Prince x OC, I've accepted the Prince's hand in marriage. I left to save Farah. But soon we realize that Zervan was just a pawn, and though I've found a light in myself, I don't know that it'll be enough to save us this time.

A/N: IMPORTANT NOTE!!! As the title implies, this is the THIRD in a series of fanfics. Before reading on, make sure you have read the first two fics. Just to make sure you know.

(0)

deep inside I'm dying
deep inside I'm hiding
deep inside my every word a cry (alone I cry...)

deep inside I'm heartless
deep inside regardless
kill for me - my every word a lie

deep inside a child
when tears and dreams go wild when
deep inside comedian for life

say will I die for you?
see I was always there to run
will I deny for you?
the smiling scarecrow on your tongue
say will I die for you?
see I was always there to run
say will I die for you?

deep inside I'm dying
deep inside I'm hiding
speak to me the words
of love and trust!
(I feel distrust)
burn for me my neonworld to dust!

say will I die for you...

and in the distance I'm alive
and in the distance neon lights so far away from me
and in the distance I'm alive

and in the distant smile I'll pass on by
and cross the plans you made, the suns you burned
the distance walks away

say will I die for you...

("Serpentine" By Flowing Tears)

(0)

The night air was cold and crisp, it sent shivers up my spine as I jumped lightly from house to house. I was a shadow, swift and sure. Several days of acrobatic training were enough to sharpen my skills, I was as good as the prince. Better for my ability to balance on my hands almost as well as my feet, and the limber quality I'd somehow obtained, giving me the ability to bend my body in ways that use to make me dizzy just watching. I was an acrobat, the best, I was moving as though I were not in my body, as though I were outside, my hands on a video game controller, using the joystick and buttons to move me, a supposed man in black clothing, every inch but my eyes covered. I looked like a ninja, almost like a crow-master, but without the tatters. A Sand Raider and Crow-master at once perhaps, but there was nothing to flap dramatically behind me, not that this mattered much.

I made it through the streets all right, and found myself at a wall, which I was able to get up using the buildings and the odd way they all seemed to be positioned for me to get where I needed to go. It was getting down from the wall that I was going to have a problem with.

"Hey! You there! What are you doing up here!?" Demanded a guard.

Crap.

Not knowing what else to do, I rewound time to just before I swung over the edge of the wall and waited. Now I could see that guard, and I could wait until he passed by me to walk towards the other side.

This time around I had more leeway to look down the wall to find something, I was also able to swing over the ledge in case there were more guards, though this did limit my point of view.

I found my way down via the decorative polls, and I pulled out a dagger that I had crafted for this purpose in order to latch onto those circle things. It was lucky I had it too, because the only way down without falling to my doom was a long read curtain, which was going to need a good tailor when I was done with it.

Well, that was refreshing.

I found the North Star in the sky, and was able to get my heading, preparing myself for a good long trek into the wilderness. I probably got about six yards before a shrill scream split the air, a scream that was swiftly muffled, coming from my left. It was close enough to my position, however, that I was able hear the sounds of scuffling and struggling, and men's low voices, advising whoever it was to keep quiet and not make trouble for herself.

D(beep)it, I was the girl, I wasn't technically suppose to be the knight in shining armor! Well, I guess if you're not the damsel in distress then you've gotta be the hero.

So, in true princely fashion, I veered swiftly towards the sounds of scuffling, and grabbed the first man I reached who was attempting to subdue the girl, and threw him across the sands. "I don't think the lady wants to go with you, personally." I said in that deep, husky voice that I was still trying to get use to.

Swords were drawn, "Oh yeah? And who said you could join the party?" They snarled, letting the girl go in favor of defending themselves.

"I simply detest those who pray upon the weak because they can. Run, while escape is still an option." I said. One of them came right after me with his sword, but disarming him was child's play, and he went sailing over to where his companion had just gotten up, causing the both of them to fall back down. Two came after me at once, but with one duel-swipe with both arms, I had sliced through both their swords, their clothing, and their muscle. They both cried out, falling to the ground and clutching their chests. I took them both by their collars and swung them around so that they rolled towards their two friends. That left the only one with two swords who was actually holding them in a manor that suggested he could use them.

"You're strong, perhaps you should join use instead, we'll give you a fair share." He told me.

"I am my own servant, I'll not associate with the likes of you." I said.

"You really think you can take me? You have no weapons!" he mocked boldly.

"None that you can see." I told him.

We lunged for each other at the same moment. He swiped at me with both blades, gut I jumped right over his head and gave his back an upward slash, not enough to cause any permanent damage, but enough to hurt and send him to his knees. "How does it feel to be the pray, filthy dog?" I asked, slamming my foot down on his back, causing him to cry out in pain.

"Please, please don't kill me! T-take my gold, take my swords, anything you want!" He gasped.

"I don't want anything from the likes of you. Get out of my sight." I answered, kicking him across the sands towards his fellows. They all ran away as fast as they possibly could, most of them struggling because of a twisted ankle or from a deep gash. "Are you all right?" I asked in concern, helping the girl up to her feet.

"Y-yes." She said, breathlessly. Staring up at the slit where all she could see were my eyes. She was probably only a year or two younger than me, with dark brown hair and pale blue eyes. She had some dirt on her face, and a piece of her dress looked torn, but other than that she seemed unharmed, just shaken.

"Hey!" Exclaimed a new voice, and I turned to see two men running towards us, swords of their own drawn. I swiftly stepped in front of the girl, pulling out my dagger from thin air so that they knew I was prepared to defend her. "Get away from our sister!" They exclaimed. Sister?

"Wait!" The girl cried, shoving past me and standing in between us, "Alzik, Tormal, this man saved me." She told them, and to me she said, "These are my brothers, I'm sorry, they're just worried about me." She told me hurriedly.

I put the dagger away. "It's fine. The men who attacked your sister went that way if you'd like to take revenge upon what's left of them." I said, pointing in the direction the would-be molesters went. "I should be going, please excuse me." I said, bowing like the 'gentleman' I was, and turning to leave.

"W-wait! Where are you headed so late at night?" Asked the girl.

"To the east." I answered, oh-so-mysteriously. The two brothers looked at one another.

"Well, why don't you ride with us?" The girl asked hurriedly, "You just saved our cart and our wares, we owe you." She told me.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Said one of the brothers, coming over to draw his sister back so he could murmur to her. "We have no idea who this guy is, and he dresses like one of those crazy cultists we saw a while back. How do you know we can trust him?" he asked.

Crazy cultists? Huh, wonder what that was about…

"He doesn't act like one of them, Alzik." She shot back in an undertone, "And I know I can trust him because he came to help me out of the goodness of his heart while you two were off wasting all our money on beer." She hissed.

"He could have some ulterior motives."

"Yeah? Like what? If he wanted to rape me he could have done so easily, even with your arrival. He defeated five fully armed men that had to be twice his weight as though they were nothing but children. He could beat the two of you blindfolded, which is another reason. If we hired him to help protect the caravan, we might just be able to make it through Indian territory in order to get to Azad, even with all the raids and the bandits that have sprung up. We could even take a shortcut through the Kardassian ruins without worrying about brigands. And he's polite, which I think is a nice change to the usual vulgar attitudes that I have to deal with on a regular basis." She told the two of them.

I had turned away from the conversation so that I could pretend I wasn't listening, but either they didn't know how far their voices were carrying, or I had really good hearing because I could hear every word they were saying.

"This is assuming he'll accept." The other, Tormal, pointed out.

"Well we'll just have to ask him properly, won't we?" the girl snorted, she then shouldered her way back in front of her brothers and gave me a smile, "We'd be prepared to pay you if you would agree to help guard our cart, at least until we get past India." She said. "You're a good fighter from what I saw, and we could really use your help." She told me. "You don't seem to have anything with you, we can provide you with food and you can use our extra tent to sleep under." She said.

I paused a moment, it would likely be faster going by myself…

But it I would cut a less suspicious figure running across the deserts and jungles to India if I appeared to be a hired mercenary. The only problem would be in keeping my cover…and making sure this girl doesn't fall for the 'dark, mysterious, stranger' bit.

Also, they probably knew a much better path to India, and I needn't rely on my limited map skills.

So I nodded, "Very well, I would be happy to accompany you. You say you're leaving now?" I asked.

"Yes, we are." Answered Alzik, who didn't look too pleased that I had agreed, though his sister clapped her hands together in excitement and thanked me heartily.

I helped prepare the wagon, and did my best to help with the horse. He wasn't much to look at, but he had some good sturdy legs and a reputation of being both swift and conscious of the wagon he was pulling. He didn't seem to like me that much, but I guess I could understand that. I did not really appear to be someone you could trust, I wasn't even that sure why the girl, Airiza, had decided to trust me. But trust me she did, even though I had yet to even give them my name.

I thought about a name, I considered several, like 'Kai', 'Keil', 'Kage (Japanese for shadow)', and even names like 'Zerum', 'Malik', 'Amon', and 'Jassad'. Eventually I decided that, if I was asked and couldn't get out of giving an answer, I would tell them my name was 'Amon', and began trying to memorize the name as my own already so that I would be able to train myself into a reaction when called by that name.

We were going before long, riding in the cart as the horse pulled us along. The unattractive thing proved itself by more than making up for its lack of beauty in its strength and energy. It picked up a galloping pace, fast enough that it couldn't be considered a trot, but slow enough that the cart kept steady and didn't bump around so much.

Alzik held the reins with his sister in the seat next to him. Tormal fell asleep in the cart after a while, but I stayed alert.

I couldn't seem to shake the feeling that we were being watched.

XD

"Help me! Help me!!!"

"Farah! Stay there! I'll find a way to you!" I exclaimed.

"I'm slipping!!!"

"Hold on!"

"I can't, I can't!" She cried out. She screamed, her grip failing her, and she fell. Down, down into the darkness which swallowed her whole. I dove down after her, unsure of what I would find, unsure of how I could possibly help her, or what all this was suppose to mean.

She was screaming, I could hear her screaming, thousands of others joined her voice, but hers was the most pronounced. I ran, I ran about the clockwork city whose streets were filled with blood, bodies, and monsters. The houses moving, walls rising and repositioning themselves in other places. The ground itself rose up to admit another house, I fell down onto a gear, scrambling along it, fighting to get through, to get away from the rusted smells and ominous sounds that the clockwork made.

The old nightmare had returned, and not only that, but now Farah was here as well.

I found her, attempting to defend herself from the nightmare Daskor who shrieked and clawed at her, flying back and coming after her again. I grabbed a spare gear on the ground, and spun it at him like a Frisbee, it hit him, and he cried out in pain, flying away.

I grabbed Farah and tried to will us to those purple beaches…but I couldn't. Instead we were once again in that ocean, an ocean which became a sea of blood, of bodies, and no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get to the surface.

XD

"Amon, Amon wake up! Wake up!" A voice hissed in my ear, as a hand upon my shoulder shook me.

I gasped and sat up, "What-!?" I half expected to see armed men attempting to lay siege to our encampment. I looked around, but there was no one but ourselves.

"You…were having a nightmare." Aizira answered sheepishly, scooting away and looking a bit embarrassed. She spoke low, whispering, I think, so as not to wake up her brothers.

"Oh…" I muttered, looking away from her, and discretely making sure my mask was still securely covering everything but my eyes.

We had been traveling together for several days now, making good time with that amazing horse of theirs. It almost seemed as though someone had transformed the energizer bunny into horse form, he just kept going and going and going…once we spotted something that looked like a brigand encampment in the distance, and we rode him on through the night and into the next day. He didn't complain, it was like he was use to this sort of thing, and we gave him a good long rest afterwards. I even took him to the river and scrubbed him down with the currycomb that I crafted from sands while no one was looking. He appreciated that immensely, and since then has decided I'm his new best friend.

So far I'd been able to get away with being mysterious. It was hard to pretend I knew what I was doing though, when I'd never fixed a tent in my life. Not even those easy ones you buy at WalMart. I'd so far been lucky, we hadn't needed tents because of the dry weather, we'd just been sleeping on pallets, which wasn't much different from the ground I had gotten use to when on the Island of Time with the prince. I also hadn't been sleeping very much. Just snatches here and there. Perhaps taking a small thirty minute nap while riding in the wagon in an upright sitting position with arms and legs crossed so that it'd look like I was meditating instead of sleeping. It was enough to keep me fully alert, but it reminded me too much of those times…when all I could risk was a small 30 minute nap, if even that much. Still, I could keep going like this, I knew I could, I had spent most of my life like this and was no stranger to this type of existance.

But my body always needed sleep, and it was one of those times when I simply couldn't stop myself from passing out. Aizira had taken over the watch for the night so that we could get some rest, but apparently she was watching more than just our cargo.

"Do you…always, have nightmares?" Asked Aizira tentatively.

"…Yes." I muttered. I didn't like being alone with her like this, I didn't want to get too close to her or her brothers, though I already felt the sort of affection for them that I did for the prince when we'd just become allies. It was that sense of duty, that they were my responsibility now, and I had to protect them, I wanted to protect them. I didn't want them to get hurt…but that also meant that I couldn't let them feel any sort of affection for me either. And I was afraid that Aizira was becoming a little too attracted to the quiet, polite, mysterious young stranger that I was.

She was a pretty girl, no doubt about that. She had nice brown hair and blue eyes, and in spite of the dirt on her cheeks and the calouses on her hands, there was no doubt that, if I had really been a man, I would likely have been attracted to her. She seemed to run things, her brothers listened to her, and I caught her sometimes being rather firm with them, and then trying to pretend she was more docile and helpless when I came around. I also caught her moving around some fairly heavy objects, and then dropping them and laughing about how she should know better than to even try when she realized I was looking.

She was a strong girl who was pretending to be weak because she thought that's the sort of woman she should be if she wanted a husband. Something I felt disgusted with, not with her, but with the fact that she felt letting me know she could take care of herself would make her unfit for marriage. I had even thought I saw something that could have been some leather armor under her dress, and had had many suspicions about her from the start. I guessed that the reason she couldn't defend herself against those men was because she'd been caught without a weapon, or at least, I'd like to think this was the reason, it was all just a theory.

"Would you…like to talk about it?" She asked me after an uncomfortable silence.

"It's nothing Miss Aizira. As I said, I always have nightmares, I've grown to accept them as one of those things in life which simply cannot be helped." I told her. "If you'd like to get some sleep, I will take the watch from here." I said.

"Oh no you don't. You've taken the watch almost every night!" She complained, and she flushed, clearly thinking she'd been too bold, "I…I mean, you push yourself too hard, Amon. If I didn't know any better I'd say you didn't sleep at all. Get some more sleep, I'll wake you up again if you start having another nightmare." She said.

"I think I would prefer to take a walk instead, thank you for the offer, though, I really do appreciate it." I told her, standing up. "If there is trouble, call and I will come, I promise not to stray far."

"Oh, wait. If you don't want to go back to sleep, can't we at least…talk? I hardly know anything about you, you've been so secretive. Would it be such a bad thing to let yourself open up, if only just a little?" She asked.

I sighed, and decided to sit back down, she looked relieved. "Alright, I will talk, I suppose it is only fair, we've been traveling together for a week now. We might as well get to know each other better." I said.

She looked so happy that I actually felt guilty. I wondered just how much longer this could go on before I had to tell her I was a girl. "So, um…what's your favorite color?" She asked.

Suddenly the image of Farah and the Prince riding that elevator in Two Thrones game to mind, and I had to suppress a snicker. "I…suppose…purple." I told her. "…favorite fruit?" I asked.

"Mmmm, pears." She answered. Then she grinned, "Favorite face-mask style?" She asked, and then she slapped a hand over her mouth, her eyes wide, "I'm sorry, I couldn't stop myself!" She exclaimed.

How ironic, she was attempting to hide every part of her that I would find quite endearing about her. "The kind which allows one to stick one's tongue out at another without them realizing what you are doing." I answered, grinning.

Aizira's eyes widened, and she began giggling uncontrollably, "So that's why you wear that mask! How many times have you been sticking your tongue out at me then? Shame on you!" She exclaimed, but, once again, slapped a hand over her mouth and began spluttering apologies for her tongue.

"Miss Aizira," I said, holding a hand up to stem the flow, "May I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"Can you wield a blade to defend yourself?" I asked, taking her quite by surprise.

"No, no of course not!" She said, laughing in a falsely high-pitched way that told me, quite plainly, I had caught her.

"What sort of weapon is it?" I asked her with a slight chuckle.

She sighed, her shoulders slumped over, "A scimitar." She answered guiltily, "Two of them, those blades hanging on the wall of the cart that look like they're there to sell? Those are mine." She sighed again, "How did you find out?"

"It was more the fact that you were obviously pretending to be more helpless than you are, you went just a bit overboard, especially when you were carrying that crate and dropped it when you saw I was watching. Just because you have strong arms doesn't mean you can fight, it just means that you're use to the sort of work that requires heavy lifting. But you were attempting to conceal everything. I could even tell that you aren't use to wearing a dress while traveling like this. But what I don't understand is why you would pretend to be helpless like this when you aren't." I said.

She looked grumpy, but resigned, and so she answered me, "Most men don't like the thought of a woman who can defend herself." She said, "If I picked up a sword, that'd just entice them to beat me down all the more, or to prove that I can't use it. They'd taunt me and do everything in their power to bring me down to the level they think I should be. So I pretend I'm already at that level, and I fight only when I absolutely have to." She told me, "I'm sure you find the fact that I think I can fight amusing as well, don't you?" She asked.

"Quite the contrary." I said, and she stared at me, "I think that if more women were able to defend themselves, they could defend not only their honor and purity against those filthy dogs who would take advantage of them, but also their children and their household in case their husband or other guardian is unable to. I also believe it would force the male population to respect their fellow women more." I told her.

A small grin fought its way across her face, "I always suspected…that the real reason men laugh at me for using swords is because they're afraid to admit that a woman could be just as good a fighter as a man with enough work. Is that true?" She asked.

"Yes, it is." I answered without hesitation. "It is human nature that we feel compelled to set ourselves above one another. Women are born weaker in body, and so men have been using that single advantage to create cultures in which they are superior to women in everything, treating them like nothing more than property, without giving them the chance to prove that they can be just as successful in society as they, simply because they want to have someone, or something to lord over and don't want to change a system that is comfortable for them, without ever considering how the female race might feel about it." I explained in a dark voice, "If there were more women like you out there, men might not have so much of a choice but to change anymore." I said.

"And if only the rest of the male population thought the way you did, maybe it would be easier." She said, staring at me in such a way that told me, quite plainly, that if I didn't tell her now, it would just get worse from here on out. I had to nip this thing in the butt, else the consequences later would be…painful. Likely for the both of us, as I wouldn't have the heart to really defend myself against her swords.

"Miss Aizira," I began.

"Please, just Aizira." She said, smiling.

I shook my head, "Miss Aizira," Her smile faded, "There's something I have to tell you, before this goes any further." Her face fell.

"Any further…you…you're not married already, are you?" She asked, her eyes widening in a sudden fear. My stomach lurched, so it was already at that level? Gods, I should have done this a long time ago. Great, of course! Pushing her away only made her come closer, it always happens! Always! I just wish I realized just how close to reality some books can be.

"I'm…engaged…" I answered sadly and gently.

For a moment, she simply stared at me, and then, slowly, she buried her face in her hands, "I knew it was too good to be true…" She murmured in a choked voice. "It's…it's that Farah, isn't it?" She asked.

"What—you, how did you—?!"

"You were calling her name in your sleep, I should have known, oh gods, I'm such an idiot!" She cried.

"I'm sorry, I really am!" I told her, alarmed at how hard she was taking this.

"It isn't your fault…I should have…I should have asked you in the first place! And, really, what would you want with a plane thing like me? I can't even flirt properly! I'd be completely useless as a wife! I'll bet she's beautiful, is she? She'd better be, she'd better be the most beautiful woman in the world to deserve you!" She exclaimed.

This was turning into a complete and utter nightmare. She wasn't even giving me the chance to explain, to tell her the real reason I couldn't marry her! Good gods, she was just embarrassing herself, she was going to feel completely and utterly humiliated when she found out. How the heck was I suppose to break it to her gently? I had no experience with this sort of thing! How do you tell a girl whose fallen in love with you that you're the same gender!?

"Miss Aizira please!" I begged.

"You are always so polite, so respectful, so much like the princes or knights in children's stories! But you already have your princess, don't you? I should have known! I'm such an idiot!!!"

"Aizira? Wha-samater? Why are you shouting?" Asked Tormal groggily.

"Nothing, nothing, go back to sleep." She told him, forcing herself to calm back down. He didn't argue, he rolled over and was soon snoring heavily again.

The tears were falling down her face, and I could just sit there and watch her sob helplessly, having no idea what to do, and not knowing if telling her the truth of the matter would make things better or worse.

"Miss Aizira, I'm very sorry." I said helplessly, "I should not have even let it get this far, I should have told you that first day. I could have said that I was headed east to find my fiancé, something, I really am sorry." I told her.

She sniffed, and wiped at her eyes furiously, "Are you?" She asked.

"Am I what—?"

"Are you headed east to find her? Find Farah?" She asked bitterly.

"No, I'm not. Because Farah is not my fiancé. My fiancé is still in Babylon, but you're not letting me tell you the real reason you can't be with me like that." I said.

She blinked and sniffed, looking at me curiously, "What's that?" She asked, confused.

"Miss Aizira," I began, pulling my hood and mask right up over my face, "I'm a girl."

XP

DP: This has to be one of the most HILARIOUS turn of events! "I'm a girl!" XD. (Begins laughing hysterically)

Aizira: Yeah, FOR YOU!!! (Glares)

DP: (High-pitch girly voice) "I'll bet she's beautiful, is she? She'd better be, she'd better be the most beautiful woman in the world to deserve you Amon!" (Falls down laughing)

Aizira: CAN I HIT HIM, PLEASE!?

Kaida: Be my guest!

Aizira: THANK YOU!!!

DP: What tha—OWE! (Beeeeeeeeeep)!!! How come all the woman in this story have to pack such a punch!?

Kioko: Because the authoress is a firm believer in having strong women as characters and is sick and tired of all these video games and stories where the main love interest is this light delicate thing that the male protagonist has to save from the clutches of some evil dude. The reason she likes Farah so much is because, while the prince does have to save her in the games, she's not just some prissy little princess that can't take care of herself.

DP: Ha! She's still a useless little b(beep) compared to Kaida.

Kaida: Hey! You shut up about Farah or no cookies for you! She's just as desirable a love interest as I am! And no, before you even start, you are not suppose to agree with me on this!

Prince: (Closes mouth and decides to say absolutely nothing on the subject)

Kioko: Well what do you know! He's learning!

Aizira: Where's the authoress by the way?

Kioko: Over there on the couch…asleep. So, who wants to do the FAQ!?

DP: Heheheheheheheh, (Tip-toes over to Rhea with a can of shaving cream) :D

Kioko: Shaving cream? Psh, amateur.

Kaida: I guess I'll do it.

Kioko: Go for it.

Q: So, when are the other two going to find out that Kaida's actually a girl?

A: Eventually, but first we're going to have some fun. :)

Q: How long is Kaida going to be away from the prince.

A: Too long, and I'm not happy about it, but the authoress thinks it's necessary for the story (Grumbles to self)

Q: Is their going to be more action in this fic?

A: Oh yeah, much more.

Q: When Kaida becomes Queen, is she going to give equal rights to women?

A: Kaida is going to be working very hard to make that happen, yes, and there won't be anything Dukey over there is gonna be able to do about it.

Duke: Am I going to have a name here!?

A: What, you think you're good enough for a name?! Psh!

Kioko: Don't count on it, the Author is lazy and probably won't feel like it.

Q: I'm shocked that this chapter didn't suck as much, is that going to continue?

Kioko: Don't count on it. Heheheh.

DP: (High-pitch girly voice) "Oh Amon! You're so dreamy!!! Take me now you beast you!"

Aizira: Okay, that's it, you're dead! (Pulls out scimitars and attacks the Dark Prince, who is laughing too hard to adequately defend himself)

Kioko: Right, well, that's all for now! Read and Review and all that crap.