Three: Enter Lydia From Above
want twenty-five thousand dollars or someone's going to get hurt!"
Lydia shrieked. Her vision cleared. She shuddered. Something was
was very wrong. A cold wind blustered around her. Every bone in
her body ached. Instead of standing in the exhibit hall, dressing
down moronic rent-a-cops and a ditsy old lady, she stood in what
looked like a set for one of the Vanyr towers in Domain. Instead
of being clad in a cola- and perfume-stained Thierry Mugler pant
suit, she was wearing-
goggled at the sprayed-on black spandex gown with rubberized snakeskin
inserts Immortal Productions' costume designers considered the ultimate
in gothic slut chic.
in costume, she thought dazedly. When did I go through wardrobe?
man stepped from the shadows. Lydia's head snapped up. At first
she thought it was Michael Ryan wearing his Deryk gear. That couldn't
be right. The guy was way too young. And there was something else.
Something sharper. Something...dangerous? Lydia frowned. The gold
torque around the look-alike's neck slithered into life and hissed
"EEEK!" Lydia squawked, taking a step back. "What the hell is going
on here? Am I being Punk'd? I didn't sign a release! I'm gonna kick
my agent's sorry ass!"
lady. I had not anticipated the pleasure of meeting you again in
this life." The look-alike bowed.
of meeting me again, my butt," Lydia snarled. "Tell me who you are
and what I'm doing here and in costume, for God's sake, or I'll
tear you to shreds."
man studied Lydia. "You need some time to recuperate from your resurrection.
I'll release you from the hexagram when you come to your senses."
He strolled to the brazier and warmed his hands over the coals.
straightened her shoulders. What the hell was this dickhead talking
about? Resurrection? "Yeah, right," she said. "Watch me walk over
there and fry your head on those coals." Lydia took two steps forward-and
plowed into an invisible wall.
she peeled her face from the surface of the wall that wasn't there,
Lydia ran in circles, screeching threats as she tried to beat her
way out of the invisible barrier. Finally, panting in exhaustion,
her voice hoarse from shrieking, it dawned on Lydia's peanut-sized
brain she couldn't get out. Lydia pointed one long finger at the
get you for this," Lydia promised. She peered at the end of her
finger. Wait a minute. She hadn't had a manicure in at least two
days. Could that lovely two-inch-long fingernail be real? A poison
green lightning bolt erupted from her finger and ricocheted from
the barrier. Lydia screamed as the bolt struck her. She fell to
the ground and writhed in agony.
I see you're back to your old self." The Michael Ryan look-alike
smiled. "Promise me you won't do anything...rash. Once you swear,
I'll set you free." Lydia flipped the look-alike the bird. The blond
man shrugged. "Your choice." He returned to warming his hands.
What a prick. Lydia scrambled to her knees and, after beating
out the smoldering hole in her gown, examined her fingers. She tugged
at each long, lethally pointed, blood-red nail.
"They're real! They're really, really real," she crowed. "And they
do tricks too!"
rose to her feet and pointed her finger at the stone floor. Green
bolts of energy spattered against the granite. Two small chickens
and a frog appeared.
look-alike cleared his throat. "My Lady Megeara, will you give me
did you call me?" she croaked.
look-alike repeated his question. "Once you do, Lady Megeara, I
will release you from the hexagram."
Lydia whispered, wrapping her arms around herself. It finally dawned
on her there were no cameras, no lights, no cables or crew standing
around. There was only the night sky overhead. Flickering light
from a small brazier illuminated a very dark and scary looking circular
tower top. Her brain spun in circles of its own.
He called me "Megeara". Holy shit. There's a real Domain?
Lydia's eyes widened. Then that guy would be the real Deryk. And
he thinks I'm the real Megeara.
am I?" Lydia demanded.
the standing tower of Tuumb Castle where I resurrected you, my lady,"
Deryk said. "Give me your promise, Megeara. I've devised a foolproof
plan to conquer Tambara. Together we shall not fail."
she wasn't dreaming-and she'd find out soon enough-this was great.
It almost made up for Immortal Productions allowing her contract
to lapse. Megeara had a lot of cool tricks, and Lydia often felt
the show's writers hadn't taken the character's evilness as far
as it could go. Lydia promised herself she'd show this world Lydia
Jambon was a force to be reckoned with. She smiled at Deryk, conveniently
forgetting her fleeting impression of danger.
Deryk," Lydia purred, "of course I promise."
almost laughed at Deryk's self-satisfied expression. He thinks
he's got the old Megeara back. I bet I can use that. After all,
I know all about him, and he doesn't know a thing about me.
raised an eyebrow. "So you rememberů"
remember many things." Lydia wondered what the old Megeara could
possibly know that would cause Deryk to flinch. She made a mental
note to hire an assistant to do some research. "Why don't you release
smoothed the black spandex clinging to her thighs and licked her
lips. "We have much to discuss."
gestured and said something incomprehensible under his breath. "Come
and share my fire, lady."
stepped forward. She exhaled a relieved breath when no barrier blocked
her way. She sashayed over to Deryk.
then," she cooed, laying her hand on his arm. "Why don't you tell
me all about your foolproof plan?"