A Demon Rises
Immediately after his encounter with the possessed Candace, Perry made a quick stop at the library before he hurried for the Mystery Shack. This time he went inside through the attic window and Waddles was alert the second he heard the triangle-shaped window creak open.
"Perry?" he asked in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"I've made a breakthrough," the platypus replied, checking to make sure the twins were sound asleep. "Can we talk?"
"Sure. I've got news for you too. The kids found the missing page to the journal." Waddles hopped off of Mabel's bed and trotted over to Perry. "Turns out you were right-there is a fire demon on the loose in this crazy town."
"What did the page say?" asked Perry.
"I only had a quick look-through when the twins were having dinner. Apparently the demon's name is Lavernia, and bad things are going to happen if she stays free for long. But I did notice that the spell to entrap her is in there."
Perry grinned. "That's the news I wanted to hear. I knew I had good feeling about paying you a visit."
Waddles was bemused. "Er, well, that's not all of it. Actual, olden day witches were the ones who imprisoned Lavernia. It's going to take a witch to do it again."
"Not necessarily. This place is pulsing with magic. I have someone who's solving that particular problem for me. I know who the host is and what her plan is. It's imperative that we stop her before she can start her rampage."
"How exactly do you know what she wants?"
Perry lifted up his fedora and removed the collection of papers he and Heinz had previously perused. He slid the archives over to the pig, who studied it curiously. "Lavernia's whole backstory is in there. Once you read it, you'll discover what she wants."
"I'll do that. I assume you want me to give this to the twins when I'm finished?"
"Please." Perry nodded. "They're going to need this."
"What about the host?" asked Waddles.
"It's Candace, my eldest kid. I think I know how we can get the spirit it out of her, and I have a risky plan to show my other kids her weakness."
Waddles shook his head with a slight snort. "You've got it all figured out, haven't you?"
"Doesn't mean everything will go out according to plan," said Perry dryly.
"Anything you need me to do?"
"Keep alert. Lavernia is absorbing life forces from animals and people. She's using them to help her get stronger quickly. When that happens the victim just falls completely lifeless, a blank slate."
Waddles' eyes flashed in understanding. "Well, that explains why Gideon is underneath Dipper's bed. Nearly gave me a heart attack when I stumbled upon him."
Perry was bemused. "Gideon?"
"Don't worry about it," dismissed Waddles. "I'll keep my eyes and ears open. If I learn anything else, I'll let you know. Though I'm certain you'll probably be three steps ahead of me."
Perry laughed. "It's what I'm getting paid for. Thanks again, Waddles. I appreciate your help."
"Anytime. Be careful."
"You too." Perry tilted his hat and swiftly left through the window, heading back to Candace's cabin. The clock was ticking, and he hoped that everything would fall into place before it was too late.
When Waddles awoke in the morning, it was to a thick heat that seemed to clog the attic. Sweat dripped down his body and when he looked out the window he was greeted with the bright sun gleaming in the sky. Waddles frowned. He was no expert on the supernatural, but it seemed obvious that a fire demon needed heat to use full power.
'This is not the time for a heat wave.'
Mabel moaned softly, starting to stir. Waddles hopped off the bed and grabbed the sheaf of papers Perry had delivered mere hours ago. He had read it while the twins slept, and it was definitely something they needed to read.
He jumped back onto Mabel's bed and nudged her with his snout. The girl yawned and slowly sat up, idly stroking his head. "Morning, Waddles." She took notice of the papers in his mouth. "What's this?"
"What's what?" asked Dipper groggily, rubbing his eyes as he sat up. "Why's it so hot?"
"Must be a heat wave," said Mabel, eyes locked on the papers as she flipped through them.
Dipper stiffened. "A fire demon is out there and we're having a heat wave? You must be kidding me."
"Nope. But let's get back to that." Mabel held out the papers, indicating the page that started Lavernia's tale. "Waddles brought this to me. It's got Lavernia's history in it."
Dipper's eyes widened. "No way!" He hurried over to Mabel's side of the room and started to read over her shoulder. "Where'd he get it?"
"I don't know. He's super smart." Mabel tickled Waddles' chin fondly. "He must have known we needed this."
"Or someone else misplaced it and he found it," countered Dipper.
Together they read through Lavernia's story. When they reached the end Dipper slumped back, expression pale. "Well. Parents who forced her into marriage, a lover and sister who scorned her, and a town who imprisoned her. We're screwed."
"Think she knows Gravity Falls is actually Myrefall?" asked Mabel nervously.
"Oh, she knows," said Dipper grimly. "That's why she taking the life forces of everything she can. She's gathering the power to annihilate the place that caused her the most pain. Who knows how many she's gathered? And with this heat wave, she has the advantage."
"So…what do we do?" asked Mabel. "We don't know who the host is, we don't know how to expel the demon and we're not witches."
Dipper set his hands on his hips. "Aren't you the optimist around here?"
Mabel grinned sheepishly. "Hey, at least we know what her go-to plan is. It's not like we're in the dark about that."
Dipper propped his chin in the palm of his hand, brow furrowed. "That's not helpful if we don't even know where the culprit is."
The problem was, he didn't know where to start.
Heinz picked his way through the cave, the very one he had first discovered the magic-infused rocks for his –Inator. Most of the rocks he had found were at the front of the cave, so now he was forced to go deeper in order to find more magic.
"Geez, I need to work out more," he panted as he lugged another armful towards his latest –Inator. He dumped the rocks inside and pressed a button on his small purple remote. The rocks were immediately ground up by powerful blades, and the blue magic pooled into the portable glass container attached to the square back rock crusher.
Heinz wiped the sweat from his brow and studied the amount of magic he had gathered. The container was almost half-full, so he still had quite a ways to go. "This isn't as fun as it was the first time around."
Heinz jolted in surprise, a shriek leaving his lips as he whirled around. Perry was standing in the entrance of the cave, a perplexed expression on his face. "Don't do that, Perry the Platypus!"
Perry gave an apologetic chatter. He gestured towards the small glass container, which had two thick black straps attached to it and ventilation slots in the top and bottom. The slots were currently closed, keeping the blue energy confined to the small space.
"Okay, I think I figured out how we can get Lavernia back into her prison. Behold, my Magic-Contain-Inator 2.0!" Heinz rested his hand against the top of the contraption, a pleased smile on his face. "Unlike my first one, this version is portable and you can use this remote," he waved the purple device at the platypus, "to open the air vents to release the magic."
Perry studied the remote, which had three buttons; black, red and green.
"The black button activates the blade on the rock crusher, which crumbles the rock and sends the magic into the –Inator," explained Heinz. "The other two buttons control the air vents. One opens them and one closes them. I figure if the magic in here was enough to release Lavernia, then it should be enough to send her back into her eternal prison."
Perry nodded, impressed. It certainly made sense, and it was not often the man made sense.
"So we've got our means of defeating Lavernia. Have you figured out the rest?"
Perry flashed a thumbs-up. Heinz grinned. "Great! So, when do we jump into action?"
"Not now," Perry chattered. "I've got a couple more things to take care of."
"Good, because I'm not really ready anyway," said Heinz in relief. "I still have to fill up the –Inator. But I've got a question-since I was the one who released her, do I have to be the one who put her back?"
Perry mulled this over. Heinz certainly wasn't a witch, so he didn't think it mattered who released or trapped Lavernia, so long as the person had enough power to do so. He shook his head.
"Okay, that makes me feel better, because I don't think I can do that," admitted Heinz. "When I released her, I was filled with the desire to outdo you, to use this magic to finally triumph. Now that we're on the same side against her, I don't have that feeling…am I making sense?"
Perry nodded. He understood the amount of desperate desire that filled Heinz when he first cast the spell. As far as he could figure out, how strong a person's emotions were equalled the amount of magical power. Now that Heinz didn't have that burning feeling within him, it wouldn't be enough for him to cast the spell to fix his mistake.
"Don't worry," he chattered in assurance. "I'll figure it out."
"Thank you, Perry the Platypus. I better continue filling my Magic-Contain-Inator 2.0." Heinz rubbed his neck, which was coated with sweat. "This heat wave isn't helping matters."
'Tell me about it,' thought Perry grimly. Dusk would soon be upon them, and he feared just how much sunlight had empowered Lavernia. It made him doubt his plan for the evening, but despite his reservations he knew it had to be done.
Phineas and Ferb needed to know what had befallen their sister, and there was only one true way to do that.
It was almost one in the morning when Phineas felt a tug on his pajama pants leg. Stirring from slumber he awoke, squinting blearily at his pet platypus. "Perry?" he asked with a yawn. "What's wrong, buddy?"
The tugging became more insistent, and only relented when Phineas climbed out of bed. "Ferb?" he said softly, not wanting to wake their friends. "Ferb, wake up."
The green-haired boy peered over the edge of his bunk. "What is it?" he asked tiredly.
"I think Perry wants us to go somewhere." Phineas gestured at their platypus, who was hovering near the cabin door. "Maybe he found something weird that's bothering him."
Curious, Ferb climbed down to the floor. Together the pair followed after their platypus, outside in the dark night. Ferb wrapped his arms around himself, shivering slightly from the cool wind. His feet sunk into the grass and dirt, and Perry didn't seem inclined to stop anytime soon.
"I wonder what's up," said Phineas in bewilderment. "He's never done this before."
Perry suddenly stopped near the treeline of the forest. His posture was stiff, letting Phineas and Ferb know that there was something past the trees. Curious, the two stepped into the forest, and there were immediately greeted by the sight of several woodland animals laying lifeless on the ground.
"This is what Dipper was talking about," said Ferb, eyes narrowed. He gingerly prodded a rabbit with his foot, but did not receive a reaction.
"The demon is near," breathed Phineas.
The two crept further into the forest, Perry following close behind. Stepping through a section of bushes, the two boys immediately froze at what they saw.
Candace stood a distance away, but though it was her body, it was not their sister. Her blue eyes glowed a blood red, her ginger hair streaked with black. Her skin was white as a ghost and an eerie dark red aura surrounded her. Her arms were outstretched towards the sky, a wide toothy smile on her face. Perry inched backwards, so that he was out of sight but not far enough that he couldn't intervene if it was necessary.
"Oh, the time is almost here!" she cried ecstatically.
Phineas felt the blood drain from his face. "Candace!"
"Phineas!" hissed Ferb, but it was too late. Lavernia had heard the boy's cry and whirled around to face them.
"Little kiddies shouldn't be this far out in the forest," she purred. In a blink she was inches away from the duo, a smirk on her lips.
"Leave my sister alone!" spat Phineas, hands curling into fists, terror and rarely-felt rage twisting in his gut.
"I don't think so. She's been very useful to me, as I'm sure your life sources will useful."
Lavernia reached out and Ferb shoved Phineas aside, standing in front of him protectively. But just as Lavernia found herself unable to attack Perry, Phineas and Ferb were also untouchable. Her body froze up and this time she could feel Candace's dormant consciousness starting to stir.
She abruptly stepped back, eyes narrowed into slits. 'I can't touch them…just like I couldn't touch the platypus…'
Phineas and Ferb realized this as well, and the green-haired boy took a bold step forwards. "Candace."
Lavernia's body jolted, but the eyes stayed a firm red. "Don't think this changes anything," hissed Lavernia, backing away. "I'm almost at my full power. By tomorrow afternoon, my retaliation against this wretched place will begin. No one can stop me!"
She took off, nothing but a blur as she raced amongst the trees. Phineas and Ferb stared after their possessed sister, stunned. The chatter of Perry snapped them out of their trance and Phineas scooped up their platypus.
"Ferb," he said shakily. "It's Candace-Lavernia is using Candace as the host. We have to tell Dipper, Mabel and the gang."
"This can't wait," said Ferb grimly. "The twins need to know now."
"What about our friends?" asked Phineas anxiously.
"They'll be fine. If Candace can't touch us, she can't touch them. Not only did we figure out who Lavernia's host is, but we figured out a way to stop her. It's going to be up to us to snap Candace back into her body."
Phineas nodded, steely determination flashing in his eyes. "Right. Let's go tell the twins!"
They hurried out of the forest and towards the Mystery Shack. Phineas cradled Perry in his arms and he whispered, "Thanks for looking out for us, buddy."
Perry chattered in response, a blank expression on his face. But inside he felt immense satisfaction and triumph. His theory had been right-Lavernia would not be able to harm Candace's loved ones. He could only hope that would be the ticket to getting the girl to expel the demon herself.
Because if it wasn't, they were all doomed.