Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy, The Shadow, The Phantom, The Wizard of Oz, or any Persian princesses
Ethan was trying to get as many costumes out the door as possible, so as to sow as much chaos as possible, and had been making progressively wilder deals as the day wore on. If he heard a kid complain that there were no superman costumes he offered to sell his mother a vampire costume half off. By the time six p.m. rolled around all he had left were a few wigs and loose decorations. He smiled widely as he turned the shop sign to closed and slipped off to the back room. He made sure the Janus bust was settled into on its table at the center of the chalk drawn design. He lit the candles arrayed around the room and settled into the lotus position in the center of another chalked design and started chanting in Latin.
While he was doing that Cordelia was being bored. Xander was making the best of things and keeping the kids entertained but she couldn't wait until she could ditch the little tykes and leave for the party at Harmony's house. She'd need to swap with Willow first as Xander was not someone she could be seen taking to a party. Not even a costume party. She cleared her throat to suggest that the next house be the last when the magic of Ethan Rayne's spell caught her, Xander, and the kids between houses.
Lamont Cranston looked around, he was suddenly on a suburban road with a beautiful young woman in a tiara carrying what looked like a magic wand amidst about a dozen children. There was obviously evil afoot from what he saw. He decided he must have been attacked mentally while escorting the kids to safety. A quick check showed he was dressed as the Shadow so he smiled under his scarf and let his chuckle echo eerily off the nearby buildings. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” he asked then answered his own question, “The Shadow knows!”
The woman next to him looked around and said, “Oh dear. It seems chaos and darkness has descended upon this city. Mr. Shadow can I count on you to help me keep these children safe?”
“I'll do my best to safely escort you to any safe location you know ma'am,” Cranston said. “Do you have any idea what is going on?”
She shrugged, “I must confess I have no idea how I got here. One minute I'm in Oz and the next I'm here. That's magic for you I guess. I did notice that the closest monsters to us ran when they heard your laugh but I fear not all the monsters we meet tonight will be so easily intimidated.”
He sent out his psychic senses and found the minds of a lot of scared people, mostly kids, had been overlaid with other minds that were at least temporarily in control. He turned to his companion, “Not everyone who looks like a monster is one tonight.”
She nodded gravely, “A good lesson to learn at any time but especially true tonight. However I can sense some true monsters out and abroad tonight. Can you free the possessed?”
He nodded, “One at a time I might be able to do so but it would take several minutes at least for each one and that's too long. I say we get these kids to the nearest house that looks safe for them then go hunting whoever did this. Are you with me or would you rather stay and guard the munchkins?”
She smiles, “I am well used to guarding munchkins, but I think that tonight the children will be best served by us finding the cause of this disturbance as quickly as possible, so I'll agree to your plan.”
While they looked for a house that could shelter the children Buffy was cursing Cordelia, whoever provided her ghost costume, and running in a straight line towards Giles' home. “Running through walls is nifty,” she said to herself, “but being able to pick up a stake and dust vamps would be so much better.”
The Shadow and Glinda the Good found a sturdy home that would take the children in for the night. Having accomplished that Glinda says, “I think I can find the center of this disturbance but not all the monsters out tonight are transformed children. Can you protect me while I lead the way?”
The Shadow laughed and drew twin .45 automatics enameled in matte black, “If it bleeds I can kill it.”
Glinda nodded, “Let us hope that includes everything we may meet tonight.” She traces several arcane symbols with her wand and like a compass needle it swings to point in a certain direction. “The center is that way.” She walked off in that direction and the Shadow followed her as she slowly made her way through the chaos.
He was using his mental abilities to cloud the minds of the transformed in order to keep from having to fight them when they came upon a pirate menacing a noblewoman in an alleyway.
“Halt evildoer!” The Shadow was surprised because it hadn't been him saying it. He looked at the other end of the alley but couldn't quite make out who was there. The pirate looked up from trying to tear the heavy silk of the noble woman's dress and saw two people at each end of the alley.
The pirate drew his cutlass in his right and his dirk in his left and said, “Who be ye who try to keep Black Jacques from his prey?”
A shot rings out and the cutlass is ripped from the pirate's hand by a heavy bullet, “I am the ghost who walks. The Phantom, scourge and enemy of every pirate who ever plundered on land or sea.”
The Shadow decides that's his cue so he shoots the dirk out of the man's other hand and let's his laughter echo eerily through the alley, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”
Glinda smiles at the shocked man, “Dearie I think you'd better go home for the night. You don't want these men mad at you and I'm certain you'd regret your actions in the morning. Just move away from the girl and walk toward me. I'll make sure you both get home safe.”
The fourth person doesn't speak yet, she just stands with her arms folded and watches to see what the pirate will do.
The pirate seems to take a moment to regard his stinging, empty hands then nods, “Aye, I'm thinking a quiet night is best for me tonight. If ye can get me to somewhere safe I'll go and not stir from it 'til morning.”
She smiled at him and walks over toward both him and the lady who has apparently fainted. Once near enough she taps him with her with her wand and he falls over apparently asleep. “Good now if one of you big strong lad will carry them we can get them to safety then finish tracking this madness to its source.”
The other girl speaks up, “You can end this madness?” she has a slight middle eastern accent.
“Yes, child. I believe I can,” Glinda replies.
She nods, “Then we shall carry these two and let you and your protector get on with your job. Right Phantom?”
The Phantom sounds a bit hesitant at first, “Yes Princess. Well I won't leave her and the pirate alone together even asleep even though he did surrender. I normally kill pirates but there is something very odd going on tonight so yes I agree. Maybe we can find a safe place and bring all the innocents there. There is safety in numbers and they'll be easier to defend all in one place.”
The Shadow nods, “Good, you take care of the civilians and we'll stop whomever is doing this. Good luck.”
“Good luck to you as well,” The Phantom replies. He throws the pirate over one shoulder and the lady over another and leaves with his companion.
Glinda recasts her spell while The Shadow guards her back. Then both she and he leave on the trail of the chaos mage responsible for the night's mayhem.
Between Glinda's magic and The Shadow's psychic powers they soon reached Ethan's shop. Kicking the door open the Shadow entered first with his guns drawn. Seeing no one he moved out of the doorway and let Glinda enter, "Are you sure this is where the spell is coming from?"
"Quite sure," Glinda replied. "Let's check the back room." She moved ahead of him and entered the back room wand first. Looking into the back room she said, “Jackpot! One chaos mage as advertised.”
“Bravo my dear,” Ethan Rayne said calmly. “You have found me out. However you can do nothing to stop me.”
“Oh no?” she queried and sent a blast of magic at him.
He stood there completely unfazed, “No, I am shielded from magic.”
She said, “No shield of evil can stand long against my magic!” Then she hit him with a bigger blast.
He smiled, “It's not a shield of evil. It's a shield of chaos. No magic can penetrate it.” He was about to taunt her some more when from behind her he heard, “If magic can't harm you let's try hot lead.”
The Shadow stepped into the room and fired both guns at Ethan Rayne until they ran dry.
The chaos mage staggered back and collapsed upon the bust of Janus. His blood soaked the magical artifact and he had a look of horror on his face as he expired.
The bust of Janus began to glow brighter then the body disappeared and a deep, inhuman, voice said, “Sacrifice Accepted