Prologue: Return to civilization

The morning mist was particularly heavy around Belli Castle, perhaps an indicator of the ominous activity that had recently occurred within its compound. There was a clacking of metal against metal as it meshed together with the loud groan of old wooden doors opening slowly. A girl and her dog emerged from the castle doors, ready to face the world.

Hewie pit-patted alongside Fiona as they slowly made their way through the towering Belli Castle doors on the cracked pavement that led to the main road. Fiona absent-mindedly traced a hand along Hewie's back, and in return received an affectionate nuzzle from him.

The path was not well lit, but the road lay before them, which seemed to blend in mysteriously with the gloomy mist. Silhouettes of mountains and forests could be seen around the castle. No one could possibly travel around these strange parts. Fiona's mind wandered as she chose to take the left route.

I can't believe it's finally over; this horror, this madness…And it's all because of this 'Azoth' inside of me… Fiona rubbed a hand over her stomach, and relived the events that had occurred in the castle…

Trapped in Belli Castle with no memory of what happened the previous night, Fiona had to search for a way out while avoiding the castle's dangerous and frightening inhabitants. Finding an ally in the form of Hewie, a white German , they worked together to solve puzzles scattered throughout the castle and nagivated around traps, while discovering the dark and mysterious secret behind all these. A certain "Lorenzo" aided by leaving notes over the place for Fiona and her companion to find.

At first Debilitas was their pursuer, mindlessly chasing Fiona in the hopes of 'playing with his dolly'. He had a massive form that could easily intimidate others, and could easily lift a person with one hand. However, he lacked an intelligent mind and was easily evaded by both Fiona and Hewie. It turned out that he was just a child on the inside of the hulking body whose only desire was to play with dolls; really innocent per se.

He learnt his lesson 'not to mess with the guests' when Fiona and Hewie sent a chandelier crashing onto his back in the chapel of the caslte. Although not too beaten up, Debilitas began to see Fiona as an angel afterward and gave a kowtow of respect and apology afterward. He never bothered the two again.

But Danielle followed soon after, claiming that she felt incomplete due to her inability to experience real emotion or feeling. She exhibited rather strange and disturbing behavior, initially being an almost robotic and cold maid in one time, and suddenly transforming into a writhing psychotic the other. Her life ende when Fiona and Hewie lured her into a glass dome with a large mirror on the ground, at which point the maid became so disgusted with her own image that she let forth an ear-piercing shriek which caused all the glass windows in the dome to shatter.

One particular piece was very large and elongated, and impaled Danielle on the spot. Yet when she died, her mouth had contorted into a slight smile, causing Fiona to wonder if she ever found true emotion after all.

Fiona and Hewie had been walking along the uneven road for about fifteen minutes, or was it half an hour? Or was it an hour? Fiona couldn't tell; all she knew was that she needed to find civilization fast, or both she and Hewie would die on a desolate highway. Fiona muttered a silent prayer, and Hewie whimpered as he tried to comfort her, sensing her unease.

The sky was getting darker by the minute, and the mist grew thicker and colder. Fiona's hot breaths turned into chatters that threw out gusts of steam. She placed her hands under her armpits to try to conserve as much body heat around herself, and noted that the German Shepherd wasn't faring too well as he was pressed against her legs.

The moon was now shining its full glory in the dark sky. Only a flickering small star accompanied the lonely moon.

By then Fiona couldn't continue and had sunk to take a seat on the cracked road. She tucked her knees to her chest, and buried her head in her arms. Hewie whined a little, wrapping himself around Fiona's legs and licked her hands. She looked up and smiled a little, and patted his head. "Good boy…" She murmured. A single tear betrayed her usual calm demeanor. After this much, does my life really have to end this way?

Just as she was about to drift off to sleep, Hewie barked a warning.

Fiona blinked sleepiness from her eyes and snapped to attention. She had no idea what lurked in this part of Italy and cautiously got to her feet, straining her ears to hear any sound. She couldn't hear anything, but Hewie barked once more and stared straight down the road into the rolling mist.

"What is it boy?"

Two small lights appeared in the distance, accompanied by the sound of crunching stones. Whatever it was, it seemed to be getting closer.

Fiona smiled, and calmed Hewie down.

In the back seat of the sedan, Fiona traced her fingers along the silky coat of Hewie, who had long fallen asleep in her lap. Again, she recalled the memories of Belli Castle as her current situation was so much like how she had been before she had been brought there…

She could remember screams as the sleek black vehicle collided with her parents' car on the road…

They had rolled down the hill, and Fiona was near unconscious, but she could see the dark Freddy-like figure making his way to the car, and that was all Fiona remembered about the fateful night. Yet all was revealed by Riccardo, the tall dark shape that had appeared that night.

Riccardo was encountered almost immediately after the death of Danielle. He easily matched Danielle in terms of creepiness. But what made him more revolting to Fiona was the fact that he only wanted her to 'let him into her womb'. Also he was an exact copy of her late father; being responsible for her parents' accident, he vividly recalled how he planned everything from the start and how he had deliciously ran his blade through his twin brother as he stalked Fiona in the dark castle halls.

They were so close to escaping; they had only just exited the castle and entered the dense forest surrounding it when Riccardo caught up with them and incapacitated Hewie with his old pistol. Fiona passed out upon learning the truth and was imprisoned in the castle's water tower.

Yet, fate smiled upon Fiona as Hewie recovered and aided in Fiona's escape from her prison. Riccardo gave chase and cornered the two of them as they found themselves at the top of the water tower. A climatic battle ensued, and Riccardo had fallen to his death as a result.

Once again, Fiona's hopes soared as she crossed the bridge from the water tower to a large compound where the castle gates lay beyond. Yet, their benefactor Lorenzo had merely manipulated them into his residence where he tormented Fiona and Hewie. At first, Lorenzo was wheel-chair bound, but his desires for Fiona's 'Azoth' lent him strength as he flung himself from his aid and crawled towards her and Hewie. He was easily disposed of when he was lured into a garbage disposal unit.

But, being an alchemist of unknown powers, Lorenzo apparently regained a youthful form and pursued Fiona more vigorously. Through many winding passageways and staircases, Fiona ran.

And ran.

And ran.

And ran. But she did not give up hope. They were so close!

Somehow, Fiona found the strength to fight and run on even though death seemed like a good alternative. Cornered in a furnace room containing a large pit of fiery material, Lorenzo attempted to overpower Fiona. But his desire for Fiona's 'Azoth' was no match for Fiona's wits and Hewie's jaws as they pushed the young Lorenzo into the pit of living hell.

Then the ground shook, signaling the impending collapse of the compound. Dust and bits of rock fell to the ground, showering everywhere within the compound with dirt. Fiona was almost crushed by a heavy falling statue, but she stopped its descent with her hands. Pinned by the statue, it took every ounce of strength she had to barely push it away so that it landed on the floor away from her. But precious time had been wasted, for Lorenzo was not truly dead yet!

A sight to behold, the flaming skeleton that was the former powerful alchemist wailed for Fiona. It was something that could only have the stuff of fiction; surely anyone would have died by the flames in that hellish pit!

The exit was illuminated by a strange light and seemed to beckon to Fiona and Hewie. Fiona was just about to touch it when the flaming skeleton pulled up in front of them and halted their escape! She was shocked and scared, just what in the world were they dealing with?

Then Lorenzo was on his knees, crying out "FIO-NA!"

He burned, and sputtered.

And fell to the floor, immediately disintegrating into millions of pieces of tiny ash particles. A silver key lay among the remains, a sick parody of finding treasure among the trash.

Fiona promptly picked up the key, pushed open the exit, and found herself looking at the huge oak doors of Belli Castle.

And now, she and her new companion were on the way back to world they were familiar with; a world where no one would hunt them for their strange gift.

Hewie shifted in his sleep, curling his lip slightly and revealing pearly white razors lining his mouth. Fiona gently massaged the dog's face and whispered "It's ok Hewie, it's ok; we're going home now."