remain quite as inscrutable to Emma's perceptions as Emma's do to Betsy- neither of them apparently prepared for a hellish mental war to dig into the other's thoughts.

Betsy tilts her head minutely to the side, then rolls one wrist upwards at Emma. A tiny, subtle gesture that very few people but Emma would likely recognize- a slight admission of vulnerability and an invitation to confide. Even in the projected mindscape, it carries some of the weight that only the most urbane and polished of people care to express, using silence as much as words to make their point.

"Oh, naturally, As a matter of course, one must always …" Really. Emma can blather with the best. It's frightening, really, how convincingly /interested/ she can appear about something so utterly banal. And she keeps it up so easily, despite the stressors of the dual conversation. Her physical posture is at once relaxed and regal, calmly welcoming whilst offering nothing at all of herself. Most who first meet Emma marvel at the lack of warmth in the woman. But what astounds them at the end is how flatteringly charming she can be whilst still being so utterly reserved.

It's spooky.

Within the Astral confrontation, Emma shows no surprise at Elizabeth's response o her own momentary display, though one would assume she is at least a bit confounded or bothered by the nature of the response. Elizabeth has clearly focused on a very open defense of misdirection. Emma depends on pure invisibility, shrouding utter invincibility. They could hardly be more diametrically opposed. But Emma does not let that moment cause her to respond with further telepathic aggression. Instead, impassivity. Silence.

There is a hint of a frown that colors Emma's Astral avatar at the gesture. She has never been one comfortable with vulnerability. And in the face of what is - quite literally - her worst nightmare, she is even less inclined to blithely share. Herself. Her fear. Her knowledge. Her weakness. Her sins. None of it. Even so, she knows she must respond. Doing so within the delicate and tenuous balance of their confrontation without it becoming a battle. That is the challenge.

With no desire to die, or be made over and possessed herself, Emma cannot afford to provoke one she believes to have already been co-opted by the very force of demise she fears enough to be seeking ways to /change/ her future, her destiny. This rather severely limits her options.

In the end, Emma plays a hunch, without actually answering the true question at hand. She takes a terrible chance. But she has to try something, damnit. Her avatar flicks a finger towards Elizabeth's, indicating … something. ~Is that the truth? Do you really work for him? Still?~

There, on the collar of Betsy's dress is the black X on a circle of gold.

In the real world, Betsy flinches slightly. It's nothing. Barely what you might see in someone threatening a sneeze.

When Emma indicates that symbol on Betsy's avatar, her response is immediately panicked. The gestalten entity that is her sense of self identity blurs and breaks and fragments into almost a half-dozen distinct personal senses of self- a British woman in gold and blue, short and curvy- with that X prominently on her chest and her belt buckle. A leanly predatory woman with distinctly Japanese features, clad in red silk and a half-mask. Betsy's face, on a body wearing a blue sleeveless, legless leotard. One that is rather vague and hazy, somehow protected by more than just force of will, but seems to bear some measure of great strength and responsibility at once.

~Poor discipline on my part,~ Betsy says in a gestalt echo, all the forms speaking in a sonorously discordant voice at once. It's as if there are but loose threads holding her together, and Betsy had jerked them all loose when she realized she'd revealed something of herself to Emma. There's a murmuring dissent among the identities. The Japanese one particularly seems to advocate a brutal attack right then and there.

~Her fear betrays us.~

~Not of him,~ the British girl says, in a cultured tone.

~No, of them.~ the Japanese assassin glances at murky shadowscapes behind Emma.

~A threat that looms,~ the hazy form says in a trumpeting voice. ~One that threatens many.~


~Do we act?~

~We must,~ Betsy says. The self identities flicker and vanish, leaving just the woman in the qinpo tunic. ~Something that so badly offends the sensibility of the White Queen is a dire threat,~ Betsy says, abandoning any more pretense at subterfuge. ~Yes. I still work for Charles. You must know the name well to have recognized this,~ she says, touching the small broach. Indeed, Charles is a psychic possibly without peer in the universe. It's almost impossibly to have not heard of him. ~And something sounds more than trifling off. Gomen nasai- how may I help?~

Knowing that her gambit, her effort was likely to provoke a response, Emma is slighty - but only slightly - more effective in tamping down her own reflexive flinch when Elizabeth's sense of self visibly fractures, leaving Emma surrounded, and not just by what she expects. Outwardly, in the real world, she physically pauses what she is saying, then lifts her glass and slowly sips some of the white wine she has been holding neglectfully. Only after some time to savour that does she continue, now apparently without any issue. Just wetting her whistle. Really.

Inside the Astral landscape, Emma's reaction is more demonstrative, but no more aggressive. She too splits, a different sense of herself confronting, squaring off with, each of Elizabeth's multitude. The armored queen stands paired with the Japanese masked woman. The businesswoman with the British woman. Emma herself presented in her true White Queen costume attire squares off with the Betsy in the leotard. And so forth. And for that instant, there is another. One more Emma appears within the window of a tower inside the high walls of the fortress of her mind. A very young Emma. A teenaged Emma. The innocent. The ever-hidden.

And then, as the other Betsy's disappear, so too the other Emma's do, leaving once more the businesswoman in her proper place. Except, if one's perception is sharp enough, one could still see that young, innocent face peeking out of that high tower window.

~I will be … honest.~ business-Emma begins, as she 'speaks' to respond. It is the first time any emotion has trickled through with her words; muted, but present, there is warriness, and the tiniest hint of desperation. ~Though that is not easy for me. Through another, who is not necessarily another, I have seen something terrible. Something I have been compelled to change, or suffer those consequences.~ It is, in the end, far more than she intended to reveal. But Emma does not try to erase the memory of her psychic words. That alone is proof of her need.

~The sense of your mindscape caused me to fear what I had been shown had already begun, and you already lost.~ Emma admits. ~But I cannot believe Xavier would miss that, and he would not send you if he could not trust you to serve him well. I do not know that anyone can help.~ Unspoken, even telepathically, is the sense that Emma does not even believe she herself can help. That it is already lost, and this struggle just pro-forma, reflex.

A glass of wine is poured for Betsy, too, at the cast of a finger at the bartender. "We should do lunch sometime." That's a thing, right? "Cocktails, maybe." That is also a thing.

Recentering herself on Emma, Betsy listens with an attentiveness that is virtually impossible to express with 'mere' words. The totality of her focus is levelled on Emma- a weight of awareness that assesses the woman in front of her on a number of levels. Physically. Intellectually. Emotionally. Looking for jugulars and weak points both real and psychic. And offering something strangely comforting, too- something Betsy would deny and Emma would reject, but there nonetheless, unspoken. That royally glacial composure seems to be, literally, just skin-deep.

~I'm not given to couching myself in an iron tower,~ Betsy explains, gesturing vaguely. ~Too many years associating with psychics of a talent that is a substantial order of magnitude above mine. Iron walls can be battered down. Swamps defeat more armies than siege walls ever did.~

~Charles and I have spoken of you, albeit quite briefly. He asked if I'd be willing to approach you through the Club. I demurred,~ she assures the white-clad woman. ~The Hellfire association is personal- it's mine. I don't share that.~

~I was not being duplicitous. My brother asked me to visit. Happenstance that we met, but perhaps a timely one,~ she says, letting the unfettered truth shine through. ~I think perhaps we are straining the imaginations of our associates here, though. Perhaps we should break for the time being and convene under more private circumstances,~ she suggests. ~We can discuss your fears more candidly and with more focus upon the moment. If you are inclined,~ she offers solicitously.

"Of course." Emma responds to the spoken conversational cues. Moments later, smartphones will appear and contact data can be exchanged. It's all so urbane and modern, and gracefully done, with no sign at all of what is going on beneath the surface.

In the Astral confrontation, the singular, businesswoman Emma stands up to the scrutiny offered impassively, unmoved. She would expect nothing less of an agent of Xavier, after all. She is well aware of the man's power, and his wealth of experience. What Betsy can detect is little more than she already has. Is there a woman, a real woman, with emotions and feelings and humanity beneath the surface Emma presents? There must be, and there have been tiny hints of it. But she is unlikely to let any of that through? Her defenses are too practiced, too ingrained. 'Unlikely' would be a generous estimation.

Emma takes the admission of the tactical decision of Elizabeth's defenses as a compliment, whether intended as such or not. Emma /is/ powerful enough to hold her own with an iron tower defense, and it is gratifying on at least one level to be recognized as such by someone trained by Xavier. Emma accepts it all with a barely-inclined head, nothing more.

~Very well. We shall … break. For now.~ Emma responds, after a moment's thought. She does not care for any of this to be characterized as fear. But she will not offer the correction; it would come off weak and petty. ~Somewhere more neutral, a time conducive to both, and an opportunity for greater privacy, physical and mental.~ How exactly that will be happening, she does not discuss. It simply will.

The telepathic sense of their confrontation fades as they retreat from one another. In the physical realm, they begin to part as well, their conversation's outward cover nearly complete as well. It has been an interesting afternoon, to say the least.

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