The dark one wasn't feeling so well as she woke up. There was a handful of reasons for that; she was in a weird position sitting on the ground against a wall with her hands behind her back, those hands were tied up, her stubby bone wings were uncomfortably pressed against her back, she didn't know how she got here, where here was or why it was so dark or what had last happened. And her face hurt. A lot.

Which was weird because the only kind of pain she was familiar with was short and quickly fading flashes of intense agony when she was in battle. Not this dull, throbbing ache that just wouldn't go away. Any further contemplating was cut short as a light was flicked on and held right into her face from a few steps away. Horns flinched, then flinched harder because the movement disturbed something in her face. She never felt so tender before.

A rustling from behind the lamp. A dark shape moving in the darkness, but she can't tell who. Someone clearing their throat, clearly nervous and a bit frightened. She smirked. Even down and out she was still intimidating. A good feeling.

"S-so. You... you. Who are you!"

Her smirk twisted down into a slight frown. She was certain that last bit was supposed to be a question, but the inflection was all wrong. She also didn't like answering questions on principle. Again, this had a handful of reasons; usually she would be asking the questions and usually (meaning, in the entirety of her existence) she didn't talk. Talking was for people who had uncertanities in their lives. You should have figured out by now that she and any other of the mirror images in the other place were not one of those people. As said, every inch of her body told her to rule, crush and dominate everything in her reach. It was non-negotiable; anyone 'asking' for anything different would only incur her wrath and retribution.

This attitude was of course not very beneficial for her actually getting to rule over anything besides the two skulls she usually had about her and which felt more like an extension of herself in the first place. In fact, it led to everyone she ever met ending up in a fight with her. And subsequently dead. She did not question her methods once; after all, she emerged victorious every time and surely did dominate and crush someone, didn't she? Which was about the time when her brain caught back up to her thoughts and gently reminded her that not too long a time ago she was in effect hugged to death by a little girl piggybacking on a denizen of her plane; either that or vice versa, it was too convulted to tell at first glance.

The horned one may have been single-minded but she was by no measure of anyone in any world dumb. She was dangerously sharp in fact, not unlike her fingers or scythe. Not in a bookish sense, the only times she had seen books (at a distance, without opening them) had been in domains of others she had subsequently slaughtered. But she was wise; combining cunning and brutality to a dangerous package.

So not too long after finding herself awake after her 'death', she pulled herself out of the six feet she was under and regarded the landscape. In some ironic twist (or perhaps entirely deserved one, she had to admit) she had revived in a grave. An open pit with her laying down in a coffin, soft padding underneath her and a light rain pattering on her, making the earth mushy. The funeral attendance were about fifty shovels stuck into the ground in front of the grave, bleached skulls impaled on the handles, leering at her as she clawed her way out of the grave. The tombstone was marked in runes she could not read (which was not hard, she couldn't read anything at all) and in front of it were a smattering of roses.

Blue roses. With black stalks. And white thorns. It jogged her memory quite fast.

Uncharacteristically for her, she did not smash the grave, the creepy skull regiment or the roses on the spot for offending her by simply being there. At that very moment she had the closest experience someone from the other place can have to an 'existential crisis'. She had sat down behind the gravestone and rested her back against it. And she had done something she hadn't done in her entire life; she began thinking hard.

Naturally, it went slowly at first. She was working against mental concepts that, until now, had utterly defined her. Her body, her blood, her flesh told her one message: you are superior, you rule, you posess, you are THE queen.

But evidently, she wasn't. Alright, she was back on her feet and she could go and try to do it all again yadayadayada but that wasn't the point here. She had lost. To the dark queen this was as earth-shattering an experience as could have possibly happened; it would probably have struck her less if the entire world started collapsing in on itself. After all, she didn't care about the world. The world was of absolutely no concern to her and if it started breaking apart under her then so be it. About herself though, she did care a lot. About what defined her, she cared even more.

And somewhere in her head, all the way at the back behind the connection to Yomi and mountainous piles of ego, was a little niggling doubt, a little worm chewing and scratching away at her person itself, telling her the one thing she didn't want to know but couldn't swat down with the wet towel of easy excuses and overplayed indignity: you lost anyway. You lost, little girl. You're not as infallible as you think you are. The world does not revolve around you. You're just another unimportant little bit in the world and if you die again you might not get so lucky. You might die and fade and your remains will blow away in the wind and the only thing left of you will be a little note somewhere in the memory of Yomi which, one day in the future, will blow away too and nothing will be left of you. Nothing at all, and no one will have wept a tear for you.

She heard the voice, though she didn't want to. She heard it all too well. She knew what it was, what it symbolized. Her fear, her blank terror of the uncertain future, of her uncertain self. She could almost physically feel it, a crust of ice forming around the bottom of her heart, slowly creeping its way upwards and consuming who she was. Never resting, only fueled by her thoughts.

So she beat it down, ignored it, began practically talking to herself to keep that doubt from piercing who she was. She raved and ranted, used every emotion she had to just keep that away from her. Hate was a big part, towards the blue one and the little brat that tagged along with her. A mix of betrayal and disgust towards Yomi (oh yes, she did know her name) which was not entirely unexpected. But mostly hate. And lots of rage and anger, can't forget that. How dare they move against her, how dare they raise their hands agains the dark master of this world! How dare they... succeed.

And there it was again. She needed to do something, anything, or she'd be having a complete brain malfunction not too long away. A plan was formed as fast as she could and she expended almost all of her energy on it. It was easier than she expected it to be; in a world made of emotions perhaps strong emotions could make the emotee more powerful?

She didn't care nor think about it any further. She sat down in front of the mirror, engaged the connection and did her best to punch through. She had never heard of anyone doing something like this; then again, she had never talked to anyone anyway. What came afterwards should still be fresh in your memory; it certainly was for the horned girl as her smarting face reminded her.

"H-hello? Didn't you hear m-me? I said, answer my questions!" came from begind the lamp, again, still as weak as before, dragging the queen of darkness back to reality.

She really was not in the mood for this. Her slight frown turned into an animalistic snarl. She growled. Now, you may not read much into these two words but with her it was something else. It carried with it a promise of violence, an oath of pain followed by eventual death to anyone who would bring her to voicing it. It sounded like the dogs of hell were getting ready for a meal. She might also have let her eyes flash their toxic green colour brightly at the same time.

The princess of death heard a gasp and a ruffling of cloth behind the lamp, followed by a muffled impact of a very noble posterior onto the hardwood floor. Her mood improved considerably. Now free of annoying questions, she could devote herself to getting out of this funny situation. She tugged on her restraints; it was sturdy rope of some sort tied to the radiator behind her. With a tug she tore them apart, the sturdy nylon rope (not that she knew what nylon was) tearing like tissue paper against her bone claws. She got up and stretched herself a bit, flapped her spiky bone wings, pointedly not reacting to the frightful noises coming from somewhere behind the murk of darkness. She took a look around and, now that she wasn't being shone in the face spotted shut curtains with a single ray of light shining through the middle.

A smile curved over her face and she walked over to it, gripped the heavy fabric in her claws and threw them to the sides. Brightness filled the room like a floodlight and she saw her face reflected in the glass. Her good mood vanished fairly fast. Her nose was broken, bent to the side, a rip going over the top, and there was green blood all over her face. Not pretty. She did what she did all those times when something had broken in a fight: reached up and twisted it back into the proper shape with a sickening crack of bone and cartilage.

Doubled over wheezing in the pain, she concluded that something was really different in this world. Pain was never this intense way back when, especially not over minor things like a broken nose. A broken leg, the knee cracked forwards to be precise, hadn't even given her half of the agony this move had just brought her. And it still felt tender; usually it was fixed in moments once brought back into shape.

No matter. It was fixed now, it was time to get back to business. As she turned on the spot, she could finally see her captor.

Yomi was curled up next to her bed, eyes wide and frightened. In front of her lied a desk lamp with the head turned up to shine straight ahead. The room, aristocratic and expensively kitted out, could not have interested the dark one less. The queen, silhouetted against the daylight, stalked forward. Her steps measured, precise. She had waited a long time for this. She knows that this, direct contact with her origin, is the only way she'll ever get any change into herself or what passes for her life.

She had no idea what she was about to do.

Which isn't surprising if you know her as well as you should by now. It's a sad thing when lots of power and no control or direction come together.

Yomi backed away, of course. She was terrified, once again. After waking up from the impromptu panic-nap she took after the beast of her nightmares tore her way out of her dreamworld and right into the one place she still considered mostly safe she immediately tied her to the strongest fixture around with the strongest rope she could find in her fathers' tool shed. That it was mostly useless is a foregone conclusion but gives Yomi less credit than she deserves. The weird pseudo-psychological mirror image never falls far from the tree. She expected that something might go wrong.

So as the dark mistress reached out, stretched her arm and let her jagged claws dip towards Yomi, with a cry of fear the little heiress brought up the kitchen knife she had been hiding behind her back and slashed wildly towards the black hand. The blade hit the metal-like bones in the spot between index finger and thumb, skipped off the unyielding material and traveled further down the arm. It scratched a line down the opera-glove like bone armor enveloping the horned one down to mid-forearm, slicing open her black silk sleeve in the process; then it buried itself deep in the white flesh just below her elbow.

The blade was ripped out immediately by Yomi taking a reflexive jump backwards. And then silence reigned.

After a few seconds of frightened cowering Yomi managed to crack open an eye and take a peek at her nemesis. Dark one was just standing there, looking at her arm with a confused and incomprehensive expression on her face as toxic green blood ran down her white skin, following the crook of her elbow to the underside and then dripping to the floor.

It dripped quite fast because the elbow, just like the inner thigh or the armpit, is a high traffic zone for large blood vessels and a single deep cut or puncture can spell death by exsanguination in thirty to sixty seconds. Lat.: 'Ex', prefix, 'out' or 'out of'. 'Sanguis', noun, 'liquid blood'; together: bleeding to death. The more you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Certainly would have been for Miss Death if she had any idea of blood vessels, combat technique in general or ancient dead languages. As it was, her gaze is nailed to her arm, the cut so sudden and unexpected she cannot truly comprehend it. She saw a movement, then there was an intense pressure and pull on her arm, then this sickeningly warm liquid begun running down it. It couldn't have been an attack, could it? She had seen only a flash of something, no attack. She could intercept a bullet launched by that blue bint by swatting it out of the air with her scythe and almost count the rifling grooves on the shell while doing so. She must have suddenly burst something in her arm, that must hve been it. She'd never just get surprise-attacked, successfully even less so, by a little girl more at home with handling teacups and knitting needles. And she was still pushing those thoughts around when she felt a weird lightness befall her head and her sense of balance quit it's job and went to look for better working conditions.

She stumbled backwards, trying to stay upright. This wasn't supposed to happen. She. She. She? She couldn't fail. She didn't fail. She never failed.

'Except you did before already, didn't you?', said the insidious little voice. Said her weakness. Said that which was not her and never would be, if she had anything to say about it.

She needed... oh, right about now a lie-down sounded just like the one thing she needed, was she thought while sliding onto her butt after stumbling against the window on the other side of the room. On the way down her wings carved twin scratches into the glass, then caught on the lower latch and pulled the window open.

And there she lay, dripping life liquid onto the floor. The wind blowing her hair around, a smear and green shoeprints dragged themselves all the way across the room, leading to the death princess laid out on the floor like a toxic sack of potatoes. Eyes half-lidded,arms out to either side, her dress partially soaked and sticky in poisonous green.

Yomi couldn't believe what she had done. Did she do the unspeakable? Did she... kill?

"Of course you didn't", is what the dark princess would have said if she hadn't been feeling very bloodless that moment. Her eyes slowly fell shut and she felt weaker by the second. But then it hit her.

She hadn't thought this one through properly. She needed time. She needed time and room to think. She needed to get clear with her objectives and how to get there in the first place. She couldn't give up, she couldn't surrender.

So she began scrabbling her legs to get back up, slipping in her own blood and bumping her knees until she managed to stand unsteadily, unevenly splattered in green ichor. Swaying on her feet, she shot Yomi a last look full of promises of revenge.

Then she tipped backwards out of the window.

xxx

Ladies and gentlemen, madames et messieurs, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren, please let me welcome you to this little horrorshow of love, drama, tears, pain and relentless yuri! Let me please introduce myself, my name is FaceMeltor and I will be your host tonight and on all other night to come on which you'll let me dance and entertain you. I hope you'll find this litte romp as enjoyable as I will because we're not pulling any punches here; Yomi will face her inner demons (NOT counting our little death princess here), Mato will learn watching out for people's feelings, BRS will learn to actually emote beyond the capacities of a chilled bagel and Dead Master will break herself and maybe fix herself in the process if she's lucky enough! Yell at me in the review section so I get bullied into writing more!

Please my dear readers, sit back and relax while we all have

A

BRUSH

WITH

REALITY