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The Swallow's Dilemma Outline
Thesis: Today, China's air is polluted and the water is filled with waste, among other things. It is apparent that with China's wealth and prosperity in the industrial world, a responsibility all of the Chinese share has become even heavier to carry. In continuously disregarding the significance of the health of their environment holds, the Chinese have become accountable for the deaths of their own people and the ever growing threat to their wild life. The small steps the government has taken will not be enough to reverse the damage done.

I. Introduction

A. The Swallow's song

1. Little swallow, wearing a flower coat, Flies here every spring, I ask the Swallow, "Why do you come here?" The swallow replies, "The spring here is the most beautiful."

2. Little swallow, I'll tell you, this year this place is even more beautiful. We have built a big factory, installed new machinery, to welcome you so you can settle down for good.

B. How it was before

1. Start of industrialization

a. The factories are seen as good things which will make China a better place to live for everyone.

b. Pollution isn't seen as an issue. In fact, the water and air pollution were soon going to be major problems.

2. The prosperity that industrialization brings to China is celebrated and pursued vigorously through the opening of numerous factories.

II. How it is now

A. Water pollution

1. Untreated waste in water and because of it, portions of the surrounding coastline of the ocean no longer sustain marine life.

2. Nearly 320 million people lack access to clean drinking water.

B. Air pollution

1. Particulate matter/ambient air hangs in major cities.

a. Ambient air pollution alone causes thousands of deaths annually.

b. In L.A., a lot of the particulate pollution originates in China.

2. Causes respiratory disease in children and older people and cancer.

III. Pollution and its effects

A. Major industrial and economic growth

B. Auto industry's role in growth

1. Passenger car production in China has grown at astounding rates.

2. Cars leader in emissions

a. The use of coal in numerous factories contributed to smog, especially from the automobile industry.

b. Because in the past twenty years the motor vehicle business has grown so quickly, the demand for oil has skyrocketed.

C. Power by coal and waste in water

1. Coal usage causes ambient air

2. Waste in water causes algae red tides and unsafe drinking water

IV. Fixing the problem

A. Suggested solutions

1. Gallagher's suggests using cleaner fuels.

2. Interviewed peoples' opinions

a. Kelsey Rogers: thinks other countries should help pay costs for fuel efficient factories.

b. Michael Wager: Skeptical that any possible actions will be taken because of cost.

B. Steps the government has taken already

1. Government programs

2. "Global Green Deal"

a. Japan and the United States would help China pay for technology.

b. The Japanese have provided power plants in Shaaxi with scrubbers to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

V. Conclusion
A. A problem that should be addressed more.

1. Gradual switch to cleaner technologies.

2. Making more efforts to clean bodies of water.

B. Kites and stars

The Swallow's Dilemma

Little swallow, wearing a flower coat, Flies here every spring, I ask the Swallow, "Why do you come here?" The swallow replies, "The spring here is the most beautiful." (Little Swallow, 1-4) For a moment, imagine the kind of place you would think the swallow would be staying for the spring, according to this children's song. Do you have the picture in your mind yet? If so, you are probably visualizing a picturesque garden filled with flowering plants and trees, a cute mushroom here and there, perhaps even a fairy's circle, vibrant green grass, vivid pinks and purples, butterflies, and things of the like. In the background, you can hear melodic tweeting of birds, rushing water…

Now, read the other half of the song and rethink how you would picture this spring: Little swallow, I'll tell you, this year this place is even more beautiful. We have built a big factory, installed new machinery, to welcome you so you can settle down for good. (Little Swallow, 5-9) Think ofa small girl singing this song—a Chinese folktune that has beenin existence for half a century now—in her native tongue in a newly industrialized nation. Life seems to be going well and with the new factories and everyone's lives are surely only to get better, even for the small swallow. This was the thoughtresiding in most of China's inhabitants at this time of industrialization. The fact of the matter was, however, that the little swallow's home was going to be destroyed. The rushing water was polluted with filth and gradually, parts of China became almost unrecognizable. Health among the people declined and the stars could not make their nightly appearance through the smog. All the while, the swallow looked on with a sad heart. Today, China's air is polluted and the water is filled with waste, among other things. It is apparent that with China's wealth and prosperity in the industrial world, a responsibility all of the Chinese share has become even heavier to carry. In continuously disregarding the significance of the health of their environment holds, the Chinese have become accountable for the deaths of their own people and the ever growing threat to their wild life. The small steps the government has taken will not be enough to reverse the damage done.

According to "As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes," a New York Times article, not only are the rivers and lakes defiled to the point where nearly 320 million people lack access to clean drinking water, but large portions of the surrounding coastline of the ocean no longer sustains marine life due to the massive algal red tides. The sun is rarely seen in industrial cities and children die or fall ill owing to lead poisoning and other types of local pollution. This pollution is also blamed for the leading cause of early death in China: cancer. Ambient air pollution alone causes thousands of deaths annually. This dilemma is not only affecting China either. In Los Angeles, a good portion of the particulate pollution (tiny subdivisions of solid or liquid matter suspended in a gas or liquid) originates in China, according to the Journal of Geophysical Research (Yardley and Kahn). Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides produced by China's coal-fueled power plants are converted into acid rain which falls on Seoul in South Korea and Tokyo in Japan.

Worse yet, China has crossed the threshold into the most full-bodied stage of its industrial revolution. While the rest of the world worries over global warming, China keeps on pumping pollution into the air and water. China is well on its way to becoming the leader in emissions, evenexceeding the United States' positionin the category, by the end of 2010 or later (the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency already believes that China has surpassed this level). The Chinese government could focus moreon the pollution of their country and strategies for alleviating it. Unfortunately, the country's system canconcentrate on little else but growth. Prosperity may pacify the public while well-connected officials stall political change, but this won't cause their problem to disappear. Economic success can't cover up the sky rocketing health care costs, water shortages, and dependence on coal and imported oil. In truth, if things stay as they are, they can only get worse.

Where did this all start? The pollution, decline in health of people and wild life, and everything else began with the commencement of rapid economic growth that China experienced in the 1980's. Dutta says in his preface to the book China's Industrial Revolution and Economic Presence:

Indeed, over the past 25 years, China has accomplished an economic miracle, its annual rate of growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averages over 9 percent and China has emerged as a competitive industrial economy, with trading partners in nearly all continents. (xxi)

Although China has experienced a "miracle" in economic growth, there are some negative results. As a product of their rapid economic expansion, and their large customer base, the Chinese have poured colossal amounts of waste into the air and water. The use of coal in numerous factories contributed to smog, especially from the automobile industry. MIT Press writer Kim Gallagher explains in China Shifts Gears that the automotive industry is causing major hazards for the environment. She elucidates that in 1980, cars were not a key source of metropolitan air pollution in China with numerous graphs and tables. Because in the past twenty years the motor vehicle business has grown so quickly, the demand for oil has skyrocketed. China became the second largest oil consumer in the world by 2005. In the 1990's, sales in automobiles grew 27 percent every year. Among the products consumed include cars, motorcycles, and engines.

Passenger car production in China and crude oil imports to China has grown at astounding rates. As a result, car emissions are the leading cause of city air pollution. China is home to seven of the ten most polluted cities in the world to prove it. Many people argue that emission regulation isn't strict enough and before the year 2000, China didn't use catalytic converters and still utilized leaded fuel. Catalytic converters are reaction chambers where exhaustion gases from an engine are converted from harmful gases to less toxic carbon dioxide and water. But, as of the year 2000, all cars are required to have these converters and leaded fuel has been banned. China also required all automobiles to have electronic fuel-injection engines along with adopting the European car standards. Although China is ten years behind in its advancements towards tighter emission regulation compared to Europe, this is a good step forward. It still remains that China's fuel is of poor quality and produces large amounts of sulfur, which is less than desirable for the air. Now that China imports oil largely from other countries, their capability to refine the oil has been dramatically lessened (Gallagher 16). Chinese refineries used to create what is called "sweet" oil, which was low in sulfur.

Factories such as the ones involved in the automobile industry and the usage of coal contribute to ambient air. Normally, air is an odorless and tasteless gaseous mixture which is composed mostly of nitrogen and oxygen. When factories spew out other chemicals, they mix with the atmosphere. Ambient air mainly contains particulate matter such as dust, smoke, and ash. It is responsible for occurrences of acid rain as well as amplifying the greenhouse effect and depletion of the ozone layer (Schonthal). These pollutants are very harmful and are often termed "criteria pollutants." Among the most affected by this pollution are the elderly and the young. Children are more likely to have frequent asthma attacks while older people are vulnerable to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

An additional predicament China's environment is in involves water pollution. In an internet article from Scipeeps called "Water pollution in China" it is made apparent just how much of a crisis it really is. Untreated waste from factories pours into natural bodies of water and because of this, seventy percent of all rivers and lakes in China are polluted. People in numbers reaching 100,000 die every year due to unsafe water. Unfortunate people who live near these rivers and lake are living in what are called "cancer villages" where it's a lucky thing to live to your prime.

Algal red tides also exemplify water pollution's harmful effects on nature. To begin, the reader must know that algae are plants which photosynthesize. Dissolved carbon dioxide in water is employed to produce the carbohydrates that the plants live on. Algae notably extract microscopic amounts of necessary elements and nutrients from the water they reside in. As a result, if there industrial waste and other pollution in the water, a red algal tide can occur. In the internet article "'Red tide' of algae threatens China's seas" for the Independent, environment editor Jeffrey Lean informs that a big part of China's marine pollution involves red algal tides. What this means is algae from the sea, which are toxic, have congregated on China's shorelines and created an immense "red tide" sheet. The area covered by this sheet is larger than 1.3 million football fields. The UN has deemed this bloom of algae as the "greatest emerging threat to the health of the seas."

Pan Yue, vice-minister at the State Environmental Protection Administration, said "It might cause damage to people because the red tide contains paralyzing toxins. The phenomenon, though colorful in appearance, is very dangerous because it can lead to the death of aquatic life and therefore cause damage to the fishing industry." As Pan Yue said, red tides are poisonous not only to humans, but to marine life as well. Alga can replicate themselves a million times in a short amount of time (two to three weeks) before they cover the surface of the sea. Since they suffocate marine life, parts of the ocean around China have become dead zones. In the internet article "'Red tide' of algae threatens China's seas," Geoffrey Lean reports, "This spring, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) revealed the number of such zones in the world seas has been doubling every 10 years, as pollution has increased." It's alarming to know that more and more of the world's seas are becoming devoid of life in these areas. More alarming is that some governments and scientists—like the ones in China—deny that it has anything to do with industrial waste.

Less than six weeks before the Olympic events, the city of Qingdao had thousands of people working to collect these algae bloom to clear the congested waters for the Olympic races. An estimate of approximately 20,000 people made an effort in cleaning up the algae for the competition. It was reported that a third of the coastal waters were covered with the algae. The quality of the water was yet another concern for the events because of the untreated sewage being dumped into it. Rivers and tributaries, a stream or river which flows into a parent river, that flow into coastal waters are most times infected with "...high levels of nitrates from agricultural and industrial runoff. These nitrates contribute to the red tides of algae that often bloom along sections of China's coastline" (Yardley). Because the water's quality was low, it was a primary cause of the algae bloom. Knowing that and also knowing that the water is a leading source of health issues in towns and cities near water, wouldn't it be a good idea to do more about it, even if there's no Olympic games to prepare for?

Officials of Qingdao refused to link the pollution to the algae bloom. Scientists claimed that the bloom was more at the fault of the recent heavy rain and warm waters in the Yellow Sea. It was said by an official of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Committee that the government would try to block the algae from getting into the sailing area by establishing a fence in the sea. This temporary solution is just that—temporary. The government's propaganda regarding the cause of the sudden algae bloom didn't make things any better.

Many solutions to the pollution issue in China have been proposed. Gallagher suggests that in order to take hold of the problem at hand, the Chinese should start using more of the clean and efficient technologies. Through the reduction of tailpipe emissions, improving the efficiency of cars and their fuel intake, and also to use cleaner fuels, Gallagher believes that cars can reduce their role in pollution (4). This is the most frequently brought up idea among people and when asked if they would be willing to buy electric generators, instead of coal-powered ones, most people would say that the extra money is worth bringing the blue sky back. In fact, many middle- class and upper-class families in polluted cities have air purifiers in their homes. The electric heaters people are trying to switch to are paid in part by two thirds by the government.

When interviewed Kelsey Rogers, a student at J.W. Sexton High School, believed that other countries should participate in creating a cleaner China. This was also not the first time this idea occurred to people; Japan has already assisted China in purchasing more efficient generators for their factories. According to an internet article written by Jeffrey Hays, energy efficient equipment is expensive and China needs aid in paying for it all. He explains the outcome of Japanese assistance in this matter:

Under the proposed "Global Green Deal" Japan and the United States would help China pay for this technology. The Japanese have provided power plants in Shaaxi with scrubbers to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions. These and other measures have reportedly reduced sulfur dioxide emissions [from] 23 million tons in 1995 to 19 million tons in 2004.  CITATION Jef08 l 1033 (Hays)

This reduction of emissions represents a major accomplishment on China's part. If these same kind of measures were taken on a larger scale, emissions could be cut down even more.

Despite denying pollution's role in the algae issue, more controls have been set on the automotive industry, as noted previously. In Gallagher's book, it is mentioned that the national Clean Vehicle Action program was established in 1999 by China's Ministry of Science and Technology and China's State Environmental Protection Administration. The goal of the program was to get about ten to twenty percent of taxies and buses to run on alternative fuel in twelve different cities. About 129,000 vehicles that were capable of running on alternative fuel were on the streets by May of 2002. Even so, it's hard to say which ones actually were using the fuel. Many of the cars actually never met the standards that had been set in place, and so this project was not considered a success (16). Because of this and certain economic barriers, some people remain pessimistic and doubt China will do anything truly substantial.

Michael Wager, a student of the University of Michigan Law School and graduate of The American University in Washington D.C., believes that the cost of cleaner emissions in factories will prevent the government from using other energy sources such as nuclear and renewable energy. Reason being, "both a) because the labor to mine coal is so cheap (1.3 billion people buys you a lot of workers) and b) their energy infrastructure is sort of designed to support it." He states that one theoretical solution could be to force people to use energy generated by the Three Gorges Dam, but is doubtful that this would ever happen.

Wagner goes on to explain the government's role in regulation of the factories as he, and a good number of other people, sees it:

Ironically, because China is an authoritarian regime, it actually has the power to force major regulatory and environmental reforms on the power industry, but because of the relationship of the energy sector and the state (which is basically the same thing) and the fact they'd rather sink their economic wealth into both building up their military and national prestige at the moment, rather than attempt a wholesale reversal of their current energy policy, I see no good ways out.

Because China's government has gone beyond its level of sustainable development and continues at even faster rates than before, everything grows, including energy usage. Sustainable development is described as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Mintzer). China and many other countries have been compromising the environment's future with pollution by using up natural resources and slowly destroying the rest. If this continues, the future generations of the world will not have the ability to meet their needs.

If a dilemma is presented and is killing the people and animal life that live with it, it should be addressed immediately and with great fervor. China's seemingly irrevocable focus on climbing the economic ladder has led to terrible but not completely irreversible consequences. A gradual switch to cleaner and more efficient technologies as well as a nationwide—or worldwide—effort to clean the rivers and other bodies of water should be put into effect. In time, the state of China's air and water pollution should be less critical. So far, the sun and stars still hide from the smog-filled cities. If you visited China today and peered out of your window at night, you might see bright shining lights in the sky and wonder if all the talk about China's pollution was true. What you would be seeing, though, are Christmas lights that locals have tied to kites in order to light up the sky. Whether your initial romantic notion of their wishes to bring the stars back is correct or not, the kites do an exceptional job of doing so. In the end, the real goal is to bring the stars back. The stars may be nothing but burning balls of gas millions of miles away, but for children who wish on them, they're magical. Why deprive countless children of this simple pleasure?

Works Cited

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dutta, Manoranjan. China's Industrial Revolution and Economic Presence . New Jersey: World

Scientific Publishing Company, 2005.

Gallagher, Kim. China Shifts Gears. Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2006.

Hays, Jeffrey. "Deforestation and Desertification in China" Facts and Details. 2008. 21 May

2010 .

Lean, Geoffrey. "'Red Tide' of Algae Threatens China's Seas." 16 May 2004: The Independent.

10 May 2010.

algae-threatens-chinas-seas-563560.html>

Rogers, Kelsey. Personal interview. 4 May 2010.

Slanina, Sjaak. "Smog." 9 June 2009: The Encyclopedia of Earth. 30 April 2010

Wagner, Michael. Personal interview. 1 June 2010.

"Water Pollution in China ". Scipeeps. 21 May 2010

china/>.

Wenqing, Yan. 2010: "Knite: Chapter 1." deviantART. 30 April 2010

< yuumei.deviantart.com/art/Knit…>

Yardley, Jim. "Olympic Nightmare: A Red Tide in Yellow Sea." 30 June 2008: The New York

Times. 10 May 2010.

t-china.4.14105006.html?_r=2>

Yardley, Jim and Kahn, Joseph. "As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes." The

New York Times 26 August 2007.

Mintzer. "Sustainable Development." 2002: Global Change. 3 June 2010.

< www.globalchange.org/glossall/…>
I need to credit [link] because I used her comic Knite for inspiration when it came to writing my research paper for English class. :D

This is a research paper I wrote for English class to practice MLA formatting. I know where the grammatical mistakes are, but I haven't corrected them. It's going to stay like that. xD I don't want to go through and fix them all. But, here's what I turned in. I got an A. ^^ I apologize for ANY inaccuracies. ^^;
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LOVE ME AND YOU'LL BE OKAY!
BY: GABRIELA I. BERDECIA MEDINA
CHAPTER 2: Sweet Taku <3

"Wow...," Takeru gulps. "Look at all these guys...haha."

Yuki smiles. "See one you like?"


"Y-YUKI!"


"Heh. Or maybe your into a guy like me?"
Yuki flips his long beautiful blonde hair and smirks.


"N-Never!"

Yuki wraps his arms around Takeru playfully.

"Your gonna be late, my cute pet."


"Tchh.. Y-Yuki..," Takeru mutters.


Yuki pants Takeru's name softly into his ear.


"Wha-What?! ARE YOU DOING?! P-Pervert.."

Takeru blurts out in embarrassment.


"Getting you prepared for the men to come soon..."

Takeru tilts his head with a clueless look on his face.


"Yuki.."


"What?"


"Will I make it..?"


Takeru looks at the high class school and what lies in store for him.


"You will...with a master like me to guide you." Yuki smiled.


Yuki smiles gently yet, I know there's evil intentions behind that soft smile.


"Takeru, let's go."


"O-okay."


"Hmph."


Yuki glares at Takeru intensely and lifts Takeru's chin up, waiting.


Takeru blinks and gets irritated.

"WHAT!?"


"You didn't say, "Okay, Master," Yuki said with a disapproving look on his face.





Yuki looked at Takeru getting all red and grinned wickedly.


"So?"


Takeru looked down avoiding Yuki's eyes.


"Hmm...," Yuki murmured.


Yuki's eyebrow raised up and he looked around and lowered his head near Takeru's soft lips.


"I'll kiss you, Takeru. Right here," Yuki said in a low voice.


Takeru looked at Yuki. I bet he would too, GAHH!!


Yuki inched nearer and nearer to Takeru's lips.


"Gahh!! Okay Master!"


Takeru blushed red and Yuki grinned full of pleasure.

"Good job, boy."


Yuki ruffled up Takeru's hair.


"Y-Yuki!"

"Hehe, you're so cute my little Taku."


Takeru blushed shyly and grabbed Yuki's hand leading him inside the school.


"So cool!"


"Hm, really," Yuki asked.


Yuki stared at Takeru looking around the school with starstruck eyes.


"Oh, Yuki! There's a line for class schedules!"


Yuki pats Takeru's head softly.

"Go get in line, I'll wait right on that wall by the office."


"K-Kay, M-mast..mast..," Takeru mumbled.


Yuki smiles amused and gives a light push on Takeru's back.


"Get in line, that's an order, my little Taku."


Takeru looks at Yuki and blushes, nodding slowly.


"Kay."


Yuki sighs and smiles, starting to walk off and fade into the crowd.


Takeru blushes and shakes his head, trying to shake off the thoughts of Yuki's long hair and sexy back.

"HEY," a young man shouts.



"Eh?"


Takeru turns to look behind him and sees a gorgeous man.


"HEY!! I'm talking to you," the young man shouts again.


Takeru looks at the man from head to toe, from his scarlet-red hair to his nicely framed glasses that shield his gold eyes to his tall, lean body.

Wow, what a beautiful man.



"Tchh..," the young man muttered.


The man grinds his teeth and brushes past Takeru and cuts him in line.

"Eh..h-hey!! You cut me," Takeru protested.


"You weren't paying attention and there's people who need to go to their assigned classes."


His voice seemed cold and distant, but somehow cool.



"Yeah, you need to go," Takeru said to himself.


"Ah, found ya! Eh!? W-Who are you," another young man said.


The man smiled wide and draped one arm around Takeru's shoulder.



"Hehe, the name is Hiro Li", he said cheerfully.


"Hiro, what do you want with me?"

Takeru looking puzzled.


"I wanted to see the cutie whose lips were stolen by our King Yuki."


Hiro winked at Takeru.


"K-kiss...K-king...Y-Yuki..."

Takeru was speechless and then got mad.


"He didn't kiss me, and he's not a king!"

"Eh?"

Takeru gets irritated and yells, "I did not kiss, Yuki!!"


Everyone turns to stare at Takeru and whispers.


"Aww, that's no fun," Hiro muttered softly.


"Tch..."



Takeru looks down embarrassed and feels a hand lay on his shoulder.


"Ahh! King Yuki to the rescue!" Hiro slides his arm off Takeru's shoulder and scratches at his head innocently.


"Hiro...," Yuki said roughly.

He gripped Takeru's shoulder tightly then slowly added a fake smile to his face.


"Why were you with Takeru?"




Hiro flinched and began to laugh nervously and patted Yuki's head gently.


"Takeru...n-need... uh..."


"Directions," Takeru said. "I needed directions to the bathroom."


"Yes, that's right," Hiro shouted.


Hiro smiled proudly then saw Yuki's scary glare and waved bye to Takeru.


The man with the scarlet-red hair came and stood beside Hiro. He sighed, re-positioning his glasses looking dead at Takeru with a cold gaze.


"I hope you have some manners next time before you shout out vulgar remarks," the red-haired man said.


"Kaname! That was rude, besides I," Hiro said.


But Kaname cuts off Hiro and smiles at Yuki.

"See you in class, Yu-ki."


Hiro pouted and walked away with Kaname.


"Takeru stay away from him," Yuki said with warning in his voice.


"From who?"


"Kaname and if possible Hiro too.."


Takeru looked at Yuki, he looked serious.


"Hiro seems nice though..," Takeru said quietly.


"Kaname and Hiro are brothers."


"Ehh..?"


Takeru paused for a moment. Hiro did have cool-blue hair and pretty shimmery-gold eyes but wait Kaname had scarlet-red hair and gold eyes too!

"But they're total opposites!"

"I know, but they're twins so either way their related in some crazy way. But they try not to look alike even if it's still obvious that they do."


Yuki smiles and ruffles up Takeru's hair.


"You're so dumb."


Takeru gritted his teeth while he manages to fix his hair.

"Let's get both of our schedules, now."


Takeru and Yuki got their schedules and compared each others.

"Hmm," Yuki muttered.

Yuki examined each schedule critically.


"We only have first and fifth hour together", Takeru said simply.




Yuki sighed. Takeru frowned when he glanced at Yuki's face then acted frustrated.


"Ugh, I hope we don't have lunch together!"


Takeru stopped and glanced at Yuki. He had a wide smirk stuck on his face then Yuki turned and smiled at Takeru innocently.


"Let's hope not," Yuki said teasingly.


Takeru flinched and regretted cheering him up with that thought.


Yuki smiled hugging Takeru tightly and messing up Takeru's hair on purpose again.

"Let's have fun, my pet."
Thank-you all so much!! I didn't believe this would be so popular >//w//< When i came home today, i was surprised to see so many views, comments, and favs! I love you all so much!! To show my love, here is Chapter 2<3 :) still typing Chapter 3 lol T^T have the chapters written on my notebook lol xD wish i typed them lol. Anyways hope you guys continue to read this series!! Leave feedback or i won't be motivated lol it is very time consuming and my fingers get all sore xD haha
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Into Darkness


As Link slept that night he had a series of visions and images which floated through his mind.
The first he saw was a great clock tower inside a bustling city, but he only saw it for a moment before the scene shifted and he was instead standing across from a shrine standing on a pillar in a great valley. This image was also replaced, this time by a tall stone tower which rose towards the heavens and above the top of this tower was a strange swirling portal.

He moved towards the portal and through it and on the other side he found darkness, not the twilight darkness, but complete and utter darkness except for a small light in the distance, shining like a small beacon.

Link woke to the smell of roasted meat. He opened his eyes suddenly and reached for his sword, his eyes already scanning for the man from the night before.

"Good morning, or should I say good day?" said the Mask man with his broad smile. "Slept well?"
Next to the tree Epona was still sleeping and looking around it seemed as if nothing had changed except that the sun had risen and the clouds from the night before had cleared.

Link released his hand from his sword and looked questionably at the Mask man who was roasting two slices of meat over a fire.

"Is something the matter? You seem distressed." asked the Mask man.

Link looked at him a moment more, but then shook his head and smiled. Nothing had happened.
The Mask man kept smiling his unnerving smile as he finished roasting the meat and then offered Link one of the two slices.

Link took it with a thankful nod and they both ate in silence.

After they had eaten, the Mask man looked at Link. "Have you ever been to Clock Town in the land of Termina? There is a great festival there in a few days and I am going there to sell my masks and I was wondering if you would like to tag along, who knows what you might find there, maybe something you could use?" said the Mask man and looked at Link in a way which made Link feel like the man was looking straight through him, like he knew of Link´s search. "But speaking of masks, my melody last night is a special tune which seals evil inside masks and I think you were carrying an object which was affected by the tune."

Link instantly reached behind his back. The only object of true evil he had been carrying had been the dark stone he used for his wolf transformations and…

Link was surprised when his hand closed around a strange fur covered object. Grabbing it he pulled it around to his vision. In his hand he held a wolf mask with actual dark and grey fur on the face. It looked very real and something inside drove Link to put it on…

The moment the mask touched Link´s face he felt his throat block up and he began gasping for air. The feeling only lasted a few seconds before he could focus and breathe again, but when he did he was standing in his Wolf form.

Link turned his head towards his back and saw that his shield and most notably his sword had disappeared, he no longer had to leave it behind when changing shape.

A doubt suddenly appeared in Link´s mind, how was he going to change back? That problem solved itself however as the moment he thought about taking the mask of he felt it loosen and a moment later it feel to the ground as he returned to his human form.

Link picked up the mask and held it for a moment between his hands. The wolf face was staring back at him with a strange blank expression like it was a actual face and not a mask. The gaze unnerved Link and he quickly put the mask away.

"Like it?" asked the Mask man suddenly and Link turned his head towards him.

Link suddenly became aware that he had actually transformed in front of another person, a thing he and Midna had avoided  during their travels as it would have caused all sorts of complications.
But this man did not seem surprised at all, he was simply smiling that same unnerving smile while his hands remained tightly clasped.

"You seem a little surprised. Well I can tell you that you don't have to be, it is perfectly normal for the Song of Healing to create masks such as the one you got now. I am not exactly sure why I played it for you, but I guess you reminded me of a young boy I meet long ago" said the Mask man. "Just like you he was clad in green and did not speak and just like you he seemed to be searching for something he had lost. A friend perhaps, I never got to know actually."

Link flinched a little. Again this man had seen right through him and guessed what he was doing. Just who was he? And what was this about a boy like himself, it sounded strangely familiar. And…Clock Town?

The Mask man seemed undisturbed and simply rose to his feet and picked up his bag pack with the same surprising ease  with which he had put it down.

"So will we be traveling with me to Termina or will you search along your own paths, lone wolf" asked the Mask man.

Link quickly saddled his horse, his mind already made up. He had no leads as to where to go besides this man and the vision he had had.

They continued through the forest for what seemed to Link like several hours. The Mask man did not speak in all this time, though Epona was notably nervous at being near him.

At last they came to a great tree with a collection of large fungus forming a stairway up to a large hole in the tree trunk. The Mask man walked up the fungus towards the hole without slowing down for even a second and Epona followed, walking safely on even the soft fungus.

The mask man stopped in front of the pitch black hole. "Through here lies Termina, but it is also where goodbye." said the Mask man. "Traveling between worlds is a strange and wondrous affair, but it is also based upon chance so we probably won't end up in the same place."

Link looked at him and then at the black hole. Though he had no guarantees, no reason to trust this man, he felt that he was telling the truth, but more importantly he felt this was the right way. He was not sure how he knew, perhaps it was the Triforce of Wisdom which was pushing him forward or maybe it was because he seemed to catch a whiff of Midna´s scent coming from the black hole.
He was certain this had to be a trick of his mind, a wishful thought creating the illusion as he could only find that smell when he was a wolf, but still it seemed to be there.

Epona slowly walked towards the hole. And then suddenly, the moment she walked through, they fell, fell into darkness.

Link instinctively grabbed for something to hold on to, but caught nothing but Epona´s saddle. Far behind him he heard the voice of the mask man.

"One last thing, the boy I mentioned left a mask like your own in that world somewhere, maybe it can help you if you can find it, Hero of Time!" yelled the mask man it was followed by a devilish laughter which rapidly grew weaker.

Link fell through the darkness. He had lost grip of Epona and was all alone, but he did not remain alone for long. Strange lights began dancing around him, faces of different colors were all around him and…something moved! There was something out there!

A glimpse here as a face was blocked from his vision, a blue flame moving through the darkness. But it was fast, shifting rapidly as if teleporting and Link could not follow it completely.

A energy ball flew towards him and Link only barely raised his shield in time. More followed, striking from all sides and Link did everything in his power to block them all, but it was impossible.

One struck his stomach numbing his entire body with an electrical shock and when Link could finally raise his head he saw one heading straight for his face. He closed his eyes and but still saw a bright flash of light through his eyelids.

Midna woke with a sudden jolt. She sat in her bed and breathed deeply trying to regain focus. After a while she slowly rose from her bed and put on a dark dress before walking out on the balcony.

As far as she could see stretched the dark and grey sky of the Twilight realm, her realm and she stood staring out across the dark land for a moment while trying to collect her thoughts.

She had seen him, Link, she had seen him in her dreams as clear as she saw her own hands right now. He had been wounded, heavily wounded and fighting an opponent she had not been able to make out in the darkness of the room he was fighting in.

But even though he was wounded, he had fought on, like he always had when they had travelled together and his eyes had been burning with determination. But it had not saved him. The unseen opponent had run him through with a dark sword and Link had fallen too the ground.

What did it mean? It was more than just a dream of that she was certain, but where was Link and what was he fighting?

She shook her head. Even if she knew what the dream meant or what Link was fighting she could do nothing to help him. Even if she feared the vision and what it meant she was completely separated from Link and his world now.

She had left Link long ago in Hyrule and destroyed the Mirror of Twilight in order to destroy the path between the two worlds and make Hyrule safe from the dark powers of the Twilight Realm. But she had never expected how great a loss it would be to leave Link behind.

He had become dearer to her than she had expected and thinking back it was not strange. He had fought for her even when she had just wanted to use him for her own gains, he had saved her life, he had saved her realm and in the end he had also broken the curse on her. She owed him everything.

If she was given the choice again to go back to Hyrule, back to Link, what would she then choose today? Would she stay with her people or would she go back to him? She was not sure…

No! She could not think like that. She was the queen of the Twili and she had made her decision long ago. It was about time she stopped dwelling on the past and moved on.

Midna turned away from the balcony and started to walk back in, but just before she reached the door she turned around.

"Good Luck, Link, wherever you are and whatever you fight" she said out loud as if hoping the words would reach him and she stood for a moment just looking at the sky before going inside.
Hello All

Second chapter and things start moving, but what was it that attacked Link? It was not Ganondorf and it was not who Midna saw in her dream, but it was a character from Ocarina of Time, who i wont say. I will only say that he will be back along with another person from Ocarina of Time :)

Link, Epona, Midna, Ganondorf, Zelda and the Mask Salesman (c) Nintendo

See ya all later

LoZ: Search for Twilight Chapters:
1: [link]
2: [link]
3: [link]
4: [link]
5: [link]
6: [link]
7: [link]
8: [link]
9: [link]
10: [link]
11: [link]
12: [link]
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“You are juvenile and presssumptious, Sssarmuel. However, I deem you sssuitable. “You know the plan. Fulfil it prior to the morning sssun.”
"Of course, Master.”
“Do not disssappoint me, mortal.”
“Of course, Master. I wouldn’t dare think of it.”


As Miysha Spears struggles with memories, silence and a crippled arm, new arrival Lea Surivel seeks out answers. William Sasori's new boyfriend, Ethan Zane, gets messages he doens't understand a word of. Mammom\n Cerbex uses his magic more and more, seeking answers. Alex Collati uses more suitable means to achieve the same end.
Meanwhile, a secret enemy is rising, plotting his vengence on the world for his troubled youth. He serves a greater, darker foe, but is not without his own abilities.
Despite several members of the group - including Miysha, the deserter - recieve more warnings.
The question is, do they heed them?


That's right, folks! The second AFUDA story is up, not two months after the first!
Every character (except Ryume's brother) gets used, or at lest meantioned, in this one.

Thanks again to all of the people who contributed a character, you are truly at the top of my 'acknowledgements' list.

(c) Kristie Read/*deathisheaven 2010
You may not mention any of these characters without the permission of me or their creators. The race AFUDA is completely my own, any similarities between characters, plot or races are purely coincidental.
Preview image is Lea Surivel's eye, stock: [link] by ~absense-stock
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     Weeks have gone by without Spyro returning home. During that time Ember and Flame have been growing closer and closer through countless dates. But all that was soon to change.
     A scarred and wounded dragon emerged from the teleporter, as though randomly. Falling limp, almost dead, the dragon fell unconscious, after only a few steps in the safety of the Dragon Village.
     "Oh dear." The professor said, emerging on the teleporter pad. 'I didn't think that he was that badly injured.' The professor thought.
     Hearing the teleporter a nearby Ember came running. "Spyro..." Ember gasped, seeing the unconscious body lying on the ground. Looking to the professor she asks, "What's happened to Spyro?!"
     "There was a battle with red and Spyro seems to be badly injured." The professor said in response. "You must hurry and help me bring Spyro to the hospital." He said, walking towards Spyro.
     In room 21A Spyro laid in the hospital's white gown, white sheets over him, white bandages on his body in several places, and white walls surrounding him. Ember was at the side of his bed, back to the door, sitting in a chair, while thinking about how it was a bad idea for Spyro to go.
     Then the blurry-eyed Spyro awoke looking around, surprised to find himself in a building. As his gaze fell left he found the ever-caring Ember smiling, spilling tears of joy from her eyes.
     "I thought you were going to die." Ember cried out.
     "I had to come back." Spyro said, trying to lean up, as the pain forced him back down. "You didn't think that I'd leave you alone did you?"
     As Spyro said that Ember remembered that he didn't know about her and Flame hooking up.
     "Well I'm just glad that your ok." Ember said, crying one final tear that seemed to stay on her cheek forever. Noticing it Spyro leaned up and lightly licked it off her cheek. Blushing madly, all Ember could say was, "Spyro..." in a whisper. Staring deep into Spyro's eyes Ember leaned in closer as Spyro did the same, ignoring the pain.
     The door creaked open as a wide-eyed Flame stood in the doorway, seeing Ember and Spyro locked mouth to mouth. "Ember..." Flame whispered, tears forming in his own eyes.
     Ember turned quickly around to see Flame stammering back. "Flame...?" Ember said, in an ashamed and surprised way. To unbearable for Flame he fled the hospital, tears falling.
     "Wait, you guys aren't...Ember?" Spyro said confused.
     "I'm sorry Spyro, I have to do." Ember said, getting up.
     "Wait Ember!" Spyro said as Ember was gone, out the door, chasing after Flame.
Chapter 5: Betrayal! Thought I wasn't gonna make it huh? Well hear it is! They seem to be getting better and better to me. What do you guys think? Plz comment and tell me of any spelling or grammer errors.

Spyro (c) by Sierra
Flame and Ember (c) by Universal
Soria and story (c) by me
This is a purely fan-made story. This story can not be copied, edited, or used in any way, legaly, without my permission.
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SasoDei - Beauty and the Beast

Part One

Once upon a time, in a far away land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired the prince was spoiled, selfish and unkind. But then, one winter's night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose, in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered the gift and turned the old woman away. But she warned him "Not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within", and when he dismissed her again the old woman's ugliness melted away, to reveal a beautiful enchantress. The prince tried to apologize but it was too late for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. As punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast and placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there.

Ashamed of his monstrous form the beast concealed himself inside his castle with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his twenty-first year. If he could learn to love, and earn their love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years past, he fell into despair, and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?

-x-

The blonde gave a sigh and he walked through his village, on his way to the bookstore to borrow out a new book. His name was Deidara, and he was sought by men and woman alike for his looks. As he walked through the streets, villagers called out 'Bonjour', waving at him happily. He smiled and would grudgingly return their greetings politely. Deidara stopped to say hello to the baker, Naruto. "Bonjour, Naruto. How's business, un?"

Naruto turned to him, and gave the blonde a wide grin. "Well, bonjour Deidara. It is nice to see you. Business is booming!! Believe it!!" Deidara gave a nod. "So, where are you off to?"

"Oh," Deidara waved the green book at the blond baker, "I need a new book to read. This one was alright; it was about magic beans and giants." They both said goodbye, and Deidara was once more on his way to the store.

Eventually, he made it, greeting the old book seller politely. "Bonjour, monsieur." Deidara smiled at him as he turned around.

The old man gave him a smirk. "Bonjour, Deidara." The book seller was named Jiriya, and had once been a famous author. He was also a bit of a pervert, but that meant that he would always give Deidara a discount, so the blonde really couldn't complain. "How was the reading?"

"It was really good, un. Interesting." He handed the man the green book, and climbed up one of the store ladders, browsing along the shelf. "I think I'll borrow…This one." The blonde pulled a dark blue book from the shelf and showed it to the man.

"Oh, Sleeping Paradise? That's one that I wrote!!" Jiriya laughed a haughty chuckle. "But you've already read it twice."

Deidara shrugged. "Yeah, but it's my favourite. It puts a weird twist on the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, un…A weird…Sexual twist…But I guess that it's kind of epic."

"Well, in that case, it's all yours. Free of charge." Jiriya winked at the blonde.

"Really? Awesome, thanks so much, un."

"Have fun now." Deidara nodded and left the store, beginning to read the book for the third time as he walked, dodging other people as he went.

Everyone of the village admitted that, while Deidara was the most beautiful person each had ever seen, he was also one of the most odd.

However, there was one whom wanted the blonde more than anything else. "I'll have him if it's the last thing I do!! CHA!!!" The pinkette threw her fist into the air aggressively. This certain girl's name was Sakura Whoreuno…Sorry, 'Haruno'…Yes, anyway…The girl was the most useless- I mean determined in the entire village. She wanted Deidara.

"Like, OMG!! You're so cool, Sakura!!" That was the pinkette's crony, a girl by the name of Ino, who was just as obsessive as Sakura. She had long blonde hair, but it was no where near as beautiful as Deidara's golden locks. Ino, however, wore her hair in a similar way to the blonde, but didn't get even half as much attention.

The sane villagers tended to avoid the duo, least they lose their own minds. They also had a habit of bursting out into song, which would cause the villagers to be put under a spell, causing them to sing as well.

-x-

Deidara was almost home, when he was stopped by an irritating, familiar voice. "DEIDARA!!! WAIT UP!!" The blonde cursed under his breath and turned around to see Sakura running over to him.

He smiled at her politely, hiding his displeasure. "Bonjour Madame, nice to see you, un."

The pinkette noticed the book, and gave a disgusted look. "Why are you reading?" She took the novel from the blonde and tossed it carelessly into a puddle of mud. Deidara quickly grabbed it, trying to clean it. The book appeared to be all right. "I mean, come on!! You have more important things to do besides reading. It might cause you to get ideas, and start thinking!!" She gave a prideful hum. "You should be out hunting, like all the other boys."

Deidara forced himself not to sneer. Stupid girl. "I would rather stay at home to help my dad."

"Oh," the blonde wasn't the least bit surprised when Ino popped up out of no where, "Onoki is a complete lunatic!!" Both Sakura and Ino began to laugh.

Deidara glared at them, holding his book to his chest. "Hey!! My Dad might be crazy, but he isn't a lunatic!!"

Sakura stopped laughing and hit Ino on the head. "Yeah!! His dad isn't a lunatic!!"

Deidara suddenly heard an explosion go off, turning to see that it came from his house. "Oh dammit!!" The blonde quickly forgot about the Idiot Duo and began running home. He got there in no time, opening the door to the cellar, where smoke was curling up out of. The blonde went down the stairs to hear his father screaming abuse.

"I'VE HAD IT!!! I GIVE UP!!" The man threw a wrench at the ground.

Deidara gave a sigh and picked up the tool, offering it to the old man. "Of course you won't. You'll complete it, go to the fair tomorrow, and become a famous inventor...Or complete it, go to the fair, lose and then blame it on me…Either way you'll finish it, un."

Onoki frowned at the blonde, and then snatched the wrench back from Deidara. "Of course!!" The old man went back to tinkering with the machine he was working on. "Make yourself useful and grab me a rock from outside!!"

Deidara rolled his eyes and climbed back up the steps, grabbing one of the large stones which were piled next to the door. He easily managed to carry it into the cellar, placing it onto the large red cross on the floor. The blonde took a cautionary step back as Onoki pulled down on the lever, activating the machine. The chain reaction eventually caused the large hammer on it to swing downwards at the rock. The stone shattered on collision, and the hammer moved back up as the machine finished.

"SUCCESS!!" The old man began to jump happily in the air. Two jumps later and he began to complain about his back and hips aching.

"…Dad…" Deidara coughed into his fist. "…" The blonde suddenly gave a wide grin, clapping his hands together. "THAT'S THE BEST CONTRAPTION EVER!!! YOU'RE SO COOL!! THE WAY THE ROCK EXPLODED, UN!!!"

…Deidara had a thing for explosions…He called them 'Art'.

"Whoa, settle down, boy!!" the man laughed loudly. "I guess that now I know that it works, I should be on my way to the fair. Make yourself useful and help me load this into the cart."

-x-

Deidara waved goodbye to his father and their horse, which was called Sai. "Have a safe trip!! Don't go into any creepy looking castles, un!!"

"MAKE ME!!!" the old man gave a loud laugh as he, Sai and the cart carrying his invention disappeared into the woods.

"…" Deidara face-palmed. "The famous last words…Now where did I put that book, un…?"

-x-

Onoki had been gone since yesterday, but the fair did last for three days, so Deidara wasn't worried in the least. Well, of his father any way...

A knock emanated from the door, and the blonde raised an eyebrow. Who could that be? He opened the door to see a certain annoying pinkette standing there. Before the blonde could even open his mouth, she barged in.

"BONJOUR DEIDARA!!" She gave him a wide, satanic grin.

Deidara blinked, sweat-dropping at the same time. "…Bonjour Sakura…"

"So, Deidara…I have a 'proposal' for you." She gave a cackle at the pun. "Anyway, picture this. A rustic hunting lodge, your latest kill roasting over the fire. Your little wife massaging your feet. While the little ones play on the floor with the dogs…Oh, we'll have 6 or 7!!"

Deidara swallowed. "…Dogs, un?"

"No, Dei!!" She gave a cackle. "Beautiful girls!! Like me!!"

"…Imagine that…" Deidara hid his distaste. What the hell was this girl talking about?

Sakura sat on one of the chairs, feet on the table. "So Dei, will you marry me? Is it yes? Or is it…Oh Yes?"

"…I…" Deidara was shocked. "I just don't…deserve you…"

Sakura laughed. "Who does?" She grinned wide at him. Deidara sweat-dropped once more.

"…I'm sorry, but we're just too different…I mean, you're a girl…and I'm a guy…"

"…WHAT?!" She got to her feet and marched over to the blonde. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN?! WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE A BOY AND A GIRL!!"

"…Thanks for the offer, but…" Deidara backed up against the door. He turned the handle slowly, suddenly opening it. He grabbed the pinkette with one hand and tossed her out of the cabin and into a pool of mud. "But I like men. Bye, un!!"  Deidara slammed the door, locking it quickly. He gave a relieved sigh. "That was close."

Deidara waited a few minutes, before picking up the basket to feed the animals. He cautiously opened the door. "Is she gone?" no sign of her. He sighed. "God, can you imagine?" He rolled his eyes at the animals as he walked down the stairs and into the small fenced off area, throwing seed for the creatures. "She asked me to marry her!!" He sung in a high, mocking voice. "Madame Iwa, can't you just see it? Madame Iwa, my little wife?" Deidara gave a gagging motion and stopped singing. "Oh please, I want much more than this provincial life!! I want adventure!!" He chucked the bucket down onto the floor, and walked out of the fenced off area. The blonde sat down in the field of dandelions which sat behind his house. "Like hell. I don't want to marry any girl, let alone that fat vache!!" He closed his eyes and began to imagine himself in some far off fairytale. Twirling around a room with the man of his dreams…

Deidara was brought out of his dream when he suddenly heard a loud neigh, and he turned his head to see his horse, Sai, running out of the woods. The cart and machine were still following behind him, but the blonde's father was no where in sight. Deidara quickly stood up as Sai ran to him, giving another neigh.

"What's wrong? Where's dad, un?" The white horse shook its head and Deidara quickly unclipped the cart, hopping onto the horse's back.

Sai reared onto his back legs. "He went into a creepy looking castle." Yeah, animals talked.

"…Of course why did I even bother asking…Whatever, come on Sai, lead the way." The horse nodded and began running the way it had come.

As the narrator, while they are on their way to the castle, I shall use this space here to describe how Deidara looked as all I've really said about him is that he is a blonde. He had effeminate features, such as a slim jaw line, a very slim waist, a flawless complexion, and a pair of bright azure eyes. His left, however, was hidden beneath a bang of golden hair. His locks were long, and he kept some of his hair tied up in a messy, high ponytail. He always wore a bright blue dress and a white apron…When he was young his mother had always wanted a girl and had treated him like one until she died when he was five. His father had continued to raise him to be effeminate, wanting to respect the wishes of his wife.

The white horse suddenly stopped as they reached a large pair of iron doors. "This is it, Deidara."

The blonde nodded and hopped off of the horse, raising an eyebrow up at the castle beyond the doors. "…Definitely creepy, un." He sighed and pushed the gates open, finding his father's yellow hair ribbon lying on the path. Deidara picked it up and tied it around his wrist.

"Hey!! Don't leave me out here with the wolves!!" The blonde looked back at Sai, and gave a…sigh…He walked over to the gates, holding one open for the horse. Sai trotted in and Deidara closed the iron door. "But I'm staying out here. You're on your own."

"Whatever, un." Deidara turned and began walking towards the castle. "Why is it always a creepy castle? Why can't it ever be a Castle on a Cloud?"

"DON'T MAKE A LES MISERABLE REFERENCE!!!" Deidara turned to glare at Sai, and then turned back as he walked across the long stone bridge.

"I was referring to Jack and the Beanstalk…But whatever, un."

Deidara looked up at the castle once more. Lightening flashed in the background threateningly. It was a dark and monstrous looking place. An enormous gargoyle sat on the very top of the castle, its wings outstretched and lined with what could have been studs. The blonde gulped, but finished walking across the stone bridge, starting to ascend the stone steps towards whatever demons might lurk in a place as evil as this one.
Phew, I was in a deadline to finish this fic today, or else I wouldnt have been able to post all of the chapters before I went away overseas, but luckily I managed to complete it. 7 chapters total.

Anyway, hope you likey ^-^
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The Watcher

Disclaimer: The world is J.R.R.Tolkien's, the characters are mine. Both =)

The whole thing is dedicated to my dear wife.

*~*~*~*~*

You are sitting in your favourite armchair, trying to ignore my presence. You are not looking in my direction… you are not talking to me any more, though you used to before… The damned elf came and ruined everything…

Now you are surer that I am not just an illusion caused by madness or illness. And indeed I am a bit more – I am an illusion caused by my own will.

You are scared of me… and I understand perfectly well, why. I was going to explain it all to you sooner or later, but I had to tell everything at once. I had to admit that I am the foulest wight ever… foulest and killed twenty years ago. Perhaps it struck you even more than my reputation. I saw it in your eyes… I even regretted coming to you… regretted that I had chosen you as my collocutor.

You must hate me now… you must be wishing I were dead… oh, but for you I am already dead… too bad. I even don’t want to imagine what you wish. If I do, it may happen. So I just hide from you too…

*~*~*~*~*

So you have decided to go home tonight instead of staying in the palace. Maybe I should consider it an advantage… the elf will not come to your house, and I doubt that any of your family and servants are keen on magic. They will not notice me, they will not feel anything odd…

You are still weak after the shock of realizing that I may be real. I wish I could offer you my support, but I can’t, so you walk on your own, slowly and with a lot of effort.

Your house is just one level lower than the palace. That must be a sign of your high position, an honour… or maybe it was just convenient and you had enough money to buy this house… Or did it belong to some generations of your family already? I don’t know… I rarely amused myself with watching the life in Arda before. Now I am compensating for that.

You enter the house, obviously unawaited by your family. There is no one in the hall and you proceed to your study, trying to step noiselessly. Probably you don’t want them to make a lot of fuss around your arrival. You want to be alone… but you are not. I am following you there, to a rather small room where all space is taken by books and papers, save the place for a table, an armchair and a narrow path to them.

I really like it here. I wish I could stay here one day… being really here, not only my mind, but my body too. I want to read those books, to listen to the crackling of fire in the fireplace… to drink wine… you have some in your cellar, don’t you?

You sink in the armchair and take an unfinished letter from the table to reread it. I settle myself behind the back of the armchair and read it too. The letter contains some unimportant nonsense and must be meant for some distant relative of yours. With a sigh you put the letter back on the table and I wonder how long you have been writing it… for a week? Or for a month?

Then you take another piece of parchment and begin drawing something on it. Slowly a silhouette becomes recognizable – it’s that elf, Taurdil, standing in the doorway and looking back at you. Then comes a drawing of the king’s crown, lying on the floor… the tree that grows before the palace… You think for a while and add flames all around the tree.

Then comes my own face. I feel very… odd, realizing that the flames around the tree may be somewhat connected with me in your mind. I know that it is entirely my fault that you think of me so, but for some reason it hurts.

I look at your drawings one more time and it strikes me how well you remember my face after only some meetings. I can’t help sighing and you probably feel something and throw your quill off with indignation. The parchment follows the quill soon and you leave the study and go upstairs to your bedroom.

I follow you there too, staring at every little detail on our way. I want to understand you better, but it seems that the house itself won’t reveal much… You are so reserved that even your own rooms give me only hints, not direct answers.

The bedroom is not an exception. Expensive, yet plain and slightly worn out furniture… books… papers… Only the papers and the books give the room a shade of messiness, everything else is in order and in its proper place. Another hint proving that my choice of a party for conversation was right. You are well-read and able to think… quite a rare quality in fact!

But now you pay no attention to the books, just take them carefully away from your bed and lie down. I keep down a wish to touch your hair, to play with it a little. No, it’s too childish a wish for an almost eight-thousand-year-old creature. Instead I seat myself on a chair near your bed and watch you. You are looking at the ceiling as if there is something very interesting on it and thinking… about me… about your king and your kingdom… Your thoughts are grave, you can’t fall asleep because of them… or maybe because of that heavy, fur-trimmed mantle? It must be really uncomfortable to sleep in it.

I lose the sense of time soon and don’t know if you have been lying so and ruminating for some minutes or some hours. After all you get up and undress. I look away until you are under the blanket… yes, I have changed a lot recently. I have acquired some moral rules. Having them feels strange but I am getting used to it, and you help a lot, though you don’t know.

I would sing a lullaby for you but… first of all I know that you would not approve, and besides I am not sure that my singing anything here is a good idea.

You are still thinking also half-asleep. I touch your mind… and withdraw. I don’t want to bother you, so I walk around the room instead, admiring the piles of books on the shelves and weapons on the walls.

Suddenly I notice a small harp that some of your relatives must have forgotten here. I touch the strings absent-mindedly... and startle myself when I hear the rusting of cloth following the chord. I turn around… just to see that you have turned on your side, already asleep. With a sigh of relief I leave the harp and approach your bed again…

“Sleep well, my friend...” I whisper inaudibly. “Sleep well…”

I sit on the chair beside your bed again and watch you and your dreams. They are surprisingly peaceful… and I calm down too. Tomorrow there will be another day… and another chance…
…tomorrow… or some other day…

*~*~*~*~*

The end
Rather a weird and random piece of my fics (if taken separately from the context of the story).
It takes place in Minas Tirith, in the year 369, IV Age...

Featured by :iconjankolas: here [link]

Thank you!

Btw, do you think I should upload my other fiction here too?
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SasoDei – Beauty and the Beast

Part 4

Deidara looked around as he walked down the cold hallway. There were more stone creatures up here, though a lot of them were broken. He followed the damage, eventually reaching a pair of large doors. "I wonder what's in here, un…" The blonde pushed open the doors with his shoulder, revealing the room beyond. There were so many broken items strewn over the floor that Deidara could barely see the ground. He entered the room, trying his best to walk around the junk. His eyes caught sight of a ripped painting. Deidara frowned at it, running a hand along the fabric. The only thing which remained undamaged was a pair of muddy brown eyes. "Weird, un…" The light on the painting grew as the almost full moon shone in the night sky. Deidara looked over to the large pair of windows, his eyes catching on a soft pink glow beneath. He quickly forgot about the painting, making his way through the room. Beneath the windows sat a silver pedestal. Upon it sat a glass case, which held a beautiful glowing rose inside of it. "Pretty, un…" The blonde made it over to the pedestal, lifting the glass case up from over the flower, and placing it on the floor. He made a move to touch the rose out of curiosity.

Deidara suddenly felt himself get pushed back, hearing a clack as the case was once more placed over the rose. The blonde blinked to see Sasori glaring viciously at him. "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING?!"

Deidara gave a shrug. "I was just curious. Everyone knows not to tell the prisoner where they aren't supposed to go unless they want them to go there." There was a loud crash as the scorpion tail smashed the table next to the blonde. Deidara quickly backed away from the Beast. "Whoa!! I was just curious, un!! Don't bite my head off."

"GET THE HELL OUT!!!" Sasori gave a roar. Deidara opened his mouth to respond but the Beast already made a lunge for him. "OUT!!"

"Don't have to tell me twice, un!!" The blonde quickly ran out the door, hearing an angered roar behind him. Deidara rapidly went down the stairs, making his way to the entrance room.

"Wait!! Where the fuck are you going?!" Hidan and Itachi were bounding after him, trying to catch up.

Deidara shook his head, continuing to run. "Promise or no promise, I can't stay here, un!!" He went down the last pair of stairs and out the front doors of the castle. It was snowing, but the blonde didn't care. "Sai!! We're leaving!!"

The horse gave a neigh and turned around so the blonde could get on his back. "About time!! This place gives me the creeps!!" Deidara opened the gates and hopped onto his white horse, the both of them bolting away from the castle.

They had only been running for a minute when Deidara suddenly became aware of the sound of wolves howling and growling far too close for comfort. Sai suddenly halted as a pack of hungry looking wolves appeared from the trees in front of them. "Hey, it's the Horsy again!!" One of the beasts laughed while baring its fangs. "I'm Kiba, the leader of this pack." Another one of the wolves made a move forward, but Kiba stopped them. "No Akamaru, I get first bite!!"

Deidara shook his head and pulled on the reins, causing Sai to start running to the left. The wolves growled in rage behind them, following fast. The beasts suddenly appeared in front of them again. Sai reeled up onto his back legs, causing Deidara to go flying off of the Horse, landing in the soft snow. His hair band snapped, causing his locks to join the rest of his hair messily. The wolves had forgotten about him for the time being, attacking Sai with teeth and claws.

Deidara grabbed a large stick and whacked one of the wolves on the head before it could get at Sai. The beast quickly recovered and regrouped with the others. There were far too many for the blonde to fight off forever. His eyes widened when he unexpectedly heard a loud familiar roar to his left. The next thing he knew, Sasori was there, attacking the wolves. Deidara watched, horrified, at the bloody bout. Two of the wolves were dead, but the rest were still fighting strong. The blonde watched as they viciously attacked Sasori. One of the wolves suddenly howled out "RETREAT!!" The blonde recognised the voice of Kiba. All of the other beasts followed their leader's orders, running off in all directions.

Sasori was left there panting hard. Somewhere in the bout, the bandana had come off from around his mouth, revealing a snout with a set of jaws full of sharp fangs. Blood dripped from his silver teeth, and he was looking straight at Deidara. The blonde was completely terrified by the sight before him. A few seconds passed and suddenly Sasori's legs buckled, causing him to fall into the snow. The Beast blacked out, and Deidara quickly untied Sai's reins from where they had become tangled in a tree branch, about to get back on his horse. He stopped and looked back at Sasori. "What are you doing, Deidara? Get on and let's get out of here!!" The horse gave a neigh and the blonde shook his head, running over to the Beast who had saved their lives. With a lot of effort he managed to pull Sasori onto Sai's back, causing the horse to give a strained neigh.

"Be a man, un…" He and Sai exchanged a sheepish expression. "…Right…Sorry, forgot…Be a Stallion, un!!" The horse whinnied and Deidara lead the way back to the castle.

-x-

Sasori sat in his chair, licking at the bloody wound on his right arm. Deidara smacked his nose. "Stop doing that, un." The Beast growled at him but gave his arm to the blonde. Deidara dipped a small towel in a basin of warm salt water, bringing it to Sasori's wound. "This might hurt a bit."

He pressed the flannel against the injury, causing the Beast to give a roar, snatching his arm away from the blonde. "THAT HURT!!" The inanimate objects ran into hiding in fear of the raging Beast.

Deidara glared at the creature. "If you'd just hold still it wouldn't hurt as much!!"

Sasori gave him a scary smirk. "Well, if you hadn't have run away, this wouldn't have happened!!"

Deidara scoffed, "Well, if you hadn't have frightened me, then I wouldn't have run away!!"

Sasori opened his jaws, and then closed them. He thought for a few seconds, before remembering what he had been going to say. "Well YOU shouldn't have been in the West Wing!!"

Deidara glared back at the Beast. "Well you should learn to control your temper!!" The blonde gave a sigh, lifting the wet rag up to the wound again. "Now hold still." He patted the wound, beginning to clean it. Sasori gave a growl, but didn't make any voiced complaints. "By the way…Thank you for saving my life, Danna…"

Sasori was taken aback. "…Brat, this is France, not Japan."

Deidara gave a shrug. "I'm sick of French. Japanese honorifics are better, un."

The Beast gave a snort. "Whatever Brat…" They both exchanged an almost gentle look. "…Well, you're welcome." Sasori undid the yellow ribbon from around Deidara's wrist, and tied the blonde a new ponytail with it.

-x-

Sakura and Ino sat at a table in the pub. It was after closing, so the place was dark and empty…Well, almost. Across from them sat a pretty woman with large breasts. "You know that I don't like to leave the asylum late at night…But you said that you would make it worth my while…"

The pinkette smirked and threw the woman a bag of cold coins. "Is this enough, Tsunade?"

The blonde studied one of the coins, and then gave a sly smile. "I'm listening…"

"Well," Sakura gave a cough, "the guy I want to marry needs a bit of persuading…"

Ino gave a laugh, taking a gulp of Sake. "Turned her down flat!!" Sakura slapped her hard.

"I can't help with your trouble." Tsunade gave a snort. "I'm not some love guru, I lock people up!!"

"That's exactly why you're here!!" The pinkette cackled. "Deidara's father is a lunatic!! Just earlier tonight he was here RAVING about a Beast!!"

Tsunade gave a sigh, downing a flask of Sake. "Onoki is harmless."

"Yeah, but Dei would do anything for the old man!! We get the son through his dad, you just pronounce the old boy mad, and whoosh, he's slander in your hand, the Maison Des Lunes!!" Ino and Sakura laughed at the song. "She'd do anything to save him."

Ino laughed, slamming her Sake flask on the table and pointing at Sakura. "Even marry her!!"

Sakura slapped the girl again, and then turned back to Tsunade. "Do I make myself clear?"

The woman gave a chuckle. "It's the easiest job of my whole career!! Alright then." Tsunade finished off the flask of Sake. "It's particularly primeval…I LOVE IT!!"

-x-

Onoki gave a cackle, stuffing his bag with random papers. "IF NO ONE'LL HELP ME, THEN I'LL GO SAVE MY RIBBON…And son…MYSELF!!" He stormed out the door and started into the woods, missing the carriage that pulled up not half a minute later.

Sakura and Ino marched to the front door, opening it wide. "Onoki!! Deidara!!" Nothing.

Ino gave a hesitant laugh. "Well, no one's here, guess this plan won't work!! Let's go!!"

Sakura growled and grabbed onto Ino, slamming her down into a pile of snow. "Stay there until either of them comes back!!"

-x-

Deidara was tossing and turning in his sleep, in the middle of a nightmare.

He gave a gulp as he was backed against a wall. But instead of a monster, he was running from a boy of about the same age as him. The male had red hair and wore a continuous smirk. He pinned the blonde against the wall. Deidara was scared out of his mind.

It's just a dream, un…It's just a dream!!

"Well, Brat. No where to run~"

"LET GO OF ME YOU MONSTER!!" Deidara tried to pull away, but the boy's grip tightened on him.

"Monster?" The red head scowled. "Just look at me, Brat. I'm not a monster."

Deidara struggled. "On the outside you might not be, but on the inside you're more of a monster than Sasori!!"


The blonde woke up, drenched by a cold clammy sweat. He was panting hard. "Are you alright, Sempai?" Deidara looked over at the wardrobe.

He gave a nod. "Yeah…It was just a bad dream…" Why had that red head seemed so eerily familiar?

Deidara sighed and got up, opening the window. He walked out onto his balcony, leaning against the railing. The moon was full tonight. The blonde could see the village from this point, but just barely. All of the lights were off as the villagers slept. He looked up at the sky as a fresh batch of snow began to fall. Deidara sighed, suddenly feeling a cold chill as if he were being watched…The blonde shook his head and went back into his room to try and get some more sleep.

The red head gave a sigh of relief, stepping out from behind the statue gargoyle where he had hidden on the roof from the blonde. "Not long now…" He looked up at the full moon. "…Is this going to be the last time that I'll be human?" The red head gave a frown, looking down at his pale hands. "If he doesn't fall in love with me, then not even on full moon nights will I be human again…" He gave a sigh and looked to the bandage on his right arm. "…" The red head dropped back down onto the balcony, giving the sleeping blonde a last look through the glass windows. The moonlight shone beautifully on Deidara's perfect skin. His chest slowly rose and fell so soothingly that the red head couldn't help but smile. "…" His smile faded and he looked away in disgust. "Like he would ever love a beast like me…" The red head shook his head and climbed back onto the roof, headed towards his own room once more.
Originally human Sasori was supposed to play a bigger part in this chapter, but a rape scene didnt seem to match the timing =.= oh well

Hope you likey ^-^
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        Princess Souri Ada Lodette of Astral frowned as she began reading the list of applicants on yet another sheet of paper. The scribe had fit about ten names per page with a brief paragraph about their experience. All the names were listed in alphabetical order, and she had read through at least five pages before reaching the page of last names beginning with the letter J.

        She recognized only a handful of the countless names she had read. The ones she knew were either knights who had been working for the royal family for many years, or so-called heroes with high reputations amongst the citizens of Astral. From what she had read about them, though they were most likely qualified for the job, she wouldn't get along with them particularly well.

        "Just how many candidates do we have…?" she questioned, putting the page down with a sigh. The pile of pages she had already read through was getting rather tall.

        "Close to two hundred, but only about fifty will be coming here and competing for the job," Jei Dun replied, adjusting the stack of papers on the table.

        "How long did it take the poor scribe to write all of this? They're putting so much time into this..."

        "Probably days. They had to send a lot of letters out to everyone who applied, too. I think the original batch was well over three hundred. They didn't want any foreigners involved, so that cut out quite a lot."

        "That's far too many... How are they going to be testing them?" she asked, a bit curiously. "There are so many to pick from…"

        "They're going to have a series of tests and challenges to determine who is most suitable. They're building a whole big arena for everything they've got planned; they're going to put everyone who agrees to compete for the job through hell. They don't want to be bothered with any weaklings, or else they might get killed," he added conversationally.

        Souri cast him a worried look. "Killed? Just how are they going to test them? How could it be so dangerous?"

        "There's going to be a lot of dueling and such," he said, waving it off idly. "We don't want any run-of-the-mill guards coming along. A lot of these guys are going to be highly outclassed by the more experienced knights. There's also going to be a personality and mental health test to see if they're sane enough for the job. You never know these days; at least a dozen of the applicants are mercenaries. Besides, whoever gets the job is going to need the patience of a saint to wake up at the crack of dawn and wait for you to get up at the crack of noon," he added jokingly, trying to lighten the conversation.

        Souri didn't look convinced at his explanation. "But killed? They shouldn't be doing it if it's going to be that hard! They're doing too much."

        "Okay, okay, I was exaggerating!" he replied, rolling his eyes. "But don't forget, it's a pretty dangerous job they're applying for. They're all well aware of the risks and expectations. Some princesses have the most elite knights in the land as bodyguards, but they still get killed and they have to find new ones every few years. It's going to be one of the highest paying jobs in Astral, but for good reason, since they've got to be ready to lay down their lives for you. It's a bit too chivalrous if you ask me, but that's what the royal family is looking for."

        "I know…but I'm still against this. I don't like the idea of having a full time bodyguard," she retorted, cringing since most of the applicants were men in their thirties or forties with 'a wealth of experience,' as her father had worded it.

        "You should just be glad they haven't assigned you one sooner. Some nobles are assigned a knight when they're born and they're stuck with them all their lives. At any rate, not having a full time bodyguard until you're fourteen is very reasonable."

        "But so many of them sound like creepy old men! And I don't know any of them! It's going to be so horribly awkward. If I have a bodyguard, they're going to be around all the time… I won't even be able to go out and take Miss Foo Foo for walks around the garden with some burly old soldier hanging around."

        "That's more than a bit of a generalization. They aren't all old farts."

        "Most of them seem to be...," she said, shaking her head slightly.

        "Keep reading," Jei Dun replied with a slight smirk.

        She looked at him suspiciously; she knew her cousin well enough to know that face wouldn't lead to anything good. "What are you so smug about? What do you know about this?"

        "All I said was to keep reading," he shrugged.

        Deciding that needling him wouldn't accomplish anything, Souri skimmed down the page quickly, only looking at the men's names and not paying much attention to the rest of the information. She reached for the next page, which finished the last of the applications with a surname beginning with the letter J and started with the letter K.

        He always knows more than he tells me... Souri thought as she glanced at the names. She was halfway down the page, not expecting to see anything that stood out to her until she was nearly at the bottom. Though the print was exactly the same, as soon as she saw the familiar name, it seemed as though the rest of the page was as good as blank. Her expression must have shown surprise, since Jei Dun only looked more smug.

        "See? I told you not all the applicants were old knights."

        Micah Lee Kenji.

        "Why didn't you tell me?" Souri asked shortly, putting the page aside.

        "Well, it was only decided that there would be a challenge involved a few days ago. Everything was up in the air until then. Are you really that surprised? I thought you would have guessed by now."

        "Yes! One of you should have said something," she retorted stubbornly.

        Though surprised, she was relieved to see his name. The idea of having Micah as her bodyguard didn't seem like it would be too vast of a change. However, Jei Dun's description of the tests the candidates would have to undergo wasn't at all reassuring. With the vast amount of candidates, there was little guarantee in place of what the outcome would be.

        Micah...why are you doing this...?

        "Is he the youngest of the applicants?" she asked curiously.

        "I think so. The rest are all at least eighteen, I imagine they made an exception, given the circumstances," he replied with a nod.

        "Still, I wish you would have said something...when are all the tests to be carried out?"

        "They're going to start in two days. There shouldn't be many people traveling to get here, since they aren't allowing foreigners."

        "Well, where is he now?"

        "Probably training, as usual," Jei Dun replied. "Why?"

        "I just...want to ask him why."

        Jei Dun rolled his eyes, though he looked rather entertained. "Isn't that rather obvious?"

        "Well, I want to hear it from him! Could you tell the maid that I went to my room to change or something? I don't want them to go looking for me right away."

        "Just what are you planning?" he joked.

        "Don't get any weird ideas!" Souri retorted, blushing slightly. "Nothing like that."

        "Suuuure," he laughed. "Well, go on, get out of here! Go find your knight in shining armor."

        "Don't be so sarcastic!" Souri stood up, shaking her head slightly as she walked over to the door. "I'll be back in a little while!"

        "Have fun...but not too much fun."

        "Enough!" she shouted, tone exasperated as she closed the door.

        Souri hurried down the hallway, reaching the staircase with the ground floor as her destination. She passed by Vitani on her way, but only waved and offered no explanation to what she was up to. The young noblewoman looked rather suspicious, but Souri paid little attention to her. She was determined to find Micah, and ask him why in person.
        
        ~ * ~
        
        Vitani frowned as she crossed her arms, contemplating if she should follow the young Astralian princess. From the many romance novels she had read and the even greater amount of plays she had watched, she knew that one of the most common things that would make a young girl hurry around like that was looking for her love.

        At least if too many clichés were anything to go by.

        But, the down point was that following her would seem rather stalker-like. She and Souri didn't get along particularly well for rather obvious reasons, but she knew that Micah was already rather suspicious of her. She didn't want him to think she was stalking him, even if that wasn't far from the truth at times.

        She was interrupted from her thoughts when a familiar voice called out to her down the hallway.

        "Hey! Something wrong?" Jei Dun asked casually.

        "Oh, good afternoon," she said, trying to sound polite though her tone was short. "Have you seen Micah?"

        "Not since this morning...why? Looking for him again?"

        "Of course," she retorted, rolling her eyes as though it should have been obvious. "Where was he?"

        "I'd imagine he's with Souri by now," Jei Dun replied with a nod.

        "What?! Why are they together again? Doesn't she have anyone else to bother? He's too busy to be with her all the time!"

        "Actually, he's going to become her bodyguard. He's young in comparison to the other candidates, but he's got a really good chance of winning. They'll hardly ever be apart if he gets the job," he added, watching as her expression changed from one of horror to one of outrage.

        "You have got to be kidding me!" she exclaimed, crossing her arms. "That's completely unfair!"

        "Well, I'm looking to follow them myself, so if you don't believe me, you're welcome to come along as well."

        Vitani cast him a withering look, knowing she had little choice in the matter. She didn't want to see her beloved lost to another girl before she even had a proper chance to snag him for herself.

        "Fine! But I am so interrupting if I see something I don't like."

        "Right," Jei Dun replied, starting down the staircase.

        "Wait, where are we going?" Vitani asked reluctantly.

        "To the training area."

        "On the ground floor?" she asked lamely.

        "Obviously," he said, smirking slightly.

        "But I'm wearing heels!" she said dramatically. "You expect me to walk down the entire flight of stairs?"

        "Don't you want to follow her?" he questioned with a laugh.

        "Yes...but...they're three inch heels."

        "Come on, a little exercise isn't going to hurt you."

        "Hmph!" Vitani stomped past him, walking down the stairs quickly, clearly offended. "You've obviously never worn heels before.

        "Nope...and I don't intend to," he remarked as she nearly tripped on the hem of her dress.
        
        ~*~
        
        Souri Ada Lodette spent several minutes explaining to the guards why she wanted to visit the outdoor training area until they finally let her pass. They were reluctant, but when she said she was looking for her bodyguard-to-be (which might not have been a lie, if everything went as she found herself hoping it would), they had no choice but to give in.

        There weren't many soldiers trying to improve their skills during times of peace, and the various candidates for the test had yet to arrive at the castle. She wasn't particularly looking forward to when they did, since it would undoubtedly mean a dull day of formal introductions to people she would probably never speak to again.

        It didn't take her long to find Micah, who was practicing with a rapier. She hesitated before calling out to him, all too aware that she had set out to find him with little to no idea of what she wanted to say to him. She also hadn't stopped to think how awkward it would be when she did catch up with him.

       I can't dilly dally forever;he's going to notice me, she thought, still trying to come up with a plan. She went over a few potential scenarios in her mind, since she didn't want him to think that she was averse to the idea of having him as her bodyguard. Though she wouldn't admit it out loud, she was certain she'd like the idea of having a bodyguard if it meant they would have more time together.

        Well, that's it then! she thought with a determined nod, selecting her plan. I'm going to talk to him.

Unfortunately, her 'plan' was simply to wing it.

~*~

       "This is ridiculous!" Vitani complained, following Jei Dun as they hurried through the almost completely empty training area. "My feet hurt! Are you sure they're here?"

       "Yes, definitely. Now quiet down, we've got to be close now," he replied shortly.

       There were very few soldiers and knights utilizing the spacious outdoor area, but the ones who were there all cast her rather odd looks. A noblewoman dressed in  a floor length dress and three inch heels wasn't exactly a normal sight for a training area. She was starting to wonder if the king's nephew was leading her on a wild goose chase when they reached a corner and he stopped suddenly.

       Vitani had been more focused on making sure her aching ankles didn't wobble in the three inch heels, all too aware that there was no way to walk 'sexy and sassy' with wobbly ankles or stiff knees. She didn't realize when he stopped and bumped into him, absentmindedly wondering if any noblewoman wore flats.

       "Hey!" she exclaimed indignantly as he quickly grabbed her wrist and pulled her away from the corner.

       He knelt down to hide and she landed gracelessly on her backside with a dull thud.

       "Just what do you think you're doing?! I must have dirt all over my dress now!"

       "Shh!" he whispered urgently, holding a finger up to his lips. "There they are."

       "Really?" Vitani questioned, lowering her tone as she leaned over to peak around the corner.

       Jei Dun stood up and walked over to peer around the corner and spy on the young couple.  Although Jei Dun and Vitani didn't have very much in common, a clear disregard for other people's privacy and a tendency to eavesdrop were two not-so-glamorous traits they shared.

       "I can't hear what they're saying."

       "Be quiet."
        
       Souri couldn't seem to look up, though Micah looked at her questioningly. She was unusually uncomfortable with meeting his gaze. She had rushed to find him with almost no plan of what she was going to say. She glared down at her shoes, trying to count the number of stitches in the leather.

        One hundred and thirty two... one hundred and thirty three... one hundred and- Shoot! she thought, as the stiff cloth wrinkled ever so slightly, throwing her off count. Her glare intensified, and if looks could kill, her shoes would have made it to the graveyard in plenty of time to greet Micah after she was through with him.

        She had the nagging feeling that they were being watched. It was a rather unpleasant sensation, and she would have liked to hope that the castle's employees would have better things to do than spy on the nobility. She also didn't think her cousin would go to such great lengths to eavesdrop on their conversation. She convinced herself she was imagining it, since it would only make it more difficult to say the things she wanted to tell him.

Pouting with her arms crossed, not at all entertained by what was going on, Vitani sighed dramatically.

        "Why can't we interrupt?" she whispered quietly.

        "Shhh," he said shortly, holding a finger to his lips. "They'll hear us."

        "I only spy on people if it's to break them up! This isn't any fun."

        "Shut up! If we're caught, I'm blaming it on you."

        "Hmph," she said haughtily. "I just don't understand what he sees in her. Even if she is the princess, I'm so much prettier than her…"

         "Just quiet down, I can't hear what they're saying."

        "You're awfully nosey for a cousin..." she said, watching the scene unfold with her unentertained stare set on Souri.

        The aforementioned doomed man suddenly interrupted whatever was going on in her head. "Souri..."

        She made a vague sound in reply, still determinedly immersed in murdering her footwear.

        "That girl has no experience," Vitani grumbled quietly, rolling her eyes. "Can't she even carry a conversation with him? I could do much better."

        "Quiet!" Jei Dun retorted.

        "What did those poor shoes ever do to you?" Micah sighed.

        "They refuse to keep me distracted," she grumped, still too uncomfortable to look him in the eye. Her evasiveness wasn't at all subtle. This, apparently, did not sit well with him.

        "Will you look at me?" he demanded, frustrated. When she didn't move, he grabbed her shoulders and forced her eyes up from the floor. "What's wrong?"

        Souri wrinkled her nose in annoyance. "Nothing! It's just kind of... strange..." she trailed away as he gave her an insulted look. Skin prickling, she stepped away from his hands and they fell back to his sides, swinging dumbly.

        "Strange? Do you not want me as your guard that badly?" he snorted incredulously.

        She hurried to explain. "No, that came out wrong!" she winced, wondering why she was so tongue-tied with something so simple. "It's great that you're doing this, I really appreciate it, but I just kind of wondered... why..." She scuffed her feet against the rough stone floor, trying to look like she didn't care, and yet holding her breath in anticipation of his answer.

        Micah blinked, the defensiveness falling away from his expression. He gave her a 'duh' sort of look, and said quite simply, "I want to protect you."

        She didn't really know what she had expected - something about protecting her, obviously, that was what the whole job was about - but she had not expected the words to be said so caringly. Unbidden, heat rose to her cheeks and she blushed under his tentative gaze.

       "But it's so dangerous," she mumbled, suddenly revealing her anxiety and the sole reason she did not want him near her. She remembered Jei Dun's comment from earlier far too clearly; it wasn't uncommon for royal guards to meet untimely ends. She didn't even want to think of that.

       He did not reply, allowing the awkward silence to set in once again. She switched her gaze back to her feet, wondering why she didn't seem to know what she wanted anymore. As the silence stretched from seconds to minutes, she restarted her stitch count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven...

       Another pair of shoes swam into her vision, and their toes connected. He reached out and she felt his arms enfold her into an embrace. In the back of her mind, she hoped no once was watching, as they most certainly wouldn't approve. She didn't look up, but pressed her face into his shirt, trying to control her breathing.

       He started speaking, but she really wasn't listening, at least not to his words. She felt safe so close to him; peaceful, as though the rest of the world couldn't reach her. She focused on his heartbeat, which was going even faster than her own. Despite herself, she smirked.

       "Hey, are you even listening to me?" he demanded, pulling away and giving her a slightly annoyed look when she didn't say anything. "What are you smirking about?"

        In response, her smirk grew. Feeling suddenly bold, she placed her hands on either side of his face, trapping him. She leaned forward and touched her nose to his, and smiled softly at his half-confused, half-hopeful face.

        "Why?" she asked, ignoring his own question.

        "Well, um," he stuttered, clearly affected by her proximity. "I... just do," he ended lamely. When she didn't look impressed, he tried again. "Because you're pretty?" he offered, and immediately ducked as she aimed a swing at the side of his head.

        "Be serious!" she reproached, hurt leaking into her voice.

        "Okay, okay!" he said hurriedly, avoiding her eyes. "I want to protect you because... you're my friend," he said slowly and her face fell, but he continued. "And at the same time, you're something more. A lot more. And I... don't want anyone else to protect you. It has to be me." He gulped, internally promising to erase all memory of this.

        Meanwhile, Jei Dun was bent over laughing, until Vitani slapped him across the head, motioning for him to be quiet. Even if he did have the quick reflexes to evade as Micah had a moment ago, he would still have been too distracted laughing to react in time. Vitani crossed her arms and resumed pouting, cursing her poor luck.

        Souri stared at Micah, and her face gave way into a small smile. "I suppose that's the best I can get," she said thoughtfully, releasing his face and stepping back. "At least," she added, "for now."

        "Huh?" was Micah's eloquent response as Souri gave him a fond look and hugged him. She moved away almost immediately, but he held her close for just a little longer. Unknowingly, they both smiled.

        Around the corner, Jei Dun and Vitani stared at the couple in slight disgust but mostly wonder and a hint of envy.

        "So," Jei Dun broke the awkward moment the only way he knew how. "You owe me mon---"

Vitani cut him off before he could finish, throwing her hands up in the air in frustration and defeat.

"Would the two of you just kiss and get it over with?! I'm so sick of listening to this mushy crap!"
Collaboration between =TheFinalHikari & me! Actually, Hikari wrote most of this, so thank you sis!! :hug:
LotS is copyright to =Iniphineas, so no stealing!

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        The full moon was still out and smoke could be seen far in the distance where the party had been. The smoke represented hot summer colors that were consuming the air below. The house is quiet even after putting the master to bed. The only thing that could be heard was the sound of small drops of rain falling on the roof and windows.

        Standing on the porch, Sebastian waited for Ramona to return to the mansion. The air is heavy with the smell burning flesh. Why should he start to care so much for her? They were two races that shouldn't be together even in the time when the world ends. These feeling that had been building up inside of him were not the feelings of jealousy or hatred but the feeling of wanting. He wanted something he could not have.

        Since he couldn't have it, he might as well destroy it. When Ramona came back, he said to himself that he would kill her but quickly by stabbing her in the heart like he had plan since the beginning.

        The day he had met Ramona was just like today. Lightning lit up the sky and thunder rumbled with it. Upon the lit up sky, Sebastian could see a person limping towards the mansion. This person looked tired and worn out. Her clothes were ripped and hair was  wet. Her pale skin practically glowed under the night's full moon and blood dripped from one of her shoulders.

        Limping a little farther until she was close to the mansion did she notice Sebastian waiting for her. His face was as stiff as a stone and his eyes glowed with boiling anger. Eyes blurry, Ramona fell forward almost hitting the ground until she felt a pair of arms grab her. Everything went dark before she saw the worry in his eyes.


        The world was black. The sound of snickering could be heard all around Ramona. It was sickening. There was nothing to be seen where she was. Ramona couldn't even see her hands. The air was thick and muggy. Every breath took effort and every step felt like lifting a three hundred pound rock. It was cold and Ramona was actually frightened. This was like the time when that person had come. That person was cruel, evil, revolting, malicious, hateful, harmful, and most of all selfish. Ramona was beginning to hear that person's last words to her before leaving to find him.

        "You cannot protect the ones you love without paying the cost for loving someone. Death will follow you soon enough and I will laugh at it when it happens….

        With a startling jolt, Ramona woke up to find herself in her room but there was something out of place in it. The broad figure standing in the corner in her room stood still and tensed. His eyes glowed bloody red in the dark.

        "To think that you survived with this sort of injury sort of surprises me." Sebastian chuckled to himself but there was something deep in his eyes that he was hiding from Ramona. Ramona only blinked a few seconds before asking him a question.

        "How long have I been out?" She asked. A long paused was taken and it made Ramona shiver.

        "Five days…" Sebastian whispered giving a grieving sigh.

        "You know. It's been harder without you here to help." Sebastian moved his hand through his hair. Sebastian seemed odder than his usual self to Ramona. His expression was so cold but it felt as though there was something that he wanted from her.

        "Spit it out Sebastian. What do you want to ask me?" Ramona said. Sebastian looked just a little surprised and smiled. Ramona's eyes lit up when he smiled at her. (fake)Coughing Ramona said, "I can't promise you that I'll answer your question though."

        "Well of course you wouldn't do it just like that." Sebastian started to walk towards the bed, climbing on it and…. Lying down. Ramona had though he was going to do something to her and had tensed up, ready to slit his throat. Like a therapist, Ramona listened to Sebastian's thoughts. He talked about how all the other servants were worried about her and weren't doing anything to help and how Ciel had told him to watch over Ramona. Then came the question.

        "Ramona, what happened at the party after Ciel and I left. There was something monstrous there but I couldn't… Figure it out while watching the young master and trying to prepare for your…. Uhm, return." Sebastian said his last words wisely trying not to make it sound like he had worried about her because he obviously didn't.

        "…Do you trust me?" Ramona asked him, looking in the other direction, waiting for his response. Another long pause came after that. The sun was starting to rise and Sebastian had many things to do now that Ramona was awake. It's not like this was a hard question but she was a guardian angel sworn to protect the young masters life. She's reliable but she wasn't…. Trustworthy.

        Bluntly he said, "No." Once the words were out of his mouth, Ramona turned to look at him with cool steady eyes.

        "Then I cannot tell you a thing. If you cannot trust me, how can I trust you?"


        Three days had passed since then. Ramona was back on her feet and doing what was required of her everyday to serve the Phantomhive residence and protect the young master. Ciel had been quite relieved to hear that Ramona was better. He shouldn't lose such a valuable and reliable person just yet.

        Ciel had been really busy this week due to children coming to visit the toy factory. Sebastian was already preparing him t go check out his company. Sebastian putting on the young master's shoes spoke up with determination.

        "I'm going to bring Ramona with me to the company." Sebastian suddenly stopped tying the young master's shoe and his face was stiff but then he smiled and went back to tying it.

        "If that's what you wish for, young master."  Sebastian whispered. After finishing up with the master he went to the kitchen to prepare for tonight's dessert for dinner. Walking in, he found himself staring at Ramona who was already putting the top crust of a cherry pie.

        Ramona looked up to see who had entered the kitchen. When she saw the demon she turned around quickly and put the pie in the oven.

        "I've already made tonight's dessert and now I'll be dusting the guest bedrooms after I clean up in here." Ramona said. Cleaning up the kitchen, Sebastian just watched her in…anticipation, as if something were going to happen any moment now.

        Ramona kept dodging Sebastian's eyes because she knew that her cheeks would turn pink but her eyes would glare at him. How could he not trust her! She's a guardian angel and they always keep their promise. Sebastian knows that Ramona wouldn't do anything to Ciel and would protect him with her life but befriending one of them (more like loving) would screw his already long but patient life.

        Finishing up cleaning the kitchen, Ramona got up patted her maid outfit to get the flour off and walked towards the door where Sebastian still looked at her. Keeping her head low she past him but while doing so a gulf of her scent passed through Sebastian's nose. She smelled so good and intoxicating.

        Before Ramona knew it, Sebastian had grabbed her writs and had pulled her into a deep embrace. Not daring to look up to show her feelings, she tried to loosen his grip on her so she could get away him. Not letting go, Sebastian pulled her out of the hallway into the kitchen so the others wouldn't see them. Ramona still fought on trying to not let her feelings get in the way of her job.

        "Ramona", Sebastian said in a smooth velvety voice. Just the sound of his voice like this made Ramona stop struggling and made her heart rate rise. Staying in that position, they just let both of their emotions flood back into one another. Sebastian gently moved Ramona's chin up so he could see her face. It was bright with color and something else... Sebastian gave into temptation and lowered down to kiss her beautiful pink lips. Ramona kept her eyes closed, ready to feel his lips touch hers. Before that could happen though. Ramona sensed those things racing towards the mansion right towards Ciel's office.

        Snapping out of her trance she pushed Sebastian away and raced towards where Ciel was. Her heart was humming but those monsters were closing in. Reaching Ciel's door, Ramona kicked it open. Ciel shocked out of his mind got up from his chair and started to yell at Ramona for her attitude and for kicking down the door.  Ramona had no time for scolding and grabbed the young master by the waist and put him on her shoulder. She started to hear the glass windows break and without any hesitation ran out of the office and towards her room. Reaching her destination she sprinted in and put the young master on her bed and opened her dressers door to find her special weapon for times like these. Before she could pull it out she heard the wailing cries of those monsters being destroyed.

        Ramona stood still and looked into her dressers mirror. A small drop of sweat could be seen on her forehead running down to her chin. Ramona's eyes were changing into a different color, a bright glowing red. Ciel looking back at her in the mirror and saw this new transformation.

        Quickly, Ramona put both of her hands to her eyes and walked straight over to where Ciel sat and plopped down on the bed. Trying to calm herself she said,

        "To think that I'm so rattled up just because of a few of Shadows." The air in the room was becoming more constricting. With each minute passing by and no monsters attacking the manor Ciel knew that Sebastian had stopped whatever had tried to attack him but why was Ramona so upset at this?

        Before he could say anything, footsteps could be heard in the hallway coming closer to Ramona's door. Ramona, tensing up again, still held her hands to her eyes but waited for that dark figure to appear at her door and ask for entrance.

        As expected the footsteps had stopped right at her door. She steadily and calmly stood up from the bed and looked directly into Sebastian's eyes where she held his gaze. His eyes weren't a bright red but blood could be seen on his uniform and splattered on his face. Smiling he bowed in front of her.

        "May I come in?" he asked.

        "No." Ramona said. Ciel being the only one confused just watched the atmosphere build up even more.

        "Why not?" Sebastian questioned her keeping his eyes on the ground.

        "Because you're a demon." Ramona said flatly looking down at the somewhat agitated demon then looking at Ciel. Ciel was obviously confused. With a heavy sigh, she curtsied to the young master; bowing her head low in submission and said she was sorry.

        Trying to take everything in, Ciel forgave her and went to the door where Sebastian was waiting for him.

        "Took you long enough." Ciel grunted. Sebastian, putting on a fake smile and apologized. Ciel looked down the hallway and as expected, all traces of a fight were gone except for the blood on Sebastian.


        Ramona was enraged. Her eyes were glowing a deep bitter red. She wasn't mad at Sebastian but supposedly she was mad at herself. She wasn't prepared for an attack like that and instead of killing them off herself and saving Ciel, she saved Ciel but now owed that disturbed and disgusting demon!

        Dusting off the shelves in the main library and putting books back where they belonged, Ramona couldn't help but take her rage out on her chores.

        Mew, Ramona heard a small voice come from behind her. Sitting on the piano's stool was a black cat with yellow eyes. It stared at her for a moment then looked away and started grooming itself. Ramona feeling more relaxed after seeing the cute night black cat gave a small smile.

        On the way to the main library, Sebastian remembered when Ramona had said because you're a demon and couldn't get it off his mind now. Those words had struck him in an unlikely sickening way. Just because he was a demon, he couldn't enter her room. She had put barrier signs around the walls and such that would only allow those she accepted into her room.

        Because of their races, they couldn't be together. No, they weren't suppose to be together. They were already breaking the rules but Sebastian was tempted by this guardian angel. She was so fascinating and different from the others. In the end, would she get in the way of him and Ciel though?

        Deep in thought, Sebastian reached the library and quietly opened the door to see Ramona dusting the shelves. With sudden horror, Sebastian saw his cat, Isabel jump onto the pianos stool! And just when he was about to pick her up, it was too late she mewed one of her glorious mews! The world felt like it was coming to an end! If the young master heard of him keeping cats in the mansion, he would for sure be scolded and betold ordered not to play, talk to, or get near cats ever again.

        Watching in terrible horror, he saw Ramona turn around and gaze at the cat with hard eyes. But when the cat didn't run away and just looked up at her expectantly, Ramona's mood changed. She wasn't as tense. Giving a small smile, Sebastian watched as she put down the duster, sat on the piano stool, and petted Isabel. Isabel's purr was so magnificent; it made Sebastian's heart flutter.

        Still hiding, Sebastian listened to Ramona's conversation with Isabel.

        "You know it's all because of that demon that I'm in this terrible mood. I was about to save Ciel and kill the Shadows but he had to butt in and now I'm in debt to him." Ramona started to rub under Isabel's chin and her purr grew even louder. Ramona's shoulders relaxed even more and her smile grew wider.

        "If only that demon trusted me, then I could trust him back maybe…" Ramona longed for him to trust her and Sebastian could tell. Would Sebastian be able to forget their differences and trust her? Was she trustable? Making up his mind, Sebastian smiled and walked into the room.

        Ramona having all of those feelings rushed back into her, grabbed the cat and kept it in her arms. The cat didn't seem to mind and purred even more.

        "Good evening, Ramona." Sebastian said affectionately.

        "Good evening, Sebastian." Ramona said a little bitter. Meeting eye to eye Ramona knew Sebastian had something to say. Not hesitating any longer Sebastian said, "Will you tell me the truth?"

         Ramona a little confused looked up at him with questioning eyes.

        "What do you mean?" Ramona asked. The cat started to struggle in her arms. Letting her go, the cat ran off somewhere else in the library.

        "About those things you call Shadows and about you coming to the Phantomhive residence." Sebastian was losing his patience. Whenever it came to Ramona, his patience always thinned quicker than when he talked to others. Ramona aggravated spit her next words out.

        "And why should I?" Sebastian giving a warm smile walked closer to Ramona and said his next words in a cheerful whisper.

Because I trust you
I finally had time to write a chapter for my story. I'm sorry it took me so long! Only 14 more days of school then its summer!

Next I'll be working on Chapter 2 of The Huntress then I'll be working on a Commission I promised to do. ^^

Word Count: 2,633

:butterfly:

Picture by user on zerochan.net
- Doa (Wabisabi)

Commissions are open!


Next Chapter: Chapter 8 - The Truth
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