The Perfect Plan, Part Six: Tangled Webs

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(October 23rd)

“Greetings, Doctor Byron! It is I, the Witch Doctor!” The face of Jason Wydemere loomed in the video screen, scowling ominously – if slightly the worse for wear. He had not shaved in two or three days, and his usually immaculate olive suit was slightly wrinked. On anyone else, it might not have been noticeable. Ada Byron, watching the video from her office at Malefico, noticed.

The Witch Doctor steepled his fingers, speaking politely. “I received your invitation to your upcoming nuptials. Sadly, and as I am very sure you are aware, I will not be able to attend.” He sat back in his simple chair. “There are two reasons for this. The first is that I am currently a fugitive in every major country on Earth, thanks to those good-for-nothing Oligarchs. The second is that I am your husband-to-be’s ultimate nemesis!

The last words were nearly growled out, and Jason slammed his fist on the desk. “Honestly, Ada! You dare to taunt me with this proof of your upcoming matrimonial bliss, while I sit here alone, without even my henchmen for company? Oh, I’m on to you, devil woman! I never realized it before, but all of my troubles started when I met you. You sold me out, somehow. You manipulated me in order to meet Spencer Ecchs, and then you betrayed me for him. Because of you, I have lost my chance at destroying Malefico. I have lost Diabolico. I have even lost Kaniessa, because of you. And I will have my vengeance! Rest assured, your wedding will not go unmarred! I will destroy your hopes at happiness, mark my words!”

The video blinked out. A fraction of a second later, it blinked back on, with the Witch Doctor snapping his fingers. “Nearly forgot. I hope you like the wedding present I sent along with this missive. If it’s something someone else sent, let me know – it can be replaced. Have a lovely time, wish I could have made it.” The video turned off again. Shrugging, Ada turned back to her work.

“Was that a video response?” Spencer Ecchs stuck his head through the doorway. “Who was it?”

“Oh, it was Jason. He can’t make it, but he wishes us the best.” Ada said sweetly.

Ecchs raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“More or less.” Ada answered. “Did you take a look at those designs I sent over? I want the lab boys to work on them while we’re on vacation.”

“They look pretty good to me. Maybe reinforce the secondary buffer cables – those tend to take a lot of punishment.” Ecchs walked around the desk, leaning on the back of Ada’s chair and resting his head on her shoulder, then reaching around to point at the section in question. “If we substitute kanessium for the vibranium here, costs go up about 5%, but durability…”

“Up a good 20%.” Ada nodded thoughtfully, then turned her head to give Ecchs a kiss. “I love the way you think.”

“Yeah, so do I.” Ecchs said absently. A moment later, he belatedly added, “Nothing next to your genius, though.”

Ada waved her hand at him in mock irritation, and he stepped back quickly. “Sorry, sorry.” He laughed. “Hey, I heard you got Nightshade planning your bachelorette party.”

“No, you can’t come.” Ada said.

“I was not going to ask that, actually.” Ecchs grinned. “Just wondering, uh… how to put this… Nina is a very dedicated employee, and good at what she does, but…”

“Amber is helping her.”

“Ah, okay. Good. That’ll be a less malicious party, but probably a better…” Ecchs trailed off. “Did you know she was going to get involved if her sister was running the party?”

Ada smiled innocently. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Only, that means you’ve embroiled a major superhero in the party, ensuring that our inlaws aren’t likely to kill each other. Also, you’re tiring her out while we’re busy with the pre-wedding heists. If that was your plan…” Ecchs whistled. “That’s downright diabolical.”

“I don’t really like to use that word, anymore.” Ada said sweetly. “Too many connotations.”

“Suppose so.” Ecchs laughed. “Well, I am amazed nonetheless. I mean, when I picked Josh to run my party, I just figured he’d be good at it. Now I have to think of something to do while Timebender and Lucky Lad are busy making my wedding more awesome…” Humming cheerfully, he wandered out of the room. Ada chuckled, and returned to work.

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