Heart of Darkness

Chapter 6


            It was cold and dark. Rather a lot like that time when he had woken to the candlelight within the hidden chamber in the Palace of Saillune.

            Except that, now, it was beyond dark.

            He blinked, trying to see if his eyes were really just still closed, but no. It was dark.

            He was flat on his back, and so he sat – or, rather, tried to sit. Something was holding him down. His arms were pinned, as were his legs. Every sense, every level of awareness attempted to flicker into life.

            There was nothing.

            He may as well have been blind and mind-numb. For all of his suddenly new-found abilities, he was as helpless as a baby. The only ability that seemed to be working was his preternatural hearing. As he listened, silvery whispers became clear, but he couldn’t quite make out what was being said… if there were words at all. There were suggestions of words, but nothing that he could understand. As he strained to make some sense of the noises, his befuddled brain started piecing things together.

            Where was he? How had he gotten there? Where was Lina?

            Memory flickered.


            He saw her, in his mind’s eye, barefoot in her nightgown, reaching for him.

            What had happened to Lina?


            A light came on overhead, blazing brightly into his eyes, making them tear and close instinctively against the painful brilliance. If he could have lifted a hand against the light, he would have, for the radiance seared through his closed eyelids. But bound as he was, he could not move. He gritted his teeth, grunting at the brightness of the light, trying to close his eyes even tighter against the light.

            “Oh good. You’re finally awake.”

            He cracked an eye slightly open at the soft female voice, braving the painful light in the hopes of glimpsing whoever had spoken. He couldn’t do much more than turn his head from side to side… and she was directly behind him. He couldn’t see her at all.

            “Who are you?” He growled, his one eye glaring daggers up at the bright light, tears stinging from both eyes and threatening to spill down the side of his face. “What do you want with me?”

            She laughed, a low and throaty sound, echoing within the strange room. “Why, Zelgadis… I want you of course...” With those words, she walked around to his side, and he could see that she was not unattractive. Taller than Lina, and brunette, the woman smiled when she saw that he was looking at her. “I want your power.”

            “My power?” He asked, anger rising in his mind. He’d been taken from Lina because of what he was? He wasn’t anything, hell, he didn’t even know what he was anymore. He wasn’t a Mazoku, for that would have required a Pact, but he certainly wasn’t the chimera that he used to be.

            He frowned. Chimera. His skin was blue, stony, and no amount of focusing was changing that. “What have you done with me?” He snarled, angry that he could be so helpless when he himself was capable of matching Xellos in a fight, fair or unfair.


            She laughed, a strangely dark sound in the brilliant room, and a distant part of him noted that his eye was getting accustomed to the light, which in all truthfulness, wasn’t that bright. Reluctantly, he opened his other eye, ignoring the sharp stab of pain in his skull from the light. It would fade as he grew used to the light.

            She didn’t answer him right away, and when she did, she didn’t reply to his questions, instead, continuing along her earlier line of thought.

“The source of your wonderful power, of course, is Shabranigdo.” She circled around him, eyeing him as if in appraisal. “You see, dear boy, you possess a link to the Dark Lord that we can only dream of. That Lina Inverse isn’t worth your time or ability. You’ll see.”


            Shabranigdo. Now he knew that he was in trouble, and she was a lunatic… or worse. He certainly wasn’t affiliated with Shabranigdo. He’d have known it long before now if he was… Xellos would have told him in that infinitely annoying fashion of his. Wouldn’t he?

            “So let me suggest that you put all thoughts of Lina Inverse aside, and stop trying to be what you aren’t: Human,” her voice continued, even as he turned his head away from her, rejecting what she was saying and trying to focus on Lina. If he could focus enough… maybe he could vanish from here and go back to her side. Maybe he could escape this madwoman – something, some power slammed down around him, the magical deafening knocking coherence aside for a moment. At that, something inside him awoke, a latent ability perhaps, inhuman in nature and almost as wild as his Mazoku aspect had once felt.

            He strained against the power that was holding him in place, feeling the anger rise and the very center of his existence start to darken. She was his; after such a very long time, she was his, and nothing would keep him from her! Nothing! A darkness awoke, power crackling around him, counterpoint to the power that still held him fast.

            Lips curled. “Oh no, you won’t get away that easily.” She sent another wave of power towards him, eyes dark with amusement. “You don’t get it, do you, child? You don’t belong there.”

            In his mind, he could still see the panic etched in her eyes, see her red hair streaming loose as she ran towards him. Her voice still echoed in his ears, and when the darkness within him washed up towards his awareness, he reached for it.

            A low growl rose in his throat, his eyes darkening from a crystalline blue to a near-black, and as he turned his head to look at her, she smiled.

            She’d let his soul darken until there was no trace of his former humanity left, and then she’d send him back. Send him back to betray them all.