"Then again, I have no idea what I'm talking about, so that may not be my actual opinion." -Asa Pillsbury

The Clinic's garage was huge. A former barn, it had become a catchall for everything the clinic had accumulated over the years. Desks, chairs, tools, stacks of wood, equipment, and boxes of who knew what. The walls were made of thick stone and the roof of wood topped with slate. At some point in the past, somebody had covered the inside of the barn with insulation and then wood over that, making in cool in the summer and theoretically (she hadn't been able to test that part yet), warm in the winter. Or at least warm enough to function in. Amy Lynn wasn't that fond of cold.

Still, having been grounded for a month following the possum hunt, and having nothing better to do, Amy Lynn had set herself to the monumental task of cleaning the garage. For two, three, and sometimes four hours a night, seven days a week, she'd cleaned, organized, and fixed. The end result was that she had her own personal two-story getaway. The bottom floor had room for Roller in the front half with the back half set aside as storage for parts and equipment. The loft she had transformed into a combination library, observatory, and electronic/chem lab. Sure the furniture and some of the equipment had seen better days, but it sufficed.

At the moment, she, Rayelene, and Bunny sat in the library section of the loft.

"GRAAAAAGHHHH!" Bunny screamed into the heavy gag clenched in her teeth as she flinched, breaking the eye contact she had been holding with Rayelene in a decidedly unfriendly staring contest.

"I said, don't move," Amy Lynn said in what her mother called a "doctor voice," and Bunny stilled. The blonde sat on one of the couches stripped to the waist, bra strap hanging off one shoulder, which gave Amy Lynn plenty of room to work. Though she had numbed the wound with some of her mom's supplies, Bunny was still feeling pain. Of course, that may also have been due to the fact that Amy Lynn was cleaning the wound with a foul smelling glop that the other two were fairly sure was eating away the bowl. "My visor picked up some sort of chemical on the blade and it could be poison so I want to be sure I cover the entire inside of the wound with this antidote."

"An antidote you just happened to have lying around?" Raylene asked.

"Don't be silly," Amy Lynn said absently. "Canis Major and Leo when overlaid by Ursa Major forms the chemical components of the neutralizing agent that would be most effective on the substance." She shrugged. "Simple really. I'm surprised that neither one of you suggested it."

It was enough to make Bunny spit out the gag. "Suggest it? Amy Lynn, not everybody looks up at the stars and comes up with antidotes."

"Sure they do," Amy Lynn said, looking up from her work. "I..." she trailed off as she saw the looks Rayelene, Bunny and Luna were giving her. "Don't they?" The other three shook their heads. "But...Mom said..." Her hands shook and Raylene came over and took the applicator from Amy Lynn's hand.

"What did she say?" Rayelene asked softly, all traces of her normally intense manner gone.

"She said that there was nothing wrong with me. That I was just as smart as anybody else. Even when I made the neighbor's dog talk. I didn't understand why they were so shocked, all I did was feed it a formula that let it grow a voice box. I'm normal..." Amy Lynn stared at the others, the shock, surprise, and the truth plain on their faces. "Normal, I tell you," Amy Lynn tried again, willing herself to disbelieve their expression. "I'm not a freak..." Her breath came in short gasps. "There's nothing wr--wrong with making robots out food supplies...it's completely normal to build five megawatt lasers out of trashcans. It is!" Her voice had risen to a shout. "I'M NORMAL, DAMNIT!" and for one moment, Amy Lynn changed. Ê

Bunny and Rayelene beheld a vision. The creature before them was a prime example of femininity, with sharp curves, long, lean muscled limbs, midnight black skin, white hair that seemed to shine with its own light, and long, gracefully pointed ears. She wore Amy Lynn's clothes, stretched tight over her tall, athletic frame and her eyes were of the deepest black, pupils that filled the whole eye socket.

Then suddenly, there was Amy Lynn again, and she fell to the floor, curling up in a fetal position.

Ten miles away, Malachite woke up with a start.

*************

"It had to have been Janice, not even Metallia's power tastes like that." Malachite paced back and forth across the main room in Nephrite's cottage, talking half to the man who had trained him, half to himself. "Two, maybe three generations back. Her grandparents died when she was a child, but the bodies were never recovered from the shipwreck. It must have been one of them."

"Could be more," Nephrite pointed out. The eldest of the generals sat in an easy chair, legs crossed, somehow looking the very epitome of military protocol even clad only in his uniform trousers and unbelted silk robe. "Remember that the forest nymphs of what the humans now call Ireland once tried increasing their numbers by madly breeding with any human they could get their hands on. Only one out of every hundred children was actually a nymph, but to this day, a new nymph occasionally is born to entirely human parents."

"Yes, yes," Malachite said, waving a hand dismissively, "but what were they? Who and what species were they that rutted with one of Janice's ancestors? It wasn't our light side cousins, it sure as hell wasn't the Fae, it tasted all wrong for a divinity, and dwarves simply don't have that kind of power."

"The mountain kings do."

"But they never breed with humans, ever."

"Dragons?"

"They hate the humans, and everyone else, for that matter."

"It's also possible that its all Amy Lynn herself." Nephrite's lips twisted into a smirk. "This means that there's an excellent chance your own daughter is far more powerful then you."

"Bah!"

"I thought fathers were supposed to be proud of their daughters," Nephrite said.

Malachite froze, his expression one of someone wrestling with some great inner conflict and then he snatched his drink off the table and drained it one gulp before dropping into the chair next to Nephrite. "Can I entrust you with a secret, Teacher?"

"On my honor," Nephrite replied, surprised. It had been years since he had been addressed by that title.

"I'm having second thoughts." Malachite refilled his glass and stared at the liquid. "Dangerous, second thoughts."

"What kind of thoughts?"

Malachite raised his eyes to meet those of Nephrite's. "Betrayal."

Nephrite sipped his drink. "Dangerous thoughts indeed."

"Beryl claimed that when she awoke us, she freed us from the chains of humanity. That we left our weaknesses behind."

"And now you're thinking otherwise?"

"What if she lied? What if we weren't freed, but chained? If being a dark elf, a Sidhe of the night is truly what I am, then so be it. I have more power at my command then most nations. I could destroy this entire valley by myself and leave it a wasteland. I loved Zoisite, I truly enjoyed our time together. My mouth waters at the thought of leveling this Valley, of leaving nothing alive. My hand aches to feel the impact of my sword cleaving flesh and bone and watching the life drain from my opponent's eyes.

But...the night I took Amy Lynn home, Janice and I rutted on her floor like animals and I enjoyed every second of it. I look at Amy Lynn, and the thought of losing her respect and love chills me to the bone. I want to watch Amy Lynn grow up. I want her to be happy." He drained his glass in one swallow. "I can't walk the line anymore, Nephrite. What do I do?"

"The right thing."

"Which is?"

Nephrite was silent for a long moment. "You're the only one who knows that."

*************

Malachite left Nephrite's cottage and was nearly run over as Jeddite charged up the hill, his face one of delight.

"Beryl is going to flay you alive," Jeddite sneered as he stopped in front of Malachite. The white haired general stared at him in confusion. "I faked my own destruction and followed the priestesses back to their hideout where they resumed their human identities. Your daughter," Jeddite chortled, poking Malachite in the chest. "Your precious Amy Lynn is Mercury's slave. Our mortal enemy. Not even any power she has can save her now. She will die, Malachite, and you will be stripped of your rank at the very least. I, however will be promoted for my service." Turning, Jeddite headed towards the manor house, leaving Malachite to stare after him.

Turning, he opened his mouth to call for Nephrite only to see the general emerge, buttoning his uniform shirt. "I heard," Nephrite said curtly. "Come on."

****

"Hello, Jeddite," Beryl was saying as Malachite and Nephrite entered the throne room. "Are those priestesses dead?"

"No, my queen, but-"

"You failed?" Beryl interrupted.

"Yes, my queen, however, I did-" A black crystal sprang into being around Jeddite, freezing him in mid sentence.

"You failed, Sweetie," Beryl said. "Nephrite, be a dear and kill those priestesses for me, would you? That's a good boy."

Wisely, Nephrite and Malachite left the room.

****

Amy Lynn naturally didn't believe Rayelene and Bunny when she awoke and had been told what happened. Stubbornly, she refused to believe her friends, even when Bunny swore on Rayelene's pocket bible that Amy Lynn had in fact changed.

Had Luna not intervened by puling on Rayelene's skirt, the argument could have gotten ugly.

"We can worry about that later," the Great Dane said, glaring at them. "I took a moment to nose in one of the craters left behind from the battle with Jeddite and I found something I think may be important." She picked something off the floor with her mouth and set it on the coffee table. Raylene picked it up.

It was a metal loop. At one point something must have been set in the center, but that was long gone. Written around it was a series of runes as though some kind of words or phrase.

"What is it?" Bunny asked.

"I'm not sure," Amy Lynn replied. "These almost look like a runic version of classic Latin, but I've never heard of Latin being written in runes before."

"Can you translate it?" Raylene asked.

"No. Ancient languages are a bit beyond me," Amy Lynn admitted with a nervous laugh. "But let me research it a bit."

All right," Bunny said with a yawn. "I gotta do a fence check at dawn anyway, so I should get to bed."

"I should be heading back to the church," Rayelene said. "Grandfather will be getting worried."

The two girls left the barn, leaving Amy Lynn alone. Picking up the loop, she walked over to her computer, pausing only to grab her digital camera.

****

To: alanderson@usanetconnect.com From: dues_e@xmachina.org Re: Translation Please.

Hi.

Saw your post in the ancient languages forum and thought I'd take a crack at it. Or rather, I took it to a guy I know who knows a guy.

The runes aren't even Latin or anywhere near it. According to what I was told, myth claims that the ancient Roman and Greek gods had their own language, separate from the mortals who's lives they toyed with.

Even more interesting, the translation reads: "Endymiyon, defender of Ceres, Goddess of the Earth, Lady of the Harvest."

Now here's the weird part. The name Endymiyon is connected with a little known Roman myth revolving around this tiny island off the coast of Italy known as "The Moon Kingdom". Supposedly, Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon promised the queen of that Island a "Sliver Millenium". In other words, a thousand years of peace and prosperity in return for their fealty. As a symbol of that promise, Diana gave the queen a piece of the moon itself in the shape of a crystal. This crystal supposedly contained a great deal of Diana's power.

After that, the story gets really bizarre. As the thousand years drew to a close, a sorceress named Beryl seduced away four of the islands defenders and transformed them into "Sidhune". The closest translation of that word is Sidhe, but the description of them sounds more like the Dark Elves of D&D. She apparently wanted the crystal's power to free some minor demigod or Titan or something named Metallia.

Whatever happened, Beryl and the island's ruler slew each other in a terrible battle, and the queen's daughter fled with the crystal, taking sanctuary in a temple dedicated to...you guessed it. Ceres.

Touched by her plea, Endymiyon, who was one of the Temple's soldiers/priests turned to Ceres for help. Supposedly, that plea touched off a blazing row among the gods. Most didn't want to get involved, others argued that this Mettalia could be a threat. In the end, Ceres, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Diana decided that the crystal needed to be put out of the reach of mortals. So they each chose a champion, (a priest or priestess) and told them that they were to sail across the great ocean to the West until they found a place to stash the crystal. As a side note; Endymion was the only priest, the rest were priestesses.

In any case, they sailed away to the west and were never heard from again.

If that object you have is in fact genuine, it means you're holding authentic proof of the old roman myths. So if they're true, who knows what else is?

Keep me posted,

-S. Meiou