Come Devils Come Darkness

© 1998 by Lord Malachite

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Author's Note:

This fanfiction is set in the last year of the Silver Millennium, the year of Beryl's assault on the Moon. I have attempted to keep somewhat to reality, and thus the Terran Kingdom does not cover the entire Earth. It is comprised of South East Asia and Oceana. I have left the rest of history relatively alone, making the Terran Kingdom a contemporary of the Holy Roman Empire, Eric the Red, and the Toltecs.

Come Devils Come Darkness

© 1998 by Lord Malachite

Consciousness returned fuzzily, as it always did in the mornings. I opened my eyes lazily, and glanced around. I was in bed, and the weight beside me told me that Mal was there too. We were in his room, which was furnished in simple stone and wood, with nothing more than the bed, a table, a mirror, and two doors; one to the bathroom and one to the main room. I got up from the bed, trying to be quiet enough not to wake Mal, but as usual I came up short. He rolled over, smiled, and ruffled my hair, just as alert now as at any time during the day. I smiled back, got up off of the bed, headed into the bathroom, and relieved myself. I returned to find Malachite up, dressed, and brushing out his hair.

"How do you do that?" I mumbled.

"Do what, Zoi?"

"Get up so fast. It's creepy."

"He smiled that little smile of his, the one he only gave me, and just shook his head. "I just do. It doesn't bother you, does it?"

I laughed. "Not at all. Don't worry about it." I gave him a hug. "All the faults in the world couldn't make you any less perfect in my eyes."

Mal just kind of stood there and took it. He found it a little aggravating when I got all cutesy on him, but he also said my mood swings were one of the qualities that made him love me so much. Go figure. I released him.

"Come on, little one," Mal said. "If we're any later for Court than we already are, people will talk."

"Let them. I just want to be with you." But my words were sugar-coated. Despite my reluctance to leave Mal's company for the doldrum of Court, I was somewhat impatient to see what news my spies had gathered today. Things were not well on Earth.

Last year, Jadeite had grown cold, and distant from the other Kings. And Nephrite had started acting oddly. Even more oddly than usual. I had never gotten along particularly well with the Third Guardsman, as I found his drinking habits somewhat boorish, but during the last month he had been acting downright malevolent. He was drinking more heavily than usual, and yet seemed to get drunk even less often than he used to. And he had started following a village girl around, by the name of Molly Baker. If I wasn't in the intelligence business, I would condemn it as stalking. As it was, neither of the other two Guardsmen were quite themselves, and to top it all off, there were rumors of a great army building in the West, near the lands of those lunatic Christians. At least I had defused that situation last year by giving the newly generated Silver Crystal to the Moon Kingdom as a gesture of peace, but that still didn't outweigh the general uneasiness I felt these days.

I stepped back from Mal. "Now come on. Let's get going." Mal bowed, and motioned towards the door. "After you, milady." I shot him a warning glance, but went along with the game. "Thank you, good sir," I replied, and walked out the door into the corridor.

I glanced around. No one was in the passage. I felt safe giving Mal one last kiss, and then I teleported to Court.

I spent the hour or so at Court that good taste mandated. It was deadly dull, as usual. The complicated mechanics of society at work among the Dukes snd Duchesses and various officials interested me almost as much as breathing did. The only remotely interesting thing in the entire room was Malachite, and his presence just made me itchier. When I just couldn't stand it anymore, I vanished to the confines of my 'office'.

It wasn't really an office per se, but that was what I called the small room in which I took reports from the spies under my command. The Terran Kingdom had the single most extensive intelligence network of any of the planets. We had spies everywhere, in all but one important location: the camps of the supposed army in the West. The only completely unmonitored place in the entire System was on Earth itself. Or, more accurately, that was where it was up the week before last. I had sent an experienced officer there, and I was hoping to get news back from him today.

I got news all right, but not of quite the variety I had expected. Upon arriving in my 'office', I found some seventy-three small, black, stone containers piled on my desk. They weren't much larger than a jewelry box individually, but when taken together they took up quite an appreciable amount of space. Confused, I lifted the lid of and peeked inside the top box.

Inside, my eyes met with a rather bloody hunk of flesh that had been severed from it's original owner by some serrated instrument. Next to it was a Terran badge of office, intel branch. I couldn't contain myself, and vomited into a corner. When I had finished, I stepped outside the room and spoke to the guard there.

"Who delivered those... boxes?"

"It was a hired messenger, sir.. He had the appropriate papers. Is something wrong?"

"Find him. Get some guards together and find him. And find someone to clean up the mess in there. He'll need a mop."

The guard "Yessired" and ran off. I returned to my 'office', sat down at my desk, and stared at the packages. This gave an entirely new meaning to 'sending someone home in small boxes'. And Hesseth had been one of my better men. Pity. I couldn't send anyone lower down, because they'd just get pulped more easily. And I couldn't send a higher up officer, because there just weren't any. Not unassigned. Unless... Unless I went myself. I hadn't had any active missions in a while, and it would give me a chance to catch up on my abilities. Not to mention allowing me to gather enough information to make a Terran victory guaranteed should it come to war. I was already planning the expedition... I'd need plenty of provisions of course, and a plausible cover story, and I should probably bring Mal. The general air of malaise around here frustrated him, and his power would be greatly appreciated. Besides, without him, what would I do nights? I smiled, got up, and left to organize for the trip ahead.

* * *

"I don't see why we have to walk," I complained to Mal as we shouldered our packs. "We should just teleport. Or at least fly."

"Zoisite. You had this idea. You talked me into this. You organized everything. You cloaked us in illusion. We already teleported to the outskirts of the Kingdom. And now you propose that we just arrive in the enemy camp by teleportation? Do you have any idea how quickly that will blow our cover? Footsoldior wannabes do not teleport."

"But walking will take so long," I whined.

"Patience, little one. We'll get there soon enough. Besides, we will be taking horses. And we can use all the magic we want, at least until we get within a day's ride of the encampment. By your own spy's example, it can't take more than one week."

I pouted. "All right." Maybe bringing Malachite along on this trip wasn't such a good idea after all.

We set out that day on horseback, armed with old rusty swords and some light armor. We were dressed like North Asian peasant farmers, and less-than-perfect illusory cloaks covered Malachite's and my distinctive features. In the old days, I would have had Jadeite do it, but I just didn't trust him any more. It wasn't that he had become any less proficient in his duties, but rather that he just seemed to emanate a coldness, a general air of disdain. Likewise, I had passed on Nephrite's usual before-travel divination. There was something subtly wrong with him, too. But my illusion seemed to cover it, and so we set off.

The journey passed without incident. As Mal had said, it took just about two weeks, at the end of which we began to notice some changes in the scenery. Traveling across half of Asia on horseback, one is bound to see quite a bit of scenery, but this was different.

The mountains became decidedly more bleak; as time passed, we noticed less and less vegetation, and fewer animals.

"It's spooky," I remarked. "The kind of place you would expect to find Youma." Youma were creatures of legend: energy-draining demons that sucked a victim dry. They were the kinds of things that parents would tell stories of to their children, and then say things like; "Eat your tofu or the Youma will get you." I expected Mal to scoff at my remark, but he just kept his eyes to the road and nodded once.

Eventually, at night, we came upon the camp.

It was livelier than our previous surroundings; lanterns swung from poles, and there were people everywhere. There was the loud noise of a wild barroom brawl coupled with the sight of maybe six good-sized hordes collected in one place. But that was inside the fence.

There was a large but hastily constructed fence surrounding the whole riot, at the gate of which we were met by an unusual figure.

Unusual was an understatement. Bizarre fit the tall, leggy woman that intercepted us more accurately. She was about six and a half feet tall, and was completely pink. She wore a green skintight outfit that looked like it wounded her buttocks in a rather uncomfortable manner, and her hair was green as well. Some kind of talons extended from her fingers, and the pupils of her eyes glinted in the firelight like a cat's.

She spoke in a hissing sort of slur, and I thought I could discern fangs as she talked.

"CChhhhhhwo are hyou, and hwhy do hyou come hhere?"

I spoke. "We have come to join the great army of..." I listened over the background roar for a name that I might employ to get into the camp. One word seemed to stand out more so than the others. A gem's name.


"...Beryl. The great army of Beryl."

"Hhreeally? Whhhell, then, hyou'll have to ghho on in to the recruitsss area. We'll desside about hyou later."

The woman (Creature? Golem? Droid? Youma?) stepped aside, and let us in. As Mal and I went inside the camp, I noticed that the guard moved back into place, denying us an easy exit. Mal leaned over to me.

"These don't look like warriors, do they? More like a drunken rabble of militant peasants. I wonder what they hope to accomplish?"

"I wonder how they managed to catch up with Hesseth."

"It doesn't matter. We're not quite so helpless as he was." I cringed internally as I thought of the boxes.

"I wonder where the recruits' area is?"

"I'm getting the impression that this is the recruits' area. Any army worth speaking of would be better organized than this. My guess is that the real center of the army is composed of people (or creatures, I added mentally) like the one at the gate. But how would they turn a riot like this into soldiers like that? Training alone wouldn't do the trick."

"Hopefully we'll find out soon. There seems to be something of a commotion up near the far side of the fence."

At that point our illusions gave out.

I watched as Malachite's face began to tighten; his rude farmer's face shrank around his bones, removing his double chin. The curly black hair began to bleach out, and grow long down his back, and his black eyes shaded through several colors before settling on a slate grey.

"What?" he asked. "What's wrong?"

I whispered, "Quick. Back here," and led him around a poorly constructed tent to a shadowed and unoccupied corner of the camp.

"Would you mind telling me what's going on?" queried Malachite.

"Your illusion. It's fading."

"Well, you're not exactly a paragon of covert surveillance yourself.:

My hands went to my face, and instead of finding the rough stubble of a burly peasant farmer, they met with my usual androgynous features. This was not good.

"I think that if I concentrate, I can keep my own illusion in place," I said. "Do you think you can do the same?"

Malachite's eyes glowed a hazy blue, but nothing happened.

"It's no use. I just can't do it. Illusion never was my forte."

"All right. You stay here. I'll continue on out."

Mal nodded silently as I reestablished my illusion and shoved back into the crowd.

With not a little bit of difficulty, I elbowed and nudged and made my way towards the front of the crowd, away from the only exit. This general trend away from safety unnerved me slightly, but I knew that Mal and I could fight our way out if the situation demanded it. What I wondered was why our illusions had faded. I was having a hard enough time keeping mine up as it was. To my knowledge, the only thing that could so completely dissolve an illusion of Guardsman caliber like that was a standing anti-illusion spell, and Malachite and I would have sensed a mana use like that miles away.

As the rabble shuffled slowly forwards, I caught a glimpse of a stage. Or something like a stage. It seemed to be more of an outcropping of solid rock than anything made be man; a section of the ground heaved up at a giant's whim. Eventually the crowd came to something of a rest, and I craned my neck to see what was going on onstage. Nothing. And then my illusion wavered again. It took all my strength to maintain it properly, and even then I caught some people around me giving me funny looks. I concentrated harder, and stood on tiptoe. I felt the faint magical signature of a teleportation wash over me. And then he appeared.

Jadeite. Not Jadeite as I knew him before, not even Jadeite as I had known him in the past year. No. This Jadeite glowed with a red malevolence that almost hurt my magically-sensitive eyes. This Jadeite dripped with dark power. This Jadeite disturbed the very pattern of the black stone stage as he stood on it. This, from the rather meek diplomatic arm of the otherwise militant Terran Guardsmen. A demon. A follower of Shiva. An apostle of Chaos. A King among Youma.

I barely recovered from the shock enough to keep a rein on my illusion. Jadeite cast a glance across the crowd, sizing us all up in one half-second sweep of the eyes. He didn't pause for me, and I could barely keep from sighing in relief. Then, he spoke.

"Friends. You stand before me today for various reasons. You have come because of a home ruined by undue taxes. Because of a village razed by foreign soldiers. Because of crops, livestock, weapons, wives, stolen by the enforcers of an unjust empire. You and I, we are united in a common hatred: the hatred of the Terran Empire!"

A cheer rose up from the mouths of the malcontents. I struggled to join them, to make myself seem not out of place. But they were lies. Lies, all of them lies! The Terran Kingdom imposed no taxes. We hadn't expanded in over 80 years, twice the lifespan of a mortal! And the punishment for a soldier that pillaged without Kingdom approval, or raped ever, was death. By no stretch of the imagination were we an empire!

Jadeite continued. "For hate's sake, you have journeyed here. For hate's sake, you will journey elsewhere. You will have joined the great, the terrible army of Beryl, the Undying Queen, the White Queen of Freedom!" Another roar rose from the crowd. "Now," said Jadeite, "Now is the time to act!" He flung his arm out, and a huge black portal appeared beside the stage. "Go! Go and fight for freedom!" And the crowd surged forward.

With rising panic, I tried to fight the current, but the mass of humanity was too much for me. I couldn't make any headway, and the utter confusion kept me from concentrating enough to form any kind of spell. Being roughly jostled every half-second didn't help things, either. All I could do was sit and watch as I was pushed nudged and shoved towards the gaping black portal before me. I prayed that Malachite had enough sense to stay hidden, but at the same time I wanted him to follow me through. As the crowd pushed me past Jadeite, I felt my illusion flicker again. That was an enormous illusory power, if he could dispel my illusion merely by his proximity. I shuddered inwardly and moved on.

The darkness passed over me like a curtain of black water, and I thought I could feel a coldness on my skin where it touched me, and then I was through.

I was still cold. Another product of my overactive imagination? I waited a bit. No. This time I really was cold. Very cold. It reminded me of my one winter visit to Mercury. I looked around at my surroundings, but all I saw was blackness. Then I realized that I had involuntarily closed my eyes to pass through the curtain, so I opened them.

I and the others were in a large cave, with two entrances. One was open, and light streamed through it onto the rear section of the crowd. Along with the light came an icy wind, far colder than even Mercury. At the other end of the cave, the way was blocked by a natural set of bars, formed by stalactites and stalagmites grown together. In that direction lay shadows, that were warmer than the light but twice as frightening. We were caught between two deaths, the proverbial rock and a hard place, unsure which was the more preferable. So we just sat there, and waited.

About an hour later, we had visitors. Six Youma came out of the shadows, closely followed by... Nephrite?

Nephrite oozed the same dark power that Jadeite had, but more strongly. The air itself rippled around him, seeming to recoil from his sheer malevolence. He started to speak to the crowd. His voice seemed even rougher than usual.

"I see we've got another batch of recruits. How amusing. I assume most of you will want to come with me. Anyone that doesn't want to is free to leave this cavern by the other passage, but," he paused. "I wouldn't recommend it." He gestured slightly, and the toothlike stone bars melted back into the floor and ceiling. A few stray people ran out the back way. I never saw them again.

Once that was done, Nephrite continued. "Good. Now, split up into three groups and follow my assistants. You all, go with her. You, with her. And you, follow her over there." As he counted people off, I wondered why I hadn't been included in any of the three groups. "As for you..." He turned directly on me. "You will be coming with me because we know who you are, Zoisite." My illusion shattered.

Then, I realized he had answered my unspoken question. Could they be psychic?

"Sort of the rough equivalent."


"Hmm. It's got a feeling of power, but no panache. I like what you called Jadeite better. Kings, was it? Ah, yes. Kings. It has a nice ring to it."

I looked up. "Nephrite! Why did you betray us?!?"

He smiled. "Oh, I had my reasons."

Rage surged up in me like a tsunami. "You BASTARD!!!" I lunged for him with a hastily conjured ice crystal in my hands. He turned it aside with an unseen wall of force, and caught my hand. I continued to yell. "I'll KILL you!! You'll never live to regret this treachery!"

"Hmmph. Hardly." At which point Malachite stepped in.

A concussive force blast, a ball of compressed air, shot through a momentary gap in the crowd towards Nephrite. He only had time to mutter a curse, toss me aside, and erect a shaky defensive barrier, all in one motion. As it was, the blast hit him full in the chest, sending him across the cavern and clear through a wall. A gurgling moan rose up from the hole as Nephrite dragged himself to his feet, only to be knocked on his ass again by a flurry of cherry-blossom petals. He didn't feel like getting up any more. At that point Youma started coming out of the woodwork.

"Run!" I shouted to Malachite. We took off into the dark recesses of the caves, with whole regiments worth of Youma hot on our heels. I stopped, and took a second to send a few cherry-blossom blasts into the crowd of Youma, but there were too many of them. Mal turned around, grabbed my hand, and dragged me along. After a few feet I regained my balance, and started running alongside him. Every so often the caves branched out, and a Youma or two would jump out in front of us in hopes of stopping our retreat. I dealt with these with small fireballs or ice crystals, and any that came Mal's way would quickly find themselves headless.

We ran for hours. I don't know exactly when we started to lose them, but by the time Mal and I collapsed from exhaustion, there were no more Youma. Running footsteps echoed faintly in the distance, but in these caverns sound traveled far. We sat down in a small recess in the wall, and tried to catch our breath.

"So, Mal... what... do we do now?"

"Well... I guess.... Zoi. Don't. Move."

I felt the sharp end of a spear poking into my back. I swallowed. Mal spoke

"Jadeite. How nice to see you again."

"The pleasure is all mine, I assure you. Now unless you want your lover shishkebobed, you'll do what I say."

"All right," Mal agreed.

"Start walking. And keep quiet."

As per Jadeite's instructions, Malachite and I were trooped along through dark passageways, over rocky obstacles, under hanging fingers of stone, and along so many generally circle-shaped twists and turns that I completely lost my sense of direction. One thing was certain, though: there was a definite trend. This did not bode well.

As we walked, we noticed that the walls became more carved looking. With each step the caves became more squared off, more planned out, more architecturally designed. At one point in the now very structured hallway, for that was what it had become, there was a fork. Jadeite instructed us.

"Turn here."

As we made the turn, he looked up at the ceiling, shook his head, and said, "How good it feels to be giving the orders!" I started to turn to take advantage of his distraction, but the sharp point of Jadeite's pike dissuaded me. He marched us down the hallway, under an arch, and into a large audience chamber.

It was a mockery of the King's throne room back at the palace. The room was carved entirely out of one solid block of black stone, with an eye towards the macabre. Although made of stone, the curves of the walls seemed to undulate like some grotesque beast, and a skull motif dominated the room. Black candles flickered atop the black stone skulls they were mounted on. Faceless masses of Youma circumscribed the room, shifting and murmuring in a forgotten tongue. Front and center was a hideous throne, that rose up from the floor and formed into a giant deformed skull as it reached towards the darkness-shrouded ceiling. On the throne sat a woman, no less malevolent than the room. At it's side knelt a man, swathed in black robes with red trim. His face was hidden by the folds of his hood. As I took in this scene, Jadeite led Mal and I forward and presented us to the woman.

Jadeite placed his hands on our shoulders and forced Mal and I to our knees.

"Queen Beryl. These are the ones you asked for."

I looked up, and finally got a glimpse of Beryl's face. It was distorted almost beyond recognition, but I could barely tell who she was. Beryl was Morgan, the aging King Endymion's insane half-sister.

The Guardsmen had first seen signs of Morgan's instability before I joined them, just after the younger Endymion, Darien, was born. Malachite had told me the story, and I had seen pictures of her. Morgan was found skulking around the baby Darien's chambers at odd hours of the night, muttering to herself about destiny, the future, death, and the number 1994. Night after night this happened, and night after night Morgan would have to be escorted back to her chambers. Then, one night a great commotion woke the Palace. Morgan was hacking at the portal to Darien's room with a battle axe, in an attempt to gain entrance through the locked door. She was locked away in the Palace and cared for, because she was too mad to be kept free, and it would reflect badly on the royal family for one of them to be sent to an ordinary insane asylum or executed.

After that incident, Morgan began to act normally again. She insisted that she was sane, and pleaded to be let out. Finally, the King agreed, and Morgan was allowed to go back to her normal chambers.

Everything went well for the next two weeks; things were completely uneventful. Then one night Morgan rose from her bed and wandered to the sleeping Prince Darien's room. She was stopped by the newly-posted guards to the room, but she killed them both with a small knife hidden in her robe. She then gained entrance to Darien's room, at which point Nephrite, who had woken with a vague sense of unease, entered the room to find Morgan leaning over Darien's cradle. Morgan ran, and Nephrite gave pursuit, calling the guards up as he ran. Morgan made her way to the battlements, and, cornered, threw herself off. She landed in the bushes, and though the Palace guards searched all night and part of the next day, her body was never recovered.

Here she was, though, and from the look of things she was crazier than before. Wicked spikes jutted from her shoulders and elbows, and topped off her ears. Long red fingernails tapped the armrests of her throne impatiently, and an unholy fire burned in her eyes. Black energy poured forth from her in waves that threatened to knock me over. Nephrite and Jadeite had nothing compared to her power. A staff bearing a crystal globe on top of it stood before her, and it was this that she looked up from as Jadeite spoke.

"Good. You have performed well, Jadeite. You will be rewarded."

"Thank you, my Queen." Jadeite went down on one knee, but jumped to his feet again as Mal tried to move. I cast a glance over at Mal, who was keeping his eyes on the floor. Malachite could see mana more easily than I, and if looking at Beryl hurt my eyes, it must have been agony for him.

"Now, Jadeite, have them killed."

"Yes, my Queen."

Jadeite started to have Mal and I stand up, but motion up at the throne stopped him. The man in the cloak had risen, and was talking to Beryl in hushed tones. I took a moment to study him.

If Beryl was a fountain, then this cowled figure was a drain. Not one solitary thread of mana touched him, not the smallest amount of energy even got close to him. He was like a magical vacuum, as startling in his way as Beryl was in hers. The energy that Beryl and Jadeite exuded simply fell into him, leaving behind not the slightest trace of it's passing. I shuddered.

The man finally finished speaking with Beryl, and he returned to his kneeling position beside her. Beryl turned to Jadeite and issued new orders.

"You are to take the prisoners to the Negaforce chamber immediately."

"Yes, my Queen. It will be as you command."

Jadeite pulled Malachite and me to our feet, and marched us through a side door among the murmurings of the crowds of Youma.

The door led to a spiral staircase. If I had thought that we were far belowground before, now I thought we must surely be near the center of the earth. The stairs wound around and around and always down, into the blackness of the earth. After an indeterminate amount of time - maybe ten minutes, maybe an hour - I began to see a faint red glow ahead. The glow intensified step by step, until finally the stairs left off and we came into a small chamber.

The walls of the chamber were black, but they were awash in a blood-red glow emanating from a large crystal in the center of the back wall of the room. A liquid of the same color flowed around within it, and I thought I saw threatening shapes take form in the dark swirls, and vanish just as quickly as they had come. I looked over at Mal, and this thing clearly unsettled him as mush as it did me. That in itself was frightening.

Jadeite pushed us slightly forwards, in the direction of the crystal. I saw Nephrite materialize in the corner of my field of vision, and felt hate well up inside me. He and Jadeite stood back a little, leaving Mal and me standing uncomfortably in front of the red crystal. We just stood there, not daring to move lest Jadeite impale us, not daring to speak lest the wounded Nephrite take offense and annihilate us. But apparently the pressure finally became too great for Mal, as he spoke out; "Are you going to do something with us, or just have us stand here like idiots?" A voice directly behind us piped up. "No such luck, I'm afraid."

Mal and I turned around simultaneously. It was the robed man from the throne room. Mal spoke.

"Something about your voice seems vaguely familiar."

"Does this help?" The figure threw back his hood to reveal a gaunt face with startling green eyes sunk deep in shadowy sockets.

"Antares. Are you involved in everything?"

"Oh, no, not by a long shot, but enough. I might ask the same question of you. Every time I do something, there's the Terran Kingdom, ready to smash my dreams or crumble my ambitions, and often in the form of one of four notorious young men. When I was just building my organization, you, my white-haired friend, popped up to threaten me with death. When I unearthed the Stellar Modifier, poor Nephrite here was there to destroy it. And when I hired the Black Moon Family to steal for me the Rainbow Crystals, Jadeite over there tried to get them back." He made a sound that was half laugh and half cough. "But he didn't do so well. And neither will you. It's ironic that I'll use the Guardsmen themselves to attain my objectives."

I thought it was time to make this guy talk sense. "Which are...?" I prompted.

"Well... But let me tell you a little story. Once there was a rich little Jovian boy. He wanted to join the army. To make a difference. But no. Oh, no. He joined the academy and was teased and bullied and pushed around by his teachers... But I'll have my revenge. The Disciples were just pawns, poor deluded little revolutionaries. My real plan was the Modifier. With it, I would focus the energy of the universe on me and make myself a god, capable of making my own rules, capable of giving the orders for a change. But no, you had to go and SCREW THINGS UP!!!" Antares took several deep breaths. "But that doesn't matter any more. What you see before you in the Blood Crystal is Metallia, the demon, the Queen of Vengeance. I used the Silver Crystal to free her from her million-year sleep. And in return, she's given me power. Real power! To play with, a poor deluded puppet queen, poor deluded brainwashed Guardsmen, and myself, not a figurehead but the true leader! Once I destroy the System, I'll absorb the energies of the dead and become a god. I'll make the universe cower before my might, and pay me back the revengeance I am due. So you see, I'm just your average, everyday traumatized megalomaniac at heart. And you, my dear Guardsmen, are about to become my third and fourth Kings."

The madman Antares, for that was what he obviously was now, motioned towards the Blood Crystal. A black portal opened in front of it. But I could sense that this portal was blacker than Jadeite's, and entailed a more fearsome demise than anything I had seen before. I decided it was time to act.

I turned about and fired off a volley of cherry-blossom petals into Nephrite's gut. He went down hard, and I turned towards Antares as Mal dealt with Jadeite. Antares was startled, but not too startled to respond to my threat. He pulled a small golden Lightning Rod from his cloak, and only too late did I notice that my back was to the portal. Oddly enough, my last thought was about Nephrite.

* * *

I looked up from pounding the traitor Jadeite's face in, just in time to see Zoisite take a bolt of lightning head on and go flying backwards into the black portal. I screamed in grief and rage, and gave Jadeite one last hit to finish him off. I got up and turned to Antares, who was training his lightning rod on me. As I stepped forward and knocked the weapon out of his hand, I felt all emotion drain from me, the sure sign of a determination to kill. Once disarmed, Antares paled and backed away from me.

"You.. You're not going to..."

"Kill you? No. I didn't say anything about that. I said I'm going to bring you to justice. My justice." I bottled up all my hidden emotions into a pair of boomerangs, and threw them off. They whirled once around the chamber and than started in on Antares. They cut off his hands, feet, ears, and nose, punctured his eyes, extracted his tongue, and castrated him. When I was done, I caught the boomerangs and dissolved them, and watched as the blood that coated them hit the floor. I spat once on the quivering mass of bloody flesh that Antares had become, and followed my love into the Darkness.

- End -

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