Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, this was a random idea that came to me after re-reading "Turn of the Endless Sorcerer"...ah, I'm beginning to wish I could write another epic story to have fun with...who knows, maybe I will...
***WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ONESHOT CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR CHAPTERS 25, and 26 OF THE FANFIC "TURN OF THE ENDLESS SORCERER". IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THAT STORY, OR IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THOSE CHAPTERS YET, READ THE FULL-LENGTH STORY FIRST.***
October 31, 1996
"...and lo and behold, the slipper fit Cinderella's foot," spoke Beato as she read a bedtime story to her and Battler's twins, Eleanor and Robert. "And so he took her away to his castle, and they all lived happily ever after. The end."
She looked up from the book and saw Eleanor and Robert blinking as though saying "that's it?" Tonight was their fourth birthday, and it also happened to be Halloween. As such, she and Battler allowed them to stay up just a bit past their bedtime, but when they returned home after going trick-or-treating with Aunt Ange, they were too tired to even be kept going by their sugar drive from all the cake and ice cream they had before going out.
And so, they were put to bed. However, they were not ready to go to sleep just yet, so Beato read them a few stories from the fairytale book she had taken with her upon leaving Rokkenjima for the very first time ten years ago (had it really been that long? The time flew by so quickly). She herself was getting a bit sleepy so she paraphrased a few words just a bit.
Yet after five stories, they were still unsatisfied and wide awake.
"What happened to the wicked stepmother and stepsisters?" piped up Eleanor. "Did they meet some horrible end?" She wrinkled up her nose. "Or is it just like that movie where they all get along in the end?"
"Ah...not quite," said Beato slowly, debating with herself over whether now would be the right time to tell her children that, contrary to the happy Disney version they had been shown, the original version ended with the stepmother and stepsisters getting their eyes plucked out. Then, she remembered what had happened when she had told them how the original version of The Little Mermaid actually ended right before bedtime...
"How about I tell you another day?" said Beato, silently adding, "Namely, during the daytime, when you'll have more time to get over it, and won't get any nightmares and keep daddy and me up all night."
"Can we have one more story, mommy?" piped up Robert. "Please? Just one more?"
"Well, I suppose there wouldn't be any harm," shrugged Beato.
"But no more soppy stories," piped up Eleanor. "Tell us a ghost story!"
"N—no! No ghost stories!" gasped Robert, trembling beneath the blankets. "I don't like ghost stories!"
"Now Robert, ghost stories are not actually true," said Beato calmly, hoping her son would eventually grow out of the stage where he was terrified of almost anything that could not be explained. She wondered if Battler himself had ever gone through such a stage when he was young...and if he ever coped by telling himself that which he was scared of did not exist until he finally started firmly believing those things did not exist...leading him to deny the existence of witches...
"Robert," said Beato, "if you do not want to listen to a ghost story, you can always just wait outside, or crawl into bed with daddy and wait. In the mean time, I'll stay here and tell Eleanor a ghost story, okay?"
Robert nodded furiously, shaking his red hair in the process. Eleanor cried out, "Really?!? You're going to tell an actual ghost story?!?"
"Hey, it's Halloween, and it's your birthday, and you deserve a special treat," said Beato as she helped Robert out of bed and into the hall. She closed the door and walked over to Eleanor's bed. She sat down on it and said, "Have I ever told you of the Golden Witch Beatrice?"
Eleanor shook her head, then said, "That kind of sounds like your name, mommy."
"Well, it's similar to my name," said Beato slowly. She saw no harm in telling stories of the good old days as long as she made sure Eleanor thought they were just that: A story, and nothing more.
"The Golden Witch Beatrice lived for a thousand years," narrated Beato. "And she was the most beautiful witches of them all..."
"Wait, is this gonna be another soppy story where she meets a handsome prince and lives happily ever after?" interrupted Eleanor. "And is she gonna be another one of those dumb goody-goodies?"
"Be patient, Eleanor," said Beato, hiding a smile. "Just wait until we're further into the story...well, Beatrice was well-respected and loved by everyone. Just by looking at her, you instantly knew her name. There was no need for introduction, formal or informal; no, all you had to do was look at her, and you knew who she was. She was the desire of many young men, and the envy of every woman. She had a faithful yet cheeky butler, who was one of the great demons. She had a wise mentor who taught her of the seas and stars. She had a close friend, another demon, who had a wicked fashion sense, and who could create any type of portal to travel to and from a place. And she had loyal servants called the Seven Stakes of Purgatory. Do you know what purgatory is?"
Eleanor shook her head, her blue eyes wide in admiration, showing she no longer thought this was going to be a soppy story. Beato said, "Purgatory is a Christian, thought mostly Catholic, concept of the afterlife...before you go to heaven or hell, you go to a place called Purgatory. That is where you are judged for your sins, and you must repent for them before you can on to the next part. And Lady Beatrice's servants came from Purgatory—they each embodied the most deadly sins that can swallow up humankind."
This gave Eleanor a mental image of a giant fish opening up its mouth and swallowing the entire world.
"And whenever Lady Beatrice needed them to do away with her enemies," Beato went on, "she would summon them up and have them stab right through the flesh."
Eleanor gasped and leaned forward. Beato could not suppress a grin and went on: "Well one day, there was a very foolish young man who refused to acknowledge the witch's name. He denied her existence and claimed she was just a delusion in other people's minds—that is to say, that she was just made up. He took one look at her and claimed something so magical could not possibly exist."
"But wait," said Eleanor, "how could he say she was made up in other people's minds when he could see her?"
Beato lightly chuckled, "Well, this young man was too incompetent to realize the significance behind this. Yes, he was incompetent and foolish. He sought out to cause this witch great pain. And so she beckoned him for a challenge...she would kill other people in most gruesome ways and force him to figure out how a human could've possibly done it."
Eleanor's mouth was gaping. Beato considered ending her story right there, but it was clear that her daughter would not let her even if she tried, so she said, "Now what I am about to tell you is very gruesome and scary. She killed people in more horrible ways than you could ever imagine. Do you think you can handle the truth?"
Eleanor nodded, her blonde bangs lightly brushing her eyes (Beato supposed it would soon be time to get her hair, or at least her bangs, cut in time for the next family meeting in a week).
"If you get nightmares from what I tell you," said Beato, "you may come running to daddy and me and sleep with us. We won't tell Robert or anyone else."
"Get on with it!" urged Eleanor.
Beato wondered if, perhaps, it was a little too scary to tell the young one...then she remembered Eleanor's macabre taste. A while ago, Beato and Battler had left the twins home with Ange to baby-sit...and when they came back, they found Eleanor watching a Child's Play movie on TV. Ange had apologized profusely, explaining how she had left the room for only a few minutes to help a sick Robert to the toilet, and returned to find the channel changed from singing mice fixing up a dress for Cinderella to a creepy doll hitting a woman over the head with a hammer. And Eleanor was not the least bit terrified; she was actually laughing her head off.
She was very much like Maria, actually; her laugh even sounded like Maria's, only more...witchy. And also somewhat like Beato, given her own macabre nature during the games.
Then again, none of the three—Beato, Maria, or Eleanor—were exactly 'normal' children.
But at least Beato and Maria had grown up okay. She supposed it would not damage Eleanor's development to go into a bit of gory detail.
This in mind, Beato went on: "Well...one night, Beatrice took on the form of a golden butterfly. She flew down the dark, dark hallways at night, watching over each and every person, deciding which fool to sacrifice to prove to this incompetent young man of what she really was...and so she chose six people at random...had them all come over to the chapel to acknowledge her name. And she fed them treats; she fed them cookies and candy, urging them to gobble up.
"And while they were all leaning over to the bowl in the middle...she had them all freeze into place. She walked over to each of them, and sliced their stomachs right open."
Eleanor gasped as her mother continued with the gruesome tale: "And when she had each and every of their stomachs exposed to the air, she took the remaining contents of the bowl—the cookies, and the candies—and stuffed their stomachs with the goodies, ensuring they would never go hungry after death."
This did not emote any reaction from Eleanor other than a stunned awe.
"In spite of this," said Beato, "the foolish young man continued to deny her involvement. He said a human could have done it, but not she. Now imagine that—in spite of being shown evidence that something supernatural was at force, he refused to acknowledge it. And so she continued to carry on the bloodshed. She fought against a pair of lovers, she and her stakes—she had one stabbed right through the back, and the other's body was made to vanish. But still, the young man did not acknowledge her.
"So she summoned up her demon goats and had them chase after a mother and her child. She had them captured and brought to her, where she tied the mother to a chair and forced her to eat her own siblings, including the daughter whom she had pretended to love. And even after this, he still would not acknowledge her.
"Her schemes grew grander and bigger. Eventually, her mentor saw the wrongdoing of her student, and the two engaged in a lengthy battle with spears and towers and swords summoned up from the heavens. Both were equal in their magic skill, and it looked as though Beatrice was about to lose...when all of a sudden, she launched a surprise attack upon her teacher and killed her."
"Wow!" gasped Eleanor. "I'll bet he acknowledged her after that!"
"Oh, his spirit was down after witnessing such a grand battle," said Beato nonchalantly. "But he had some fight in him yet. So the Golden Witch came up with one, last tactic: She forced him to confess to and repent for his sin six years ago."
"And what was his sin?" said Eleanor, almost ready to topple over onto her face from leaning forward.
At this, Beato grew melancholic in her tone: "He forgot his lover. He made a promise to return for her and rescue her from her cold, dark tower, but he was too late—a mean old ogre had married her and gobbled her up."
Giving it a silly twist made it easier for Beato to be a bit lighter hearted: "Well, the young man was stunned. He could hardly believe that this woman—no, this witch—actually knew of his sin. He thought no one but he had ever known the truth. This caused him to fall to his knees and beg for mercy. He had now acknowledged her as a witch.
"But," she smiled at the memory, "she had one last punishment in store for him. In return for acknowledging her name, she stripped him naked and put him on a collar. And at her royal banquet, she paraded him down the stairs, showing off her new toy to all the other witches and goats in attendance. And when she was done, she had her goats eat him right up.
"And thus, her boredom was alleviated, and she slept for all eternity. So beware...if you ever walk down the hall alone at night and see a golden butterfly...beware."
Beato's voice had become a whisper at "beware" to give the story a spooky final touch. Eleanor clapped and cheered, "That was the best story ever, mommy!"
Beato smiled. "I'm glad you enjoyed it, dear. Do you feel tired now, or would you like one more story?"
Eleanor shook her head. "Uh-uh! There's no way anything will ever be as good as that!"
After tucking her daughter in and giving her a kiss good night, Beato found Robert lying asleep in bed with Battler who had given him a gentle bedtime story. After placing Robert in his own bed and returning to hers with her husband, Battler said, "So what kind of story were you telling Eleanor? Robert claimed you had warned him the story would be too scary for him."
"I was telling her a ghost story," explained Beato, snuggling up under the covers.
"What kind of ghost story?" said Battler suspiciously. He took one look at Beato's face and said, "Wait...you didn't tell her about yourself, did you?"
"Oh, not all of it," said Beato innocently. "Just mostly about our second game together. But don't worry," she quickly added. "I changed some details and made sure she knows it's just a story."
Three days later
"It's just a God damn story," Beato grumbled as she marched down the halls of the daycare building to the main office, having been told to come pick up Eleanor early after scaring her classmates with the Beatrice story. "Stupid kids don't know how to take a joke."
A/N: So that's the end, lol. I figured the whole bit about Beato admitting to having told her story as a ghost story to Eleanor had to have a back story to it.
Oh yeah, and as for the part about Eleanor laughing at the Chucky movies...it was not taken from a kid I knew about; it was me. XD According to my parents (I was too young to remember) my older cousins let me watch a Chucky movie and I was apparently laughing my ass off when my parents came home. I was a very...interesting....child. But I turned out okay, and so will Eleanor...in time. XD
Interestingly enough, I have not seen a Chucky movie since then.