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The Queen (BtVS - Chapter thirty)

Sword in between
Another chapter - this time without the Times character, the hell if I know why!
Always many thanks to slaymesoftly











30. Enemies






The hall was mostly empty and the few slayers around were too busy to watch her. Annie looked around and sat on a chair. Everyone was nervous because of Willow’s last discovery about the Big Bad.

“Hey, princess,”

The little girl turned around and saw Spike smiling at her. He sat down and began to stroke her silky brown hair.

“Why aren’t you in the conference room with Mom?”

Spike rolled his eyes. “I was bored. I thought it was better to go out for a bit and get you something,” he explained, showing a just purchased comic book.

“I missed this issue!”

“I did right, didn’t I?”

Annie smiled happily. “Mom is worried about this new guy, right?” she asked after a brief silence.

“Your mother is strong and she’s fought nastier things than him. Don’t be afraid.”

Annie titled her head not entirely convinced.





“Look at these documents,” Willow said scrolling through the index of an ancient and precious volume. In addition to the Latin inscriptions for the rituals there were also images. “These are all the steps to realize the Magnus Opus, the Great Work, and here there’s a representation of a human body.”

Buffy pouted. “What is this Great Work thingy?”

“It’s alchemy. It’s a process used to obtain the key to eternal life and the complete purification of the human being. It was studied for centuries and it was connected with scientific thoughts and philosophical theories, but it was basically performed with a series of spells.”

“What’s so interesting about these pictures?”

“Look,” Willow replied, pointing at a human figure. “They depict a man who was able to discover the Philosopher’s Stone – something incredible and legendary! Although it has been practiced since ancient times, alchemy isn’t really solid in terms of achieving immortality. Every now and then you can hear voices of powerful and eternal sorcerers, but their existences have never been really proven. Until now. If I’m right, we’re basically facing the first successful alchemist in history.”

“The Mercurial … is he an alchemist?”

Willow nodded. “I called his projection to observe him closely and I saw scars and tattoos … Buffy, the man has experimented on himself to achieve his goal!” She focused on a new portrait. “Mercurius the Knower,” she read. “An extremely powerful sorcerer of the seventeenth century. He discovered the secret of eternal life without being possessed by a demon.”

“How is that possible?”

“I don’t know. Usually you need to become a vampire or something else and until yesterday I believed that Mercurius’ existence was just a legend. Instead he’s real. He’s really real!”

“And he’s coming for us,” Buffy added without joy.

Willow shook her head, slightly embarrassed at her enthusiasm.

“We know from the legend that Mercurius was a physician, scientist and astrologer of the seventeenth century. He traveled in Spain, France, Sweden and Vatican. Apparently, he was financed by the kings and queens who were very concerned about their health and willing to make a deal with the devil to ensure their wealth. According to the legend, Mercurius helped Le Roi Soleil, Louis XIV of France. And he was never alone.”

“Huh?”

Willow frowned. “In all his travels Mercurius was escorted by a mysterious companion, someone very beautiful and pale and always absent during the day.”

“A vampire!” Buffy said, intrigued.

“I think so.”

“Why would an alchemist bring a vampire with him? It makes no sense, unless this guy is somewhat important to him.”

Willow smiled, spotting another main page of the book. “Meet Klaus,” she said showing it. “Face of angel and fangs of … a vampire.”

Buffy studied the sketched boy. “He’s cute,” she admitted. “What do we know about him?”

“I found something very interesting about that. I can’t understand why, but everything about the vampire and the alchemist stops at some point; at the beginning of the French Directory. At the end of the eighteenth century they were in Paris and then nothing.”

“A lovely holiday in between guillotines and murders,”

“It’s possible that they chose that particular period and city for mysterious reasons. If you look, you can see that all the Mercurial’s travels were calculated. He managed to show up at the right time in the right place. It’s strange though.”

“What is?”

Willow stroked her hair. “They were basically celebrities, always in the best courts and at some point they totally disappear! We don’t have anything except … oh, a meeting between Klaus and the Scourge of Europe!”

“Angelus? Really?”

“We could ask Angel for more information,”

“I’ll do it immediately,” Buffy said rushing at the door. “So the Mercurial and Klaus were lovers, right?”

“Much more than that; they are twin brothers.”






Annie quietly closed the office door. The sun was setting above the sea.

“I found you, little girl,” a mysterious man whispered.

Annie turned around and saw him – he was wearing a purple tunic and his hair was curly and red like Willow’s. He had clear and dilated eyes and a tattoo on his throat.

“What is that?” Annie asked moving forward. She remembered a dream with the same stranger. “That sign on your throat, what does it mean?”

“It’s the symbol of Mercury, planet of the solar system and ancient god.”

Annie nodded. “I know who Mercury is – Spike told me. He also told me his Greek name … Hermes, right?”

“You’re a clever girl,” the stranger replied smiling. “Spike gave you the comic book you’re holding,” he said, pointing at the issue.

“Yes.”

“He’s like a father to you, isn’t he?”

Annie frowned puzzled. “I like Spike. He’s Mom’s boyfriend.”

“Your mother. Right.”

The mysterious man walked toward the windows.

“Who are you?” Annie asked. “Why do I know you from a dream?”

The stranger looked at her, but he didn’t answer.

Annie clenched her little fists. “I should call my mom. She would kick you in the face.”

“Is that what she does?”

“She uses her power to protect people and save the world.”

“And do you think that the world should be saved?”

Annie opened her arms. “Of course!” she snapped.

The Mercurial cocked his head. “You’re pure,” he said. “You look like your mother, the already dead one. You have her beautiful oval face and her innocent vulnerable expression. Yes, I remember it …”

“What are you saying?”

“I’ll see you again.”

“I don’t want to!”

“We’ll meet at dawn.”