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I Want To Break Free

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Before we get to Ermes and her brain problems...I mean, external brain problems, we’ll rewind a little bit.

Joseph has just defeated the unnatural, disturbing Esidisi. He was a disgusting, monstrous creature that cried to let off steam, had boiling blood, and could send his veins out to attack.

Through a frankly unbelievable series of rope tricks, misleading accusations, and a fair amount of line-predicting, however, Joseph had been able to fight him off, and drink the antidote to cure the ring he had placed around his windpipe.

Joseph was now happily humming along to a folksy song he remembers Granny Erina teaching to him, walking from the spike pit to the main island.

Unaware to him, however, Esidisi’s brain (which had escaped from his body before it disintegrated) was hitching a ride on his back.

Joseph put a hand on his shoulder and cracked it, grinning.

“My back is killin’ me! I guess it’s ‘cause I used my head too much in the fight with Esidisi…”

Above the room Ermes was sleeping rather peacefully in, Lisa Lisa was standing out on the balcony, watching the sun rise. She rubbed the Red Stone of Aja as she looked out into the horizon.

“It’s dawn...Caesar and Jojo should be making their way back any time now.”

Suzi Q poked her head in, holding two folded-up blouses: One red, and one white.

“Master Lisa Lisa...Which blouse would you like to wear? There’s nothing wrong with white, but you should go with something snazzier on occasion!”

Lisa Lisa set down the red stone on a nearby table. “I’ll let you pick for me.”

The glass on the table was broken...she wonders why. Just earlier, she was using it to show that Costello woman the wonders of hamon…

Suzi Q sighed. “Okay...I suppose I’ll go with white…b-but, look at this design! I can’t just put it back!”

Lisa Lisa wasn’t really listening.

“...(Did Jojo and Caesar’s final test go alright? For some reason...I feel uneasy. I have an ominous feeling that something has…)”

She cleared her throat, looking back at Suzi Q. “Suzi Q...have Caesar and Jojo come to my room once they’ve returned.” “Oh! Understood!”

Suzi Q looked over the blouses again. “...Actually...I think a nice, refreshing white might be best after all...but, I personally prefer the flashy designs, like this one...oh, which one is best…?! What’s a girl to do?! ...Mmmm...White! No, wait, maybe…”

Lisa Lisa watched her fumble about with her decisions before sighing. “...I suppose I’ll go with the snazzy one, Suzi Q.” “O-Oh, really?! I suppose this one works best for today, then!”

She set down the flashy red blouse, turning around. “I’ll leave you to your daily bath then, master Lisa Lisa~!”

Suzi Q walked out of the room, carrying the white blouse and leaving the Red Stone of Aja in its place on the table.

Joseph was on his way up the stairs, cracking his neck. “Kaahhh...damn, this pain on my back just ain’t going away! Maybe I oughta see a chiropractor or something. Hope I’m not getting old like Granny Erina and threw out my back or somethin’…”

He was passing by a door when...he heard mumbling.

“Hmmm?” He put a hand to his ear. “What was that I heard? Sounded like someone talking in their sleep…”

He stepped back a few steps and pressed his ear up against the door.

Definitely sounds like talking...and it’s definitely that tough girl. Elvis whats-her-face.

“...Well, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if I stepped in for a little bit…”

Joseph took hold of the doorknob and opened it up, stepping in.

Ermes was tangled up in the bedsheets, sweating and mumbling, trapped in some terrible dream.

“...Ggrrghhh...P-Pucci...Sports Maxx...urrghh...g-get that fuckin’ fish away from me…”

“(Hm? What’s this chick even talking about? Maybe she is delusional and Lisa Lisa just made a bad call…)”

He walked over to the bed and bent down a little, staring at her.

Her arm moved a little, pulling on the edge of her green denim vest-thing. Seems she’s kinda hot in that turtleneck she’s wearing…

...Heh, well, I guess she wouldn’t mind if he copped a little feel...I mean, she’s sleeping, so it’s alright, right? She’ll never even know…

Joseph put out his hand and moved towards her chest before…

...He heard singing from the hallway.

“Oh! That must be that maid girl, Suzi Q! Haven’t talked with her in a while...might as well greet her! Who knows, maybe she’ll give me a kiss for my bravery, heheh~”

He hurried on out of the room, closing the door behind him.

[ Wake up...little woman…WAKE UP, ALREADY! ]

...Ermes muttered and mumbled, slowly opening her eyes. “...Hhurrghh...the fuck was that…?”

She felt some...slithering, on her back. Must’ve been the bedsheets...She sat up, cracking her neck and yawning. “Ugghh...my head...my back, too...Actually, jeez, my back a lot, what’s up with it…?”

[ I’ll tell you what’s going on...You’re going to be possessed...by ME! THE MIGHTY ESIDISI! ]

Ermes had barely a clue of what was going on, but she was alarmed anyways. “W-What?! What the hell is that supposed to mean?! Who’s Esidisi?!” She whipped her head around. “And who the hell is Esidisi?!”

[ No more questions...All I need you to do for me...is let me control you! Just like… ]

Ermes felt her mind immediately be overwritten with that of Esidisi.

That is...Esidisi overwrote this sap of a woman’s mind.

He straightened his back, slithering up out of the bed and striking a pose. “This! Hahahah...it’s been a while since I’ve performed this technique...but, to the task at hand! The Red Stone of Aja...That Lisa Lisa woman has it with her most if not at all times! That’s what I have to obtain!”

He put his hands on his hips, sighing. “But how to do it…? Ah!” He snapped his fingers. “The perfect plan...hahaha...I’ll use this young woman as my catalyst!”

Ermes walked out of the bedroom, groggy and tired. “Uurrghhh…” She put a hand to her head and looked around as she staggered out of the bedroom. Joseph and Suzi Q were talking.

“That’s right! Master Lisa Lisa asked for you to come to her room after you returned. She’s in the bath right now, though, so give her 30 minutes or so.”

“Gotcha I was gonna head that way anyways! They learned around the Red Stone!”

As they meaninglessly blathered on about romance and the Red Stone or whatever, Ermes staggered on past them. The two of them didn't even notice, roped into their conversation as she listlessly trudged on towards the balcony that Lisa Lisa was taking a bath on.

She managed to get to the door, opening it up.

Lisa Lisa didn't turn around, figuring it was just Suzi Q coming in for a status update.

“Suzi Q…? Have Jojo and Caesar returned yet?”

Ermes suddenly became aware of what she was doing. “Urk--!! Shit, sorry! D-Didn't know you were taking a bath...I-I was lookin’ for the bathroom, was all!” Lisa Lisa sighed, shaking her head and glancing back. “It’s understandable. I really should put up some signs...just hurry out and lock the door behind you.”

“Y-You got it!”

Ermes quickly turned back around and slammed the door.

...That is, Esidisi did. Raising his hand, in it was the Red Stone of Aja. “That’s it…! Lucky thing I was able to snatch this thing while she was distracted! Now…” He turned around, ready to head down to the docks and send this stone off to Switzerland, when…

“Yo! Elvis whats-her-face!” “GYAGH!!” That was Joseph...shit! Where is he going to hide this thing?!

...He has an idea.

He pulled the collar of the turtleneck out, tucking the red stone into the sweater where it’d be safely hidden among her chest.

Hmph...he wouldn’t dare look in there. He relinquished control to Ermes, who blinked her eyes and turned around, rubbing her head. “...Er, what was I…?” ...Oh. It’s that guy. Sigh.

“...Uh, hey man. How’s it goin’?” “I could say the same for you! Earlier, I saw you sneaking out of your room while me and Suzi Q were talking! What’re you doing on over here near Lisa Lisa’s room?”

Esidisi pulled a few mental strings, tucked safely into Ermes’ body and clothes, to make her say a few things for him...He’s sure she wouldn’t mind such a small favor.

“Oh, I was just heading out to the shores to clear my mind, is all. No big deal.”

Joseph rubbed his chin, humming. “Hm. Guess that makes sense…”

He looked Ermes over…

“...Hey, has your chest gotten bigger or something?”

Ermes delivered a strong uppercut to his stomach before turning around and walking away without a word.

Esidisi snickered in his thoughts. Now, off to the docks…

Joseph watched her go, holding his stomach and coughing. “(koff koff) Damn…! It was just a question…” Sigh. “...Guess I’ll just wait out here for Lisa Lisa to come out, then...30 minutes, right? I suppose that right here next to…”

He lowered himself to the knob.

“...This keyhole is as good a place as any! And while I’m waiting, would it really be a crime to keep an eye through this keyhole…?”

Joseph peeked in through the keyhole, hooting to himself as he got an eyeful of a naked Lisa Lisa.

“Niiiiiice!!” He pumped his fists before returning to his ‘watchful gaze’ through the keyhole.

A short time passed, Joseph diligently watching through the keyhole, before Ermes returned.

He glanced over to her, standing back up. “Hey, Elmo! How’d the walk go? You clear that thick skull of yours up?”

Ermes hung her head down, dreadlocks masking her face as she trudged forward towards him.

“...Hey, what’s up? Weather got you down or somethin’? You sure seemed pretty lively earlier, punchin’ me and all...speaking of which, I gotta pay you back for that, you bastard!” He clenched his fists, pointing at her. “Would you rather I kiss you until you scream? Or, how about tickling you until you piss your pants?”

Ermes stopped in front of him, silent. “...”

“...Hey, c’mon, it’s no fun if you’re just acting like a brick wall. Say something, already!”

...She started laughing.

“...Heheheh...Hehahahahah…” As she laughed, her voice became more masculine, more gravelly and rough.

“...GehahaHAHAHAHA...GYEGAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! YOU FOOOOL!! YOU STILL DON’T REALIZE IT?! I’VE POSSESSED THIS WOMAN’S BODY!”

She flipped her head up, dreadlocks flowing back as she stared at him. The usual tough look in her eyes was instead replaced with one of insane malice, a twisted grin on her face as the veins in her flesh protruded and her flesh bubbled and pulsed with Esidisi’s burning blood, unsuited for a normal human’s body.

Joseph stepped back, frowning. “S-Shit! Esidisi?! You’re still alive?!”

OF COURSE I AM! AND YOU…”

“...AAAAALLLL OF YOU…”

“...WILL BE MY FINAL VICTIMS!