Darkness Returning

Chapter Four

© 1999 by Sarel


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Author's Notes:

Yay... Here's another part... It's a wonder you don't tire of me. =) Pretty please, write me an e-mail to sarel@hotmail.com if you have time, and tell me what you think. I promise I'll reply to every one of them. I love getting e-mails =)

Disclaimer: Yup, that's true... This is just based on the ppl of Sailor Moon, and she is (fortunately) not mine. Nor are the others (less fortunately, though).


Darkness Returning - Chapter Four

© 1999 by Sarel

Jed looked longingly after Nedaru and Kaneda as they went off towards the Hikawa Shrine. He missed the closeness he had shared with Nedaru. But it had been his own choice to walk out that door, and he only slightly regretted it. He hadn't been ready then; he still wasn't. But it hadn't been fair of Kaneda to just walk out on his friend. Zach was twice as lonely as he was himself, because he didn't know why Kaneda ignored him as much as he did, and he couldn't tell him, either. He was sworn to silence.

At least, he had thought Zach to be lonelier. But lately, Zach had avoided Kaneda as much as Kaneda had avoided him. What was wrong? Had the constant inattention tried his patience so much that his friendship with Kaneda had turned to dislike? Jed thought that he sometimes could see Zach looking coldly at Kaneda when he thought no one noticed. What had happened?

And how was Seiko doing? He missed her. She had been friendly, nice to talk to, and besides, she was pretty, although she was almost two years younger than him. He hadn't noticed the difference in age, though, when they'd been talking. She seemed so much more mature than all the other girls he knew were combined.

Without noticing it, he started off down the road towards the shrine.

* * *

"Not that way, baka!"

Nedaru grinned a bit sheepishly at Ryoko. "Sorry."

"I can't believe you're so dense! A horse would learn things faster than you!"

He glared at her. "You don't have to insult me more than necessary."

"Then do something!"

Before Nedaru could reply, Kaneda interrupted. "Listen. For the last five weeks you've been trying to teach us how to fight your way, and we've been worse than abysmal at it. Hasn't it occurred to you that our powers might not work the same way?"

Seiko looked at him. "You might be right. But how do your powers work, then?"

While Kaneda shrugged and said that he didn't know, Nedaru grinned, an idea forming in his mind. He didn't know how much of what he had done under Beryl's rule had been because of Metallia, and what had been his own, but...

"Hoshi wa nani de mo shitte iru", he whispered, and to his surprise, he felt the familiar tingle throughout his body. He concentrated slightly, and his oh-so-familiar sword appeared in his hand.

"Nedaru!" Ryoko exclaimed.

He grinned at her. "See? Even one as dense as I can come to think of something once in a while, ne?"

"All riiight!" Seiko cried. "Let's get to work!"

* * *

"What are you looking at, Jed?" he suddenly heard Zach's voice behind him.

"Nothing in particular."

Zach came up beside him. "So you call Nedaru, Kaneda and two girls nothing in particular?"

Jed made a non-committal sound.

"Jealous, Jeda-chan?"

"I've told you to never call me that again!" he snapped, then froze. Zach had never called him that what he could remember. "I'm sorry, Zach. I don't know what I was thinking of."

"I take it you are jealous, then."

Jed glanced his way, and noticed that Zach actually wore a smirk on his effeminate face. He looked back towards the shrine and sighed. "I guess so." He didn't know what, though. Was it the fact that Kaneda seemed to be altogether too friendly with Seiko, or was it the companionship they all shared, or was it the fact that Nedaru seemed to have forgotten their friendship?

"You love him?"

The question made him jump. There certainly was something wrong with the little shy Zach he had known. "Definitely not", he stated.

"It's all right, Jeda-chan. You can tell me. I won't tell him."

"I said that I don't. Why are you here, by the way?"

"Oh, I was just passing by and saw you mooning over your so obviously lost love."

"Stop it, Zach. What's wrong with you anyway?"

"Wrong with me? Why, nothing!" And with that, he sauntered down the street.

"You're getting weirder and weirder every day, Zach", Jed murmured to himself as Zach disappeared around a corner. He looked back at the shrine. "Oh, Seiko..."

"Damn them!" He slammed his fist into the wall, and regretted it immediately. Clutching his aching hand, he continued, "It's all their fault I can't see her." Why couldn't he just spend some time with the girl Seiko, not the Sailor-in-training Seiko? He grinned slightly. Why couldn't he, indeed?

* * *

"Mother!" Beryl ran screaming into her mother's room. "What's wrong with me? What's happening to me?"

Her mother smiled at her. "You're changing, Beryl-chan. That's all."

Tears ran freely from Beryl's now crimson eyes. As she spoke, she felt her fangs graze her tongue and lower lip. "But I'm so ugly!"

"I think you are beautiful, my daughter."

"Really?" She fell to her knees before her mother, who nodded and smiled proudly.

"Yes." She reached out and wiped the tears from Beryl's cheek with a hand that was only slightly more substantial than when the girl had come here. "I said you are special, and I meant it. Why should your appearance not also be special?"

"Oh, Mother..." She threw her arms around the so gentle woman that she had only known for a month.

* * *

"You have failed me one time too many, Alexandrite."

"But my Queen! I had no way of knowing that this girl should appear there! And I even know who she is now!"

"Enough talk! You won't get away this time with petty excuses. 'Sailor V' or not, the fact remains that you *have* failed me, and Queen Metallia."

"Queen Beryl-sama! I beg of you..."

"Sleep."

That one word; so final. It cut off every single thing he might have meant to say as coldness embraced him.

* * *

Iolite looked down at her boots. "I'm sorry", she muttered miserably. She didn't want to displease Amethyst-sama, but it seemed as though it was inevitable that she do.

"Don't just stand there. Try again. And again. And again." Iolite could feel Amethyst's cold gaze resting upon her bowed head. "Until you succeed."

"Hai, Amethyst-sama." Again she concentrated, trying to form the complex shape of a sword with her mind. When the air shimmered, she tensed exultantly - only to slump down again as the air stilled once more. She felt like crying. Why wouldn't it work?

"I'll leave you to your training, Iolite. When I return I expect results."

"H-hai, Amethyst-sama", Iolite mumbled as Amethyst vanished. She steeled her knees which threatened to fold underneath her.

Leaning back against a wall, she once again set her mind to the task of conjuring up a sword. She wouldn't fail her teacher. She just wouldn't! She'd show Lady Amethyst that she wasn't completely useless as a leader of Queen Metallia's forces.

* * *

When Amethyst returned an hour later, Iolite had gotten no further. As she appropriately berated the girl, the latter hung her head dejectedly.

"Do you understand?" Amethyst concluded.

"Hai, Amethyst-sama. I'm sorry."

Amethyst looked up into the grey sky and sighed before she once again looked down at the blue-haired girl. "Is that all you're able to do?" she asked irritably. "Look down at your feet and say 'I'm sorry, Amethyst-sama' and 'Hai, Amethyst-sama'?"

Iolite mumbled something she only almost heard. On the other hand, she wasn't quite sure she wanted to hear the precise words that trembling voice spoke. Most probably it was just another 'I'm sorry'. A slight sob could also be heard, almost inaudible, little more than a sharp intake of breath.

"Gods!" she exclaimed. "Get a backbone, child! You'll never be of any use to Queen Metallia-sama if you break down every time someone raises their voice at you."

Iolite jumped slightly. A few moments passed, then Amethyst's student looked up at her teacher with a new, fierce determination in her clear, blue eyes. "I will not fail you. Nor will I fail Queen Metallia-sama or Queen Beryl-sama."

"Good. And now you would do best by continue practising. You will not go to sleep until you have managed to conjure up your weapon."

Iolite bowed slightly. "I understand", she said.

At least better than that same old 'Hai, Amethyst-sama', she thought as she teleported away to her own quarters.

Well there, she was greeted by an echoing voice in her mind. *How is Iolite's training proceeding, Amethyst?*

*Not too good, I'm afraid, Queen Metallia-sama. She cannot grasp the simple concept of creating things.*

*Not that simple, Amethyst-chan. I seem to recall that you had some slight difficulties with it at first as well...* The Queen's voice was mildly chiding.

Amethyst blushed. *I'm sorry, my Queen. It's just that...* She sighed. *It's just that I didn't ask for this. Why couldn't Zoisite have seen to her training?* Had Queen Metallia really said 'Amethyst-chan'?

*I saw it fit to place her under your tutelage.* And with those words, Metallia's presence vanished from her mind.

Amethyst sat down upon her bed and buried her face in her hands. Whatever she said, she seemed to say something wrong. She so desperately wanted to please her Queen. Why then did she say all the wrong things?

Damn that Iolite. Why did she have to come along with her long, blue hair and pretty features and all? Why did she have to train the little slip of a girl? It set her temper on edge, having to train her. It gave her less time to gather energy for the Queen's release and the restoration of this Kingdom.

But on the other hand... It had been Queen Metallia's wish that she train Iolite. And since she wanted her to, was there really any other mission that preceded it? She fell back onto her bed and looked up into the ceiling. She'd make Queen Metallia proud of her. Smiling slightly, she closed her eyes and fell asleep.

* * *

"Hello?"

The slightly hesitant voice startled Seiko from her almost-begun meditation. She turned and looked up into Jed's pale blue eyes. She sighed. What was he doing here? "Yes? Can I help you?" she asked coldly.

"Well..." The slightly older boy hesitated. "I just thought we could sit around and talk?"

"I thought Mamoru had told you to stay away!"

"Who?" Jed's puzzled look was terribly convincing.

"Never mind. Forget I said anything", she said. She smiled slightly, despite her resolve to drive him away. "All right, then." He was nice to talk to. "Let's go inside." She rose. "Would you like some tea?"

Jed smiled back at her. "Yes, please."

* * *

Kaneda looked worriedly on as Zach turned his back on him and walked away. He knew he had neglected his friend the last few days - Weeks, you fool! his mind told him - but this thing had been so new. And he hadn't believed it to be so bad. Not so bad as to make Zach's friendship of him turn into something else. Why was it that Zach walked away from him now when he tried to talk to him, tried to apologize for his inattention?

"Zach..." he said to the retreating figure.

Zach stopped, and slowly turned. "Yes, Kaneda? Was there something?"

"Zach, I said I'm sorry! What more would you have?"

Zach's eyes burned furiously; his beautiful emerald eyes. "Perhaps it would have been nice with some words of explanation before!" he snapped. "Perhaps it would have been nice to have been told the truth instead of all those lies?"

"But I told you the truth!"

"And what is it in this girl that you have to study, eh?"

Kaneda blanched. He hadn't quite thought Zach would follow him, and so obviously misunderstand everything.

Zach saw his paled face and turned again. "I thought our friendship at least amounted to some degree of truthfulness between us", he said coldly, walking away. Kaneda could do nothing but stare at his retreating back.

* * *

"Yes!" Iolite screamed as the unwilling sword materialized in her hands almost two days after Amethyst had left her. Still clutching the weapon as were it her most precious property - which it at the moment was - she dropped to her knees, toppled onto her face, and promptly fell asleep.

- To be continued -


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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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