Sweet Dreams

Chapter 17: A Brief Joy in Good Spirit

© 2006 by Pyrite aka Jessi Duffour

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Staggering from the fray of swirling ballroom clad figures, I stumbled haphazardly to the wall with a gasp. Dancing was excercise....especially if you really didn't want to do it. Leaning my back against the cool marble, I closed my eyes as I drew a deep welcome breath. The sounds of music and subtle conversation, faint laughter distant white noise in my ears as I regained my breath with now shallowing gasps. Oh, what I would have given for a way out of this farce of a ball, for a chance to escape the swirling madness of colors and sounds. Maybe, just perhaps, I might be able to slip from the room under the cover of many elegant costumed partakers and the din of conversation and clinking glasses...

"There you are, Pyrite!" Groaning, I sagged against the wall...feeling like a prisoner set for execution. I don't want to be here any more... Wearily, reluctantly, I opened my eyes slowly...staring at Beruche as I felt her grab my arm...again. Tactfully, I hid a grimace under a shaky smile as I fumbled mentally for some kind of indecisive, yet definitive reply.

"Ah...I didn't know you were...uhm..looking for me....."

"Oooh, but of course! I was hoping we could dance some more!" I blinked then winced inwardly. Sheepishly smiling..I attempted to edge away from the elegantly bedecked lady, trying to slink along the wall away from her.

"S..so sorry, but I think I'm plum tuckered out...uhm....maybe later..."

"Awww....but....Oh look! There's the other girls.....HIIIIII!" Caught off guard by her sudden change in conversation, I looked up to where Beruche was merrily waving with a dainty white gloved hand. The other three of the Weird Sisters. And Rubeus. Terrific. Momentarily distracted, I was not prepared for the sudden viselike grip on my arm...dragging me over to the group.

Stumbling slightly, I swiftly regained my faltering footing AND my slagging composure, gulping as I noted the quietly smoldering look in the red haired man's gaze. Aw cripes. Fighting back a perturbed flush, I followed Beruche to the group.

Paradox of politeness. I absolutely had no interest in getting glomped and dragged all over the place by people. However, as a guest here, how on Earth can I simply refuse or yell out no? These wicked webs woven of intricate words and social games were a devious hunting romp in a place like this. It lead me to wonder if I had the word PREY embroidered in the back of my jacket.

Feeling a tug at my sleeve, I blinked, glancing to Beruche in pensive perplexity. Beaming, she gestured idly to a heavily laden table elegantly bedecked with refreshments. Fine metal plates and crystal gobletry glistened in the light; food and drinks of a varied beautiful array of colors reflected the asture haughty decadence of the revelers.

"Could you be an absolute dear, Pyrite, and get me a cup of punch? I am positively parched!"

Without another moment's thought, I swiftly stepped back, bowing slightly as I retreated to the snack bar. What a relief, indeed, to be free of the leaden weight upon my arm...however I wasn't sure I could sufficiently avoid forever the ever consistent "precious" comments and my arm adornment. Picking up a crystal cup carefully in my white gloved hand, I quietly ladled the rich scarlet liquid with a soft sigh, smiling slightly despite everything as I caught the aroma of it. How long had it been since I enjoyed the living flavour of fruit juice? Gods....too long...too long indeed. The scent of the punch was wild with berries and melon...a host of sweet scented fruits crushed into an exotic pleasing blend...mixing with the aroma of the jasmine and rose blossoms floating atop the surface of the drink.

"It really is quite good."

I paused, looking up at the voice, straightening slightly in surprise. A tall woman she was: clad in an elegant viridian hued dress the color of fresh dark mint, matching her rich wintergreen hair well. I smiled softly to Esmeraud, bowing politely in courteous greeting. Chuckling softly in a throaty tone behind her soft feathered fan, she reached out and lightly purloined my cup of punch in an emerald green gloved hand.

Hesitating only a fraction of a moment, I then retrieved yet another cup of the punch, carefully ladling it into the crystalline article. Smiling lightly, I looked to the tall woman.

"Thank you for the advise, Esmeraud." I set down the crystal cup upon the table lightly then picked up yet another for myself...curious to taste this aromatic drink.

"You do not mingle much, I noticed...something you picked up from your Sensei?" I glanced up to the woman, noticing the shrewd gleam in her crimson hued eyes. I shuddered slightly...wondering whatever happened to good old brown haired, brown eyes girls. Apparently she was testing me for...something. Something I could hardly discern at this point and time.

"I'm afraid I don't mix too well with people I do not know."

Leaning back against the table, I sheepishly took a deep draught of the drink within my cup...blinking in surprise at the taste. A rich bouquet of spicy sweet liquid raced down my throat in a heady rush of warmth, coming to rest in my belly like tangy liquid sunshine, sending a general gentle relaxation through me. A smile snuck it's way to my lips despite my attempt at solemnity. Just then...it occurred to me that I was hearing a noise...sound..ah yes. Talk. Oh...to ME. So caught up in the wonderful flavorful sensation of the punch, I had hardly noticed that Esmeraud had been speaking to me.

"...and I truly think that red and..god forbid ORANGE...are colors far past outdated. In this day and time in fashion, colors should be more geared to cool hues such as blues and greens...don't you agree, Pyrite?"

I simply nodded with a smile, taking another deep drink of the delectable beverage, thrilling in the wash of tingling warmth that soared through my body. Turning...I ladled more of the fluid into the cup, feeling good...no...better than that. I felt like I could take on the world, anything. Yes, even Beruche...which reminded me...

"That is interesting and everything, but if I may be excused, I think someone is waiting for me. " I held up the other cup of punch, nodding towards Beruche. Bowing formally I then turned with a slight smile, walking towards the clustered sisters, nimbly sidestepping Rubeus as he roughly brushed past me. Quirking an eyebrow archly, I turned slightly to glance askance at the rude man who seemed to be in quite a hurry. In detached amusement, I watched as he stepped towards Esmeraud with a dirty look in my direction...then pointedly ignored me. I grinned slightly. Great! They can go and drive each other nuts. This night is beginning to look up! Moving with a slight bounce in my step, I slipped over to Beruche with a light smile, holding out a cup of punch to her. Giggling softly, she accepted it with a coy smile and sly wink.

"Thank you, Hon. And where have YOU been off to, Pyrite?" I shrugged my shoulders lightly, taking another gulp of the potent warming punch. Boy, this stuff is GOOD!

"I ran into Esmeraud at the bowl..." I wasn't even phased as I felt a familiar deathgrip on my arm. Smiling, I sank into joyful bliss with the sweet spicy liquid. Ah such ecstasy...I didn't think anything could bother me at this time.

"Well, I am certainly glad you came back!" I simply smiled and nodded, thinking everything looked right...felt right.

"Oh look...it's started!" I blinked, glancing askance at Beruche curiously at her words.

"What has?"

"Kareokee!!!" Wincing, I regretted the question; hearing all four of the sisters cry out the word feverantly simultaneously.

"Oh?" I raised the crystal cup to my lips, gulping more of the sweet warm punch, sinking into a momentary thrill of warmth. I never had felt so good in the past I recall.

I don't know how it happened, or WHY...but I was up there. There, of course, being the kareokee stage. It began with the girls singing, another cup of punch, a dash of convincing, another cup of punch... and the next thing I knew I was on the small stage: staring out over the people hushed and awaiting a melody. In my mind, however, was a song...one, indeed, I longed to sing. I leaned down and whispered softly to one of the orchestra performers...a bold clad young fellow with a classical guitar. After a quiet moment of inquiry and explanation..he nodded bending over the wooden instrument, lightly picking out a soft yet haunting melody.

Turning, I looked over the crowd quiet for the kareokee, softly singing the tune in a slightly falsetto voice...giving the slow moving melody and eerie sound...my voice much akin to choir boy's pure high tone...albeit a slight bit shaky:unusued to singing before people.

"If you could read my mind, Love,
what a tale my thoughts would tell.
Just like an old time movie
'bout a ghost from a wishing well..."

I could feel eyes upon me as I sang, an unnerving familiar chill. Casting my eyes about the room as I continued to sing...I felt my eyes lock with a pair of startling pale ice blue eyed. I could not look away, rend my gaze from those pale eyes as I continued to sing, the melody haunting in my mind despite the warm sense of safety imbued by the punch.

"In a Castle Dark
or a fortress strong
I stand with chains upon my feet
the Ghost..would be me...."

On I sang, putting the very thoughts and feelings into vocal words...words to express all that I had not...DARED not admit or reveal. Distantly I could hear voices...cheers mixed in with clapping as I continued with my ballad. Much to my delight, He was watching...those cool eyes so very entrancing I could not look away. I was in Heaven.

The End of Chapter 17 - Goto Chapter 18

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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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