Darkness Returning

Chapter Three

© 1999 by Sarel


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Author's Notes:

Ooops - Seems this one went ahead and became my primary story, since 'Midnight Sun' seems to be on ice right now (not literally, though =P ). So you'll have to do with reading this one instead.

Disclaimer: Remember, this is just a fic based on Takeuchi Naoko-sama's wonderful villains - (ehm, ok, she made the Sailor Senshi, too, although I'd sometimes like to forget that) That's that; now onward with the story, right? =)


Darkness Returning - Chapter Three

© 1999 by Sarel

Beryl looked down upon the young woman kneeling before her. She had slightly violet hair of shoulder-length, and her dark blue-grey uniform was trimmed with purple.

"I am honoured to serve you, Queen Beryl-sama", the woman said.

Queen. She hadn't believed it at first, when her mother had told her she was to be queen.

"But you're my mother! You're the Queen!" she had insisted.

"Yes", her mother had told her. "But I am too weak to rule this Kingdom alone. Until I am stronger, I need your help." And then she had added, in a tone that half was a reprimand, half a joke, "And you don't think our troops will obey a princess as they would a queen, do you?"

And so it was that it was she sitting on the throne which meld itself to support her body as comfortably as possible. On her brow rested the light crown, topped with a sun-stone, that signified her title. She had a faint memory of a larger, slightly heavier crown, and the plain, royal blue dress she wore, didn't feel totally right, but when those feelings made themselves known, she ignored them.

The woman was still waiting for her to speak, she realized. Ooops! Sorry, she thought, but didn't say it out loud. That was the first thing her mother had taught her. A queen never apologizes: That makes other think she's weak, and they stop respecting her. "I need you to gather energy for..." ...my mother... "...the restoring of my Kingdom to its former glory."

"Hai, Queen Beryl-sama."

"And while you're at it, keep an eye out for possible recruits."

"I will."

"You may leave, Amethyst."

The woman rose, and teleported away in a flash of violet light.

Beryl studied the spot where Amethyst had stood. She needed more loyal servants. The youma were of no use by themselves. They had gathered energy for over fifteen years now, and only accomplished to restore her mother to the weakened state she was in.

*Beryl*, her mother's voice rang in her mind. Obediently she teleported away, leaving the throne room empty.

"Yes, Mother?"

"We need more youma."

Beryl frowned. "But you said the youma are worthl..."

"By their own, yes. But they are excellent tools, not to mention the fact that it's better to send them out front to die than sending carefully re-schooled humans."

Beryl looked down, slightly ashamed. Of course. "Hai, Mother." She looked up at the wraith again. "There's so much I need to learn", she complained.

Her mother looked at her for a few seconds. "Yes, there is. But I am here to help you."

* * *

Zach stumbled blindly into the park, and sat down in his favourite spot. He was devastated.

He had wondered why Kaneda avoided him more than before. Sure, he didn't seem to be seeing that girl, Hotaru, any more, which was all very good. But instead he spent lots of time with Nedaru, who had similarly half-abandoned his friend. They sat beside each other as often as Kaneda sat with Zach, and it had begun to fray the edges of his patience. And apart from that, they seemed to spend all Mondays and Thursdays with each other - where, Zach didn't know. So he had decided to tail them one afternoon. The images he had seen still hung before him, tormenting him.

* * *

Why would they be going to a shrine? Zach thought. He made sure they didn't see him as he followed them towards the gate. Then he froze. Two girls came to meet them. One of the girls had waist-long, black hair, and the other's was brown and almost of the same length. Nedaru warmly greeted the brown-haired, while Kaneda took hold of the black-haired one's hands.

He didn't wait to see more. He turned and ran.

* * *

"Why?" he said out loud. Why did Kaneda have to torment him with all those evasive lies? If he asked to join Kaneda on a Monday or Thursday, he always said he didn't have time to be with him. He had to study. Study indeed! Why couldn't he just have said he was going out with a girl? After all, they had been best friends for over six years! Was it too much to ask that he tell the truth?

"But I can't ask him right out", he sighed. First of all, that would tell Kaneda he had spied on him, and secondly, it would reveal too much of Zach's jealousy.

"I hate him!" But even as he spoke he knew it to be a lie. "I wish I could hate him..." he muttered.

Hearing an argument, he looked up curiously, and started. On the path he saw two girls - no: a girl and a woman, since the latter had to be at least nineteen or twenty years old. The girl was just ordinary, but the other... He recognized her!

No, he corrected himself. He recognized her clothes. The colour was slightly different to the one he remembered, and it was edged with purple, not blue, but otherwise it was a perfect match to the one that Kaneda had worn in his dreams. What did that mean?

Then he jumped up as the uniform-dressed woman knocked the other down.

"Hey!" he shouted, running towards them. "What are you doing?"

The violet-haired woman turned towards him with a faint smile upon her lips. She raised her hand slightly, and a pair of twin crystals shot out at him.

He growled as he dodged the missiles. She had no right! Crystals were his trademark! His! He stopped in astonishment and shock as he realized what he had just thought.

The woman laughed and grabbed the fallen, slightly blue-haired, girl. "It's been a pleasure, little one", she said in a husky voice. She smiled nastily. "Fare well."

Damn her! Zach thought, and leapt at her. Just as she shimmered away, purple sparks flashing in the air, he managed to grab hold of her legs. Then everything went dark.

* * *

Beryl looked on in well-concealed astonishment as Amethyst materialized with two girls; one held in her arms, and the other clutching her legs.

*Fool! The blond one isn't a girl!*

What? It's a boy? Impossible! But yet... Her mother had said so, and she was always right.

Amethyst saluted her. "My Queen. I bring one possible recruit. This other one foolishly attacked me."

"And why did he follow you here? Why did you not just kill him?"

"I beg your pardon, Queen Beryl-sama. I did not see it necessary to kill... him? and I was not prepared that he would grab hold of me as I teleported here."

* * *

When the darkness faded, it was still dark, but Zach could still see where he was, and he didn't like what he saw.

I've been here before. I know it! Then, as he paid more attention to what the violet-haired woman said, What? Queen Beryl? I don't believe this. She's just a guy in my dreams! Is this a dream, then? It has to be.

*Welcome back, Zoisite.* A voice suddenly spoke in his mind, and together with it, memories flooded back.

*Queen Metallia-sama!* he exclaimed. Then he looked up at Beryl just as she turned her head to address him.

"Who are you, boy?"

Zoisite realized that he was still clutching the legs of the woman, and rose to salute his queen. "I am Zoisite, Queen Beryl-sama. I'm honoured to once again stand before you." Without the penalty for failure hanging over me, he silently added.

The blue-haired girl suddenly groaned and moved. Zoisite looked down at her. I guess people could think her pretty, he thought absently. Maybe even beautiful.

"Where am I?" she asked, bewildered. Then she jumped up onto her feet, eyes wide and fastened to the small group of youma standing in a corner. "And what are those?"

"You're in my kingdom", Beryl said. "And those are my youma."

The girl turned towards the Queen. "And why'm I here?"

The violet-haired woman spoke. "You have been chosen to - if you survive - serve Queen Beryl. It is a great honour."

"Honour my foot! There's no way I'm staying here!"

"Take her to Queen Metallia's chamber."

Zoisite was the first to take hold of the girl, but to his surprise, she slid out of his grip, turned on her heels and punched him straight in the chest. He fell back, not so much from surprise, but rather from the unexpected force she had used. When he got up again, he saw the violet-haired woman kneeling, clutching her stomach. He looked around and was just in time to see the girl run out from the hall and disappear into the huge maze that was the Dark Kingdom.

"You disappoint me, Amethyst and Zoisite."

Amethyst? Interesting. Nice name. Suits her well. "I'm sorry, my Queen", he said loud, bowing slightly. "With your permission, I shall fetch her back at once."

"No."

Zoisite looked at her in astonishment. What?

"My Queen?" Amethyst said, seemingly as astonished.

"Queen Metallia will take care of her herself."

They bowed as one, spoke as one. "Hai, Queen Beryl-sama."

* * *

Nanami ran through the long, dark corridors of this place she didn't know. She desperately sought for a way out, but as all corridors were almost identical, she had no idea how to accomplish that. It was all she could do to keep in mind which way the hall was, the hall she had woken up in.

I have to get out of here! she thought frantically. Then she noticed her state of mind, and stopped at the next crossroad to calm down.

"Where would I have the exit if I lived here?" She was silent for a few moments, then sighed in exasperation. "I don't know. I'll have to guess." She looked at the two possibilities offered. "Where should I go?" Then she grinned slightly despite her situation, and dug around in her pocket.

"Ok", she sighed as she held out the die. "Even means that way." She threw the die into the air and caught it. Opening her hand, she looked down at the six small dots facing her. She took a deep breath and set off down the left path.

She stopped by a doorway from which a soft glow emitted. She hesitantly looked inside, and saw a beautiful woman huddling at the far end of the rather large room. Her hair was a flaming red, and she was dressed in a plain, white dress. Even more hesitantly, she entered the room.

"Hello?" she asked.

The stranger looked up, and smiled slightly. "Who are you, girl?" she said softly, her voice oddly hollow. "I didn't think there was anyone else here than... them."

The slight hesitation before the word 'them', made Nanami bold enough to ask, "Are you a prisoner here as well?"

The woman was silent for a few moments. Then she nodded. "I am." She sighed. "I've been here a long time, longer than you could imagine."

Nanami suddenly felt an urge to comfort the woman. She must be so lonely here. She slowly came closer.

The woman must have noticed her hesitance, for she smiled and said, "You don't have to be afraid. I only bite on Fridays."

Nanami giggled, and walked onward with more certainty in her stride.

* * *

Suddenly, Beryl smiled. "It is done. Zoisite!"

"Hai?"

"Go fetch Iolite. She's with Metallia."

Why him? Amethyst thought. I could do it at least as well. I mean, it's only going there and get her. And... Her heart beat slightly faster. It would give me a chance to meet Queen Metallia again. She had not been able to forget that commanding presence. She'd do anything for her.

*I'm delighted that you are so loyal to me*, the Queen said in her mind. *Such loyalty never goes unrewarded.*

*But... I never sought any reward, Queen Metallia-sama!*

*I know.*

Then, to her disappointment, the presence was gone. So was Zoisite, the only sign of his passing a few, slowly falling, pink flower petals. She felt slightly surprised that he could already teleport. On the other hand, he seemed to have been here before, so perhaps it wasn't that unnatural? But why the flower petals?

A few seconds later, Zoisite returned with the blue-haired Iolite in tow. Both were now dressed in the dark uniforms of Beryl's generals; Zoisite's with light green trim, and Iolite's with a clear blue one.

"Amethyst!" Beryl said, and she snapped to attention. "I place Iolite under your tutelage."

Why? Amethyst wanted to ask, but didn't. Why couldn't this Zoisite do it instead? She hadn't time to teach some little girl things that ought to be obvious. She sighed mentally. "As you wish, my Queen", she said, not daring to openly disobey her.

"You're dismissed."

Amethyst bowed slightly. "Iolite. Come with me."

"Hai, Amethyst-sama."

They teleported away to her quarters.

* * *

"So, Zoisite", Beryl said when Amethyst and Iolite had disappeared. "It's been a long time."

"I..."

Beryl continued without letting him finish apologizing. "I hope you don't think you'll be top rank just because you know your ways around here. Amethyst is still my fore-most general."

Zoisite bowed slightly. "It doesn't matter to me what rank I have serving you. I'm used to being below in rank."

*And in bed, ne?* Metallia said in his head.

He started. Had she known all along?

*How can I not know anything that happens in my Kingdom?*

*I'm sorry, Queen Metallia-sama. I meant no disrespect. But... Why did you allow it?* he asked curiously.

*What did it matter as long as you were both loyal to me? Although I think you were more loyal to your sensei, hmm?*

*I...* Once again, he was not allowed to continue. She was gone.

His surprise and discomfort must have been visible in his face, for Beryl looked at him oddly. He straightened his features.

"All is well then", she said. A brief pause. "You have a life and a family back on Earth, don't you?"

"I do, my Queen." He thought with slight distaste of the situation there.

"To maintain a hold on Earth, you are allowed to continue that life." It was not an open suggestion.

"Hai, Queen Beryl-sama."

"You may leave."

He bowed, and then teleported away to his old quarters, deeply inhaling the sweet scent of cherry blossoms as he did. No matter that he would have to spend time on Earth; it felt... good, being home.

Goto Chapter 4


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Disclaimer: Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha and Toei Animation. All characters, settings etc. are used without permission. This is an amateur fiction, and I definitely won't make any money of it.


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© by Sarel - Email: sarel@hotmail.com


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