A/N: Happy Halloween! It's finally the final chapter and I'm stoked to post it! :D (Btw never owned anything in the Scooby Doo franchise and probably never will)
One official transaction later, Dianna was leading him towards the forest. Once there, Moriah led the way through small dirt roads under the treetops. Thunder started rumbling quietly.
"Here's the pillar," Moriah said after a long silence. True to her word, there was a stone pillar in front of them.
"Get out," Dianna said and she began to do the same. John tied Scooby to a leash, which he then tied around a tree. The triad put their right hands on the pillar and John whispered something. The pillar quivered and a bowl appeared before them.
"Excellent. You need to brew the potion," Dianna told Shaggy. "I'll tell you what to do. After you add the pewter, there's no specific order for the ingredients." That made sense why the Wiccan told him to add the ingredients after the pewter. The herbs in his pocket clattered, but no one noticed, except Moriah, it seemed, because she kept a wary eye on him.
"Put in the water." He got a gallon of distilled water from the the trunk and poured it in. "Now the goat's blood." He did so. "Then the dust." As he added ingredients, it began to glow and turn green. "And the pewter." Now was his chance! He added the pewter. "Since it doesn't matter what you add now, why don't you decide the order the final ingredients go in?"
"Like, with pleasure." Dianna and John went off to talk amongst themselves again.
Thunder crashed again. They didn't seem to suspect anything. However, he kept a wary eye on Moriah, who did seem to suspect something. If she did, she didn't say anything. The wind picked up. Dianna actually looked happy.
"My skin is prickling," John told her and the two shared a laugh. Moriah sighed.
"Moriah, check the brew," Dianna said and Moriah stepped over to him. She leaned over his shoulder.
"Hey," she whispered in his ear. "You still need a chunk of quartz, right?" He was surprised. She did know what was going on. "I can give you one, do you want it? I know you have the herbs the Wiccan gave you."
"Why do you want to help us?"
"I'm done. They try different methods of gaining a corporeal body all the time. It's been going on forever and I've stayed with them too long."
"Like, what will happen to you?"
"We'll just go back to the spirit plane. Once there, I can get away from them. For good. And I can rest for a thousand years, if I feel like it." Thunder crashed, louder than before.
"You're not really ghosts?"
"No, they're feeding you lies. And unless she physically puts a knife to her skin, she's not actually harming herself. She can't stand pain, so she'll only use it as a last resort. She can only trick you into thinking she's hurt, she's powerful. Be careful."
"Like, that's very helpful. Thank you." She tilted her head.
"I can sense that magic has touched you... In some way. Maybe we'll meet in the spirit plane one day. But for now..." She placed a small chunk of quartz in his hand. "Take this and set me free."
"No... Thank you." She walked over to them. The wind was steadily blowing harder. Shaggy discreetly dropped the first herb in. No one noticed but Moriah, who didn't dawdle or stare. The brew began to darken. Autumn leaves crackled in the air and on the ground, dancing a wicked dance with the wind swirling all around them.
Herb two. It turned blue. Dianna and John were too busy talking and laughing to notice. The thunder was continually roaring. Three more two go. Two more...
"What are you doing?!" Dianna screeched. "You lied to us, fix it!"
"You lied to me, too!" He dropped the fourth. Dianna screamed, eyes bulging, as the wind blew harder and harder. She lunged straight for him and Moriah tackled her to the ground.
"Drop in the herb and the rock!"
"Let go of me, damn it!" Shaggy dropped in the fifth. The wind made them all unsteady, but John began to slowly make his way to Shaggy. His features were menacing, with shadows in his eyes Shaggy had never seen in Fred's before.
"No! Stop, stop, you'll ruin everything!" Shaggy dropped the quartz into the brew. It turned purple and it began to glow. Faster and faster the wind blew, tearing even the leaves not ready to drop off of the trees. Dead limbs cracked and fell to the ground. One fell off of the tree above him and came tumbling down.
The light from the brew swirled around him and the triad, knocking the branch away and putting them in a dome of complete stillness. The light turned an ethereal bluish-white.
Moriah and John stood up but Dianna remained on the ground. She was yelling, but Shaggy heard absolutely nothing. John touched the wall of light first and Fred fell to the ground. Moriah waved goodbye before touching the light. Dianna looked up at Shaggy, glaring daggers. Finally, she stood up and gripped his arm.
"Like, it's time for you to go," he said.
"Fine," she responded, "you win. But you won't always have the upper hand. I will escape the spirit plane one day and get a corporeal body and when I do, you'd better hope you never see me again. I can't guarantee the safety of this vessel, your friends, your mutt, and especially you." She backed up.
"Wait, before you go..." She looked back. "Like, your names weren't really Dianna, John, and Moriah, were they?"
"Of course not."
"What is your name? What are you?" She grinned.
"Those are mysteries you'll never unravel." She turned. "Ever wonder if you really won? Or is this just another illusion?"
"Like, get out of here!" She grinned and touched the light.
The dome turned green and the wind resumed. The green light floated up, touching the clouds. Immediately, the wind slowed down. The rumblings of thunder quieted and a light rain began to fall. It began to wake them up.
Fred was the first to rise, disoriented but okay. Then Daphne. Then, finally, Velma. Shaggy hurried and untied Scooby from the tree he was tied to.
"You did it, Shaggy!"
"Yeah, you really did," Fred said, smiling. "I'll tell you one thing, whatever John was, it left one heck of a headache behind."
"I'll say," Daphne said in response. Velma didn't say anything. She just repositioned her glasses.
"Like, are you okay, Velms?" Using her nickname and knowing it was her felt much better.
"No, of course not! Not only does this go against everything I've ever believed, I was possessed by something so malevolent and violent, it wanted control and destruction and nothing else. It was going to kill you if Moriah hadn't stopped it!"
"But Moriah did stop it."
"But your blood would have been on my hands, Shaggy, and it shakes me to my core. I'm not going to be responsible for hurting, let alone killing any of you!"
"But you're not." She sighed. It was quiet. Fred slipped his arm around Daphne's shoulders, then around Shaggy's after a bit of thinking. Immediately, Shaggy hugged Velma close and Daphne put her hand on Scooby's head. They shared a moment of complete silence and savored the feeling of closeness and warmth.
"Come on, guys. Let's go home," Fred finally said. Without a word, they started walking out of the forest, dead leaves and branches crunching under their feet. Before he forgot, Shaggy dumped every drop of the brew, knowing it couldn't hurt anything since the herbs counteracted it.
Somewhere, a skinny tree stripped of its bark by the wind fell. A raven distantly cawed.
A/N: Do you think Shaggy's victory was real or an illusion? What did you think of the story? How was your Halloween? Please review and tell me if you liked the story!
My story was actually mildly loosely based around Sweet Dreams by Aviators, so I'll put that in there as a credit-y side note.