Chapter 61: "Overcoming Demons"

The pilot who had taken over Deathscythe was not familiar with the Gundam system, but he'd piloted basic mobile suits for years. This should have given him an unfair edge, but Gundam 05 had been built specifically for the boy currently in its cockpit. Whether it had something to do with the Mark or the strangeness of the mechs that Quatre had alluded to, Wufei wasn't sure. Shenlong moved exactly as he wished it to, as if the controls were merely an extension of Wufei's own body. With its slimmer build, the Gundam was amazingly agile despite its great weight, and reacted to every flinch of Wufei's hands on the throttles and the touch of his feet. He wasn't sure where the primary weapons were, but for the moment they were unneeded as he threw himself into close combat in an attempt to make the black Gundam's formidable scythe useless.

He slammed into the other mobile suit, sending them both staggering, knocking over trees and crushing a small outer building in their wake. Wufei had only a moment to pray that the building had been empty. Driving one of Shenlong's arms across Deathscythe's face to knock the suit back further, he reached out with the other hand to seize the glowing scythe's handle. There was a brief struggle over the weapon before Wufei was knocked back. He barely managed to get out of the way as the blade came slashing at him. His heart was drumming in his ears as he pounded a gundanium fist into Deathscythe's thick chest plate. He had a sick feeling that if that beam scythe managed to land a blow, it would cut through Shenlong's gundanium body like a hot knife through butter. He had to get the blasted thing away from its demonic-looking wielder.

He discovered Shenlong's ace purely by accident.

Stumbling out of the way of an anticipated blow, he depressed the button on the throttle in a frantic hope that it would activate some additional boosters or even the machine guns.

The throttle jerked in his hand, snapping forward. Shenlong's right arm lifted quickly, and the claw at the end of it shot out like a snake, slamming into Deathscythe and clamping down in the shoulder area.

"Fuck!" Wufei gasped in surprise, trying to get control again. He yanked on the throttle, and the arm responded, pulling back roughly. Still caught in the claws, Deathscythe was hauled forward. Wufei barely managed to sidestep in time, effectively tossing the darker Gundam past his own and to the ground with a crash that shook his teeth in his head. The scythe, extinguishing itself the instant it left the Gundam's hand, flew through the air to land with a ringing clang on the garden path, destroying a small clump of saplings in the process.

"Okay, that works," Wufei muttered. He pressed the button again, and the claw detatched itself from Deathscythe, recoiling back to its resting place. "Useful." With a savage smile, Wufei forced Shenlong into a dead run.

Deathscythe was only halfway to its feet when the other mobile suit slammed into it, sending them both stumbling and careening.

Fingers as large as a man's body seized and interlocked, and Wufei gritted his teeth, struggling to keep from being forced back as both Gundams strained against each other.

Arm screaming at the strain, he managed to wrest Shenlong's right hand away, but he was too close to use the claw effectively. Reaching out blindly towards the control panel, he fumbled and hit any switch in reach. The machine guns began firing directly into Deathscythe's midriff, but weren't making a dent in the solid armor. "Shit shit shit--" Another switch--

The claw on Shenlong's arm snapped open, but didn't fly for its opponent. Instead, it belched fire, right into Deathscythe's face.

The dark Gundam reeled, releasing Shenlong and staggering back.

If only he had a plasma sword like Wing--

Wait. Hadn't there been something across the Gundam's back...? He'd barely paid it any attention as he got into the cockpit, especially since it hadn't looked anything like a weapon.

He twisted and pulled back on the controls, and Shenlong reached back, seizing the long bar laid over its back. As he swung it down in front of him, light burst forth from the end of the long staff.

"So this is a Beam Glaive," Wufei muttered, shifting it into a two-handed grip. Glancing back at his screens, he spotted Deathscythe rolling to its feet, reaching for the discarded scythe.

Worse-- there were people down there, running just behind the dark Gundam, heading for the palace gates. Pressing his fingers to the screen hastily, he zoomed in briefly.

Treize and Mariemaia, with Heero trying to catch up.

"FUCK," Wufei snarled in sudden anger and fear. If Treize managed to leave the colony and get to his armada, there would be no chance of stopping him. Shenlong could follow them into space, but going up against the General's host of mobile dolls would be suicide.

The sound of the beam scythe lighting up caught his attention, and he threw himself forward.

"I don't have time to mess with you!" he shouted defiantly, and slammed the roaring blade of his Glaive straight into Deathscythe's chest.

Not quite like a knife through butter, but the resulting explosion nearly threw his own Gundam to the ground. Deathscythe reeled, arms spinning as its terrified pilot lost control. When it met the ground, nearby roofs collapsed. Wufei waited tensely for a retaliation, but the green eyes were dimming. A moment later the hatch hissed open, and the frantic pilot scrambled out, racing off with his tail between his legs.

Wufei stopped just long enough to wrench his Glaive out of Deathscythe's ruined, sparking chest shield. Shenlong was over the palace walls in one long stride, and blocking the way when Treize and Mariemaia burst out of the gates.

Mariemaia shrieked at the sight of the hulking mech, but Treize snagged her arm and hauled her bodily to the left, dashing down a narrow street and disappearing around a house. Wufei shifted forward to follow before stopping himself at the last moment. He let loose a stream of furious curses at his own short-sightedness. The streets were too narrow for him to maneuver Shenlong without taking out some buildings on accident. Treize could stick to the alleyways and winding streets and stay safely out of reach.

Heero came racing out of the gates just in time to see his lover shimmying down the retractable cord that led from Shenlong's cockpit to the ground. The Guardian screeched to a halt, gaping at the other boy in disbelief.

"What are you doing?? You can't just leave that out here--"

"I'm not letting Kushrenada get away," Wufei snarled. "And I can't follow him in this goddamn tin can!"

"You can't leave it here," Heero insisted. "Besides, if I don't catch up to him on foot, you need to be ready to intercept any getaway shuttles."

"YOU pilot Shenlong," Wufei cut him off, leaping to the ground and snatching Heero's katana from him. It would be an odd change from the accustomed dao, but he'd had to abandon his sword to fit in Shenlong's narrow cockpit. "I have to do this face-to-face. I'm not going to snuff out his life from a distance if I can help it. Besides, I have to pry ruyi out of his damned fist."

Heero hesitated, glancing up at Shenlong almost warily. "I don't think it will work for me," he started to say, but Wufei was already racing off. "Wufei!!"

"I saw which direction he was headed-- I'll cut him off," he shouted over his shoulder. "Back me up!"

"Idiot," Heero growled under his breath, reaching for the cord. He took a startled step back when it abruptly retracted itself, zipping up to disappear into Shenlong's cockpit. He stared up at the unmoving Gundam for an instant, then turned his back on it in frustrated resignation. Shenlong wouldn't work for him. It had been created for one pilot and one pilot only; without the Mark, he wasn't even sure he could get the systems up and running again. Well... there was more than one way to skin a cat. Mouth set grimly, he ran back through the gates and onto the palace grounds.


It felt like it took an eternity to drag herself to awareness once more, but once she had finally won the battle of lifting her eyelids, Hilde wished she had never bothered.

With consciousness came pain and fear, rushing up to smother her in one overpowering, immediate wave. Dimly she became aware of the warmth she was pressed up against, and she recognized it belatedly as another body. Instinct told her to lash out; she had lost her grip on the waking world in the middle of a fight, and there was no reason to believe she wasn't still in some sort of danger. Her limbs, however, refused adamantly to obey her commands, barely twitching in response to her first weak attempts.

Blinking to clear her blurred vision, she struggled to make sense of her surroundings. Belatedly she realized that she was moving at a fairly quick pace, though she was fairly certain her legs were as unresponsive as her arms.

Then a lock of chestnut hair tickled her cheek, and she jerked to full awareness with an inner shock.

She was being carried piggy-back style at a dead run down the halls, strong arms under her knees to keep her pinned to a warm back, her arms thrown limply over familiar narrow shoulders.

Duo. He was racing down the halls like a bat out of hell, hunched over slightly to keep her from slipping off. He straightened a bit at the feel of her hands clutching at his shoulders in an instinctive search for balance.

"D-Duo?" she gasped, her throat raw. It hurt to speak. She tried to swallow a few times without much success.

"No such luck," came the growled reply.

Hilde's confusion returned to banish the flicker of hope. She tried again, voice barely audible. "Sun Wukong..?"

"Shut up and hold on. It's annoying running bent like an old man."

She barely had time to wrap her arms around him, then suddenly he was running at an incredible speed that made their surroundings blur. She clung to him, a gasp catching in her throat, and buried her face in his loose hair, stomach lurching in protest at the sudden turn in speed.

"You're a stupid little girl," he snapped at her without slowing. "I can't believe you weren't blown to pieces."

It took Hilde a moment to make sense of the words-- then with a rush she remembered her instinctive reaction back in the dragon's room. Reaching out to seize that incandescent light-- and the sudden horrible pain--

"She was trying to kill you!"

"Of course she was, you stupid twat. You're lucky YOU didn't get killed."

Hilde tightened her hold on him to quell the small shakes going through her body. "Why... why didn't I?"

"Hell if I know. Only person who might've had a chance at suriviving that-- besides me --is Chang." He turned his head to send her a quick glare out of the corner of his eye. "Why'd you have to step in anyway?"

"Where are you taking me?" Hilde demanded. "If you're so sure you can beat her, why didn't you just finish her off?" Or had he already? Her stomach knotted at the implications. She wasn't sure who the strange lady had been, but something in her gut told her that she was on Wufei's side.

"She doesn't have it," Duo snorted. "Took me awhile to figure it out. She tricked me. She must've sent Chang after it. Unfortunately for her, she can't leave that room." He snickered cruelly. "Looks like she's lost. I left her screeching curses at my back like an old fish wife. HAH!"

"Why am I still alive?"

"Because you're a lucky bitch, evidently."

"I MEAN--" She dug her nails into his shoulder. "Why didn't you leave me there? Where are you taking me?" He didn't answer her, and she tightened her grip, speaking right in his ear. "Duo. Talk to me."

He came to such an abrupt stop she gave a squeak of fright.

He shrugged roughly, releasing her legs, and she fell to the ground in a startled heap. He dropped to a crouch, getting right in her face before she could think of a complaint. She shrank back instinctively, and her back met the wall.

"Stop. Calling. Me that."

She swallowed hard, not letting herself look away from his strangely wrong eyes. "It's your name," she whispered.

He drove his fist into the wall, inches from her face, punching a hole right through the plaster. She refused to let herself flinch, staring him down. "You're the same," she insisted quietly. "That's what that woman said. Duo is what you've become in your mortality, Sun Wukong. You don't want anything to do with me anymore, but..." She reached up and wrapped her fingers lightly around the wrist embedded in the wall. "I still--"

He wrenched out of her grip, lips lifting in an angry snarl. Something about his eyes was almost wild as he lifted his hand for a smart smack across the mouth. He hesitated for a moment when she refused to duck away, staring back at him steadily.

"Duo is gone, girly," he growled quietly, glaring at her as he put both hands to the wall, leaning in close to give her a good view of unusually sharp teeth.

She reached up again stubbornly, tugging at his wrist. After a moment he stopped resisting, though his eyes were hooded with distrust. Holding his gaze, she moved the clawed hand down and pressed it lightly to her abdomen. He jolted at the touch, eyes snapping downwards as if he could feel what was inside of her, even if she herself could not.

Hilde wished her voice could be calm and mature, and not the wavering breath of air it came out as. "I don't believe you."

He shot her a quick, wary look, fingers curling slightly as if to tear out the weak seed of life hidden from view. She tensed, but those deadly claws relaxed again after a moment. "This is Duo's," he said finally, so quietly she almost didn't catch the words. He was gazing down at her stomach without expression. "Keep it if you like. But I have no interest in it." He met her eyes again, face shifting into something cold. "Or you."


He got to his feet in one quick, graceful movement, yanking his hand away. He stepped back out of her reach and looked down at her without compassion. "I'll tear this colony and its people apart," he said calmly. "I suggest you be elsewhere when that happens."

"DUO!" She reached out for him, trying to call him back, but he was already turning away, hair streaming behind him like a flag-- then he was gone, running off down the hall without a backwards glance. Hilde let her head thump back against the wall and pressed her fists to her eyes, trying to breathe past the scorching pain in her chest.

She sat like that for several minutes before she was able to collect herself. Taking in deep, gulping breaths, she got unsteadily to her feet, ear cocked as she listened to the distant booms from outside. These were like before. When Deathscythe had been walking around. Striding over to a window, she stared out at the gleaming white Gundam as it emerged from a gaping hole in the ground. It twisted this way and that as if getting its bearings, then set off for the gate.

She didn't stop to let herself think. Beating at the thin wooden shutters with her elbow, she smashed them to pieces and scrambled out of the open window. She hit the ground running, shouting until she was hoarse in a desperate attempt to get the attention of the pilot.


Relena's heart had nearly stopped at the explosions and earth-shattering sounds that had suddenly started up outside. Terrified and sure she was going to die, she'd scrambled underneath a table with Mingzhu, certain that the colony was falling apart.

Trowa had listened intently to the noises for a few moments, head cocked to the side. "It's a Gundam fight," he'd explained tensely. Then, after a few more moments of listening, "Deathscythe and..." And there he'd stopped, frowning as if confused. "Not one of ours," he'd said at last.

They'd had no choice but to wait breathlessly for the fight to be over, sure that at any moment one of the lumbering mobile suits would destroy the building. When it was finally over, Relena was suddenly afraid all over again. She was fine. But what about the others? Had one of them gotten in the way of those horrible machines outside?

She had been minutes away from stomping out her fear and going after Hilde, so it was a good thing one of them had decided to become insanely bull-headed and reckless. Not a minute or two had passed after the deafening battle outside, when she suddenly found herself jogging down the halls, eyes locked on a strong back.

Quatre had not yet returned, and evidently a certain Trowa Barton had decided that, busted knee or no, he was going to find his little blond friend, and to hell with anyone else. Face ashen but grim, using a guard's discarded spear as a makeshift crutch, he limped down the halls, sword in a white-knuckled grip. Relena had never seen such a look of cold determination on the boy's face before, and prudently stayed well behind him, out of the path of his blade. Mingzhu hurried along at her side, muttering to herself in stern disapproval, but smart enough not to attempt to restrain the tall Guardian.

"This is ridiculous," she hissed. "We can't risk you getting killed."

"Trowa will make sure nothing happens to me," Relena assured her, even though she wasn't sure the boy even noticed their presence. All of his concentration seemed to be focused on putting one foot in front of the other. "And it's safer with him than it is back in that room alone."

Mingzhu snorted loudly to show what she thought of that.

"Look," Relena snapped in a rare show of annoyance, "Hilde's the one I'm worried about right now, all right? We have to find her. She shouldn't be doing this in her condition."

"Her condition," Mingzhu repeated blankly.

"Yes." Relena hesitated, biting her lip. "Okay, her probable condition."

"What are you going on about, young lady?" Mingzhu demanded impatiently.

"It's just-- she's been sick a lot, and I don't know how far those two have gone," Relena admitted, talking half to herself.

Mingzhu's mouth tightened. "Far?"

"I think she might be pregnant, all right? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure, even though she hasn't said any-- Mingzhu?"

The older woman had staggered to a stop, her face deathly pale.

Relena hesitated, looking anxiously from the woman to Trowa, who hadn't seemed to notice and was still limping onwards. "Lady Mingzhu, we have to keep going. I don't think he'll wait for--"

"He said... just friends..." Mingzhu's voice was reedy.

"What?" Relena gave the woman's sleeve a gentle tug. "Ma'am, please."

"Idiot boy!" Mingzhu hissed, sudden fury overcoming her horror. "I told him what this could mean! No, no I didn't." Just as quickly, her fury turned inward. "I should have told him, should have made sure--"

"Lady Mingzhu, WHAT are you talking about?" Relena interrupted in exasperation, uncharacteristically rude in her frazzled state. "No offense, but I really don't see why it's any of your business. You barely give Hilde the time of day, and it's pretty obvious you don't even like Duo very much--"

Mingzhu's fingers clamped on Relena's arm like a vise, her eyes wide in shock. "Maxwell??"

"Yes, of course." Hilde didn't bother to pry her arm away, instead using the hold to practically drag the older woman after her as she hastened to catch up to Trowa. "Who on earth did you think I was talking about?"

Mingzhu's expression wavered between immense relief and sudden sick sympathy and horror. "Then..."

Relena shook her head sharply to cut her off. "Stop it. Don't even say it. She knows now, all right? She knows who Duo is. This isn't the time for this. Now please keep up."

"Don't calm down."

Relena stared at Trowa's back in confusion. "Excuse me?"

He didn't even bother to glance back, still mulishly limping onwards, breathing through his teeth in an attempt to ignore the pain. "Quatre," he said shortly. "He'll sense your fear. Don't bother trying to stay calm."

Poor boy must be losing his grip on reality. Relena looked around nervously. At least it seemed the fight was over for the most part. Those few people they did pass were making hasty exits. No one paid them any attention. "Wait--" She stopped suddenly, recognizing a vaguely familiar suit of old Chinese armor. "Where are we going? This leads--"

"Out the back," Mingzhu finished. This time she was the one to urge Relena on. "Come along, it's probably safer out there than in here."

"But--" Relena dug in her heels, pointing at a smear of blood across the wall. "Someone came this way--"

"Dying soldiers, no doubt," Mingzhu said grimly, pulling her firmly along by her elbow. "Barton will deal with them."

They continued in tense silence for awhile, passing the occassional body. Relena tried hard not to look at them, but one lay directly in her path. Edging around him and keeping her feet clear of the blood, she couldn't help but glance down.


He turned quickly at her call.

Backing up so she was against the wall, she pointed mutely at the corpse. "I-isn't that...?"

Trowa shuffled over and gazed at the body for a long moment in silence. "Phillips," he said at last. "Kushrenada's man." He turned and hobbled off faster, muttering vehemently to himself in French. Relena knew it wasn't the body that worried him.

It was the red handprint on the wall and the drops of blood leading further on; whoever had killed Phillips had not gotten away cleanly.

He was afraid it was Quatre.

Relena's stomach was in one cold hard knot. The marks had obviously been made with a blade. It could have been Quatre...

But what if it had been Wufei?

Before she could work herself into any sort of panic, they rounded a corner and found the killer. He was crumpled on the floor, his raspy breathing loud in the corridor. Relena's heart stopped in her chest at the sight of the traditional Chinese clothing before she remembered that Wufei had been stripped of his overcoat.

A moment later the figure shifted, shaking hand tightening around a sword as he threw a wild, defiant look over his shoulder at them.



The people of Yeong were terrified and confused. Most of them had gone to their homes, locked their doors, and were smart enough to stay under cover and wait out the chaos. Others were milling about in the streets shouting to each other. At the sight of the bare-chested boy hurtling down the alleyways, some of them merely stopped and stared. No one recognized him, but the sword in his hand suggested he was from the palace. Some called questions, others tried to intercept him, but he dodged them all, never stopping, just running as if his life depended on it.

Wufei's lungs felt as if they would burst, his arms and legs burning at the strain, but still he ran. His heart thundered in his ears, making the voices of his people a muted background murmur. If he didn't get to Treize before he reached whatever getaway shuttle he'd stored on-colony... if he got to his armada... if Sun Wukong managed to give Nezha the slip and got to him before Wufei did and got his claws on ruyi...


Wufei reeled at the outraged shout, twisting his head in time to glimpse an infuriated woman clutching her child, her husband shaking his fist at--

two familiar figures darting behind a building.

With a snarl, Wufei vaulted over a low fence and followed. The family saw his bared sword and got the hell out of the way. Others were hurrying over to see what was happening. One of them shrieked what sounded like a warming, but Wufei gave it no heed. He turned the corner, only to come face-to-face with half a dozen fully armed, grim-faced soldiers.

They opened fire, heedless of the score or so of civilians at Wufei's back.

Wufei had a fleeting moment of horrified panic. Even on the off-chance he managed to dodge, there was no way the innocents behind him would be spared.

Then he was moving unconsciously, arm sweeping to the side in a wide, vicious arc. The Mark on his lower back burned as if it was melting the very skin away. He wasn't sure if he screamed-- if he did, it was drowned in the sudden roar of flames that flared to life in the path of his arm like a wall.

The bullets never passed that wall, melting on impact. The heat from the flames was unbelievable, causing the soldiers to drop their weapons and retreat, crying out. Some of them stumbled about, hands to their faces, blinded.

The flames were gone as quickly as they'd appeared, and if it hadn't been for the sudden heat waves in the air and the melted lead at his feet, Wufei would have sworn it had all been another hallucination.

He stumbled, digging the katana into the ground to keep himself upright. His body was shaking violently, and his Mark was throbbing. It wasn't quite the same pain as when Shen had touched it. It didn't immobilize him, but he felt as if parts of himself had been burned in the wake of the fire. He tried to take a step and fell forward, knees hitting the ground hard. Gasping for breath, he attempted to force himself upwards, using the sword as a crutch.

Then hands were gripping his shuddering arms, pressing against his back, slipping around his waist-- He tried to jerk away reflexively, then went still in surprise.

Three men were struggling to haul him to his feet, grunting a bit at having to pull up his dead weight but speaking quickly and low, voicing unexpected encouragement. Even those who hadn't gotten a good look at the Mark on his bare back had put two and two together at the shocking display of power Nezha had given him.

Wufei found his feet and allowed the men to hold him up for a few moments as he caught his breath. The tremors were subsiding. "Where... did they go?" he finally panted. "Man... and... a girl..."

One of the men pointed hastily in the direction of a one-storey warehouse. "They went in there. Master Chang, are you sure you're--"

"Get off the streets," Wufei hissed, pulling away. He took two uncertain steps forward, reassuring himself that he would not fall on his face. "It's not over yet."

They protested, but he ignored them. He didn't trust himself to run just yet, but he walked as quickly as he dared. Once he reached the warehouse, he moved more cautiously, edging around the open doorway and peeking inside. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the gloom.

Treize was pulling a tarp off of a large object near the back of the room. As the plastic cover fluttered to the floor, it revealed the small ship stashed there. It was incredibly small, barely big enough for two people-- an escape pod of some kind. The hatch gave a hiss of released air as it slid open.

Mariemaia looked up and spotted Wufei as he took a determined step inside, and shrieked at her father.

Treize turned slowly, hand reaching up to grip ruyi from where it hung around his neck. Wufei strode inside, lifting the unfamiliar sword, but Treize stopped him with an upraised hand.

"Don't be a fool, little lord," he said quietly. He lowered his hand, fingers hovering over the craft's control panel. "You can do this the hard way, if you wish, but I really would rather not wipe out an entire colony. Again. And trust me, one word from me will give my armada permission to do just that."

Wufei's grip tightened on the katana's hilt numbingly. He leveled the older man with a hate-filled glare. "You expect me to let you go, just like that?" he spat. "Besides, you're bluffing."

"Am I?" Treize arched one thin eyebrow coolly. "No one even knows of Yeong's existance, Fei. No one will mourn its passing. No one will even have knowledge of it. I can wipe an entire population off the grid with one word, and there will be no vengeance for the lives lost."

Wufei shook with the urge to leap across the room and cut the man down. "Give me the staff."

Treize offered him a fleeting, mocking little smile. "I don't thing so, young man. I may have lost Yeong-- for now --but I will at least take this small token with me. I know what it is, Fei. I know what it can do if used properly."

"Sun Wukong is the only one capable of using it the way you're thinking," Wufei growled. "Even if I don't get to you, he will. He'll hunt you down like a dog and tear you apart just to get it back."

"Now, now, Fei, are you really trying to give me more of a reason to take out this poor little colony?" He chuckled. "I don't think even the great Sun Wukong has a chance against my armada. Especially when he is still confined to such a body." He tensed suddenly.

Wufei had heard it, too. He threw a quick look over his shoulder as the light dimmed, the exit blocked by an enormous gundanium foot. The earth shook as the Gundam outside went down on one knee.

"Kushrenada." Heero's voice was cold over the mech's loud speaker. "If you think I won't take out this building just to get to you, you're mistaken."

"Perhaps you should alert your trigger-happy Guardian that you are in here," Treize suggested lightly, though his mouth was tight with sudden apprehension.

Wing's enormous fist lowered slowly into view just outside the door, its fingers uncurling slightly. Wufei gaped in disbelief as Hilde squirmed out from between them, jumping to the floor. She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck before he could get more than a few outraged sputters out.

"Wufei! Thank god!"

"Damn you, woman," he started to rage, struggling to pull her arms from around his neck.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Treize relaxing slightly, assured that Heero would not do anything rash with the two of them inside the building. Wufei didn't notice the weight settling against his shoulder until the gun had already gone off, nearly deafening him at such close proximity.

The shot took Treize in the shoulder, spinning him about with the force of the blow, and he went down with a muffled grunt of pain and surprise. Mariemaia let out a shrill scream.

Hilde stepped away from Wufei, eyes wide, the gun shaking in her hand. "I hit him," she blurted in disbelief, as if she'd been half-expecting to miss.

"Next time you want to use me as a distraction, let me know," Wufei growled. He sent her a fleeting fierce grin to show his flash of pride at her quick thinking, and hurried towards the General, who was struggling to get to his feet. Mariemaia fled to the shuttle and desperately began rummaging around.

Heero's voice barked out, crackling over the loud speaker. "LOOK OUT--"

The left wall went out.

Actually, it imploded, forcing everyone inside to duck down or risk getting a flying beam to the head. Coughing at the dust, Wufei squinted, gripping his sword tensely as he tried to identify the figure that came stalking inside.

"Well, well, well," came a familiar mocking voice that turned Wufei's blood cold.

Sun Wukong stood between him and Treize, smiling like a demon at the stupefied man. "I should have known a little weasel like you would have it." He held out one clawed hand, eyes promising murder. "Now hand it over, if you please. Give it to me quietly, and I'll kill you quickly. Well... quicker."

"Daddy!!" Mariemaia whirled, both small hands wrapped tightly around the butt of a gun.

"DON'T, Mariemaia!" Treize snapped, with an unexpected note of alarm in his voice.

But her hand was already squeezing the trigger. Sun Wukong remained where he was, barely batting an eye as the bullets slammed into flesh. Slowly he took a step forward. Shrieking in fear, Mariemaia began waving the gun about, firing randomly. Wufei threw himself to the ground with a curse, barely missing a shot in the the head.

The scream that came from his back made his heart stop. He twisted his head about just in time to see Hilde stagger back, slamming into the wall. She was clutching her bloodied shoulder, face white with pain.

Seeing a target that could be hurt, Mariemaia turned her gun on Hilde and squeezed the trigger three times in rapid succession.

Wufei was scrambling to his feet, a shout tearing itself from his throat--

Then something blurred by him, nearly knocking him over.

Thudthudthud-- the sound of bullets sinking into skin and organs.

Hilde shrieked again.

Sun Wukong, however, paid the bleeding wounds no heed. He stood like a statue between Hilde and Mariemaia, mouth twisted in an unholy smile. After a long moment he lifted a hand to his chest and ran his fingers across the blood in an eerie caress.

"Bad idea, kiddo," he murmured. He slashed suddenly at the air, and ribbons of shadow leapt from the air, hissing across the room quick as thought.

They wrapped around Mariemaia's small form, convulsing, clutching-- pulling--

Treize gave a howl like a wounded animal as blood sprayed, painting the walls red.

Wufei fought back the urge to be sick as pieces of what had once been a young girl fell to the ground with wet, heavy sounds. Evil little bitch, little conniving snake--

But still a child.


The demi god had already been moving, heading for Treize with single-minded determination. Wufei stepped directly in his path, sword upheld.

Hilde was sagging against the wall, gaping in mixed horror and shock.

"Out of the way, little lord," the monkey king sneered, and flicked his hand at Wufei's face.

A wall of fire threw itself up between them, and Sun Wukong fell back with a hiss of startled pain, hugging his smoking hand to his chest. He bared his teeth in animalistic rage, eyes red with hate. "You want to settle this now, eh, Chang?" he murmured. "If you think that bitch's little magic tricks will save you, you're in for a nasty surprise."

Wufei wasn't sure when Heero had gotten out of Wing, but it was probably a good thing he could barely see past the dancing flames, or his exclamation of surprise would have alerted the man before him.

Heero threw himself at his old friend in a full body tackle, grunting at the impact.

Sun Wukong stumbled, but didn't fall. "You again!" He reached over his shoulder and seized a fistful of chocolate hair, heaving Heero bodily off of him. "I was going to spare you, but hey, if you want to die so bad--" He took a quick step towards Heero, who was scrambling on his elbows, trying to retreat and get to his feet at the same time.

"NO--!" Wufei sprang forward, seizing one strong arm. Sun Wukong turned partially, tensing to yank free.

No, he's too strong, can't fight him, have to--

Wufei continued forward, spinning himself around, still gripping the other boy's arm, and pulling--

The Mandarin words came to his lips unbidden, a rapid chant in that same strange voice that was his yet not his, from a memory torn free that he hadn't even known he'd possessed.

Sun Wukong's fingers met his Mark like lightning touching the earth, throwing both boys across the room. Wufei's head met the wall hard, and dragged him towards darkness.

The last thing he heard was Treize's voice, faint and faraway.

Giving the order for the destruction of Yeong.


Author's Notes: Remember how before I'd mentioned that the name "Nezha" didn't fit her, but that I would explain it later? I'd originally wanted her to go by "Shenlong" (for obvious reasons), and the Gundam to go by "Nataku", but in the end I had to reluctantly let that one go. The Gundam's REAL name in GW was Shenlong, not Nataku, so I just stuck to that. Just remember that "Nezha" isn't her real name anyway; it's just what Wufei calls her. (It's not important that you know her real name anyway)

And guess what?

AHAHA I think the next chapter is the last one o_______________o Aside from the epilogue.


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