Sweet Dreams

Chapter 33: Blessed are the Fools

© 2006 by Pyrite aka Jessi Duffour


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The viscous ever moving walls were now a familiar comfort. Almost pretty in their own morbid right. And the grotesque sinister atmosphere was now merely a part of this place I had become implicitly attuned to.

Without realizing how, or when...the Dark Kingdom became my home.

As I walked down the hallway with a large roll of parchment in one arm and a heavy wooden box nestled under the other, I mused absently on my life in this place. I've become surprisingly accustomed to this magical, if hell inclined lifestyle.

I wasn't so certain if that was a good thing or not. If I existed comfortably among demons in Gehenna...did that make me a bad person? Was I myself a cruel and vindictive villain?

However, so lost in my deep musings, I hadn't noticed one out of my pair of 'favorite people' stalking my way down the passage way until he brushed roughly past me.

"Look where you're going you annoying little wretch."

Stopping still...I drew a deep breath and exhaled.

Endymion.

Immediately I kept walking off brusquely.

"Aren't we a little old to be continuing this fight, Endymion? Look, I've got more important things to do than argue with you...hold those insults until next time...all right? Thanks!"

Of course...nothing deflated the dark haired 'Prince' like a casual brush off. He absolutely detested not being the center of attention...and being on top in every situation.

No wonder why the Queen adored him so.

My instincts kicked in instantly, however...alerting me to turn in a sudden sidestep as something sung in a high speed hurtle past me to embed into the lucid wall. Wilted black petals fluttered from an ebon rose bud to sigh to the ground in a listless sprinkle.

"Bah, a lucky dodge. Is that all you can do you little wuss? AVOID? I don't think you have the balls to fight me."

Wincing at the migraine this redundant event ensued I simply turned to level my weary and annoyed gaze those arrogant blue eyes to the man. I go through this at least once a day...and it was exhausting.

"Look....I might be physically weaker, but I am FAR from being mentally deficit. I know precisely what kind of situation you're trying to goad me into. If I fight you and lose...you'll hold it over my head and boast like an arrogant popinjay. If I win...then not only will I have to deal with your constant strive to get even and/or better me...but also you'll be accusing me to Her Majesty of assaulting you."

A few passing Youma stopped to stare at my verbal dressing down of the taller and older looking man staring at me with a hot furious glare.

"You think you're just SOO smart, brown nosing everyone and trying to be so perfect. One of these days you'll fall out of favour...and you'll hit hard."

I simply leveled the dark haired man a weary annoyed look.

"So that's what this is about. You think I'm the reason you're falling out of favour. Losing the attention of the Queen. Look, Endymion...I'm just striving to get by and live up to everyone's expectations so I can get a little breathing room. I'm not looking for power, glory or favour, Endymion. I just want to do my job and be left the hell alone."

With a snarl the black clad man lunged forward with a wolflike aggression, slamming his hands on the wall on either side of my head to cage me against the wall. At one time I might have been cowed, but now I simply glared stubbornly back, holding the large scroll and the box against my chest.

"If I fall, it's because of you. You're everyone's pet. Of course...if you refuse to fight me, it doesn't mean I can't still hurt you. Maybe you'll learn your place, you pathetic upstart."

I could tell we were gathering QUITE a crowd at the end off the hall. Staring back to that cold cruel face of the other man as I felt his hand grip my jaw painfully where it met my throat, I heaved a grand ragged sigh.

This was just plain ridiculous.

"DON'T. Touch. Me."

I leveled him a hard stare back from behind my bangs. Of course, this only seemed to amuse him as he pulled up with that vice grip in a painful manner...lifting me to my toes.

"Or what? You'll hurt me? You probably fight back like a girl."

A collective gasp escaped the assembled crowd as the high and mighty consort to the Queen suddenly doubled over me in an unmacho squeal of agony, hard sapphire blue eyes wide and uncharacteristically watery. Both of his hands flew immediately to his groin where my knee was viscously embedded just as I gave a hard shove on it to remove him from my person. I glared at him grimly before I scolded the doubled up prince curled under his cape in humiliating agony over his manhandled royal jewels.

"Might I remind you, that both you AND Lord Kunzite have your asses handed to you by Girls on a daily basis? Now, if you will EXCUSE me, I have a war to plan."

Turning on my heel with a brisque twist, I stalked away...Youma parting like a sea to allow me to pass. Those gasped pants and quavering curses from behind added a light bounce to my step.

Yes, this place certainly had a few perks.

* * *

My elation was short lived, however, once I made it to the briefing room. Luckily, I managed to make it there still bright and early before my squad arrived...however, as I was setting up, I felt a familiar chill presence behind me.

Cue my Mentor.

"Pyrite..."

I winced as I finished setting up the troop diagrams on the large grid on the table, bowing my head with a groan as I hesitated in my lean over the surface.

"I swear, he started it. I just finished it."

"The Queen wishes to speak with you."

"But...what......OW!" My words are cut short by a howl of pain as I suddenly got yanked back by my hair I had pulled industriously into a braid that morning. This unexpected 'tug' caused me to stagger back as he dragged me by it into the swift teleportation that had me stumbling into VERY familiar and unsettling territory.

"I have heard quite INTERESTING things about you, Pyrite."

My heart cringed within my rib cage like a terrified puppy as I turned pensive eyes to the grim woman mounted upon her throne...a rather irate but smug looking Endymion standing behind her.

"I am surprised to hear that you would assault my dear Prince in such a manner."

Pushed to kneel before the ominous woman sitting in her towering presence before me, I silently considered whether I should respond to that statement. However my eyes fixate upon Queen Beryl with a nervous tension as I felt one of those clawlike icy hands slip under my chin to nudge my head back...a look of deep speculative thought on those pale nightmarish regal features.

"Tell me, Pyrite...where these marks came from."

As those sharp lethal talon like nails trailed a teasing trace over the tender area of my jaw, I groaned faintly...recalling after momentary confusion.

The main reason why I delivered such a crippling blow.

"Endymion."

One of the scarlet brows twitched slightly as her words were laden with a building ire.

"Are you claiming my dear Prince would do something so barbaric as to assault you?"

A lump settled into my throat as I realized the trap oh no neatly sprung. I wouldn't dare lie...but the Queen was so blindly fond of the prince that he could do no wrong. And...if I claimed he attacked me first, I'd have hell for retribution coming from her.

"Pyrite-sama defended himself from being molested by the Prince."

That voice. I recognized that voice...one of my own team. That dispassionate immobile neutral.

Tori.

However... of all the things to say...

"WHAT?!"

I flinched slightly as I felt those claws jerk painful cuts over my tender skin on my jaw as her attention snapped up to the unemotional delicate Youma. Hell, I would have given anything to look at her...however, I knew better than to move in the slightest.

The tension was thick within the room as I heard the faint whisper of cloth heralding Tori's polite approach.

"We all saw it. Endymion had pinned Pyrite against the wall and was trying to..."

"ENOUGH! Is this true? Can anyone else support this accusation?"

Silence reigned...making my heart leaden with uncertainty and despair...however, I straightened as I heard another familiar voice. Herculae.

"I...I did, My Queen....it was terrible."

And like a leaky dam that finally bursts it's seals...the accusations and agreements began flowing forth.

I could have sworn there wasn't THAT many Youma that saw...and this confrontation was being painted into something pretty awful in comparison to what I recalled.

In my young wisdom, I decided to say nothing and just remained kneeling there until the Queen released me. With the suddenness of a whipcrack, the hellish woman hissed out a single word to the hoards.

"Silence!!!"

And silence there was.

Shifting my eyes to Endymion, I was partially amused to see he looked to be in spluttering disbelief, his face a most intriguing scarlet of hues.

"LIES! They're all lying!"

"It seems, Dear Prince...that the number of witnesses are outweighing your own claims." I just remained still and silent as that icy glare is pierced to Endymion...who immediately ceased his blustering at that ocular reprimand. She might be lovestruck with the arrogant man, but she was a shrewd and cunning woman...so much like a snake. Cold and ready to strike.

Slowly, I felt that unease begin to loosen slightly, however, it knotted within the pit of my gut as those hellfire scarlet eyes of the Matron Liege cast her scrutiny upon me as a snake would an amusing mouse. As those blood hued lips twisted into a sinister sweet smile, those clawed hands that were ever so cruel a moment ago gently stroking the side of my cheek, invoking a chill shiver to grip my body.

"Ah yes, my dear little Pyrite. Better than most, you are a good servant. I hope that I would not need to call you in again like this."

Struggling a moment to work my throat to croak out words, I settled instead on shaking my head slowly...not daring to look away.

"You are dismissed...continue about your duties, Pyrite. And should Endymion be so bold to try to take what is rightfully mine...grant whatever retribution you wish."

Those words rang hollowly as I voicelessly bid my Queen a polite fare well, bowing mechanically before stiffly stalking out...all warmth rushing from my blood.

My footsteps echoed hollowly within that monstrous chamber...the youma sea parting to let me pass, however, I was only vaguely aware of them.

"Endymion...I want a WORD with you..."

However, as the massive doors closed behind me, their thickness drowning out the conversation within, I felt a full body tremble overtake me.

And should Endymion be so bold to try to take what is rightfully mine...

Sagging against the wall, I placed my gloved hand against my mouth.

I felt ill.

Utterly appalled and disgusted.

I realized, now, my role in this place. I was a consort to a Demon Queen...an expendable conquest...a servant to use and cast aside.

And the depth of that degradation was utterly shattering.

Hell. I wasn't even a MAN...so I couldn't make much of a consort...and I was dead meat if she ever decided to ultimately force the subject.

"Lord Pyrite..."

I tensed, snapping my trembling hand away as I cast a sharp glance to Tori who'd been standing there silently for Darkness knows how long.

Mustn't show weakness...musn't show weakness....

Straightening with as much dignity as I could muster, I glanced first from her to Herculae hiding pensively behind the smaller Youma...both staring to me with a keen intensity. Drawing a deep taut breath, I spoke with a calm that utterly contrasted to the warring emotions within.

"I am postponing the meeting until 1300 hours. Tell the others."

The slender dark haired youma bobbed her head in a solemn nod...Herculae murmuring softly. "Yes Lord Pyrite."

Nodding, I turned on my heel to rigidly walk away...however, I hesitated after a moment's thought.

"Tori...Herculae."

"Yes, Lord Pyrite?"

I turned subtly, offering them a smile...though thinned with my tension, still belying my sincere gratitude.

"Thank you."

The larger of the two looked completely off guard, then offered me a tentative smile of her own as the other remained in that unreadable placid calm as she replies softly.

"It was nothing, Lord Pyrite."

It was SOMETHING all right, I mused as I turned back around and continued my aimless path...then leaping to the air to allow my teleportation to take me to a place of it's always random choosing.

But this time I welcomed it.

* * *

As I landed with a slight stumble of disorientation those sakura petals fluttered to the ground about me forgotten as I cast a sharp swift glance about...then immediately hugged my arms about myself.

It was a cold of a bitterest sort, biting me to the bone. I was in a massive crystalline cave filled with towering pillars of ice chill crystal that seemed to absorb the very warmth from my body.

Such a perfect place...so desolate and alone.

Immediately I sagged against one of the pillars, dropping my head into my hands as bitter sobs wracked my body...released from my battered dam of self control. This was simply all too much, and to vent through tears was an absolute necessity.

I'm not so certain how long I was there, but eventually my hard earned honed instincts snapped for my attention.

I was being watched.

Utterly aghast at being caught in such a weak manner, I immediately whirled about to snap an alarmed look about...turning fully around, however my eyes caught nothing.

"All right...I know you are here...you might as well show yourself."

*Right behind you.*

Whipping about sharply...I came nose to slick cold surface of the crystal with a blink...my reflection mirroring my weep reddened eyes and flushed cheeks as well as my look of frustration and confusion. How ever...as my eyes looked past the reflection...I could see a figure suspended within.

All heat left my blood. My heart skipped a beat as my eyes beheld what was within this crystal.

A man.

Locked within the refractive depths of the massive crystal was the figure of a young man twisted in the throes of eternal agony...captured like a bug within amber. He wore a uniform much akin to my own...but with red piping and MUCH wear and tear. The man's hair was a wavy mess of cornsilk blond hair caught in the mussing of what power entrapped him.

And as I staggered a step back...those violet blue eyes followed me.

He was ALIVE.

Oh HELL! This isn't good...

"Hold on, I'll get you out!"

Gripping my gloved hands tight, I moved into swift action, gathering that magic burning within my blood between my hands to form a sharp pointed crystalline blade. Passing my hand over it...I added an enchantment of blazing flames to roar along the gleaming edge of the sword. Lunging forward with an immediate cry, I struck a straight forward sweep towards the base of the crystalline prison.

The screeching klang of the conflicting powers echoed within the chamber as a brilliant flare illuminated the cave from the strike. I could see a crack snaking it's way from the small, but blasted gouge on the base. However, as I made for another lunge an even louder sound roared through my mind.

*STOP!!!*

Staying my blade, I stumbled forward a step from my stance, casting a perplexed glance up to the tow headed man within the horrid edifice.

"W...what?"

*Are you a rebel, or are you truly so stupid that you don't know what you are doing?*

Dropping my swordpoint, I straightened as I leveled the captive man a flat look despite my befuddling confusion.

"I'd like to think neither, thank you. Would you mind telling me why you are so keen to stay in this thing? To be honest, you don't look like you're enjoying it."

*It is the prison my Queen placed me in for my failure.*

I tensed as I stared to that agonized face, mouth open in a voiceless scream. Allowing the blade to clatter from my fingertips to the floor...vanishing amidst it's flames which then dissipate entirely, I took a hesitant step backward.

"I...I'm sorry. I...didn't know..."

*Who are you. You are not Zoisite.*

The statement of the century. Crossing my arms over my chest, I attempted to regain my flaggered ends of my pride and composure.

"No...obviously not. My name's Pyrite. Who are you?"

*Lord Jadeite.*

I gasped as that name crossed my thoughts. My mentor had mentioned the man a couple of times, mostly in the basic history of the Dark Kingdom I've learned insofar.

"Oh....you're one of the original four!"

The blond man, though unable to visibly express his bemusement allowed his opinion to be felt in his aura.

*Where are the others? Zoisite?*

THAT name again. I was becoming quite a bit annoyed with this.

"Lord Nephrite and Lord Zoisite are both ...dead. Kunzite is trying to train me to be a replacement." I regretted those words the moment I said them. It did not help my 'Stop comparing me to someone else' argument. "I...came only recently, so I know very little. I'm sorry."

A thick moment settled over us. Perhaps it was melancholy, maybe sadness. Perhaps more.

*Why are you here, Little Fool.*

I bristled slightly, then growled petulantly at the nickname. "I was looking for a little solitude."

*Generals do not weep.*

I leveled that frozen face with a grim look haunted by my own torment.

"It's proof I'm still human."

*A Human would not survive the Dark Kingdom...nor posses the powers you do.*

His vaguely amused tone caused me to bristle...ironically, on later reflection, it was almost like an older sibling teasing a younger.

"Well I do...and I'll never be anything more or less."

*There is less than being a human?*

"Yeah. There is less than being a human. How about a willess peon. A slave. A prisoner to power. A concubine to darkness. Take your pick."

A disapproving tension settled within the air as the man stewed over my words. Perhaps he'd been thinking the same thing. But...however, he struck me as the blindly loyal sort of people.

*Those are words bordering on treason.*

I was well aware of the warning in his tone as I held my hands up in a conversationally defensive gesture.

"No no...I don't mean that. I keep the promises I give and I promised to become the best damn General the Queen ever had. What I WAS saying, though, is I would rather accomplish this with my own skills and free choice, than to be bound to some greater entity for the extra zap. Power is great...but I'd rather not owe my hide for it."

A thick silence settled between us as I stared up to the man, and he back.

*Your pride will be your undoing.*

"I suppose that can be said for all of us here, don't you think?"

Suddenly, an eerie chuckle trails over my thoughts, invoking an unbidden shiver.

*It already has.*

"And so you believe that staying here like this will help atone for that?"

As I felt that intense scrutiny settle over me...I dared a step forward and settled my hand upon the smooth face of the crystal. The soul biting chill of this crystal seeped through the soft fabric of my glove, however, I ignored it as I met the man's gaze with bold abandon.

*You are like him...but...you think more deeply. Much more than your appearance belies.*

"I'm just Pyrite, Lord Jadeite. I have no intention, or hope, of ever comparing to Lord Zoisite. I'm clumsy, I bumble, my bad luck is atrocious and I can't even work a teleportation spell. But...I have my own strengths and abilities. Now if all of you would STOP trying to step me into his boots, I think we can work things out much better. I'm not a replacement or stand in...and I am royally sick of being molded into that spot...and I'll lash out anyone who tries. Even Lord Kunzite."

*You are a stubborn fool.*

"And proud of it."

*You are also lacking a certain degree of perception.*

I tensed slightly...straightening.

"He's standing behind me, isn't he."

A resigned sigh escapes my lips as I felt a familiar hard grip upon my shoulder.


The End of Chapter 33 - to be continued


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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.


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


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