More pain shot through Izayuki’s head and chest as she was eventually brought to her knees. Though not attacked, she found herself unable to fight, and not capable of pinpointing what was causing this. Eventually, the tanuki’s vision began to grow blurry, and right from where she kneeled, she further collapsed on the ground, going unconscious. The spirits around her did not bother with her any longer, and the weaker lost souls would simply assume that she was dead, having fallen in battle.
She was unable to see the internal conversation between the two Daemons within her soul, though she could certainly sense them. Unfortunately, she was unable to do anything about it, and unable to assist her job companions. Powerless and helpless… yet barely even able to notice that.
The other ‘queen’ of the mansion was beginning to take notice of the action, namely the three who were still standing and somewhat fighting. The effects of the mansion seemed to be influencing at least one of them, while Abeo possessed the fallen Bakedanuki.
♦ ♦ ♦
“And what brings a little intruder like you all the way here?” the voice asked, unheard by those around. They were still safely inside Izayuki’s mind, though the Bakedanuki herself was not quite aware of the new foreign being who they were confronting, at least yet.
The darkness of the mind was a strange place overall. In this case, it was not quite dark, but all edges of that strange world were paper white now, no longer the pitch black that the golden-blonde haired spirit had become accustomed to. Despite the darkness, or the vast white, there was no real light coming from anywhere in that mysterious place. Nevertheless, any beings there were seen perfectly, as if they were in full sunlight with no shadows or shading to be cast. Within that space, a white mist seemed to cover the ground and shroud specific beings.
This was unlike the darkness that the spirits of Wonderland were used to. The space in the mind that the souls had grown to know was dark and still, with no noise and no light. Time never seemed to pass, but if they absolutely wanted, they could see what Izayuki saw, and sense everything that she did. The seven were trapped away inside of her soul, after all, and though each spirit wanted full control of their host, the new queen of Wonderland, they had been unable to take a hold of the chance while it had been within their reach. They were naught but tools after all, only to be used to give their vessel power when she so desired. They were one side of the contract that the youkai had made, though they had no say in it, nor the ability to do anything about it.
The Daemon had taken each of them, one by one, and had offered them the power of ‘Wonderland’ in exchange for their soul. In the end, none of the spirits could handle it, and eventually fell to the madness of the insanity-based power. Upon doing so, they became a part of it, and the power of Wonderland was passed onto somebody else. It was a cruel fate, and a despairing one as well. There was no way to escape it once they had already taken the power and agreed to allow the Daemon claim to their soul. Before long, they would be consumed by Wonderland, making it stronger, as it passed around to infect the souls of new people with its madness.
In time, all seven knew that Izayuki would eventually succumb to the madness too. There was no hope, and no salvation. She had made the contract with the Daemon, Alice, who had thrust the souls and power of Wonderland into Izayuki’s soul and spirit, to become the new vessel. Some of the spirits would try to take control of their new host and reclaim the power of Wonderland for themselves, while others simply wanted to be free of it. A few had given up, and allowed their power to be used, no longer seeing any hope or reason to continue trying. It was futile, and it was their own fault. They were caught in the web of Wonderland, and there was no escape from the darkness of it all.
In the end, Alice controlled it. She decided who would be the next host, and would make a contract with the person, surprisingly with full consent. While she withheld the specific details of what happened after one fell into the madness, she was at no fault there. She was very upfront about what receiving the power would entail. They were giving up their very soul to her, after all, and would no longer even have real ownership of it. They would allow themselves to be puppets to her will, and all of them had agreed to it willingly, blinded by the promise of power. Izayuki was no exception, though she had been somewhat specific about why she wanted power, and how she would not have been content unless the power went far enough to do as she desired. Her goal was to kill the goddess of ice, the north, and the cold, Yukionna.
To do so, Izayuki was slowly unlocking and furthering her control over the powers of Wonderland, having recently discovered her ability to now use not only the Cheshire Cat, Bandersnatch, and Queen of Hearts, but now the Mad Hatter as well. She had yet to achieve a few of the soul powers, though her speed in growing in strength had been impressive to at least some of the spirits. It would not be long before her descent into madness was complete. She was getting closer.
The seven spirits quickly noticed the sudden presence of Alice and the other foreign half-of-a-soul that she carried with her. All were eager to find the space where Alice was, all for their own intentions. However, none of them could locate the Daemon. Before long, another presence could also be sensed. It was Daemonic in nature, though not quite the same as Alice, despite being similar. Out of instinct, the spirits would trace through the spaces and pockets of the inner world of Izayuki, looking for the trespasser. Was it a foreign thing to destroy or cast out, or perhaps a means to an end in their goals?
Bandersnatch was the keenest of the seven, and quickly tracked down the presence that was new and obviously unwelcome. She had long and wavy, raven-colored hair with almost a violet tint, and bright crimson eyes. Out from her dark hair protruded two tiny crystalline horns that were light cyan in color. However, her stature was small, and her frame was delicate, as if she were a child. She wore a dress that was black over the chest, and lavender past that. Nothing covered her shoulders, though she wore long and intricate fingerless gloves that appeared to be made of a thick black lace. She was barefoot, and kept her childlike demeanor, smiling softly with two tiny fangs protruding from the top of her mouth.
The Wonderland spirit narrowed his hazel eyes at the stranger, approaching her with both hands in his pocket. He was a decent hand to hand fighter, though his primary ability likely would not come in handy this time around, if the girl proved to be hostile. “State your name and business,” he demanded, his voice rough and firm. He was in no mood to play around, and because he was one of the weaker spirits, all he had going for him was his wit- he had found this newcomer first, after all, before any of the others.
“Interesting… so I was right; this Bakedanuki has a legion of others inside of it,” the girl commented, chuckling softly. “Yet you all reek of ‘her’ aura. Why is that?”
In no mood for games, Bandersnatch ignored her question and continued on. “I am not telling you anything until I know who you are and why you’re here,” he said, narrowing his hazel gaze further.
“Right, right,” the Queen of the Mansion said, huffing slightly in a childish manner. “No need to be so hostile. My name is Abeo, and I’m looking for a specific spirit here- her name is Ecclesia, or Invidia. Though you might know her by another name, I’m sure.”
Bandersnatch sighed, relieved that things did not have to get ugly, at least so far. “I’m sorry to inform you, but here is nobody here that goes by that name,” he said calmly. “I’m going to have to ask you to leav--”
“Wait,” another voice said, sounding from behind. Turning his head, hazel eyes widened as he recognized the form of the Daemon who had ensnared him and the others in her web. She had golden-blonde hair, and cold, azure-blue eyes, and appeared to be wearing a short white skirt with a black top, which was rather casual, though expected.
“Alice…?” Bandersnatch asked, staring at the blonde in surprise. It was rare that she ever showed herself to the other spirits. Was it for fear of their anger against her, or was she just annoyed by the pettiness? He knew firsthand of what she was capable of, and avoided the mobs of madness, for fear of what she could do.
“Leave us, and don’t you dare linger around to watch,” Alice replied, not bothering to respond to her name being said, nor would she make any threats after her command. He of all spirits knew better than to disobey her; she was serious, and could make his existence be even more of a living hell than it already was. Without another word, the brown-haired boy simply nodded and began to walk away, only to hear a final demand as he began to make his exit. “And tell the others to stay away, or else.”
He heard her words as he vanished from sight, leaving both Alice and Abeo alone. The Wonderland spirits knew the consequences, or at least some of them did. A few of the others had yet to learn, but that was besides the point. Placing her focus on Abeo, Alice’s blue gaze softened as a tiny grin grew on her lips. “I’ve been expecting you, but don’t you know it’s rude to possess another Daemon’s prey?” she questioned, blinking at the smaller girl.
“You’re in my territory now, so I can do as I like,” Abeo responded in an innocent manner, letting off a small genuine smile. “Which one are you right now, anyway? Invidia, or Ecclesia?”
Alice’s smile subsided as Abeo asked the question. The answer to her own had been understandable, but the rest… was the Half-Daemon really that keen? How did she know that she was once two separate entities, suddenly merged into one? She operated as a fully functioning single entity, though her personality tended to takes swings. Was it becoming that obvious? “It is not one or the other… we both are one being now. Just call me Alice.”
“It isn’t that simple,” Abeo responded, her smile growing to a cheekier one. “My real mother wouldn’t act as you are now… so... passive. So you have
to be Ecclesia, right?”
The Daemon clenched her teeth as the child saw right through her. Invidia was the one who was Abeo’s real mother, in a way. While Ecclesia, a mortal, had been cast to the void, Invidia, the Daemon of Envy, possessed her physical body to assume leadership of the group she had once been in charge of. While pretending to be Ecclesia, Invidia had hooked up with a trusted Advisor, Theo… though the children they conceived never were born. Ecclesia had found her way out of the void where Invidia had imprisoned her, and in a freak accident, had accidentally merged her own soul and spirit with Invidia’s.
Later on, the mortal body’s mind went insane, unable to handle the influence of the two merged spirits. Driven by insanity, she had started a war from her rash actions, and was killed in it; thus, the children in her womb had died as well. They were triplets- Abeo, Jackie, and Lucie. Unlike the others, however, Abeo had become a conscious spirit, and had managed to absorb some of the parent’s power. Yet here she was, striving for attention from the mother she never really had, and all those blue eyes before her saw was an unwanted nuisance.
“So what if I’m Ecclesia?” the Daemon began to respond, picking her words carefully. “If I am, doesn’t that just prove the fact that I’m stronger than my other half?”
“Maybe your personality is… but without her, you would be nothing,” Abeo replied with a lighthearted shrug. “Anyways, why are you here in my domain, I should ask.”
It was tempting for the blonde to lash out her full Daemonic force on the child as the words were beyond agitating. Despite her anger, however, Alice forced herself to keep calm, and ignore the irritating taunts and jabs. “The Bakedanuki was requested by local humans to check up on this disturbing mansion… which is no more than just a dreamy playground for you, is it not? You’re sitting here pretending to be the leader of the Decrepit Mansion, a territory that I used to govern, and you would have been the heir of if we had lived. But no, we both were killed, and now you make a fake one to play ‘queen of the castle’... what a cute, pathetic fantasy,” Alice said, with little expression on her face. She only spoke the truth… but how would the child react? Now she was curious.
“You… you know nothing,” Abeo said, her smile having faded and her eyes now shaded over as she clenched her fists. “It’s your
fault I died! If you would have just stayed in that void then things wouldn’t be like this! Mother wouldn’t have gone insane and we could have lived a real life!”
“Hell if I care,” Alice replied abruptly. “Invidia stole what was mine, and used my body for her own desires. And in the end, she destroyed it; I was only trying to take it back, and that was when our souls collided.”
“You were the one who allowed Invidia to take your body. She already warned you what would happen if you…” Abeo fired back, all of the previous smiles and teasing gone, and replaced by fiery anger in her crimson eyes.
“Again, I don’t give a damn. What happened in the past doesn’t matter anymore, but it seems like you can’t move on past that,” Alice said, breathing out an agitated sigh, before thinking about her statements more and smirking slightly. “Look at me now… I have more power than I know what to do with because of what happened. I gave up on having regrets- they were a waste of time. Invidia is a part of me now, and I’m a part of her, and because of that, I have all the power I could ever want. Now what makes you think I care about a kid I never had? You’re not my child.”
The words stung as they were thrown at Abeo without remorse. The small Half-Daemon had visible tears forming in her bright red eyes. She had no idea what had triggered her, as she had few developed emotions. Was it simply the fact that the soul of her mother had denied her? “I hate you…” she murmured, an icy venom laced in her youthful voice.
“Good. I never really cared about you in the first place,” Alice said apathetically, shrugging. “Let’s leave it at that. You leave this soul, and I’ll leave your fantasy.”
“Fine” Abeo replied, her voice still cold and her eyes once again shaded over as she backed away. “But I’m not leaving completely. I’m staying with this Youkai you’ve contracted with until I see Invidia again… I’m done playing with this dollhouse.”
♦ ♦ ♦
A mysterious crimson amulet would appear around the Bakedanuki’s neck on a silver string as she lied there, unconscious to the physical world, and panicking within the depths of her own mind. Abeo knew that she would never be able to remain inside of Izayuki’s soul, with the threat of Alice, and the stronger spirits of Wonderland, such as Jabberwocky and the White Rabbit. The amulet would act as armor in a way, but would house the Half-Daemon’s soul. With luck, Izayuki would leave the mansion alive, taking Abeo with her, as the amulet would be unable to be removed unless the spirit wished for it to be.
Slowly, Izayuki reopened her pink eyes, confused and dazed, and not yet noticing the new object around her neck. Beginning to try to push herself up, suddenly confused as to where she was and why she was there, before quickly recalling what had happened. Pushing herself to her feet, still drowsy, the tanuki poised herself to fight again, having the effects of the possession slowly wear off.
Location;; Decrepit Mansion
Word Count;; 2,862 || 7,597 / 6,666