Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Angel, and Buffy the series.
Synopsis: This is the fourth story in the Soul series I am working on. In order the stories are The Price of a Soul, The Judging of a Soul, and, The Weight of a Soul. After a decision to save Cordelia from the visions put her in a coma she had to earn back her seer status by helping Angel on a mental journey. His soul in tact now, he fires her from A.I. and while the gang try to make sense of it, Cordelia's kidnapped from her home in order to fulfill a destiny in another dimension.
It was a swirl of light and energy. Growing from an odd ball to a vortex of sorts until it spit out it's travelers. Wesley hit first, falling on top of the book he'd been sure to keep a tight hold on. Faith followed, catching herself in a tumble and rolling to her feet quickly. Lorne was next, with a high pitched scream as he sprawled next to Wesley. Spike and then Angel, both having the same reactions. Stumbling to their feet and then looking around. A field, in the middle of the day.
Spike grabbed the collar of his jacket and pulled it over his head running for the shade of a tree. Angel went to follow then stopped. He looked down at himself, then held his arms out and let his head fall back, a smile forming on his face as he closed his eyes. Faith went to help Wes up then Lorne while watching him.
"Um, something we need to know? Because he's out in the sun with either a hell of an SPF on or . . . "
Lorne took the hand and stood up brushing himself off as Spike slowly came back towards the group.
"Different dimension different rules, cupcake."
"Can we take a moment and see how not on fire I am?"
Angel was grinning now while Spike was just frowning. Finally he shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets.
"Right, well the poof 'ere can go a'ead and work on 'is tan. Which way now, Greenjeans?"
Lorne looked at them all then looked around with a sigh and pointed in the direction of the village. His home. The one place he really didn't want to go. With a tilt of his head and a nod from Wes and Faith they all started in that direction. Faith was the only one to give a backwards glance to Angel. Lowering his head with a frown Angel headed after them.
"You can't tell me that's not cool."
Spike snorted, but anyone looking could see the beginnings of a smile.
Cordelia Chase was bored. Her chin in her hands, elbow on the arm of her throne she huffed out a breath. Everything she once thought she wanted. Jewels, furs, a crown, her own country to rule over! Here she was the Grace Kelly of the demon dimensions and she was bored. Someone was clearing their throat and she quickly sat back up and blinked. A smile erupting on her face.
"Oh, um of course. Three days!"
She gave a quick glance to the adviser demon to her left and got a nod of approval. Yeah, running a kingdom not nearly as fun as she thought.
"Your Majesty, we must discuss your other duties."
With a half stifled groan Cordy sat up straight and let her hands flop into her lap.
"Okay, like what?"
With a nod, another demon scuffled forward with a book.
"It, it says that the one with the visions will meet with the Groosalug, undefeated champion of our world, and they will make with the comshuck, securing their reign."
Cordy blinked. She wasn't sure what comshuck meant, it could be anything from some sort of formal engagement to. . . well, let's not go there yet. Licking her lips she leaned forward.
"Okay hold on there, sparky! Are you telling me that the Princess, who would be me, is um, like, betrothed?"
Looks of confusion were shared and she growled in frustration.
"You know, set to be married, stuck with a husband I've never met?"
Grinning that she seemed to be understanding, the demon with the book nodded enthusiastically.
"Oh yes of course! Well Your Majesty is a coooo-"
He stopped seeing the glare from Cordy.. Covering with a cough he tried again.
"A human, and a human does not have the strength for the visions alone. So a demon warrior -"
Her eyes widened and she stood up quickly.
"Hold on a minute! A demon! I mean no offense guys but um, you want me to to to, comshuck with a demon?"
The adviser frowned but stepped forward, turning to face her.
"Of course Your Majesty. We understand your, hesitation, and so have arranged for you and the Groosalug to meet prior. He will be here this evening and tomorrow he will take any formal challenges to his title of undefeated champion. After that, you two will be left to comshuck."
His voice held that edge of steel that told her this was not up for discussion. With a frown she sat slowly back down and looked outside to see how high the sun was.
"Oh so um, he's, on his way huh?"
"Yes Your Majesty, a feast is being prepared. He should be here before the sun sets. Perhaps you would like to rest, and prepare yourself for his coming?"
Cordelia winced slightly at the sun making it's way to setting, past noon already.
She answered and headed towards her quarters not sure if she was ever going to be prepared.
They didn't even make it all the way into the village. There were guards from the palace rounding up slaves. Cows, humans, wearing collars. Most were docile and stayed in the circle of guards not moving unless told to. However there was one that had been an escaped slave and they had hunted her down. She was shy and small, babbling her apologies in a Texan accent. The guards were not at all impressed and as soon as they came upon the scene, Angel, Spike and Faith gave each other a look and moved with one purpose towards the guards. Lorne tried to stop them but they weren't listening.
"Oh hey, not a good idea champ!"
Wesley frowned and glanced to Lorne who was trying very hard to stay out of sight. Angel and Spike went straight for the guards, Faith grabbed the young brunette and directed her towards Wesley. Handing the book to Lorne, Wesley took the young woman's arm and checked to make sure she was all right. The guards, for their part, left the group of humans already gathered and joined the fight. The humans did not move and the guards quickly outnumbered the others. Wesley tried to yell out a warning but Faith was knocked down and as Angel turned he found several weapons trained on him. Lorne just shook his head.
"I tried to warn you. Um, humans are kind of, the lesser species around here."
The guards pressed Angel towards the group of humans, and Spike helped faith up and followed with a frown. Lorne caught the look from the guard and pressed at Wesley for them to join the group. The woman whimpered in his arms. Lorne tried to paint on a smile and negotiate for them. Putting hands up he stepped forward.
"Hey there folks, I think maybe this was just, one big funny misunderstanding!"
The guards looked at each other and one finally stepped forward and nodded.
"You are the traitor to your race, Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan . You have been sentenced to death. The others are more cows -"
There was a clearing of the throat and he rolled his eyes.
"Humans. They are ordered to the palace for re-assimilation. Those interfering will go in front of her Majesty for sentencing. Now move!"
Angel and Spike looked at each other and Faith rubbed at her head.
"Well, that was fun."
Spike sent her a look and Angel nodded.
"Keep an eye out. Wherever they are taking these people, they probably have Cordy locked up there."
He was met with agreeing nods as they trudged off through the village and to a cart that took them all to the castle.
Cordy paced her rooms and tapped at her teeth as she thought. So far her 'servants' were anxiously trying to get her attention. Since signing it into law that slaves were not allowed and cows should be called humans and allowed lives like everyone else, she'd tried dismissing them several times. Only one woman left, looking for family, the rest chose to stay. They seemed even more eager to help her now and that was sweet but, it wasn't the same as having friends. There was a knock at the door and she froze, eyes gone wide. Quickly looking to the window she saw that the sun wasn't set yet.
The women saw her in distress and one huddled her into the sitting area and the other went to the door. Whispered a few minutes then came back.
"Your Majesty, some rebels were found trying to steal slaves on their way to have their collars removed and you are needed to sentence them."
Cordy sighed relieved then nodded. She looked down at herself. Still wearing what passed for 'formal' she figured she'd be fine in this. Heading towards the door the older woman stopped her.
"We will prepare your outfit for tonight and your bath, Your Majesty."
She stopped and smiled.
"How about here, you just call me Cordy okay?"
Patting her hand she left for the throne room and took her seat. Waiting for the prisoners to be led in. She almost leapt out of her seat when guards brought in Angel and Spike, then Faith and Wesley who was holding a scared looking young girl who had refused to let go of him. She grinned.
"Well, small dimension!"
Spike's eyes had widened and he froze, mouth hanging open slightly. Her long tan legs crossed and her flowing silver skirt was really just two pieces of fabric, one in front and one in back, so open all the way to her hips. A top that might be called a bikini top and jewels running around her throat and arms. Faith finally elbowed him then turned to glare at Wes who was also gaping. Angel cleared his throat.
The guard smacked Angel in the back to get him to his knees and Cordy frowned.
"Hey! These are my friends, hands off!"
The guard spluttered but backed off. Cordy finally got up and headed down, first hugging Spike who couldn't bring himself to hug her back, then Wes and Faith.
"What are you guys doing here?"
"Um, rescuing you? Lorne said -"
"Lorne is here? Where?"
"Ask yer mates."
With one look the guards backed off and went to go get him, muttering about the traitor. Cordy shook her head.
"Sorry, they still get testy sometimes. Hey, we were getting ready to have a feast! You guys will stay right?"
Wesley took off his glasses and went to clean them.
"Er, Cordelia, we were under the impression you were in trouble."
Cordy shrugged it off.
"Oh I was. I mean they kidnapped me and shoved me in a dungeon did a bunch of tests that make Wolfram and Hart's stuff look like child's play. Once they figured I really had visions though they crowned me! Go figure!"
She grinned and glanced to the side as the guard came back with a box and held it out to her. She tilted her head confused and opened it. Inside was Lorne's head. Her mouth dropped open and Faith gasped, Wes wrapped an arm around her and Angel, if possible, paled. Spike growled at the guard. Cordy backed up a step and Spike was suddenly there grabbing her arms. The young brunette went straight for Angel and buried her face in his chest and he closed his eyes. Lorne had warned them. Had insisted he not come, that he couldn't, and they brought him anyway. Now he was dead.