Written by Robert Teague December 2004
This fanfic is written solely for the entertainment of Danny Phantom fans, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Ember McLane, the hard-rockin' ghost girl, wandered aimlessly through the Ghost Zone. She had finally managed to ditch that idiot who had been following her around shouting her name. Now she had nowhere to go, and eternity to get there.
She wasn't sure how much time had passed since that dipstick Halfa and his friends had drained her of power and returned her to the Ghost Zone, but she thought it must be at least several weeks.
She sat down on a convenient rock, and put her head in her hands. The silence here was deafening.
She missed the noise, the fans, the music, the excitement of concerts. Truth be told, she even missed the feeling of power coursing through her as fans chanted her name. But to her, that was really only a side benefit. Music was her...well, not 'life', but her existence.
She had relished the chance given her to go to the human world and make a name for herself. Her benefactor had shown her the spells that would make humans love her and her music, and give her power. She had not really wanted that, feeling she had the talent to make it on her own. But using the spells or go back to the Ghost Zone were his conditions, so she had agreed.
Looking back on it now, she saw where she had become addicted to the power, and had striven to make the world feed it to her forever. On the very edge of success, along had come the Halfa, his girlfriend, and that other boy with the horrible voice, and stopped her. She was angry that everything had been taken away, but at the same time grateful for having been prevented from doing a great evil.
Her benefactor... she had no way of contacting him from the Ghost Zone, and wasn't sure she wanted to, anyway. He had taken her from the Ghost Zone, arranged the band, the tour, the album releases, the merchandising, the satellite coverage for the last concert, everything. And all he got in return was "money", which didn't interest her in the least. She thought he might be angry at the loss of money going to him, but wasn't sure about it.
Oh, well, it was time to move on. She wanted to find a place to exist, and write her music.
When and if another opportunity came along, she wanted to be ready.
"Ah, THERE you are!" said a voice behind her.
She stood up and turned around. There before her was her benefactor, Vlad Plasmius.
"Come with me," he said, beconing, "We have unfinished business."
Without waiting for an answer, or to see if she were following, he flew off. She watched him go, then shrugged, and took off after him. Sometime later she saw something in the distance that he was heading for. It was a portal! She was going back to the human world! Maybe he wasn't mad after all!
He passed through the portal and she followed, finding herself in his mansion in Wisconsin. He flew up through the ceiling, and again she followed. She found herself in his study, where he returned to human form. She materialized and looked around. There was a large desk in front of her, and the room was filled with bookcases and arcane tomes. He sat behind the desk, and motioned her to a chair.
"So," he said, "Things didn't turn out so well."
"No sir," she agreed in a tiny voice, "Are you mad at me?"
"Mad? Why would I be mad?" his voice rose in volume. "Just because you've lost your fanbase,
and cost me millions in unsold merchandise, albums, and endorsements. Not to mention getting your butt kicked on international television!"
"Sorry..." she said, huddling into herself.
He started to say something, when suddenly something clicked inside her.
She stood up. "Wait a minute...I just realized something..." It was her turn to get angry.
He sat back in his chair, waiting.
She pointed at him. "YOU organized the tour, and decided what cities to visit. I wondered why the last venue was such a small town, and even had a stop at a local high school!" She leaned over his desk, staring at him with her electric green eyes. "You KNEW the Halfa was there! You WANTED us to fight!"
Vlad applauded politely, grinning. "Congratulations! You figured it out! And even with all that power collected from your screaming fans, he still beat you!"
"You never cared about me, my music, or my career! You just used me to get at him!" she added.
"Sad but true," he admitted, spreading his hands.
"What do you want with him, anyway?" she asked.
"Not your business," he replied, frowning, "But I'll tell you what you should be concerned about. You're going back to Amity Park and finish what you started."
"WHAT!!" she shouted, taken aback, "No way! I'm a musician, not a fighter! I'd rather go back to the Ghost Zone than face him again!" She crossed her arms and turned her back on him.
"Oh, I think you'll change your mind," he said, mildly.
"Hmmph... doubt it," said Ember.
There was a movement, and she felt something around her neck. Suddenly, PAIN!! It centered at her neck, and spread rapidly through her ectoplasm. It was horrible! She had never felt anything like it. She staggered away from him, grasping at her throat, and screamed. She touched something, and bolts of pain shot through her fingers. She yanked them away, screaming again.
"What is this? What did you do? Take it off, take it off, now!" she yelled, "It hurts!"
"Why, it's just a little present," he said, grinning evilly, "A necklace that goes nicely with your costume." He leaned toward her. "A necklace made of cold iron!" He laughed.
Despite the pain, Ember stood still, her eyes wide. "IRON?!" she shouted, "Are you insane? Get it off me!" She grasped at the necklace again, but the pain was too great to hold on to it.
"Have you reconsidered what I want you to do?" he asked, cocking his head slightly.
"What? Fight the Halfa again?" she asked, confused from the pain.
"That's right," he said, nodding.
She rapidly decided she didn't have a choice.
"Okay, okay, you win!" she conceded, "I'll do it. Now get this thing off me! It burns!"
"I'll CONSIDER taking it off, AFTER you've beaten the Halfa!" he said, "And not before." He turned his back on her, and went to his desk.
Ember went intangable, but the necklace didn't fall off. She tried phasing through the floor,
but was stopped when the necklace reached it. Nothing she did dislodged it. Vlad sat behind his desk and laughed at her.
Finally he stood up. "Well, that was fun, but I have work to do. Come with me." He hooked a finger in the necklace, and pulled, which caused it to touch her solidly, and she screamed again. He dragged her out the door and down the corridor to another room. She struggled the entire way, trying to resist, and at the same time not let the necklace touch her. Opening the door he dragged her inside.
It was an eight by eight by eight room, all white and well insulated.
"This room is soundproofed," he said, "You'll be able to spend the hours before night getting used to the pain. Feel free to scream and cry. You won't disturb anyone else." He turned to go.
She suddenly noticed an object in the other corner; a box about two feet square, and five feet high.
"Uh, what's that?" asked Ember, nervously, trying not to scream again when the necklace shifted.
"Oh, this?" asked Vlad, stepping over to it, "It's what is waiting for you if you fail. It's inch thick iron with no seams. I'll put you in it, fill it with scrap iron, and weld it closed."
He turned to her, and spoke softly. "You will know nothing but pain and darkness, forever!"
If Ember had been living, she would have died on the spot. "No..." she whimpered, cowering away from the box, and her captor.
Vlad stepped to the door, then turned to her. "And you know what? No one will remember your name." He laughed, and closed the door behind him.
The hours were long and slow in that room. Ember did cry, and scream. She tried to grasp the necklace and see if it could be removed, but the pain was too great to touch it for more than a second. She kept looking at the box, and imagining being inside it filled with iron. If one small necklace caused her that much pain, it was unimaginable what that box would do.
She sat in the corner, as far from the box as possible, and gave up to complete misery.
She was a slave. That had become clear. Forced to obey that horrible half-human's commands.
The irony that she had nearly enslaved the humans was not lost on her. Maybe this was her payback. She started crying again, and her ectoplasmic tears drifted away from her, blinking out of existance.
Without her guitar, and the power fed her from fans, she knew she had no chance against the Halfa. Surely Vlad knew that too. Why was he forcing her to fight again? It didn't make any sense. Whatever the outcome, her future was bleak.
Finally, she hoped it was near time for her release so she could go to Amity Park and get this over with. All she could do was wait.
"Hello," said a voice behind her. She turned rapidly, causing the necklace to shift again, and she whimpered.
There was another ghost in the room with her, dressed like a king.
"Who are you?" she asked, trying not to touch the necklace.
"I'm the Dairy King, don't ya know," he replied.
"Can you get this necklace off of me?" asked Ember, hopefully.
"No, lass, I can't touch it, don't ya know," he replied, shaking his head. "But I am here to help you. You're not evil, and certainly don't deserve..." he shuddered, pointing at the box,
He handed her a folded piece of paper. "When you leave, take that with you," he said.
"What is it?" she asked, holding it.
"It's the only spell capable of keeping you out of Vlad's clutches, don't ya know," was the reply. "Take it to a human you trust, and have them cast it."
"Trust a human? HA!" said Ember, bitterly, "Trusting a human got me into this."
"Then give it to the Halfa," said the King, "I've met him, and he's a good lad. He will help you."
"But..." said Ember.
"He's coming, got to go, don't ya know," said the King, "Put that away safe!" He floated through the wall, and was gone.
Ember barely had time to shove the paper down into her boot, before the door opened.
"It's time. Ready to go?" asked Vlad, stepping aside for her to pass.
"Yes, 'Master'," she spat.
He grinned at her. "Right words, wrong attitude," he answered.
Ember shrugged, and waited for him to lead her to whereever.
She followed him to the front door, and they went outside. Night had fallen, and the cool of the evening was present. Stars were overhead, but no moon.
"Amity Park is southeast of here," said Vlad, pointing, "And about a hundred and fifty miles.
You should be there by morning. And remember what is waiting if you fail."
Ember closed her eyes and shuddered. Then she flew up and away from the mansion, and the evil Halfa watching her go.
"Come right back here when you're finished," he called. She waved to acknowledge the command,
and flew into the night.