Cooking Up Evil

Imagine you are the leader of the most notorious criminal organization the universe has ever known. Yes, you. It could happen, mind you. We all have evil within us, as are we all capable of great feats.
As a prime example, consider Hitler. He was a perfectly ordinary young boy once. But he had a dream. And dashing blue eyes, and a killer mustache. Granted, good looks are not a requirement for such a position, but they will certainly earn you points with the ladies.
In your case, however, it is mainly the lesser sex that you attract. I am sorry for your loss.
You catch yourself wondering who this “Hitler” actually is. You are momentarily struck by your creative whimsy, as well as your pervasive habit of falling down the rabbit hole of meandering thoughts. You climb out of the hole, unscathed.
What were you pondering, again?
Ah, yes.
Evil.
After a long day of stealing, stalking, killing, blackmailing, lying, cheating, conning, tricking, and more killing on a good day, the members of these said notorious criminal organizations usually have a secret base to return to. And, as bad-ass as that secret base may be—nestled atop a cliff-face in a volcanic chasm roughly ten miles under the surface of Tethos on its Calantian tectonic plate, protected by thick layers of Shadowthread to prevent immediate incineration—it may be a lot more like your own home than you’d think.
Of course, it is much more extravagant than your own home. When you pull the world’s strings, you can generally afford to have a nice home, whether by legal means or otherwise. This minor detail does not matter to you when “the end justifies the means” is your favorite motto. Hell, it’s written on a piece of paper and stuck to the fridge with magnets in the shape of your criminal organization’s snazzy logo, which you came up with yourself. Beside it are some of your other favorite quotes: “Be the villain you were born to be;” “Revenge is the sweetest symphony;” “Never forgive, never forget;” and “Fuck bitches.” You’re unsure where that last one came from, but you leave it as is. Obviously it is there because it suits your fancy.
You seat yourself at the bar and request a glass of champagne. Your butler, Mavrich, complies. He offers to prepare you something to eat, but you gracefully decline. Unlike most criminal masterminds, you are as close to immortal as they come, and you lost your appetite ages ago. As for the champagne, well…you have keep up with appearances, and what’s a criminal mastermind without a glass of fine wine?
Your favorite pet has just come into the kitchen in search of table scraps. And by “pet” you mean one of the many pseudo-human minions that you so ingeniously engineered for yourself. Half Torment and half human. Black coffee with contaminants of cream and sugar. A mutt born from the mother of unadulterated evil (that’s you) and the metaphorical father of unfathomable stupidity.
You call this one Mournbringer, after his better half. The name his human side dares to prefer is in the back of your mind somewhere. Janet? Dwaneth? Zach? Zed…something. Oh, well. If it’s gone, it’s gone. You take a moment to thank your brain for discarding useless information.
His long, dark locks, reminiscent of the shadows he wields, beckon to be touched. You reach up lovingly (?) to ruffle the dark, wispy hair atop Mournbringer’s head as you fantasize giving him commands. Sit. He takes the stool next to yours. Good boy.
He sneers at you, but you like it. He likes it too, deep down. You take a bit too much precisely the correct amount of pride in the fact that you know this, as well as the fact that he knows that you know this. Being an evil mastermind, this train of thought is in no way confusing to you. On the contrary, it is your way of life.
Your physique may be smaller than his, even with your five-inch heels, but he will never match your dominance. His eyes project his masochistic recognition of this in waves, and you relish it. What he does not know is how much confidence this gives you. Not that you were at all lacking in that area to begin with.
Another of your many pets—the one called Ceruleus—has also decided to accompany you in the kitchen under the pretense of hunger. Only his hunger, as you know all too well, is the undying greed for your full and undivided attention at all times. As you have just shown affection for another pet, he has an overwhelming urge to divide the two of you at once. You reveal your true emotions in the form of a wry smirk—only because the two of them are too busy shooting metaphorical eye lasers at one another to pay you any mind, despite the irony that you are the catalyst for their mutual hatred. The forbidden fruit of their labors. You take this chance to accentuate the “fruit” part with a classic, yet stealthily casual yawn-and-stretch technique. You have until you open your eyes to decide which of the two you will make eye contact with first. Of course, someone like you has already decided long before you made your move.
The two men do not realize a game is being played. You would think they would understand by now that you are manipulating their every move at all times. This shows how little they got to know you for who you really are. You swear you dropped some hints. Alright, perhaps a single hint. While you were sure they were looking the other way. Well, how dare they look the other way in the first place? You conclude that they are completely at fault for this, flawed beings that they are. Even their fragmented humanity is beneath the dark radiance of your divine perfection.
You lock eyes with Ceruleus for a split second, the color of immaculate love in your eyes, before turning away. Or maybe it was lust. Ceruleus does not know the difference. Neither do you. Trivialities aside, the bomb has been placed, and its time limit set. Despite knowing precisely in what intricate patterns this bomb shall tick, the enjoyment of it is in no way ruined. If anything, watching the movie that played through your head materialize in reality is half of the fun.
The other half is pretending it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Five. Ceruleus sends you a wink. Mournbringer glares at him. As expected. Tick, tick, tick, goes the mysterious ticking noise that only you can hear. You give your boys some credit for at least being observant enough for your subtleties to succeed. Then again, there isn’t much subtlety to your outfit. Is there ever? Of course not. Not when you’re the future ruler of the world. Maniacal laughter echoes through your mind. Demons cackle. Satan snorts. Angels plead with you to have mercy that does not exist in your realm.
You wonder who Satan is. You know only of Fel, the Fearfather. Your fantasies run rampant by the mere mention of His name. As the children’s folktale is often woven, “Ev’r doth thee feel fear, Fel hath whisper’d in thy ear.” O Lord and Savior, First Inhabitant of the universe, only relevant Creator of Tethos and the Realms. Guardian of all that is BDSM: Baneful, Dark, Sinful, and Menacing. The One True Paragon (OTP) of Terror. Oh, but as you know all too well, He is not merely—
…Whimsy be damned, something is happening in the real world. Good thing your thoughts travel faster than Lightwire. Back to it, woman.
Four. Mournbringer has said something to Ceruleus, which you totally heard amongst your inner symphony. Ceruleus hisses back at him. Smug, unfaltering. Confidence instilled by sheer narcissism, if not your earlier gaze. He sees himself the winner of this battle: one of the many in their almighty war for affections which do not exist.
Mournbringer should know who the true favorite is, if he has been paying any mind (you have your doubts) to your comparatively significant quantity of intimate relations with him. Ceruleus has all the reason to be wary.
Not that anyone is picking favorites, mind you. Different tools for different things.
Three. Mournbringer is putting up a strong verbal front, but you can smell the hurt behind his amber eyes. Where his brain ought to be. You make a mental note to punish it later for taking an unauthorized (albeit unpaid) leave of absence. As you craft the note, you wonder how such a pathetic puppy as this man-demon before you ended up becoming your right-hand man and one of the strongest single units of your ever-growing Torment army. The world may never know, but you plot to find out someday.
Oh, but it’s not a priority by any stretch of thought. All you need for the time being is that pretty, pretty face.
You needed it centuries ago.
Two. Ceruleus bristles, ego struck down despite his adversary’s weak facade, prompting a string of insults to do with the sexual relations of Mournbringer’s mother. You applaud his devious originality (or lack thereof) in your mind. Not out loud, of course, lest he hear your pride in him.
You admire him while he is distracted. Such handsome, rugged features. Trimmed goatee, of darker blond than his short but fluffy head of hair, shaved into a subtle fade on either side. strong jawline, piercing blue eyes akin to his name. His personality is a mess at best, but you like that in a man—especially when you bring it out of him. If Mournbringer is your new hunk of man-meat, Ceruleus is the jilted husband who has to watch when he is really not into that. You’d share them both in a heartbeat, but their instinctively possessive natures seem to prohibit this—save for the rare, inebriated occasion. You sip your champagne in sweet reminiscence. Perhaps you can enlighten them somehow.
One. You breathe in the exuberant aroma of physical violence as the first punch rings true. You want to clap and cheer, but this isn’t about you.
You stifle a laugh. Of course it is.
Ceruleus falters from the blow to his jawline. A shame, but hurts can be mended. Almarov will make certain of that. Otherwise, these two would have killed each other long ago and bathed in the entrails. You imagine the sight of it in your mind. Oh, sweet bliss. You long to see at least some semblance of a bloodbath before you now.
Zero. You warn them not to summon in the kitchen, but it is too late. All is going according to plan. Your metaphorical bomb explodes the very infrastructure as Mournbringer is hurtled through it at mock-shadowspeed by a golden lion with a single ice-blue eye, slitted black down its center. A cobra rests where the beast’s spine should be, fused scale to skin, nestled in with tendon and muscle fiber. Its head stretches a significant length past the lion’s pelvis, in place of a tail. The lion’s other eye rests within the serpent’s right socket. Whatever was in the left has been gouged out.
You take a moment to revel in the Torment’s natural design. Oh, how you wish you could take credit for this abomination’s creation. But alas, it is not to be. The Fearfather deserves all the credit and more.
The chimera chases its prey through the gaping hole and into the entrance hall, its human vessel in close pursuit. You follow through as well, unwilling to miss a glimpse of the fight. You hear Mavs cursing about the mess under his breath as you pass him by, but alas, this is of no concern to you.
The entrance hall is massive enough to host a ball, though the ballroom to the north is significantly larger and more designed for that sort of thing. Mounbringer has revealed its true form in the seconds it took you to arrive. The skeletal hell-hound growls at the chimera, slitted eyes blazing gold from deep within its hollowed sockets. Shadowthread billows from its bones in waves, resembling violet-black fur. Fire blazes from within its bare ribcage, granting its thick locks permission to spill throughout the room. Some of the shadowy tendrils remain pinned to the floor and walls, while others rise into the third dimension.
Mournbringer’s vessel is still lying on the marble floor, Shadowthread pooled around him. What is he doing? You wonder. You have to remind yourself that he is still at least somewhat human—and thus, somewhat mortal. He could very well be recuperating from the visceral shock of being launched through a wall… Possibly. You decide he should be more resilient to pain by now.
At long last, he stumbles into a standing position. Smiling. Your own knowing smile crowns your face. Everyone is smiling as the shadows roll black through the room, thicker than smoke, bone-chilling.
You begin to wonder if you are all characters in an anime, until you realize that you do not know what anime is.
Even Mavs has decided that the fight is more interesting than fretting over how he will mend the wall. Either that, or he wants to be aware of any other collateral damage at his earliest convenience. Smart man; you don’t pay him to laze about. That’s your job.
Before a mortal could blink, Mournbringer and Ceruleus are locked together, fang to fang, canine to feline, fur and flesh to fire and bone. There’s also a cobra in there somewhere.
Blood and bone go flying from the fray. It’s difficult to see behind the velvety blackness, but you know the hell-hound has no blood. It’s either an even match, or Ceruleus is having a very bad time. One might think a pile of bones would be easy pickings for a demon-lion, but you know all too well that pure Shadowthread is a force to be reckoned with. You could say Mournbringer calls upon the Fearfather himself for aid in his battles.
You notice some of the hair from the lion’s mane has dropped to the floor in clumps. They disperse and slither away of their own accord, in search of victims. Mavs has noticed, too. He stamps the floor nervously while advising that you order Cedrus and Zaneth to cease. So those are their human names. You knew that. Why, on our beloved Tethos, would a notorious criminal mastermind and leader such as yourself forget the names of your most valued subordinates?
You advise the butler to keep his advisements to himself while he fetches you another glass of champagne, to be delivered upstairs to your throne room in a timely manner. You inform him quietly that you’ll be waiting for it along with news of whoever wins this petty squabble.
He bows before vacating the hall of microsnakes and madness without hesitation.
With yet another yawn-and-stretch maneuver, you turn away amidst said madness and head for the spiraling staircase.
By your design, Cedrus takes notice. You can tell because he is calling your name, imploring you to stay and watch him sweep the floor with Zaneth’s something-or-other. You seem to have missed the specificity of the derogatory term in your sudden realization that you no longer cared enough to listen.
“Lovely, darling. Do clean up after yourself. Mavs will have his hands full coordinating repairs to the drywall.” Who knew mansions were made of such cheap material? Then again, this one is hundreds of years old. You wonder how it still stands at all.
You shrug and wave him off without so much as a glance. “I’m afraid your little affair with Mister Mordis has grown stale. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve important matters to attend to, none of which involve these frivolous games.”
You need not look to hear Cedrus’s heart break with a smashing noise as his body is hurled into something harder than his manhood on a good night. Oh, but you jest. If anyone has less a heart than you, it’s Cedrus. Nothing of his has broken, and you know his ego to be unbreakable. Your dismissal of his importance has him momentarily crippled with rage, leaving him open for the Mournbringer duo to attack.
“Oh, and one other thing,” you say as you turn to face them and slide a strap from your shoulder. “Have the winner meet me in my chambers.”
With another bomb set in motion, you giggle and strut away. Tick, tick, tick.
~*~
Your champagne arrived long before you, and you take a moment to wonder if your butler is capable of inter-dimensional shadowspeed travel. You suppose anything is possible.
You’ve undressed as much as clothing will allow without revealing your shades of pink (a true villain keeps all knowledge of these areas under the most covert of scrutinies, except under the most dire of occasion). You take a sip as you lounge on your luxurious throne, melting into its lavish silk cushions, awaiting news of the victor. You shut your eyes, soothed by the distant symphony of violence.
At long last, Cedrus opens one of the doors to your throne room and strides through. He claims to be the winner as he saunters toward the dais, but you halt him with a single hand motion. You see the lie written on his face as though a child scribbled it there whilst he slept.
Zaneth pokes his head in, wary of what the man might be able to get away with—which you know to be nothing, unless you permit it.
Last to join you is Mavs. He bows respectfully, unlike the other two ingrates.
You address your butler with gracious deference. “What say you, Mavrich?”
“A draw, your lordship.”
You knew from the moment you provoked their quarrel that it would come to this. You distracted Cedrus far too much for him to return the sole victor, leaving Zaneth to finish him off—if only he had the balls. As for Mournbringer and Ceruleus, they respect each other—and you, their notorious leader—enough not to severely injure one another. We are all allies here, after all. You note how Torma are far more sensible beings than humans could ever be.
This does not stop you from feigning surprise. Your genius needs proving to no one—certainly not the men who stand before you. “A draw…?” Your lips curl into a smile.
They catch on quickly. Glancing at one another. Remembering. Faces contorting with loathing and disgust.
Just as you think they might agree to your terms, a unanimous “absolutely not” resonates from both parties before they depart, storming off to their respective rooms on opposite wings. Mavrich bows before closing the ornate double doors behind him, leaving you to your lonesome.
Not even a criminal mastermind, leader of the most notorious criminal organization in all of Tethos, can predict everything her subordinates will do. Certainly not each other, nor you; not on this night.
You perch your head in your hand and sigh in despair, allowing a finger or two to slip between your legs.

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