Truth is never in the eyes of its beholder, because
it simply does not exist.
The sharp and loud noise of nails tapping against a
marble surface reverberated throughout the impressive
sitting room, echoing off the vast ceiling adorned
with a crystal chandelier. The room was large and
stark, hardly decorated in any fashion, but it spoke
of style and grace. It was the kind of room only the
privileged were able to have, all marble and rose
stones with furniture that was older than most
The nails continued their tapping, steadily clicking
against the marble table, almost toppling over
intricately carved chess pieces upon it with the
incessant movements. The nails were painted in a
faint orange color only available to the extremely
wealthy and they were attached to the pampered and
soft hands of a beautiful lady. She not only had
exquisite hands, but also had miles of sunlight blond
hair and blue eyes the color of winter lakes. Her
peaches and cream complexion covered her exotic face
perfectly and the only flaw that anyone could make out
was her strange forked eyebrows.
Across from this stunning vision sat Milliardo
Peacecraft, the prince of the kingdom. He eyed his
lady guest warily, his gloved hands idly playing
around with chess pieces near him in a seemingly bored
fashion. He tilted his head slightly, his own
platinum locks falling gracefully around his shoulders
down his back. His own icy blue eyes then looked into
"Lady Dorothy, I believe you said. The note you sent
me tells me that you have a business proposal.
Please, do tell me what you would like from me."
Dorothy smiled like a cat with a flock of canaries in
its stomach. She did appreciate handsome and urbane
mortals, even if they were mere puppets to her strange
whims. This one in particular was quite a specimen
and she flipped through her brain to find out every
last detail about his past. She would have bugged
Relena for his future path as well had her sister not
betrayed them and gone off to who knows where.
"Your Highness," she began in a lilting voice, "I'm
here to say that you need not worry about Relena any
longer and that I will be happy to help you achieve
All the years of politics and maneuvering for position
in the royal court worked in his advantage as he kept
the surprise out of his eyes and face. Lady Dorothy
was no trifling trying to play her meager hand at
politics. No, she was a skilled adversary who knew
how to drop subtle hints into innocuous seeming
conversations. And she had hinted rather generously
that she knew that it was he who had beset assassins
upon his beloved sister.
"You don't say, my dear lady," Milliardo replied
without showing any emotion. "And why would you
believe that Relena is a problem? She is my most
A mocking laugh joined the tapping nails in echoing
off the walls. It was a beautiful sound, but also
terrifying in its predatory edge.
"My dear Milliardo, why don't we stop dancing around
the topic? I know that you hired the guild to kill
Relena and that they failed. And of course I know
that you have hired yet another group, this time from
the murderer's guild of all places, to finish the job
the assassins blundered. Am I not right?"
This time, Milliardo allowed the rueful smile to
blossom on his face. It was to be blunt honesty, it
seemed. It was quite refreshing and a welcomed change
of pace from the double talking and veiled speech he
was used to.
"Quite right, Lady. Do you mind if I inquire as to
your sources? You are very well informed of my
activities that no one else has any clue of."
Dorothy's smile was all gleaming white teeth, but it
managed to look friendly somehow.
"Oh now, Your Highness, you wouldn't be as uncouth as
to ask a lady to reveal her secrets! But I will say,
I am very well informed. You would be very surprised
to know what kind of information I have within my
Milliardo considered her answer carefully. She had
not exactly dodged the question, but she had not
answered fully either. It was clear, however, that
she had one hell of a network that fed her correct and
dangerous information. He mentally noted to do a
palatial sweep later on to find spies and informants
later; it would not do to have his secrets get out
into the general public.
"Not surprised," Milliardo continued in his smooth and
cultured voice, "just very impressed, My Lady. Your
spies seem most skilled. And so, Lady, why is that
Relena is no longer my worry?"
"She is dead." Dorothy said without a trace of
regret. "There has been a gruesome murder in a small
town quite a distance from here. Mishia, I think that
is the name of that town. Plenty of witnesses."
Milliardo frowned slightly. He was not aware of such
"I haven't received a confirmation of a kill from the
murderer's guild yet. How do you know for certain
that it was Relena? And what was she doing there in
THAT little hole in the ground?"
"Oh, you won't be getting any confirmations from the
murderer's guild. They had nothing to do with it. It
was just a case of random violence. How.. fateful
for you, don't you think?"
She watched one of Milliardo's well formed eyebrows
arch up in a classic show of 'is that so' without
smiling too broadly. The fact that Relena had died
had not been fate, of course, since she was a Fate,
and moreover, since the mortal who had killed Relena
was out of their control, destiny had not had a hand
in it at all. The irony was only clear to her and
Noin, however. They were determined that no one else,
not even those in their own family, would know about
the two free agents roaming around the tapestry of
fate unguarded and uncontrolled.
"How very convenient for me that Relena is dead. So,
my dear Lady, how will you help me get the throne?"
"Oh, I have my ways, Your Highness," Dorothy replied
with a sharp grin, "but I can't tell you exactly how.
It would spoil the fun and the intrigue."
Milliardo accepted her explanation for now since he
had next to no information on this mysterious girl.
Instead of questioning her on her methods, he decided
to play along and see where this went.
"I wouldn't dream of spoiling your good times, Lady.
But if you are willing to help me, there must be
something you want from me as well. That is the way
the game works, is it not?"
"You are quite right, Your Highness. I do have
something I want from you in return for my services."
Milliardo did not ask further, but waited for her to
elaborate. She did not seem the type to appreciate
getting rushed along.
"Well, Your Highness," Dorothy continued after a brief
pause, "I want you to arrest a couple of people for
me. And most importantly, I want you to make sure
that they are not killed."
With that, Dorothy unhooked a small bag from the
underskirts of her dress and laid it on the marble
chess table. She waited for Milliardo to take it and
remove its contents before speaking further.
"Those two must be in your possession within three
moon cycles, Your Highness, if you want my help to the
throne. I guarantee, if you hold up your side of the
bargain, your throne is ensured."
Milliardo did not completely believe her, but
something in her voice told him that she was capable
of doing exactly what she had stated. Apparently,
this young lady had the power to put him on the throne
and all he had to do was arrest the boys sketched in
intricate detail on the paper he held.
There were no names attached to these faces, but the
pictures were striking. One was a boy with long,
brown braid with spiky bangs hovering over his most
unusual violet shaded eyes, smiling in impish delight.
The other was a serious looking boy with unruly dark
brown hair that flowed every which way, his cobalt
blue eyes blazing like twin stars within his handsome
face. No names, but they would be easy to identify.
No one would be able to forget these faces.
"You have a deal, My Lady."
Two boys for the throne. Milliardo smiled and counted
his lucky stars. However, he was too convinced that
he had gotten the better end of the deal and he failed
to register the gleam of malicious satisfaction in
The night waxed on as six people sat around a small
fire in a clearing many miles away from the scene of
political intrigue. Relena did most of the talking
since she was the purveyor of news while the others
interjected periodically with questions and surprised
intakes of breaths. It seemed that even after
establishing who and what she was, no one except Heero
was comfortable with her position.
"So," Trowa asked for the fifth time in that hour,
"the Fates are going to completely decimate Heero and
Duo for being free?"
Heero twitched involuntarily and felt his hand clamp
down on his leg. He had no idea that things would be
this way when he had used the Pendulum Signet. He had
been under the impression that all the Signet would
have done was to free Duo's past memories buried
within his soul that he could love him again. He had
not known that the consequences would bring about free
radicals within the pattern of destiny. For as long
as he had been a god, there had never been mortals who
could claim to be free of destiny. And now, there
were two of them, one of them a former god with
infinite knowledge of the world and the other a mortal
who had already wanted to rebel against his given
path. They were a dangerous combination and it was no
wonder that Dorothy and Noin were out to erase them
"Look, I wish I knew more," Relena replied with a
frustrated sigh, "but my sisters no longer trust me.
I don't know how they are going to erase their souls,
what their plans are, I don't know anything. The
paths I have laid down for Duo is long gone, the
thread unraveled from the tapestry. And because of
Duo and Heero's freedom from the path, they are
affecting the choices I have made for all of you.
They may even alter the decisions Noin has placed upon
you. It is a complicated and ugly thing. All my
sisters can see is chaos for the mortal realm ahead."
"So we have no idea what's coming, do we? And you
can't know either since you don't control Duo or
Heero. What are we left with here, then? What can we
Quatre's voice had held his frustration at his
feelings of helplessness plainly, but he had kept his
face calm. He could not afford a break-down in the
face of adversity, no matter how hard or complicated.
He would not allow his family to suffer something
worse than death.
"When I look into your future, I see paths of glory
and power. There are other paths as well, but I want
to choose something glorious for you. But that no
longer is steady. The way the Fates work in
conjunction with the whims of the gods and the
interplay of threads against one another is too
complex for you to understand. I can give you
options, but ultimately, the choices you make are up
"I just want to get this straight then, Relena. You
are saying, even if you choose something that will
somehow help Duo and Heero, even if we want to help
them, your sister can make it so that we cannot act
upon those wishes?"
The regret shining out of Relena's eyes answered
Quatre's question without words. There were choices,
yes, but in the end, there was only one decision. And
that would be made not by these mortals, but by Noin,
the Fate who controlled present decisions and lives.
Relena knew that her sister would not choose in favor
of Duo and Heero, no matter what. In an essence, Duo
and Heero were on their own, because thanks to her
proud sisters, even their family and friends could be
used as weapons against them.
"This is one bitch of a situation, I have to say."
Duo nodded in agreement with Wufei's bitter yet
correct statement. It seemed that no matter what,
there would be no way to avoid the ugly future that
loomed before them. Duo and Heero could not depend on
their friends as allies as long as they were
controlled by the Fates and Relena could only do so
much in constraining her sister's plans.
"What can we do? I mean, how will I and Heero survive
all this? Literally, it's the whole fucking world
"Don't worry too much, Duo," Heero broke into Duo's
anxious inquiry, "because I'll be here with you. I
may not be a god anymore, but I can still protect us,
whether it be from the world or from the gods."
"How can you be so sure? How can you say that?
Haven't you noticed, Heero? We are already on the run
and to top it off, we now have to worry about being
erased out of existence!"
Relena watched in silence as Heero put a calming hand
on Duo's shaking shoulder, soothing him without words.
His eyes held a calm and peaceful light even in this
awful turmoil, as if he had found what he had been
searching for. She supposed that he had found it; it
seemed almost as if he loved this incarnation of his
lover more than the previous one.
"We have to run, by ourselves, don't we."
The question was laden with heavy sorrow and a sick
kind of realization. Duo could only imagine what his
future held for him now. He had railed against the
Fates, destiny and Heero, telling himself that all he
had wanted was the freedom to choose, to be free of
all constraints. Unfortunately, he had never thought
about the consequences of his most heartfelt desire.
Was this worth his true freedom? A life of running,
hiding, hoping and despairing? He raised his head to
look at Heero when he did not answer and found himself
drowning in twin pools of midnight blue as calm and
serene as the still mountains. They held a confidence
in them, in him, that he could not fathom.
Heero believed in him, in them, with an unshakable
resolve. Even now, after all Duo had said and done to
deny that he loved him. And no longer could he blame
his heart's reaction to a cruel trick of fate. Ever
since the day he had met Heero, he had made his
choices and laid his own paths.
Somehow, along the way, he had fallen in love with
this strange yet familiar boy all on his own. That
thought alone chased away the despairing and
frightening demons in his head to the recesses of his
mind, comforting him and somehow offering him the
strength to believe in Heero's faith in them.
"Running, hiding, none of that will help."
Duo blinked, trying to cast off the haze his
revelation had set upon him. Heero was speaking to
him, ignoring everyone else in the clearing.
"We must confront them."
Duo and Heero heard the gasp from the others as the
words left their mouths in unison, but they did not
pay them any mind. It was clear. Their choice was
made. It was time to pay a visit to the Fates.
"I just may take a vacation after this is over."
Sally agreed with Hilde with a soft grunt. When they
had set out to kill a couple of failures on the orders
of the guild, they had not considered that they would
run into such complications. Now, after
eavesdropping, they were hip deep in shit. Or rather,
gods and destiny.
"We are so screwed."
Yet another grunt followed on the heels of that
statement. They were whispering quietly to each other
huddled in the underbrush just outside of the
boundaries of the fire's light, observing and
listening to the most absurd conversation. Worst of
all, they both realized that their mission was bound
to be a failure no matter what.
"How the hell are we going to go up against a Fate?
She can set us on the path to the most miserable
Sally clamped her hand over Hilde's mouth when her
whisper nearly turned into her speaking voice. But
that did not make Hilde's assessment wrong. They
weren't up against mere mortals, they were head to
head with gods.
The situation was not acceptable.
"If you can't beat them, join them."
Ignoring the look of utter surprise and shock from
Hilde, Sally calmly stood and brushed off leaves and
dirt from her black pants and shirt with steady hands.
She gave Hilde a look that brooked no argument and
watched as her prot'g' sighed. After a moment, Hilde
followed Sally's lead and stood with her. Without
nary a word, they walked towards the camp fire and
their new allies.