Gray Ghost Week (May 3 - May 9) Day 2: Fantasy/Lore AU
The Cycle restarts.
Phantom, I must tell you - warn you. There’s something you should know.
You fought the Ghost King, Pariah. Even at his strongest - wearing the Crown of Fire, and the Ring of Rage - you didn’t hesitate. You saved us all. For that, we thank you - but I’m afraid you went into that fight blind.
Pariah Dark was not always evil. Nor was he always King. The Ghost Zone’s royalty is chosen not by birthright, but by the artifacts they wield.
That’s right. The Crown of Fire chooses the King, not the other way around.
And the ring, you ask? Very perceptive of you. They were never meant to be worn together, the ring and the crown. Each has a mind of its own; Each chose a different person to bear them.
I’d always known something like this would happen. I’ve seen enough superhero movies to know
that you can’t just run around saving people all the time without also
facing real peril. I thought I’d seen
some scary stuff.
But Pariah Dark blurred all of my previous enemies into
nothing but foggy memories. This,
whatever I was feeling right now, was true and real fear. I wasn’t the only one
at stake this time. My friends, my
family, and my entire town were in danger…more danger than usual.
And I wasn’t sure I could save them.
You know how people are always talking about that “fight or
flight” response stuff? Jazz brought it
up one time when she wanted to talk psychology with me, and I’d tried to brush
it off; but I couldn’t help thinking of it now.
Everyone wants to think that
they’d be willing to die for other people and to fight instead of running away
in the face of evil.
But now, confronting Pariah, I was fighting back the urge to
flee or barf or pee my pants more than anything else. I wasn’t brave. How could I be? What made me think I could just burst in here
and defeat a guy that it took an army of mega-powerful ghosts to beat before??
Every time I had the urge to run, though, all I had to do
was close my eyes. I saw Valerie, beaten
and bruised by enemies that weren’t even hers to deal with. I saw Dad, exhausted from trying to fight in this suit that I felt draining every drop of energy I had. I saw Mom and Jazz working to make sure
everyone was safe under the ghost shield.
I saw Tucker and Sam, worry in their eyes but encouragement and
support always pouring from them.
And I knew I could do it.
Even if it meant I’d have to fight Pariah forever. Even if this suit had to kill me so I would
become all ghost. Even if I had to
engage the Ghost King in an eternal battle of equally matched power. Even if it meant holding the door of that
stupid sarcophagus with my dead body inside this suit forever.
I didn’t think I would win. So when he’d
told me I couldn’t, I didn’t argue.
But I could make
sure he didn’t win either.
“I don’t have to win;
I just have to make sure you lose.”