By Saint Erythros 


Lord Jadeite -- freshly rested, fed, and clad -- stepped out of his chambers and 
nodded condescendingly to Aneiron, who hovered cross-legged just above and to 
the left of the door. 
"Good morning, my lord," said the redhead cheerfully.  "The Dai Shahre has asked 
to see you at your convenience -- which, I ought to tell you, with Himself means 
immediately or sooner.  He'd be awfully pleased if he could ask you a couple of 
questions about the Dark Kingdom and some records we've found, and - oh - about 
the place in the primary plane --" 
Jadeite interrupted.  "Tokyo?"  He wondered, what records?  What did these 
'records' say about me? 
"Is that what they call it?  Sure.  Tokyo," said Aneiron agreeably.  He unfolded 
his legs and jumped to the floor at Jadeite's right.  He bowed extravagantly, 
eyes dancing.  "If you would follow me, my lord." 
Aneiron led the way, chattering a steady stream of nonsense.  He didn't seem to 
require any reply from his companion, so Jadeite was free to ruminate in 
Aneiron might be powerful enough to break me free from one of Beryl's spells, 
but he is nothing more than a babbling, if vaguely amusing, idiot.  Dhearec, now 
-- he's more powerful, and more loyal, thaan any youma I've ever seen.  If only 
Beryl hadn't sent me to sleep inside that crystal!  I need to know what has 
happened since my imprisonment! 
Well, time for that soon enough.  What mattered now was that he make a good 
impression on this Dai Shahre so that the warlord would agree to help him gain 
his revenge on the Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen. 
Not Tuxedo Kamen -- he is my master, Prince Endymion! 
Jadeite felt a shriek ripping thourhg his mind.  Perhaps the crystal had sent 
him insane -- the voice simply would not let up.  The red clouds of pain 
returned in full force, ripping and tearing at his sanity.  He tried to banish 
them by thinking of something else, something less... controversial. 
He bit his lip, trained his mind on youma.  Yes.  Good.  Youma. Youma was a safe 
topic, wouldn't send him batty. 
He must still have an army out there, as Kunzite and Zoisite had had -- troops 
loyal to him first and to Beryl secondly.  Only Nephrite, of all the generals, 
had disdained youma troops.  For Nephrite, his magic and his stars were army 
And even better than an army, Jadeite had had a spy ring.  His information 
network, extending all over the Dark Kingdom and most of the Earth, had been so 
good that even Beryl had from time to time demanded information that even her 
spiders and whisperers simply could not get.  Since Kunzite and Nephrite were so 
much more powerful than he in pure magickal skill, and Zoisite could triumph 
over him in sheer viciousness, Jadeite had always had to count on his superior 
information to maintain his edge.  Knowledge was power; had that really been 
true, then Jadeite would have been sole and undisputed ruler of the Dark 
He was certain that at least a few of his spies, youma and non-youma, must have 
survived whatever disaster had overtaken the Dark Kingdom.  If so, then it would 
be child's play to regain all of the power that he had lost.  Knowledge... 
perhaps some of his youma were even now gathering information on the Dai Shahre 
and his Silver Flames. Jadeite savored the thought. Always have a way out; 
always have a knife ready to be thrown at your allies. 
Jadeite became aware that they were at the entrance to the throne room.  The 
shield-spell over the vast hall still held; Jadeite couldn't see within the 
opaque blue mist.  He prepared to teleport within the shield, and paused. 
"Aneiron," he commanded, "take us inside." 
The redhead ceased his flow of chatter, looked puzzled.  "In there?  But -- " 
"Do as I say," Jadeite said tonelessly.  That icy voice had been known to make 
even mighty Lord Kunzite feel a bit uneasy. 
Aparently, it still worked; the redhead looked sulky, but obediently stopped 
walking.  He looked at the opaque blue shield over the open doors to the throne 
room, and shrugged. 
Then he did something unpardonable.  He actually reached out and grasped Lord 
Jadeite's shoulder, at the same time touching the shield.  He spoke a few words 
in a liliting, highly tonal lanugage: among the words he used was Jadeite's own 
Jadeite was, at first, too dumfounded to speak.  Aneiron had touched him.  Had 
actually touched him without permission.  Not the slowest youma was stupid 
enough to lay a finger on a king without that king's orders. 
Before Jadeite could gather his wits enough to blast this insolent 
Zoisite-wannabe into oblivion, Aneiron had let go his shoulder and grabbed his 
hand instead.  The redheaded Shondarin yanked him through the shield  into the 
throne room. 
Jadeite gaped: first that he had actually managed to physically pass through the 
throne room shield and live; second because the throne room was -- different.  
Extremely different. 
"Watch your step there, my lord," Aneiron cautioned him, ducking as a plate 
sailed over his head.  "The boys an' girls get a bit feisty after we feed 'em." 
A mess hall.  Jadeite tried to fit his mind around this concept.  And failed.  
The Shondarins had turned Beryl's hall of doom, her throne room, the brain of 
the Dark Kingdom, into a mess hall. 
Impossible.  In-con-ceiv-able.  Yet the evidence was right there in front of his 
disbelieving eyes. 
Beryl's throne dais was now an officers' table, evidently; at least the 
Shondarins eating there had uniforms the same as the rankers wore, save for 
insignia of rank sewn on the left sleeve.  Jadeite noted that at least half of 
the soldiers, in addition to having a silver flame sewn on the left breast of 
the black coats, also had a long strip of black cloth loosely wrapped around 
neck and shoulders.  He wondered absently about this for a moment; Dhearec and 
Aneiron also had such strips of cloth. 
His question was abruptly answered as he bumped into someone. 
That someone happened to be six foot two, two hundred and fifty pounds of brown, 
square young man; one who slowly turned and glared down at Jadeite with eyes of 
dark brown fire. 
"Another forsotar," the young man gravelled in a tone of high disgust and 
resignation.  "What is it about me that I just attractbastards?"  Amid a ripple 
of laughter from his tablemates, the brown man stepped forward to confront 
Jadeite.  He reached up and quickly wrapped the cloth over his head and face, 
leaving only his eyes to show. 
Oh ... like a ninja's headscarf and veil, Jadeite thought, a light dawning.  He 
ducked as the brown young man suddenly made a lunge in his direction. 
Aneiron stepped between them immediately, green eyes glittering coldly. 
"Feriom," he said softly, the laughing young man gone and in his place a 
commanding lord.  "Do I really have to rip out your hearts and make you eat 
them?  This is Lord Jadeite, ruler of this place.  Show him proper respect, or I 
swear before Saints Madros and Ledo that I'll drag you to the Dai Shahre by your 
The brown young man yanked down his veil, face abashed.  "But he still knocked 
into me," he protested.  "And he looks like a forsotar!" He paused, stared at 
Aneiron then at Jadeite. "And why are you guiding a forsotar around, de'Aneiron? 
Is that what the Dai Shahre's aides do now, babysit for aliens?" 
Jadeite decided that he had had enough of this nonsense.  "Enough," he said 
sharply.  He gave the brown man, Feriom, a cold stare, and said almost as an 
afterthought, "I will remember you."  Then he snapped at Aneiron, "Take me to 
the Dai Shahre at once." 
"That's what I was trying to do," Aneiron said, looking injured.  The 
poison-green eyes suddenly danced, and he seemed to stifle a laugh.  "Certainly, 
my lord.  If you will permit me to teleport us this time -" 
"That will do," said Jadeite. 
Aneiron reached out and lightly rested his fingertips on Jadeite's gray sleeve; 
the air around them fogged and misted.  And they were there. 
The room was brilliantly lit; the harsh white light sprang from crystal globes 
hovering in each ceiling corner.  Glowglobes.  Hmm.  These people spend magic 
like madmen!  The room was a mixture of a laboratory, an intelligence center, 
and a training salle: one wall was devoted entirely to various screens and 
monitors, script and images and messages in an unfamiliar language flowing by 
faster than Jadeite's keen eye could follow; another wall was hung with various 
banners, presumably captured by the Dai Shahre in his military campaigns, as 
well as blades hung reverently on pegs and one small painting of an elegantly 
lovely, red-haired, blue-eyed woman; the wall behind the great desk, the wall 
that Jadeite and Aneiron faced, was completely bare save for one long counter 
running the length of it, containing various alembics, books, even softly 
glowing crystals of every imaginable hue. 
It was not a room that Jadeite had ever seen before in all his time in the Dark 
Kingdom.  The Shondarins must have built it themselves, sometime after the 
greedy soldiers had shown up and taken possession, without so much as a 
by-your-leave, of the only home that Jadeite had ever known. 
But what about Earth! cried that annoying, weeping voice deep in his mind.  The 
court of Prince Endymion, the balls, the training, the trust of my friends and 
fellow Lord Generals to the Imperial family of Terra  -- and Princess Rei; for 
her sake I learned to love the red vistas of Mars as my home as well!  This 
dismal gray place cannot be my home -- I belong with beloved Rei and Prince 
He shoved that voice away, jaw clenching in rage and fright.  He was his own 
person, a general of the Dark Kingdom, and not captive to whatever insane thread 
that damned bloody crystal might have touched off. 
He glanced at the room again, but only for a moment.  All of this quick scan, 
naturally, was recalled from Jadeite's memory later; for the entire time he was 
in that unforgivingly brilliant room, he could look at nothing save the Dai 
The Dai Shahre sat behind the desk, reading a rapidly-scrolling document on a 
three-dimensional monitor.  As soon as he became aware that there were two 
invaders of his office, he reached out and thumbed a switch on the dizzying 
control panel of the desk.  The display ceased; the Dai Shahre reached for a 
tall staff that rested by his tall-backed chair.  He stood, leaning heavily on 
the peculiar staff. 
He was tall, was the Shondarin Warlord; not so tall as Dhearec, but broader 
across chest and shoulder, and certainly outmassing Jadeite by a good fifty 
pounds of solid muscle.  He was draped in a heavy, thick black cloak that 
covered him from throat to ankle; under it, Jadeite caught a glimpse of the same 
black coat and breeches that the Shondarin soldiery wore.  The cloak's deep 
black hood was pulled forward over the Warlord's face, casting an impenetrable 
shadow through which only the deep black eyes of the Shondarin showed.  The only 
indication of rank was the everpresent silver flame on the left breast of the 
cloak; superimposed over it was a dull silver circlet. 
The staff caught Jadeite's attention for a moment: it was too thick to be a 
proper spear, yet the foot-long, slightly curved blade attached to the top 
prevented it from being a traditional stave.  It might have been a bastardized 
halberd, save that the blade was more that of a scythe than of a traditional 
pike. It might have been a glaive, save that the haft was slightly too thick and 
the curved blade was not doubled. Jadeite was at a loss to catalogue it; he 
loved weapons, even though Beryl and his fellow generals had always scorned 
physical defense.  Yet not in all of Jadeite's long years of martial expertise 
had he ever seen a staff like this.  His hands itched to wield it, just to swing 
it experimentally. 
Regardless of precise definition, it was obviously a weapon ancient, magical, 
and quite as deadly as the man who leaned so unobtrusively on it. 
The Dai Shahre threw back the black hood, stood regarding Jadeite with a pair of 
impossibly liquid black eyes, thin lips curved slightly in a half-smile.  
Jadeite worshiped him on sight; if ever he had been asked to describe a god, he 
would have catalogued the features of this man here: short black hair framing a 
face of sharply-carved planes and angles, severe and angular in every detail, 
skin a smooth polished dark brown.  Jadeite hadn't believed that there could be 
a man more epicenely beautiful than Kunzite; here was the evidence to the 
The Shondarin Warlord studied him in return; the force of will behind those 
black eyes was even more staggering than was his perfect dark beauty.  Jadeite 
gained the distinct impression that even though the man was calm, this was his 
normal expression: one of focussed hungry intelligence.  Probably when he was 
angry, tapestries burst into flame and walls burst asunder when he looked at 
"Lord Jadeite," the Dai Shahre said at last, neutrally.  The voice was somehow 
wrong, detracting from the dark perfection of the Dai Shahre's angular beauty.  
It was rich and deep, melodic, the voice of a singer; but it had a metallic 
edge, a faint sibilance, a serpentine hiss that ruined the Warlord's 
flawlessness.  "You are not what I expected." 
"To be honest," said Jadeite, tilting his chin and meeting arrogance for 
arrogance, "you are not either, Dai Shahre." 
The black eyes narrowed, then opened wide.  "You may address me as 
'dai'Merolan,'" the serpentine voice said detachedly.  Aneiron stiffened in 
evident shock.  "You may sit as well."  This time, Aneiron's jaw actually 
dropped open. 
The Dai Shahre seated himself, slowly and deliberately; Jadeite found something 
vaguely disturbing about the action, although he couldn't quite pinpoint it.  
Likely it was the man's boneless grace, also reminiscent of a dark snake. 
Perfect as the Dai Shahre appeared to be, as undeniably compelling as the man's 
aura of power and command was, something about him grated at Jadeite, now that 
the initial awe had ebbed a bit.  Aneiron apparently found nothing wrong; he 
gazed at his commander with pure devotion and worship. 
Jadeite found the back of his knees nudged by something; glancing behind him, he 
found it to be a chair.  He took the hint and sat down, settling himself while 
never taking away his gaze from the dark man across from him. 
"Aneiron," said the Dai Shahre abruptly.  "You may leave us, my son." 
 "What?" The redhead looked poleaxed. "I'm ... I'm dismissed?" 
"Yes," said the Dai Shahre, angular features reflowing into a configuration of 
beginning annoyance. "As in, immediately, instantly, or right now." 
A tic moved briefly under the redhead's left eye. For one moment, the adoration 
was underlaid by sheer stark terror, which Jadeite found both startling and 
"Yessir, my lord," Aneiron said at once, tone crisp with an undertone of puzzled 
hurt.  He saluted, fist to left breast, and vanished. 
No cherry blossoms.  He isn't Zoisite reborn, no matter how elfin he is. 
"Tell me of the other rulers of the Dark Kingdom," the Dai Shahre commanded, 
sitting straight and tall.  "Begin with the dead queen, then tell me of those 
men whose death-traces still linger in the great chamber." 
"I am the ruler of this place," said Jadeite, forcing himself to meet the 
burning gaze with a glare of his own.  Great Metallia, but it was hard.  He was 
aware that his expression had settled into the cold disdainful mask common to 
him; the Dai Shahre first stiffened in outrage, then relaxed and nodded in 
confirmation that Jadeite was indeed his equal.  Jadeite allowed himself a brief 
feeling of victory; he suddenly wanted this man's respect more than he had ever 
wanted anything in all the world. 
"I am ruler of the Dark Kingdom," Jadeite repeated, leaning back in his chair, 
"and I will be treated as such, dai'Merolan.  Your people have come into my 
kingdom without permission, laying waste to my people the youma and to my palace 
"'My people,'" said the Dai Shahre coolly, "the Silver Flames of Shondar, found 
this place in ruins and took more than a year to rebuild it to what you see now. 
 My people freed you from your crystal prison, Lord Jadeite.  You owe your very 
life and your rule to my son Aneiron." 
"'Your son,'" Jadeite repeated, allowing just a hint of inquiry to enter his 
The Dai Shahre looked puzzled for just an instant, then the perfect face broke 
into a surprisingly sunny smile.  "A typical address for a Shondarin commander," 
he said.  "My soldiers are my children, much as the civilians are the children 
of the Emperor.  They are good soldiers," the Dai Shahre said.  "Such good 
children.  -- Aneiron is my ... legate, my first lieutenant, my Chief of Staff.  
He speaks with my voice to my children; he saved my life and my sanity at the 
Battle of the White Rose.  He is a tactician and a strategist, than which there 
is none finer in all Shondar -- save myself," he added with no conceit; he was 
just stating a fact.  There was no conceit in Merolan al'Ledo, despite all his 
arrogance; he lacked the imagination for it. 
He paused, looked at Jadeite detachedly.  "You have gone pale, Lord Jadeite." 
Jadeite was aware of it; he had felt the blood drain from his face.  
Tactician... The Military Academy of Tokyo... he was the main strategist for the 
armies of Prince Endymion...  Endymion always said, laughing, that only Jadeite, 
out of all the generals, could manage to play seven different chess games at 
once with the armies of Earth as gamepieces  -- and still win. 
He shook himself angrily.  He was Beryl's strategist, dammit, and these false 
memories had no place in his universe. 
"I am all right," he said steadily.  "I would know what you are doing in my 
kingdom at all, dai'Merolan.  You are invaders in the Dark Kingdom, and I don't 
appreciate your incursion into this plane." 
Stupid, he cursed himself, even as the words came out.  He needed this man's 
help in his half-formed plan of vengeance against the Senshi.  He didn't need to 
be offending this man. 
Fortunately, the Dai Shahre seemed to take no offense. 
"We are not invaders," said dai'Merolan, with what Jadeite suspected and later 
learned for certain was unusual patience.  He was not a man noted for either his 
patience or his tact, was dai'Merolan.  "This is not a mission of conquest, Lord 
Jadeite; neither I nor the other two Thronelords of the Empire have any interest 
in the Dark Kingdom nor in the primary-plane worlds of this solar system. 
"No, Lord Jadeite; I am interested in only one thing.  Roughly two years ago, 
one of my scientist-mages reported an unusual power-signature in this general 
area of space.  You must know that up until now, this entire Galaxy has lain 
undetected by all of Shondar.  We are scattered throughout the other Six 
Galaxies, and with them we have been content for the past three million years.  
We are Shondar, the mightiest sept of all time; we have bought, conquered, or 
otherwise control twenty percent of the Six Galaxies, making the Empire of 
Caesarea roughly equal to an entire Galactic disk.  The Emperor, the Soul of 
Shondar, is the single most powerful being in all the Universe. 
"Yet, for all our power, Lord Jadeite, there is one race who can always find a 
way to harm us.  The Mer'Eliy." 
Jadeite, fascinated despite his impatience to get down to business, listened.  
He noted the clenched, gloved, fists; wondered at the hatred that permeated the 
Dai Shahre at the mere mention of the Mer'Eliy. 
"You would call the Mer'Eliy 'demons,'" said dai'Merolan calmly, sibilant voice 
rock-steady.  "There have been thr- two great incursions into the primary plane 
by the Mer'Eliy in all of Shondar's three million years.  The first time, they 
were driven back by the Six Perfect Saints, led by Madros the Tall and 
Amberylinnissa Lalandra the Golden.  The second time, by the Tamyrlin, Saint 
Jarada Shinare, and by the Empress Lavian Firestorm." 
He paused, looked directly at Jadeite.  "Each time, the Mer'Eliy ShadowPrinces 
have left certain power-signatures, evidences of dark sorcery and blood-magic.  
Each time, the ArchDemons have scattered corrupt power like oil over water. 
"And two years ago, Dhearec sor'Wyarven Madros, a Healing Adept of Master-mage 
rank, found those same power-signatures here, in this solar system, in this 
particular pocket of reality.  Here, in the Dark Kingdom, spilling over into the 
primary plane at the north pole of Terra, and in the city of Tokyo." 
The Dai Shahre looked at Jadeite coldly.  "This dead queen of yours, Beryl, was 
a sorceress that Wralama herself would have damned.  There are records that my 
Silver Flames have found, Lord Jadeite.  Beryl was unfit to live, much less to 
call herself queen over the people she murdered." 
"You are a soldier," snapped Jadeite.  "You must have killed people, yourself. 
You are a ruler. You must have ordered executions." 
The ebony eyes flamed.  "Oh, please," the Dai Shahre said in cold disgust.  
"When I kill, it is in battle, in bloody war.  When I kill, Lord Jadeite, it is 
according to Caesarea's Law: never anyone unarmed or unwarned, never a child 
under Balance, never an Onnan, never a Thronelord.  When I kill, Lord Jadeite, 
there is a reason behind it other than because I merely felt like having blood 
on my hands. Executions? Your queen thought nothing of slaughtering a village of 
youma as an exercise in group dynamics. The entire purpose of a queen is to 
protect her people against such monstrosities. She failed that one vital 
qualification for royalty and as she is a failure I am pleased, aesthetically as 
well as morally, that she is no longer regnant." 
Despite Jadeite's dim outrage that anyone speak of his queen in such contempt, 
that wretched voice spoke up joyously: Prince Endymion would have loved this 
man; for my Prince's sake, for betrayed Endymion, I will trust him. 
Jadeite felt like screaming.  Wouldn't that damned voice leave?  Was not even 
his brain his own anymore? 
"In any case, Lord Jadeite, Beryl was a dark sorceress," the Dai Shahre said at 
last, "and she was under the sway of an ArchDemon which apparently gave the name 
of Metallia.  Not Its real Name, of course.  Names have power, and the Names of 
Mer'Eliy even more so.  The Mer'Eliy are composed of neither energy nor matter, 
but of chaos itself, the raw power that turns suns and shapes the Universe.  To 
give it identity, to give it enough cohesion to give it a self, it must have a 
label, a Name.  If you know that Name, you can change it -- and if you can 
change the Name of an ArchDemon, you can change the Demon itself. 
"I must find the Name of this Metallia, and change It before the ArchDemon can 
fully extend Itself into the primary plane.  Beryl and her idiocy put it here, 
in the midplane, dormant and sleeping; unfortunately, Dhearec tells me that 
about two years ago something woke the ArchDemon and enabled It to actively seek 
entrance to the primary plane." 
The Dai Shahre looked grim, the perfect, austere face cold.  "Lord Jadeite.  I 
have been assured that you had little or nothing to do with the ArchDemon's 
awakening.  Beyond that, I care not; you could have murdered six million by your 
own hand for all I know or care, and still I would ask your assistance. I need 
your assistance. 
"You know this place, you know this plane, you know the area of Terra wherein 
the ArchDemon's power is most heavily concentrated.  Dhearec has informed me 
that you are intelligent and that you have the latent Gift of a military 
magician, a warlock.  Aneiron has told me that you are arrogant and that you are 
essentially solitary and do not mesh well with other people.  Both have spoken 
of your undeniable gift for command and -- " The Dai Shahre paused; was that a 
smile that briefly sped across the thin lips? -- "And I have been told that you 
defeated Gurean Forsotar, a full Patterner, at shra'velen.  I consider that as 
good as a commendation from the Strategists at St. Kieran Academy. 
"I offer you a bargain, Lord Jadeite, favor for a favor. 
"Join your Dark Kingdom and yourself to my children, my Silver Flames, and 
myself; ally yourself with me to defeat the ArchDemon Metallia.  Your favor to 
"I will give you my word as Prince of the Iron Throne, one of the Three 
Thronelords of the Empire of Caesarea, that you will be granted the status of 
Friend and Ally of Shondar -- and that you will never fear invasion, 
intimidation, or any other threat from any sept in the Seven Galaxies for the 
rest of your days.  Your kingdom will be allied to the Empire of Caesarea, with 
the Crystal, Willow, Iron Thrones of Shondar.  My favor to you. 
"Do we have an agreement, you and I?  Will you help me to defeat the ArchDemon?" 

The Dai Shahre looked at him measuringly, equal to equal; Jadeite met that 
blazingly attractive arrogance with a grim smile and the words, "dai'Merolan, I 
give you my word as Lord of the Dark Kingdom that I will help you drive the 
ArchDemon out of this plane, and that I will aid you in defeating the 
ArchDemon's pets, the Sailor Senshi." 
The Dai Shahre silently held out his left hand, palm up; after an initial 
hesitation in which Jadeite tried to figure out what he was supposed to do, the 
Dark King placed his own left hand, palm down, on dai'Merolan's. 
"Well struck," said dai'Merolan, reclaiming his black-gloved hand.  "I am sworn 
to you and your cause now... Do not forget that you are sworn to mine."  The 
black eyes bored into his with sudden intensity; Jadeite felt a reluctant 
kinship with the dark man.  That yammering voice in his brain spoke up, 
cloyingly: Blood-oath is a strict duty; I will have to cleave to this man far 
more loyally than I did to poor Endymion. 
Jadeite screamed at the voice to shut up, had the satisfaction of feeling it 
beat a hasty retreat into the deep recesses of his mind. 
The Dai Shahre said, studying him, "And now I would hear of the Sailor Senshi, 
these 'pets' of the ArchDemon.  What are they?" 
Jadeite smiled.  And proceeded to tell his new ally all about the ArchDemon's 
puppets, masquerading as teenage girls. 
He especially enjoyed the screams and peals of anguish that rang out from the 
voice in his head when he emphasized that of all the Senshi and their allies, 
the masked man known as Tuxedo Kamen absolutely had to die. 

To Part Three
Dude. End of Part II. I'm just zippin' right along here, ne? 
If you find yourself with an uncontrollable urge to e-mail me, here's a 
conveeeeeenient addy for that very reason. Use it, yo. Saint Erythros


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