Weeks had gone by and no sign of Faustus. Hilda repeatedly searched for him on every map they owned. Zelda had the Judas boys on high alert everywhere. If this was the witch hunters, they were bloody well brave to take the high priest.
Magnus had exhausted all of his connections, apart from one. The last thing they wanted to do, was to create a panic. But they had to tell the coven something.
Zelda was currently acting in Faustus’s absence, as neither Magnus or Edward felt it was right to be them. She thought it was a pathetic reason, and that someone needed to stand up and lead. She hardly slept, and when she got really low, she would go to his house to remind herself of him.
Finally, a moment to herself in his office. She lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply about the stresses that were happening. She had cried every day to the Dark Lord, who arrogantly ignored her pleas to bring him back to her.
They were ready for forever. And now, he had been taken from her. She swore to Satan when she found out who did this, she could kill them a hundreds times over. There would never be enough suffering for them after the pain she had been put through.
Trying to keep a coven under control at such a time was proving to test her patience and faith. But Zelda was far too stubborn to give in.
Every single person had flexed all possibilities to find him. Even Zelda. She very reluctantly organised a meeting with Damon in an attempt to locate him.
The palace where doing all they could to support her, Damon also visited Greendale every few days to check up on her. There had been numerous intrusive thoughts about stealing her back, but the good in him won.
For all they knew, he was dead, and had been tortured for information.
Magnus was on his last possibility. He had a meeting with the high warlock of Italy to seize any information regarding Faustus.
He hadn’t seen the high warlock for a few decades, but as Magnus arrived, Alistair had already anticipated what he would be asking.
“And why would you think that I would know anything?” Alistair shrugged.
“You have a lot more connections than most Alistair, even with demons and demoness’s in Hell”.
Alistair grinned, knowing Magnus was trying to flatter him. “Well, you aren’t wrong” he confirmed.
“So do you?…” Magnus proceeded.
“Do I?” Alistair mocked.
“… know where Faustus is?”.
The high warlocks eyes darkened and his grin turned cunning. “I may have heard a thing or two” he played.
Magnus stared in silence, knowing how this whole thing was destroying Zelda. Not only was she the love of Faustus’s life, but she was also his friend who he has known for a long time, and Magnus didn’t want to see her be teared apart any longer if he could help it.
“Fine… he’s in hell” he huffed, giving in more easily than he wanted to.
“Hell?!” Magnus shook. “Who has him there? The Dark Lord?”
Alistair chuckled, “Oh no Magnus, someone much more closely linked than that”.
Magnus’s eyes almost popped out in shock as he realised who he meant, and spun on his heels to leave.
“Oh, and Magnus?” He called after.
Magnus peered over his shoulder, waiting for what he could only presume to be a sarcastic comment on its way.
“I would also double check the knowledge of your circle…”
Magnus raised a brow, not following the high warlocks last comment.
“… as I heard, the head sovereign knows about this”.
He didn’t know whether to believe it or not. It’s not very often the high warlock of Italy is misinformed.
Seeing as Magnus was already so close to the palace, he only thought it necessary he attempt to get a meeting with Damon and find out whether or not it’s true.
“What do I owe the pleasure, Magnus?” Damon greeted.
“I’ve just had a meeting with the high warlock” Magnus began lightly.
“Oh?” Damon shrugged.
“Yes, it was rather interesting, actually. He seems to have informed me, that you know the whereabouts of Faustus” he gently accused.
Damon chuckled profusely, “And how would I know that?” He finally managed.
“You are the head sovereign, after all”.
There was a difficult and tense silence, as Magnus could see the fight in Damon’s eyes.
“If you’ve ever loved her, you would tell her what’s going on. And you may have never heard Zelda scream because she’s woke up from a nightmare… but I have. If you love her, you’d tell her”.
Damon felt shell shocked. He wasn’t certain with the information, and when he got others to look into it for him, it was all dead ends, so he assumed someone was giving him false leads. “I don’t know where he is” he defended.
“You and I both know that you do” Magnus sternly said.
“ Satan! He’s actually there?!” He rubbed his face in frustration.
“Yes and we need to do something about it!” Magnus urged.
“Yes yes, of course. I’ll meet you at the academy, tell Zelda!”
Zelda shook her head, trying very hard not to overthink and prayed that Faustus was alive and well, and that she would find him soon.
The peaceful silence was broken seconds later by Magnus exploding through the office doors. “I know where he is!!” He shouted.
Zelda shot up from her seat in anticipation. “What?!”.
Magnus had clearly ran from wherever he had come from, as he was trying to catch his breath before speaking again. “You will not believe it Zelda… forgive me”.
Walking over to him, she put her hand on his back as an aid to comfort him, confused by his direction of words.
“My father has him, in hell”.
Zelda controlled the panic that she felt bursting in her chest. Asmodeus has a way of getting into his victims minds and torturing them until they become his puppet , the voice in her head tormented her, as it repeated the words that her Father had said about the king of hell.
She could only begin to imagine the unbearable torture Faustus was being put through.
“I need to go” she said as she began to walk off.
Magnus grabbed her arm and pull her back “Zelda you can’t! You can’t just wonder into hell and get him. My father will probably kill you!” He warned.
Like that was going to stop her.
She brushed out of his grip and paced down the halls, not really knowing where she was going but she knew what she needed to get.
“Zelda!” Magnus called after her and followed.
He had called her name repeatedly, but she was not stopping until another voice bellowed her name, their voice echoing off the walls.
She halted and turned around on her heels, familiarising herself with the voice, almost shivering in shock.
“Damon, I don’t have time” she told him.
Between the two of them, they had convinced Zelda to just pause for a few moments and think this through a little.
They were all back in Faustus’s office and Magnus snitched on her to Damon that she was going to go to hell.
“You can not go to hell!” Damon huffed.
“Of course I can! Faustus is there, I need to go and get him!” Zelda pleaded. “I can’t not see him again!”
“Fine…” Damon agreed.
“What?!” Magnus exploded.
Zelda smirked, pleased, not that she was not not going to go anyway, but that she had someone’s backing.
“… just take Drago” he added.
“This is insane!” Edward stormed through the doors.
Magnus had clearly sent him an urgent message via a witching board.
“I am going! I need to get him back” she told her brother, tears building. Her eyes pleaded with him, showing him just how much this was breaking her.
“Can you not do something?” Edward asked Damon.
“I’m not stopping her” Damon shrugged.
“Do you realise what you’re doing?!” Edward emphasised.
His eyes rolled to Magnus and recalled the conversation they had earlier about him ever loving Zelda, of course he wasn’t going to stop her.
Damon took a step towards him, in an attempt to intimidate him. He liked Edward, he had a lot of time and respect for him, though, this was not something he was changing his mind on. “As a matter of fact, I do. I’ve learned that when your sister has put her mind to something, there is nothing in this world or realm that will stop her, so you may as well get on board with it and help her!”.
Zelda looked at her brother sadly, but she wasn’t about to change her mind. To the Greendale mines she went, with Drago.
“You better hope she comes back!” Edward threatened.
“You think I would allow her to go, if I didn’t think she would come back, or had a plan in place to get her out?” Damon questioned with a brow raised.
Zelda paced up and down in front of the gates of hell, attempting to get into them. This is ridiculous. Everything she had ever read about them, she had tried. The runes, the spells, everything. Nothing was working.
She eventually stood still and stared at them, looking for a clue. Getting frustrated, she closed her eyes and her mind automatically traveled to Faustus in every sense.
She thought about the two of them together, their relationship, their past, their future, how he was, whether he was alive, or had been tortured and tormented by Asmodeus. Without realising, she began praying, but not to the Dark Lord for help, she didn’t think he would help her.
A minute or two past and she was in her own mind, channeling a higher magic that she had never acquired before. It was unusual and like an out of body experience as she could see herself stepping closer the gates, reaching her hand out towards them, placing the entirety of her hand against the stone and opening them.
When she opened her eyes, she realised that she wasn’t in fact in front of the gates, but where she were when she closed them. Yet, the gates opened. Looking over her shoulder, Drago followed closely behind her as she took her first step into hell.
It was such a juxtaposition. To be in hell is never an experience for most, but these were never the circumstances she had wanted to visit in.
A few times in her life she had thought whether she would be rewarded by the Dark Lord for her loyalty and devotion and visit the city of Pandemonium. To perhaps become a royal part, just like her father.
As the years past, she saw that she was fit to serve the sovereign, and so did the Dark Lord, and that reward was enough for her.
It was exactly how she had imagined it, and read about it. It was dark, fiery and hot. All the colours of orange and black blended together. It was horrifying. How her father had lived here all these years, she would never know. But it wasn’t pleasant.
As she walked further into hell, she realised that she had absolutely no idea where to even begin looking for him, and she knew she mustn’t get caught.
Perhaps walking through hell with a dragon familiar wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Changing course slightly, she halted and climbed on top of Drago, for him to fly, enabling them to cover much more ground.
Through the darkened sky, she saw what looked like a derelict castle. Surely this was something to start with.
Sliding off Drago, she armed herself with her bow and arrow to search for answers. But nothing. No sign of life, or even death.
Not to her surprise, Zelda was beginning to feel light headed. The heat was clearly getting the better of her, but she would not stop. Faustus was here somewhere, and she refused to go home without him.
Climbing back up Drago, she slumped down in hope to find something else as he took off back into the now thunderous sky.
The air was getting heavier with each passing minute, though this did not falter her determination in the slightest. Everything was Faustus. Her existence was for him. She didn’t make it all the way to hell, to return without him. It was even he, who she had thought of when she had opened the gates, like some sort of higher energy or power.
Flying through the sky, amongst the darkened clouds, Zelda squinted as she thought there was another castle in sight. The closer she got, she saw a flicker of orange light through a small window.
It had to be a sign.
They gently flew closer and hovered around, looking for any clue. Nothing this end, so Drago picked back up and flew to the other side and a figure was standing casually with a glass of wine in their hand, standing by the fire place, like Hell wasn’t hot enough already.
Drago hovered, lowering himself slowly as the figure turned to face them. Zelda’s devil eyes, glaring at who she assumed was Asmodeus.
“I’ve been waiting for you” he practically chuckled, taking a sip of the wine.