Chapter 36: The End? Don't You Believe IT!
Disclaimer: Xander, Buffy, and anyone or anything else that pertains to BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon. Dracula belongs to the estate of Bram Stoker, or Francis Ford Coppola, or someone I think.
Larry Talbot, the Frankenstein Monster, and some others may belong to Universal Pictures.
NCIS belongs to Belisarius Productions, and CBS.
Ghost rider belongs to Marvel Comics, Dimension Films, Crystal Sky Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, and Sony (Whew!), and was played to perfection by Nicholas Cage!
OCs belong to me, and as always I remain…the man behind the curtain.
This is the end, Beautiful friend
This is the end, My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again
Can you picture what will be, So limitless and free
Desperately in need...of some...stranger's hand
In a...desperate land
Song Lyrics: The End Artists: The Doors
Chapter 36: The End? Don't You Believe IT!
Vlad found Buffy on the third floor of the castle keep’s eastern most tower. Unlike the rest of the tower this floor had been repaired and remodeled. A definite Far Eastern influence was evident. Chinese art was everywhere. Delicate watercolors on rice paper dating from the Song Dynasty were displayed in frames on the walls. Beautiful statues of pottery and jade of the late Shung, vied for space with lovely porcelain vases, and figurines of the Ming era. A riot of color was everywhere: vibrant red and gold, blue and yellow; muted and delicate pastel pinks, and greens.
If she hadn’t been so wary Buffy would have been in awe. A human monster Fu Manchu may be but his taste in art was truly impressive.
The overall effect, however, was spoiled by the addition of his sadistic handiwork. Several bodies in various states of decay, all young, and all female were strewn throughout the tower.
There had been no combat as of yet, but this was soon to be remedied. One of the tower doors opened to reveal six rather outrageous looking creatures. These monsters had two large bat-like ears, long re noses, sharp pointed teeth and large downward pointing tusks.
“Ghouls, my dear, of the Chinese variety, not nice beasties at all,” Vlad said with a growl. “Let me take care of these pests, save yourself for their master. He’s got to be close to be able to summon these things.”
The Chinese monsters were really no match for the vampire Prince, still they were able to get in several telling hits on him. Using a well maintained Hungarian saber he eventually decapitated five of the six creatures. Buffy took care of the lone surviving beast with her favorie Celtic short sword, a gift from Queen Victoria II. Buffy was impressed with both Vlad’s martial prowess and his amazing speed, and accuracy, that is until she noticed the extent of his wounds.
“You’re hurt bad, let me help you,” she said as he staggered toward her.
“I will heal little princess, but I’m afraid that it will take more time than we can spare right now, and I am to weak physically to go on,” his smile was strong, and it was still a welcome sight to her. “I have put out a mental call to Mina, and the other vampires. If they can come, they will come, but I don’t know when. You may have to carry on alone for a time.”
“Fu Manchu is human and I’m not sure that I’m going to be able to kill him.” The Slayer was clearly upset. Her code had kept her from killing living humans for so long.
“Kill him if you must though…just remember that though he may be a living human, he is a far greater monster than even the worst vampire, the worst demon, worse even than the ghouls that we have just put down,” he paused with a grunt of pain. “If you don’t believe that just look around you. Look at these poor girls, little more than children. These little ones he tortured to death for the shear pleasure that he derived from their pain, and death.”
Buffy’s face took on a look of disgust, then it hardened into a mask of white hot rage, all she was able to grind out from between her clenched teeth was a strangled, “Right!” she stalked down the hall, her sword gripped tightly in her hand.
Two floors below Mina heard Vlad’s mental call, and responded immediately. Marie had joined with Abby and the other witches, and was in the process of strengthening their spells.
Of the vampires it was Drusilla, however, who answered the call first physically carrying her ‘brother’ at that.
Buffy watched with a hint of amusement on her face as Dru arrived and gently placed Xander in front of his smirking wife.
The trio began tracking the Chinese scientist/sorcerer/sadist through the maze of corridors and rooms of the tower. The last room on this floor had a set of stone steps leading down rather than up. Buffy led the way down the steps, finding that they wound the length, and depth of the entire tower, and further into the bowels of the shore side hill that the castle had been built upon. Deeper and deeper they led lighted only by feebly glowing torches on the walls. The stairs finally ended at a door that Xander judged must have been almost one hundred feet below sea level.
The door was locked.
Buffy hit the door with all of her Slayer strength, and the heavy old ironbound wood cracked, but the heavy door remained intact. Drusilla happily joined her sister-in-law and the door soon proved no match for the joint Slayer/vampire assault. The girls having vented some of their rage, the splintered portal finally fell off its hinges and to the ground.
The trio stood inside a natural cavern lit by the blue glow of phosphorescent moss on the walls and ceiling. The floor consisted of natural rock and hard packed sand. In the exact center of the room Fu Manchu stood warily on a mustard yellow platform fiddling with several knobs, and levers. A large glowing gem seemed to power the device was on a round table that seemed to be part of the platform.
A magical force field surrounded him, and with a simple gesture he sealed Buffy and her companions in a similar field.
“In a few moments I will be far beyond your feeble reach. Time and space have become my toys to play with as I will. You can not stop me, never stop my plans. I am truly invincible. You foolish, ignorant westerners are no match for the might and wisdom of a true eastern genius! You are nothing more than silly, stupid barbarian children playing at adulthood,” he chortled with undisguised glee.
Another voice broke into his insane bragging, one that was oh so familiar to Buffy, and her crew.
“Good Lord! Must you villain types always babble your egomaniacal inane twaddle!”
Rupert Giles had appeared next to the Chinese madman. Heaving a pained sigh he somewhat reluctantly drove an ancient Chinese dagger into exact center of the power gem, as if he already knew the result.
The trio was expecting the gem to shatter, or maybe explode instead the blade sank into the stone like it was merely a hunk of cheese. The room was instantly filled with a high pitched shriek of pain, immediately joined by a second one of rage from the insane mandarin.
The ‘machine’ began to dissolve into a mound of yellowish brown goo. Giles leapt off and rolled away from it the hilt of the dagger fell from his blackened hand, the blade had been dissolved! Fu Manchu dove off of the mound in the other direction. The force field around Buffy and company disappeared, and both Buffy and Xander ran to Giles.
Drusilla moved at vampiric speed toward the Chinaman, but she was hit by a blast of red light from a silver blasting rod that he held in his hand. She instantly went limp and fell to the ground in a boneless heap.
Seeing this Xander roared and that roar was not altogether human. Mina and Larry arrived, and were soon joined by Doctor Hall and Jamila.
Xander’s form did not change…not really…not completely anyway...his hair became grey with irregular brown splotches his eyes glowed a hellish yellow, and his teeth elongated becoming sharp, and hyena-like.
Doctor Hall rushed to his wife’s side, his face alternating between concern for her, and rage at the Chinaman.
Buffy still knelt by Giles. The hand that had held the dagger was horribly burned, and his arm appeared to be paralyzed. He was obviously in great pain, but still he smiled up at his 'almost a daughter's' lovely worried face.
Buffy watched her husband with some little horror, and a little anticipation as her he stalked closer and closer to the mad mandarin.
Fu Manchu grinned and fired off a burst from his rod at Xander. The energy blast seemed to roll harmlessly off the transformed Scooby with no real effect. A maniacal hyena like laugh broke the silence. A look of sheer panic crossed the Chinaman’s face.
Xander’s black clawed hands reached out and grabbed the human monster by the front of his black silk robe. Xander grinned showing those sharp, sharp teeth. Those that watched saw a real battle for control going on inside the young warrior. His jaws snapped once…sheering the silver blasting rod in half. With that he slowly began to regain his human appearance. His right fist came up smashing with all of his might into the Chinaman’s jaw. The great Fu Manchu sagged to the ground like a bag of wet laundry.
Xander jauntily walked back to his wife and his wounded mentor with a lopsided grin of triumph on his face.
Drusilla was beginning to stir in her lover’s arms. Mina, and Larry started to go over to secure Fu Manchu. He was they decided to be turned over to Victoria’s elite police force, New Scotland Yard, to await Royal Justice.
The pile of goo had coalesced into the corpse of a very large mustard colored demon that was later classified by Willow as a Chrono-spacial manipulator called a B'ha’Mac’t’kar demon, Sumerian or at least Mesopotamian in origin.
The air in the room shimmered and near the northernmost edge of the room a somewhat short man dressed in a what appeared to be a formal white suit, with a white shirt, bowtie, and shoes appeared. Clapping his hands in a silent golf clap he said mockingly, “Bravo! You’ve defeated the rotters in record time, as always. Ah, but not without many great losses was it? Too bad, so sad, still one cannot make and omelet…and all that.”
Without a word he fired a crimson blast from his left hand instantly incinerating the unconscious Chinaman!
"What a disappiontment HE turned out to be, and after all of his promises too!" The man's face came into the light.
“You,” croaked Giles, “but you were killed when the Council Headquarters was destroyed!”
“No, Rupert old boy, I made a deal with the First, traded the Council for power and a ticket to another dimension, knew you and you Slayer would find a way to defeat him in the end! You didn't think a outdated idea like loyalty would let me forget self preservation did you really?”
Quentin Travers smiled almost benevolently at his old colleague, and then without changing expression he fired a blast that finally killed the heroic Watcher, in the arms of his beloved Slayer.
He looked down at Buffy, “You’re next you disgusting little thorn in my side. You ruined so many of my glorious plans, so many of my chances at real wealth, and power!” He raise both hands fingers spread and extended, and pointed them at the Slayer. Then a look of horrified shock came over his once gloating face. A fiery chain wrapped itself around his waist and chest and he was yanked back into the waiting hands of the Ghost Rider.
Suffice it to say that all of the evil deeds that Head Watcher Quentin Travers had committed were remembered by him with horror, and all the agonizing pain that he had caused was his…all at once. His eyes and then his body dissolved to a fine silvery white ash, but his spirit…his soul would suffer that hellish agony forevermore. There would be no redemption for such as he.
Author’s Note: What will follow will be an Epilogue, but it will be a doozey! Who will stay, who will go? What changes await the lives of those who return home? Ahhh, and like it or not I fully intend to continue this series, not in stories of epic proportion maybe, but there will be more. I write to please others, yes, but I also write because I like to, and it relaxes me. :P