Previous chapter is HERE
Drayven Brown was startled and confused as he stood in a bar, dressed like a stereotypical Russian with fuzzy hat, red jacket and pointy shoes holding a tall glass. Next to him, dressed similarly was Max Strange holding an orange juice.
“Khorosheye zdorov'ye!” Max said raising his glass.
Drayven was gobsmacked. “Are we in Russian?”
“Da!” Max replied. “The Itkul Distillery in Siberia. Oldest in Siberia, founded in 1868.”
“No, completely true,” Max said pointing to a sign. “Say’s so on the plaque on the wall.”
“This is insane.” Drayven looked around the room. “We’re in Russia drinking vodka.”
“Yes and no,” Max smiled. “Russia yes, but you’re sixteen and that means you’re underage, even here. It’s glacier water.”
Drayven sipped the near frozen water, it was the most refreshing thing he had ever tasted. “God damn!”
“First of all, I’m here to apologise,” Max said. “I did stick my nose into your business and potentially mess up your life.”
“But gangs are so seventies,” Max tried not to chuckle. “And you end up either dead or in prison. At least that’s what the afterschool specials tell me. How would you like to completely change your life?”
“I don’t like guys, okay!”
Max nodded. “Noted, but I’m not trying to pimp or play you. I’m offering you…a magical scholarship. Something that will help you out of the situation you are in.”
Drayven mulled the idea through his head. “How do I know this is really Russia? Maybe I’m tripping.”
“Fair point,” Max held a hand up creating a gold and black circle in the sky. From it he pulled some items. “Here’s your passport, some roubles and an open ticket back to New York.”
“What do you mean?” Drayven juggled the items in his hands.
“You’re a smart man, you’ll work it out.” Max cast another spell and teleported himself away leaving the kid from the States in a bar in Siberia.
Katerina Rasputina looked up at the enormous ursine creature that gazed hungrily down on upon her. Her raven hair was almost horizontal from the gale force arctic winds that swirled this mystic land. The huge bear roared making the very sky shake.
“I didn’t come here to hear you whine,” she snipped as mystical chains formed from her fingers. “I came here to make you whimper!”
The Demon Bear lunged forward. The chains caught the beast by the neck and wrists and yanked it backwards. The Demon Bear snarled and fought against the magic as Katerina hovered up to its eye height.
“I am the Darkchylde,” she told it as she summoned a fiery spiked whip into her hand. “And you will serve me!”
She cracked the whip; the Demon Bear roared again as the chains dragged it towards the ground.
Max Strange looked through the glass at his mother, Wanda Maximoff. Stephen Strange sat quietly by her side holding her limp hand. He often pondered just wishing her back to health, a simple click and she’d be awake again. But magic didn’t work that way. It could but that lead down a slippery slope of selfishness. Why should just his mother benefit from magical spells? Why not everyone one? If you do that, why don’t you just bring them back from the dead? How about sunshine every day? It wasn’t easy being Sorcerer Supreme.
Max looked over at the voice. It was his relative Erik Maximoff, known to the world as X-Fire. Eric was the son of Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver who was Max’s uncle; and a Wanda Maximoff from another dimension. It was alternate timeline incest that blurred up an already messy family tree considering Pietro had another child with Polaris and she had another one with Havok or possibly Cyclops from the X-Men. Christmas parties were raucous terrible times of the year.
“Eric,” Max clicked his fingers and enveloped them in a bubble of silence. “I’ve cast a silence spell over us just in case you lose your temper.”
“Whatever,” Eric scoffed as he tapped the pistol at his side. “How is…is that Stephen?”
“Yeah…I…” Max stopped talking. He loved his cousin, but he was bad news and rubbed him the wrong way. “Why are you here?”
“Grandpa asked me to check,” Eric shrugged. “He’s not exactly welcome…well anywhere.”
“That’s because Magneto pushed an asteroid from orbit onto Mexico killing millions,” Max reminded him.
“They were only Mexicans,” Eric sneered.
“Like I actually care what you think!” Eric shouted back. The pair stared at each other contemplating what to do. Max unclenched his fists and dropped the sunlight spell he was potentially going to cast into his cousin’s face.
“You should go, Eric,” Max turned away from him.
“Like I wanted to be here,” Eric snapped back. “Grandpa asked and I did the old bastard a solid.”
Max pinched the top of his nose in frustration and from his peripheral watched his cousin slink away. He looked back into the room; his father hadn’t heard them and his mother hadn’t stirred. Max sighed heavily and as he was about to take a seat his Defenders alert went off.
To be continued.....