of Justice + Chapter 16 (cont)
He's a what?!
Uthmar looked startled, then
frowned. "I thought we explained yesterday."
"I managed to understand that somebody called Sharna was mad at me for
killing his servant," Wufei said dryly, "and was going to send either
people or a demon to take revenge. The rest of it was... fuzzy."
"Ah. Well. Sharna's one of the Dark gods," Uthmar started.
"...what?" Wufei stared, wide-eyed.
"A Dark god. The god of demons and assassins, actually," the Champion
"A god," the demon said flatly, closing his eyes and wincing. "Well, magic
works here and you have demons; I suppose it's only logical for you to
have gods as well... Logical! Ha!"
"You don't?!" Uthmar asked, aghast.
"No. We don't. A lot of people believe in various gods, but if
they exist they never do anything... obvious," Wufei said, sounding a
little strained. "We don't have magic, demons, or active gods--
unless you want to believe Duo in his more extreme moods," he added under
his breath, starting to pace. "A god. Wonderful. How many gods are there?"
"Seven Dark gods and fifteen Light gods," Gunnar said promptly. "Sixteen,
if you count Orfressa."
"Ah. And I might not count her because...?"
"She's the universe."
"I see. Do I have to worry about all seven Dark gods, or just the
one?" Wufei asked acidly, still pacing. "Not that one isn't enough!"
"Probably only one, and he can't act against you directly," Uthmar said,
trying to sound reassuring.
"Why not? I would have thought dark gods would enjoy doing that
sort of thing."
"None of the gods are permitted to act directly on anything in
the world," Karthan said, wincing as Wufei spun on his heel and the faint
images of what he was seeing spun with him. "It's the only rule the Dark
gods have never broken. Sooner or later, two gods would end up acting
against one another, and enough power could be released to destroy the
world. Even the Dark gods don't want that... Wufei, please sit
down! You're making me dizzy!"
Wufei didn't sit down, but he did stop pacing. "Sorry," he said, a little
shakily. "I thought I was adjusting quite well to all the differences,
but it appears I just hadn't reached what Duo would call my 'weird shit
"It's, uh, understandable," Uthmar muttered. "I did rather spring it on
you." Ignoring the rude noise Gunnar made, he continued, "The restriction
on direct action is why all the gods who are interested in mortals have
priests and Champions to do things for them."
"Like our very own Champion, Sir Tactful, here," Gunnar said cheerfully.
"Now who's springing things on Wufei?" Karthan muttered.
"You're a Champion?" Wufei asked slowly. "The, ah, direct representative
of a god?"
"Er... yes," Uthmar replied, feeling faintly embarrassed.
"I'm assuming it's a Light god?"
"Oh, yes. Torframos. He's the god of the earth."
=*Pleased to make your acquaintance, Your Highness,*= a
deep, amused voice said out of thin air.
"Don't you start! It's bad enough--" Wufei paled as he abruptly
realised just who he was talking to. "Ah, I beg your pardon," he said
stiffly, eyes wide. "I, ah, I think that's becoming a reflex..."
The deep voice chuckled. =*I'm the one who should apologise; I should
know better than to tease someone who's just had a serious shock. And
I seem to have startled everyone... Perhaps we'll speak again later, Chang
"Ah, yes," Wufei said carefully, unable to think of anything else to say.
=*Until then,*= Torframos said, and fell silent.
There was a long pause.
"...Is he gone?" Naiya whispered, staring upwards.
"Yes, he's gone," Uthmar said sourly. "I'm going to have to talk to him
"You're going to tell off a god?" Cord rumbled, eyeing the dwarf
"Why not? He's my god," the Champion replied, one corner of his
mouth quirking up under the beard.
"I think the rest of my questions can wait," Wufei said quietly, "especially
if the answers are going to be that... dramatic. I have more than
enough to think about for the time being. If you don't have any more urgent
"No; everything else can wait," Uthmar told him.
Wufei bowed wordlessly, walked a short distance away, and started a set
of slow stretching exercises.
Karthan grunted softly, rubbing at his eyes. "That's better," he muttered,
blinking. "Double vision is bad enough when both images are moving the
"He's closed the link?" Naiya asked, still shooting nervous glances upwards.
"I should probably get you both breakfast."
"I don't think he wants any," Karthan told her. "He was thinking something
about doing exercises and clearing his mind. Breakfast did not feature
in his immediate plans."
"But he's still wounded!" she protested, looking over her shoulder as
he ushered her away. "He shouldn't be putting any stress on his back yet.
He doesn't heal that fast!"
"Believe me, lass, that's not going to stop him."
For several minutes after they left, there was nothing behind the forge
except Wufei, working his way through his daily Tai Chi exercises. Gradually,
the tension eased from his muscles as he was able to put the problems
facing him aside for the moment and concentrate on the forms; then he
finished the Tai Chi, bowed to an imaginary opponent, and began his katas.
A patch of air behind him shimmered briefly, then settled. Nothing had
visibly changed, but the hairs on the back of Wufei's neck prickled as
he felt someone's eyes on him. He added a turn to the next pattern, swinging
around with narrowed eyes to see who was there, and almost dropped out
of stance with surprise when his eyes met empty air.
He was right, though. There was someone watching him.
Interesting, Krashnark thought, one eyebrow lifting in mild surprise.
I'm shielding as strongly as I can, and intangible; that dwarf Champion
could probably walk straight through me and never notice. Even his god
wouldn't notice. But this little human-demon somehow realised I was behind
him. Very interesting!
Wufei shook his head slightly, dismissing the impression, and continued
his kata, gradually increasing his speed and the power he put into the
A faint smile appeared on the Dark god's face as he noticed blood seeping
through the bandages around the small demon's waist. This one's far
to good to be wasted satisfying my brother's infantile need for revenge,
he thought, smile twisting into a sneer for a moment. He's not
even fighting a real enemy, but he doesn't let pain distract him from
his focus. It's a pity I didn't bother to watch when my brother set his
demon on him; I'm sure he burned brightly in that fight!
This isn't just a matter of duty anymore, he mused, walking in
a slow circle around Wufei as the Chinese pilot spun and kicked. Or
a matter of putting Sharna in his place. I want this Chang Wufei for myself.
It may not be too hard to convince him, either... after all, what better
patron for a true warrior than the god of war?
Krashnark paused as a thought struck him. I could even make him my
I was just planning to have him worship me. I haven't taken
a champion for... how long? Centuries? None of the mortals have caught
my attention like this for a very long time...
He might be worth the trouble. I'll think about it.
Krashnark watched silently until Wufei finished, bowed to his imaginary
opponent, and walked off.
* * * * *
"Geez... who let Frankenstein into the house?" Duo muttered, listening
to the slow, heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. "Who is it?" he yelled.
"Me," Heero's voice called back, sounding slightly strained.
"What are you doing?"
"Hang on a second." The footsteps clumped along the corridor to Duo's
half-open door, which was kicked open to reveal a large box with Heero's
legs visible below it.
"Heero, what the hell-- Is that a bar fridge?!" Duo demanded, eyes
widening as he read the lettering on the box.
"Yes." The box wobbled across the room until it was next to Duo's bed,
then lowered to the floor. Heero's slightly red face rose above it, and
he started opening the top flaps.
"Why did you get a bar fridge, Heero?" Duo asked quietly, not sure whether
to be delighted or mildly annoyed.
"I figured you needed something to keep all the sodas from going warm."
"...You bought soda."
"Heero, I was under the distinct impression that your opinion of soda
was rather lower than your opinion of tequila as a mild thirst quencher,"
Duo said conversationally, lying back and looking thoughtfully at the
"Only if the tequila doesn't have the maggot thing in it," Heero grunted,
crawling underneath the bed to plug the little fridge in. "Tequila with
maggot is worse than soda."
"It's not a maggot. It's a cactus worm."
"Whatever. I'm not going to be drinking the sodas, so my opinion
of them doesn't matter."
"Uh-huh. You bought a bar fridge so I could keep soda in my room, is that
"And ice cream," Heero told him, picking up the flattened cardboard box
and heading for the door. "It's got a freezer compartment."
Duo pulled the blankets over his head and gave in to a fit of mildly hysterical
About an hour later, passing through the lounge room on the way to do
some work on his Gundam, Quatre paused in confusion as he saw the empty
space on top of a low table. "Trowa," he said, looking back over his shoulder,
"where's the stereo?"
"Heero took it up to Duo's room," Trowa said calmly.
"Oh. Well... I guess that's reasonable," the blond muttered. "He's usually
the one who wants it on, after all."
"Heero's reasoning was more along the lines of 'Duo Must Not Get Bored
Or He'll Get Up'."
"I can see his point," Quatre admitted, then blinked and leaned sideways
for a better view around Trowa's shoulder. "And... the TV?"
Trowa pointed upwards silently.
"That's going a bit far! We need to watch the news bulletins on that!"
The taller boy shrugged. "We can still watch them. We just have to go
up to Duo's room to do it."
"...And the company, and having the TV up there, will help keep Duo from
getting bored, right?"
"All right," Quatre sighed, starting to walk again, "but if we come back
and find that the stove has vanished, we're putting Heero on sedatives."
Time passed. Maintenance was done. Eventually, Quatre came back to the
house to fetch coffee for himself and Trowa.
He walked into the kitchen, paused, and then walked out again. After a
quick search of the ground floor, finding no-one, he walked to the bottom
of the staircase and glared upwards.
"All right," he called coldly. "WHERE IS MR. COFFEE?"
There was a faint sputtering noise, then laughter. "Busted, Heero!" Duo
called, still laughing. "I told you you weren't going to get away
"I don't mind the stereo," Quatre insisted, stamping up the stairs. "I
can live without the television. But Duo is not the only person
in this house who drinks coffee, and we can not visit his room
whenever we want a cup!" Throwing open the door, he glared around, noting
that all the missing items were there, as well as what looked like every
book and magazine in the house.
"Don't blame me, Q," Duo said cheerfully from the bed. "I only
asked for a mugful, not the whole coffeemaker!"
"Oh, I know who's responsible," Quatre told him, glaring at Heero as he
stalked across to unplug the coffeemaker from the powerboard and coil
up the cable. "You're acting like a magpie, Heero, or maybe a bowerbird.
It's like Aladdin's cave in here!"
"Wrong fairytale," Heero said, stopping him on his way out the door; frowning,
Quatre looked over at him, leaning back to balance the coffeemaker's weight.
"Oh? Which one should it be?"
A faint smile lifted one corner of Heero's mouth. "Ali Baba and the One
Thief," he said quietly.
[part 15] [back]
[part 17] [back to
Mel and Christy's fic]