Ring around the rosie

Soft. That's what he remembered. Her touch on his face was light as a butterfly, soft as flowerpetals.

It had been so long since anything soft had touched him... And so long since he had felt it. Nerve endings don't work through stone, very well.

Her hand had gone to his face. The only one who stopped. The only one who came.

A pocket full of posies

It was funny. You'd realize she would die like this, after a while. The laws of chance govern that ONCE you have to loose a battle. She'd fought so many, with no help.

No help...

You'd think that after all these times she would eventually get killed. No one is forever, and Lina lived a dangerous life.


I never seemed to occur to one. Of course she would; she just never had, she was certain, powerful, cocky. It was almost impossible that she could...

No one even considered it. After all, she'd lived through all the others, didn't she?

Ashes, Ashes

And she had fallen. It had been only the mazoku, her and him left, really. Old age had taken everyone else. But fate just never cared, did it? Heroes weren't allowed to retire.

They fight until they die.

She'd won. He supposed you could look at it that way.

But even though the menace they were fighting this time was gone, so was she.

We all fall down.

Zelgadis knelt at her grave. It was next to the swordsman and princess'; she would have complained about it, but would have appreciated it.

He snorted at the local authority figure's choice of words on the tombstone. So perfect. So...

Not her.

She'd told him to go on. She'd made him promise.

Did she have any idea that in doing so she'd given him to slow torture? How was he supposed to live without them?

Without her?

Ashes, Ashes,

Hah. And now he was condemned. Doomed to face the skies and towns, empty, dead as he was. Hah.

We all fall down.

Zelgadis had laughed aloud when the mazoku had run him through... he thought it was over. He thought he could join them now.


It was a power ploy. Now he was full demon. All the more difficult to kill.

And he's promised not to kill himself.

Life. The thing people fought over, the thing people lost their own for. Odd, how he had grasped at it like a beacon light for Lina, but was so eager to throw it away.

He wasn't allowed to end it. Not now, not ever.

He couldn't let down his guard. That would effectively be suicide, and he'd promised...

A promise he was only just now beginning to know how much it hurt.

All fall down.

Demon of ice. Killer of the darkness.

Those were the names the humans had devised for him. He was the thing in the night they were afraid of, the eyes in the darkness, the thing under the bed. Unlike Xellos, who played, he caried out orders swiftly and without dalay. And he never lost. Because if he did, it would mean he'd given up. And he'd promised...

Would she be proud, the dra-matta? Enemy of all who lived?

Would she be disgusted?

Would she mourn the loss of another to what had claimed her name too? The fright in human's eyes when they hear the uttrance of...



No joy, no life. This wasn't really living, it just wasn't giving up.


But maybe, maybe...

Just recently, people had begun to see a girl with hair like flame and eyes like rubies, causing mass destruction on the southern border of the continent.



Hope. Hope flared breifly. But brief was enough. He'd find her again. And they'd go back. Maybe they could find the swordsman and princess, too. Maybe...

Maybe he could live again...