Fire and Ice

Chapter Twelve

© 2004 by Shari

Beta Read by SailorTerra


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The Earth realm was very beautiful, Zoisite mused to himself as he attempted to walk at ease through the lush green gardens that made up the Earth Palace grounds. Security around the palace had been tight, but for a king of the Dark Kingdom, teleporting passed the guards had been no problem. His nails dug nervously into the palms of his hands as Zoisite passed yet more sentries. They looked at him with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity, but as the young king was bedecked in the royal blue guardian's uniform, they thought nothing of him as he brushed by.

Kunzite-sama had been adamant that Zoisite prove himself and thus the young king had set about to prove just how trusting Endymion was and how foolish to have such lax security. He smirked, though he had never met the Prince, Zoisite had heard a lot about him. Endymion was really quite a fool if these rumours were true. Mixing with the lunarians was unwise and getting engaged to one was an even bigger mistake, especially as the people of Earth already resented the Moon Kingdom's rule.

Turning a corner, Zoisite found himself outside the marble doors to the palace. There were two burly guards outside, but they quickly allowed Zoisite to enter, not even asking him his name! The king's smirk became a triumphant grin as he stepped inside and found himself inside the vast marble hallway. Twin staircases led to the palace's east and west wings and three different corridors sectioned off from the reception hallway. Servants hurried passed, all ignoring the king. Zoisite chose the corridor on his left. According to the maps that Kunzite-sama had shown him, the two remaining options led to the servants' quarters and the kitchens. The way Zoisite had opted to go led to the study and vast ballrooms.

"But I don't understand. Aren't you going to kill him?"

Kunzite's smile widened at this, "No. You are."

Zoisite's cheery demeanour clouded over as he recalled Kunzite's words. He still had to prove himself by killing Nephrite and managing to stay alive himself. This, in itself, was an impossible task. Even if he did manage to somehow kill the second king, Beryl would be beside herself with fury and invoking Beryl's wrath was not advisable under any circumstances. Surely Kunzite-sama knew this? Zoisite wondered to himself. Jadeite and Nephrite were also assigned to the Earth Realm, though their exact missions were unclear to the forth king.

As Zoisite turned yet another corner in the endless tunnel of corridors that made up the Earth palace, he thought about enlisting Jadeite's help in disposing of Nephrite. The blonde king owed him anyway and he could always blame the second king's death on Jadeite if Beryl did find out. A feral smirk curved his lips at this idea and, so involved in his scheming was he, that Zoisite didn't notice that he was about to knock into someone coming the other direction until it was too late.

Of course, apologies were not in his nature and, certainly, Zoisite was not going to apologise to a dirty human and he made to simply push passed when the human in question grabbed his arm, halting him in his tracks.

Zoisite froze, making to conjure an ice crystal in his left hand when he recognised the youth and the smile died on his lips. Endymion...

Prince Endymion was a handsome man, Zoisite supposed, in a boyish and, somewhat, naive way. He had jet-black hair which, in Zoisite's opinion, was cut too short and his midnight blue eyes were nothing like the coolness and coldness of Kunzite's and the Prince lacked the presence and air of someone in such a position. He was not very tall, only just standing shoulder to shoulder with Zoisite, though the young king was offset by the appearance of the man and tensed, as though ready for a fight.

"I'm sorry" the apology that came from Endymion's mouth astounded Zoisite and for a moment he could do nothing but stare until Endymion laughed nervously and added: "You are one of the new guards, right?"

"Yes" Zoisite could only reply, wondering why Endymion did not recognise him as one of the four Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom. Of course, the kings had never confronted Endymion directly, but Zoisite had expected that the Prince had heard of him at least! Obviously not...

"You are not what I was expecting" Endymion admitted next, "You're a lot...."

"Shorter?" Zoisite suggested acidly at this referral to his lithe build.

"I was going to say prettier" Endymion observed casually.

Zoisite couldn't help but laugh scornfully at this, "I didn't think the Prince of the Earth Kingdom would find his own sex preferable to the company of the Moon Princess."

Endymion smirked, "Don't flatter yourself too much, guardian, I was merely pointing out a fact though you couldn't hold a candle to Princess Serenity."

"I'm glad you think so" Zoisite sniped back haughtily, "To be compared to the Moon Kingdom filth would be an even bigger disservice."

Endymion shook his head and said gently, "So you think that way, too."

"Of course."

His sorrowful expression then turned into a smile as he looked up at Zoisite and said: "So, it is your first day?"

"What?"

Endymion's smile became a delighted grin, "Well no one else would dare bump into me and not apologise."

"Why not? And, for the record, you bumped into me."

Zoisite cursed under his breath as he said this. Light hearted jest with the Prince was one thing.... But he could give away who he really was if he grew too disrespectful. He lowered his gaze, preparing to utter a convincing apology knowing that if he were caught then Kunzite would think even less of him when Endymion laughed and clamped a hand down on his shoulder: "And you're the only one of my guard with enough front to answer me back. I like that. I get sick of everyone creeping around me and apologising even when I am in the wrong."

"Would you rather that they were all disrespectful?"

"No. I just think that there could be some middle ground" Endymion admitted, "Anyway, I don't believe that we have been properly introduced. You know who I am, but what's your name?"

"Zoisite."

"A gemstone?" Endymion frowned, "Strange, but somehow fitting. Which regiment are you from?"

Zoisite shrugged, and grinned, "I just walked in."

Endymion laughed again, "And you have a sense of humour. I like that" then his gaze darkened, "Now tell me the truth, Dark Kingdom scum."

* * *

Kunzite secretly loved the Earth realm. As he strolled through the vast Sakura gardens of the Earth Palace he marvelled at the simplistic beauty of the kingdom, pausing occasionally to stare at the exquisite creatures that hurried past him.

The Princesses would giggle at the attention he paid them and with his glamour spell in place, Kunzite would appear to be a noble; handsome yet forgettable and they would go on their way quite happily and not give him a second thought.

The mission was to get a clearer idea of the defences and weaknesses of the Earth Kingdom's palace, but after careful years of planning Kunzite knew all this anyway. No, it was simply Beryl wanting them to spy on Prince Endymion. Kunzite had never been one for tolerating his Queen's obsession with the Prince and had sent Zoisite into the palace itself whilst he supposedly researched the security aspect. The younger king welcomed the chance to show up Prince Endymion and did not suspect that Kunzite merely wanted to be rid of him.

Zoisite was now doting, nearly unbearably so and had Kunzite not needed him so much then he would have killed him for his betrayal. Zoisite was an ally, but also a useful tool, but, like most things, he could out grow his usefulness.

Still, when Kunzite heard screaming coming from the direction of the palace, he knew that his Sakura was somehow involved and hurriedly teleported to the scene.

He reappeared among a group of courtiers, who were too busy watching the scene unfolding before their eyes to notice a Dark Kingdom Tennou appear in their midst. Being taller than most, Kunzite was able to look over their heads and see what all the commotion was about and his heart sank.

In the middle of the circle that had formed around them were Zoisite and a black haired youth who Kunzite knew to be Prince Endymion. Both had swords drawn and the clash of metal rung loudly in Kunzite's ears. Every now and again, Zoisite would get the upper hand of this fight and then Endymion would manage to pull it back, ordering his guard not to interfere when it looked like he was losing.

Now Kunzite was in two minds as to what to do about this. His first reaction was to teleport behind the obnoxious twit and stab Endymion whilst his back was turned. Of course, Kunzite knew that Zoisite would never forgive him if he did that and to aggravate the Sakura would not be in his interests. He could wait and see how the battle turned out. This, Kunzite dismissed in a moment. If he did that then the chances were that Endymion or his guards would kill Zoisite. The final option, which seemed to be the most desirable, would be to simply teleport himself and Zoisite from the scene and Kunzite did just that. Smirking that the sudden disappearance of his foe meant that Endymion sprawled in the dirt at his guard's feet.

The teleport took both student and teacher back to the security of the Sakura gardens and once there Kunzite felt the full wrath of his fiery lover.

"What the hell did you do that for?" Zoisite all but screamed at him, forgetting that this was his beloved Kunzite-sama that he was shouting at. "I could have killed the bastard!"

"Exactly" Kunzite explained coolly, "And would Queen Beryl have thanked you for that?"

Hurriedly chastened, Zoisite lowered his gaze to the ground, "No" he admitted slowly, "But what else could I do?"

Kunzite shrugged and turned away; bitterly disappointed that Zoisite's cover should be blown by someone as stupid as Endymion. Had he taught the younger man nothing?

Zoisite sensed that Kunzite was angry with him and dared to gaze up at his lover with a pair of sorrowful green eyes. "I'm sorry, Kunzite-sama" he said plaintively.

The silver haired king sighed. He was, in truth, glad to have an excuse to return to the Dark Kingdom as they could hardly carry on with their reconnaissance work now that every palace guard in fifty miles would be looking for them.

"We should return to the Dark Kingdom" he decreed at length, and then added, much to Zoisite's horror, "Queen Beryl will be expecting us to report to her."

Without giving his student time to argue, Kunzite quickly teleported them to the Dark Kingdom.

* * *

Queen Beryl was the picture of lambent fury when she learned of what had happened in the Earth Realm. For ten minutes at least Kunzite could only kneel humbly before her whilst she raved and screamed at him, whilst frying at least two dozen of her Youma court in the process.

Sensibly, Kunzite had decided that Zoisite should wait in their castle home whilst he reported to Beryl and explained the unfortunate incident that had taken place in the palace. The little king was only too happy to comply with this and Kunzite congratulated himself on the decision, as Zoisite's presence would only anger Beryl the more.

Even Kunzite found himself trembling as Beryl continued to rage and he shuddered at the thought of what the Queen would do to Zoisite if she took it upon herself to punish the young king for his actions.

Of course, Beryl did wish to see him disciplined and Kunzite hurriedly assured her that he would hand down a suitable punishment. Satisfied, Beryl managed to gain a hold on her temper and decided to address the failed mission in more detail.

Kunzite explained, as he had done a thousand times, the security of the palace and grounds and Queen Beryl listened intently, though it was becoming all the more obvious that she had already determined what to do where the Earth Realm was concerned. This filled Kunzite with a sense of unease and his fears were quickly realised.

He finished addressing his Queen and dared to look up at her, seeing the steely determination in her eyes and not liking it one bit.

"Thank you, Kunzite. Your information has proved quite useful, despite your wayward student's behaviour. Taking into account your findings I have decided that we will attack the Earth in a week's time."

Kunzite went pale at her words, "A week? My Queen, I cannot advise it. The troops are--"

"Silence! Do not question my decisions! Metallia is almost at full strength and if we attack now then we can catch them off-guard."

And stop Endymion and Serenity's wedding Kunzite thought darkly, though he knew it would be suicide to mention this.

So he did the only thing that he could do which was to bow before his Queen and agree with her absurd plan.


The End of Chapter 12 - Goto Chapter 13


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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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