"No, not until you explain!" said Aquaria, crossing her arms. The wave slowly dropped her down to the ground, then moved back into the pool, leaving the two ghosts face to face.
"Sam, the girl whose body you've overshadowed, freed me from slavery to a human," Lydia responded, turning away from the other. "In gratitude I resolved to watch over her and protect her. And I failed her the very first time she needed me."
Aquaria said nothing, still sure this was a trick.
"The irony here being that now she's enslaved to a ghost, and I can't free her," added Lydia.
Aquaria grinned. "You're right. You can't. But don't feel too bad, she won't be my slave for very long; just until the sun rises."
"Why?" asked Lydia, seemingly not really interested in the answer.
"At sunrise I will drown this body, her spirit will depart, and I will take control of it forever," was the answer.
"I don't want to be here when that happens. Please, destroy me," said Lydia. She pulled her cloak tighter around herself.
Aquaria seemingly didn't hear the request, but rather began talking to herself. "I've waited centuries for a human to drink from the pool, then sleep near enough for me to take them over. And now my patience has paid off!"
She grinned a nasty grin. "And this is only the beginning! As the heat of the sun evaporates the pool, the mist will spread my control of water farther and farther, and finally I will control all the water on Earth! I will rule this planet!"
The red eyes, seemingly far away, suddenly focused back in the present, and on Lydia. "And there's nothing you can do to stop me!" She pointed east. "Look! It's getting light! Soon the sun will rise, and begin the Age of Aquaria! HA HA HA HA HA!"
Lydia looked up, surprised. The sky was indeed growing lighter. The fainter stars were already gone; the brighter ones stubbornly visible until the Daystar rose.
"If you pledge to serve me, I will allow you to stay near what is left of your friend," said Aquaria, "Otherwise I'll grant your request and destroy you."
"No. It will be you and not Sam in her body. I have had enough torment. I will serve no one else," said Lydia, turning away again.
Aquaria sighed. "Very well, then, if it's what- OW!" she said, and swatted at her right calf. She looked, but saw nothing. "Something bit me."
"That's one of the problems with being human. Things are always out to get you," Lydia replied. Her face, hidden in her cloak, had a smirk on it. She had figured out a way to stop Aquaria. It was risky, but the only chance they had.
Aquaria turned and started walking back toward the pool. Suddenly she stopped, and put her hand on her head. "Wha- what's going on? I... feel... diz-" And fell over, suddenly too weak to move.
Lydia walked over and pulled her hood back. She picked up Sam's body and laid her on the sleeping bag.
"What's going on? I don't understand..." said Aquaria, half delirious. With a lot of effort she raised her head.
"This is what's going on," replied Lydia, and held her hand down near the bitten calf. A ghost spider phased out of the leg, and walked onto her hand. Lydia held it near her body, and the spider jumped off and back into its place, becoming a tattoo again.
"You had it bite me!" said Aquaria, letting her head flop back down.
"That's right," said Lydia, standing with an evil smirk.
"N- no..." said Aquaria, turning over, "If I don't drown this body, I can't control it when it dies..."
"You got it!" said Lydia folding her arms. She looked to the east, where the sun was now nearly to the edge of the hills. Daylight was full, and birds were chirping.
Aquaria struggled to crawl toward the water. She held up her hand, but the green glow was faint, and the water didn't respond.
"No, this can't be happening..." she muttered. She lay still for a few moments, trying to gather strength to crawl another foot.
"She's going to die," gasped Aquaria. It was a last effort to make Lydia save her.
"I've lost her, either way," said Lydia, sadly. "But at least you won't have her."
With a great effort, Aquaria raised Sam's head, and mist flowed out of her mouth. It started toward the pool just as the sun peeked over the hills.
The sudden heat blew up a breeze. It blew the mist she was made of up and away from the pool,
and spread her out, dissipating as though she never was. "No... NOOOO!" screamed Aquaria
in her high pitched voice, but it was too late. The wind continued to spread her out until there was nothing left. The waterfall continued to flow as normal.
The very moment Lydia could no longer feel Aquaria's presence, she knelt beside a now
unconscious Sam, and tapped several time on a particular tattoo. It became a ghost spider again, jumped to her hand, and she held it near the bitten leg. It phased into Sam's body,and once inside began removing the venom.
As it did so, Lydia moved Sam back onto the sleeping bag. She grabbed a hand towel out of Sam's backpack, and wet it in the pool, then folded it and put it on Sam's forehead.
The sun was fully up when the sickly green pallor finally faded from Sam. The spider phased out of her body, and resumed its place on Lydia.
With a groan, Sam opened her eyes to see Lydia looking down at her. She smiled weakly, and it was returned by her ghostly friend.
"That was a close one," Sam said.
"Not that close," replied Lydia, "You still had a good five minutes before the spider venom would've killed you. How are you feeling?"
"Weak, but glad to still be alive," said Sam.
"You'll be fully recovered in an hour or so," said Lydia, "At least, that's what the spider tells me."
There was a long silence.
"I failed you," said Lydia.
"Don't worry about it," said Sam, taking the ghost's hand, "I was there and heard the whole conversation. It wasn't your fault, and you won in the end. Thank you."
"You're not mad?" asked Lydia.
"Nope. Friends and allies forever, remember," answered Sam. "And thank the spider for me."
A couple of hours later, Danny and Tucker arrived. Danny landed and let his friend go, then resumed his human form. They each had a backpack on, as they were planning to explore for a couple of days.
"Hey, guys," said Sam, as she finished rolling up her sleeping bag. Lydia nodded at the new arrivals. They had stoked up the fire, and had some water heating for vegetable soup.
"Hey, Sam, Lydia," said Danny, "So how was sleeping under the stars?"
"Great," replied Sam, and looked at Lydia, grinning. "You'll never know what you...'mist'."
The normally silent ghost snickered, then laughed out loud, quickly joined by Sam.
Tucker and Danny looked at each other and shrugged. Who could figure Goths, anyway?
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Since my first story featuring Lydia was nicely received, I decided to go more into her background, and make her the hero.
The material about the early relationship between her and Freakshow wasn't planned; it kind of wrote itself.
Will there be a third story? I'm not sure. If so, it might be about them finding an old abandoned mine in the valley, and the ghosts of miners who haunt the place.
I'm finishing another story, "Ghostly Gig", in which Danny hires Ember to play at a school dance.
In the meantime, there are plenty of great stories at FF net, so happy reading!