THE NEGAVERSE OF CAESAREA
By Saint Erythros 

PART VIII 
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________________________________________________________________________

"To the Imperial Senate of Shondar, from Merolan sor'Rolan al'Ledo, Archduke of 
Shamyrr, Battlefather of the Armies, Warlord of the Empire, Prince of the Iron 
Throne, Dai Shahre of Shondar, greeting. 
    "It is entirely apparent by now that this pocket of reality was built and is 
currently sustained by one of the Nine ArchDemons under the ShadowPrince.  There 
is no other conclusion to be reached.  My private troops have the area well 
under control and have occupied the length and breadth of the admittedly 
planet-sized plane; it is a disappointingly small pocket of reality, stretch it 
however you like.  Up until we had discovered the ArchDemon about two months 
ago, this entire foray had been little more than a well-deserved rest for my 
children, after the Battles of the White Rose.  However, matters were most 
rudely complicated by my senior legate's discovery of the newly-awakened ruler 
of this realm. 
    "de'Aneiron sor'Brannan Jander, legatus, is of course familiar to this body; 
indeed, were it not for this man, the most august Imperial Senate would not now 
exist.  You miserly lot might wish to think about that, the next time you vote 
on budget cutbacks for the Iron Throne. 
    "To continue with the report: King Jadeite of the Dark Kingdom (these people 
do not feel that cartography or geography are fields in which the use of 
imagination is warranted) is quite willing to accept a temporary alliance with 
Shondar until the ArchDemon which maintains the midplane can be Changed.  
Jadeite is an extremely stubborn man, and the only way I could deal with him was 
to seal him in an alliance pact.  Therefore, in all honor I cannot quit this 
realm until the ArchDemon is changed, NO MATTER WHAT THE SENATE VOTES.  If you 
have trouble reading this dispatch, Most Noble Body, I will restate it.  I 
CANNOT LEAVE THIS REALM UNTIL THE ARCHDEMON IS CHANGED. 
    "So the most honorable kel'Jelanna sor'Orjeh may threaten all she likes, and 
Prince Keril may second-guess me to his hearts' content.  I am not moving from 
this plane of reality until I can report success to the Soul of Shondar. 
    "Or until every single one of my children is dead. 
    "By the way, I have found the Imperial Princess Amberylinnissa Artanis 
Jaliana sor'Chaldra Lalandra, Archduchess of Tarvalan, the Rose of the Sun, et 
cetera ad infinitum ad nauseam,  to be guilty of Treason against the Iron 
Throne, and I therefore declare her to be NEFAS and SACER, subject to immediate 
death." 
________________________________________________________________________

Kunzite lay for a moment where he was, coiling himself like a panther ready to 
leap.  Whatever that massive tremor had been, it wasn't worthy of his attention. 
 Not when his comrade-in-arms and friend lay semi-conscious and in agony before 
the dark crimson altar of Metallia. 
"Zoi-chan?  Are you all right?" 
The beloved scent of cherry blossoms drifted to him.  A shadow in a corner 
rolled over into the light, and resolved itself into the angularly lovely 
Zoisite.  The coppery-haired man coughed slightly, dabbing at a bit of blood 
with the sleeve of his white coat, and grimaced at the sight of dirt. 
"I'm fine," Zoisite at last said, grudgingly.  "But my clothes are absolutely 
dead.  And my hair -- !  Shouldn't wonder if I'll have to spend two or three 
hours alone with a good brush." 
Kunzite, despite his annoyance at the situation, couldn't help but smile at his 
lover's finickiness.  Faced with an ArchDemon's awakening, massive tremors that 
even now shook the cold stone chamber with terrible aftershocks, and being 
resurrected in the bowels of Hell -- only Zoisite would take the time to notice 
his disheveled clothing. 
"My love, when we get out of this, I shall personally tailor you to your heart's 
content.  Now will you concentrate on getting Jadeite out of here!  This place 
reeks of Evil!" 
Zoisite nodded and absently tucked a loose strand of red-gold behind his 
delicate ear.  A ball of ice-blue energy formed in the small man's left fist. 
Trusting his lover to do what needed to be done, Kunzite turned his attention 
back to the nave of this Cathedral of Metallia, back to where the slender, 
golden-skinned alien giant had laid Jadeite down, almost tenderly, as a 
sacrifice to the ArchDemon. 
Kunzite's dark narrow face split in a cold grimace of dislike and repugnance as 
he regarded the tall Shondarin.  From his vantage point behind a stalagmite, 
where he had been thrown by the violent torsions of the midplane's tremor, he 
could see the golden-skinned man lean down to touch Jadeite's brow, then breast, 
then lower abdomen.  Kunzite frowned as a thought hit him; those particular 
points were, on a human body, foci for energy. 
{Get ready, Zoi-chan,} he sent to his lover grimly.  {I'm not certain what he's 
doing to Jadeite, but I don't like it at all.} 
The golden-skinned giant turned away from Jadeite's prone form to address the 
plinth of Metallia in a deep, soft voice. 
"You Whose Name has been given as Metallia, I address You so if that Name 
pleases You; otherwise I address You by whatever Name it is that You wish to 
hear; You Whose sex has been given as female, Who are of whatever gender You 
prefer; You Who maintain and stabilize this realm:  I, on behalf of the Dai 
Shahre of Shondar, Merolan son of Rolan son of Danyel of House al'Ledo, give You 
this man Jadeite to act as Your mouthpiece and Your Voice. 
"Tell me.  Who are You?  What is Your Name?" 
Kunzite cursed under his breath. Silly young fool.  As if an ArchDemon would 
listen to him!  It will just suck away Jadeite's life-energy, and become more 
powerful than ever!  Why should It give this idiot Its Name? 
Dhearec waited patiently, looking down at Jadeite's wracked body with no 
discernible expression. 
Jadeite's eyes opened and focussed.  Out of them stared an ArchDemon's pure, 
intense, hungry intelligence. 
________________________________________________________________________

It should be noted that there are certain instances in Time where multiple Major 
Events converge on the same second. 
This was one of them. 
________________________________________________________________________

Kunzite launched himself forward, already throwing a coruscation of actinic-blue 
projectiles at Dhearec's tall form.  Zoisite, at his side, was hurling icy 
javelins like there was no next Wednesday. 
Their forward motion was abruptly halted when each Lord General felt an iron 
hand on his wrist. 
Kunzite turned, looked into cold black eyes.  Zoisite met expressionless purple. 

"Hello," said Xer'Dun al'Linas.  "Please don't throw things at Dhearec while 
he's torturing someone; as I know from experience, people just don't want to be 
interrupted at such a time." 
Kunzite decided that he had had just about enough of this.  "Let go," he said, 
an instant before his wrist glowed a sickly poisonous green. 
The results rather disappointed him.  Xer'Dun let go, a hiss of pain escaping 
his thin lips, but by now there was an energy net around Kunzite. 
"I'm going to take that out of your hide," said the black-eyed Shondarin 
pleasantly, cradling his injured wrist.  "But first I'm going to break in half 
your paramour." 
"Like hell you are," said Zoisite.  "How did you find us, anyway?" 
"We smelled you," said Xer'Dun.  "Your scent is unfamiliar.  And human.  And, to 
put it bluntly -- " 
Kunzite smiled icily.  "Think carefully what you're going to say, Shondarin." 
Kwedja, purple eyes resigned, released Zoisite and said quietly, "The point is 
moot, it is; Xer'Dun, n'dreas shinn s's'aoineld." 
Xer'Dun shrugged fluidly, replied in the same language.  Both Shondarins, secure 
in the knowledge that Kunzite and Zoisite were immobilized by Kwedja's net, 
turned to watch Dhearec. 
________________________________________________________________________

A horde of short-skirted girls tore into the chamber of Metallia. 
Dhearec, as per usual, paid no attention to them at all; his entire being was 
focussed on Jadeite/Metallia. 
However, Sailormars, who had been stuck into a corner by Xer'Dun and told not to 
move on pain of pain, leaned forward immediately in sheer glad exultation.  "I'M 
HERE!" she screamed. 
Uranus, Space Sword in hand, nodded shortly to her.  "It would be of much more 
help if you were here," snapped the short-haired Senshi.  "Get over here, Mars, 
so we can pull the Sailor Teleport!" 
Mars was just about to sprint over when a few things distracted her. 
________________________________________________________________________

"Dhearec!  You idiot!  What do you think you're doing?" 
The tall Shondarin, for the first time, looked up.  An expression of annoyance 
crossed his patrician features.  "You are sacer and nefas, Amberylinnissa 
sor'Chaldra," he said.  "If you interfere, I am obliged to kill you and burn 
your body." 
"I'd like to see you try it," Amberlin Jalia growled.  She looked at Jadeite's 
prone body, and turned slowly white.  "You idiot, Dhearec!" she raged.  "He's 
bonded to me, this is killing him, why didn't you use someone else, anyone else, 
to be your channel to the ArchDemon?" 
"This is rather not the time to explain my reasoning," said Dhearec.  "Look at 
his eyes.  He is almost ready to fully channel the Demon." 
"You don't know anything about ArchDemons," Amberlin Jalia said bitterly.  She 
hunkered down by Jadeite, tried to touch him.  A flare of golden fire went up, 
followed by pure malevolent crimson: Amberlin Jalia yelped in sudden pain, while 
above her the plinth of Metallia shone agonized scarlet. 
"Dhearec, I'm really inclined to hate you now," she said, tugging at her braid.  
"And why don't you have the proper equipment for an exorcism?  You need a sword, 
a holy personage, a golden rose, and a very very very impressive wizard." 
Dhearec shrugged.  "So I do," he said coolly.  "However, the projections were 
fairly optimistic that you would show up, thereby giving me a golden rose, a 
very impressive wizard, and a holy personage in one stroke."  He drew his sword 
and handed it to her.  "I expect that you know what to do; the instant Metallia 
tells us Its Name, kill him." 
________________________________________________________________________

Feriom Tarynn, swearing to himself, barked out orders.  The Silver Flames 
obediently struck battle-ready poses, assembled into deci-legional phalanxes.  
Feriom thought about this for a moment, then shook his head.  The chamber of 
Metallia was small; twenty-four deci-legions, even at half-strength, were far 
too many soldiers to cram into that small room. 
"Fifth, Tenth, Twelfth," he snapped.  "You stay here.  The Sixth is all I need.  
Sixth Legion, form decuries of Ledo's Square; Adrev, your decury moves in 
first." 
Little girls in short skirts and improbable-looking footwear.  Madros' gonads.  
He wished for someone decent to fight; by Shondarin law, custom, and instinct, 
it was impossible to actually kill or harm the little nuisances, which made his 
job so much harder.  They had to be captured unharmed, and delivered to the Dai 
Shahre and King Jadeite trussed up like masari at shearing time. 
His centurion, G'Nessarit, plucked at his sleeve.  "De'Feriom, Xer'Dun and 
Kwedja send word that the children are in the middle of the room -- and that 
Amberlin Jalia Lalandra has shown up.  de'Dhearec has the Princess under 
control; Xer'Dun and Kwedja need a mage to keep their prisoners in check." 
Feriom smiled strangely.  "And they send to me for a mage, do they?" he growled. 
 Yes.  Naturally.  It fell on his shoulders.  Saints, what an army.  "All right. 
 Send Urisha for the mage, signal veils up, and advance." 
The Silver Flames veiled and poured into the chamber of Metallia in well-ordered 
waves. 
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"Dhearec, you don't get it, do you?" Amberlin Jalia snapped.  "He's connected to 
the Soul of Shondar.  If you kill him while he's also channeling the ArchDemon, 
where do you think the ArchDemon is going to go?" 
The Madros lord looked at her narrowly.  "Where?" he said, a flash of doubt 
entering his blue eyes. 
She smiled sweetly.  "Why, right straight into the Soul," she bit off.  "Where 
It will more than likely kill the Emperor from the backlash.  If you kill 
Jadeite now, Dhearec sor'Wyarven, you'll be committing indirect regicide." 
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Zoisite glared straight ahead at the tall straight back of Xer'Dun and amused 
himself with thoughts of peppering that back with ice crystals as Kunzite 
tinkered with the shield surrounding them. 
Zoisite did not appreciate the situation at all, at all, at all.  The Senshi, 
his old comrades-in-arms, were standing in the center of this demon's chamber 
like sitting ducks; they were too busy embracing Mars and exclaiming "You're 
back!" and other such inanities to pay much attention to the black-clad 
soldiers, veiled up to their eyes, who poured silently into the chamber.  
Zoisite had to admit as he watched them slink in that they were good; silent, 
quick, and fluid.  None of them had drawn weapons yet; Zoisite rather doubted, 
watching both the soliders and their auras, that the Silver Flames needed any 
physical weapons at all. 
"Kunzaito-sama," he whispered, "any luck yet?" 
"No," Kunzite said shortly.  The argent-eyed general twitched aside his cape, 
directed a hot silver glare at Xer'Dun's back.  "Bastard," he muttered. 
There is one thing you should know if you should ever find yourself face-to-face 
with a Shondarin.  A Shondarin woman conceives at will; and the Shondarin 
people, as a whole, take marriage vows very, very seriously indeed.  They are a 
monogamous race by nature. Among them, someone born out of his House is unholy 
and obscene by very definition. 
If you call a Shondarin a bastard, he may very well be forgiven for trying to 
rip your throat out. 
Kunzite didn't know any of this, naturally; so it came as somewhat of a shock 
when Xer'Dun turned, black eyes blazing, and, taking down the energy net, lunged 
for Kunzite's throat. 
Zoisite was of two opinions about this action; however, his faith in 
Kunzaito-sama's physical prowess led him to choose the viewpoint that didn't 
involve Zoisite murdering Xer'Dun.  Instead, the copper-maned man teleported out 
of the way and, as per Kunzite's telepathic orders, again teleported to 
Jadeite's side. 
Much to his annoyance, neither Dhearec nor Amberlin Jalia spared a glance at 
him; the two Shondarins were busily laying all sorts of spells and cantrips over 
Jadeite. 
Zoisite snapped, "Release him." 
Amberlin Jalia said, without looking up, "That's what I'm trying to do, Lord 
Zoisite.  I can't help that Dhearec chose the wrong person to channel an 
ArchDemon." 
Dhearec made no reply to this; the blue-eyed Shondarin merely gave the ghost of 
a shrug and continued with what he was doing, namely pouring energy into 
Metallia's plinth. 
"What are you doing?" Zoisite demanded of him.  He would have attacked, but the 
almost Blinding aura of power around Amberlin Jalia gave even the impetuous 
Zoisite second thoughts. 
Dhearec said, "I am feeding the ArchDemon just enough to lull It.  A stupid 
action; since the ArchDemon is already awake, hungry, and in a foul mood, It 
requires a body, and I furnished It with Jadeite.  Jadeite is just alien enough 
so that the ArchDemon would not have the same problems inhabiting him as It 
would inhabiting a Shondarin; Jadeite is connected just strongly enough with the 
Soul of Shondar so that if the ArchDemon does succeed in fully possessing him, 
the Emperor will not be pleased.  Hence, I am trying to distract the ArchDemon 
with my own life energy."  The tall lord directed a cold glance at Amberlin 
Jalia; it was entirely evident whose idea this last-ditch solution had been. 
Amberlin Jalia glanced up at last; her golden eyes pinpointed on something 
behind Zoisite.  She looked annoyed.  "Lord Zoisite," she said politely, "I 
wonder if you would possibly tell the Senshi that resisting the Silver Flames is 
a pretty fair way of committing suicide? I mean, they're very powerful, but so'm 
I -- and I'm on the Silver Flames' side right now... and so is dai'Merolan. I 
hate to say it, but Meran is a very hotshot magician when he's angry enough to 
let his full power manifest, and believe me, he doesn't take kindly to people 
slaughtering his children -- I mean, troops -- I hate this language... -- So, 
anyway, tell the Senshi to stand down." 
Zoisite didn't move.  "What if I don't?" 
"Well," said Amberlin Jalia thoughtfully, hands flying over Jadeite's still 
form, laying out crystals in a liberal shower of gems.  "Well," she repeated.  
"You're an adult by Shondarin standards.  Therefore, none of us would have any 
problem killing you.  Whereas I don't think that even Xer'Dun al'Linas would 
kill a child, like the Senshi.  Would you please tell the Senshi to surrender so 
I don't have to kill you to make my point?" 
Zoisite considered this.  "All right," he said. 
________________________________________________________________________

The Senshi stood quietly, each held in the iron grip of a black-veiled, 
black-clad Silver Flame.  Uranus, still struggling even when she knew that she 
was outmatched by roughly fifty-to-one, had to be held by three soldiers.  Her 
Space Sword had been taken away from her, and now rested in the firm grip of 
Feriom Tarynn. 
"You know," said Feriom conversationally, "you've seriously fucked up the 
schedule, little girls.  And if you've distracted kel'Dhearec's spell, the Dai 
Shahre is going to be very put out." 
"Oh, to hell with your Dai Shahre," Uranus yelled, going red in the face.  
Neptune shook her head in loving chagrin.  "We are on an errand of mercy, 
rescuing a friend that your bloody kel'Dhearec kidnapped, and you have the gall 
to complain that we screwed with your time?" 
Feriom looked vaguely approving.  He had pulled down his veil as soon as the 
Senshi had been subdued; Shondarin officers did not keep their faces hidden from 
captives.  That was almost sacrilege; Saint Ledo, Lord of Soldiers, did not like 
His children to kill without having their victims know whom to curse in the 
afterlife. 
"For children," he commented, "you fight fairly well.  And aside from annoying 
me, you've also set up a very good traning exercise for the Sixth Legion.  I 
guess that --" 
He was most rudely cut off by a scarlet rose striking him in the chest. 
"Tuxedo Kamen-sama!" screamed Eternal Sailormoon.  She looked at her savior 
lovingly as the masked man appeared and liberated her from the Silver Flame 
holding her by the pinion of one wing.  "What kept you?" 
"About four hundred spell-traps," came the terse rejoinder as a decury of Silver 
Flames came in to relieve Feriom and the fallen soldier who had held Sailormoon. 
 "Not to mention that the influence of Metallia is making me sick." 
Uranus took advantage of the ensuing chaos to twist free of two of her captors, 
and whirled around to sock the third in the vulnerable spot right under the 
shortribs.  Neptune tried ineffectually to get her arms free for a Deep 
Submerge, but couldn't quite manage it. 
Feriom Tarynn pulled his veil back up.  As long as his face was hidden, he could 
not kill; it was martial law dating back to Ledo's day.  And no matter how much 
these idiot child-soldiers were pissing him off, he couldn't kill a single one 
of them.  That was unthinkable. 
Truly unfortunate that none of the Senshi had that inhibition in regards to the 
Silver Flames. 
Uranus reclaimed her Space Sword where Feriom had dropped it after getting 
decked by the rose, and the short-haired Senshi smiled in a bloodthirsty manner. 
 She would be damned if she was going to be put to so much inconvenience without 
being able to take it out on some of these smartass Silver Flames. 
________________________________________________________________________

Kwedja and Urisha, after much struggle, finally succeeded in prying apart 
Xer'Dun and Kunzite.  Kunzite had some very nasty-looking bruises, already 
purpling, on his throat and face; Xer'Dun bled a rich, highly-ferric purple from 
several abrasions on his face and scalp. 
"Lord Kunzite," Xer'Dun said at last, fingering his cheekbone.  "I congratulate 
you.  I've seldom actually hated anyone in all my days. You have just earned 
yourself a distinction that hasn't been granted since I first laid eyes on 
Aneiron Jander." 
Kunzite ignored this; he looked at Urisha, the tiny blonde mage who had been 
sent by Feriom to help maintain the energy net.  There didn't seem to be much 
use for her now, since Xer'Dun had let down the net in order to attack Kunzite. 
"Lady Urisha," Kunzite said, "would it be at all possible for me to meet this 
Dai Shahre of yours before any more of my friends get harmed?" 
Urisha smiled icily.  It suited her; she was a woman who looked as if she were 
made entirely of glass, with no color in her anywhere.  Even her voice was 
purest ice: a thin, fragile soprano.  "I don't see why not," she fluted.  "His 
Excellency will be greatly interested in meeting a man who survived ninety 
seconds against Xer'Dun without getting his hearts ripped out." 
Xer'Dun looked nonplussed at this; apparently his vanity had been pricked. 
"Good," said Kunzite shortly.  "Then until I meet with the Dai Shahre and get 
everything settled, I want my friend Jadeite released from whatever the tall man 
is doing to him." 
"Well," said Kwedja, after a moment's dead silence.  "You are sure of yourself, 
aren't you." 
Kunzite snapped, "Just release Jadeite." 
Xer'Dun spat dark purple blood off to one side, then smiled.  "I don't see how 
you would accomplish that," he said very softly.  "But as for my part, you're 
certainly welcome to try.  Go ahead, try and stop Dhearec and Amberlin Jalia 
when they want something done."  Another grotesque, bloody smile.  "I dare you." 

The silver-eyed general stared coldly at Xer'Dun, then inclined his head.  He 
waded into the battle in the middle of the chamber, his objective the altar 
around which was gathered the golden brat, the tall Madros lord, and Kunzite's 
beloved little rat. 
________________________________________________________________________

The Silver Flames outside the entrance to Metallia's chamber snapped to 
attention, left fist to breast in a salute as much reverence as it was respect. 
The Dai Shahre sketched a return salute, absent-mindedly.  He slowed as he 
approached the door; Aneiron, trotting to keep up, peered into the shadows of 
the Dai Shahre's hood to catch a glimpse of dai'Merolan's expression.  That was 
a far more reliable barometer of the Dai Shahre's mood than anything else; 
Merolan al'Ledo was simply unable to keep his face expressionless, and that was 
all there was to it. 
"Aneiron," the Dai Shahre almost whispered, "I can't do it.  There is a presence 
in there that... that... that depresses me. Greatly. So bright, as bright as 
Amberlin Jalia when she's in the grip of her full power." 
Aneiron felt a tiny prickle of terror stab him.  Oh, Saints, not this again.  
Almost every brilliant military leader that Shondar had ever boasted had had 
some odd little idiosyncrasy that devilled him or her.  Saint Ledo had been 
powerfully misogynistic; Belonna Zoya had been afraid of the dark; Rela 
Ankalagon had been, frankly, stark raving mad.  Shondar put up with these little 
oddities, because as annoying as the problems sometimes were, each person had 
been undeniably gifted as a commander. 
Merolan al'Ledo, the most brilliant of them all, was no exception to the rule: 
he was deeply, incurably, manic-depressive.  For the past few days, Aneiron had 
seen the signs that dai'Merolan was slipping into rock-bottom, the very nadir of 
depression; Aneiron had kept praying that the depressive attack would hold off 
until the Silver Flames could get back to Shondar, where dai'Merolan could hole 
himself up in the Tower of Thought until the gray despair and sadness left him 
again. 
"Sure you can go in there," Aneiron said encouragingly.  "You beat ArchDemon 
Sidraraln, didn't you?" 
"I almost gave in to Sidraraln," dai'Merolan said absently.  His hand on the 
diilyao's shaft trembled noticibly.  "Don't you understand? It is not the 
ArchDemon that bothers me, my son -- the Host of Heaven is in there, and it 
mislikes me..." 
Aneiron just about dropped dead of panic.  The Dai Shahre was the strongest man 
he knew, not necessarily in body -- not after he'd been crippled -- but in mind, 
in sheer indomitable will.  The force of personality behind the Dai Shahre's 
black eyes could knock down a person at fifty paces, and that was when the Dai 
Shan wasn't even angry.  When dai'Merolan was annoyed, then tapestries burst 
into flame and walls split asunder when he looked at them. 
"Dai Shahre," he said, hoping that he was right, "The Host of Heaven is on our 
side, remember? Saint Ledo, your Housefather, and Saint Linas, and all that -- 
They like us, Dai Shahre .... And, um, the Host of Heaven? What brought that 
on?" 
The Dai Shahre did not bother to answer this, merely murmured doubtfully, "The 
Host of Heaven and an ArchDemon...." 
This was familiar ground. Aneiron took the opening and ran with it. "Dhearec has 
the ArchDemon under control.  It's all right.  Dhearec's got It.  He's 
channeling It through the body of King Jadeite, so-" 
At that, the black eyes flared so strongly that even in the shadows of the hood, 
Aneiron could see them.  "WHAT?" 
"Um," said Aneiron.  He wondered briefly just how annoyed the Dai Shahre was by 
this bit of news.  "Well," he hedged.  
"Dhearec'schannelingtheArchDemonthroughthebodyofKingJadeite." 
Merolan said tightly, "I heard you the first time.  I merely could not believe 
that Dhearec, of all people, could be so stupid." 
"Huh?  Junior's not stupid, he's just -- Why'd you say that?" 
"Jadeite," said dai'Merolan, entering the chamber of Metallia, "is connected to 
the Soul of Shondar." 
"Oh hell," said Aneiron, running in behind him. 
________________________________________________________________________

 This time, Uranus was not only disarmed but totally hemmed in by nine Silver 
Flames.  Feriom had observed Uranus' obvious concern for Neptune, so he held the 
aqua-haired Senshi in front of him with a knife at her throat, in order to 
ensure Uranus' good behavior.  It probably wouldn't have worked, had he really 
put it to the test, but Uranus had settled down immediately upon seeing 
Sailormoon, Tuxedo Kamen, and Neptune re-captured by the Silver Flames. 
"You son of a bitch," Uranus said, quasi-politely, "let us go.  Now." 
Feriom blew out an irritable sigh.  "I can't," he said, with an unusual degree 
of patience.  This was a great strain on Feriom; he was not a man noted for his 
patience.  "You're not in my hands.  In entering the Negaverse, you entered the 
jurisdiction of the Dai Shahre and of King Jadeite."  Feriom gestured to the 
altar.  "Jadeite's unavailable at the moment.  The Dai Shahre is --" 
"Right here," said dai'Merolan, limping into the circle.  Aneiron, unusually 
quiet, walked beside him. 
The Dai Shahre threw back his hood, and was rewarded by the sudden, wide-eyed 
attention of every single human female in the chamber.  He looked annoyed at 
this; dai'Merolan had never quite understood the effect of his unearthly beauty 
on people. 
For a moment, he was silent, then his eyes met those of Eternal Sailormoon. He 
nodded to an equal. "The Soldier of Love and of Justice," he said, respectfully. 
"The Binder of the Silver Glow and the Angel of Hope... A worldhealer and the 
future god-empress of this solar system. It boggles the mind why you have not 
attempted to destroy me. I am grateful that you have not yet realized Who I am." 

Sailormoon beamed and preened, completely missing the end of the 
uncharacteristically soft speech. dai'Merolan turned to Sailormercury. "The 
Soldier of the Mind.... Lady, I had hoped that you might speak with some of my 
children of the branches of magiscience... A pity that will not now be 
possible." Before Mercury could frame a response to this, he was on to 
Sailormars. "The Soldier of the Spirit," he said softly. "A great fighter and a 
great soul. Madame, you have my apologies for any discomfort you may have 
suffered in my name.... And Sailorvenus, I presume -- the Soldier of Love and 
Beauty. How much more satisfactory I find you in that role than I would find 
Amberlin Jalia...." He paused, looked briefly irritated, turned back to the 
Senshi. "Sailorjupiter, the Soldier of Strength and of Comfort. Sailoruranus, 
the Soldier of the Heavens. Sailorneptune, the Soldier of the Self and of 
Embrace. Tuxedo Kamen, the Soldier of Protection, the Holder of the Golden 
Crystal, Lord of Earth and the future god-emperor Endymion." He ceased, looking 
faintly annoyed. "Is there not a Soldier of Silence, the Soldier of Death and 
Rebirth? And what of the Angel of Time?" 
"Couldn't make it," Sailoruranus said coldly. She wasn't quite sure who this man 
was, nor why he was naming them off so strangely, but for some reason she felt 
an instant antipathy for the serpentine-voiced warlord. 
"Well," he said.  "Feriom, let the Angel of Hope go."  Feriom let the Angel of 
Hope go, resheathing his knife.  "Release them," dai'Merolan ordered, looking at 
the rest of the Senshi and at Tuxedo Kamen.  "I had understood from King Jadeite 
that these soldiers were purest evil," he remarked to no one in particular. This 
seemed to amuse him in some way. 
Uranus, rubbing her wrist, looked at the Dai Shahre in pure dislike.  It really 
pissed her off that she had to admit that he was beautiful; to her way of 
thinking, that was an unforgivable rudeness for any man, much less one who 
seemed to be in charge of bastards like Feriom and Dhearec. 
"You ought to consider the source," Uranus snapped.  "Jadeite is a reincarnated 
traitor." 
"I don't care," said dai'Merolan.  He walked past the Senshi, going towards the 
altar in the center.  "You are not my concern, children.  You have your friend, 
get out." 
Sailormoon piped up.  "You mean you're letting us go?" 
"Your Excellency's letting them go?" Feriom said in disbelief. 
"Yes," dai'Merolan said to both.  "Go away.  I have no time for children, and it 
is very shortly going to resemble Kedasa in here.  No place for infants, not 
even for the children of the Host of Heaven." 
Uranus gritted her teeth.  "Gimme my sword back," she demanded of Feriom.  The 
Silver Flame officer silently handed it to her. 
"What's Kedasa?" inquired Mercury. 
"Shondarin Hell," Aneiron said.  "I really really suggest that you kids get out 
of here immejitly; Himself is in a REALLY bad mood, and there's an ArchDemon 
trying to channel Itself through Jadeite." 
"I want to watch," Mars said, eyes glinting. 
"Oh, damn," Aneiron said as he worriedly saw his commander walk right up between 
Dhearec and Amberlin Jalia.  "Damn, damn, damn.  Feriom, I don't like this." 
________________________________________________________________________

"Amberlin Jalia," said dai'Merolan pleasantly, "hello." 
She turned to face him, which was a tactical mistake for two reasons.  First, 
she was distracted enough to let go of the power-threads in the spell-matrix she 
was weaving.  This left the brunt of the spell on Dhearec, who was quite simply 
not powerful enough to handle all of the energy. 
Second, it left her fully facing the Dai Shahre.  Which made it quite easy for 
him to shift all of his weight to his good leg, bring up the blade of the 
diilyao, and slit her throat from ear to ear. 
As Amberlin Jalia crumpled to the floor, purple blood gushing from her throat, 
the Dai Shahre turned to Jadeite and laid a gloved hand on the prone man's left 
breast, right above the sunburst-and-rose sigil of the fallen princess. 
And as dai'Merolan, the Shondarin Lord of Darkness, and Jadeite, human channel 
for an ArchDemon, touched, Reality twisted and went haywire. 

END PART EIGHT.
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________

To Part Nine
So, what did you think of this part? Eh? Wanna heave bricks at me or strew rose 
petals in my path? You could set yer mind at ease by clicking here and 
scribbling down a wee critique. It'd mean so much to me and to the Gipper.
    

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