Wolfsbane: Part Nine
You pulled back, smiling serenely as you surveyed your work. Gilbert shakily lifted his head and stared at you, eyes wide with nothing but disbelief. He opened his mouth to speak, clearing his throat a few times and swallowing, before finally saying in a trembling, astonished tone, "(Name), you're...a...C-Caster...?"
And then it happened.
The power was suddenly gone, back to wherever the strange place it had come from, and your legs buckled from underneath you. The pain was back in your shoulder, blazing up once again in a throbbing, aching tremor. The last thing you heard was Gilbert's distressed cry of "(N-NAME)!!! Hold on...!"
And then you heard and sensed no more.
A familiar darkness surrounded you once more.
The shadows that seemed to be alive--like the shadows that you had seemingly summoned forth to dispatch that monster, you know realized--slithered away from you as if in fear. Definitely not like before, when they had been near threatening, when they had almost seemed to want to wrap themselves around you and constrict you to death. You knew in a heartbeat that you were in that nightmarish dreamland the Caster Natalia had placed you in not too long ago, only this time instead of fear coursing through your veins you felt nothing but calmness.
This time, that same primal energy that had stirred within you just moments before made you feel as if you could be the one in control of this strange place.
"So. You came."
The voice cut through the dark silence, and you turned around to meet the cold dark violet eyes of none other than Natalia Braginski. She did not have the staff that she had been holding before, but she still radiated a sense of power. Inclining her head somewhat, the woman said, "I never would have thought you to be one of us, Miss (name). Especially one with such power. Tell me--where do you get your abilities from? Who was your teacher? Able to created such a massive shockwave of energy so great that even my clan could feel it...just what are you?"
"I don't know," you replied truthfully, standing firm. You weren't going to let her intimidate you this time. That feeling deep inside you would not allow it. "but I do know that if you were the one who sent that thing after Gilbert, I'm going to make you pay right here and right now for it."
Natalia scoffed, waving her hand in an airy manner. "I'm not one to do my dirty work with a familiar, if that is the 'thing' you are referring to. I prefer to actually see the pain on my victims' faces." A slightly crooked smile passed over her lips, before her mouth returned to a straight, grim line. "What exactly happened, pray tell? One moment I was content with writing down instructions for a new curse, and then before I knew it I could sense you pulling me into my realm. Needless to say I'm shocked you were able to accomplish such a feat."
You looked down, staring at the inky blackness that solidified beneath your feet. "...Some kind of...shadow wolf monster...came and attacked Gilbert and I when we were on our way to Prussia. So I could break his curse, no matter what you say," you shock an accusatory glance to the Caster before continuing. "Something inside me...snapped, I guess. I started making shadows. I...killed that thing, I think. I couldn't stop. Something inside me just wanted it dead and I..."
You broke off, swallowing thickly as a feeling of revulsion passed through you.
"...I k-killed it b-because it had hurt Gilbert and I was a-angry..."
Natalia was silent, ignoring how your skin had paled and how you were clenching your fists. She seemed to be pondering your words. "...having your powers mature during a time of crisis...it's not uncommon for most Casters, but normally I would be able to sense the dormant energy in one who hadn't blossomed yet. With you, all I sensed was plain old human."
You glared at her, (e/c) eyes narrowing. "Well obviously I'm not because after that I think I healed Gilbert with whatever the hell is in me and then I blacked out. And now I'm here. I want to know just what in God's name is going on with me, Natalia!" Your voice rose with the last few words, panic now choosing the time to make itself known--not panic of being here alone with Natalia, actually, but panic of having something inside you. Something that...not even the she knew exactly what it was.
The platinum-blonde haired woman just shrugged nonchalantly as a shadow slithered up her arm in a snake-like fashion, curling around it almost affectionately. "I usually hate admitting when I don't know what's happening, but right now I honestly just have no idea. You're obviously a Caster. One with...a lot more power than I care to admit. I can sense it in you now. But how you got like this...is a mystery to me."
Suddenly she glowered, violet eyes blazing with a cold fire and lips pressed in a thin, angry line. "Well, aren't you just special, little (name). All you have to do is have a panic attack and you're already at a level of spellcasting that it takes a normal Caster a few years of training to reach. Perhaps we should duel, hm?"
The shadows around her became agitated, all squirming around her feet and up and down her body like dozens of serpents crawling all over her--and she just stood there and acted like she felt nothing. "A duel between two Casters, to see just exactly what you can do. So I know if I should dispose of you here and now..." A little giggle passed through Natalia's lips as the last sentence hung in the air, a sound that was full of harsh madness.
You swallowed, stepping back a couple of inches as a bead of sweat rolled down your forehead. Your (h/c) stuck to the clammy skin, and you felt more rushes of panic and chaotic uncertainty battling inside your stomach. She couldn't be serious, could she? You and Natalia Braginski, the apparent curse-crazed Caster who had made it so Gilbert was stuck as a wolf and soon would lose his human side completely if you didn't do anything to fix it, duel?
That was madness!
You opened your mouth to reply, but instead of the initial "no" that you had been going to say, a voice that sounded like yours but was not entirely such responded in a haughty tone, "That sounds like such a lovely idea, Natalia dear. And while we're at it, perhaps I'll take it upon myself to put you back in your place, hm~?"
Natalia froze, eyes widening as you clamped your hands over your mouth in horror. What the hell had that been?! You hadn't wanted to say THAT--
"Please do ignore poor (name)," the voice continued, an unseen force pushing down your hands from your lips as a smirk curved across them. "She has no idea who and what she is. Which is why I'm here to show her the way." Your feet stepped forward on their own, one finger raised up in a taunting manner as it waggled back and forth, a fiery blackness dancing on the tip of the digit as you advanced towards Natalia.
"Y-You...w-what are you?! Th-the power--i-it's increased by at least half in just a matter of a few seconds!" Natalia exclaimed in a shaky voice, skin having gone pale and eyes bugging out in shock. "B-but that's impossible...!"
"No, it's not, you little bitch," your mouth replied in a cheerful, almost innocent tone as your finger flicked forward and the orb of black flame grew as it sped towards Natalia, landing on her shoulder. She stared at the spot in horror, expression on her face obviously betraying that she wanted to brush it off, but she appeared to be frozen in her spot. You felt the smirk wider, and a gleeful laugh escaped your lips. "I'm going to give you just a little taste of all the anguish you have put so many others through just for your own enjoyment...after all, I believe revenge is a dish best served absolutely CHARRED."
And with those words the little black spark that clung to Natalia's clothing burst into an inferno, engulfing her entire body as a scream of pure terror and agony ripped from her gaping mouth, the shadows that had once slithered across her body now seeming to disappear in the murky flames. You stared in disbelief as you felt the other presence inside you laugh and giggle with utmost delight.
It was strange, this feeling. Like your entire being was torn into two separate entities. There was you--(first name) (last name), watching this entire scene with absolute repulsed numbness, the one who wanted it to stop. Even though Natalia had cursed Gilbert in his wolf form, she hadn't deserved this! ...Had she?
But on the other hand, there was that newcomer. That other persona--or were they an entirely different person altogether? You could feel their nauseating joy at the sight of Natalia being consumed by the black flames, of her falling to the ground in a ball and screaming incoherently, garbled and animalistic sounds of desperation. They wanted more. More torment. More pain. To see Natalia turned to nothing but ash.
That wasn't you. That was something else inside you--some sort of spell that must have been put on you by that shadow wolf monster. It just COULDN'T be you!
"Of course," the voice that was using your mouth to speak suddenly stated in a calm and unruffled manner, "if you break the curse on Gilbert Beilschmidt, I'll stop. I'll let you go, and we can forget this whole thing ever happened. My only wish is revenge--and not exactly on you, though it is quite relaxing seeing you in so much pain. It relieves so much stress...and you have no idea how much stress I've had for the last, oh, century or so."
Those words hit you like a brick. Century? Just what did that mean? You weren't that old--you were barely two decades old! So this thing HAD to be something completely different from you, something that was taking over your body!
And all you could do was stand here and watch as take over your body it did.
"I-I'll break it!" Natalia shrieked, body shaking with convulsions as the black fire continued to spread across it and burn. "I-I'll break the damn c-curse--JUST STOP THIS STOP IT ALL OH GODDESS PLEASE STOP IT!"
"Good girl," your voice purred in a sickeningly sweet tone, snapping your fingers once. In an instant the flames dissipated from Natalia's body, and she let out a low groan. With a jolt you realized that Natalia was not the type of person to give in so easily. Especially under torture--no, she seemed too proud to be like that. So those shadow-flames...they must have hurt more than I can imagine, you thought with dread, (e/c) scanning her body.
It came as a complete shock to see that her clothes, skin, and hair remained completely unscathed. There was no inclination as to the inferno that had just consumed her entire figure only mere moments ago.
Natalia shakily got to her feet, panting with exertion and expression twisted in a grimace of rage, defeat, and pain. Staring at you with an abhorrence so material that it was almost like an icy sword was stabbing you in the heart just by her gaze, she growled, "I don't know exactly what you are, but mark my words, I'll get you for this. No one makes Natalia Braginski revoke her curses and gets away with it. I'll--"
"Just get on with it, darling," the voice hummed impatiently, waving a careless hand side to side. "I've got things to do, plans to make. And (name) has a Shifter to get back to. You'll be doing everyone--including yourself--a favor the faster you break your silly little curse on him."
"Why don't you just do it, since you seem so great and powerful?!" Natalia snapped bitterly, eyes flashing. "It would have saved you a lot of time just to go ahead and--"
Again, the voice cut her off, tone snide and victorious. "Because I wanted you to feel the humiliation of having to be the one to do it yourself, Natalia Braginski. Now shut the hell up and break your goddamn pathetic curse on Gilbert, and we'll be on our way. Also, the next time we meet, I promise I won't be making myself known but..."
A laugh, cold and rigid, sent shivers down your spine--especially since it was coming from YOUR mouth. "You had best watch out for dear, sweet (name). Because I promise you...I'll turn her into your worst nightmare."
Natalia's violet eyes blazed even more and suddenly she was lunging at you, shrieking, "GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY REALM YOU PIECE OF SHIT!!!"
Before her fingers could wrap themselves around your neck, however, you were jerked back violently and a sense of vertigo filled you to the brim. Your eyes rolled back and you lost your balance, a soft cry escaping your lips as you seemed to fall away into nothingness.
You jerked awake with a gasp, skin plastered in a cold sweat, anxiety coursing through your veins like mercury. You looked around wildly, expecting to see nothing but shadows and Natalia's enraged face, but instead you saw sunlight filtering through the thick canopy of leaves, trees all around, and grass beneath you. Nothing like that "realm" or whatever it had been of Natalia's.
Suddenly you felt two strong arms practically clamp around your torso and pulling you against something smooth and burly. A deep, thickly German-accented voice mumbled against your (h/c) hair as a nose buried itself in it, "Oh danke Gott...danke Gott...I didn't know if you were ever going to open your eyes again for me, (name)..."
That voice was familiar. Much too familiar. After days of verbally abusing the owner of that voice, you would have to be an idiot not to know who it was.
"G...G-Gilbert...?" you stammered hoarsely, bewilderment thick in your tone.
"J-Ja...it's me, liebling, it's me...it's Gilbert..." he whispered, pulling away as his arms tightened around you.
You stared in shock as your (e/c) eyes met crimson ones framed by not white fur, but very pale and very human skin that was sculptured into a--for lack of more intelligent terms--fucking hot and sexy man's face. A mop of slightly shaggy silver-white hair adorned his head, and the corners of his mouth curled upwards. You looked down, seeing nothing but the bare and muscular body of a man. Not a wolf, but a man.
Gilbert Beilschmidt, looking just like all the pictures at the dog shelter, minus the clothes.
...minus the clothes.
...MINUS THE CLOTHES.
"OH MY FUCKING GOD YOU'RE SMOTHERING ME AND YOU'RE NAKED," you screeched, scrambling away from Gilbert as fast as you could as your face flamed brightly. "DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH ME THIS NOW DEFINITELY COUNTS AS SEXUAL HARASSMENT!" You averted your eyes from Gilbert's nude--and, sadly, very attractive and well-built body--before your face could explode.
"B-But (name), aren't you glad that you finally broke the--"
"MOTHERFUCKER WHERE DO YOU KEEP THAT FRYING PAN?!"
"SHUT UP AND PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!"