I don't own Gargoyles or anything associated with them, as I'm only in this for the fun of it.

This fic is dedicated to King Cobra. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ED!


Previously on Gargoyles:

Darlene held her hand and squeezed it hoping to get a reaction out of her. Finally, Demona turned her head and looked her daughter in the eye.

"I'll kill him," Demona simply said. She didn't say it with rage, hatred or anything that was common with Demona. She was almost completely emotionless when she spoke, yet she said it with an absolute certainty, an oath that she swore she would fulfil someday.

Darlene looked into her haunted eyes and didn't know what she saw in them no more. She opened her mouth to speak, but Demona beat her to it.

"Daughter," she said. "I'm not in the mood for talking. Please… "She got up to leave. "Leave me be." She walked out of the room before Darlene could utter another word.


Angela listened as the phone was lowered down and Darlene's retreating footsteps. She barely waited a few moments before she heard the footsteps hurriedly returning and grabbing the phone.

Angela! Darlene voice sounded urgent and almost hysterical. She's gone! Mother's gone… and so's her bazooka!


Goliath sighed. "And you blame yourself for Lana's rape because of this?"

Demona eyes flared red as she snarled. "I allowed Thailog to live and because of that, my daughter nearly lost her life and I my freedom, my granddaughter had her trust and her body violated and my company's security was at risk from him. All of this happened because I stupidly allowed him to go free when I should have just gutted him right then and there!"


Demona paused then. Her fists were shaking almost uncontrollably. "I want him dead Goliath," she said coldly. "I know you've got this foolish idea about redeeming him because you see him as your son, but know this… If I see then I will kill him! No questions asked, no doubts or compromises. Do you understand?"

Goliath gave her a hard look. "You do realise that I will stop you?"

Demona thinned her eyes. "I know you'll try, but do you understand my terms?"

"Perfectly," Goliath answered. "Now may we return home? Darlene was asking after you."

Demona nodded, but neither of them ever stopped glaring at each other the whole way home.


Lana opened the cabinet and pulled out a single bottle of the potent drink. It was only one bottle and Demona rarely drunk anymore. She only kept the bottle in case of company, small as that chance might be. No one would notice its absence.

Lana swallowed nervously and pulled the cork out of the bottle. She sniffed its aroma and paused.

'I shouldn't be doing this,' she thought. 'I can't drink. I don't… '

You know you love it. She remembered the look on Thailog's face when he had said that while nibbling her.

Lana shuddered and gripped the bottle so tight that cracks began to appear over it as it threatened to shatter. Lana paused and took a small sip.

* * * * * Consolation * * * * *

And now, the continuation:


Destine Manor:

Darlene sat and talked with her half-sister as they sipped tea and ate sandwiches that she had made for them. Angela talked about her childhood on Avalon where her adopted human parents, the Princess Katherine and the Guardian Tom had raised her.

Darlene listened with interest of the happy times Angela had had on Avalon with her rookery siblings, especially Gabriel. Darlene took special interest on hearing about Gabriel considering he was now dating her daughter.

Thankfully, Darlene learnt with gratitude that all Angela had to say about him was mostly good as he had been the ideal hatchling growing up, sensible, brave and honourable.

'I just hope those good qualities stay with him while he's with Lana,' Darlene thought amusedly.

The sound of the balcony door opening interrupted them and they looked up to see Demona enter.

"Mother," they both cried thankfully and rushed up to her.

As they embraced her, Darlene noticed Goliath and Hudson not too far behind her. She looked questioningly at them but they didn't say a word and Darlene was just too glad that her mother was home to be concerned at the moment.

"Mother, where did you go?" Angela looked at her in worry and actually stroked the side of her face.

Demona just looked blankly at them and simply said, "Hunting," and left the room.

Darlene and Angela both stared after her for a while before looking to Goliath and Hudson.

Hudson shrugged. "We found her in the park hunting for Thailog, but she didn't find him, none of us did."

Darlene didn't know whether to be relieved, angry or fearful.

"Rest assured child," Goliath said and Darlene looked at him oddly.


"We will not rest until we have found Thailog and brought him to justice," Goliath declared. "You have my oath."

"I… thank you," Darlene said. "Well, thanks for finding her and bringing her home guys. I better check and see how she's doing."

The three of them nodded to say they understood and then bowed to say farewell except for Angela who hugged her sister and waved goodbye before leaping through the window and gliding away.

Darlene smiled, shut the window and went to find her mother.

"Father," Angela asked Goliath. "Why did you call Darlene a child? Physically, she's as old as you are."

Goliath blushed. "Well err… "He looked to Hudson for help who smirked and answered for him.

"It's because of the old ways lass," Hudson said. "Remember, every egg produced by the clan is raised by the whole clan. Every hatchling is a daughter or son to its elders and since Demona is Goliath's rookery sister, then that makes Darlene his rookery daughter and it is customary for an elder to refer to a younger generation as a child."

Angela nodded in understanding. "I see, but a word of advice father." The two of them looked to her. "I advise never to call a woman who is both a mother and knows sorcery and fighting skills, a child."

Hudson laughed while Goliath grimaced.


Meanwhile, from the penthouse on top of a luxury hotel, two eyes stared at the flames of a fireplace and from within those, the eyes saw the three generations of gargoyles returning home without them noticing.

"Do you see them?" One voice asked eagerly, followed by another.

"How can she with you blocking her way?"

"At least I'm interested!"

"Yeah and you're stalling her with your constant questioning you big…"

"ENOUGH!" An angry voice yelled out and silenced the other two.

The figure, to which the angry voice belonged to, crossed the room to the one who was staring into the flames.

The voice questioned. "What do you see?"

"I see three gargoyles," the one she was speaking to said in a tone that sounded like she was speaking from another world, "Three gargoyles, one of each generation, heading to a castle in the sky."

"Oh boy she's cracked."

"No you idiot, she must mean Xanatos Enterprises! Their main headquarters has a genuine Scottish castle built on top of it. It must be that she's talking about."

The former angry voice ignored the other two and concentrated on the third. "Is what they speak true?"

"Yes," the faint voice responded.

"Then our informants were correct in their assumption. It seems that Xanatos is harbouring the beasts." The being paced the floor for a few minutes pondering.

The being smiled dangerously, "Contact Xanatos, tell him to expect us tomorrow. I believe it's time we meet our new neighbours."


Eyrie Building:

Xanatos had just finished retrieving the last of the steel clan robots that had been dispatched to aid the clan in their search for Thailog. So far, none of them had been successful.

Xanatos breathed deeply. Out of all the mistakes he had made, Thailog was one of the worst. He had created him because he had wanted his own personal gargoyle to control and maybe someday use against the gargoyles. But he had made the mistake of teaching… No… programming him with things from his own perspective. As such, Thailog had rebelled and turned against him, leading Xanatos to realise that he had created his own worst nightmare… a creature, even more devious and dangerous than himself.

A knock came at the door, to which Xanatos called, "Enter."

Owen Burnett entered through the door to his office and came in with his notepad and pen. "Sir," Owen said crisply. "I've just received a telephone call from a visiting corporation called 'Rhombus Industria.' They wish to discuss business in the hopes that you'll be able to help them with a special project that they're working on."

Xanatos raised his eyebrows in mock interest. "Make an appointment then will you Owen and we'll discuss their terms at some later date."

Owen remained as stoic as ever. "They wish to meet tomorrow after dark."

Xanatos snorted. "They certainly don't beat around the bush do they? Well I assume you told them that we couldn't make it and… "

"Sir," Owen began. "They know about the gargoyles."

Xanatos stopped and looked at Owen with true interest in his eyes. "Really, they said so?"

Owen nodded. "They said they would arrive some time after sunset tomorrow so be sure to expect them."

Xanatos looked thoughtful. "Well in that case… Owen, I assume you've taken all the necessary precautions?"

"Yes sir," Owen replied. "I've already begun refuelling the steel clan robots and installing new battle gear on them just in case."

"Good," Xanatos said as he got up. "Has there been any word on Thailog yet?"

"No sir."

"Very well, you inform Goliath and the clan about our guests tomorrow. I'll be in my room with Fox."

"Yes sir," Owen said dryly.


Goliath, Hudson and Angela all landed on the battlements of Castle Wyvern where they found Gabriel just beginning to disembark.

"Brother," Angela said surprised. "Where are you going at such a late hour? The sun is only moments away."

Gabriel smiled. "I was just going to see if Lana was alright and if she needed me." He was about to jump when Goliath held out his hand and stopped him.

"It is almost dawn Gabriel," Goliath said though there was a hint of a smile on his face. "I'm sure Lana will understand that you could not reach her tonight. Besides, it was not all that long ago you last saw her."

Gabriel sighed. "Feels like an eternity to me."

Goliath rolled his eyes. "In that case you won't mind waiting another night. Besides, I don't think it would be wise for you to risk meeting Demona again so soon."

Gabriel gulped and slowly nodded, but he never stopped throwing casual glances in the direction of Destine Manor.

Suddenly, a flash appeared in the courtyard and Titania appeared. She instantly walked over to Goliath in all her queenly glory and smiled at him. "Greetings Goliath," she said. "I trust your wedding was successful."

Goliath blinked from the flash and bowed respectfully before the queen of the Fay. "I fear that tonight has not been the most pleasant of nights my lady."

Titania raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

Goliath sighed. "Let us just say that tonight was a night full of surprises. I'm sure one of the eggs will inform you of what has occurred."

Titania nodded. "Well I'm sorry that tonight wasn't up to your expectations Goliath. I am here to reclaim the eggs of Avalon, are they ready to transport back to Avalon?"

Goliath looked to Gabriel who was fidgeting slightly. "My clan are all ready to disembark Goliath," Gabriel said, "everyone except me."

Goliath smiled as he was wondering when this would come up.

Titania cocked her head to the side. "Explain?"

Gabriel sighed and looked to Goliath. "Goliath, would you do me the honour of allowing me to remain here in Manhattan as part of your clan?"

Angela squealed in delight and Goliath just continued smiling at his daughter's rookery brother. "Gabriel, the honour is all ours. Besides, I don't think Lana would have it any other way, do you?"

Gabriel blushed and Angela ran up to hug her brother.

Goliath turned and bowed once more before Titania. "It appears that you'll be returning to Avalon one gargoyle short my lady."

Titania smirked. "Somehow I had a feeling I would. Nothing gets past the Fay and we had all heard about Gabriel not winning the heart of the one called Ophelia. My daughter told me about your former mate Demona and her newfound family, especially the one called Lana whom you just mentioned. I had hoped they would… hit it off, as the humans say."

"Your hope shall not be disappointed then," Goliath said still smiling at the happy duo. "Gabriel and Lana have grown quite close since meeting one another, especially when… "He paused when he recalled Lana's rape and sighed. "Well, they've grown close," he said simply.

If Titania minded that he wasn't about to tell her the full story then she didn't show it.

"Oh," Angela suddenly said addressed to the queen. "You might want to be prepared to bring at least two of my sisters back for another visit sometime. It seems as if Brooklyn and Lexington have found themselves some new friends… Female friends."

Titania grinned, nodded her head in understanding then bowed her head in a gesture of farewell and clicked her fingers.

Another bright light flashed before Goliath's eyes and he found himself temporarily blinded. Spots flashed before his eyes before his sight returned and he soon heard a wail of despair coming from inside the castle.

Before long, Brooklyn and Lexington came running out screaming that someone had stolen their girlfriends.

Angela rolled her eyes. "They haven't been stolen," she said. "Titania was just here, they've been taken back to Avalon." She wished that she could have at least said goodbye to them, but the Fay weren't known for their patience.

Brooklyn and Lex looked stricken. "But I never even got to say goodbye," Lex said.

Angela looked in sympathy at him. "I know, but don't worry. Titania said she'll bring them back around for another visit soon enough."

This seemed to brighten them up a little but they still looked downcast.

"Goliath," Owen called out and walked up to the leader. "I have some news."

Goliath pricked up his ears. "Is it Thailog?"

Owen shook his head. "No, there's been no sigh of him but someone has apparently caught sight of you and your clan."

Goliath frowned. "What do you mean?"

Owen calmly explained. "Mr Xanatos received a phone-call from a Miss Vene of a corporation called Rhombus Industria who wishes to do business with him."

"So," Angela questioned.

"When I offered them an appointment with Mr Xanatos they began to describe in detail almost every member of your clan. They claim to have seen you departing this building every night and wish to meet you."

Goliath growled. He knew it wouldn't have been long before someone eventually noticed some of his clan leaving and heading towards the Eyrie but even so, it was still disconcerting.

Owen remained as stoic as ever. "They wish to meet with Mr Xanatos and you tomorrow night."

Goliath gasped. "Are you mad? Intentionally reveal ourselves to strangers."

"These strangers already know about you Goliath so hiding would be pointless," Owen said.

Angela sighed and nodded. "He's right father and it would be rude if we deliberately avoided them. Besides, they might become new allies of the clan."

'Or new enemies,' Goliath thought fearfully, but even he knew the pointlessness of hiding at this stage. "Very well," he said out-loud. "When will they arrive Owen?"

"Tomorrow straight after sunset," Owen replied. "And just so you can be assured, should anything happen then that could be classified as a danger to young master Alex, hence Puck would be hasten to make an appearance."

Goliath cringed slightly. "Somehow, having to rely on Puck's help does nothing to reassure me."

Owen raised an eyebrow, but said nothing and walked away.

Angela watched him go and then looked to her father. "Father, must you be so hard on him?"

Goliath looked in surprise at his daughter. "It is nothing personal Angela. It's just that after all the trouble we've had from him and his kind on the past, especially him; it's hard to trust him so completely. Recall the night when you, Broadway and Angela were possessed by the spirits of my rookery siblings?"

Angela nodded but smirked slightly. "Yes and as I recall, that night was also the night when Puck saved those souls of your brother and sister and gave them separate bodies."

Goliath grumbled while Gabriel looked on in wonder, wondering what they were talking about as he had never heard of this being called Coldstone.

"Come," Goliath said abruptly as he eagerly strode over to his perch. "Dawn approaches and I for one could use some rest."

Angela giggled slightly and followed along with Brooklyn and Lexington while Gabriel kept making sighs and thinking of Lana and wondering what she was doing right now.


Destine Manor:

Lana groaned as the full force of a hangover roared in her head and in her stomach. She clutched her stomach desperately hoping she wouldn't throw up on her grandmother's expensive carpet.

There was a knock on the door and Darlene's voice rang through. "Lana, are you alright?"

Lana groaned again. "I'm fine mom, I just… I wanna be left alone."

There was a pause before Darlene replied. "Are you sure Lana? You know you can talk to me?"

"I'm fine mother!" Lana had said that a bit too harshly and was worried that her mother might yell at her and come in.

"Oh… alright then," Darlene said worriedly. "Well its coming up to dawn now. Sleep well."

"Do I ever have a choice," Lana muttered sarcastically.

Darlene's footsteps echoed away from her door and Lana was finally able to relax. But try as she might, she just couldn't.

Lana looked at all the empty bottles that she had brought up with her. She had drunk all of them wallowing in her sin and forgetting all about her nightmares and troubles.

Lana felt like crying but all she wanted was another drink but she couldn't now what with the sun rising.

Lana suddenly realised that in stone sleep she wouldn't be able to wake up from one of her nightmares like she did from her regular sleep.

"No," she whispered and watched as the sun rose over the skyscrapers. "NOOOO!"

The sun rose followed by the sound of stone hardening as Lana fell into her deep sleep.


"NO!" Lana screamed.

"You know you love it," Thailog's voice came out from all around her. "Just relax and enjoy it."

Lana screamed as she felt Thailog's tail and tongue roam all over her.


Eyrie Building;

Next Day, Just Before Sunset:

An expensive and exclusive limousine pulled up at the entrance to the Eyrie where Owen was patiently waiting.

The driver got out and opened the door for the passenger inside.

When Owen saw her, he was a little surprised as she was a lot younger than what he had been expecting. She only looked to be in her late teens or early twenties.

She had brown chestnut hair that was done in a ponytail and coiled around her neck with high cheekbones, a straight chin and pale pink lips. She had a tall thin figure that gave her the impression of an ice sculpture, yet when she moved, there was nothing weak or fragile about her. She was wearing an expensive looking business suit, a pair of sunglasses and no make-up.

"Mr Burnett I assume," the young woman asked. She stared at him almost hungrily, which made Owen feel uneasy. Not only that, but there was something about this woman that the Puck inside of him didn't like either.

"Miss Vene?"

"The same," she replied and bowed slightly before him.

"If you would come this way then please Miss Vene," Owen said. "Mr Xanatos is expecting you."

"And what of your other… guests?" She asked as she took off her glasses and he noticed a spark of humour on her eyes.

Owen simply replied. "They will be joining us as soon as the sun goes down."

"Of course," the young woman said. "Splendid."

Had Owen not been practised in the way of looking and acting stoic then he would be cringing right about now. Her eyes were green with gold flecks in them. They might actually be considered pretty but the way she was staring at him, gave him shivers.

"This way Miss Vene," Owen said, but before he could move he noticed two others behind her.

Owen raised his eyes at the two unexpected guests.

Miss Vene turned around and smiled. "These are my brothers," she said. "They go where I go and yes, they know about the clan."

The two brothers were no more than eight to ten years old. They were twins, identical and had the same brown hair and green eyes as their sister and walked with the impression that they were just itching for trouble.

"Very well," Owen said and motioned for them to follow him.

Miss Vene and her brothers followed him, their eyes never leaving him even for a second.


Destine Manor:

Demona set out the cereal and milk as the sun was beginning to set and she prepared herself for the nightly transformation.

The last rays of daylight disappeared between the tall buildings around her home and Demona gritted her teeth as they grew into fangs and her body stretched and split painfully into its true form.

Demona growled as the transformation quickly came and left and when it was done, she let loose a battle cry into the new night along with the rest of her family.

During her cry, Demona couldn't help but notice the cry that of her eldest granddaughter Lana. Hers seemed to be filled with more anguish and fear for some reason.

Feeling concerned, Demona started up the stairs to their upstairs living room where her family usually spent their days until she remembered that Lana had spent the day in her room. She changed direction and moved towards her granddaughter's sleeping quarters.

She barely made it a few steps when Lana's bedroom door sprang open and Lana rushed out with tears streaming down her face.

Demona called out worriedly, "Lana?"

Lana spared her a grandmother a glance before she frantically covered her face and shouted. "I'm fine! I just wanna be left alone!"

"Lana, I… "Demona began but Lana had already run past her and down the stairs.

A moment later, Jarred came bouncing down the hallway with Gem running on all fours behind him like a dog.

"Evening Gran," Jarred said cheerfully and kissed Demona on the cheek. "Will we be doing anymore magic lessons tonight?"

Demona was still looking at the direction Lana had gone in. "Hmmm… Oh, maybe later Jarred. I have to talk to your mother for a bit first."

Jarred shrugged, "Oke doke. Lemme know when you're ready. I enjoy my warrior lessons with Hudson and Goliath, but I think I prefer magic best of all and I… "

"Jarred," Demona said smiling. "Later."

Jarred cringed and smiled sheepishly, "Okay. Come on Gem! Let's raid the kitchen."

Jarred picked up his baby sister, grunting a little under the weight she had put on recently and made a show of desperately trying to carry her down the hall.

"Phew! You really let yourself go at that party didn't you babe?"

Demona laughed inwardly at Jarred's joke but turned back to more serious matters when she saw her youngest and eldest daughter approach her.

"Darlene," she said. "I think our problem with Lana is getting more serious."

Darlene stopped. "I was just on my way to see if she would like any breakfast. What's happened?"

Demona sighed. "She came out of her room like a bat out of a cave with tears on her face, but she wouldn't talk to me except when she told me to leave her alone."

Darlene closed her eyes and sighed deeply. "I'll try and have a talk with her, but mom… We can't force her to speak. She has to come to us on her own otherwise she'll never talk."

"I know, but… "Demona paused.


Demona looked around to make sure no one else was near by and then whispered to her second born. "I sincerely hope I'm wrong about this but… Darlene, when I was in this kitchen this afternoon after work I noticed some… items, were missing."

"Items," Darlene frowned. "What sort of items?"

"The sort of items that many people who after going through a trauma like Lana's, find some measure of peace in." Demona looked sternly at her and Darlene suddenly got what she was saying.

"You don't mean booze do you?" Darlene looked shocked and Demona couldn't blame her. "No, I refuse to believe it!"

"Then where have they gone?"

"I don't know," Darlene answered truthfully. "But it couldn't have been Lana; she knows the dangers of alcohol. She's a wild spirit yes but a drinker, never!"

"That maybe true," Demona said. "But how many times in her life has she been raped?"

Darlene didn't have an answer for that one and so she stayed quiet looking blankly at her mother. 'It can't be true,' she thought.

Demona looked sadly at Darlene. "I don't want to go snooping around Lana's room otherwise she'll think we don't trust her and that'll push her back even farther, but if I'm right and she is drinking… " Demona didn't say anything further.

"I'll talk to her," Darlene simply said and walked past her.

Demona watched her departing form for a few moments until she was gone and then she looked to the door of Lana's room and sighed again. "Oh Lana," she muttered tragically. "What darkness have you let into your soul?"

Downstairs, Lana was sitting at the breakfast bar idly picking at a piece of toast. Gem was in her highchair making a mess of something that Lana didn't want to clarify and Jarred was cheerfully eating some cereal and talking at the same time.

"So," Jarred said with his mouth full. "What you been up to lately? Have you and Gabriel decided to tie the knot? Speaking of which, don't you think you're rushing things a bit, I mean you've only known him what a night? What do you think of our warrior's lessons with Hudson? He's a great enough guy, but he does go on a bit about gargoyle tradition and it being a gargoyle's sworn honour to protect. Besides, I prefer magic than fighting. What's the point of learning to fight when all you can do is chant a simple summoning spell or something and have them do it for you? I mean… "

Lana suddenly shouted and threw her toast at him. "Oh God, will you shut the fuck up!"

Jarred backed away from the table and dodged the toast as it flew at him. "Hey, what's got your knickers in a twist?"

Lana glared at him and crossed the room to a cabinet where she pulled something out of it and strode out of the room with whatever it was under her arm and wing so Jarred couldn't see it.

"Hey," Jarred called after her, "Where you going? Aren't we supposed to be having a magic lesson with Gran later?"

"I couldn't care fucking less!" She yelled at him.

Jarred looked speechlessly at where his sister had gone until Gem began crying, what with all the shouting that had just occurred.

"There, there Gem," Jarred tried to comfort her. "It's alright. Lana was just being a bitch you know."

"What was that Jarred?"

Jarred jumped up and spun around to find his mother's disapproving eyes staring at him.

'Oh crap,' Jarred thought.


Eyrie Building; Main Dining Room:

Xanatos stood up to welcome his guest and like Owen he too was surprised at how young she was and even more at her two younger visitors.

'She must have started out young like I did,' he thought and smiled at them all. "Welcome to my home Miss Vene. I trust you had a comfortable journey?"

Miss Vene eyed him peculiarly. "It was adequate," she said and held out her hand for him to shake.

The moment he touched her, Xanatos felt a rush of cold run from her into him. She wasn't physically cold, in fact her body was quite warm but the coldness seemed to come anyway.

"A pleasure," he tried to sound honest and smiled at the two boys. "And who are these fine young gentlemen?"

The boys bowed grinning madly. "Damien," one boy said and the other followed with, "Nathan." "Nice to meet you," they chorused together.

They certainly didn't seem chilling like their sister and they were polite, but Xanatos nonetheless felt the same coldness from then as he did from Miss Vene.

"Well," Xanatos finally said. "Shall we sit?" He motioned to the dining room chairs. "Our other guests will be arriving shortly."

Elisa was thankfully at work. She had left with plenty of time before sunset so that the Vene's wouldn't see her. She had wanted to stay but Xanatos convinced that the less these people knew of the clan and their allies then the better.

They sat down and Owen offered them all drinks or cups of tea, coffee or cappuccinos.

They were like that for a few moments before Xanatos let his curiosity overwhelm him. "Forgive me by asking Miss Vene, but… aren't you a little young for running a multi-national corporation?"

Miss Vene grinned. "Not much older than you when you first started yours, and you may call me Cecile."

Xanatos smiled. "True, but even so… I looked up your company and last I heard a mister Abraham Vene was the CEO?"

Cecile nodded. "Our father," she sipped her cappuccino. "He's away on business in Egypt trying to recover some… artefacts that were lost in an earthquake some time ago. It was during that time when everyone said they had aged a hundred years and a lot of gator skeletons were found."

Xanatos paused at this because he remembered that was the time when he had hired the Emir to summon Anubis and attempt to bring him immortality. "I see," he said out loud. "Well I hope I get to meet him someday."

"I'm sure you will," Cecile smiled and Xanatos cringed. The boys were sipping their milk while flicking biscuits at one another.

Owen stepped up to the boys. "Please kindly refrain from doing that."

The boys glared at him and stood up, taking a couple of steps toward him.

"Damien, Nathan," Cecile said without turning around. "Not now."

The boys fumed and sat back down but not without casting one final glare at the manservant.

Owen remained motionless and just stood there holding the silver teapot ready to pour anyone another drink if asked.

A short while later, the door opened and Goliath came in followed by the rest of the clan.

Cecile's eyes lit up when she saw the gargoyles come in. "Fascinating," she breathed, "absolutely fascinating!"

Damien and Nathan also looked intrigued. "Man he's big," Damien whispered to his brother pointing at Goliath.

"Yeah, but not as big as the fishy one," Nathan replied and sniggered, pointing to Broadway and his belly.

The gargoyles, being keen listeners, heard every word spoken and Broadway gave a deep growl to the two youngsters. "Watch it kids!"

The boys sneered at him. "Make us blubber butt!"

Broadway's eyes lit up and he made a move to go over to them but Angela's hand on his shoulder stopped him. "Broadway no," she whispered. "They're only children. Real children and not adults in disguise like Castaway was."

The boys looked in confusion at each other. Adults in disguise as children? Castaway?

Cecile smiled and raised her hand to Goliath. "I am Cecile Vene," she introduced herself. "These are my younger brothers Damien and Nathan. How'd you do?"

"Delighted to meet you," Goliath responded and shook her hand. The woman didn't appear to have any fear in her eyes when she shook his claw, which was amazing as even Xanatos had seemed a little nervous when he first met him.

She then pulled her hand away and moved around him like a vulture.

"Wonderful, Positively wonderful," she said. "A magnificent specimen of a gargoyle if there ever was one, you did well when you gained possession of this one Mr Xanatos."

Goliath stiffened and growled a little under his breath. "I assure you young lady that neither I nor my clan are in anyway under Xanatos's possession."

Cecile cocked her head to the side. "Really? Good! Then that makes purchasing you even easier for me."

"Purchasing?" The whole clan roared.

"We are not simple statues for sale lass!"

"What right have you to speak to us as such?"

"You need to watch your mouth young lady!"

Cecile thinned her eyes at the clan and they slowly went silent again.

Cecile turned her gaze back onto Xanatos and answered calmly and simply, "how much would you request for these specimens Xanatos?"

The clan's eyes shone bright.

Xanatos smirked. "Oh I think a couple of dollars should just about do it." At the thunderous growls that were coming his way he quickly added. "Sorry, only kidding. I'm sorry miss but as Goliath said, they are my property and even if they were then I wouldn't sell them for all the money in the world."

Cecile stared at him and then back at the clan for a few moments, causing them all to be nervous.

"Then I guess the time for negotiating is over," she said and looked at her brothers who stood up. "Thanks for the tea anyway," she said as she turned around and prepared to go.

Suddenly, she spun around, clicked her fingers and lightning sprang from her fingertips blasting Goliath over into a wall.

The clan stared in shock as Goliath moaned before growling at the revealed magic user.

"Sorcery," Hudson snarled.

Cecile shrugged. "Witchcraft actually," she mentioned casually. "THIS is sorcery!"

Cecile chanted some words and a pale blue mist filled the room.

"What in blazes," Hudson coughed.

"She already told you grandpa," a cocky voice sounded right beside him. "THAT was sorcery!"

Hudson wheezed as someone kicked him in the stomach followed by a punch under the chin.

Goliath roared in frustration as he tried to see through the thick mist.

"Tsk tsk," Cecile's voice taunted him, "mustn't loose your temper," she said right before she kicked him in the groin.

Goliath keeled over clutching himself and listening to the anguish cries of his clan as they moved about trying to find something, anything to hit.

"Alright that's enough!" A high voice shouted and the mist instantly cleared.

Goliath raised his head and found himself staring into Puck's smirking face.

"Oooh," Puck said. "Hit you below the belt did she?"

Goliath growled.

A high-pitched giggle came from the twins. "Looks like Sarah was right," one of them said to the other. "They have a Fay working with them."

"Should make things even more interesting," Cecile's eyes sparkled.

"Ho ho ho," Puck chanted merrily. "So someone's got a few tricks up her sleeve has she?"

"More than you know trickster," Cecile responded coolly.

"Oh, I'm trembling," Puck smirked and raised his hands. "Human woman that is arrogant and pale. Hear these words and start to wail."

Electricity seemed to spark and fly from his hands, as Puck grinned and flicked them at Cecile, the energy flowed from him directly at her, yet she didn't even move.

Just as the energy was but a mere inch from her face, a green portal seemed to open up right in front of her and the energy vanished through it without Cecile even getting singed.

Puck lost his grin and stared unbelievably at her. Xanatos too, who had obtained a laser Blaster from one of the many secret panels around his castle, stared in surprise. Aside from Oberon, Xanatos had never known Puck to fail against someone in a magic duel before.

The boys who were watching this transaction with glee laughed. "HA! Some Fay if he can't even defeat sis!"

Puck turned and gave the boys a hard look. "Oh yeah," he said and cocked his finger at them like a gun and said "bang!"

There was a flash and where once two boys had sat, now sat two donkeys heehawing at each other.

Puck laughed. "Now you look on the outside just as you look on the inside too jackasses!" He looked back to Cecile who glared at him. "So," Puck continued as he cracked his knuckles. "What about you then? You ready for a trip to the stable Jenny?"

Cecile didn't answer and just raised her hands again. "Puer de Oberonis, abeo -ire -ii –itum!"

Before Puck even had time to blink, a force seemed to slam right into him and propelled him back into the wall behind him. For the first time in his existence, Puck tasted the sensation that humans called pain… and he didn't like it.

"Vigor -oris m de Avalonis, reverto," Cecile shouted at the two donkeys that were eating some of the cushions. Another flash occurred and the donkeys were once again boys.

"Whoa," Damien said as he spat out some fabric. "What a rush."

"I swear I'll never laugh at that bucktooth kid in Pinocchio again," Nathan said.

Puck stared at the boys in amazement and looked at Cecile. "How did you… "He gasped. "This is impossible! No one can undo the magic of a Fay except another Fay and as strange as you are, you are no member of the third race."

Cecile smiled that eerie smile of hers. "Actually," she whispered so that only he could hear her. "I do have something shall we say of the third race within me, something that one of my ancestors took from one of yours elf."

Cecile turned to her brothers. "Come," she ordered. "We will continue this night some other time." She turned to the clan who were all staring at the fallen Puck and her in shock. "I sincerely hope you'll take our proposal into consideration Goliath," Cecile said. "I would have to have to repeat this night because next time, I won't go easy on you."

Puck struggled to his feet to attempt another spell on her but before he even got to his knees…


Puck gasped as he felt himself thrown to the ground again and this time he could not get up. Puck couldn't even manage to raise his head. He rasped, "Who… are you?"

Although he could not see her with his head being down and everything, he could feel her smiling at him.

"I told you," she said chuckled. "I am Cecile Vene, Vice-CEO of Rhombus Industria." She moved in closer so that she was actually breathing down his neck and ear. "But you probably know me, or more accurately my family, better by our original name… Veneficus."

Puck froze as the name sent shivers down his spine and turned his soul to ice.

Cecile got up and addressed her siblings, "Brothers, to me." Damien and Nathan hastily obeyed their older sister and moved to her side.

Cecile gave the clan one final smile. "I'll be seeing you… deporto!"

The same blue mist appeared once more though this time it only lasted a few seconds and when it had disembodied, Cecile and her brothers were gone and Puck was beginning to stand up.

Xanatos went up to Puck and steadied him on his feet. "Puck," he began. "I trust you have an explanation for this?"

Puck's face was ashen as though he had seen a ghost, but he nodded numbly. "I did not know the Venes were really the Veneficus's. They were all thought to have been killed centuries ago."

The clan and Xanatos looked blankly at him. "Who?"

Puck sighed. "The Veneficus's are a family, a human family of sorcerers, witches, wizards and every other kind of magic user that's ever walked this planet." Puck groaned and sat back down in a chair. "The name Veneficus itself means spell caster and witch… etc."

"But… "Xanatos looked confused. "How were they able to defeat you? I mean, I know you once told me that energy is energy no matter what the source, but I would have thought in a fight between Fay and mortal magic, yours would have won either way."

Puck sighed. "Normally we do, but… As you noticed, the Veneficus's are not your average family of sorcerers and Cecile said that she had a small part of my race within her though I assure you it's not because one of her ancestors was of my race."

"What then?" Lexington queried.

Puck looked down. "It is something that has haunted me all of my days," Puck never looked so downtrodden and defeated before. "I guess I should start from the beginning. The Veneficus's as I said are a human family of sorcerers. Each of their family has been born and raised in the art of sorcery. They were once an ordinary family who got obsessed with learning magic and ended up travelling all over the world countless times to learn everything they could about every type of sorcery, ritual, spells and talismans. They've been doing it since before even your time Goliath," Puck said pointing to the leader. "They started learning magic long before even the Vikings first came to Britain."

Goliath raised his eyebrows in surprise but remained silent and allowed Puck to continue.

"Well," Puck carried on. "They travelled from country to country learning all manner of types of magic from simple Scottish Sorcery and French love spells to black magic and Voodoo. They refused to let anything slip by them, they wanted to learn everything."

Puck stopped for a moment and stared at the dining table in front of him not saying a word. Finally, when the clan thought he had finished, he continued.

"They didn't just learn magic either," Puck said shakily. "They also merged it with their own life forces."

"Merge it," Hudson asked. "How?"

Puck shrugged. "Sometimes they ended up marrying a Shaman or magician or something so that their children would be born with the power and other times… They would use… different techniques."

"Different techniques," Brooklyn felt nervous.

Puck swallowed. "After they had learned enough magic, they summoned one of my race to come do their bidding like Demona did with me one time. The Fay they summoned performed a few spells for them and told them some things about Avalon and his race, amongst other things. Once they were done with him, they decided to use him in an experiment of theirs."

The clan and Xanatos held their breaths.

"What did they do?" Angela asked fearfully.

Puck looked at her with his eyes full of pain. "They cut his heart out," he simply said making all the others wince. "A Fay's power is located in their heart like a human's life force is located in theirs, however we Fay don't die when we loose our hearts, but we are severely weakened." He picked up a silver spoon and idly played with it for a while before speaking further. "I don't know the specifics of the ritual they performed, but from what I heard they took his heart thus stealing his magic source and merged it with their own life force. The result gave them access to Fay magic making them more powerful than ever."

"And the Fay whom they took it from?" Angela looked at him questionably.

Puck sighed again. "When a Fay looses their heart," he repeated. "They don't die like mortals, but they become severely weakened. So weak that they are unable to even lift a hand, finger or even breathe probably." Puck's face took on a mask of fury. "Once they were done with him, the family literally threw my cousin out on the streets where people gawked at him and throwing stones, he was totally unable to defend himself."

The clan, although they had no great love for the Fay, felt their pain as they themselves had received treatment such as what Puck was saying at least once or twice in their lifetimes.

Puck grimaced. "After the Fay in question was missing for longer than was usual, Oberon sent me to find him. When I did, he was in a ditch where some humans had thrown him and left him there to die." Puck's eyes began to water up. "He wasn't dead, but he may as well have been. I brought him back to Avalon and he actually pleaded with Oberon to kill him to end his suffering. Oberon agreed and that was that."

"Couldn't Oberon help him?" Goliath asked, shocked that Oberon would kill a member of his own race.

Puck shook his head sadly. "No, unlike humans nowadays, once a Fay looses their heart then that's it, game over. The Fay is doomed to either spend an eternity as a vegetable or die."

"Didn't Oberon attempt to even go after them after what they had done to one of his own kind?" Angela asked also shocked.

Puck shook his head. "No, Oberon is real strict about his law of non-interference in mortal affairs. I've never understood why, no one has but he's real strict about everyone obeying that law including himself."

'Except when it suits his purposes,' Xanatos thought darkly as he thought of the night Oberon had attempted to kidnap his son.

"Besides," Puck continued. "The family's power has grown so much in the last five centuries that I doubt even Oberon could go up against them."

"You said that you thought they had been killed centuries ago?" Lexington asked.

Puck nodded. "It was during the Salem witch trials," he shuddered. "Those were dark times I can tell you. Most of the poor women they burnt at the stake were just ordinary mortals who just happened to have been walking through a cornfield the day before the crop died out, or if another woman was simply late for church." Puck frowned. "If you think humans are superstitious and full of bigotry now, you should have seen them back then."

"And the Venes," Brooklyn pressed him on.

"Huh," Puck said. "Oh yeah, apparently things had gotten too hot for them in Europe what with all the magic they had been practising and everything, so they moved here to America and settled in Salem."

Brooklyn snorted. "Boy, did they ever pick the wrong town to settle in."

Puck smirked. "You can say that again. Almost immediately after they moved there, they were instantly accused of witchcraft. It was probably the only time when the Salem townsfolk were actually right. There was a trial and as far as I know the whole family were burnt, but apparently that wasn't the case, worse luck for us."

Lexington rubbed his forehead in annoyance. "It isn't enough that we've got a lovesick deranged clone on our hands, but now we've got a family of witches and wizards to deal with! Can we ever go through one night without having to deal with this kind of shit?"

There wasn't a single disagreement among them, but right now they had more important things to worry about than to complain.

Puck got back up to his feet and a moment later he was Owen again. He straightened his tie and put his glasses back on. "If there is nothing else you require sir then may I retire for the night? Only tonight has been a rather exhausting one."

Xanatos nodded. "Of course Owen," he said and waved him to go. "Goodnight."

As Owen left, Xanatos turned to the clan. "I'll update security on what's happened and have them upgrade all the systems to maximum security. Trust me, if she does come back then she'll have a hell of a time trying to get in."

Goliath nodded, but he wasn't convinced. Suddenly he noticed something. "Has anyone seen Gabriel?"


Destine Manor:

Gabriel barrelled through the air happily like a hatchling until he spotted Destine Manor. He did a 3/60 and landed on the balcony to what he thought was Lana's room, straightened his clothes and smoothed back his hair before knocking on the window.

The window sprang open and Gabriel found himself staring into a glaring Demona.

'Oops,' Gabriel thought nervously, 'wrong window.' "Umm, hello," Gabriel said out-loud and half raised his claw to wave his hello.

Demona grabbed his wrist and flung him inside, her eyes flaring red. "How dare you show your face back here! What right have you to return here after you defiled my granddaughter?"

Gabriel actually found the courage to glare back at her. "I was not the one who defiled her, Thailog did that!"

Demona snarled. "Don't, Ever, Mention that name in my presence again hatchling!"

Gabriel snarled back at her. "I am not a hatchling Demona, I am perfectly grown up. I lead my clan for a time and have fought against enemies even more powerful than you."

Demona leaned in dangerously close. "I was hatched before humanity discovered the world was round, I've watched two of my clans get slaughtered, and I have fought powerful CEO's, Mutates, Fay, Vikings and many other things. So don't try impressing me with your pitifully short stories of grandeur child!"

Gabriel eyes flared white at her and leapt to his feet. "They were not meant to impress you Demona! They were only to show you that as inexperienced as I might be compared to you, I am not completely without experience."

Demona sneered at him. "Is that a challenge?"

Gabriel growled, "Ready whenever you are betrayer!"

Demona snarled and leapt upon him tearing her claws into his flesh. Gabriel roared with pain and bashed her on the side of her head knocking her senseless.

Demona fell back and Gabriel moved to smother her with his weight, but Demona was experienced with that move and was quick to dodge him. At the same time, she snapped her tail up and slapped him across the face hard.

The slap momentarily blinded him, which gave Demona the chance to attack. She belted him with fist after fist, raining down on him all her frustration and anger.

"Now," Demona started, "you'll know what it is like to… "

"Mother?" Darlene's voice screamed from behind her.

Demona paused and turned around to see Darlene's shocked face at the disarray of her mother's room, giving Gabriel the chance to counter attack.

He moved his feet up and kicked her off of him. Unfortunately, his kick got her off him but landed her straight into Darlene as well.

'Oh no,' he moaned and rushed out to help his lover's mother up.

He found both Lana's mother and grandmother lying beaten on the floor. Demona was all right as her wounds were already closing. Darlene however seemed to have a bleeding nose and was lying quite dazed under her mother.

"Gabriel," she said woozy. "I know I said make yourself at home whenever you come around, but I didn't mean you could beat my mother up as well. This is her house you know."

Gabriel blushed and reluctantly helped Demona to her feet so that he could help Darlene up too.

"I am so dreadfully sorry my lady," Gabriel said honestly with all the courtesy and politeness that the princess had taught him and his siblings hoping that they would help get him out of this mess, as he helped Darlene up.

Darlene looked at him disapprovingly and Gabriel wondered if perhaps he should have stayed home tonight.

"Next time," Darlene said. "Warn us before you decide to drop by alright?"

"I can't believe you're allowing this filthy degenerate into our home," Demona swore in rage.

"Because he's the one good thing in my daughter's life at the moment," Darlene countered. "Speaking of which, I assume you're here to see her Gabriel?"

Gabriel nodded eagerly and Darlene ushered him with her hand. "She's in the kitchen downstairs," she said. "If you can't hear it then just listen for the munching sounds of my son and they'll guide you to it?"

Gabriel cocked his head quizzically and said, "As you say," before hurrying off down the hall.

Demona glared at his retreating back. "Darlene," she growled warningly.

Darlene glared back at her. "I know what you're going to say mom and can it will you!"

Demona looked astonished at her daughter. "Wha… "

"Gabriel has many faults but starting a fight isn't one of them," Darlene accused. "I can't believe he would willingly initiate a fight with you after what happened last night and with all the trouble we've had since then and after I warned him what would happen."

Demona grumbled and growled but said nothing.

Darlene crossed her arms and looked defiantly at her. "He wouldn't go into something as dangerous as battling you without cause or being intuited into. May I ask what lead you two to start beating the crap out of one another?"

Demona turned away. "He challenged me to a duel, I accepted."

Darlene raised an eye-ridge. "HE challenged you to a duel? Mother… Why do I find that so hard to believe?"

"Well it's true," Demona sharply said. "He came in bursting into my room thinking that I was Lana and before long he accused me of being a traitor and for not protecting Lana from Thailog!"

Darlene sighed. "Mother, are you sure that… "

"Of course I'm sure!" Demona half screamed. "I maybe hundreds of years old Darlene but my hearing is as good as ever."

Darlene opened her mouth to say something but decided to let the matter drop for now. "If you want something to eat then I suggest you hurry. Jarred is already eating the last of the cereal."

With that she turned and walked out back to the kitchen leaving Demona behind fuming.


Gabriel went down the stairs and true enough he heard the sounds of something munching. He wondered if perhaps Jarred was any blood relation to Broadway as what they lacked in appearance they seemed to make up for in their bottomless appetites.

'I wonder if I or my brothers and sisters were such constant eaters when we were young," he thought and entered the kitchen.

Jarred eyebrows rose as he saw Gabriel enter the kitchen. "Hiya," he said cheerfully. "What you doing here?"

Gabriel smiled. "I am here to visit Lana. Perchance is she here?"

Jarred made a show of looking around himself at the kitchen and looked back at him. "Doesn't look like it does it?"

Gabriel sighed. "Then would you by chance know where she is please?"

Jarred shrugged and said, "Probably in her room, she was acting like a five star bitch earlier on."

Gabriel frowned at the way this youngster was insulting Lana, but he was her brother and he had already got into trouble with Lana's mother by attacking her own. He didn't want to risk the same thing by attacking her other child as well.

"Thank you," he simply said and quickly walked out of the room. He knew that Jarred was just being an ordinary child and lord knows he had fought with his own siblings on more than one occasion. But he just didn't like hearing someone, anyone say bad things about the woman he so adored.

He went back up the stairs and made his way to Lana's bedroom door. He admired the decorative works of art that hung the walls and the small statues and ornaments on the tables and shelves. Some he recognised from books and others that he suspected were actually some magical talismans like the one Angela had told him about that had resulted in turning an enemy of theirs into a hatchling.

Gabriel smirked. He would have paid to see that.

He finally reached the door to Lana's room and after making straightening himself out again, he knocked on the door.

A few moments and there was no answer. Gabriel frowned and wondered if Jarred had been lying to him. He considered going back downstairs until he heard a low moan coming from inside.

He knocked the door again and called out, "Lana?" But there was still no answer.

Deciding on taking a chance, Gabriel turned the knob of the door and slowly opened it. He peaked in and gasped at the number of bottles that was spread out across the floor and the stench of alcohol so strong that it hurt his nostrils.

He saw Lana sprawled out over her bed and he rushed to her side instantly. She was alive but barely conscious and from the sight of the bottles it wasn't hard to figure out why.

He lifted her gently into his arms and noticed her red bloodshot eyes. The stench of the drink was even stronger from her mouth.

"Ohh my precious Lana," Gabriel moaned sadly. "What are you doing to yourself?"

He lowered her back onto the bed and got up to close the bedroom door and clear the empty bottles away.

He supposed that he should go get her mother and tell her about this, but maybe he wouldn't have to? Maybe he could try talking to her and get her to see reason without involving her family and disgracing her in front of them?

With that decided, Gabriel hurriedly shut the door before anyone past by, cleared the room and opened a window to get rid of the smell.



"Acclaro!" Cecile declared and watched as the flames in fireplace began to twist and turn, taking on shapes and forming themselves into that of the clan. She observed as sounds came from the fireplace and listened to their conversation.

Lexington rubbed his forehead in annoyance. "It isn't enough that we've got a lovesick deranged clone on our hands, but now we've got a family of witches and wizards to deal with! Can we ever go through one night without having to deal with this kind of shit?"

This sounded interesting.

Cecile waved her hand and watched as the images dissipated and began to retake new shapes. She watched the flames closely as they slowly took form. Once they were finished, she got a good luck at her target and grimaced at first.

"Ewww,' she thought and began to rethink her situation. But as she looked closer and got a better look at him, she thought, 'Hmmm, maybe this won't be so bad after all.' She raised her hand and ordered, "Show me all there is to know about this being!"

The flames did their dance, flickering from one picture to the other showing Cecile all she requested and required.

She stared at the flame pictures a moment longer before waving her hand, dissipating the flames and leaving the room.

She past by her younger brothers who were playing with their cat by dangling a live mouse that had once been their algebra teacher in front of it. The mouse squeaked in fear, twisting and turning in fright.

Cecile walked into her room where she kept all of her luggage and went over to a large Victorian trunk that she had brought with her. She held out her hand.

"Absisto-sistere–stiti caligo appareo-ere-ui–itum," she uttered and a ball of light appeared in her hand that took shape and formed itself into a key.

She unlocked the trunk and took a moment to take in the wonders that befell her. True, she had seen the items she was staring at now many times before, but she would never cease to be amazed by their glory.

Inside the trunk was a mere fraction of her family's vast collection of spell-books, magical talismans and other trinkets that the other Veneficus's of the past had found, stolen and created in the past. None of her family ever went anywhere without taking at least a few artefacts with her in case they ran into trouble.

She rummaged through the trunk for a few seconds, tossing aside various items from the Necrocomicon; the book of the dead and the Wadjet eye to the branding iron of Morgan Le Faye.

She considered using the branding iron, as that had the power to wield anyone or anything under its power and turning them into the user's slave.

'Nah,' she thought, 'too easy. Where would the fun be in that?'

She continued rummaging through and found the lost Cronim stone of ancient Greece from the time of ancient Gods. Her grandfather had found it over fifty years ago when digging up an old tomb in Greece that was said to be that of the legendary Hercules.

She wondered if the Hercules of myth was anything like the one on television.

Well, regardless on how accurate the show was to the once living hero, the power of the stone was nothing like the green emerald like one in it. For starters, it wasn't even green but red and its power brought fire and brimstone, bringing death and destruction to all.

'Definitely not,' she thought. 'But it might be a good idea on keeping that around in case they ever come here.'

She stuffed the stone into her pocket and lifted a book of spells, written by a Voodoo priest two centuries ago, out of the way.

'Aha,' she thought triumphantly. 'This should do the trick.' She lifted a small pyramid shaped diamond pendant that hung loosely on a silver chain.

She dipped her hand lower into the trunk and pulled out a piece of paper that contained the incantation and instructions for the use of the talisman.

"This should spice things up a bit," she cackled.


Destine Manor:

Lana groaned as she slowly opened her eyes. 'Ohhh my head,' she thought miserably. 'Why can't they create a drink that lasts longer and doesn't leave a hangover?'

She tried to sit up but found her couldn't even raise her head. "Oh rats," she said bitterly.

Suddenly, she felt two strong hands gently grip her shoulders and pulled her up into a sitting position. She fluttered her eyes to clear the blurriness out of them and gasped when she saw Gabriel's concerned face looking at her.

"Gabriel," she said. "What are you doing here?"

"At the moment," he answered, "I'm saving you from getting grounded for life by your mother and psychotic grandmother."

After making sure she was comfortable, he poured her a glass of water from a nearby jug and offered it to her. "Hear," he said. "This will help clear some of the alcohol from your system."

'But I don't want it to clear away,' she thought but didn't say out-loud. "Thanks," she simply said.

She sipped the cool water and sighed.

"Now would you mind telling me what you were thinking? Gabriel looked one her with a glare that she could barely stand looking at.

"I was… thirsty," she finally said sheepishly.

"Thirsty? You drank over a dozen bottle of Vodka Lana!"

Lana cringed. Had it really been that many? She honestly couldn't remember much except that for a few hours, she had forgotten about Thailog, about her rape and about her nightmares.

Gabriel looked at her with exasperation and asked, "how could you do something like this?"

Lana couldn't bring herself to look into his eyes. "I just… Wait! Why am I even explaining this to you? It's none of your damn business!"

Gabriel stared at her in shock. "My love drinks herself into a frenzy, drowns herself in sin… and you ask me how it is my business?"

Lana glared at him. "No, I'm telling you that it isn't any of your business! My like is none of your concern Gabriel."

Gabriel felt as though he'd been punched in the stomach. "But Lana, I… I thought… I care about you."

Lana turned over and buried her face in the pillows. "Sometimes love isn't enough," she simply said. "Last night was glorious Gab, it helped a lot. But it wasn't enough."

Gabriel stayed there kneeling by the side of her bed for over a minute not knowing what to say or do. Finally, he grabbed Lana by her shoulders and spun her to face him.

"Not enough!" He shouted. "I gave you my heart and soul! You still have it, now and for all time. Why are you denying this now?"

Lana didn't glare at him, didn't speak, sigh or laugh. She just lay there on the bed with Gabriel holding her, wishing only to sleep yet constantly afraid to.

Gabriel held her for five minutes not wanting to let go. He tried to look into her eyes but she refused to look directly at him.

Gabriel fought to hold back the tears that were filling his eyes. He lowered Lana back onto her bed and quietly left the room. "I will be waiting for you should you need me," he called back and left.

Lana watched him leave the room and closed the door behind him. She stayed silent and still until she heard his footsteps echo down the hallway until she was sure he was gone. Only then did she break down and sobbed.

Gabriel slowly walked out of Lana's room and down the hallway. His mind did not comprehend what had just happened.

"Hey!" A young and intrusive voice called beneath him. "What's shakin?"

Gabriel looked down and saw young Jarred standing before him. He sighed as he was definitely not in the mood for this.

"Jarred," he said while trying to be as polite and thoughtful as possible. "I have to be going now. I'm sorry but I don't have the time to talk."

Jarred cocked his head as Gabriel walked past him, so he decided to walk with him. "Why? What happened?"

Gabriel groaned inwardly. "Nothing happened. I just need to get back home."


Gabriel felt some of his frustration starting to build up but refused to show it. "I just have to that's why."


Gabriel decided not to answer and just hoped that Jarred would soon get bored and go away.

"Did you and Lana have a fight?"

Gabriel froze for a second at that, but continued walking straight away.

"Aha! That's it isn't it," Jarred said excitedly. "So what'd she do? Kick you out of her room for walking in while she was getting undressed? Got mad at you for trying to kill Grandma?"

Gabriel felt like punching something and that something was an annoying little blue hatchling called Jarred. He grinded his fangs together, hoping to release some of the tension that was building up inside of him.

"So what did you do? What did you do?" Jarred was practically bouncing up and down around him.

Gabriel had it! In the blink of an eye, he grabbed Jarred around the waist and lifted him up, carrying him under his arm.

"Hey," Jarred said laughing. "Muscles put me down!"

Gabriel turned and walked to the nearest door, which was the broom closet and tossed Jarred inside.

"Ow! Hey, what do you think you're…? "

Gabriel didn't give him the chance to finish and closed the door, grabbing a nearby chair and thrusting it under the doorknob.

"Hey! Lemme out!" Jarred's voice cried out and banged on the door. "Oh come on, I was only interested!"

Gabriel smiled briefly and left Destine Manor.



After reading through the instructions carefully, Cecile left her room to go to the balcony. She past by her brothers again and noticed them searching for something under the furniture.

"What are you doing?"

Damien looked up and grinned. "Mr. Lyons got chewed up by Killer so we went and got Mrs. Haycock instead, but she got away."

Cecile sighed. Killer was of course their cat, Mr. Lyons was the algebra teacher whom the twins turned into a mouse and Mrs. Haycock was the boys' old nanny who wouldn't let them have ice cream before bedtime, so they turned her into a cockroach.

It was so hard to find good help nowadays.

"Just try and be quiet okay? I have some work to do," Cecile said as she went out onto the balcony. "Oh and get out the map and compass out, there's someone we need to find tonight."

The boys shouted, "Okay," and went back to searching for their former babysitter.

Cecile held out the pyramid before her, dangling from its chain and began whispering in a hushed tone. "Formido de praestigiae addo anima meus -a –um cogito –are."

The diamond began to glow pale blue within the centre and as she observed, its light grew brighter. The light stayed that way for a few moments as Cecile concentrated her thoughts on the image she wanted and watched with satisfaction as the light seemed to spill out of the diamond and swarm around in the air before growing into a large growling shape.

Cecile smiled. "Well hello," she greeted her new playmate.

The creature snarled.


Destine Manor:

Lana blinked her eyes open and wiped the dried tears out of her eyes. Gabriel had left over an hour ago and her heart hadn't stopped aching ever since.

She was so sick of crying that it made her ill. She hated her life as a gargoyle, as it was this life that she had been forced into that had caused all the tears in the first place. She had lost her humanity, her friends, home, everything. All because her mother had decided one day to show her kids what she had once looked like and in doing so cursed them all to live out their lives as freaks.

Part of her was greatly tempted to just steal that blasted statue of Lilith, perform the spell that would awaken its power and make the wish that would make her human again. Yet there was also another part of her now that no longer desired her normal life as a beautiful and popular human girl anymore.

She didn't know why it had happened but it had all started on the night when she first met Gabriel.

Tears threatened to spill out again as she remembered their earlier confrontation. Why has she blown up at him like that? She had once shared secrets with him… No! That was wrong. It was Thailog whom she had entrusted her secrets to and look where that had got her.

But Gabriel wasn't anything like Thailog, not even close. It was just she was so terrified of having her heart broken again, that and worse.

'I wonder if Gabriel will go back to Avalon,' Lana thought to herself. 'He said he would stay here with me forever, but after tonight… After the way I treated him, will he even want to be with me? And if he doesn't then will he return to Avalon?'

Lana felt a cold dread come over her and she shuddered with fear. If Gabriel left her then who would she turn to then? Her family were wonderful and were always there for her, but Gabriel was more than just family. He was like a part of her.

Lana made up her mind and got up out of bed.

She didn't bother going to the door or even calling out to her family to tell them where she was going, she just went to her balcony door… and left.

'Please don't let him leave,' she prayed to whoever was listening.


Eyrie Building:

Broadway and Angela walked along the battlements taking in the glorious view of the city and the stars from up above.

"It's so beautiful," she whispered as she took in the splendours around her. "No matter how many times I see it, I can never get past the beauty of it all."

Broadway looked at her with love and devotion in his eyes. "There is only one thing that can surpass all this… and that's you my love."

Angela smiled and leaned forward to kiss him when she heard a quiet sobbing coming from nearby. "What's that?"

Broadway cursed a little at having their romantic mood interrupted but he too heard the grief stricken crying. "It's coming from over at the tower," he pointed to their roosting spots.

They walked cautiously over to the tower and up the stairs where they heard the sobs getting louder as they came nearer. Angela soon recognised the cries.

"Broadway," she said. "Would you mind leaving me to handle this?"

Broadway looked unsure at first but finally he nodded and walked back down the steps.

Angela came out from the staircase and saw Gabriel huddled in a ball crying to himself.

"Gabriel," she whispered so as not to alarm him though he didn't seem to care. "What on earth's the matter?"

Gabriel blinked his eyes but the tears still continued. "Lana," he managed to speak though it seemed like it took all of his willpower to do so.

'Oh dear,' Angela thought. "What happened?"

Gabriel stayed sitting down on the ground weeping broken-heartedly while Angela knelt down beside him in an attempt to comfort him.

She allowed him a few moments to collect himself before she calmly asked again, "What happened?"

Gabriel sighed. "We had a fight," the tears never left his eyes. "I found her at her home in her room with loads of empty bottles surrounding her bed."

"Bottles?" Angela looked confused.

Gabriel nodded. "I don't know for sure what type of drink was in them but from the stench, it was definitely alcoholic."

Angela gasped. This was terrible! She wondered how she would ever tell Darlene.

"I tried to help her," Gabriel confessed. "I didn't want to tell her family what I had found in her room or for them to see her in the condition she was in. I thought that if I got her sobered up and talked to her then I might be able to help, but… "Gabriel choked back a sob. "She told me it was none of my damn business and that my love for her wasn't enough."

Angela gasped at what Gabriel told her, as she couldn't believe Lana could have fallen so far.

"I'm sure she didn't mean it," Angela said honestly. "From what you've told me, it sounds like she's pretty mixed up what with the drink and her rape and everything. It sounds as though she needs help… serious help. But she doesn't hate you Gabriel and that is the one thing I'm positive about."

Gabriel smiled briefly. "I know you'll think me a pitiful fool sister, but… I know I've only known her a really short time, but ever since I met her… I can never stop thinking about Lana. It's as though she's a part of my spirit, one that I cannot give up. When I'm with her I'm happy beyond words… When she smiles it's as though I'm looking into the face of an angel and when she laughs, I'm listening to music. The slightest disagreement and it feels like my soul has been cut up into little pieces."

Angela listened with sympathy. If this was how Gabriel felt about a minor disagreement then what happened tonight must have sliced right through to his heart.

"She just needs help brother," she assured him. "Her rape has obviously affected her more seriously than what she or any of us originally thought. She just needs help… and time to heal."

Gabriel looked distant and said, "It's all my fault."

Angela started to get angry. "Gabriel, don't you dare start that again! You are not responsible for Lana's rape, none of us were! He was just one step ahead of us. None of us could have guessed he'd try to take Lana."

"But I was there!" Gabriel cried out desperately. "I was there and I saw what he was doing to her! I had a chance to save her and get her away from him, but I was so blinded by my fury that I let him get the better hand of me and because of my foolishness… Lana paid the price."

Angela stared at him in true pity. "But you can't change anything Gabriel. Blaming yourself is not the answer and neither is constantly living in the past. Lana still needs rescuing brother! Thailog might not still be around but he's still hurting her from the inside."

"I know," Gabriel said, his voice wavering. "I just… "


Angel and Gabriel both looked up in shock and saw to their greater surprise, a huge red scaly dragon with yellow flame-like eyes, razor sharp spikes embedded in its hide and huge tusks pointing out of its mouth. On its back, two black leathery wings flapped as they guided its master to the castle.

"By the… "Angela began.

"Dragon!" Gabriel finished.


Lana soared through the clouds trying to think what she would say to Gabriel when she saw him. She didn't know what she was going to say.

She didn't want to admit she had an alcoholic problem because she didn't. Did she? No, you had to have had more than one night and morning of drinking to be considered an alcoholic so she couldn't be one.

But what if she did have some kind of a problem? The drink had made some of the nightmares go away while she was unconscious, but she was still having them.


Lana froze and hovered in the air as she gasped at the sight that beheld her.

Coiled around the bulk of the castle was a huge red dragon snarling with flames coming out of its nostrils and mouth. It looked just like something out of a fairy tale book. Only this one was very much real and right now, it looked hungry.

Lana didn't know what to do for a few seconds as she just stayed where she was, until she heard an all too familiar roar come from nearby.


Lana took off with a moment's hesitation and soared toward the castle.


The dragon eyed them for a few seconds before roaring a blanket of fire towards them.

Gabriel grabbed his rookery sister and rolled them out of the dragon fire's path. But the dragon was not so easily swayed and turned its monstrous head to follow in their direction.

"What sorcery is this?" Gabriel cried. "From all the tales that both you and our Guardian told us of this outside world sister, I do not recall either of you ever mentioning that dragons still existed!"

"Neither did I," Angela said and ducked as the dragon made a swipe at them with its tail.

"I can't say that I'm that fond of them or at least this one," Gabriel grumbled as the beast roared and snapped at them.

A voice suddenly sounded off to the right of them. "What's all the commotion?"

Gabriel and Angela turned to see Hudson rushing out the courtyard door. He had heard all the noise and had come to investigate.

Angela screamed, "Hudson, no!"

Hudson barely had the chance to leap before he noticed the roar of fire that was coming his way along with a giant scaly claw dull of razor sharp talons.

"Goddamn blazes," Hudson cried and leapt out the way, but not without getting his clothes singed. "Damn it," he swore.

Gabriel roared and attempted to subdue the beast by jumping onto its head.

"Gabriel!" A young voice called to him and he saw Lana gliding through the air.

"Lana," he whispered in shock and then screamed. "Lana! For God's sake, get out of here! "

Whether she couldn't hear him or if she simply chose not to listen, he never found why, but she didn't take heed of his words and continued in her attempt to reach him.

The dragon roared when it heard Gabriel scream and shook him off. It then sniffed the air and turned its head to Lana's direction and growled, its nostrils flaring preparing for another batch of flame throwing.

'Oh damn,' Lana thought as she saw the monster turn and look at her.

The monster roared one more time and let loose a breath of fire toward her. Lana squealed and closed her wings, which caused her to drop like a stone. She felt her stomach threatening to spill out her breakfast, but she held it in. The flames missed her by a mere inch as she fell to earth, but she quickly opened her wings again and the wind guided her back to the air.

'I'll never complain about these wings again,' she thought.

The dragon snarled and brought itself up on its haunches, but suddenly it began to whine.

Lana looked up in surprise and saw Gabriel once more on the dragon's beast with his claws digging deep into the beast's hide and savagely tearing its scales off.

The dragon roared in pain and tried to grab at Gabriel with its talons, but Gabriel was too quick and managed to avoid them whenever they made a grab at him.

Lana glided past the dragon while it was distracted and noticed Hudson trying in vain to stand up clutching his shoulder that looked as though it had been through a barbecue.

Lana swooped down and landed on the ground rushing to Hudson's aid. "Hudson," she asked anxiously. "Are you alright?"

Hudson moaned. "Och, I'll be fine lass," he said, "or as fine as anyone can be after getting singed by an overgrown lizard."

Lana smiled in spite of everything that was happening. She had to admire Hudson's ability to make a joke even in the bleakest of times.

Three more roars sounded behind her and Lana looked to see Goliath and the trio charge out of the castle heading straight for the dragon.

"I think the cavalry has arrived," she said and then remembered Gabriel. "Gabriel!"

She looked back to the dragon but saw no sign of her lover. "Gabriel," she called. "Where are you?"

The noise of a wounded gargoyle reached her sensitive ears and she spotted a huddled shape near the dragon's foot that was even now beginning to rise.

"NOOOOO!" Lana screamed and ran faster than lightning across the courtyard to Gabriel just as the creature's foot was coming down. She grabbed him and hauled with all her might, dragging him away from the beast's impact and over to the castle side.

Gabriel slowly opened his eyes to Lana and gave her a small smile. "You came back," he whispered.

"Always," she whispered back to him with tears in her eyes.

As the lovers were reunited, Goliath and the rest of the clan faced the dragon.

Lexington fired a round of shots using a laser gun that he had seen Xanatos once retrieve from a hidden panel in the castle wall.

As he fired his rounds into the monster's hide, he noticed a strange hissing strange sound coming from the creature and what should have been blood, instead came out… nothing?

Lexington looked blankly at the beast and then thought of something. "Xanatos," he shouted into his com-link. "Xanatos, can you hear me?"

Loud and clear Lex! Xanatos's voice said back

"Xanatos, can you tell if you are reading anything attacking the castle?"

I should think that would be obvious Lex without looking at the sensors.

"Just look at the scans and tell me what they say! I have a feeling that this thing might be a robot or something because I just shot it and there was no blood."

Confirmed! A moment past and Xanatos responded. You're not gonna believe this Lex! But I am literally reading nothing!

"What do you mean nothing?"

I mean nothing as in zilch, zippo, not a thing… Whatever that thing is, it's either invisible to our scanners or it's simply not real.

Broadway dodged another breath of fire from the dragon, his wing just barely escaping getting fried.

"Trust me," Lexington said. "Whatever this thing is… It's real."

'But I wonder where the hell it came from?' He thought.


Central Park:

Cecile and her younger brothers walked through the thick bush of the park until they came to a waterfall and river.

"Are you sure this is where you said the compass was pointing?" She asked her siblings annoyingly.

Nathan sneered at his sister. "Yeah, yeah, I do know how to use a compass and locating spell you know. I have been doing it since I was three."

Cecile rolled her eyes and took the compass from them. "Give it here!"

She held the compass in her right hand and spoke, "Astraeus, god of the four winds, guide me to my goal."

Suddenly there was a crack of a twig being snapped, which caused Cecile to stop. At first she was nervous that maybe the clan had learned of their plot and had arrived, no matter how small the possibility might be. But she soon stopped when she saw just five goons surround them.

"Well, well," one of them leered, "Lookee what we got here!"

Cecile sighed in annoyance. She was sooo not in the mood for this. "Go away," she ordered. "I haven't the time nor the patience for this and we have no money which to spare either."

"Ooh that's a shame," another one of the five said and moved closer to her. "Then I guess we'd better find some other way to amuse ourselves then."

The goons cackled and Cecile sighed again. 'Well I tried,' she thought.

She closed her eyes. "By the howl of the Fen-ris Wolf thy brother, I summon thee. In the name of Hel, Goddess of death thy sister, I beseech thee. By the awesome power of Loki thy father, I implore thee… JORMUNGAND, COME FORTH!"

One of the goons snorted and asked the others, "What's this crazy bitch on?"

"Dunno," one of the others answered, "but how about… "He never got to finish what he was saying.

A bubbling sound drew their attention away from the youngsters and over to the river behind them where they saw the bubbles in question rising up out of the water.

"What the… "

A loud gurgling roar thundered through the night as a large green scaled serpent rose out of the water. Its red eyes glared at them.

Judging by the smell, Cecile was willing to bet that at least two of the goons had wet themselves. "The Midgard Serpent," she said proudly. "One of Loki's children and quite possibly one of the most ferocious I'd be willing to wager. Incidentally, I wouldn't hang around for too long if I were you."

As if on cue, the monster hissed and started to move towards them, its scaly feet sinking four feet into the ground. It was like a giant snake but twice the size of a barn and as long as four pythons, so big that the men could not believe how it had managed to fit into that small river.

Its green scales glittered in the moonlight like emeralds and from its mouth a long fork-like tongue hissed out.

The men screamed in terror and ran as fast as they could with the monster on their tails.

"Happy jogging," Cecile called after them and then turned to her brothers and tossed the compass back to them, "Where to now?"

Nathan looked at a small compass in his hand and pointed to the waterfall saying, "Behind there."

Cecile nodded. "Good," she said. "Come! My spell will soon be wearing off and I only wanted them distracted long enough so that we could get our quarry."

Damien looked at the direction where even now the pounding footsteps of the serpent could be heard. "What about the Midgard Serpent?"

Cecile shrugged. "Who cares? The spell I spoke has only enough power to summon the beast for a day or night. He'll be gone by morning and the protective wards around our home will secure our safety, so let's get what we came here for and hurry back."

They slugged through the water over to the waterfall.

Cecile snorted. "All our power and we can't even make an opening in a waterfall to prevent getting wet." She opened her umbrella and walked through the rushing water into a small opening that was behind it.

Her brothers however were not so fortunate. "Ewww," they cried as they got soaked.

Cecile didn't pay any attention to them though, as she was more interested in what was waiting for them, right in front of them.

"Well hello," she purred at the ghastly thing in front.


Eyrie Building:

Goliath snarled in pain as one of the dragon's claws ripped through his wing membrane causing him to spin out of control. Fortunately, Brooklyn was there to grab him and guide him to the ground.

"Xanatos," Goliath called into his com-link. "Send some of your robots, perhaps they maybe able to subdue the beast!"

Already on it! Xanatos said back.

Lana had pulled Gabriel inside the entrance to the tower and shuddered as she listened to the sounds of battle from outside.

'I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid… "She kept repeating that to herself over and over again, but she never quite believed it.

Gabriel tried to stand up but the dragon had bruised his back rather badly and he found that he was unable to even sit up let alone stand.

Lana whimpered as she held his head in her lap and wondered if God was listening.

Lexington continued shooting at the beast with his laser while the others tried a more practical version of fighting. Namely, they just kept swooping down on it with their claws and biting it with their fangs.

They had all seen what Lexington had saw about the dragon having no blood, but so far it didn't look like that were going to do them any good.

Angela swooped down and slid into the doorway where Lana and Gabriel where, eager to learn of her brother's condition. "How is he?"

Lana just shook her head wildly as if trying to shake all the fighting sounds of it.

"Lana," Angela cried and grasped her niece's head. "Everything is going to be alright, do you hear me? We will subdue this beast in time; we need you to hold out a little bit longer okay?"

Lana blinked back tears and nodded. The sound of the dragon roaring made her look back out.

Xanatos's robots had arrived and were even now attacking the creature, but all they seemed to be doing was annoying the beast.

"Just keep telling me that," Lana said to her aunt.

The beast roared one more final time and then suddenly… It began to fade away.

The clan and Lana all looked in shock at the creature until it had completely disappeared. When it was gone, all that was left were the remnants of their battle.

The robots of Xanatos stayed where they were, hovering for a few moments. What with their primary target gone, all they could do was hover there until new instructions were given.

Lana and Angela both crept out of their hiding place until they knew for sure that it was alright to leave. They then slid back into the doorway and helped Gabriel to his feet as he staggered to move.

Brooklyn landed near where the dragon had been and looked around, pressing his foot here and there. He looked up with a look of complete and utter confusion on his face and said, "What the hell happened?"

Lexington thought about what Xanatos had said. "Xanatos said that he couldn't get any readings from it," he said. "He said that it might have been an illusion."

"An illusion," Hudson moaned and nursed his aching shoulder from the burn marks. "Lad, if that was an illusion… Then it was the damn most real looking illusion that I've ever fought."

"Well why else did it just disappear like that then?"

"I believe I can answer that," Owen's voice said from behind them.

They jumped slightly at the sudden appearance of Owen before sighing and looking eagerly at him for an explanation of tonight's happenings.

"I believe what we encountered tonight was not just a mere illusion," he continued. "It was a living illusion, a form of illusion that was given sustenance and thus the ability to harm others. It is a powerful form of spell that is quite common among the Fay, but not around mortals and I could feel that it was mortal magic that had created it."

"Mortal magic," Brooklyn said suddenly and his eyes began to glow. "Demona!"

Both Angela and Lana looked at him angrily for a second before Owen spoke further.

"Doubtful. Although Demona is by mortal standards quite powerful as a sorceress and she can summon up illusions. Those illusions she summons however, are nothing more than that, simple illusions that can do no actual direct harm to others.

"So who… "Brooklyn felt like slapping himself. "The Venes!"

Owen nodded. "It appears they live up to their promises, as they did say we hadn't heard the last of them."

"They certainly don't waste time do they," Broadway muttered and kicked a blackened stone.

"But why do this?" Angela wondered. "Why go to all this trouble just to attack our home?"

Owen sighed. "It troubles me to say this Miss Angela, but… I somehow doubt that this was any trouble for them."

The clan looked at him darkly.

"Are you saying…?" Brooklyn started. " That all this," he waved his hand across the burned scenery, "was all just a night in the office for them?"

Owen sighed. "I did inform you that the Vene's power was vast. They have spent many centuries building up their power through collecting various artefacts, rituals, spells and many other things."

"But… They're children." Angela could not believe that two small children and a young girl of all things could possibly be capable of such evil."

"Evil comes in many forms and disguises," Owen said in sympathy. "These young people may look innocent, but trust me… The similarity ends there. These children are without consciences or compassion. Like their ancestors before them, they are obsessed with magic and the power that comes with it."

"Terrific," Brooklyn cursed, "Absolutely friggin terrific!"

"But still," Owen continued. "You are right about one thing Miss Angela."

"What's that?" Angela asked, hoping for some answers.

"I do not believe that the Venes would just simply send a dragon, even an illusion of one, to attack us without cause." Owen paused and frowned, a very un-Owen trait. "Then again, the present Venes we know are but mere children, so maybe they did all this merely for a game or something. There's no way to know for sure."

"Somehow," Goliath growled in frustration. "I have a feeling they will let us know soon enough that their intentions are."



Cecile walked down the hallway to their guestroom and was about to go in, when…

"Hey, what ya doing? What ya doing?" The twins pestering voices invaded her ears.

Cecile swore and glared at them. "Why don't you little pests just pester off and leave me alone for tonight, I've got work to do."

"Yeah," Damien sneered, "With our guest!"

Nathan frowned. "Why don't you just use Morgana's branding iron on him? Then he'll be under our control instantly."

Cecile shook her hand. "I'm going to leave that option as a last resort. Besides, I have a more… effective way of gaining loyalty."

"Dad says the most effective ways are the direct ones," Damien said.

"Yeah well dad isn't here," Cecile said sharply and turning up her nose. "Now get to bed!"

"Awww, but it's early," the twins whined.

"Do you want to spend the night in the hamster cage with your old maths tutor?"

That made the twins shut up and slowly walk back to their rooms.

Cecile grinned and made her way to the end of the hall. Once there, she took out the diamond pyramid again and placed it on around her neck.

"Abusque prep humanus transformo Lana." She whispered and watched with satisfaction as her features began to melt and change into a new shape and form.

She unlocked the door and tiptoed inside where she found their guest resting in bed with his face all wrapped up in bandages.

"Hello Thailog," Cecile said casually, in Lana's voice.

Thailog's one good red eye peaked out from under all the bandages and managed to croak out, "L… La… Lana."

Cecile smiled and closed the door behind her. "Hello lover," she purred. "We have a lot to discuss," she undid her bra, "and even a lot more to do."

Thailog moaned and held out his hands to her. "My love," he croaked painfully.

Cecile, in Lana's voice and form, smiled and walked forward undoing the rest of her clothing.

The End… For Now!