When Everything You Know Is An Illusion

Chapter Seven

AN: Ahem… mic check, one, two…

Now, first off, let me say that this is a story that I am continuing for a friend. For chappys one through six, please go to The Puppet Master's Play. I know it's a pain, but I promise it's worth it, okay?

And while you're there, please review! If he hits twenty on the six chappys he has to write me a fanfic of two of my characters! I just need to decide which ones…

And no, for those of you who saw the story summary and all that junk, I'm not plagiarizing; I have his permission to complete it, since he wasn't going to.

XxX

When I wake up the next morning Ruiza has gone back to Sokoku. I pull myself out of bed slowly, wincing at the slight pain that shoots through me. I could live to be seven hundred (and I will) and I will never get used to the morning-after feel of male/male sex. I walk slowly downstairs, intending to ransack the kitchen for aspirin, since the only bottle we have tends to mysteriously disappear to Hikari's room and then it's extremely difficult to find.

Hikari is in the kitchen, making chocolate milk. I look around but see no sign of Ayu.

"Ohayo, Light," I say, opening a drawer to find (surprise) no aspirin, but a roll of tape, a plastic-wrapped blueberry muffin, an open box of Pocky, and a pack of batteries. Well, if the aspirin's not in Hikari's drawer, it must have made it up to his room again. "Hey, where's Ayu? Wasn't he here last night?" I ask, looking over at Hikari. He's grinning knowingly at me.

"I'm surprised you noticed. By the sounds you were making you must have been pretty preoccupied," he says. I blush. "So who's the guy?"

"Guy?" I ask. I know Ruiza is a guy, but for some reason I don't want Hikari to know that I slept with a guy, if I can bullshit my way out of it. "What makes you think it was a guy?"

"Well, for one, Dark, his voice was a little too deep to be even a butch girl. Secondly, you kept crying out for him to fuck you and well, the man doesn't do that in het. And finally, there was way too much cum on your sheets for it to be just you doing it. And by the way, if you're going to do that you might want to reconsider the black sheets and the black light."

"When did you see my sheets?" I ask. Hikari shrugs.

"I went in this morning to wake you up, but when I figured out what happened I thought that I should probably let you sleep in. By the sounds you two were making, you must be exhausted. And male/male is never easy on the uke," he says simply.

"Whatever. But really, where's Ayu?" I ask.

"I'll tell you that if you tell me who your new lover is," Hikari says evilly.

"Fine. His name is Ruiza and he's not really my lover, he's an old friend of mine. I was just incredibly drunk last night."

"Uh-huh. Okay. Well, Ayu had to leave. He has to work."

"Where does he work?"

"I don't know. Wherever it is, he must be on-call because he doesn't work often and it's always really sudden."

"Hnn…" I say quietly. That sounds like he's hopping between realms. It's one of the oldest excuses in the book. Of course, I may be jumping to conclusions, but who knows? "When do Mom and Dad get back from… wherever the hell they went?"

"Australia," he says, opening a cabinet and tossing me a bottle of maximum-strength aspirin.

"Onegai!" I squeal, immediately swallowing five. If I can't die, I'm not going to let a mortal concern like overdose stand in the way of relieving my pain. I guess I should take into account that my body is still human and, while my soul can't die, my body can, and I've heard some pretty nasty stories about witches who have been left without a body.

"They'll be back the day after tomorrow," Hikari finishes. I sigh. I like this place much better when they're at least one continent away. Parents are a nuisance, especially when they aren't mine to begin with. I don't remember my parents. They were witches, obviously, but that's all I know.

"We have school tomorrow," Hikari says gloomily.

"Yeah I guess," I say with a shrug. "So?"

"I don't want to go," he says.

"Why?"

"I don't exactly fit in there. When you or Ayu aren't around… I feel so… ugly."

"Ugly?"

"Yeah, like I don't belong or something. They look at me like I'm weird or... ugly," he says with a shrug. I don't know what to say to him. I can't punish the whole school. Well, I could but we saw how that went at Columbine. Okay, so the circumstances aren't exactly the same. But it's the point of the matter.

Oh, just forget I said anything.

"Do you think I'm weird?" Hikari asks vulnerably.

"You? Ha, you should see some of the people in Sokoku!"

"Nani?"

"Nothing, just… you aren't weird; they're just trying to cover up for their inability to define you."
Ha, after school special!

"I don't want to go there, Dark! They hate me!"

I'm not going to deny that. They do hate him, for some reason. But what Hikari says next almost knocks me over.

"Why don't you tell him, Dark?"

"N-Nani?" I stutter. That's not Hikari's voice. It's a Sokokuan dialect.

"Why don't you tell him who you really are? And how you killed his brother and took his place. Tell him how you're a witch," he says. Hikari is crying and my heart sinks. The possession isn't complete. He knows what's happening. He just can't control his body or his voice.

"Who are you?" I demand. The voice sounds familiar.

"What, you don't recognize your old master?"

Hikari's body falls to the floor in a sobbing heap and a figure materializes beside him. The man has blonde hair that dusts his shoulders and bright blue eyes. He's wearing a pin-striped red-and-black suit with a red shirt and black necktie.

"Ayu?" Hikari moans from the floor. "What did you…" He faints before he can even finish the question.

"Ayu?" I ask, looking at the man. Yes, he looks a bit like an older Ayu, but this is not a product of aging. This is a new form.

This was Frederick Mandel.

"Heh, I guess you could call me that if you really want to. It was one of my forms, after all. But I think you know me a little better by a different name," he says smugly. "It's been a long time, Gaku. But I believe you're going by the name Dark now, right?"

"What do you want?" I ask. Frederick continues as though he hasn't heard me.

"Oh, how the mighty have fallen. When you left me you swore you would once more be Nakao, and you would rule all thirteen dimensions, once you overthrew Bassuru. You said you were strong enough. So then, what is the strongest witch doing, trapped in a sixteen-year-old's body?"

"I was assigned a job," I grumble. He laughs.

"No, you were fooled, my dear Dark. The Council of Four stuck you here so you would be no danger to them, and the rest… was up to me."

"Why? What the hell do you have against me?"

"You owe me big, Dark. Half a mill, I paid for you. You didn't come cheap. Apparently you were the big moneymaker in the brothel. I wasn't the only one who liked you. And then for you to just run off like that… well," he trails off as if his meaning should be obvious.

"But why didn't you just capture me back? Why the elaborate plan?" I ask calmly. It's hard to get worked up when I'm not in any real danger.

"The thing is, Dark, that you didn't realize, back when you were always shooting off at the mouth about overthrowing the council, just who you were talking to."

"And who might that be? A second-rate witch who has a taste for young boys?"

"Heh. No. Do you remember when Hikari first met Ayu?" he asks me. I glare at him. "How long ago was that, my dear?"

"Four years. So?" I ask irritably.

"And how long ago did Saibankan of Sanbanme no I'Inkai go into seclusion?"

"Four years ago," I say. "But you aren't Saibankan. She's female."

"You don't truly believe that you commoners are the only ones that can change form, do you? Yes, I was originally a woman, but for my own purposes I changed that. It used to be a recreational thing, back when I had you. But I have found reason to make that a more permanent form, and so… here we are."

"I still don't know why you've gone through this whole big elaborate scheme."

"You really don't get it? Let me spell it out for you then. You are more powerful than even you know, as is Light, which is why we need you to 'protect' him, to keep him thinking that he's actually weak. Plus, binding you to a mortal body has the added advantage that you can't use your powers to their full extent. You couldn't have overthrown us, anyway, but this kept you from doing anything stupid."

He's looking at me as though he truly believes he's won. But the reality of it is that the entire time he has been gabbing, I have been gathering all of the power that dwells in this pitiful human body.

Death of body.

Frederick easily deflected my spell, smiling cruelly.

"You don't honestly think your common bag of tricks is going to touch me, do you? Death of the body, against a member of the council? I think not." He punctuates his last statement by drawing his wand from the inside pocket of his suit jacket and pointing it at me.

Now, I may be a little cocky, and a little too ambitious by nature, but I'm not stupid. I can't go up against Saibankan, especially not when he's armed with a wand. Especially not when I'm stuck in this body.

"The way I see it, Dark darling, you have two choices. One, I can kill your pitiful human body here and lock your soul away forever. Or two, and I'm sure you'll find this option much more appealing, you can surrender your powers, remain in this body, or Gaku's body, whatever, and return to Sokoku with me to resume your sentence as my subordinate."

"Why can't I be Nakao?" I ask.

"Because your true form has powers you could never surrender. What will your choice be?"

What can I do?

"What about Light?"

Can I get out of this?

"Light will be coming as well. I will alter his memory and he will stay in the mansion with you during the day while I go to I'Inkai. He will believe himself to be in a situation similar to yours, that he gave up his powers and agreed to come with me. He will perceive me as Ayu. And at night, when I return to Sokoku, you will both be mine."

Can I save Hikari?

"Why does he have to come? He's not exactly a threat to you. He's a human."

How can I save him?

"Oh no," Frederick says, looking down at Hikari's unconscious form. "Light has powers that would overshadow even the dark. Quite appropriate names, right?"

How can I save us?

In the beginning there was Light, which ruled over the council. He was fair and trusting, and believed the best of everyone. He kept the council in balance, the recorder, the observer, the judge, and the punisher. Light had but one enemy, Dark. Dark was a greedy soul, and wanted to rule the realms himself. He tricked Light and locked him away. But Light was craftier than Dark thought, and he escaped. He lost his body in the process and was reborn in Chikyu, while Dark was left an opportunity to overtake the council, but he failed, and was sealed away in a mortal body to guard Light, the being he had once condemned.


"Then… the legend…" I say, suddenly remembering the story. "About the Council of Four being ruled by the sun, by Light, and threatened by the night, Dark… I thought it was only an old wives tale, but it was true and… and Light is God."

XxX

AN: That's right, Kyle, stick me with the big plot twist chappy.

Anyway, for those of you who have joined me from the first six chappys on Kyle's (The Puppet Master's Play) page, welcome to the lunchbox. I'm happy to have you here. I hope I can do justice to this story! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask, but please do so in a review. EMAILS WILL NOT BE OPENED! Except for NekoRinChan. You can still email because I know you won't send me a virus or anything.

I'll love you forever if you review!

Flames are not appreciated, although constructive criticism is welcome. Please keep in mind that this was not originally my story!

And Kyle, if you don't review after I took over your story, I will hurt you. Badly. In ways that even Derrick will feel.

♥'s and X-Rated Thoughts—Luci-chan