Prologue

The man knelt on the stone floor, stone that was as cold as the inside of a grave, his arms folded tightly at his chest as he continued to clutch futilely at the place where his lost love had been. His face was wet: the right side with tears, the left side with a slow trickle of blood. That eye would never weep again. Slowly, he raised his one remaining eye to meet the gaze of the man who stood in front of him, watching impassively.

"Where did she go?" he asked plaintively. "Bring her back!"

"I cannot," the Egyptian replied. "It was not I who summoned the vision. I saw nothing more than you talking to the air."

"Then..." Pegasus faltered. "Then does that mean that she was never here at all?"

The mystic nodded solemnly. "The power of the Millennium Eye is to grant visions. It may be that you called up a vision of her from memory, or looked into her past, or even that you were able to look into the next world and catch a glimpse of her spirit... but it is beyond the power of the Eye to call up solid objects, much less to call souls back from the grave."

"Then I have done this for nothing," said Pegasus bitterly. "Why did you put me through this when you knew all along that my quest was hopeless?"

"I did warn you," the mystic replied. "You insisted on following me despite my warning. Now you must live with your choices. It is beyond your power to accomplish this task you have set for yourself, even with the power of the Millennium Eye. Go home, and content yourself with what you have. There is nothing more you can do here."

"You're lying," said Pegasus, and was surprised to realize that he knew he was right. He wanted to believe it, of course, but some strange sense was telling him that this man was keeping something from him. More confidently, he repeated, "You are lying. You know more than you're letting on, and I intend to find out what it is."

Much to his surprise, the other man chuckled softly.

"So, already you are beginning to harness the powers of the Millennium Eye," he said. "Soon there will be few in this world who can keep secrets from you. Yes, I know a way to bring people back from the dead - but you will never accomplish it."

"Tell me anyway!"

"Very well. I will tell you, but only because I suspect you would wrest the secrets from me anyway, even if I did not say a word. The power of the Eye is a beginning, but it is not sufficient. However, one who is able to claim all seven Millennium Items will hold immense power, perhaps even the one power you long for the most, but you will never have it. To claim them all, you would have to win them away from their rightful owners - not simply steal them. Their full powers will only open to you if you are given them freely... or win them in a Shadow Game. That is why I say you will never have them. The Items are scattered so far that even I, the guardian, do not know where all of them have gone."

"But you know where some of them are," Pegasus persisted. "You have at least one yourself. You said yourself that only the holders of Millennium Items can come here, and that would include you."

"That is perceptive of you," said the mystic evenly. "Yes. The Millennium Key and Scales obey my call."

"Then I'll challenge you to one of those games right now!" Pegasus tried to stand, and swayed on his feet. His head reeled - from emotion, from the pain and blood loss, or perhaps from something else altogether. The blue-eyed man laughed at him.

"You are a fool," he said. "You would challenge me to a Shadow Game when you are too weak even to stand on your own two feet? You have no knowledge, yet, of how to use your single Item. I have two Millennium Items, and I have trained and studied all my life to learn to handle their powers. You aren't ready to defeat me in a game. You are so weakened now from absorbing the Eye's powers that you would die if you tried. If you wish to be reunited with your lover in the world of the living, that is not the choice I would recommend."

Pegasus stared a moment. Then he sighed. "All right. I retract my challenge... for now."

"You are a stubborn man," said the Egyptian, "and very foolish, as I said. You would be better off forgetting everything I have told you. Return to your homeland and live your life."

"I will go home," Pegasus told him, "but I won't forget. You have given me a great gift, and I thank you for that... but someday I will come back, and when I do, I won't retract my challenge."

"That will be a long time from now," said the mystic, "but if it pleases you to believe otherwise, then you are free to do so. Good-bye. Perhaps if we meet again, you will be a wiser man."

Pegasus nodded and made his way for the exit. He managed to get as far as the door before he stumbled, and the guards caught him and propped him up. He was so weak, they had to drag him up the endless flights of stairs. Now that the excitement was over, he felt achingly tired, more so than he could ever remember being. It was all he could do to keep himself from falling unconscious even as he was being pulled none-too-gently over the steps. Above all, right now, he craved the oblivion of sleep, so that he could collect his energies and organize his thoughts.

Then he would wake up, and things would start happening...

To Be Continued...