"There are four of us," Aurelia began. "Myself, Emerald, Ruby..."
"And Argent?" Jim inquired.
"No, no," Aurelia chuckled, "he's mortal. Hard to kill, but very much mortal. He only has half of the formula. No, the last was the first leader we had - a Mr Maven Braunze." Jim shrugged his shoulder, and nodded a little. "We are immortal in the way that we cannot age, and we cannot die from most weaponry. There are things out there that can kill us - we learned that very quickly, I can assure you.
"But that was the thing that brought us together - the code for eternal life. Braunze had half, and Ruby worked out the other - combined, they made us near enough immortal and indestructible."
Jim finished his tea, and placed his cup in his lap.
"So what happened back there, with the long dress and hair and... stuff?"
"I can answer that one," Emmy grinned, and rose from her seat. "Braunze's chemicals had another side effect - I've been looking over it all. The particulates react with the brain chemistry of the individual - so while Aurelia here has her weird little glamour trick, I got this one." She stared at Jim, and all of a sudden he could not longer feel the chair. He looked down, and immediately wished he hadn't.
"Telekinesis," she continued. "There doesn't seem to be a limit on it either. Pretty cool, huh?"
"Great, great - now please - put me down." He glided slowly back into his seat, and Emmy sat back down with a big grin on her face.
"So what happened to this Braunze guy?" he asked, adjusting his shirt from his landing.
"We don't know." Ruby sat straighter now, and continued. "He vanished a year and a half ago - we've looked for him ever since. And it seems," she smiled at the other two as she spoke, "that you might be just what we needed."
He was diminutive, but his ego easily made up for the height difference. He stood by the car - a sleek black number that seemed to be carved from the shadows themselves - and watched from afar.
The energy signature had moved to this point, and there was no doubt about it being connected to... to them.
He felt a writhing, knotting agony in the pit of his stomach as he imagined them - the great immortals, the league of the bizarre, never aging, never dying, and eternally causing him trouble. He could physically feel the righteous fury blazing away in his mind - why should they be so damned special? Who gave them the right? Who do they think they are dealing with?
He scowled at the very idea of them, and drew the remote from his pocket with malice in his eyes.
Jim clambered upon the table as Emerald and Aurelia prepared the battered leather straps and Ruby drew a long, thin syringe of light blue liquid from a nearby rack.
"Ruby was the one who found the cellular regeneration serum," Emmy said. "Through a little chimera research, we found a way to take several regenerative aspects of axolotls to allow for the rapid healing of cells." Ruby drew closer, and the straps were pulled tight and buckled before the two immortals stood back to allow the third to place the needle at his neck.
"A quick insertion into the carotid artery - try to relax," Ruby said with a tinge of concern in her voice as the plunger was pressed.
It felt sickening - it felt like ice being injected into his soul. He felt his hand shudder - then his arm - then his legs - his whole body began to convulse, and he felt his body becoming colder and hotter, still and yet continually in motion - an unearthly scream bellowed around the great marble cavern as Jim began the process.
Old scars faded to nothing.
The paper cuts on his fingers vanished.
His skin became fresh and supple, the bags under his eyes were no more.
He stopped convulsing, the immortals removed the leather straps, and took a breath for the first time before sitting up to be met with a short dagger in the stomach from Argent. He looked down.
Not even a tickle from the cool steel blade.
The diminutive man drew a cigar from his pristine grey jacket and lit it with a match, inhaling with delight as the sleek roadster crawled towards the dilapidated old house on the hill.
It was Gothic in style - tall and grotesque, with a lightning rod atop the highest point of the thing. It wasn't worth being called a house, he knew that much. It was a hovel, at best, and he knew what had to be done. Within that hovel was everything he despised in the world incarnate, and somebody had to cure this 'malaise du monde'.
Everything would be as planned.
He smiled to himself - a warped, rotting smile of gold and stained enamel - and thought it good as he prepared the attack.