The City of Los Angeles always seemed to glitter from their view in the Hills.
Young folk, hippies, Millennial's, outsiders, the homeless all the like, lived in the city.
Outside the City, lived the Rich and sometimes the famous. Beverly Hills, South Los Angeles that was for the Rich but that was not the Hills. For in the Hills, lives The Old Money. These people, could collectively buy the young folk and hippy millennial's if they turned themselves into a good investment overnight.
The Hills, were a place the Wealthy couldn’t afford. Why? Because It was made for the Elite Class. The Elite, untouchable wealth and power aged by time and stability. They never walked the streets with common people, they were driven. They took private jets to their multiple offices throughout the globe. They had ties with Politicians. Debaucheries unknown to most. They were and always would be, the modern day Caligula’s of the 21st Century with a bank account that could fund a country.
They also had blood on their hands. Enough of blood that it dyed their clothing, dripped off their red custom-made Ferrari’s and dripped into their $50 dollar coffee. They had extravagant lifestyle in excess. They had accepted their roles in this life. They had become the ones Wealthy people envied. They were gossiped about. They were worshiped. But they also had children, but no one cared.
They were unknown and known all at once.
They were manipulators and they were feared.
They appeared as Angels to some but were the Devil for many.
All these badges they know of, and they gladly wore them - with Pride.
Marvel - The Beginning:
The Outstanding Runaways
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Richard Stein – stands on the veranda that stretched and disappeared with the edge of the glowing red infinity pool. The marble floor 'clacked' under his shoes. The tables were slick and shiny. Everything was modern, new, and...ultra-modern. The luxury mansion was one of the many they owned, rather, that Mrs Minoru owned. It hung off a rocky cliff. If it fell off completely they were done with the evening, it would be the one thing that went right. He hated the house, it reeked of, 'youth'.
The older man in his fifteen thousand dollar custom blue suit, handmade white dress shirt and gold tie, stands on the glass terrace barrier, swirling the last morsel of white wine in his bulbous wine glass. He downs it, in one gulp as if it was the last beverage he would ever drink.
Standing at 6 feet tall, Steins’ continence always seemed disgusted with something. As if he ate bitter fruit that lasted in his mouth for decades. Running his aged hands over his pale blond hair, his blue eyes scan over the view of Los Angeles from their high point in the Hills. It was quiet here. It was the only thing he truly enjoyed. Silence and the evening cool breeze.
However the silence was disrupted by the glass door behind him sliding open and sliding shut. Stein lets out a collective sigh, aggravated he couldn’t have fifteen minutes alone without footsteps approaching him.
Arriving next to him, a Japanese woman in a low cut black glittery sequence dress comes to his side. Resting her elbows on the glass barrier, she closes her mascara painted eyes and smiles, “Had enough of group politics for a night Mister Stein?” asks Ms. Minoru.
The woman glances at Mister Stein who remains quiet. His silence usually spoke pages, at least to those who knew him. Breaking silence with clearing of his throat, Mister Stein looks at the woman, "No, just you." he says with slight disdain.Ms Minoru smirks at his snarky comment, but keeps her attention to the cityscape, "If I had much of a heart left I might be offended." she replies. "I don’t care if you are." grunts Mister Stein, turning away from the view.
Minoru watches him pace back and forth slowly, “Now I see where Chase get it." he states. Mister Stein pauses, raising his eyes up from the floor and looking squarely at her as she anticipated.
“The Steins are never one for grudges, feelings or entanglements of any sort – just facts.” Ms. Minoru states, “Cold hard facts, and power. Gotta have the power.” She emphasizes. Richard Stein slides his hands into his pockets, “If I wanted Power so badly…” he retorts, “…I would be hunting Infinity Stones. I just want order.”
Minoru smirks, “So do I.”
Stein arches his aged eyebrow, “Your version of Order kills too many people.”
“Your soft.” Minoru states, “I’d rather have ten zealots killing for me, than one hundred people dying for me.” She states, turning away from the veranda and pointing at the sliding door, “Your cackling fools, are murderous and tenacious, but not vicious. Not enough at least. I could walk in their, kill them and wear their skins for breakfast and I would still sleep well, could they?” she asks nodding at the glass door that is covered with a sheer gold curtain behind.
Mr. Stein and Mrs Minoru stare at the shadowy silhouettes on the curtains. A group of individuals gathered around, talking loudly, everyone with drinks in their hands.
Rolling his eyes, Mr. Stein looks out to the city again as he drinks the last of his wine, "They nervous just because of Trials. That’s all.” He states.
“Is that why Mister Wilder let out?” Minoru asks, pursing her black coated lips, “Is that why the Mister and Misses Hayes are disqualified from having their child participate?”
“No.” Stein replies, “Wilder is a fool and the Hayes girl is too young." he says, tossing his glass over the terrace to the rocks below, watching it shatter into pieces, “The Pride has been in effect for over a century, passed down by the Gibborim, and they set the standard for a high price. A price many find hard to accept during the Trials."
Mrs. Minoru looks at him and slowly bats her eyes, "Really? That’s your appraisal?" she huffs, “It couldn’t be that finally, after a century, we actually have kids that make this whole Trial Event – competitive and we can have a regime change?”
Mrs. Minoru watches Mister Stein light his cigar and the red ash burns at the tip. He exhales before snorting out puff of smoke through his nostrils.
“The only competition is Chase.” He proudly surmises, “And perhaps your Daughter Nico, who frankly isn’t up for Trials.” He states, tapping the end of his cigar as the ash clump falls off.
Mrs. Minoru gestures with her finger as part of the flaming ash suddenly turns into a fire ball in her hand and closes her hands, snuffing out the flame, “You always underestimated our House.” She smirks as the fiery glow reflects against her face.
Looking at Stein his eyes, Minoru opens her palm, exposing a red rose with black charred tips! Mr Stein shakes his head and grunts, "Because you only have Parlor tricks?!"
“Oh Mister Stein…” Minoru states, “…we’ve worked together for a long time, but you really need to open those cataract eyes of yours…” she says, cutting him a glance, “…because The Pride, under your leadership I might add, has been established in Legitimate Business and the Criminal underworld at a Global Level.” She states.
“Save for the Hand, HYDRA, we have no enemies.” Minoru states, but her face turns serious. Looking at Stein from the corner of her eye, Minoru looks up at Stein, “Except you.” She pointedly says to his scowl, “As in, your boy doesn’t have the stomach for what you do.” She snarls, “Its not his fault. Frankly, if Mister Wilder’s boy with almost godlike intelligence ran away like he did, it should give you pause about your boy.” She states.
“Oh really?” Stein replies. Minoru watches his him draw a deep breath. He was growing agitated, “Do you have any other ‘insightful’ examinations?!” he spits.
Mrs Minoru smiles, "Naturally.” She replies, “Molly Hayes for instance. Cute girl, for a mutant. Seven years old. Super Strength, Invulnerable and, dumb as a bent doornail.” She smiles, garnering a snicker from Stein.
“Then there’s Dean’s girl, Karolina.” Minoru continues, “Beautiful, strikingly so. Graceful, powerful, petty and has the emotional stability of an Instagram response page.” She states.
“Agreed.” Stein says, “After the loss of her....friend, she’s grown worse." he says with a sour face.Minoru rolls her eyes, “Karolina should’ve known the Pride would not accept ‘that’ sort of ‘lifestyle’ in the group." She sneers.
“And the Manchas.” Stein adds, “Their boy was found taking Kick.”
Minoru holds up his finger in easy protest, “To which he has ‘detoxed’ from sobered.” She says, “So be thankful, otherwise we’d both be in trouble.” She adds to Stein’s eye roll.
“You give him too much credit.”
Minoru arches her eyebrow at the statement, “He studied calculus at eight years old!” she exclaims, looking at Stein in bewilderment, “He understood college level physics before he was ten. Be THANKFUL he disqualified himself otherwise we would be having a much different conversation about these children….” She says, “…and about killing him, personally!”
Stein keeps his gaze to the cityscape view, shaking her head at her statement, “Again, you put too much faith in the boy.” He says.
“And your arrogance blinds you.” Minoru boldy counters, “If you feel like this, then I know you haven’t consider Xavin’s family.”
“HA!” Stein huffs, “The half breed?” he scoffs, looking at Minoru, “Useful they are, indeed, very much so. But competition? Hardly. Chase is smarter than him.”
Minoru folds her arms, “Xavin’s family have blended into our human society under S.W.O.R.D’s radar, undetected for decades. That alone is an achievement government spies can barely pull off, that includes their son. Can your son Chase do that?” She asks.
Stein arches her eyebrow at her, “First time I heard you give anyone respect.”
Minoru points her finger, “Respect those who you'll inevitably kill.” She counters, “Disrespect the ants who aren’t worth a bullet.” She finishes.
Minoru smirks, “Mom’s last words.”
“Ah.” Stein nods, “Well than aren’t you thankful their son cannot participate due to their, royal status.”
“Not as thankful as your son.” Minoru counters, “Xavin would kill that handsome, talented, driven to please daddy son of yours. Sure he would cry – but Xavin would do it.”
Mr Stein, still staring out to the city, glances at her from the corner of his eye, “Would you’re daughter?” He snaps back, “You must see she’s not as, deliciously ruthless as yourself.”
Mrs Minoru smirks, "Poisons need time to ferment. Sword need time for forging.” She replies, remembering the words spoken to her as a child before looking to Mister Stein, “Nico is almost there, much closer than your son.”
"I doubt that." replies Mr. Stein, quite aggressively as his voice changes a little more deep.
Mrs Minoru shakes her head, "Nico has a gift. Your son has toys.”
“My son, has pure mechanical genius.” Stein counters.
Minoru smirks, “Is that what you call it?"
"Yes it is." Stein snaps, "What does your daughter have? A 'C' Average?"
"My daughter bends physics, and has done so since she was 9 years old.” Minoru proudly declares.
"With her ‘trinket’.” Stein interjects, “Because she’s too weak to hone her powers.” He adds.
“That Trinket…” Minoru snarls, “Is called The Staff of One. An artifact as old as time itself because it keeps Time and Space itself in tact!" Mrs Minoru snaps, "Not just anyone has it. Its bonded to her BLOOD. And it will mature in ability as she grows.” She informs him.
“So call it what you will, but that ‘Trinket’, in the right hands, could level a city, or cause a black hole to form over us if she has a bad day. She is a power entity in baby form, NOT SOME DRUG ADDICTED RUNT TRYING TO SCORE AN EDGE..."
Mr Stein's face reddens as he balls up a fist in anger, "THAT WAS NOT TRUE CHASE WOULD NEVER..."
"I do my research.” Minoru sharply interrupts, “Stein, my daughters not like me, yet. But your son, is far from being either of us. That’s going to get him killed." says Mrs Minoru.
With silence allowed to calm their tempers, both Mr Stein and Mrs Minoru, continue to stare out to the city.
Mr Stein looks at his watch, "Time will tell.”
“Is that why you sent Mister Wilder is back to his Loft?” Minoru asks, “To make sure you can tell?”
“I did it…” Stein growls, turning to her, “…because his child just ran away and Trials must go on no matter and I need to make sure he performs his part.”
Minoru shrugs, “A more tactical mind would say that you sent him out there to see if his son would be drawn to him, which would reveal that they conspired together so he could get his son out, knowing the stakes.”
Mr Stein looks at his watch, "That too.”
Minoru smirks, “And if he does? If the Wilder boy interrupts?”
Stein nods, “Than the whole family dies – tonight.” He succinctly states.
Mrs Minoru smirks “You never liked him.”
“And you did?” Stein says.
Minoru shakes her head, “Oh no.” she denies, “His son liked Nico, I couldn’t have that.” She snaps, “But I see what you’re doing.”:
“And that is?”
“If you can you can prove Wilder’s interference with his son…” Minoru states, “…it just so happens that Trials requires a sacrifice and somehow I think you’ll have ‘just enough scandal’ to make a proper sacrifice using the wilder boy and not your son, because you know he’ll lose.”
Stein folds his arms, “I have led The Pride for decades, my son, and will led us into the next century to follow. That’s just fact.” He exclaims.
“If you’re delusional, sure.” Minoru snickers, “But I see through your plan, its admirable.” She says, “Don’t worry, I won’t rat you out. This can be, mutually beneficial.”
"You almost said that as coolly as your love for your daughter." Mr Stein smirks. "However..." Ms Minoru says in slightly louder voice, “…if we are to have a secret alliance, and I allow your son to survive the chaos your schemed and he does lead the Pride, I need to know that WE control things between ourselves.”
“Well…” Minoru nods, “…the Hayes or Deans and the House of Xavin have no sense of the bigger picture. Crime Sydnicates need iron fists. Cartels need a bullet and Polticians need your face.” She explains, “They must follow OUR lead for us to thrive more so, this is no time for a civil war." she says."You think I can’t manage this on my own?” Mr Stein scoffs."Do you want your plan to work?” counters Mrs Minoru, “You want to bring Alex here and kill him? His intelligence far more exceeds his fathers and is more threatening. You bring him back here, he’ll sow discord with the Pride and unravel us. He’s quite manipulative.”
"Misses Minoru, I fear that is the first time this evening I heard sheer intelligence drip from your lips." says Mr Stein with a sarcastic smile, “What are you driving at?”
Calming herself down from yet another insult, Mrs Minoru smirks, "Kill the boy in the street or have our kids do it, either way…." she says, staring at Mr Stein as he clears his throat and walks towards the far end of the roof, “...because if he does, he’ll beat you – and that isn’t hard.”
Sensing his slight embarrassment, Stein stops in his pace and looks back to Misses Minoru wrapping her shawl around her bare shoulders.
Stein nods, “Noted.”
Mr Stein looks at his watch again, and walks towards Mrs Minoru as she puts her hand on her arm, “So, shall we go inside and pretend to like each other, or do you not have enough effort for that?” she says as he opens the door.
"I am always alert around witches and devils." he says gesturing inside.“Wish I could say the same for your son.” Minoru retorts, leaving Mister Stein with a scowl on his face.
To be continued….