Yes, I know it's been awhile but I am still going to continue my stories with all my might! What? You didn't think I'd abandon did you?
Nope. So here is chapter 5. Enjoy!
Chapter 5: Down World
Danny yawned arching his back and stretching out his limbs as far as they could go. He had been lying on the sofa for some time now, his feet resting up on one of the expensive cushions. But the teen didn't care. He had taken off his shoes long ago and Vlad said he didn't mind so why not get comfortable?
Actually, Vlad had seemed pretty happy when the teen timidly asked if he could take off his shoes and put his feet up on the couch.
He's probably just being nice to me because of what's happening. Danny justified. Why else would he let me kick my feet up on his million dollar couch?
True, the billionaire probably would've denied such a request to anyone else, especially a teenager. After all, what person would want some messy, ill-mannered teenager putting their nasty smelling feet on their million dollar furniture?
But this wasn't just any teenager, it was Daniel and that made all the difference. The boy was not obnoxious or foul smelling in the least. Ill-mannered, at times, yes, but the little halfa had been all but perfectly behaved for hours, keeping his soft blue eyes glued to the pages of various books and occasionally pausing to point to a page and ask the man a question.
Standing over at one of the bookshelves Vlad looked over his shoulder to glance at the boy once more. The ebony haired boy was still lying on his back on the couch, one of his feet hanging off the edge with a book propped up on his stomach as he continued to read. But he was getting tired, Vlad could see that much. The heavy book was starting to tilt forward and Daniel's eyelids were becoming heavy. If the man didn't do something soon the boy would likely fall asleep right on his couch.
Which didn't seem like such a bad thing.
Vlad couldn't explain it, but there was just something precious about seeing the younger hybrid lying on his couch completely relaxed and at ease. Watching the book slip from the boy's pale hands and onto his chest now rising and falling evenly, his choppy bangs sweeping across his forehead as his head tilted back, baby blue eyes closing softly.
The man let out inaudible sigh. It would be nice to let the boy stay with him the night, to simply let Daniel fall asleep now and silently carry him to one of the spare bedrooms where the boy could get a good night's sleep. But it was too soon. Even with the spell working on the teen Vlad knew he couldn't push his limits too far, at least not this early.
And if he didn't wake Daniel now the boy would probably be angry and suspicious come morning. What good would that do?
Walking over quietly to the sofa Vlad stood over the sleeping ghost boy, peering down at his soft features. Slowly reaching down, the older hybrid brushed the teen's bangs away from his eyes. Already fast asleep. He mused.
"Daniel." Vlad lightly shook the boy's shoulder. "Daniel it's time to get up. You're falling asleep on me my boy."
"Huh?" Danny muttered, wishing nothing more than to keep his eyes closed. He had forgotten where he was but whatever he was lying on was much more comfortable than his bed at home. "Five more minutes…" He mumbled trying to turn on his side but there was something heavy on his chest. He groaned a little as he was forced to sit up and remove the object whose corner was currently poking him too hard. "Where am I…?" Blinking around the room Danny slowly came back to reality only to find Vlad smirking down at him in amusement.
"O-Oh!" Danny started, quickly getting on his feet. "I must've fell asleep. What time is it?"
"A quarter past nine." Vlad answered. "Not too late, but I think you should head home all the same." The man said matter-of-factly, as if he didn't whether the boy left or stayed.
"Yeah, I guess I'd better get going. Mom and Dad are probably wondering where I've been all this time. And who knows how they'll react if I stay out past ten." Not to mention Jazz… Danny thought warily.
"Oh, I wouldn't fret over that too much my boy." Vlad said dismissively with a wave of his hand. "I'm sure if you tell your father you were with me this entire time he'll be delighted." Vlad gave a smug smirk. "You won't be in any trouble at all."
"Very funny Vlad." Danny replied with some distain. "Thinking that I'd actually admit to spending time with you. There's a laugh." The teen expected a glare and an equally snappy comeback but instead the older halfa merely chuckled and ruffled his hair with a smile.
Ignoring the blush quickly spreading across his cheeks, and the warmth bubbling in his chest, Danny brushed the man's hand away and slipped his shoes back on.
"Would you like me to drive you home little badger?" Vlad offered sweetly, only to test and see if the boy would mind blatant use of the nickname.
"No thanks, I'd rather fly and it'll be faster anyway." Danny replied calmly, obviously not noticing the nickname or simply not caring about its use.
As Vlad walked the teen to the door Danny hesitated a bit. "Umm, Vlad…" The boy looked up uneasily. "Would you mind if I… Y-You know, if I stopped by again tomorrow…?"
"Of course not my boy!" Vlad replied, shock evident in his voice. "If we're to have any hope at all of finding out who or what did this to you we'll have to go to Down World first thing tomorrow."
"You mean you want me to skip school to come here?" Danny asked in surprise, though he couldn't hide the slight excitement that came with the prospect of ditching school for whatever reason.
"Well I honestly didn't think you would mind," Vlad said evenly. "Given the circumstances."
"No, no, no." Danny quickly waved his hands. "Trust me, I don't mind. I mean, come on, what better reason to stay home from school than to hunt down some monster in a place called Down World. That's even better than going to the arcade." The teen said jokingly though his stomach was doing flips at the thought of going to a place even more frightening than the Ghost Zone.
With a reassuring smile Vlad placed his hand on Danny's shoulder giving it a gentle squeeze. "Don't worry Daniel, I won't let anything happen to you. You have my word."
"Um," Danny rubbed the back of his neck laughing nervously unable to ignore the flutter of pleasure in his chest at Vlad's words. "Right. I guess I'll um, see you tomorrow then. Right before school starts."
"Sounds like a plan." Vlad smiled.
XXXX Line Break XXXX
As it turned out Vlad was right, though Danny would never admit it. Even with flying the ghost boy still didn't get home in time to make his ten o'clock curfew, but at the mention of having been with Vlad his father's anger quickly turned to delight and all mentions of grounding disappeared.
Now with morning beginning and school starting Danny Phantom raced to Vlad's mansion once again, unbeknown to his family or friends.
"Good morning Daniel." Vlad greeted, all too pleased as he answered the door inviting the younger halfa inside. "Did you sleep well last night?" The man couldn't resist asking.
"As well as anyone else who has some unknown spirit goo floating around inside them." Danny replied with a sigh. Although his visit with Vlad had reassured him a bit it seemed that once he was away from the other hybrid almost all of his worry and fear came flooding back. But being in the man's company once again the teen's nerves settled greatly and that odd yet comforting warmth returned to his chest once more.
"Am I to take that as a 'no'?" Vlad asked teasingly. Danny glared up at him but for some reason couldn't help smiling back.
"I'll just feel better once this stuff is outta me and the thing that put it there is out of my life for good." Danny replied and Vlad nodded in understanding.
"Well, as I said yesterday there is nothing for you to worry about." Vlad said leading the teen down the hall way towards his private study. "Thanks to the help of those books, and some online research I did last night, I figured out a way to create a portal into Down World."
"You mean you figured out how to build one?" Danny asked curiously. "Like how you built a ghost portal?"
"Not exactly." Vlad smirked knowingly, ushering the boy inside the giant library till they reached a large fireplace at the far end of the room. Clicking forward a solid gold football statue on the mantelpiece the unlit fireplace split in half revealing an underground staircase.
Walking down a wide set of stairs the two halfa's entered Vlad's lab. Stopping at the last step Danny looked around the room. Vlad's Plasmius portal was shut tight and aside from the long lab tables with scattered vials and glowing yellowish green liquids there appeared to be nothing else of importance in the lab, much less a portal to another world.
Opening up a large steel cabinet Vlad casually pulled out a small corked vial and held it up for Danny to see. "This, dear boy, is out ticket to Down World." Vlad smirked triumphantly, lightly swirling the vial's dark shadowy contents.
Stepping into the lab and in front of Vlad Danny took a closer look at the strange mixture. It looked like a combination of smoke and ashes with something thick and black pooling at the bottom, perhaps, ink. Glancing up at Vlad's pleased face and back at the smoky vial Danny pointed to the mixture with an unsure look and said, "This? This is our ticket into Down World?"
"It sure doesn't look like much." Danny replied inspecting the vial from all angles.
"Neither do you little badger." Vlad teased. "But that doesn't mean you should be underestimated."
"It looks like something you would scrape out of a chimney." The teen added ignoring both the jab and slight compliment. "Are you sure this is going to work?"
"Of course." The older halfa said confidently. "I used all the ingredients the book said was required for this spell."
"A spell?" Danny repeated uneasily. "Great, that makes me feel so much better."
"Why Daniel?" Vlad said in mock surprise, his grin taunting. "You're not scared are you?"
"What? ! No way!" Danny snapped defensively. "I've been to the Ghost Zone dozens of times, why would I be afraid to go to Down World?"
At this comment Vlad's face became rigid, all traces of humor suddenly gone. "Daniel, I believe I already discussed with you last night how different Down World is from the Ghost Zone." Vlad stated seriously. Danny felt a strange sensation coming from the mark on his chest, a sort of icy dread that made him hang on Vlad's every word.
"Now, there's something I want to make very clear before we go on this little trip." The more experienced hybrid went on seeing he had the boy's undivided attention. "Down Worlders, the creatures you will be seeing for the first time, are nothing like Other Worlders, the ghost you've already encountered and therefore they don't get along. This is probably the most likely reason you haven't found any Down Worlders prowling around Amity Park, because it's already preoccupied with so many ghosts."
"Both Down Worlders and ghosts are very territorial creatures," He went on. "And while I'm sure any monster would love to prey on the humans in your town the ghosts already have claim on it and that's what's keeping them at bay. You have your parents' portal to thank for that."
"So you mean Down Worlders are afraid of ghosts?" Danny asked curiously, already greatly interested in the subject.
"Yes and no." Vlad answered, clearly pleased that the boy was turning this into a conversation rather than a lecture. This is what Vlad was hoping on and there was no way he was about to let an opportunity to teach Daniel something new, something only he could teach him, slide by. "Down Worlders do fear ghosts but, as with most creatures, that fear has easily turned to hatred and so they won't back down from a fight with one. Especially if they believe they'll win." Vlad hinted suggestively and Danny nodded in understanding.
That means they can beat a ghost. Danny thought anxiously. Which means they can destroy one too…
"Which makes this journey that much more dangerous for us I'm afraid." Vlad went on, catching the teen's attention.
"H-How do you mean?"
"Well, we're half human and half ghost. That makes us both prey and enemy. If any creature realizes this while we're there it could cause a riot, in which case we would probably end up-"
"Getting seriously injured?" Danny interjected helpfully.
"Seriously dead, Daniel." Vlad corrected gently but seriously.
"Oh." Danny gulped.
"Due to this we'll be entering Down World in our human forms to avoid detection. If we even tried to step foot in Down World as ghosts we'd probably send the whole realm into panic."
"But won't we get attacked if we stay human?" The teen asked not forgetting all the horrific things he had read along with Vlad's mentions of monsters lying in wait for small children to devour.
"Not necessarily." Vlad replied, walking away from the teen casually though Danny wasn't sure why. "Humans walking around in Down World is unusual but not unheard of considering that some Down Worlders have taken a liking to doing business with humans." Vlad stopped beside on empty wall and Danny followed suit.
"Monsters? Doing business with humans?" Danny said critically.
Danny stared at the man for a moment. "Why?"
"Well why not?" Vlad smiled a bit evilly. "Humans are rather gullible and easy to manipulate. Why not take advantage of them?"
Vlad's only reply was a heated glare.
"If you're a monster I mean." He smirked.
"Right." The teen said sarcastically. "And how come I never heard of this before?"
"You probably have my boy." Vlad answered truthfully. "Many children's stories and fairytales are based upon human and Down Worlder interactions."
Danny stared at the man with wide eyes. "Like what?"
Vlad smirked. "Ever heard of Rumpelstilskin? Or Little Red Riding Hood?"
"Forget I asked." Danny groaned.
Vlad chuckled lightly before removing the cork from the vial allowing a grayish smog to rise up from it. "Oh, and one more thing Daniel." The billionaire stated turning his attention to the boy once more. "Whatever happens while we're in Down World do not 'go ghost'. Only stay close to me and DO NOT speak to anyone. Even if they talk to you first, even if they appear to be human, don't speak to them. Am I clear?"
"Transparently." Danny grinned with a hint of mischief which Vlad didn't fail to catch.
"Daniel." The older halfa growled warningly.
"Relax Vlad! I get it!" Danny raised his hands in retreat. "I'm fifteen years old, I know not to talk to strangers."
Seeming satisfied with this Vlad looked back at the vial in his hand and, without warning or hesitation, threw its contents onto the wall. Danny opened his mouth to protest but stopped short as the inky liquid began to swirl around on the wall like a whirlpool.
"Here is our portal." Vlad gestured to the pitless black hole proudly. "We'll have to make this a quick trip though, the spell only lasts for two hours. Here, take my hand."
"I'm not going to hold your hand!" Danny flinched away from the offending appendage, ignoring the pulse of heat sent up from his chest to his cheeks. "I'm not five!"
Vlad merely shrugged. "If you wish. But keep in mind I won't come looking for you if you get lost."
Danny's heart skipped a beat as Vlad placed one foot into the portal and quickly latched onto the man's hand before he could disappear completely, all the while missing the smug look on the man's face.
Going through the portal into Down World was nothing like going through the ghost portal back home. Rather than stepping through a door it was like going down a dark tunnel and when the two reached the end they were sucked forcibly out of the portal like the pull of a vacuum cleaner.
The ghost boy shook his head lightly from the odd experience and looking around couldn't help but utter a breathless 'wow'. Vlad hadn't been joking when he said Down World was nothing like the Ghost Zone. Instead it was like a dark reflection of their human world.
From what Danny could see they were in some type of market place, though it was hard to tell whether it was day or night in this new world. It was not pitch black as it might have been in the dead of night but it certainly wasn't bright either. It was gray and cloudy, enveloped in the kind of smog large cities were accustom to and like a city it was bustling with every nightmarish monster and hellish creature imaginable. All of them limping, crawling, slithering, and trotting about from place to place.
An argument of slurs and squawks quickly caught the teen's attention and looking to his left Danny beheld a strange sight. Two creatures stood at an old wooden stand, one inside and one out, and appeared to be haggling over some raw pieces of flesh from an animal Danny didn't want to identify.
The first monster, the merchant as it appeared, was a hideous bird-like creature. If it had ever been covered in feathers at one time that time was long ago and now only pitiful tuffs of gray remained, scattered here and there. What covered the rest of bird's scrawny, twisted form was leathery and decaying skin. On its equally disfigured face were two small, twinkling eyes that any child would've been afraid to look into. Small sharp fang poked out of its large beak-like mouth and its long fleshy tongue slithered this way and that while it squawked.
The second monster, who was still haggling in slurs on what the final price should be, was hulky and bloated. Its thin almost see through green skin was covered in a watery film which Danny couldn't identify as either slime or sweat. From where the teen was standing he couldn't see the face of this creature although he was sure the bulging orbs sticking out were its eyes.
As the two monsters continued arguing a third creature appeared. So little was this one that it had to stand on its toes to peer over the foul smelling meat strips. On its head was a shaggy patch of fur or quite possibly hair with two thin needle sharp horns sticking straight up out of it.
Seeing the two other Down Worlders preoccupied the small creature slowly lifted up one dwarfed hand in order to steal one of the raw chunks unnoticed.
It didn't work.
Just as the tiny creature's hand was set upon the meat the merchant, swift as a twittering bird, slapped the small appendage with a sharp taloned hand.
Hand slashed and bleeding the dwarf ran off like a frightened squealing pig.
Uncaring and unfeeling the two remaining Down Worlders continued their discussion as if the interruption had never happened.
The scene was disturbing to say the least but Danny only managed to look away from it when Vlad began dragging him down a crowded soiled road. Vlad held the teen tight to his side not allowing anyone or anything to touch him which, strangely enough, comforted the ghost boy to no end.
Perhaps it was just being in such an unfamiliar and scary place as Down World that made the raven haired boy want to stay close to the man. Perhaps it was all the gruesome and cruel looking monsters around that made him want to cling to Vlad with all his might.
Whatever the reason Danny couldn't say, all he knew was that he felt safe and protected with Vlad's arm around him and warmer then he'd felt in days.
Unseen by Vlad Danny lightly touched his chest and peering down his shirt found the tattoo glowing bright green. The teen's eyes darted between Vlad and his chest and even to the creatures passing by but the mark seemed to go unnoticed by all except him.
Too busy looking around the ghost boy didn't notice a tall, thin, dark cloaked figure walking steadily towards him until he accidently bumped into the figure despite Vlad's efforts.
"Oh! Sorry, I-" Danny started to apologize but stopped short when the figure turned its head to look at him. Danny couldn't see the creature's face, its large hood masking it in utter darkness as one piercing red eye stared directly at him unblinking.
A gasp caught in Danny's throat as the Down Worlder continued to gaze at him with some unearthly curiously until Vlad pulled him roughly around a corner and down a narrower street.
"Be careful Daniel." Vlad hissed holding onto the boy even tighter. "We can't draw attention to ourselves."
"I know, it's just…" Danny glanced over his shoulder but the cloaked figure was nowhere to be seen. The teen didn't get a chance to finish his thought however as Vlad stopped suddenly at a row of small stone shops.
"Here we are." Vlad sighed with relief.
"Where's here?" Danny asked looking up and down the row of decaying shops.
" 'Camille's Potions and Tonics'." Vlad read the sign of the little shop in front of them. "If we're to have any hope of finding the creature that put this spell on you we'll need to figure out what type of Down Worlder it is."
"And we're going to figure that out here?" Danny asked critically. "In a shop that sells lotions and perfumes?"
Vlad stared down at the boy with narrowed, disapproving eyes. "Do you really have such little faith in me my boy?" The older halfa asked, half angry, half insulted.
Danny stared down at his soiled shoes fidgeting slightly under the man's intense gaze, a dozen emotions floating around inside him. Guilt, for offending Vlad so blatantly. Disappointment, for not trusting Vlad after all he was doing to help him. And most of all, confusion. Why did he feel so bad for just asking a question? It wasn't his fault Vlad was being so aloof about everything. Fruitloop.
Unfortunately the other feelings seemed to outweigh all of the teen's confusion and the boy quickly gave in.
"No… I trust you…" Danny mumbled in an almost inaudible voice.
Vlad's eyes widened, not just at his little badger's words but at the unexpected pang of guilt he felt in his chest at the boy's hurt expression. He sighed resting a gentle hand on Danny's head. "Allow me to explain, just like the spell we used to create the portal many spells can be bought and purchased in potion form. After doing a little searching I found that the spell placed on you, comprime pagina, also comes in potion form."
Danny's baby blue eyes lit up in understanding. "So you think the thing that did this to me might have gotten the spell from this place?"
"Exactly little badger." Vlad's face beamed with pride, ruffling the boy's hair as a reward. "I can't be certain if this is the exact shop the creature bought the spell from but perhaps after I speak with the owner I might get a better understanding of what sort of Down Worlder would use this spell."
"Great!" Danny said happily. "Let's go in!"
"Daniel, wait!" Vlad quickly pulled the teen back. "I want you to wait out here."
"What?" Danny looked up at the taller halfa, disappointment and shock etched into his soft features. "Why?"
"Because it could be dangerous." Vlad's expression grew serious. "This shop may look small on the outside but there's no telling how big or how crowded it may be on the inside. I can't take a chance on something happening to you without my knowing while I'm talking to the owner." Vlad paused taking a look around. "This spot isn't very crowded. Just wait here and don't move from this spot. I'll be out as soon as I can. If anything happens just yell and I'll be out here in a heartbeat."
The man's sincere tone took the teen by surprise and Danny could only manage a few nods.
Vlad smiled and ruffled Danny's hair one more time. "I won't be long," he repeated. "I promise." And with that vow Danny's only hope walked into the brightly lit store leaving him alone on the dark street.
For a minute or so nothing happened. The ghost boy merely stood where Vlad left him watching the Down Worlders hurry along the street not paying him any mind. Looking down the road a little ways Danny noticed three figures that weren't in such a hurry, standing idly by a little stand with worn out suitcases lying around them on the muddy ground.
They appeared to be a family of some sort. A father, short and plump with thinning hair and boils. A mother, tall and skeletal, hair in a tight bun with a bony nose and chin. And a little girl, no more than seven years old with dingy blonde curls and a sweet yet ashen pale face.
Danny probably wouldn't have paid them much mind IF the little girl hadn't been staring directly at him. The teen tried to ignore the feeling of the girl's eyes on him but couldn't resist stealing a few glances at her. She was still looking at him. Not menacingly but with all the innocence and curiosity any child could've afford to have.
Her eyes were large and glassy like a doll's with faded blue irises and messy pink ribbons in her hair. She wore an equally messy pink dress and cradled in her left arm what appeared to be a baby doll wrapped in an old cloth.
Danny turned his head determined to focus on something else.
Oh! Right! Danny's eyes widened in cheerful surprise as he remembered the hacky sack in his jeans pocket and digging it out began bouncing it on his foot. (No Danny doesn't play hacky sack in the TV show but come on! He's a teenage boy! I'm sure he has one!)
Bouncing the little sack from one foot to the other Danny glanced over at the little girl and smiled a bit when he saw the wonder and amazement on her round face. Seeing he now had an audience Danny began doing every trick he knew stealing a glance every now and then to see if the girl was still watching.
So focused on his tricks, Danny didn't realize the girl had moved from her spot until he looked up completely to find the child missing. Letting the hacky sack sit on his foot Danny looked around. The father and mother, if that's what they really were, were still standing in the same spot but the girl was gone.
Disappointment had barely started to set in when a sweet, high-pitched voice sounded right beside the ghost boy.
"AHH!" Danny jumped nearly a foot in the air sending the hacky sack flying. Quickly thrusting out his hands Danny caught the sack making the little girl giggle.
"I'm sorry, did I scare you?" The girl asked sweetly.
"Ummm, n-no of course not." Danny stammered not sure how to react to the little stranger.
"What's that you were doing?" The girl asked glancing down at the hacky sack in Danny's hands.
"What? This?" Danny held out the hacky sack. "I was just playing some hacky sack."
"What's a hackie pack?" The girl titled her head innocently.
"No no." Danny laughed lightly. "Not hackie pack, hacky sack. It's a game."
"A game?" The child took an eager step closer. "How do you play?"
"Well you-" Danny let out a sudden gasp as he remembered what Vlad had told him.
DO NOT speak to anyone. Even if they talk to you first, even if they appear to be human, don't speak to them.
A sudden dread washed over the teen and he felt himself grow pale.
"Um, mister?" The girl waved a small hand trying to get Danny's attention.
I know what Vlad said but... But come on, how dangerous could she really be? It's not like she has horns or claws or anything. She's probably just a human like me.
"Um, nothing, nothing." Danny said regaining his thoughts. "All you have to do is hit the hacky sack with your feet like this." The teen began playing once more to demonstrate. "You just need to keep the hacky sack moving and not let it hit the ground. Haven't you ever seen someone play this before?"
"Oh no." The little girl hurriedly. "I've seen a lot of games but not this one. Ummm, m-may I give it a try…?" She asked timidly.
"Sure." Danny smiled catching the hacky sack in his hand before handing it over to the girl. "My name's Danny by the way. What's yours?"
"My name's Vanessa." The girl curtsied. "And this is Molly." Vanessa leaned her left arm forward referring to her baby doll.
"It's nice to meet you both." Danny smiled kindly as Vanessa tossed the hacky sack in the air as she had watched Danny do.
Being her first time playing the little girl wasn't doing so well. Even when the hacky sack did hit one of her little feet she couldn't seem to manage to get it back in the air again.
"Awwww…" Vanessa whined as the sack fell on the ground once again. "I'm not any good at this game…"
"Don't feel bad." Danny said comfortingly, kneeling down so he was at the girl's level and placed a hand on her shoulder. "It takes time to get it right."
"But you made it look so easy." Vanessa admitted.
"Yeah, but I've been playing a lot longer. Tell you what, why don't I hold Molly for you while you play?" The teen suggested. "You might be able to balance yourself better then."
"Oh no." Vanessa shook her head tossing her blonde curls with wide eyes. "I can't let anyone hold Molly."
"Why not?" Danny asked curiously. "I'll take good care of her. I won't let anything happen to your doll, I promise."
The worry on Vanessa's face vanished as she giggled sweetly. "You're silly Danny." The girl giggled fondly. "Molly isn't a dolly." Stepping closer Vanessa pulled back the old cloth revealing a tiny baby. It had a precious round face similar to Vanessa's with a small nose and large forehead, adorable as any baby Danny could've seen in his world.
With the cloth removed the infant stirred and opened its faded blue eyes. Looking up at Danny Molly smiled and cooed happily and the ghost boy couldn't resist allowing the baby to play and nibble on one of his fingers.
So it was a real baby this whole time! Danny marveled. Vanessa's parents must really trust her a lot to let her hold her baby sister so much. No wonder she wouldn't let me hold her.
"Vanessaaa!" A shrill voice called out, no doubt from the woman at the stand.
"Uh-oh! I better go." Vanessa quickly put the cloth over Molly's face once more before holding out the hacky sack to Danny.
"Go ahead and keep it." Danny said pushing it back to her. "I've got three more at home and now you'll be able to practice and get better."
"Really? !" Vanessa said in awe. "Oh thank you!" The little girl jumped forward wrapping her free arm around Danny's neck. "Thank you so much!"
"You're welcome." Danny smiled as the girl pulled away. "Just be sure to put your sister down before you start playing ok? You wouldn't want to drop her."
"My sister?" Vanessa titled her head in confusion.
Vanessa giggled. "You really are silly Danny. Molly's not my sister, she's a tumor."
All the blood in Danny's face drained out. "A w-w-what?"
"Hm-mm." Vanessa hummed with a nod before fully removing the cloth showing that Molly was actually attached to the little girl's side forcing her to keep her arm around the infant like ulcer otherwise it would dangle.
Before Danny could say anything else, not that he really could at the moment, Vanessa skipped off saying, "Mommy, Mommy! Look what the silly boy gave me!"
XXXX Meanwhile with Vlad XXXX
Stepping in to the familiar shop Vlad smiled. It was well lit and clean, a few Down Worlders here and there just as he expected. All he had to do was speak with Camille, let her know that the spell he had bought from her was working, and ask her a few more questions.
Shouldn't take more than five minutes. Vlad thought calmly. I'm sure Daniel can stay out of trouble till then.
Walking confidently down to the other end of the shop Vlad quickly spotted the store's owner busying herself in arranging some of the newest brews on a tall shelf, her long slightly curly red hair swaying this way and that. Smirking Vlad silently strode up behind her watching her struggle as she couldn't quite reach the top shelf.
"Oh, come on…" Camille mumbled to herself as she stretched trying to set a small jar on the tall shelf.
"Would you like some help with that?"
"Ahh!" Camille started nearly dropping the jar before spinning around and coming face to face with Vlad. "Vlad Masters, you, y-you-!" The woman stammered in anger while Vlad started to laugh.
"I'm sorry my dear, did I startle you?" Vlad chuckled.
"Startle nothing!" Camille cried. "I think I need to restart my heart."
Vlad chuckled a bit more. "I'm sorry Camille. Here let me get that for you." Generously the billionaire took the jar from her easily placing it on the desired shelf. "There, no harm done."
"Not yet anyway." Camille said suspiciously walking over to another shelf. "But seeing as you're here again so soon I take it the spell was not to your liking hmmm?"
"Oh no, quite the contrary." The half ghost replied smoothly. "Your spell worked perfectly, after I drank it I was able to give some of my essence to Daniel, the boy I spoke to you about, and within a day he came running to me." The finely dressed gentleman stated, pure satisfaction dripping off his words.
"I see." Camille replied evenly. "To what do I owe the pleasure then of this visit from you Mr. Masters?"
"Oh please, call me Vlad." The silver haired devil replied in his most charming accent. "There's no need for the two of us to be so formal is there?"
Camille felt the tiniest hint of a blush touch her cheeks but remembering who she was talking to quickly composed herself. She had to remain professional after all.
"I'm glad to hear you're satisfied with the spell," Camille said politely as she read the labels on a few vials. "But keep in mind what the final product may be." Her tone changed slowly as if giving a subtle warning. Turning to Vlad she looked him in the eyes, her jade eyes piercing. "You haven't forgotten what some of the 'side effects' may be, have you?"
"Of course not." Vlad reassured. "But I've kept a close eye on the boy and Daniel doesn't seem to be suffering from any 'side effects'." From the man's indifferent tone it was hard to tell whether he was pleased or upset about this news.
"I was referring to you Vladimir." The shop keeper replied matter-of-factly, secretly enjoying how the man's name rolled off her tongue. Vlad's eyes widened, not missing the bold statement but made no move to rebuke the woman. "The spell does affect both participants after all," Camille went on stopping her work for a moment to give the halfa her full attention. "But this is merely the second day and the spell will only continue to grow stronger, especially when the boy is close to you. Speaking of which," Camille paused, her bright cat-like eyes turning questioning. "Where is the boy right now? Didn't he come to see you today?"
"He did." Vlad replied, happy demeanor returning instantly. "In fact he's waiting for me just outside your shop as we speak."
XXX Cut Short XXX
This chapter was meant to be longer, at least until Vlad and Danny got out of Down World, but I felt I had to stop here. Mostly because I feel terrible about keeping you waiting… Sorry…
This chapter will be continued though as soon as possible and I hope it was just enough to satisfy while still providing a fairly decent cliff-hanger.
Hope you still enjoyed though and will stay in touch to find out what happens. There's more Danny and Vlad action on the way!
Also, please leave me some good comments. I feel I need the encouragement right now…
I've been reading a ton of books from Frankenstein to Oliver Twist, to one hour fast-pace novels all to improve my writing and consequently it's been cutting into my writing time. I'm also still, STILL, jobless…
Yeah my job searching hasn't been going well and I am eagerly looking forward to the time when I get paid for my writing. *sighs* But I'm not about to give up! Which means I will continue doing my best here on Fanfiction!
*throws cookies to everyone* And for all you writers and dreamers out there, don't give up! I'm rooting for YOU!