The Venusian Masquerade - Chapter 4

© 1998 by Cresent Star

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Disclaimer: All characters are property of Naoko Takeuchi, Kodansha, 1992. You can't sue me based on an email address anyway... I think. Note: Relationships become even more complicated here, so bear with me!

Cold. So terribly cold. The numbness was felt through her entire being. She was vaguely aware of a figure bending over her in concern, but nothing more was seen through her thick lashes.

The figure was familiar enough. Who was it? Dark brown hair, sparkling green eye clouded with worry and anxiety. She struggled to recall the name.

"" a whisper, but it took great effort to get out.

"Marianna, thank god you're all right!" the excited cry pierced the fuzziness eclipsing her mind. The images swam and she slipped back thankfully into darkness.

Makoto bit her lip. This was all her fault. Had she not let herself been charmed away by Oliveiro this would not have happened - she would have found Marianna in time before she... Yet, a tiny voice at the back of her mind disagreed entirely. How was she to have known? It was perfectly normal to follow her female instincts. Perfectly normal to drown in Oliveiro's infinite pale blue eyes...

She shook herself. How could she still be dreaming of her forbidden love when her friend lay so still, so near? She felt utterly disgusted and disappointed with herself. How she actually hoped that he would draw her in his arms to kiss her long and sweet. She would never have forgiven herself if she had indeed permitted that to happen. Half of her detested him and herself for this, the other half yearned for a more passionate repetition of the night before.

She stood up to leave, casting one last guilty look at Marianna's pale face before shutting the door gently. However gentle it was, one could still feel the frustration and pent up emotions within her.

* * *

Endymion growled. He'd make Domenico pay for humiliating him the way he did! He flicked the rose in annoyance into the basin of the water fountain.

"Why so angry, my Lord?"

He turned at the sound of the voice. "Ah, Beryl, it's you." he smiled at the red haired young woman, his dark mood lifting. He gave a short mirthless laugh. "It would appear that the Prince and Princess of Mars are challenging my power." She was his attendant, true, but he had always treated her as more of a... 'friend'. He looked at her appreciatively.

Today her dark beauty was captured in a deep purple dress that was low cut, with the skirt more or less modestly at her calves. "So, Endymion, what have you done to provoke the other party this time?" her rich sultry voice like black velvet.

Normally, when people showed him such disrespect, he would have proposed a 'settlement'... with blades. But Beryl was different. No matter what she said or did, he would not do as much as to return a word in anger. He moved closer to encircle her in his arms. "Mmm..." he murmured, "Why must you always assume that it is I who is wrong?"

Beryl batted his arms away, but gave him a teasing giggle. "Queen Serenity and her daughter would not be pleased to see us like this. After all, you are engaged."

Endymion sighed. "It is only to soothe the relations between the Moon and the Earth, it doesn't mean that I really have to love her. Besides you still have not answered me, why do you think I'm always the one in the wrong?"

*He's trying to change the subject.* "That's because you're so childish for your twenty one years." she said seriously. He laughed again and pulled her closer in a kiss.

Makoto, who had been watching from behind a few shrubs, covered her mouth to stifle a gasp. She had wanted to look Endymion up to tell him off, but now... It seemed that Oliveiro wasn't the only playboy in the palace after all.

She turned, muttering that she hadn't seen anything at all. She was still muttering when she had entered the hall.

Ami, who had just stepped out of the palace library, offered her a friendly smile, one that she was too preoccupied to return. She hurried past her without so much as a glance.

The dark blue haired girl shrank back a little inside. Makoto's cold reaction had stung. She was only trying to be sociable... but she had been ready for it. It was so difficult being alone. Having the position of a princess isolated her even more. It was often that she saw this tall brunette. She liked her and her friend and wanted their companionship. But they would shy away from her if they discovered her social status. It was inevitable. And seeing their personalities... They would just dislike her because she always seemed to have her nose stuck in a book.

Slowly, she returned to the library. She wanted to lose herself in her books as she always had before when situations as such arose.

* * *

In some dark forgotten part of the palace, evil pulsed. The blood red light swelled, then transformed itself into a grotesque female youma. Insect eyes and arachnid legs added to it's twisted form.

*Find Queen Serenity...* the sinister telepathic voice breathed. *Find Queen Serenity... and kill her...*

"I hear and obey," hissed the insect.

*Then you shall be handsomely rewarded...* The youma grinned, fanged and vicious, then assumed the identity of an innocent palace servant.

It pushed the door of the cellar open and stepped out into the light.

* * *

Oliveiro stopped, a smile spreading on his face. Makoto - just the person he was looking for. But there was a scowl on her normally cheery features.

"Hello Mako -"

He heard a loud crack, then felt the pain. He stepped back, his cheek stinging from the slap that Makoto had given him. *What a strong arm*, he thought. "What was that for, Mako-chan?"

"You should know. And you have no right to call me 'Mako-chan'," she said in a low growl. "Or rather, " she added with a small sneer, "I do not have the honour of being addressed by you like that." She spun her heel and walked off in the opposite direction.

*What did I do?* he wondered.

* * *

Rei sat solemnly before the fire, clad in her priestess robes of red and white. The flames shifted continuously, showing her glimpses of the future. They contorted suddenly, the erratic orange tongues nearly licking the ceiling.

Domenico moved to sit aside her, dressed in similar blue and white robes. He sensed something amiss. "Dear... what is it?"

She kept her eyes on the fire, "It's very... I don't know how to describe it..."

An even more startling transformation took over the fire. The colours of the flames changed from orange, to red, to blue, to green. Rei pulled away, gasping. "To.. Queen Serenity's chambers, quick! Something evil is going to happen...!"

He gave her a disbelieving look for a moment, then decided that she was serious.

"What is going on?"

"I'll explain when we get there!"

* * *

The creature stopped for a moment outside Queen Serenity's room. She was slightly hesitant now, as she could feel the power the Emperium Silver Crystal generated.

*What are you waiting for? Go!*

The youma frowned, torn between loyalty to her Queen and the desire to survive. She breathed in deeply and rapped on the door three times.


Timidly, the youma did as she was told. Her eyes came to rest upon a sweet faced woman with pale lavender hair flowing at her sides. "I, uh, brought your fresh sheets..." the youma mumbled lamely. She just realized she had nothing with her, not even a rag.

The queen raised her eyebrows. "Well, where are they, then?"

The youma flinched at her mistake. *Fool.* "I'll go get them... in a moment..." Dark mists started to swirl about her, "But first..." The youma dove for the Crescent Wand seconds before Serenity reaching for it. It burned her hands, making her shriek. She tossed it to the other side of the room. It slid across the floor and rested under the bed.

"No matter," she growled.

* * *

"An assassination attempt on Queen Serenity?!"

"Yes!" Hurry!" Rei skidded to a halt outside the door. She threw it open in time to see the youma's sharp claws poised above Serenity's neck, ready to strike.

The End of Chapter 4 - Goto Chapter 5

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