Sweet Dreams

Chapter 5: Waking to Illusion

© 2006 by Pyrite aka Jessi Duffour

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I felt a gentle hand shake my shoulder, rousing my sluggish mind reluctantly from blissful slumber. Groaning softly in irritation, I shied away from the insistent touch, wishing dearly to crawl back to my unfinished dream. Interesting admittedly, intriguing and unusual...a little frightening also. A strange place with strange people, and magic like I had never seen before. The hand tightened its grip on my shoulder a little more, trying to shake me to consciousness. Opening bleary eyes reluctantly, I pushed the cuff of my sleeve back and peered with sleep blurred vision at my digital watch. 9:30. My heart lurched into my throat. My blood ran cold. My God! I'm over an hour late for school!!! Dad is gonna kill me! Blinking and narrowing my eyes I saw the tiny PM and laid my head back down on my arms. Must've fallen asleep on my desk again.

"Go'way." I mumbled drowsily, trying to return to enticing sleep.

Absently, I felt myself being lifted gently by strong arms and carried, then laid down carefully in my bed. I smiled softly in serene bliss and thought detachedly Good ol Dad. Always looking out after his little girl... I felt sleep's tantalizing touch caress as soft warm sheets were pulled up to my chin. I snuggled in the soft peaceful comfort and let sleep steal over me.

Momentarily, I rolled over when the sound of someone picking up a piece of parchment roused me briefly. I turned over and snuggled against the warm, cherry blossom scented pillow. Part of my mind awakened at this. Cherry blossoms? Since when did my room smell like flowers? It usually reeks of incense. Frowning slightly, I squirmed deeper in the silken sheets, trying to ignore my nagging thoughts. Silk?! What the... My eyes flew open and I was staring at a tall man clad in a dismal gray uniform and white cape standing at a desk reading a piece of paper, hair like silvery starlight shimmering past his shoulders. My eyes widened as awareness struck, and with it memories. Letting out a soft gasp I sat up, looking around with wide, surprised eyes. I thought it was only a dream!!!

Kunzite turned casually at my sudden movement, cool and calm. Embarrassed, I felt my face flush bright red at how ridiculous I must have sounded. A slight wry smile crept across his face as he spoke dryly.

"You will become accustomed to this room all too soon." I could only nod, feeling absurd sitting in the bed, yet too thunderstruck by the situation to move. The tall icy man held up the piece of parchment. It was the letter I wrote, some of the ink blurred by tears, and I felt the icy fingers of dread touch my heart as I recalled my utter loss of memory of my name. I surmised I must have cried myself to sleep. He looked at the tear stained paper then peered keenly at me with arctic silvery blue eyes, asking a question, yet seeming to know the answer before I responded.

"Why did you not sign it?" I bowed my head, confused and slightly afraid. I murmured a reply in a quavering voice. It was all too odd, too horrifying for me to believe. How can I possibly forget my own name?

"I couldn't remember my name."

"What DO you remember?" I blinked in confusion.

"Do you remember how you came to be here?" Good question. To which I didn't have an answer, adding much to my confusion. Trying hard to remember, ignoring his slightly amused smirk, I fought valiantly to recall how I came to be here, but it was all a hazy misty memory, my mind's fingers passing through it like a dream. Fear's icy touch lightly caressed my heart, leaving chill shivers in my blood as I shook my head, bewildered and stunned by realization.

"I'm sorry, but all I remember is waking up in a hallway here." I gestured feebly towards the door and the creepy subterranean looking halls beyond. I felt as if I had a bunch of snakes knotted in my stomach, twisting and writhing as the harder I tried to touch my memories, the more surreal they became. The icy man simply stood there, regarding me with an unnerving chill gaze, intense, a soul piercing silver blue.

"What do you remember of before?" What an odd question to ask!....Wait a minute... My eyes widened in alarm when, try as I might, I could recall nothing about myself, my life. Fear tightened it's grip a little on my heart, holding it firm.

"Your family? Friends? What is your own Mother's name?" His relentless questions cruelly beat at my soul, Fear's grip constricting painfully, as my mind only drew up hazy blanks to these questions...questions that should be easy to answer. Oh GOD!!! This can't be happening! I must be dreaming. He shook his head, hair gleaming in the dim light like silken strands of moonbeams.

"No. You are not dreaming." I eyed him in shock as he apparently had read my thoughts. I uneasily wondered what other nasty shocks I was in for tonight, and I had a definite feeling that there were going to be much more. I crawled out of the bed and agitatedly paced the floor, trying to release some nervous tension. What am I going to do? What CAN I do? I twisted a golden brown lock of curly hair around a finger as my thoughts twisted in my mind. I jolted in surprise as I felt his hand on my shoulder. I glanced up at him, sensing the weight behind his words before he had even spoken them.

"You are no longer the person you once were. You have no past, save the time you have spent in the Dark Kingdom. You are now a denizen of this realm, and you must act accordingly if you wish to remain alive." He then turned and walked to the desk, placing the paper with deliberate slow grace on the wooden surface. He glanced at me for a moment, the intensity of his gaze making it seem an eternity. Then, without another word, he walked through the door, closing it softly behind him.

Shaking like a leaf, I staggered to the desk and sank down in the chair, my knees weakened by the shock. I was terrified, unsure of even my age, my identity gone. I felt like a total stranger to myself, a sensation that is chilling to the bone. All I had was my bag, my clothes I wore here, and a name I picked out of the blue.

*Now, don't you wish you hadn't picked something so ridiculous as Pyrite?*

A sure sign of how desperately unsettled I felt was that I was actually ecstatic to hear the voice again. Ignoring the biting sarcasm, I smiled softly.

"Nice to hear from you again."

*Ah, I see you are finally getting used to me?* True, the voice DID have a point. I wasn't even surprised anymore by it's sudden popping into my mind.

"Well, seeing that there is now MUCH worse to get used to so, yeah, I guess you could say I am." The voice chuckled softly. My fingers toyed with the piece of paper, some of the ink blurred by the tears of my previous crying. Taking the paper, I crumpled it up and tossed it into the wastebasket next to the desk, tossing along with it my sorrow and fear. Trying to ignore the pain I felt, I focused my attention on the voice.

*I could have warned you about the letter. I knew you were going to forget.* I blinked, a slight frown crossing my lips. I sighed in exasperation.

"Then why DIDN'T you tell me?!"

*You wouldn't have believed me.* Oh...yeah, that IS true... I grinned slightly sheepishly.

"You got me there." I started in surprise as I felt hands on my shoulders, a soft whisper warm against my ear, the scent of leather touching my senses, a telltale cool breeze brushing against my face.

"And I have you here!!!"

Moving with agility and speed I never knew possible, I lurched out of the chair and whirled around in a defensive stance, glaring darkly at the intruder. Oh man.....I don't need any more trouble! And there was trouble standing in front of me, glittering green eyes watching me, a cold smile on the blood red lips set against alabaster skin. Jade leaned against the bedpost suggestively, a 'come hither' look on her angular features. Revulsion and unease warred for place for my face, so I decided to adopt an intensely irritated glare, hoping she would take a hint, but, knowing as little as I do of her, she would probably laugh. And laugh she did.

"Ohohohoho! You are quite amusing!!!" She shared an evil, sly smile full of threat...and promise. As if my day wasn't bad enough already! I felt sickened to the stomach by her outright lewd stare, and fought desperately not to go for my dagger, knowing that she could probably wipe the floors with me with that whip, and I had no desire to amuse her further. I crossed my arms over my chest and eyed her with my best 'Don't mess with me' patent sullen glare. Unfortunately, this tends to look adorable rather than intimidating, and I mentally kicked myself for not realizing it sooner. Terrific. She laughed again, shaking her head, grinning in dark mirth.

"I cannot believe I missed such an entertaining young man as yourself all this time! You really should..." I impatiently cut her off mid sentence with as much rudeness as I could muster, letting my irritation and anger flavor my voice with a dry chill.

"Is there a REASON for you being here? Or don't you have a rock to crawl back under?" All mirth fled her face, her eyes glowing a brilliant green. She stalked up to me with slow measured strides, her hand sliding towards the whip at her side. I defiantly stood my ground, my chin raised proudly, watching her coolly, although I really did wish I felt as calm as I acted. I was scared, no question about that, but I was also stubborn, and I wasn't going to back down. Even if it killed me. I pushed a lock of hair idly from my eyes, contempt in every movement.

In a single blinding blur of motion, she flicked her wrist, the whip uncoiling and snapping out like a striking serpent. I gasped as I felt a painfully stinging, constricting sensation on my wrist. Blinking in surprise, I looked down at the taut line of the whip, the leather coiled tightly around my wrist between my glove and sleeve, biting into my skin. Laughing in sadistic joy, she jerked hard on the weapon, catching me off balance, the leather digging deeper into my wrist, cutting through my skin. As I stumbled forward, I struggled against the whip, warm, thick blood running down my elbow and seeping into the cloth of my jacket.

Oh shit!!! Ow, jeeze that hurts!!!! Gritting my teeth against the pain, I struggled stubbornly against the whip as she began to draw me to her, hand over hand on the leather weapon. I need to break this thing!!! My mind went to my knife tucked neatly into my boot as I was drawn closer to her another grudging step, trying to ignore her darkly amused smile and whispered promises (which, to me, sounded like threats). Caught like a fish on a hook!!! Ack! I don't think I'll be eating anymore seafood after this... A thought struck me as I was dragged another reluctant foot forward. If I could get to my knife...then I could cut myself free, but I need get my hand down to it.....

Just as I took another lurching step forward, no more than a yard away from the sadistic Youma, I used the momentum to fake a stumble, falling to one knee. Her crow of delight as she rushed forward turned into a shrill shriek of dismay and surprise as my other hand grasped the knife hilt and slashed the sharp blade outward, severing her whip from my wrist and driving her a step back. I gasped as the blood rushed to my fingers, my wrist bleeding and stinging in agonizing pain. Cradling my injured wrist to my stomach I held the dagger in my other, watching Jade with wary eyes, backing up until I was certain I had the wall to my back.

"Get out." My voice broke slightly, making it sound more like a plea than a demand. She paused then threw her head and laughed, her voice chiming discordantly. Furious at letting her get to me, I shook my head and clenched both my hands, one of my gloves soaked in warm blood, letting the pain fuel anger...driving away fear.

"Now!" My voice echoed in the room, cutting though her laughter...filled with calm self-assurance and hot anger. She stopped laughing and studied me intently. Even I was surprised by the commanding tone in my voice, but I knew it best not to let her see my confusion and astonishment. At first, at her long pause, I thought I had succeeded in intimidating her, dared to hope she would leave me alone. I could never have been more off the mark. She eyed me keenly, a soft crafty smile on her crimson lips. Oh...no! This is NOT fair!

"Hmmmm...young and tender...but with a fiery spirit and bite... I like that." She stepped close and fingered a curl of my hair. I favored her with a sullen glare and shoved her hand away, holding the blade up to her neck. If I didn't know before why Kunzite hates her, I'm pretty certain I have a good clue now.... She only smiled and pushed against the blade, testing my intent, the sharp edge lightly denting her skin, only a little twitch away from cutting deeply in her throat.

"I don't care what you like. Like something else, just leave me the hell alone!" Tempted as I was to shove the blade in her neck, I wasn't sure that I was willing to throw my soul away on her. I may have done a lot of rotten things in my life, but murder was not me. Although it would do the world a lot of good if I just pushed the blade. Smiling at my hesitation, she raised a slender green eyebrow at me, dark eyes sparkling with evil mirth.

"Then, why don't you simply cut? Then I would never bother you again." Wrong...I don't need you on my conscience. She leaned forward on the blade, her movement a suicidal act against the still keen edge. Or it WOULD have if I hadn't pulled it away, my desire to keep my soul greater than my wish for vengeance. She laughed: her voice grating on my nerves while chilling my blood at the same time. I met her eyes evenly, defiantly, but greatly disturbed inside my mind and heart, asking myself the same question. Wouldn't it have been easier to kill her?

"Such INNOCENCE!!!" She suddenly darted forward like a snake. Reflexes taut, I jerked back...and hit my head against the wall behind me. Owww! Wincing slightly, I stared back, ignoring the annoying ache at the back of my head. I pressed myself against the wall behind me as she leaned close, her nose inches from my own, uncomfortably close.

"Hohohoho! Such characteristics are a rare thing indeed in the Dark Kingdom. And just think, all mine for the taking..." She suddenly paused, her eyes widening. The sucubus woman looked over her shoulder at the doorway and cursed softly. What the?! Blinking in confusion, and a great deal relieved, I tried to look at what saved me, but my vision was obscured mostly by Jade. Using the wall for support, I shoved her away, noting in relief she was distracted by whatever it was that was at the door as she stumbled back a few paces, looking at me in surprise. Her eyes glowed softly in anger as her hand snaked towards her whip at her side.

"I will teach you to refuse me..." She was cut off mid action and sentence by a low, throaty growl, menacing in it's warning. For once, I actually saw fear touch her eyes as she glanced again over her shoulder. Without another word, she vanished, a swift cold wind blowing through the room. I stared in disbelief at where she had been just a moment before. Sheathing the blade I spoke softly to the one who intervened in time.

"I would really like to thank you....for..." My voice trailed off as I turned and stared in surprise at the doorway. What in the world?!!!

Cool pale blue eyes looked up at me silently from the face of an arctic wolf, fur a pure white of snow. He was easily the largest wolf I had ever seen, his shoulders cresting to the middle of my thighs. How could Jade be afraid of a wolf?! Well, I suppose she has her reasons, so I won't argue. Lean and taught, muscles flowed under the fur as he calmly padded up to sit right before me, looking up with that silent penetrating gaze. Keen intelligence burned behind the ice blue eyes as the wolf silently regarded me.

I kneeled slowly before it and held out my hand to it for him to smell, his black nostrils flared as he sniffed up my bloodied glove and snuffled along my wrist, sounding like a distant train, his cool wet nose buried on my wrist. I then suddenly realized...I felt no pain. In fact...I hadn't for the past few minutes. Staring at my wrist in wide eyed stunned silence, all I could see were faint pink scars from the horrendous wounds, rapidly fading to my normal smooth creamy complexion, the blood disappearing from the cloth. Cool! I can regenerate...or something like that! I smiled slightly as the wolf licked the blood from my healed wrist. Well, he seems pretty tame.

"Thanks, buddy!" I reached out to ruffle the silky ears, but he growled softly in his throat. Ookaay, so no petting allowed. Smiling sheepishly I held my hands back slowly and he stopped growling.

"Well, anyone who can make that sleazy Youma run like a faucet is a friend to me in my book." I pulled off my gloves and held my bare hand out to him, palm up. Much to my surprise, he reached up and touched his paw in my hand lightly and barked once, a sort of handshake and agreement. Grinning in surprised wonder, I realized this was not only an animal with personality and agreement on at least one topic, but also seems to have taken a shine to me, for whatever reason he may have. And right at that moment, a friend was greatly in need. And appreciated.

Yawning slightly, I stretched my arms and arched my back, shaking out my hair. Standing up I grinned at the silent wolf watching me calmly.

"I've had a really rough day, so I hope you don't mind if I change into something a little less stuffy." The wolf snuffled softly, a sound I took as a no, and settled down, laying like a sphinx: guarding the door. Walking over to the door, I closed it and locked it with the key resting upon the dresser. Walking back to the dresser, I opened the drawers one at a time, taking stock of the inventory with a curious eye, feeling the wolf's intense, appraising gaze at my back. Pulling out a pair of thick sweat pants and heavy shirt and boxers, I strolled to the door I surmised was the bathroom. I blinked in surprise at what I found. Instead of neat tiled walls, and the usual facilities in a cramped little room, I stared in surprise at a huge cavern with naturally flowing springs, illuminated by softly glowing lichen in the walls, soft hues of violet, green and blue. Oh WOW!!! I could get to like this place!

Closing the door behind me, I walked over to a swiftly flowing stream of cold water and removed the jacket and shirt, washing the blood from my arm and splashing a little more on my face. I looked at the hot spring off to my left with great interest, a soft smile creeping across my lips. Why the hell not, I deserve it. Slipping off the rest of my clothes and pulling my hair up with the rubber band on the top of my head, I dipped into the wonderfully warm water, sighing in contented bliss, the steam rising around me in misty clouds. I relaxed for a few minutes more, swimming out into the deeper part, feeling the hotter water coming from below. Wading back to the edge, I though belatedly of a towel. I really hate it when I forget to snatch a towel!!!

As any human being would do in such a situation, I reached blindly around, searching with my fingers in a half hope of finding something. And, unlike any human in such a situation, my hand landed on a plush, warm towel. Blinking in surprise, I stood up holding a deep green towel in my hand. Now I KNOW I didn't see that there before!

Shivering in the chill draft of the cavern, I quickly dried myself off, saving my questions until later. Donning the boxers and the rest of the clothes, I noticed once again how easily my chest is hidden. I was not sure if that was a good or a bad thing. I was not sure I really wanted to know. Sighing, about to go about the part of washing I hated: The cleaning up. When I set about gather up my clothing, I blinked in surprise. Where did it all go?

I searched high and low, even peered into the water, but I couldn't find any sign of my clothes. When I turned around, there it all was, clean and neatly folded and set on a stone slab. Shaking my head, too tired to try to solve this mystery, I opened the door and walked back to my room, shaking the rest of the moisture from my hair. I smiled down at the snow white wolf who had not appeared to have budged in all that time.

"You know what I could really go for? A good hot...cup...of..." My voice trailed off as I stared in disbelief. I quickened my pace to the deep cherrywood nightstand next to the huge bed, thinking my tired mind must be playing tricks on me. But as I neared, the soothing aroma of Jasmine tea caressed my senses. I reached out and touched the china tea pot in wonder, not believing what my eyes were seeing. I jerked my hand back when I burned my fingers on the hot pot. My mind flickered back to the towel, the clean bathing room, even the miraculous healing of my wrist.

"Ouch!!! Amazing! It's like everything I wish for, comes right to me!" I jumped in surprise, nearly spilling tea on myself as the wolf barked suddenly, once. I looked at him in surprise.

"Is that how things work here? You wish for it?" The wolf stood, his tail wagging, barking again, twice, the normally calm creature's eyes gleaming with excitement. Why does this feel like an episode of Lassie? I snickered slightly at the thought and hopped up onto the bed, playing with my newfound idea like a new toy. I grinned up at the wolf as he leaped gracefully, lightly landing on the soft mattress next to me.

"Hmmm, Let me try this out.....Let's see...." I smiled as I came up with an idea of what I wished for. Feeling slightly foolish, I closed my eyes and envisioned the vase, then pictured roses in it like I had seen before. I crowed in delight as I saw the vase brimming with roses.

"Oh, they are beautiful!!!" I felt an unusual drain flutter through my body. Whoah, perhaps I should lay off this magic stuff until for a while . I glanced at the wolf and saw him simply staring at the flowers with an unusual intensity. His left ear swiveled back and he met my glance with pale blue wintry eyes with a startling gravity. I didn't understand the look, and I honestly didn't feel like asking him about it. How can you ask a wolf a question like that, even if it IS an intelligent one? Glancing at the tea, I poured myself a cup of it. Sipping it, I savored the flavor. Smiling at the winter white wolf next to me, I gestured to the pot.

"Would you care for some also?" I paused, feeling like a fool. What the HELL am I doing offering tea to a wolf?! But, much to my surprise he barked once, a sign I have been coming to realize as an affirmative. Well, good thing I did, I suppose. Wishing up a large saucer, I filled it with tea and paused, toying with an idea. Focusing and wishing for the cup to hang in the air I held it in front of the wolf. When I let go, it held; much to my surprise and delight. My fine furry friend woofed and licked my hand then drank carefully from the large cup, not spilling a drop. I felt another wave of tiredness wash through me, though...and I levitated the thing down.

"You know...I've never seen a wolf with as excellent manners as you have. I haven't seen very many people that do, for that matter!!!" I laughed, and it felt good, a pure cleaning of the spirit through mirth. The wolf almost looked offended then seemed to change his mind, the pale blue eyes twinkling. He laid on the bed, panting, looking like he was grinning. I resorted to a few chuckles: wiping away tears of mirth and grinning. I spent many hours of camaraderie: speaking to the wolf and drinking tea, laughing and telling jokes and talking about trivial things. And, the odd part was, I was certain he was listening.

After I whisked away the tea with a thought Hey, this is NEAT! I snuggled under the silken deep green sheets, smiling softly. With another thought, the soft glow ceased in the room, leaving all in inky blackness. Pulling my rubberband out of my hair, I placed it on the nightstand and smiled softly to myself, my mind sinking into the realm of dreams. I felt the wolf stand and walk closer to me, circle twice then lay down, curled up by my side, warm, protective, a friend in the darkness.

"Good night." I murmured dreamily. The warm body curled up next to me woofed softly in reply. I smiled softly to myself as I slowly slipped back into the realm of dreams. Things are beginning to look up.

The End of Chapter 5 - Goto Chapter 6

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Disclaimer: Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha and Toei Animation. All characters, settings etc. are used without permission. This is an amateur fiction, and I definitely won't make any money of it.

This page belongs to Stayka's Dark Kingdom Home at http://www.dark-kingdom.de

© by Pyrite aka Jessi Duffour - Email: duffour@gmail.com

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