Back in the audience Jörn and company are sitting at the table watching as the ritual recommenced. The atmosphere takes a drastic turn as several police officers come in and wander towards the backstage area. Harbinger cocked an eyebrow as she snagged a couple chicken tenders before she left with Air. They watch incredulously as the uniformed men filed in. “Oh this isn’t good.”, Trevor commented as he took another sip of his water. A few of the officers questioned a few of the audience members about the activities that occurred earlier. Raven hugged her brother before being led by Air back to where Papa IV is waiting for them backstage or at least that’s where she thinks she’s being led to.
Still sitting at the table Jörn and Christoph take their seats once more watching Raven disappear with the mysterious ghoul. “I don’t like this. Why did you let her go with them?”, Trevor huffed. “I understand your concern Trevor but your sister is a big girl and she can pack a punch if need be.”, Jörn stated gently as he removed his mask enough to grab a piece of the blooming onion. Trevor sighed again taking part of the blooming onion to munch on while he waited for Raven’s return. “Who is this Papa IV that was mentioned by the Air elemental?”, Chistoph he twirled the beer bottle in his hands carefully. “According to Raven, ever so often the lead singer Papa Emeritus is replaced. Apparently, there are two previous incarnations of Papa, and we are at the end of Papa III’s “reign”, and the fourth is taking over.” Jörn spoke complete with air quotes. “There’s also speculation that all the Papas’ are portrayed by the same man.”, Trevor interjected helpfully. Christoph nodded understanding more.
A couple of police stop them before they could go any further asking if they saw anything suspicious occur on stage. Specifically asking if there was sexual activity occurring onstage. Air sighed and shook his head as he answered. “No, I was up on stage, I’m the keyboardist Air, and I had a clear view of everyone on stage. There wasn’t anything of that nature going on.” Air stood with his hands clasped behind his back. The officers turned to Raven as she stood there patiently waiting, and ask her the same question. “No, not from what I could see down in the pit.”, she said munching on one of the chicken tenders. Air grabbed her wrist gently and gestured that they needed to get moving after he bid the officers adieu. She followed behind the tall silent ghoul, whom would look over his shoulder to make sure she was still following him. Air walked right past security and Raven flashed her VIP Pass and they let her pass with no questions asked. Once they were far enough away from people she sped up to walk alongside him.
“So Air………What’s going on?”, Raven asked calmly matching his stride appearing to his right as they walked. Air stayed silent as they walked back to where she had been earlier the confession booth. The ghoul knocked and quickly ushered her in and shut the door behind her. Air watched her enter and uttered softly, “Good luck Raven.”, as the door latched shut behind her. It’s the same compartment she Omega and Papa III were having their little threesome. The room reeked of incense with a faint overhanging scent of sweat and satisfaction. A heady smile spread across her face as her eyes fell upon the alter where Papa and Omega had their way with her. A smooth yet growly voice brings her out of her reverie. “Papa?”, she inquired turning to face the direction from where the voice was emanating from. She could see Papa III stepping forward to greet her, “My dear.”, his eyes trail lustfully over her voluptuous form as he spoke. “This is my successor Papa IV.”, he gestured to the second figure that stepped forth from the shadows and took a seat in the throne by the window for listening to confessions. On the small side table laid a box and on the hook across the room from him is his chasuble. “I need to return to my ghouls and prepare to go back on stage. I need you to help Papa IV get his robes on.”, he softly kissed her lips as his hands wander her body before he leaves taking in the scent of her body. Papa IV just glares at his predecessor until he leaves despondent.
“Raven. That is your name yes?”, he said authoritatively as he rose and approached her. Raven nodded “Yes, that is my name.”, she said quietly. “It seems Papa III has taken quite a liking to you and one of the ghouls too… Omega.”, he hummed as he circled behind her. She could feel his eyes bore into her back as he examined her. “You will need to put that mask of yours back on, and the black robe you used to escape.”, He smirked at her from behind her right shoulder. Raven took a sharp breath in when he mentioned her escaping wearing a black robe and turned around to find him within a few inches of her face. She didn’t expect him to be so close to her so she instinctively took a step backwards and Papa took a step forward into the light. He was already in his robes he just needed help fastening the robes, and help him with the outer layer. “Papa III asked that I help you with your robes.”, she quietly spoke as she went around and zipped him up. She smirked as she saw he has gone completely commando under his robes. She pulled the outer layer of his Chasuble off the nearby hanger and helped him put it on and straightened them, and then retrieved his Miter from the box on the small side table by the throne like chair. She presented it to him and watched him put it on before dressing herself in the designated robe before she pulled her mask out of her bag. She put her posture collar back on and locked it in. After pulling her braid over her left shoulder she pulled her hood from her shirt up over her head place before putting on her helmet like mask on securing it to the collar. She then pulled up her hood of the robe this time making sure the hood showed her horns. Papa pulled the top off a box that blended into the alter, and he pulled out his staff. It was simple but elegant. He turned around watching her patiently as she put herself together and on his cue, they left these quarters towards the stage.
Papa Emeritus IV and Raven stood in the wings back stage where they were out of sight of the audience but Papa and the Ghouls could see them. Papa hooked his arm left arm through Raven’s as she ushered him on stage but as she tried to let go Papa tightened his grip on her arm just as the ghouls struck the first chords of Zenith. Papa III’s gaze was sullen as his time has come that he must hand over the reins. As the Papa’s bow to each other respectively Omega came up behind Raven and gave her shoulder a squeeze, and whispered in her ear, “Lovely to see you again Raven.” Papa IV released her arm and handed her his staff to hold as both Papas bowed to each other respectfully as Papa III handed over his microphone to his successor. Papa III waved to the audience blew a few kisses and took a bow before eloquently exiting the area by Alpha.
Raven watched him go before her attention was brought to back to Papa IV who addressed the crowd as she stood between Water and Omega. The ghouls strummed those first notes of Zenith once more. Papa IV stroked Raven’s cheek underneath the mask and leaned in close to her ear as he retrieved his staff again. “I want you stay in the wings my dear.”, he growled in her ear seductively. Raven shuttered as he spoke and she turned and bowed to Papa before turning to walk off the stage giving Omega’s arm a gentle squeeze before she left the stage, and stood in the wings for the duration of the set.
The ritual comes a close about an hour later. The Ghouls and Papa take their final bows as they filed off the stage. Papa hooks his arm with Raven’s as he walks followed by his ghouls towards the green room in silence. Raven kept pace as they jotted off to the left remaining in the hall as the ghouls one by one entered the green room. Omega lingered a few moments before entering the room and letting the door click shut behind him. Papa grasped her warmly pulling her into a gentle hug, and thanked her for her assistance his mouth pressed into hers as she reciprocated the kiss. Before long they join the ghouls in the green room chatting and goofing off.
One of the crew came in rubbing the back of his neck visibly upset. “What’s wrong?”, Papa rose from his seat between Raven and Earth as he spoke. “You guys remember that law that was being discussed on banning Ghost and all merchandise associated with the band?”, Martin asked. A few of the Ghouls nodded others looked utterly confused, and Papa just grimaced and face palms as he utters a soft, “Yes.” Martin ducked back out into the hallway making sure nobody was coming yet. The other two crew members are stationed in the hall as look outs in the adjoining halls. “Well it passed and they will be coming here to arrest you, and the police are confiscating all ghost merch, even from fans as we speak. They’re probably going to confiscate your tour bus and everything in it.”, Martin sulked. “The only way we are for sure going to get out of here is if we get into our street clothes and hide our outfits and masks in duffel bags, and since I’m already in my street clothes I can help gather stuff from the bus.”, Omega chimed in. “I have enough room for you guys to stay at my house.”, Raven offered quietly. “That sounds like a plan, but how are we going to get through if they are checking everyone?”, Alpha inquired. “I’m working on that. I’ll text my friend to see if we can use his SUV to move your equipment and possibly your personal luggage. We can use my car to transport what can’t fit into the SUV and hopefully all of you can fit into my tan Rav4. I don’t think the crew will be bothered by the police. It’s a long ride to my house in Nevada, but it would be best if you get out of California as soon as possible.”, Raven said thinking quickly texting Jörn informing him what her plan is and asks if he is willing to help.
Jörn’s phone went off loudly in his pocket as he fished the phone out and unlocked his phone. A text from Raven, “Jörn, that stupid fucking law banning ghost from California passed and I’m going to let them stay at my house… Are you willing to help me smuggle Ghost and their equipment out of California?”. Jörn smiled and responded quickly. “Sure Are things always this exciting around you?” Harbinger quickly fired off another text. “LOL I suppose? Oh! We are going to need to go ahead and check out of the hotel.” Jörn responded quickly, “I still have your key from when we played cards and I went down the hall to grab ice. I’ll grab our luggage and check us out. Christoph can drive my car while I drive your car. I’m going to need your keys.” Harbinger responded “I left them in my room as I didn’t drive today. They’re lying next to my purse.”
Papa and the ghouls were hurriedly changing into street clothing and shoving stuff their costumes into the duffle bags along with their masks. They didn’t have time to properly pack their belongings before the door suddenly opened. Andy LaPlegua and Joe Letz waltz through the door and stop suddenly. “Oops sorry wrong room. HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!”, Joe said awkwardly…Andy peered around the room. “You guys need help getting out of here? You could pretend to be roadies”, Andy suggested. “That will work. I was just going to suggest that.”, Papa said thoughtfully. Raven’s phone suddenly goes off causing her to jump suddenly. She dug her phone out of her pocket. A text from Jörn “We’re here and I made sure to check all the drawers and double checked your packing list before bringing your luggage down.” Raven sighed with relief and replied swiftly, “Thank you so much! I owe you big time. We’ll be out there soon.” Everyone finished up changing and packing their shit while she texted. “Hey guys our rides are here let’s get this thing going.”, she smiled brightly.
Three ghouls push the carts with their equipment, and all the luggage is piled on top. Raven, Papa, Omega, and Alpha made their way up front and merged with the crowd. Raven climbed up on a table and scouting out the best way to get out. “Maybe we should have gone out the side door back stage.”, she commented to Omega, but unfortunately a couple of officers stepped in front of the door effectively blocking it. “Fuck.”, Alpha muttered. “Stay calm we need to stay calm and not bring attention to ourselves. People can be heard loudly arguing about keeping the merch they just bought. “Over there some of the food vendors are leaving without harassment. Let’s try that door.”, Raven suggested quietly. “Alright. Let’s go at a casual pace to not draw attention, and let’s meet by the street lights.”, Papa murmured. Raven smirks and starts singing He is by Ghost in the middle of the crowd. It doesn’t take long to get everyone in the crowd to sing too, and the police are yelling to stay quiet. Alpha is the first to make it through the door unnoticed, and shortly after Omega follows through the door. Papa kisses Raven’s cheek “Min Kärlek, go ahead of me.”, Papa whispered opening the door and allowing her to go through.