The Venusian Masquerade - Chapter 3

© 1998 by Cresent Star

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*Where is she?* Makoto wondered. She had tried to find Marianna at the risk of displeasing the music master greatly. However, she couldn't find a single trace of her and the last anyone had seen her was two hours ago. Worry began to creep over her.

She rounded the corner hurriedly, so hurriedly that she collided into Oliveiro. She dropped a curtsey and stuttered an apology.

"Sorry... sir..." she was blushing, she knew it. Normally she was very confident in her speech but now, she felt as she was falling apart. *Get a grip on yourself Mako* she muttered.

Oliveiro tried to hide a smile. This girl was interested in him, he could tell. Her youthful face rapidly turned redder. "And who are you looking for?" A little fun wouldn't hurt. Naru would never know.

"My friend," she went on to describe Marianna. He stopped her in mid sentence.

"Why search for her? She's a grown young woman, she doesn't need your interference in her affairs. Why not take a walk with me in the spring garden?" He grinned charmingly, "It's wonderful this time of year," he moved closer to her, "And this time of night."

"Why, it's the same all year round."

"I know."

* * *

"Sir, I'm cold," Marianna whispered.

"Stop calling me 'sir'," he muttered. Not that he was being modest or such, but it was because he was really starting to become annoyed. But having the shivering girl so close to him was a delicious feeling. It felt forbidden and exciting, almost like betraying Minako. He held her closer to keep warm.

Marianna was thinking the same. *Oh my god... do you know who he is..? That's the prince of Venus who's holding you...* Her hands felt like ice and a morbid thought crept into her mind *You're going to die...*

Celano grasped her hand tightly, as if reading her thoughts plainly from her eyes, "No, we won't." he said softly. "We'll find a way out soon."

* * *

Makoto gazed up at the dark gentleman holding her arm. *This is wrong! Naru would be so angry if she found out...* but she couldn't resist this man. His dark handsome features showed up in the blue light cast by the Earth. The voluminous brown hair, the eyes blue as the sky...

Oliveiro pretended to be oblivious of her adoring gaze. She was such an easy one to hook! But he had to admit that he was mutually attracted to her, unlike the others. There was something very special about her. Naru, was rather plain and school girl like, not much to his liking. He preferred more mature looking women like this... Makoto. Unfortunately, their wedding had been prearranged by their parents. He had protested against it, but to no avail. Naru didn't seem to mind of course, she was more than glad to have this handsome fellow as a husband.

Come to think of it, he had now come to hate her. She was so annoying, with that ill sounding accent. Innocent, naive, never thinking that her husband to be would betray her almost every night of the week. Enough, he told himself, don't think of her and enjoy yourself. Makoto beautiful and you are going to enjoy that beauty. Do not let thoughts of Naru ruin it!

Domenico and Rei were still wandering about the garden, not so much as appreciating the flowers but each others' company. Oliveiro grinned to himself, finally beginning to realize the humor in Endymion's prank. He gave Makoto a little wink. "Stay here. I want to go talk to them for a little while. Don't leave while I'm gone."

"I won't."

Domenico felt a hand on his shoulder. He and Rei turned to face the intrusion on their privacy. "Hello Oliveiro," he said in greeting, a bit of coldness touching his tone. Rei blushed, her face tightening in suppression of her anger.

Oliveiro grinned cheerily. "So, how was it in the ice box? I expect you enjoyed yourselves, hmmm?"

A bit of confusion came over both their faces as they looked at each other. Had Oliveiro gone a little mad? Oliveiro grinned still as if nothing would take the disturbing smile off his face. Domenico frowned deeply in contrast. "What are you talking about Oliveiro? What ice box?"

"Is this your idea of a joke?" Rei asked heatedly. "If it is I don't think I find it very funny." She crossed her arms. "But knowing your sense of humor, you'd probably be very happy to know that your friend Celano is missing."

"What?" it was his turn to look confused. Hadn't Endymion said he locked them both in the winter garden? "But...but..."

Rei was not to be stopped. "I think you are really an uncouth creature! Challenging Celano like that! He did nothing to you that night!" Domenico held her arm, as if restraining her. "Be quiet, Rei," he said sternly, determined to clear whatever misunderstanding there was up. Rei glared back at him. "Please," he added. "Now," he said, turning back to Oliveiro. "What is going on?"

Oliveiro knitted his brow. "Endymion said you were in the winter garden and decided to lock you in there for the fun of it."

Domenico frowned even more deeply. "Celano has been missing..." He looked up, panic on his face. Realization too, sank into Rei. "Get Endymion, now! This isn't a joke anymore."

At that moment, Makoto walked up to them. "Prince Oliveiro? Where were you?" Rei raised her eyebrows. However Domenico seemed in a hurry, though why, he could not tell. He turned curtly to go. Oliveiro grabbed his arm. "You saw nothing," he hissed.

Domenico shrugged his hand off. "I have more important things to do right now. Come, Rei, before it is too late."

Makoto watched in confusion. "What's going on?"

"Nothing is going on." Makoto stiffened at the harshness of his words, but continued to walk with him.

* * *

"Domenico," Rei whispered, looking at the forbidding door. Endymion and Minako were there, Minako looking anxious and Endymion looking guilty. He had totally forgotten about the two and now that he had made the grave mistake...

Domenico lifted the wooden bar that Endymion had placed across the door. "You'd better be sorry for this," he growled. Inside was a white wonderland. But nobody had the time to admire its splendor. They started to sift through the snow in search for the lost one.

Minako shrieked, dropping in by a large mound of snow. She scrabbled desperately at the packed white powder. The others crowded around her, digging furiously. "Please be alive..." Minako pleaded audibly. A few minutes later they had unearthed two cold, unmoving bodies.

Rei stared in horror... could they be... dead?

Domenico, seeing how every one had been stuck dumb, quickly took charge. "Endymion, Minako, you help Celano. Rei, come help me with this girl." Heaving the limp bodies, they struggled to the door. Minako, her concern giving her an almost inhuman strength plunged toward the door, reaching it first.

"Come on, let's get them somewhere warm, fast." Rei took their pulses. A faint throbbing relieved her. "They're still alive." Minako sobbed, her relief washing over her.

Domenico looked at Endymion angrily, his eyes narrowing. "I do hope your are happy, little prince. Your prank nearly proved fatal. It didn't, but what of the next time?"

Endymion mumbled an apology, looking away. Now he knew why he had mistaken the two for Domenico and Rei. He had thought Celano was Domenico because he had never really seen him enter. Just heard him. And the girl was wearing such a similar red dress as Rei. It was easy to have made the mistake.

Domenico wasn't done yet. "What's more, this set up was meant for me and Rei. Have you ever stopped to think of the consequences? And with me and Rei, people would think we were in our bed chambers," he said bluntly, ignoring Rei's gasp of embarassment. "We could have died! What were you thinking, you stupid fool?" He was working himself into a rage.

"Damnit, I said I was sorry! What more do you want?! For me to kneel and beg forgiveness?!" Endymion asked, his own anger boiling over. "Fine, if that is what you want!" He dropped to his knees.

Domenico stopped in surprise. He had not expected that from the prince.

Minako, who had been quiet for so long, finally said raggedly, "Please, get up, don't do this, Endymion." Endymion stood as bid, his cheeks flaming. Saying nothing, he walked out of the room, his head held high.

Rei put a hand on Domenico's shoulder. "Perhaps... you went a little too far there." He shook his head wordlessly. He looked down in concern at the unconscious two. "No time for that. Get a healer, Rei."

* * *

Makoto smiled. The corridors of the palace was deserted, nearly every one was asleep. Oliveiro smiled at her, his eyes almost glowing. "Goodnight Mako..." he bent forward.

*He's going to kiss me!* Makoto thought excitedly. She closed her another kind of smile colouring his lips. "No, Naru wouldn't be pleased if she saw us like this."

Makoto looked disappointed as he turned and headed in the opposite direction. "See you tomorrow," he called. He waved to her while walking away.

Only then did she realize what she had gotten herself into.

The End of Chapter 3 - Goto Chapter 4

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