~Disclaimer: I don't own the Buffy world or characters. I don't own the Harry Potter world or any of the recognizable characters. I don't own the Wheel of Time setting or the recognizable characters. Most of the story will be set in a version of the Wheel of Time world. The Harry Potter characters also come from a version of the Harry Potter world where things didn't go according to the plan. Minor character disclaimer: I don't own the talking duck I borrowed from Ducktales nor the character I borrowed from the Simpsons. If you haven't read the Wheel of Time series you'll probably be lost. There are also a couple of spoilers for the last book in the Wheel of Time series. (Read at your own risk.)~
~An: This is based off of the Luck of the Draw challenge.
Willow stared at the scantily clad female demon that just seemed to ooze sex that had popped into existence in Xander’s living room. The girl was wearing a sheer red silk negligee that clung to her ample bosom and curves. She looked remarkably humanlike other than the two cute horns peeking out of her long blond hair. “How the hell?” The magic in the world was gone, at least it was for the most part. She felt her guts twist as she was reminded once again that Buffy had destroyed the Seed of Wonder. The demon shouldn’t be able to teleport around wherever she wanted. Not for the first time she wished that she still had enough magic to go all out, sadly her internal batteries didn’t offer the same amount of power as drawing on the world’s magic. Besides, it was taking most of her magic to keep Dawn conscious and aware of her life.
Leah reached for her knife as she watched the demon wearily.
Xander stared at the girl, “Oh…”
The demon girl smiled as she held up her hands in a placating gesture, “Hey don’t kill the messenger.”
Xander pulled his gaze off the girl’s very fine and admirable assets and noticed that the girl was holding five fancy looking tickets. “What’s the message?”
She sighed in relief as she realized that they weren’t going to try to kill her out of hand, it was always a pain to give the tickets to heroes. She glanced at the bathroom then back at the three people in front of her. “You four have won various items from the Netherworlds’ Lottery Draw.”
Xander frowned, “Netherworld Lotto?”
She giggled, “Yep, every thousand years a collection of demon lords get together and give out fantastic prizes.”
Leah raised an eyebrow, “What’s the catch, what do they get out of it?”
The girl looked over at the suspicious red haired mystical warrior, “They’re bored.”
Xander shook his head, “That can’t be all there is to this.”
She giggled, “Well, the prizes are shall we say gathered from all over the realms. When they are taken out of their world they often cause chaos and change. For example imagine a geek in this world getting a star ship from Star Wars or a light saber.”
Xander grinned, “That could be fun.”
She grinned, “Exactly now imagine how much a lightsaber in your hands would have screwed with the Powers That Be Stupid’s plans for this world.”
Xander thought about all of the vampires he could have killed with a lightsaber then realized that he probably would have either lost it at some point, had it used against Buffy or been targeted by their enemies a lot more. Things wouldn’t have been the same and probably not in a good way. “Oh crap.”
“Exactly. Now before you decide that you don’t want the prizes… let me just say that if you don’t come with me to the Netherworld coliseum then the prizes will be given to your enemies.”
Willow gulped, “In case you didn’t notice we’re not exactly rocking the juice to get out of this world anymore.”
The demon girl shrugged, “A small matter that is easily fixed, you’re still supernatural creatures so I’ll give you a lift to the auction if you help me with delivering my next ticket.”
Dawn poked her head out of the bathroom where she was taking a shower, “We can leave?” She felt like crap and she ached all the hell over. Getting out of the magic dead world and back to someplace with magic sounded like a great idea to her.
“Yeah, I’ve just got to get a ticket to Illyria, preferably without her killing me.”
Leah chuckled, “Good luck with that, she’s a bit temperamental at the best of times.”
Dawn rolled her eyes, “I’ll do it. I’ve got Spike’s number on speed dial so I can figure out where they are.”
The demon girl smiled as she passed the tickets out to their proper owners. “Make your calls then we’ll leave this nasty place.”
Xander frowned as he looked around his and Dawn’s apartment, “The place isn’t that bad is it?”
“I was talking about the world not the apartment.“ The girl smiled at Xander seductively, “The apartment is actually rather nice.”
Dawn bit back the comment she might have made about the girl trying to poach her Xander. She wasn’t going to say anything to upset her ride out of the world.
Xander gulped, “What now?”
Willow sighed, “We pack.”
Xander stared at Willow, “What?”
“For the trip. Spending time on a world with magic might be the best cure for Dawn.” She wasn’t sure if she was going to bother coming back. Taking Dawn to another world long term might be the best and only way to fix her.
He sighed as he realized that in all likely hood they wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon as there didn’t appear to be a way to fix magic. Without being able to restore magic he doubted that there would be a way to permanently restore Dawn. “If it means saving Dawn then I’m all for leaving. Buffy will freak though.”
Willow scowled slightly, “She can deal.” She had a bit of a love hate relationship with Buffy right now because of the loss of magic. Still she wasn‘t going to let Dawn die just so that Buffy could keep her ‘safe‘ or something equally as stupid. She looked at Leah, “Are you coming?”
Leah shrugged, “I’m disinclined to allow whatever prize I would have won to fall to our enemies. I’m going to at least come to claim my prize.” She also wanted to make sure that this wasn’t some elaborate trap.
Dawn briefly thought about calling Buffy and telling her goodbye but figured that Buffy would just try to talk her into leaving even though she would die if she stayed here. It would probably be better to just send her an e-mail before they packed up the laptop. She walked over to her cell and called Spike. “Hey Spike.”
“Hey Pet, you’re awake?”
“Obviously. Willow made with the mojo. That’s not why we’re calling though or well it sort of is.”
“Yeah, we’ve got a demon from the Netherworld’s Lotto here and Illyria won a ticket. We’re hoping that you know where she is.”
“We’re actually about two hundred steps from your apartment.”
Dawn asked in surprise, “You were coming to visit me?”
“Where else would I be?”
“I’ll see you when you get here.” Dawn hung up. “They’re almost here.”
The demon girl smiled, “Excellent, pack quickly.”
Spike frowned as he looked at Illyria, “Do you know of the Netherworld Lotto?”
“Yes, when I still ruled I won a pet from them.”
“What type of pet?”
“Think of a cross between a dragon and a giant squid. It lasted for many earth years before it died.”
“So they’re on the level?”
Illyria shrugged, “The place is under a peace accord by beings I would not have wanted to anger at the height of my power… these creatures can wipe out planets on a whim.”
Spike winced, “In other words offending them by not showing up would be bad.”
She tilted her head, “I have no wish to see and I like presents.”
Spike chuckled, “Let’s go see what you’ve won then.”
It took longer than the demon girl would have liked but not as long as she had been expecting for the group to gather their ‘irreplaceable’ possessions and ready themselves to leave their world. She was rather happy to be able to hand off Illyria’s ticket to the blue haired demon lady without issues and open the way for the group so that she could leave the dead magic world and complete her next assignment. She hoped that her next target didn’t take as long to collect because she didn’t want her master to think she was dillydallying or anything that would cause her to get in trouble. She reached out with her magic to find her next targets then teleported close to them. She appeared in a penthouse hotel room and scanned the room. A seventeen or eighteen year old young man was standing in a white fluffy hotel bathrobe watching two naked girls kissing and fondling each other on the room’s large bed. She would have loved to join the two lovely girls in their fun if she hadn’t been running so late. Both of them had creamy white skin and nice bodies. One of the girls had a full head of bushy hair that went down past her shoulders and the other had dark red hair that probably went down to her cute bottom when she was standing.
Harry James Potter’s gaze was pulled away from his twin sister and girlfriend’s naked bodies by the appearance of a third girl in their hotel room. He lunged for his wand and felt a wave of despair wash through him as their wands flew off the nightstand and into the new girl’s hand. The damn war was supposed to be over he shouldn’t have to contend with anymore assassins. Especially not assassins that just apparated into his hotel room despite the wards he had tossed up when he rented the place. “Shit.”
The demon girl smiled, “Sorry for the interruption. You look like you were having a lovely time. Sadly, we don’t have a lot of time.”
Hermione Granger scowled at the strange girl as she untangled herself from Violet Potter. “A lot of time for what?”
“To get you to the Netherworld Lotto drawing.”
Violet frowned as she sat up and got a good look at the less than human girl standing in their bedroom, “What is the Netherworld Lotto?”
She decided that a quick rundown would actually save more time than it cost. “Every thousand years some demon lords get together and give out powerful magical prizes for fun and entertainment. Any supernatural creature, like say witches or wizards gets entered into a drawing. Once they have a list of ten thousand winners, demons like myself are sent out to collect people.” She teleported the people’s tickets from her invisible pocket into her hand and held them out.
“Why should we trust you?” Harry asked suspiciously.
“I’ll give you the short version. If you don’t come collect the prizes then the prizes go to your enemies of which I understand you have a large number.” She conjured a glowing ball of lightning in the hand that wasn’t holding their wands. “Besides, if I wanted to hurt you, then you would be dead.” She smiled cheerfully as she let the ball of lightning vanish, “You might not make it back to this world anytime soon so if you have valuables that you need we should pack them.” Technically she would give them a lift back to their world if they wanted it but people normally took her counter offer to go to some other destination rather than their home world.
Hermione said, “That sounds reasonable.”
The demon girl stared at Hermione suspiciously. “How long will it take you to pack?”
Harry chuckled slightly, “About five minutes actually.” They had already emptied out their accounts for their planned move to the states. The media frenzy because of their roles in Voldemort’s death made it next to impossible to get any peace and quiet in Britain. Everything they wanted to keep was already packed in their expanded trunks.
The demon girl was rather surprised that it was going to be that easy, most people had more attachments to their world than this group. “Just like that?”
Violet felt a flash of pain as images of her dead friends ran through her head. “All of our good friends and most of our acquaintances died in the battle of Hogwarts a week ago.”
Hermione scowled, “My parents were killed by death eaters two years ago.”
Violet smiled bitterly, “It’s a bit sad but we really don’t have anything keeping us here.” Even her and Harry’s aunt had been killed by death eaters a couple of months ago.
The demon girl smiled, “Excellent… well for me it is. Gather your stuff and I’ll make a portal.”
Harry still felt like this had to be a trick of some type but he was good at reading people and the girl didn’t seem to be lying. Besides, he wasn’t willing to let a bunch of dark wizards get anything that a girl that could skip right through his wards called powerful magical items.
Hermione smiled at the demon girl, “I don’t suppose you would be willing to sign a magical contract assuring us of safe transport?”
The demon girl sighed, “You’re going to be one of those people aren’t you?”
Hermione smiled at the demon girl, “It shouldn’t take that long and it will put my mind at rest.”
The demon girl muttered, “Fine.”
“Excellent.” She turned to look at Harry, “If you could grab my trunk for me and a change of clothes.”
“Sure.” Harry ran his eyes over his girlfriend’s naked body once then headed toward the closest to pack up the couple of outfits they had unpacked.
Xander felt a cold shiver run down his back as he looked around the coliseum where the demon girl’s portal had taken them. There must be close to twenty thousand demons scattered around the seats looking down into the center area where there was a large platform set up. There were hundreds of theater ropes set up to separate various parts of the coliseum into distinct little areas. He could see demonic girls in bunny costumes walking around the different areas selling snack foods or helping with directions. Anya would have freaked. He briefly wished that he had stayed in his safe apartment at least until he saw that Dawn was truly smiling for the first time since the Seed of Wonder was destroyed. “How do you feel?”
Dawn looked around at the strangers gathered around and dropped her voice to a whisper, “Fantastic actually…”
Leah twitched slightly as a large fat demon that looked like a cross between Clem and a giant squid walked a bit too close to her on it’s way to a different section. “This place is seriously odd. As we sure we‘re in the right location?”
Willow glanced down at her orange ticket and red the first four numbers again. “Yeah the demon girl said that the first four numbers tell you what section you’re in.”
“There should be someone coming along soon to give out the basic prizes. At least that‘s what the usher said.” Said the black haired girl dressed in a black old fashioned dress that was looking out toward the middle of the arena.
“Oh thanks… Miss?” Willow blinked in surprise as the woman turned and revealed that she was an anthropomorphic duck.
“Magica De Spell.”
Xander stared at the cartoon character come to life, “Oh…”
Dawn smiled, “Pleased to meet you.”
Magica‘s smile was a bit creepy to the gang because her bill twisted up into a smile in a way that just didn‘t seem natural. “Is this your first Netherworld Lottery?”
Dawn smiled, “Yes.”
“Mine as well, it should be interesting though.”
Leah stared as a yellow haired and inhuman yellow skinned toddler clad in bright blue pajamas shuffled into their section. The fact that the toddler was sucking on a bright red pacifier was the least of the strangeness about the toddler with large eyes that seemed to scan the crowd with intelligence. She watched the little child like creature look down at the ticket it was holding then up at the number over their section before it shuffled over and pulled itself up on a bench. Leah smiled and waved.
The toddler smiled and waved back at the strange looking person then went back to sucking on her pacifier while waiting for the prizes.
Leah noticed that the toddler only had a thumb and three fingers on each hand but blew it off as one more strange thing about this place.
Dawn stared as a tall and darkly handsome man in a black suit walked out of a portal and into their section with two very attractive girls. The girls were wearing very pretty semi casual red evening gowns that she might have worn to a fancy but not extravagant restaurant. She muttered a touch too loudly, “I wonder if they’re human.”
Harry chuckled, “We’re human, I’m a wizard and they’re witches. You?”
Dawn wasn’t going to mention the whole key bit. “Minor witch.”
Willow smiled, “Witch.”
Xander shrugged, “No idea, I’m assuming it has something to do with living on a hellmouth for most of my life.” He figured it was either that or the time he got possessed by the hyena spirit that qualified him for the Netherworld Lottery. He wasn’t sure which.
Hermione frowned, “Hellmouth?”
“It’s a mystical portal to other demon realms. It’s also a nexus of evil, we were making sure no one broke it open and destroyed our world.”
Violet grinned, “I can see where that would be important.”
Leah said, “I’m Leah, just your average mystical warrior.”
Hermione was curious what a mystical warrior could do, “Mystical warrior?”
Leah didn‘t really want to admit to being a demon slayer in front of a bunch of demons. “I have increased senses as well as increased speed and strength.”
Harry stared at Magica De Spell, “Interesting.”
Magica shrugged, “I get that a bit.”
“Sorry, I’m Harry.”
“Magica De Spell.” She turned away to look out over the rest of the demons.
Willow smiled, “Willow.”
Violet looked at Willow in an appraising manor, “I’m Violet and you’re cute.”
Hermione laughed, “Don’t mind her, she’s a bit of a nymphomaniac. She didn‘t get her fix today.”
Violet stuck her tongue out at Hermione.
Xander muttered something about paying for photos which caused Dawn to jokingly hit him on the arm.
Harry gestured to the bench near them rather than by the strange guy dressed in dark robes with a gnarled staff or by the group of demons that were crowded around the other bench in their rather small section. “Do you mind if we sit?”
Willow shook her head, “Go for it.”
Violet asked, “How long until they start the auction?”
Willow shrugged, “It’s the first time I’ve been here so I‘m not sure. Our transportation didn‘t explain all that much about the auction when she dropped us here.”
Spike grinned as one of the attractive bunny girls walked over to their section carrying a large box, “How long until the raffle starts?”
The demon girl with cloth bunny ears smiled as she set her box down on the open spot at the front of the section. “The main raffle doesn’t start for another hour, it gives us a chance to pass out the door prizes to each section. Then I’ve got a couple of things to raffle off in this section then we get to the large raffle.”
Magica De Spell rubbed her fingers together. “Excellent.”
The yellow haired girl stared at the duck for a couple of seconds before ignoring her in favor of looking at the girl with bunny ears.
Willow said, “Great.”
The demon girl smiled, “When I call your ticket please step up and collect your winnings. Don’t lose your ticket because it’s what enables you to win the larger drawing later.” She rattled off the first number.
Xander looked down at his ticket and realized that she had called his number. He stepped up to the front and showed the girl his ticket.
“Excellent.” She smiled as she handed him a crystal with a horse design carved into it. “You’re now the proud owner of a summonable mount named Bella. Just kiss it and whisper release when you want to release her and return when you want to pull her back into the crystal. If she gets hurt then just release her and she‘ll be good to go the next time you need her.”
Xander sighed as he realized that he would probably have to learn to ride now, “Okay…”
She called out another number.
Magica De Spell stepped forward and presented her ticket while Xander sat back down next to Dawn.
“You are now the proud owner of a Zomara. They‘re mind reading servants magically bound to follow your commands. Don‘t worry they can‘t actually tell people what they can sense as they‘re mute.” A blond haired beautiful if slightly androgynous girl dressed in black pants and a white dress shirt appeared and stepped up to Magica.
Several of the demons scowled and booed slightly as they would have liked to have a magical servant.
Magica grinned as she realized that she would finally have a minion that wouldn‘t talk back. “Thank you.” She walked back to her seat with her servant following.
Hermione hoped that there were better prizes than servants that she would have to set free. She realized that the next number read matched her ticket so she stepped up and showed the girl her ticket.
“Ah, you’re a lucky girl you get a witch queen and her spawn.” She handed Hermione a green gem about the size of her thumb nail.
Hermione gulped as the whole demonic part of the auction finally clicked. She felt a bit silly now that she really considered what type of prizes were being offered. Still it wasn’t like she wanted a bunch of death eaters having strange magical items or people under their control. Having seen just how many demons were around she decided not to make a scene. She walked back over and sat down before she could open her mouth and get herself in trouble.
Dawn watched as several more numbers were rattled off with prizes collected by various demons. The prizes were mostly magical items or exotic creatures from the sound of things. It was frustrating because the descriptions were familiar but she couldn’t figure out where she had heard them before. She was hoping she won something a bit more interesting than some boring magical item that she couldn’t use. She stepped up and showed her ticket when her number was called.
“Congratulations you’ve won a hero’s soul.” The collection of demons booed as hero souls were typically worth a lot on the soul market. They had gotten a couple of magical items but nothing that they could retire on. “If you would like you may either keep him or consume his powers and abilities.”
Dawn shook her head at the idea of destroying someone‘s soul, “I’ll keep him.”
“Well enough.” She handed her a small figurine of a sleeping wolf carved out of some dark stone.
Dawn took the wolf figurine and took her seat.
The next number called had the toddler crawling off the bench and shuffling over to the demon girl to present her ticket.
Leah thought that someone really needed to get the poor girl a better outfit because it almost looked like it was designed to trip her up as she walked.
The demon girl checked the girl’s ticket and was a touch surprised when it was actually the right number, “Ah right, young lady you’ve won a ring that makes you invisible.” She felt really bad for the girl’s world all of a sudden when the little girl smiled.
The girl giggled as she pocketed her new treasure and shuffled back to her seat.
Violet smiled as she ended up getting the next number, “That’s me.” She stepped up and showed the girl her ticket.
The demon girl checked the list again, “Ah fantastic, you’ve won a desert ninja witch and her four spawn.” She handed the girl a gem. “Same as the other ones, release and return.”
Violet grinned, “Perfect.”
Leah stepped up when the demon girl rattled off her number after giving out a couple more souls and items to some of the other various demons. She stepped up and presented her ticket.
“Oh, you’re a lucky lady. For your very own pleasure, a fantastically powerful battle witch.” She handed her a gem.
Leah took the gem and pocketed it. “Thanks.” No sense being rude, especially as they were surrounded by an army of demons.
Illyria stepped up when her number was called.
“You’ve won a most excellent prize, the soul of a magical princess of the mighty Seanchan empire.”
Illyria’s smile was a bit cold, “This is acceptable.” She took the soul stone and returned to her seat.
Spike rubbed his nose on frustration as he realized that she was going to want to take over the empire, “Ah joy…”
Dawn’s eyes widened as she realized why so many of the monster descriptions were familiar. They were stealing prizes out of a book or at least a world very like a series that Andrew liked to DM for.
Harry watched the man with a gnarled staff go up when the next number was called and get a healer’s soul. He moved up and showed the demon girl his ticket after his number was called.
“Oh, you’re a lucky dog. The soul of the leader of the witches is yours.” She handed Harry a gem. “You’ll have to find a body for her but I don’t think that will be too difficult.”
“Thank you.” Harry wondered if transfiguring an animal into a person would work for a body.
Willow watched Harry sit down then she walked up when her number was called.
“We have one last door prize to give out before we raffle some more souls.” She gestured at Willow, “May I present Willow Danielle Rosenberg, Goddess of her own personal world.”
If Willow had been paying attention to the demon crowd she would have noticed that none of them looked happy about not getting a whole world to control. However, she was way too busy staring at the demon girl in disbelief to notice such minor details as a bit of discontent from the peanut gallery. It took her a few moments before she managed to squeak out, “Goddess?”
“It’s a Wheel of Time world. Feel free to name it whatever you want.” The demon girl smiled as she handed Willow a six inch diameter crystal globe that showed a world in amazing detail complete with weather patterns. “The world is yours. Do what you want with it. If you want to bring back the dead there, you can, with a couple of exceptions. If you want to give your people some special powers then you can, immorality? No sweat… while they’re there at least. You’re the boss.”
Illyria scowled at Willow as she realized that the witch got the better prize by far.
“How?” Willow was pretty sure she was still in shock at finding out that she had just been given a whole world.
“One of the demon overlords had a nephew, well his wife had a nephew that liked exploring other worlds. The guy was a bit of a risk taker. Anyways, he got himself dead when followers of the dark god of the world he was on destroyed it. Nasty business that. Normally this particular demon overlord wouldn’t have cared but he wanted a good showing for the lotto and his wife was bitching so he steps in, steals a bunch of trinkets and souls then goes back ten years in time and kills the dark god which splits the world off from the main timeline and allows him to send a version of his wife‘s nephew back home. Which is when things get messy in that the opposing side steps in and says that the world is now a neutral world on account of there being no true demons there. I think they were planning on sneaking some people in there but he pointed out that technically there was a demon on the world and as long as he stayed there he owned the place by right of combat.”
Xander muttered, “Demonic lawyers…”
“Yes, well he doesn’t want to stay there forever because he’s got an empire to run. He would have just brought a demon in but the celestials wouldn’t have gone for it. Normally he would have just let the world go as one world more or less isn’t a big deal but the celestials made it a point of pride. Which brings us back to the lottery, the only way the overlord wins is if he unloads the place to a non demonic overlord.”
Willow felt her head spin as she followed the crazy logic. “Okay… so what do I do?”
“You do what you want with it. There are still some forces of the old god there, until they’re destroyed you won’t have complete control over the world but you have enough that the celestials can’t claim the world which is enough to make the boss man happy.”
Leah asked curiously, “How many forces are we talking about?”
“Nothing you can’t handle with a couple of armies…” She smirked at Leah.
Leah wasn’t sure she believed the demon girl.
Willow stared down at the globe that represented her world with interest. “Thanks.” Her mind was still spinning as she walked back to her seat and sat down.
The demon girl smiled, “Now that the door prizes are handed out, let’s get to the mini raffle.”
Violet giggled as she watched the demon girl raffle off the various prizes with a great deal of enthusiasm. She whispered to Harry, “We should ask Willow if we can immigrate.”
He whispered back while the demon girl was raffling off a company of something called Children of the Light. “Seriously?”
“It might be a nice vacation, besides you heard her, immortality and all that.”
Violet grinned, “I can see that.”
Spike chuckled as he listened to the children plan while they kept an ear out for their tickets being called, he was looking forward to seeing what Willow did with the world. He didn’t think it would be as easy as just showing up and claiming mine. The demons winning various prizes made him wish that he had a ticket so that he could get in on the fun. He wondered if any of the demons liked cards, he might have to ask after the raffle.
Dawn had to restrain herself from cheering when she won a company of two rivers archers. She would have to see if she could collect several of the other interesting souls from the demons before they left. She was starting to get plans for Willow’s new world. She was amused by Xander winning the soul of the false dragon Logain. She was less amused by Illyria winning a grab bag of damane. She would have to talk to Hermione about getting the gambler from her as she was fairly sure that the gambler was Matrim Cauthon, at least she was hoping it was.
The demon girl smiled as she raffled the last soul off which went to Violet. “Lucky girl, I hear the dragon is quiet cute. Feel free to trade your prizes or what not, you have about twenty minutes until the main event.” She turned to look at the group of demons then at Leah, “I shouldn’t have to tell you this but any fighting will result in your most painful deaths.” She smirked as she walked off with a sway in her hips.
Dawn whispered to Willow, “I’ve read about your new world.”
Willow stared at Dawn, “Really?”
“Yep.” She glanced at the group of demons. “The more souls we get back from the demons the easier it will be claim the world.”
“I’m not trading my world and I don’t want to risk the souls we have.”
The man with a gnarled staff turned to look at Willow, “I’m willing to give you the soul I won in exchange for a quiet spot in your world.”
The man didn’t feel like a demon but that wasn’t saying much because there was so much demonic energy around she couldn’t sense much of anything right now. “I should be able to do that. That‘s all you want in exchange for the soul?”
The man smiled, “I have no real need for souls and I like exploring new worlds. I only came because I didn‘t want evil people to get to come in my place.”
“In that case we can square up after the main event.”
He smiled as he turned back to watch the center of the arena.
Spike smiled as he looked at the group of demons, “Anyone fancy a game of poker?”
One of the demons grinned at Spike, “What do you have to put up against our winnings?”
Spike looked around at the group, “What do we have?”
Dawn sighed, “I’ve got a couple of souls that I’ll risk.” In the grand scheme of things the two rivers archers were replaceable even if she wanted to keep as many as she could.
The demon looked at the rest of the demons then looked back at Dawn, “Soul poker.”
Illyria stared at the demons with an icy expression, “How do you play this game?”
The demon smiled, “We’ll show you.”
Illyria kept her smile off her face as she mentally went through the various methods Fred had known for counting cards.
Harry was rather glad that he hadn’t bet against the guy with bleached hair or the blue haired girl. Apparently they were really good at cards. They had managed to win a couple of rounds and a fair number of souls before the demons had wised up and stopped playing. “Any guesses what the main prizes are?”
Violet shook her head, “No, considering that a whole universe was a door prize, I can’t even imagine what the main prize is.”
A demon in the central area held up a megaphone and shouted, “Your attention please.” Everyone other than Illyria in their section winced at the sound. Luckily the volume dropped to a more comfortable roar as he continued talking, “We have twenty prizes, each more fantastic than the rest.”
Xander had to admit that a couple of the prizes were rather neat, the first prize to go was a sentient star ship. Someone that looked suspiciously like River from the Serenity movie claimed that particular prize. The next was the planet Alderaan stolen from a Star Wars world before its destruction. That prize was won by a large hulking demon that reminded him of a Balrog from Lord of the Rings. He had to admit that as prizes went it was rather badass. The next prize was a copy of Superman’s powers that went to a nearly naked demon girl with way too many piercings on her body. He felt slightly bad that he didn’t win a real life fusion toad until he realized that he didn’t know what it was supposed to do but judging by the crowd’s roaring it was something useful. He would have really liked to win the mini vacation world but hadn’t really expected to win any of the large prizes.
The next dozen prizes all had strange Japanese names and he wasn’t sure what they were other than possibly abilities. The next couple after that were more worlds. He really wished he could have won a pleasure planet or the ability to copy powers or even any of the various abilities they were raffling off. He was just glad that he had already gotten a couple of things otherwise the trip would have felt rather pointless. He stared in shock as a Glory got raffled off. It probably wasn’t their Glory back from the dead but it was creepy thinking that someone had enough power to turn a version of her into a slave. There were also a couple of grimoires raffled off that had been stolen from prominent magical families. It scared him that they were on the order of importance with whole worlds but judging by the roar of the crowd they were that important. He wasn’t surprised that no one from their group won any of the large prizes as they were competing against ten thousand other people for twenty spots.
Violet sighed as the last prize was auctioned off, “And I was so looking forward to winning that magical island that you could carry with you.”
Dawn snickered, “I think Willow made out like a bandit.” She could hear some grumbling from the various demons that agreed with her.
Xander glanced at Dawn, “You seem to recognize the world…”
“It’s from a fantasy series.”
“Can you give us a quick run down?”
“Sure, Andrew talks about the world enough that I probably could even if I hadn‘t read the books. There are hundreds of thousands of dark monsters up north, the twelve extremely powerful magic users that served the dark god are probably still trapped in a mystical prison that will likely be breaking within ten years. There are thousands of dark cultists scattered over the land and a bunch of other crazy people that are going to come out of the woodwork over the next ten years for the last battle against the dark god.” She remembered a lot of the details of the world from the books though she wasn’t sure what had happened after a certain point because the author had died.
Leah snorted, “Who is dead according to the demon girl.”
Xander shrugged, “Which will leave his followers doing their own thing.”
Willow muttered, “That could be a mess.”
Harry ask, “Bottom line, is it worth exploring?”
Dawn looked the handsome man over, “I’d say so.”
Harry looked at Hermione and Violet, “What do you think?”
Hermione grinned, “It sounds like more fun than we’ve had in years. It might have dark magic users but they won‘t be targeting us specifically.”
Dawn raised an eyebrow, “Why would they be targeting you specifically?”
Hermione chuckled, “Because he’s Harry Potter, he’s sort of a celebrity on our world.”
Harry smiled, “A dark wizard tried to kill me when I was one and died. For some reason that made me the boy that lived.”
Dawn’s eyes snapped up to Harry’s forehead to check to see if there was a scar. “No scar?”
Harry didn‘t like remembering the train ride back in his third year when the dementor had tried to kill him for no good reason that he could see. “Nah, it started to fade back in third year after I almost died fighting a dementor.”
Hermione smirked, “After that it only took a couple of spells to get rid of it.”
“Dumbledore freaked, it was rather funny…” He trailed off as he realized that the group was staring at him strangely, “I know I’m famous but why the weird looks?”
Willow recovered, “In our world there are children’s books about your life, or at least a version of you.”
Violet laughed, “That’s rather scary. Our life isn’t exactly something I would expect children to be reading about or at least not an honest tale of it.”
Dawn asked, “Who are you?”
“Violet Potter, I’m Harry’s twin.”
“That’s new.” Dawn looked over at the demons that were collecting things and looked like they were about ready to head off for parts unknown. “There are a couple of souls I want to trade for.” She really wanted a couple of the Asha’men souls.
Harry looked at the demons, “Do you think they would accept gold?”
One of the demons grinned, “Yes.”
Harry smiled as he took out his money pouch, “Excellent.”
Hermione smiled at the demons, “I can also make bags of holding for trade.”
Another demon stepped forward holding the gems for several of the random people that he had won, “I’ll trade a person for a bag.” He turned to look at Dawn, “I know you have a couple of soldiers, if you want I’ll trade my shopkeeper or my stone mason for a soldier.”
Dawn grinned, “I think we can do business.” Spike had won a couple of Children of the Light in the card game that she didn’t have a need for. As far as she was concerned the demons could and should have their souls.
While Dawn and Spike were busy trying to get the souls and people that they wanted Willow was focusing on her globe trying to figure out how it worked. Concentrating on a place on the globe while holding it brought up a mental image of the place. It was sort of neat in that she could also pull away a bit so she had an image of the land for miles and miles around. She could even back out far enough that it was like looking down at the world from space. Concentrating on the weather caused it to move in interesting ways. She stopped as she realized that she was probably causing the people that lived on her world problems by messing with the weather.
The man with a staff smiled, “Have you figured it out enough to transport me yet?”
Willow looked up, “Oh, I think so.”
The man smiled and held out the gem that contained the healer’s soul, “In that case, I’m ready to leave here.” He handed her the gem.
Willow accepted the gem then focused on the man and concentrated hard on the large group of islands she could see on the globe. Smiled when the man vanished from their area. “Hey that worked.”
Spike looked over at Willow once the rest of the demons and yellow skinned toddler left. “Can you find a place to put us that’s night? I‘d rather not burst into flames the second that I arrive.”
Harry raised an eyebrow, “Vampire?”
“With a soul.”
Harry shrugged, “Don’t they all have souls?”
“Not on my world.”
Willow looked at Dawn, “Do we have a plan?”
Xander shrugged, “We need to figure out what we have.”
Dawn chuckled, “We have some people that are alive and we have some people that are just souls. I suggest we put the souls into their younger selves and keep the older people as people.”
Hermione frowned, “We’re not actually thinking of keeping people are we?”
Illyria stated flatly, “Yes.”
Dawn shook her head, “Most of us aren’t but I don’t think it will be as easy as just saying that they’re free. We‘ve got ten years before the crap hits the fan. I‘m hoping that we can set things up so that we’re better prepared for the last battle when it comes around.”
Harry shrugged, “I’m willing to let the soul of the girl I have merge with her younger self as long as you‘re willing to have us tag along.”
Willow smiled at Harry, “I don’t see a problem with that.” She was actually looking forward to having more magic users around and his sister was rather cute.
Illyria shook her head, “I’m not.”
Spike frowned, “Be reasonable Blue.”
“I am, the current incarnation of the soul I have is fourteen human years old. If she merges than she’ll only be four.”
Hermione frowned, “Which wouldn’t be all that helpful.”
Violet shrugged, “No sweat, we can probably make a body once we get there that you can place the soul in.”
Illyria looked at Violet for a couple of seconds then decided that she was serious, “That is acceptable.”
Willow concentrated on the globe as she tried to figure out the best way to accomplish what they wanted. “I think all you have to do is touch the soul gems to the globe and will them to release or at least I hope that‘s all that‘s required. I’m still figuring things out.” She held her globe out so that someone could try her idea.
Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out the soul gem and touched it to the globe. He felt the soul fly into the globe and he found that he suddenly had a sense of the young girl‘s emotional state. “I don’t think that worked like you thought it would.”
Willow frowned, “Why?”
“Because I can sense her emotional state and catch some of her thoughts.”
Willow frowned, “Rats.”
Hermione chuckled as she pulled the gem that held her hero out of her pocket, “Nothing for it but to test it.” She reached out and touched the globe with the gem. She felt a weird double echo as her hero merged with his younger self. “He slept through the merge… how the hell did he do that?”
Dawn laughed, “With style I’m guessing.”
Xander rolled his eyes as he pulled out the soul gem that contained the false dragon. “Can anyone tell me if the false dragon is male?”
Dawn chuckled, “Yeah.”
Illyria looked at the soul gem Xander was holding, “Logain Ablar, he’s a noble.”
Dawn sighed in relief, “Better than the other guy.” She knew she was going to have to track Taim down and kill him before he became a problem.
Xander looked around at the group, “Anyone want to trade? I’m not getting linked to some guy.”
Leah grinned, “I don’t want to trade my battle witch but I’ll help you with some projects for a while in exchange.”
Xander handed her the gem, “Sure.” He knew that there would be plenty of work to do while they were getting things set up.
Leah took the gem and touched it to the globe. She smiled as she felt the link form. “I could have a lot of fun with this.”
Dawn pulled her wolf statue out and touched it to the globe. She smiled as she felt a link to Perrin form as the statue crumbled. “That formed a link here as well.”
Spike frowned, “Can you fix it?”
Violet reached out and touched the hero’s soul gem she had to the globe. She smiled as she noticed the link forming. “Works well enough here.” She wasn’t about to lose out on having a connection to the hero.
Willow grumbled, “Give me a second, this didn’t come with an instruction manual.” She worked on figuring things out for a bit.
Spike waited ten seconds then asked, “Any luck?”
Willow touched the healer’s soul to the globe and felt a connection form to the young healer. “Now that I know what it feels like I think I can connect the souls to their leaders in the world rather than us.”
Harry frowned, “How does that help us?”
“It means we don’t have to make connections to more people. We also have connections to the leaders so by extension we have connections to them. If I do it right then they’ll only barely feel the link.”
Dawn nodded, “That’s not a bad idea actually.”
“I’ll try to connect them as lightly as I can.”
“In that case we should probably get out of here before they kick us out.” Harry smiled as he gestured around the coliseum which was quickly emptying of demons.
Willow looked at Dawn, “Do you have a suggestion on where to go?”
Dawn chuckled, “Let’s start with the Two Rivers. That’s where most of the important people are. It‘s also close to the mountains where I want to start building a town.”
Xander looked at Dawn, “A town?”
“Yeah, we’re going to need an army if we want to destroy all of the old god’s forces.”
Hermione frowned, “I thought you said you only have ten years before the battle.”
Dawn looked at Illyria, “We do. You remember the portable island dimension they raffled off?
“The one that ran faster than the outside world?”
“That’s the one. We didn’t win but I bet with some work we could design something like it.”
Illyria tilted her head, “What you are suggesting would be a challenge.”
“An impossible challenge?”
Illyria glanced at Willow, “Perhaps not. It might take some experimenting.”
Spike shrugged, “In that case let’s release the souls that we’re going to release and get out of here.” He handed Willow the bag of soul gems that he had collected from the poker game.”
Illyria scowled as she passed over her collection of soul gems with the exception of the princess‘s soul. She didn’t like giving them up but she also had to admit that there was nothing truly worth keeping in her collection of souls that she had swindled from the demons. It made more tactical sense to keep the people that could create a body for the soul of the princess happy. Besides, she had her collection of battle witches that were alive to keep her busy for the foreseeable future.
Willow took each soul gem out one at a time and peered into them to see who was in it before deciding what to do with them. Most of them she sent into the world to merge with their younger selves under the light control of their leaders, two she touched to her globe and claimed because she wanted a link so that she could keep track of them. There were also a handful that she had no intention of releasing into her world without strict controls because they were crazy and evil. She held her globe up, focused on the two rivers and saw a bird’s eye view of the area. It was a bit strange being able to see the world in detail even though that section of the world was only currently illuminated by the moon. “I’m done with the souls. Any particular place in the Two Rivers we should go?”
Dawn said, “Emond’s Field.”
She zoomed in on Emond’s Field, “To the Two Rivers we go.” She reached out with her new ability and teleported the group and herself into her world. She held her orb tightly as she looked around in amazement. It was a bit weird to go from being able to see everything despite the darkness to being able to see little because of it. “I can’t believe that actually worked.”
Violet chuckled as she looked around and looked at the buildings that looked even more old fashioned than Hogsmeade, “You forgot to mention that we would be in a medieval setting, I would have brought more toilet paper.”
Dawn looked around at the quaint village with a smile. She was pretty sure Andrew would have loved it here at least until he found himself missing modern amenities. “I was a bit distracted.”
Harry chuckled, “That’s what conjuration is for.”
Xander looked around the dimly lit street, luckily the moon was out otherwise they would have been standing in the dark as the only light was coming from down the way where they guessed the inn/tavern was. “This is going to take a bit of getting used to.”
Willow looked at Xander, “Which part?”
“I think it’s finally sinking in that we’ll be here a while.”
Dawn shrugged, “Not dying is a perk.”
Hermione frowned, “Not dying?”
Dawn shrugged, “Our old world lost magic and I was dying.”
“How does a world lose magic?”
Willow sighed, “Our world had something called the Seed of Wonder in it. It was the world’s source of magic, with it destroyed there wasn’t all that much magic anymore.”
Violet frowned, “Don’t you have a magical core?”
“I do, most witches don’t have a very large one in our world and a bunch of already cast spells failed.”
Xander sighed, “It was a mess.”
Spike snorted, “That’s an understatement.”
Harry put his hand on Hermione’s shoulder to head her off, “We can talk about it later. Let‘s go get something to eat.”
Dawn grinned as she started walking toward the inn, “I hear they have remarkably good food.”
Spike frowned, “I don’t suppose you have enough copper pennies to pay for food?”
Dawn sighed, “I forgot about that.”
Harry chuckled, “Don’t worry about it, I’ve got enough gold and silver that we should be fine until we can get things sorted. That‘s assuming that they take gold and silver.”
Dawn smiled at Harry, “They do and thank you.”
Harry smiled at Dawn, “You’re welcome.”
Hermione chuckled as she started walking toward the one building with light coming from the window. “Behave Harry.”