By Saint Erythros 


"You did what?" 
"Don't overreact, Meran.  Honestly. All I did was attach him to the Soul of 
Shondar.  He'll deal with it....  I think." 

Lord Kunzite was the first to awaken. 
He rolled over on his side, noting that this was most definitely not his 
He stiffened, extending his Mage-Vision over the entire room, then over the 
entire building, then over the entire surrounding lands. 
Gaia!  This entire place stank of demon! 
He rose to his feet, albeit a bit wobbily, and gazed around.  Without noticing 
it, he put a hand down on the bier upon which he had been lying.  He needed the 
extra support; it was beginning to dawn on him where he must be. 
He was in the Dark Kingdom, domain of that lying sorceress-bitch Beryl. 
Behind him, he could hear something stir. 
He whirled, a killing spell ready on his lips. 
On the other bier, Zoisite was struggling to sit up, beautiful face confused. 
Kunzite rushed to him.  "Zoi-chan!"  He cradled the diminutive man in his arms, 
for the moment content to merely hold his beloved and let the dear remembered 
scent of Zoisite -- the perfume of cherry blossoms -- sink deep into him. 
"Where are we?" Zoisite asked finally, voice slightly muffled against Kunzite's 
chest.  "And why does it reek of evil?" 
Kunzite sighed, pressing the head of coppery curls closer.  "We're in the Dark 
Kingdom, beloved.  I don't know how we got here, or how Beryl managed to 
overcome my wards, but I think that we must assume that Beryl succeeded in 
striking at Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion." 
Zoisite stiffened in his arms, pushing away to look him in the face.  
"Kunzaito-sama, how could that happen?  Prince Endymion has all the armies of 
Earth, and Princess Serenity has the Senshi -- " 
Kunzite hushed him, head cocked to one side, listening.  {Someone comes, 
dearheart.  Be ready; it feels like a demon.} 
The great door opened, admitting a being who carried a tray in her misshapen 
hands.  She limped, very badly, and there were open wounds all over her.  She 
was very grubby, blood and dirt combining to form a uniquely pungent poultice 
for her sores.  In appearance, she was nearly human; only the 
preternaturally-huge, gray eyes and abnormally long hands and claws gave away 
her demonic nature. 
As soon as she saw the two men sitting on the bier, she almost dropped the tray. 
 She immediately set it aside, falling to her knees in an extravagant kowtow. 
"My lords!  My lords!  You live again!" 
Kunzite held back the spell that would have killed her instantly.  The devotion 
shining forth from those blind-looking gray eyes, the loyalty practically 
dripping from her light sweet voice, could not be counterfeit.  "What is your 
name?" he said at last.  Without looking, he reached over and firmly took away 
the ice crystal from Zoisite. 
{Not yet, beloved.  Let me find out what I need to know.} 
{If you wish, Kunzaito-sama....}  His Zoi-chan was openly dubious, but as always 
bowed to his will. 
The youma wilted slightly, looking hurt.  "I am Cirra, Lord Kunzite, Lord 
Zoisite.  Don't you remember me, your most faithful servant?  Me, whom you gave 
the tools in order to bring you both back from death?  Lord Kunzite, Lord 
Zoisite, I have served you both faithfully ever since you joined our Queen 
Kunzite reeled.  He was dimly aware of Zoisite's muttered exclamation, extremely 
and biologically obscene; he was only marginally more aware of the youma's look 
of surprise. 
They -- ?  Had joined Queen Beryl?  Gaia!  We betrayed Prince Endymion?  Why 
don't I remember any of this? 
"Cirra," he said, recovering his mental balance.  "How long has it been since we 
joined Queen Beryl?" 
Queen Beryl, wasn't that rich.  The bitch couldn't wait to be Endymion's 
princess-consort, couldn't wait to be crowned Empress of Earth when Endymion was 
raised to his father's throne.  Kunzite had always felt that Beryl was far too 
ambitious to be a good match for Endymion; but to declare herself a queen?  That 
took true chutzpah. It was roughly on par with a molehill announcing itself to 
be the next Krakatoa, or of Napoleon III thinking he was even worthy to breathe 
the same air that Napoleon I had. 
"It has been a bit more than five thousand years since the Silver Millennium 
fell, my lord," replied the youma, obviously bewildered by her lords' 
forgetfulness.  "Surely you remember, lord?  It was you and the other generals 
who managed to infiltrate the Moon Kingdom, seducing the Senshi into giving you 
and the Queen the necessary ways to take down the shields!" 
Although he had been expecting something vaguely like this, Kunzite still felt a 
blow of numb shock spread through him.  Treachery, he thought, coldness almost 
stilling his heart.  We, Prince Endymion's most trusted counselors -- I, 
Zoisite, Nephrite, young Jadeite -- we, the Lord Generals of Earth, betrayed 
Endymion and his Princess Serenity?  Inconceivable - but here is the evidence: 
that we are within the Dark Kingdom of Beryl, served by a youma. 
And there was something else bothering him about the youma's statement....  "You 
brought us back from death?" 
{Kunzite, beloved, you don't trust this demon -- do you?} 
{I see no reason for her to lie.  Besides, dearheart, I've been Truth-Spelling 
her.  She's telling the absolute truth.  Like it or not, my love -- and I don't 
-- we betrayed Endymion and Earth.} 
"Oh, yes, my lord," said Cirra, still kneeling.  By now, the aroma of food had 
drifted over to Kunzite; he realized that the creature must have been on her way 
to bring them a meal when they had wakened.  He wondered how she had been 
planning to force-feed them, had they still been asleep. 
"You yourself, Lord Kunzite, taught me the charm to sing over the soulstones," 
she continued.  "I managed to get a piece of zoisite and a piece of kunzite from 
the quarries, and I put them under the great dome -- "  She gestured upward; 
Kunzite followed the pointing claw, discovered that the entire roof was a cupola 
made wholly of pure lilac kunzite.  He mentally gasped at the expense: kunzite 
was the most powerful and rare magickal gemstone, and an entire roof made of it 
must have cost the earth.  He smiled sourly.  Apparently, for him, it literally 
"And I sang the charm," Cirra went on, "and the soulstones glowed.  I had to 
leave for a minute, since there was another youma, one who's gone over to the 
black-clad soldiers, and I had to kill him before he could disturb any of Lord 
Zoisite's traps."  She bobbed a quick kneeling bow to Zoisite, added 
apologetically, "Forgive me, lord, but some of your traps ... exploded before 
now, and if any more go off, the castle could collapse." 
It did sound like something that Zoisite would do; Kunzite's beloved little rat 
had always been of the opinion that the best traps were the kind that allowed 
you to find the burglar easily.  One simply does not miss a pile of dust that 
"But when I came back, my lord, your bodies were lying there, on the biers, fast 
asleep.  I could not wake you, and left you to recover your strength while I 
tried to find food.  That was three hours ago, my lords." 
Kunzite was silent a moment.  It sounded like something that he would have 
devised; he had long known of the metaphysically-conducive qualities of his and 
Zoisite's soulstones.  And the charm....  "What was the charm?" he demanded.  
"Tell me." 
The youma sang it, in a shockingly sweet soprano; Kunzite was moved, finally, to 
belief.  That bit of doggerel, the work of a man hopelessly in love, not to 
mention of a fair-to-poor poet, was part of a love-song he had written to 
Zoisite.  No one else could have possibly known of it. 
"Very well," he said.  "Cirra, you have done extremely well.  I am pleased with 
you."  He glanced at the youma, noticed again how painfully thin she was, how 
weary and scrawny she looked.  "Child," he said, trying to make his normally icy 
tones kind, "have you gone without food to feed us?" 
The youma flushed.  "You are more important that I, my lords," she mumbled. 
"Then eat, girl," said Kunzite.  "You have served myself and Lord Zoisite most 
faithfully.  I reward fidelity, Cirra.  You may eat, and I will see to your 
wounds.  Then you will tell myself and Lord Zoisite about all the events that 
happened since we -- died." 
Zoisite snaked a pouty look at him.  {Why did you do that?  I was hungry, even 
if you weren't.} 
{Patience, my love.  Time enough for food later.  This child is starving, and 
she has served us very well indeed.  Unusual for a demon....  Besides, I don't 
want her keeling over of hunger when she could be telling us useful things about 
this den of demons in which we've found ourselves.} 
Zoisite, after an initial hesitation, acquiesced and snuggled into Kunzite's 
The youma sat on the floor and ate.  Lord Kunzite Healed her wounds while she 
devoured three platefuls of gruel; then the silver-haired general weighed 
alternatives, and regretfully sent some of his own lifeforce into her.  He had 
never felt so alive in all his days, while she obviously teetered on the brink 
of collapse from malnutrition, exhaustion, loss of blood, and sheer poor health. 
 He could easily spare some vitality, in exchange for much-needed information. 
And after the youma finished eating, the inquisition began. 

After the Dai Shahre had called her every synonym of "stupid" that he could 
think of -- and he was a very highly-educated man indeed, not to mention 
acquainted with a soldier's blistering vocabulary -- he slumped back into his 
high-backed chair. 
"I don't know what I'm going to do with you, Amberylinnissa Artanis Jaliana," he 
said at length.  "I truly do not." 
Amberlin Jalia, from her midair perch -- well out of his reach; she wasn't 
stupid -- said cheerfully, "I wouldn't worry about me, Meran.  If I were you, 
I'd be far more anxious about my own fate at the hands of kel'Jelanna when the 
Prime Minister hears that you allowed a non-Shondarin to be linked to the Soul 
of Shondar." 
"It was your fault," he said, in a weary voice that worked better than a shout 
would have.  "I have no objections to Lord Jadeite, per se, but I do object to 
you going behind my authority to do something which your Imperial brother would 
not condone at all." 
"Really, Meran," she said.  "Why should you care?  If Roidan has me thrashed for 
impudence, I should think that you'd be clamoring to wield the whip." She paused 
for a moment, her brain irresistably drawn off onto one of those tangents to 
which women of her line were peculiarly prone. "Unless of course he wanted to 
have me scourged instead, which between you and me I think I'd hate -- did you 
know that you can actually hear the flesh rip, when you're scourged? No, I don't 
think Roidan would do that to me. But perhaps he'd lock me up in the Tower of 
Thought so I'd have to meditate or whatever it is the gray brothers and sisters 
do, or possibly do you think he'd make me offer my service as bond-slave to you 
or to kel'Jelanna? I should just hate that. I hate punishments, really --" 
"Amberylinnissa," he said, cutting off her prattle and looking at her for the 
first time.  She shrank back visibly at the coldness in his black eyes.  "First. 
 Do not ever call me Meran again. 
"Second.  You will give to me -- at once -- your solemn word that you will not 
interfere with me again. 
"Third.  You will immediately severe Lord Jadeite from the Soul of Shondar, and 
reclaim from him the Blade of Fire -- which, infant, you had no business giving 
him; that is a sacred relic of one of the Six Perfect Saints, and your Imperial 
brother probably would have you flayed if he learned of you giving that away. -- 
Impudent idiotic infant! You aggravate me no end... 
"Finally.  You will leave this place, after doing all of that, and go at once to 
your Imperial brother.  You will beg the Emperor's forgiveness, accept whatever 
penance he should choose to give you, and then you will go to the Tower of 
Thought and seclude yourself inside until you achieve Balance and adulthood. 
"You should be grateful that you are your mother's daughter, and that your House 
needs you in order to repopulate itself; else I would have you executed for 
sheer malicious pestiness." 
Amberlin Jalia glared at him belligerently.  She didn't like being interrupted, 
and still less did she like being called an idiot. And what was this business 
about flaying, anyway? That sounded as if it would hurt. She wasn't keen on that 
at all. "And just how do you think you're going to enforce this, Meran?"  She 
used the despised nickname deliberately, watching in naive interest as he turned 
a slow purple of rage. 
He rose from his seat, swept towards her in crippled majesty, projecting an 
untouchable aura of power and remote authority. 
Despite herself, Amberlin Jalia unconsciously shied away from him. 
He stood before her midair perch, their eyes on a level.  The Dai Shahre shifted 
all of his weight to his good leg, and reached out to her with his staff.  He 
touched her cheek with the flat of the blade embedded in the top of the long 
shaft.  She squeaked as the Dai Shahre used the blade to turn her face to him. 
"You are lovely," he said, almost gently.  "That is the only thing that I can 
find about you that is even remotely palatable, Amberylinnissa Artanis Jaliana." 

She thought about telling him how much she hated her full name, instantly 
rejected it. 
"What if that lovely face were scarred?" he went on, almost to himself.  The 
blade caressed her cheek.  She didn't dare move, even to swallow a sudden lump 
that appeared in her throat. 
"What if, beautiful infant, I should tear a long dripping jagged wound along 
your smooth skin?  What if I left you as painfully crippled as I am?  You took 
from me my strength, my friend and lieutenant, my poor niece Goth -- shall I 
take from you your most cherished possession?  Shall I take from you your 
"If you so much as scratch me," she said, trying to keep a quaver from her 
voice, "you'll be sentenced to the Executioner's Star.  I'm one of the last of 
Imperial House Lalandra, Merolan, and my life is sacrosanct by Imperial Decree." 
 Oh, why had she ever thought it might be fun to make Meran angry?  Lord Quiran 
was right, Merolan was obviously a demon himself.... Sometimes she really had to 
wonder about how bright she was. 
"If you die," said the Dai Shahre, idly drawing the blade a bit closer, forcing 
her to move with it, "there is still your sister the Princess Amberyl.  A far 
more satisfactory girl, even if she does not have your bloody Madros-damned 
"And I do not propose to kill you, Amberylinnissa Artanis Jaliana.  I will 
merely... leave you with a scar.  A long, unHealable one.  One to match the 
wound that cripples me. 
"More than fair, lovely one.  After all, did you not break my heart and murder 
my dear Crysia and my poor Goth before my eyes?" 
Amberlin Jalia didn't move, didn't speak.  The only motion about her was her 
golden eyes, moving frantically over his face in a futile attempt to find any 
bit of mercy. 
The Dai Shahre smiled, an expression that transformed the dark angular face.  
"Ah.  No smart remarks."  In his hand, the staff turned; now the cutting edge of 
the blade stared Amberlin Jalia in the face.  "For that, Rose of the Sun, the 
scar will be a small one.  But still unHealable.  Still marring your lovely 
features, dear girl." 
Amberlin Jalia was saved by the door banging open.  Into the office came Aneiron 
Jander, whistling jauntily. 
For an instant, no one moved.  The redhead cut off his whistling, silently took 
in the situation.  His beloved commander held a blade to the face of a child 
under Balance, a girl with whom he'd pulled off some of his more famous tricks, 
the youngest and favorite sister of the Emperor. 
"Ah," he said, coming inside and shutting the door firmly.  "Been talking back 
to Himself again, have you, Amberlin girl?" 
The Dai Shahre lowered his staff, limped back to his chair.  "Someday," he said 
through gritted teeth, "I will teach you to knock, my rude brat of a son." 
Amberlin Jalia let out a sobbing breath, sinking in the air until she sat on the 
floor.  "Thank you, Aneiron." 
Aneiron chose to ignore this; even those who firmly believed in the redhead's 
insanity had never once doubted his Jander-inherited political savvy. 
"Dai Shahre," he said cheerfully, "there's been a bit of a disturbance over in 
the abandoned part of the place.  You know, over where Lord Jadeite says the 
main youma barracks and training grounds were, in the western quadrant?" 
"I am aware of the location, yes." 
"Well, Kwedja and Urisha and Dhearec and Koris and Xer'Dun and me -- all the 
magicians in the officers -- agree there's a pretty damned talented sorcerer 
over in that section, and we kinda don't have a clue as to how the sucker got in 
"Watch your language, my son; I do not allow slang," said the Dai Shahre.  He 
leaned back, hand cupped around the shaft of his staff.  Aneiron sat down in 
midair, crossing his legs in a tailors' seat.  He began humming some barracks 
anthem under his breath; after an annoyed look from the Dai Shahre, he 
regretfully stopped. 
"So, Amberlin girl," Aneiron said, once he was certain that the Dai Shahre had 
drifted off into some private world of his own to think, "what'd you do to get 
Himself so angry?" 
She sulked and didn't answer, drawing up her knees to her chest and biting her 
lip.  Aneiron was surprised and dismayed; Himself must have really reamed her.  
He'd never seen the girl like this, and hellfire -- he'd been her childhood 
confidante.  He'd been the one who'd helped her rig that spell-trap for Lady 
Ashile, for Madros' sake. 
"Come on," he coaxed gently.  "Didn't I tell you about the time I got Dhearec 
thrown into jail in Gholtare?  Didn't I tell you about getting back Rosre 
Shinare from the Prime Cadre?  Come on, Amberlin girl, this is me, your buddy 
Aneiron.  Come on, girl, together didn't we turn upside down the entire city of 
Madro'li'Jiss for forty-eight hours?  Don't you remember how mad the Madros 
Viceroy got?  I thought that Prince Keril was going to have kittens!" 
"So that was you," said the Dai Shahre coolly, eyes clearing and settling back 
into his body from wherever that strange man went to think.  "Well done, my son. 
 I cannot abide Keril Madros; he is an armchair general.  Do you recall how he 
dissected my campaign of the ninth moon?  The man could not command a bun fight 
in a whorehouse." 
Aneiron grinned.  "Madros' gonads," he said, pleased.  "I'm teaching you to 
swear in your old age." 
The Dai Shahre looked at him coolly.  "My son," he said pleasantly, "shut up.  
Take Xer'Dun and Kwedja to the disturbance.  Bring me back this renegade mage.  
"In the abandoned part of the Dark Kingdom?" ventured Amberlin Jalia.  "Would it 
have been in a castle?" 
Aneiron and the Dai Shahre both looked at her in surprise. 
"That it was, lass," Aneiron said.  "How'd you know?" 
"I," she said, glaring at the Dai Shahre, "am the greatest magician in the 
history of Shondar.  I have my ways." 
"Get out, Amberylinnissa," said the Dai Shahre wearily.  "Go seek your penance 
from the Emperor, and severe Lord Jadeite.  That is an order from the Iron 
She didn't bother to reply, but vanished, looking determined. 
Aneiron shook his head.  "Kids these days," he remarked.  "I was never like 
that, in my tweens.  -- Well, then, Dai Shahre, I'll take my boys and girls, and 
we'll check it out."  He saluted and teleported away. 
The Dai Shahre was left alone, to look at his blade and imagine it dripping with 
Amberlin Jalia's purple blood. 

Kunzite draped himself casually over a chair, watched Zoisite walk across the 
His lover was so beautiful, slender and delicate with all of that sweet-scented 
copper hair!  The love of Zoisite was what kept Kunzite from being utterly cold 
and emotionless, what kept him from being as icy as the crystals that were his 
beloved's favorite weapon. 
"What do you think about what Cirra told us?" he asked, as Zoisite came back to 
snuggle against his side. 
"I ... don't know, Kunzaito-sama," Zoisite replied honestly.  The smaller man 
was quiet a moment, emerald eyes unusually reflective.  "I don't know how we 
could have betrayed our Prince, but evidently we did.  Oh... Kunzite, if that 
youma was right, then Beryl did succeed in turning us against the Kingdom we 
swore to protect!  Nephrite and Jadeite gone, us dead, Beryl blasted into 
oblivion -- not that I mind her being gone; awful bitch -- and worst of all, 
Earth is no longer in the hands of the Imperial line of Amaterasu!" 
 Kunzite was silent as he played with Zoisite's luxuriant hair, freeing it from 
its customary ponytail.  "Zoi-chan," he said at last, so lovingly that the 
smaller man blushed, "the last thing I remember seeing is Beryl's face.  After 
the great ball on the Moon -- you remember?  You danced with Princess Ami all 
night, and teased me that if I wasn't careful you'd leave me for her -- Beryl 
came to me, asked me if I would support her in her bid for Endymion's .... oh, 
hell!" the silver-haired general said angrily.  "I won't dance around it, 
Zoi-chan; she wanted me to support her: while she seduced Endymion into giving 
her formal power as his co-ruler, not merely as his consort.  She wanted me to 
look the other way, even suborn the armies and the other three generals if I had 
to!  Zoi-chan, the last thing I remember before waking up in this place is Beryl 
demanding my help, against Serenity and Prince Endymion!" 
Zoisite tenderly brushed away some of Kunzite's white hair.  "I remember Beryl, 
too, beloved.  I remember serving Endymion, I remember my dear friend and 
sparring partner Ami, I remember being the main weaponsmaster of Earth.  But 
most of all, Kunzite-sama, I remember you.  And -- I'm ashamed to say it -- if, 
while serving Beryl, I was with you, then I can bear it." 
"My love," whispered Kunzite, quite overcome.  "You are the most beautiful, most 
loyal, most wonderful man in all the worlds."  After hearing such a confession, 
Kunzite simply had to kiss him. 
"If you don't mind," said a contralto, "I really, really need to speak with you 
before Aneiron and Xer'Dun get here." 
Kunzite looked up with a glare that ought to have frozen the intruder where she 
She smiled back at him, quite charmingly, and said, "I apologize for 
interrupting you, but Meran has gone too far.  He actually was going to scar 
"A pity," said Zoisite, despite himself.  The girl was as lovely -- well, almost 
as lovely -- as he was.  In his own humble opinion. 
"Well," said the girl, frowning. "There's a party of Silver Flame officers 
headed this way, and I really think that you'll want to get out of the way 
before they get here." 
She added, eying Zoisite with fascination, "You're really lovers?" 
"Yes," said Zoisite, glaring at her and grabbing Kunzite's arm possessively. 
"Relax," sighed the golden woman.  "I have no designs on him or on you.  But we 
really do need to get out, right quick.  Xer'Dun has a nasty streak in him, and 
I'm not sure that even Aneiron can control him without Dhearec here." 
Kunzite, whose vanity had been a bit pricked -- how dare this young brat not be 
impressed by him -- said coolly, "Who are you?  And why should we come with you, 
instead of waiting here and simply destroying these Silver Flames ourselves?" 
He sent to Zoisite, {Get ready.  Her power-signature is stronger than anyone 
I've ever seen.} 
{Kunzite, these Silver Flames of hers,} Zoisite thought hesitantly.  {Could they 
be the same 'black-clad soldiers' that Cirra told us about?} 
The silver-haired general looked startled, then thoughtful, then grim.  {My 
love, not only are you supremely decorative, you're useful, too.  If these are 
the Silver Flames, we'll have to be careful -- Cirra said that they managed to 
defeat all the youma left in the Kingdom, at odds of seventeen to one.} 
Zoisite preened, pleased with himself at being so clever. He was, admittedly, 
flawless; it was nice to know that Kunzaito-sama appreciated it. 
"I am Amberlin Jalia of the Imperial House Lalandra, Princess of Shondar, and 
holder of a whole list of other titles that I'm sure you don't care to hear 
right now," said the golden woman, watching them.  She crossed her legs in 
midair and rested her chin on one fist.  "And I'm helping you for no particular 
reason save that Lord Jadeite seems to trust you, from his Earth memories, and 
despite what Meran thinks, I'm not going to give up my plans.  Um.  You are 
Lords Kunzite and Zoisite, aren't you?" 
Kunzite and Zoisite exchanged glances.  "We are," said Kunzite.  So Jadeite was 
here, too.  That was welcome news -- but where was Nephrite?  Hadn't he made his 
own preparations for resurrection, should he be killed? 
The girl smiled, flipped her long golden braid over one shoulder with a 
practiced motion.  Zoisite eyed her sun-golden hair, touched with fiery scarlet, 
with more than a bit of envy.  His own hair wasn't half so long, nor so 
bone-straight, silk-smooth, shining bright.  He wondered, momentarily 
distracted, if he could get her to share some hair-care tips with him. 
"From Jadeite's Earth memories, I like you two," she said, quite unexpectedly.  
"And I don't want you to find out, first-hand, what Xer'Dun thinks is amusing."  
She shuddered; a flicker of repugnance crossed her face briefly.  "So I'm sorry 
for the discourtesy, but I'm just going to teleport the pair of you directly to 
Jadeite, and he'll explain everything to you when he wakes up."  Amberlin Jalia 
paused, fixed them with a resigned gaze.  "I must go and receive my penance from 
the Emperor, since Meran was quite forceful about it; until I come back, Lord 
Jadeite's in charge, since I'm linked to him through the Soul of Shondar. 
"Have fun defeating the ArchDemon for me." 
Kunzite and Zoisite felt the world fade around them. 

"Who are You?  What is Your Name?" 
The face appeared, howled at him.  Dhearec made a note of it. 
Ostensibly, nothing happened.  Nothing in the physical world, that is.  However, 
in the astral plane, Dhearec's smooth unscalable mindshields suffered a positive 
barrage of rage, hatred, envy, lust, greed.  Of absolute evil. 
"What is Your Name?  Who are You?" 
The ArchDemon tried a new tack.  This time, Dhearec was wooed with honey.  
Desire, joy, contentment, love wrapped themselves around his mind, tried to find 
some chink in the impenetrable sense of self that Dhearec's mind maintained. 
"Who are You?  What is Your Name?" 
This time, It simply shrieked Its fury and humiliation at being caught.  Dhearec 
sensed with no emotion that the ArchDemon would have gladly traded all of Its 
power, all of the energy It had sucked away under Beryl's care, if only It could 
be free. 
Beryl had not just served It; she had imprisoned It, so that It could pass into 
neither the primary plane nor Its home, the Void. 
This discovery, that Metallia was merely fighting for freedom, might have 
provoked pity, in anyone other than a Madros lord. 
Not in Dhearec.  Never in Dhearec. Not after what the demons had done to 
"What is Your Name?  Who are You?" 

Zoisite landed in a heap on top of his lover, used his levitation abilities 
immediately so that his weight didn't suffocate Kunzite. 
"Thank you, love," gasped the silver-haired general.  He scowled, epicene 
features going hard.  "The brat will have to learn a lesson concerning proper 
respect to the Lord Generals of Earth." 
"We aren't Lord Generals anymore," said Zoisite finally, after a cold heavy 
silence had fallen.  "We are nothing but Kunzite and Zoisite, now." 
"Not true, little love," said Kunzite lightly.  Ice was light.  "Evidently, we 
are now lords of the Dark Kingdom." 
Zoisite blanched, turned his face from his lover.  "No!" 
"Shh, hush, love," said Kunzite, instantly remorseful.  "I didn't mean it.  I 
didn't mean to distress you.  Hush, my koibito."  Kunzite stood up, cradled his 
While Zoisite sobbed into his shoulder, clutching at his cape with balled-up 
fists, Kunzite took stock of their surroundings.  His silvery eyes ticked over 
the sparse furnishings, momentarily widening at the crystal containing 
Sailormars, and finally settled on the bed -- and the sleeping figure on it. 
The diminutive Zoisite looked up, drying his eyes, in response to Kunzite's 
involuntary hiss.  "Jadeite!" said Zoisite in interest.  He wriggled out of his 
lover's arms, scooted over to the bed so he could examine the blonde general. 
"I don't like his clothes," muttered Zoisite at last.  "Gray just isn't his 
color.  And that sunburst -- garish.  But I do like the rose." 
Kunzite valiantly kept his chuckle silent, although he was certain that the 
effort broke a few ribs. Only Zoisite... 
He himself was more interested in the weapons by Jadeite's side. He bent to 
examine the unusual staff, concluded at last that, although it was peculiar in 
design, it wasn't at all magickal. 
The sword, now -- the blade was far more ancient than anything Kunzite had ever 
encountered.  "Three million years," he murmured, staggered.  "Three.   Million. 
 Years.  Zoi-chan, this katana predates the Earth Kingdom by only a little less 
than three million years!" 
"It's nice," Zoisite said appreciatively, admiring the scarlet and gold 
scabbard, the great golden amber-stone capping the pommel.  He cautiously tried 
to draw the sword out of Jadeite's grip so he could look at the blade itself, 
but the blonde general resisted, even in his deep sleep. 
Kunzite decided that he wanted some answers.  The silver-haired general conjured 
a throne-like chair for himself, but neglected to bring one for his lover.  He 
knew that Zoi-chan would prefer to sit in midair, like the golden brat had done. 

He reached over and touched Jadeite's face, mentally shoving at the blonde man.  
"Jadeite," he said commandingly, in ringing tones suitable for a battlefield 
oration.  "Jadeite, awaken!" 
The response pleased him.  The blonde man jerked awake, waking and sitting up in 
one fluid motion.  The sword in his hand was unsheathed and at the ready even 
before the blue eyes opened all the way. 
"Huh," muttered Jadeite, taking in the surroundings with no discernible 
surprise.  "You still have no idea of the proper way to wake up a person, 
"Yes he does," purred Zoisite, giving Kunzite a lascivious look. 
Jadeite shrugged, sheathed the blade.  He swung his legs over the side of the 
bed, and stood, stretching. 
"Hello, dear fellow generals," he commented in a carefully neutral tone.  "Do 
you remember the Dark Kingdom at all, my friends?  Will my friend Amberlin Jalia 
have to Heal you too?" 
Kunzite bit his lip.  The golden brat was his friend's friend?  Drat.  He'd have 
dearly liked to teach that girl a lesson.  "The last thing I remember," he said 
lightly, "was seeing Beryl's face, right after she gave me an ultimatum of 
joining her conspiracy to gain back Endymion's love: join as either an equal, or 
a slave." 
Jadeite shrugged again, keeping those blue eyes -- now warm, friendly light blue 
as Kunzite remembered; now cold dark blue with shadows lurking deep inside -- 
trained on the silver-haired general.  "Same with you, Zoi-chan?" he said 
"Yes," said Zoisite, perched in midair and leaning forward.  "And don't call me 
'Zoi-chan.'  Only Kunzite can do that."  He frowned, chewing on his full lower 
lip in a way that Kunzite would have normally found adorable, but now merely 
found distracting.  "I'm confused, Jae," said the diminutive man at last.  "You 
do remember our -- time in the Dark Kingdom, then?" 
Only Kunzite noticed Zoisite's distaste at the words; his heart ached for his 
beloved, once so merry and light-hearted, the delight of the Earth-court.  Even 
though neither of them recalled the atrocities that Cirra had related, there was 
still a very perceptible shadow over both of them. 
"I do indeed," said Jadeite, just now discovering the staff with every 
indication of delight.  He strapped the sword casually to his belt, wearing it 
at his hip as if it had always rested there.  The blonde man swung the staff 
experimentally, almost taking off Zoisite's head. 
"Hey, watch it!" protested the copper-haired beauty indignantly.  "I thought 
that you were supposed to be a weaponsmaster." 
"I am, Zoi," Jadeite returned, reluctantly grounding the staff.  He touched the 
blade absently, wincing as the razor-sharp edge cut a thin line of red down his 
fingers.  "But I'm not too good with a diilyao yet."  He stopped, stunned, and 
mouthed the strange word to himself.  "Where did I get that name?" he barely 
whispered, looking confused.  "I've never heard that before in my life.  It was 
just -- there -- as soon as I thought of it.  It was fed into my mind, as if 
someone knew that I needed it." 
Kunzite, although as puzzled as Jadeite, knew instinctively that now was the 
time he'd get his answers, while Jadeite was disoriented.  He conjured a chair 
behind the blonde man, nodded to Zoisite.  His lover nodded, leaned down from 
midair and shoved Jadeite backwards to fall into the chair. 
"Tell me everything that happened," Kunzite ordered.  "Begin with everything 
after we ... betrayed Endymion.  And end with why that -- " he pointed at the 
crystalline prison of Sailormars -- "is in your rooms." 
Slowly, cradling the odd staff, occasionally fingering the red rose and sunburst 
on his left breast, Jadeite began to talk. 


To Part Six
So, really, what's going on in your life right now? Anyone out there know what 
I'd mean if I said that I thought that Tasuki of Fushigi Yuugi looked like a 
Jander lord? Ne? If so, you may as well e-mail me. 


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