A Shadow Skill fanfiction by Yen (December 2000)

Author's note: This is a sequel to Consequent.

Disclaimer: Shadow Skill belongs to Megumu Okada and others.

Why do I constantly think of him? Even as they demand my attention to serious problems in Ashilana, my mind forms a picture of his face. My body feels weak though my heart beats faster.

It's foolish of me to even consider him. He belongs to another, and I am fond of them both. If only I could rid myself of this envy which gnaws at my breast whenever I think of him and her.

When did I start feeling this way? When did the thought of a love of my own became so persistent. I shouldn't bother with it at this time, not when others need me now the most.

Still, despite my efforts, I find myself glad to be distracted by the mere thought of him.

The young queen of Juliannes closed the diary and set aside her pen. She felt released, having written her feelings out on paper. Her fingers tightened on the thick leather bound. Please help me to be strong.

She stood up from her desk and walked towards the balance located in the middle of her room. At her approach, a panel in its base slid open, and she placed the book back inside.

A light touch, and the opening was sealed shut. No one except her may open it. Any attempt of force, and the journal inside would be engulfed in Soma.

Concentrated Soma did as much harm as its absence.

Lillbelt took a deep breath and let it out slowly. There would be anarchy should another person take hold of her diary.

Though she knew of at least two individuals who have probably read it already.

"No, I did not read it."

Smiling, she turned to an irritated Dias. The former Valle was comfortably seated in an armchair with a book on his lap. He enjoyed reading.

She laughed softly, "But you read my mind. It's the same thing."

He sniffed, looking unjustly wronged. "No, I didn't. I haven't reached that level yet." She was impressed by the quick progress he made under Darkness' tutelage. It's only been a few days, and already he was strong enough to hold his own essense together without her or Darkness with him.

"You used your intuition then to figure out what I was thinking?" How she enjoyed teasing him. It was something she couldn't do with Darkness."

Dias lifted his book, covering his face. "It was obvious what you were thinking... your Highness." The irritation was gone from his tone, replaced by embarrassment at his disrespectful conduct towards her. She became irritated.

"Stop that."

"Stop what, your Highness?"

She marched over to him and snatched his book away, glaring at him.

"Stop acting distant and polite." She then added hesitantly, "You're no longer one of my subjects. You don't have to treat me like I am someone important."

It was a few silent moments before he answered, "But you are important."

Lillbelt laughed emptily. "No, I'm not. I'm just someone who can gauge the level of Soma."

She returned his book to him, suddenly feeling awkward. "That's all I can do," she said bitterly, "Sense Soma."

He stood up from his chair slowly, leaving his book behind. "That in itself is very important, your Majesty."

"You're just being nice," she replied immediately.

"No, I am not," he said with certainty, "You're not a warrior, your Highness, so you wouldn't understand how important having someone like you is. You warn us when something is wrong with the Soma. You give us needed time to prepare. How can you not be important."

She stared at him uncertainly. "But I cannot even use Soma." Her hands clenched, "Everyone in Ashilana can use Soma to a degree, but I just can't."

Dias looked startled. The very idea was alien. "... That can't be."

Was that pity in his eyes? Unable to bear it, she turned away. Should I tell him what I am though I promise them I would never reveal the truth.

"Your Majesty," She heard him say, "I don't know much about you, but you do not need to tell me anything. No matter what you say, you are important to me and to others. You are Juliannes, which is Ashilana."

Lillbelt winced. It was no use. Like many others, Dias had been trained into unquestionable obedience. Even if he didn't know the entire reason, he believed wholeheartedly in her and Juliannes. Fighters from Kuruda were the most stubborn lot in the whole of Ashilana, the best guard for Juliannes.

She bit her lower lip, deciding to tell him everything, all the secrets and lies he must have suspected when he was still alive. I must make him know all that I know before Darkness turns him into too much his minion. The thought pained her though she cherished Darkness dearly like an older brother.

Slowly, she turned back to Dias, who regarded her with kind, all too gentle eyes. He's innocent, she thought with dread, Too innocent...

Suddenly, he said cheerfully, "Now that the matter of your importance is settled, what is this about Scarface?"

Completely distracted, Lillbelt stared at him. "... You did read!"

"No, I didn't." Turning cross, Dias folded his arms and gave her a look reserved for erstwhile younger siblings. "But I have seen the way your eyes lit up when he's mentioned. He's old enough to be your father, and he's married."

She glared back and up at him. "I don't need you to tell me that," she said huffily. How dare he lecture me?! Utterly insulted, she whirled and stomped away from him.

"What do you women see in him anyway," She heard him mutter as she left the room.


One more sequel to go