Fire and Ice

Chapter Six

© 2004 by Shari

Beta Read by SailorTerra1

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Jadeite couldn't help but wonder what Beryl's game was. She had assembled before her, himself, Nephrite, Kunzite and Zoisite and looked very pleased with herself. Beryl was almost smiling, or indeed as near a smile as she could manage with her pointed fangs and furious flame red eyes. In fact the queen of the darkness looked even scarier when she acted in this way, Jadeite decided. He cast a wary look at Zoisite, the little man had been somewhat chastened since his encounter with Kunzite and kept his gaze fixed on his boots and stood as far away from Kunzite as possible. Jadeite stood between the two, wondering exactly what had taken place. Kunzite seemed as impassive as ever, staring straight ahead at a point just above Beryl's head. Not even the first of the kings would dare to look her in the eyes it would seem. Nephrite, too, was staring ahead, occasionally shooting a questioning glance in Jadeite's direction but for the majority of the silence he did not make eye contact. Then finally Beryl spoke.

"Zoisite," she barked, causing the man to jump slightly. "I am impressed with how your training has proceeded. I have been told that you are very gifted in the magical department, showing great potential to use both fire and ice elements in battle. You have also proved how quickly you can learn and under Jadeite's tutelage, I have been advised that your talents would go to waste."

Jadeite did look up at this and even Zoisite raised his head. He was being relieved of his duties where the little man was concerned? He tried hard to conceal the pleased smile that formed across his lips. The question was just whom had advised the queen of this?

"So, as of immediately Jadeite will cease being your instructor and you shall have no further contact unless necessary. I am also hereby promoting you to the position of forth king of the Dark Kingdom. You will all be known as the Shitennou, the four heavenly kings of the Dark Kingdom."

This caused a gasp to escape Zoisite's lips. He instantly dropped to his knees, humbly thanking the Queen whilst Jadeite and Nephrite struggled to hide their own feelings of resentment at this latest turn of events.

"However," Beryl added, "You still have a lot to learn. Becoming a king is not easy. You will need to work hard to hold your position. From today Kunzite will be your instructor. You will report to him directly and will follow his every command. Failure to do this will lead to instant demotion. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Queen Beryl-sama, thank you," Zoisite barely managed to choke out. He was as shocked as the other kings. Still Kunzite hid it well, Jadeite thought.

"Good. You may leave," Beryl smiled, "Do not disappoint me."

* * *

Zoisite worked in silence, quickly gathering what little possessions he had and trying to ignore the hushed whispers coming from the adjourning room. Kunzite had instructed that he come to live in his manse rather than return to his own small quarters on the other side of the kingdom. Zoisite saw sense in this but a part of him was terrified at sharing quarters with the Ice King and even spending more time in his company after the events of last night. Still, his promotion had been unprecedented and Zoisite could only assume that he achieved it on his own merit rather than by his usual tactics. He hurriedly stuffed his clothes, some hair-bands and other essential items into a bag when he heard footsteps outside the bedroom door.

"What the fuck have you done, you lying little rat?" Nephrite demanded, storming into the room seconds ahead of Jadeite.

"Done?" Zoisite tried to conceal his own feelings of confusion and some fear as he answered the second king. "I have no idea what you are talking about."

"Jadeite informed me of your little failure that you neglected to mention to me," Nephrite growled angrily. "And then what happens? We are summoned before 'her majesty' and are told of your huge promotion. You have scaled the ranks far quicker than anyone else in the kingdom! It takes years to become a king! What the fuck did you say to Kunzite?"

"Nothing," Zoisite shrugged, "Perhaps Beryl merely saw my potential."

"Or perhaps you offered your services to obtain this?"

Zoisite's stomach churned at the mere thought of this; indeed he thought he was going to be sick at the mere suggestion... "Let me assure you that Beryl is most definitely not my type," he managed to choke out, "Now if you excuse me I have to be somewhere."

"Not so fast!" Nephrite snarled, blocking the door with his body and grabbing hold of Zoisite, shaking him roughly.

"Nephrite, leave it." Jadeite rounded on the older man. "Beating him won't accomplish anything. Just accept that the plan has failed."

Nephrite smirked. "That is where you are wrong. This is the perfect chance. Now it will take time but the end result will be well worth it..."

Zoisite only half-heartedly listened to Nephrite's plan. That bastard deserved it, didn't he? Zoisite felt anger bubbling up inside him again as he recalled that miserable night on the floor. No one had dared treat him like that without some fear of retribution. Kunzite would pay for what happened last night; Zoisite would make sure of that.

* * *

The Ice King awaited Zoisite's arrival with mixed emotions, wondering what could expect from the fiery little Sakura. Of course it had been Kunzite who had gone to Queen Beryl once Zoisite had left his quarters that morning and advised her that the little one was a suitable candidate for the title of forth king of the Dark Kingdom. Kunzite's reasons for doing so were simple. There was an old Earth phrase that sprung to mind 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer'. Still Kunzite did truly hate the notion that Zoisite might become his enemy. True, the little one had attempted to seduce him as a means to obtain the rank that Kunzite had earned him after ten minutes in conversation with the Queen. As he was the first of the kings, it meant that Kunzite had a sway with the Queen that no other being in the Dark Kingdom could ever have and Beryl was most interested to hear just how advanced Zoisite's magical capabilities were. With the right training he could become powerful, Kunzite had advised and added that he felt that Jadeite was the wrong person to be training the fourth king. Beryl immediately agreed that Zoisite should be handed over to her first king, not ever guessing a more personal reasoning behind Kunzite's explanation. The other reason being that Kunzite still wanted the little one. Of course if he had made his move this morning Zoisite would have responded simply because he hoped to earn a better rank. Now he had achieved this Kunzite decided that he would like to get to know the beautiful man better in the hopes that perhaps Zoisite would give himself to Kunzite willingly and not because his ambitions ruled his actions. Why? Kunzite did not believe that he was in love with the willful Sakura. Far from it... his pride simply would not allow him to have it any other way... or so he kept telling himself.

So lost in his thoughts, Kunzite was not at first aware of the angry knocking on the door of his manse. Starting when he realised that the little one had probably been standing there for ages and was by now almost certainly furiously mad, Kunzite opened the door with a mere thought and teleported downstairs to greet his houseguest.

The little one was not as angry as Kunzite had hoped (Zoisite still had no idea how cute he looked when pouting) and stomped into the manse on Kunzite's command. Kunzite noted, with approval, that he had healed his bruising. As icy as ever he snapped "This way" at Zoisite before climbing the stairs, his unwilling student trailing behind him.

He led the way down the seemingly endless corridor in complete silence and Zoisite too, it would seem, did not have anything to say to his new tutor. Finally Kunzite paused outside a room and pushed open the door.

"You may find this room a little bare," he said, as Zoisite stalked into the room. The little man dumped his bag on the floor and whirled round to face his mentor.

"Bare? Bare? There is nothing in here!" was the livid response.

"Now that is not entirely true," Kunzite replied smoothly gesturing to the lone single bed in front of them.

Zoisite pouted and then his scowl broke into a smile as if something had just occurred to him. "Why don't I stay with you for tonight? Consider it as my way of making up for yesterday."

Kunzite forced a frown upon his face and said sternly, "Don't you have any self respect? A king of the Dark Kingdom does not commit such shameful acts and nor does a king of the Dark Kingdom suggest such things to his betters."

Zoisite gasped slightly before sniping back, "What makes you assume that you are my better?"

Kunzite's eyes narrowed at this and he took a step closer to the little man, barely suppressing a smug smile when the newly appointed king backed away, stumbling into the bed he whispered, "Forgive me, Kunzite-sama. I was out of line."

Now the Ice King was confused. Did Zoisite apologise simply because he was afraid? Staring hard at the young man Kunzite was not sure. Zoisite had his gaze fixed on the ground, kicking at the bedpost with a boot, hands tugging nervously at the sleeves of his uniform. Uniform... that reminded him.

Kunzite teleported to his chambers and back before Zoisite even realised that he had gone. With a flourish he handed the neatly folded grey uniform to the boy.

"Beryl was adamant that I present you with this. It is your new uniform that shows your new rank," he added as an afterthought when Zoisite shot him a confused glance.

Zoisite stared thoughtfully at the new uniform as Kunzite continued "Get changed into it and I shall meet you in my study in five minutes. I would advise you not to be late," and with that he teleported down to the aforementioned study and selected a couple of dusty volumes from the array of shelves that aligned the walls. Setting them down at a small desk, Kunzite began to leaf through the top one whilst he awaited the arrival of the pretty little man.

The End of Chapter 6 - Goto Chapter 7

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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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