Zelgadis stepped out of the council chamber, stepping in the puddle of blood as he did

Zelgadis stepped out of the council chamber, stepping in the puddle of blood as he did. An elder was there, waiting. "Would you like to spend the night, good sir?"

The Chimera eyed the man and sighed, "Fine," he breezed along behind the wizened old man, arriving at another guest suite. He was let in then left to his own devices after telling the old man he needed nothing.

* * *

Zelgadis was awakened by the sound of the door closing. He slipped out of bed, grabbing up his shirt- or tried to. He suddenly realized that the only clothes he had now were the pants he was wearing. Softly, he muttered under his breath as he headed out after the thief who'd swiped everything from his socks to his cape, even his sword was missing and he certainly wasn't going to put up with THAT.

The hall was quiet but Zelgadis caught a fleeting glimpse of someone passing under one of the lit candles with a bundle of beige. Their cloak was dark black and the hood had fallen back, reviling the thief's identity to Zelgadis.

He dashed down the hall, his demon speed and senses coming to his aid once again. Quickly, he was upon her, his arm wrapping around Moonlight's neck. Metal flashed as she tried desperately to stab him. Her dagger broke on contact.

"What?! But- but- it was enchanted!" she cried, dropping her burden.

"Only a weapon of Light can kill me, and I know there aren't any around anymore," Zelgadis said softly, taking her neck in one hand and turning her to face him. Her eyes widened considerably. She'd never seen his face and now she was getting a full view of his entire torso. She gripped his wrist desperately, trying to pry his hand from her throat. "Enjoy the sight while you can, it'll be your last," he said coldly, his grip tightening on her neck and snapping it.

Moonlight's hands slipped down, falling limp and he cast her body aside. Grabbing up his shirt, he put it on before anyone happened by, fastening his cloak and removing his sword from Moonlight's belt. "No one touches my sword but me," he told her corpse firmly and stalked away.

* * *

It was still raining hard with no obvious end at around noon the next day when Zelgadis finally found Jones and the man who'd driven the cart. He heaved an inward sigh when he found the two quite drunk.

"Your wife isn't going to be happy," Zelgadis pointed out.

Jones peered at Zelgadis, "Hey! The kid's back! You heard the news? Seems the prince was murdered. They found another body in the hallway and assume that the murder tripped and broke their neck while going down some stairs. Kinda dumb, huh?"

Zelgadis eyed Jones then glanced around the tavern, seeing Slit sitting in what was obviously his normal place, glaring at Zelgadis. Slit knew that Moonlight was dead and he wasn't happy. Slowly, the professional got to his feet and stalked through the crowd to accost the Chimera.

"Where's Moonlight?" he asked coldly the moment he was close enough to be heard over the murmur of men at the tavern. Zelgadis smirked under his mask, pondering answering with 'sore wa, himitsu desu', instead, he shrugged. "She's dead isn't she?"

Zelgadis turned his eyes toward Slit, noting that the others were getting up and coming toward him. "Yes," he said coolly, as if not noticing the other men of Slit's group coming to their leader's aid. He didn't bother reaching for his sword hilt, just let his arms hang by his sides loosely.

"You let her get caught..." Slit growled.

"Maybe you shouldn't have let her come with me. She wasn't my responsibility in the first place."

"You let her get caught," Slit fingered his dagger at his belt, stalking toward Zelgadis.

The Chimera smirked, "No," he replied.

Slits eyes widened then narrowed, "YOU killed her!" he concluded. "Bastard!"

"Isn't death one of the risks of the job? You shouldn't have gotten attached to her. Nor should you have let her come with me."

Slit's nostrils flared with every breath, his anger rising, "She was one of my best! WHY did you kill her?"

"I have two rules, the first is, No one touches my sword but me. My second, no one steals from me. She broke both rules, I broke her neck."

"And you'll die for it," Slit roared, pulling his dagger and lunging at the youth who simply watched him in amusement. A snap echoed through the silent room as Slit's blade broke on Zelgadis's chest.

"Well you can try anyway," Zelgadis told the professional then with a quick movement sent the man hurtling across the room to land on someone's table. Zelgadis felt the heady rush of the fear in the room as his Mazoku aspect fed. Slightly frightened by his own actions, Zelgadis turned and stalked out of the tavern, back into the rain. Jones and his companion hurried after the youth.

"What the hell did you do that for!? One of these days, boy, you're gonna get yerself killed!" Jones shouted at him as Zelgadis stalked down the road. "I assume you got what you came for so you'll be wanting to go back?"

Zelgadis turned his head to eye Jones, "How perceptive of you," he said, his sarcasm as heavy as the rain.

* * *

They gathered up the wagon and against Jones's protests of it being too late in the day, they headed out, once again covered by the tarp, of Yui, there was no sign. Zelgadis was in a very foul mood, fingering the hilt of his sword as they huddled under the tarp. Jones was pressed as far into the wagon as he could get, frightened of the brooding youth.

"You keep up like this an you might end up getting that frown stuck," Jones tried to joke and got a glare in return. "Maybe it's already stuck," he muttered.

Zelgadis lifted the end of the tarp to peer out into the heavy rain, seeing a speck in the distance that was another cart on the road. Briefly, he thought nothing of it, but the thought struck him that it was a strange coincidence that two carts would be out on the road in the middle of such terrible weather on the same road which lead to a town that was a day's journey away.

"We have company," Zelgadis commented and felt Jones scoot forward, peering out into the rain.

"I don't see nuthin," Jones stated and retreated.

Zel muttered under his breath, "Of course you don't." Raising his voice, he continued, "It's a carriage, one horse, moving pretty quickly, probably be on us in about ten or fifteen minutes." With that, he rolled out of the cart and pulled his hood up in the same movement, dashing off into the rain, his beige clothes blending with the grey rain easily.

"Queer boy," Jones muttered, "least he's out of MY company."

* * *

Zelgadis was slightly startled to find Yui running beside him within seconds, but he didn't let that show. You have followers.

"I'm aware of that, Yui," he replied calmly. "I'm just going to welcome them..." Yui folded her ears down and dropped back from the Chimera, fearing what he would do.

The part demon headed back along the road, though far enough away from it not to be seen, meeting the carriage midway to catching up with Jones. He dodged behind the carriage, quickly leaping up and catching hold of the side and pulling the door open. Stepping in, he settled down in the seat facing the bundled figure already in the carriage.

Zelgadis firmly closed the door and crossed his legs, folding his arms on his chest and glaring under his hood, "I'd like to know why you're following me."

The figure was silent a moment then the furs were thrown back to reveal Rei, the traveling minstrel. "Oh it's you! I'm sorry if I scared you, but I really want to talk to you!"

"Oh hell," Zelgadis muttered.