Morro Bay Saturday 10:30 PM local time
Wes popped into Kim’s hair salon, near the back door. It was dark inside, and he took a minute to wait for his eyes to adjust to the limited light coming from the parking lot street lamps. After a couple of minutes he was satisfied. He brought out the three dolls and placed Beth, Cheryl and Paula on the floor after briefly caressing each one. Picking up the phone nearby, he called Jennifer’s cell phone and let her know everything was okay.
Vanessa lay where she had been left. The brief couple of hours when Paula and the other two girls had not been in contact at been the scariest moment in her life. If she could have, she would have wept with joy and relief when Paula reestablished the dream link with her. Now, the girls comforted her in their dreams, with Cheryl, Sarah, April, Brandi, Beth and Paula all with her now. She clung to their comfort, waiting for rescue. Beth, and then Cheryl left the dream, and the others remained, and Vanessa hoped that meant that soon rescue would come.
Beth came to life with a gasp of air, and then looked around. She recognized Kim’s shop, and then looked around and saw Wes standing by her and felt his hand caress her cheek. He kissed her, and she kissed him back in relief.
“Ok, so I was a little worried about Sarah casting spells on me, it’s not as if she has your experience.” She said sheepishly.
“She did good. Besides, you're one to talk, Cheryl said you were practicing with Vanessa a few weeks ago.”
Beth blushed and grinned.
“Ok, I want you to bring Cheryl to life. She is going to stay here, and you are coming with me. I want Paula to stay in her doll form awhile longer to keep Vanessa linked to the other girls. I am sure she still needs their help.”
“Umm, wasn’t Sarah supposed to be here too?” Beth looked around, then at him.
“Well, I changed my mind, I want her at home for backup if we need her.”
Beth looked at him, and then grinned slightly, “She is going to be mad at you for that one.”
“Yes, well” Wes replied, looking like a man who knew he was in trouble with a woman, “she will forgive me.”
“Eventually” Beth said, with an amused grin.
Minutes later, Cheryl was awake and was ready for her part. She sat on a couch, holding on to the doll that was Paula, and waited.
“You stay close Beth, I am not sure if Andrea is still around. She might have left some magical traps even if she isn’t here.” Wes warned.
“Oh, that makes me feel so confident in this,” replied Beth cynically, hiding her nervousness.
“When I tell you to stop, you stop and wait, ok?”
“No problem, I will.”
They moved up the hill, cutting across the brush and through the trees, moving as quietly as Beth was able. It took nearly an hour, but they finally reached the grove. Movement was slow, only a footstep or two at a time, then a pause while Wes looked for signs of magic or other dangers, then another few footsteps, then more pauses. They reached the edge of the grove, and Wes had them stop. Looking carefully for several minutes, he had Beth stand still, while he made sure the area was clear.
“Hold it,” he whispered, “I found something. Don’t move.”
Beth stood as still as she could, feeling the sweat trickling down her back. This was unbearably stressful, moving like this, waiting for something to happen. She had to fight every urge to charge forward. The way Wes moved, it was like watching a ghost. Not once on the way up the hill had she even heard him, while she occasionally made a small sound, he moved like a shadow. She was awed.
Wes saw this first trap. It was very intricate. Andrea had left a series of glyphs about, each set so that if one went off, they would all go off in a chain reaction. She had designed it so that if he had teleported to the grove, as he had considered doing, a series of spells would have assaulted him, and left him at the very least wounded. Well, she was always the creative one.
Carefully, he spoke a series of commands, and moved a spell of his own, a golden little golden ball of light, from glyph to glyph. Each glyph glowed briefly an angry red color, then faded away. After nearly fifteen minutes, the grove was clear.
Beth watched, nervous and impressed. She sighed with relief when Wes turned to her and smiled. “Its clear now, come to the center of the circle.”
She walked to the center and hugged him.
“Ok, now I want you to take this crystal ball, and watch me the rest of the way. Call up Cheryl, and have teleport up here, and to be sure and bring Paula with her.”
Beth nodded, and looked at him questioningly.
“The next part, I need to do alone. I can move quicker if you stay here, and you can bet she left more presents behind. When I get up to the house, I will wave, and you will see me. I will leave a wizard mark where I want you and Cheryl to teleport to next.”
Los Angeles Midnight Local time
Andrea stood near the bar in the dance club on Sunset Boulevard, looking around and enjoying the admiring glances from men and women alike. She had altered her appearance, so that her beauty was toned down to merely human levels, as well as hiding her Elven features. Three of her slaves were in the crowd, and she watched them carefully. The dance club was well known for the rich and famous people, including celebrities, who frequented it, and she wanted the two girls and the young man that she had in the crowd to hook up with someone useful to her.
No one would recognize her here of course, as those who did know of her knew her as the madam of a rather secretive and oh so elite escort service, and for that role she had a different look and appearance. Naturally, she had no difficulty getting into the club tonight, and neither had her slaves, as the doorman was suitably awed by the dress and sheer beauty of the three women, and had simply assumed they were centerfold models from the well-known men’s magazine that had a mansion and its corporate headquarters close by. Her male slave had similar ease getting in, as he was with them after all.
She glanced around the room, checking on each one. Holly, now back to human form, danced with a very well dressed young man who looked like he was very well off indeed. Michael, a tall, dark haired and blue eyed young man, six feet tall with broad shoulders and good features was dancing with a tall young woman that Andrea recognized as a porn star. She smiled to herself, deciding that had some interesting possibilities. Looking over to a booth, she smiled again when she saw that Adelia, a short and petite beautiful little Hispanic girl, was looking deep into the eyes of a film director she recognized. Now that had lots of possibilities Andrea thought. Adelia was allowing the director to become very comfortable with his hands (and gropes) and was doing an excellent job seducing him.
“Excellent” Andrea thought, “tonight all three will be going home with new friends.”
She had a good plan she thought, her three slaves would go home with their new friends, and later after they returned to her, she would know where the three future acquisitions to her growing collection of slaves lived, worked, how they slept and all kinds of other useful things. Making a later visit by her to either pick them up for collection or to convert them at the spot to her service would be so easy.
Satisfied with the prospects, Andrea took a moment to prepare a spell, then she approached each one. Ever so carefully, and so purposefully casually, she brushed against each of the three targets. A quick spell went off, so quickly they never noticed anything odd, and suddenly each of the three was completely infatuated with her slaves. Pleased on the ease of her activities, Andrea smiled and decided to now have some fun.
She picked a good looking young man who had that business professional look to him, and decided that he would do fine for an evenings entertainment. The young man who would never know just how lucky he was that she didn’t feel like training any more slaves at the moment.
Morro Bay Sunday 1:30 AM
Wes stood at the garage entrance to the house. He had spent a long hour working his way up the hill from the grove, and disarming some nasty glyphs twice on his way up. Andrea had been generous with her spells, leaving a chain reaction series of glyphs at the front door to his house, as well as the door he was standing in front of now. Both traps set up to ensnare and transform anyone who opened either door.
Beth and Cheryl waited for him in the driveway, and Cheryl held tightly to Paula. It had been a longer night than either had imagined, and they had become increasingly alarmed by the nasty surprises left behind.
“I have got to learn to dream link better,” whispered Cheryl, “so next time I can stay as a doll while Paula deals with all of this stress.”
“No shit,” Beth whispered in reply, “just be glad you didn’t have to deal with the grove.”
Wes walked into the kitchen after carefully opening the door. Looking around thoroughly, he determined that Andrea wasn’t about. He sighed in relief, and also a little frustration. A quick fight might have been better, but at least this way he could focus on Vanessa. He didn’t want to think about what had happened to Vivian at this point. Thankfully none of his girls were aware of the events in Kithera so long ago. When he had left for Earth, none of the victims of Gregor or Andrea had been restored to their previous personalities or minds. He feared the worst for Vivian.
He walked through the kitchen and found Vanessa as he expected. Moving carefully, and looking thoroughly every step of the way, he found yet another glyph on her, set to go off shortly after she was restored to human form. A last good bye surprise.
He cursed at the nastiness of it, then carefully removed it as well. Then he quickly put out each of the candles with a little magic spell, one of his favorites, a light breeze cantrip, and waited for something bad to happen. He stood for a minute, and sighed with relief.
He gently gathered the half-melted arms and legs of his Vanessa and placed them in a bag he pulled from his pocket. Then he picked up the rest of her, her glass face frozen in a last look of desperation and fear. A stray tear fell from his face, and his guilt and sorrow almost overwhelmed him for a moment.
Wes carried her outside, were Cheryl and Beth awaited. Beth gasped in surprise and horror, as she had not seen the images that Cheryl and Wes had, and was not prepared fully. Cheryl, tears running down her face, quickly went to Vanessa, and stroked her face.
“I think we can save her life at least. Let’s take her to my clinic, I have more to work with there.”
Wes nodded, unwilling to say anything as he knew his emotions were too strong to hide at the moment.
At that moment, Andrea’s true final surprise went off. As Cheryl and Wes stood at the doorway, Beth was still a couple of feet away, pulling herself together. Suddenly, a magical apparition appeared on the sidewalk behind her. The apparition was of a mouth, and it uttered a command, and suddenly, Beth gasped as a bright orange glow surrounded her, and in less than an eyeblink, her clothes and her protective amulet were gone.
Wes and Cheryl turned as she gasped, just in time to see another spell engulf her. As Cheryl and Wes tried to frantically set Vanessa down without shattering her, the spell overwhelmed Beth’s defenses and she froze in place, a desperate look on her face.
She began to transform, and the magical wave swept through her. She felt herself transform into glass in a couple of heartbeats, and as it reached her head, she faded into dream.
Cheryl cried out in shock, while Wes suddenly realized another spell was going off and he cast a quick counter spell to prevent it. The last bit of the trap, a spell designed to shatter glass, was narrowly averted in a flash of green and white.
“That bitch, she set that one up to catch someone just after they walked out the door and thought they were safe.”
“Beth, oh Beth,” Cheryl sobbed, thinking another of her friends was hurt and maybe even dead. “Is she gone?”
Casting another spell, Wes quickly determined, to his complete relief, that she was alive, but her mind was dreaming and was unaware of how close to destruction she had come.
“She is alive, and she is ok, just a bit shocked. Thankfully though, we can bring her back.”
“Let’s get down to the clinic before something else happens,” Cheryl replied, her voice anguished but calmer now.
Wes decided to just leave Beth as she was at the moment after shrinking her down. He needed his energy in case any other surprises were about, at least until they got down to the clinic.
Morro Bay 3 AM
Wes and Cheryl stood over the exam table in the clinic, working on Vanessa. After considerable discussion, they had arrived at a plan. Vanessa had been transformed again, and was now completely made of soft clay. Her legs and arms, damaged by the their treatment as wax candles, were now clay as well, and the Cheryl and Wes carefully and gently put each limb to her body, then ever so carefully, molded the clay so that the limb was reattached.
“Well this part isn’t too bad, but can we just add more clay to the damaged areas?” Cheryl asked.
Wes, who had been considering that very thing for the last hour, shook his head no. “Only the parts that were originally ‘her’ can be used. Adding clay would be just like, well, adding clay. It won’t become flesh when she is restored. No, in this case, we are going to have to hope your healing spells and my mending spells are enough.”
Bakersfield 4 AM
Jennifer sat down with a sigh. It had been a long night, with only a phone call confirming their safe arrival and then an eternity later, a call at 2 AM saying that they had Vanessa, and were in the clinic. To keep busy, she and Emily had spent hours putting away everything Emily had picked up at the store, and arranging the house so that it was comfortable. Emily had finally gone to sleep about an hour before, but Jennifer was too keyed up to sleep. Besides, having been in storage for almost three days, she had been thoroughly rested when she been awakened early last night anyway.
She waited as patiently as she could.
Los Angeles 4:30 AM
Andrea crept out of the apartment. The young man she had picked up was snoring in his bed, and she smiled to herself. She had been tempted to take him anyway, but decided after a bit that she really didn’t want to spend any time on him right now, maybe she would come back another day for him.
She was feeling a little tired, as she had been up and going for almost 24 hours, but she decided to walk home. It wasn’t too far really, only a couple of miles, and anybody likely to accost her would be in for a surprise. Leaving the apartment building, she began walking quickly up Rodeo Drive, then over to Beverly Hills a few blocks away. It was late enough so that the even the bums and the muggers were asleep at this point, while the early morning routine of street sweepers and delivery drivers were only just beginning.
Andrea reached her home a few minutes later, a large two story mansion she had acquired after enslaving its owner, and she walked inside. Her slaves were sleeping at this hour, and she decided just to let them be for the time being. She went to bed as the first glow of the approaching dawn began to light up the eastern sky.
Morro Bay 6 AM
Vanessa dreamed. The pain and the terror had been brought to a more bearable level by the constant hours of support by the other girls. She had even managed to be somewhat amused after Beth filled everyone in on her rescue and Beth’s subsequent misadventure, especially when she felt the rather substantial displeasure from Sarah about being left behind. Vanessa knew that at least now she wasn’t alone, and if anything could be done, Wes and Cheryl would do it.
She suddenly became aware of Wes in her dream. She felt him ease in through Paula’s link, and she was now able to feel through him that she was now intact again except for some wounds. She felt his warning that the next part, when she was awakened, was going to hurt but she would be okay when it was done.
Vanessa waited nervously.
Wes snapped out of the spell and looked again at Cheryl. She looked as ready as she could be, and she had a syringe with pain medication and several large pressure bandages ready by the table. It was time to awaken Vanessa, and hope. A quick spell and Vanessa came to life with a gasp, and then a scream as the pain of her injuries shot through her. Blood gushed from the gaping wounds in her legs and arms, and Cheryl frantically bandaged her to slow the blood loss, while Wes cast a quick spell to put Vanessa to sleep.
Quick and deft work, and minutes later, all of the pressure bandages where in place and a pain shot injected into Vanessa’s shapely rump.
“Ok, we don’t have a lot of time, the blood loss is only slowed, not stopped.” Cheryl said, her voice crisp and full of authority. It was like being in the ER again, but this time it was her friend.
Cheryl cast several spells, and one by one, the wounds stopped hemorrhaging. Skin began to close over the wounds, while muscle tissue, nerves and bones grew at a visibly accelerated pace. After casting the final spell, Cheryl swayed with fatigue, and Wes had to catch her as she almost blacked out.
“So tired,” she mumbled, “I have to stay awake.”
“She is doing better already sweetheart, you did good.” Wes said comfortingly. Holding her up, as she leaned on his shoulder, they both watched as the healing spells did their work.
Within a few minutes, they were able to take off the bandages as the skin closed up. Not even scars remained, and though Vanessa looked desperately pale, her vitals were stable and Cheryl sighed in relief.
“We are ok, looks like it worked.”
“Its always easier to heal the body then the mind,” Wes replied sadly, “thank goodness Andrea didn’t mess with her mind.”
Cheryl looked at him, then Vanessa, and shuddered. Thank goodness indeed. But what about Vivian?
Wes stood for a moment longer, holding Cheryl and holding Vanessa’s hand. He knew what Cheryl was thinking, and he too wondered about Vivian. For now though, it was time to bring Paula to life. She was needed to send everyone home, as he was now almost as exhausted as Cheryl.
Bakersfield 8:30 AM
Paula and Emily sat at the kitchen table, sipping coffee and getting to know one another. They were close enough in chronological age so that they were quickly becoming friends. Sarah was in a bedroom, making sure Vanessa was comfortable and still sleeping, before she went to spend the rest the day with her children. Wes had insisted after wakening her, and apologizing with a dozen roses, that she do so. She was still irked at him, but decided to forgive him for the moment after the flowers.
Wes was finally asleep, and had left instructions that he be left that way unless it was urgent. After arriving home, he and Cheryl had brought Paula, Brandi, April, Beth, Cindy and Sarah back to human form. A few minutes to fill them in on the events of the night, and he went off to bed, taking Cheryl with him.
April sat with Vanessa, holding her hand, just staying with her for comfort. She smiled at Sarah, who smiled back and then went on her way. Nearby, in another bed, Jennifer slept, finally exhausted after a night of getting the house ready and worrying. In the third bedroom, Cindy and Beth worked away on their computers, looking for clues about Andrea. Brandi, still keyed up after last night, and desperately worried about her friend Vivian, finally decided her best course was to do some homework for her classes at UCLA, hoping it would take her mind of things.
Los Angeles 9 AM
The early morning sun gently lit up the room. Vivian stared, her eyes vacant, frozen now, just a plastic, rubber and latex doll. Across from her, another doll Misti, was in a similar pose and was in doll form now as well.
The voices from the headphones had poured into Vivian all night, and she knew her purpose now. She was a slave, an escort, and she served her goddess by pleasing customers, and anyone else her goddess wanted. That was her entire purpose for being, except for times like this when her goddess wanted her to wait and simply be a pretty piece of art. It was wonderful to serve the goddess. Vivian felt the pleasure, bliss and simple joy flow through her, secure in the knowledge that she belonged to the goddess forever.
She didn’t remember Wes or her previous life at all.