The Four Points

Chapter Fifteen: Resolutions and Despair! Beryl's True Intentions

© 2006 by Shari


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Nephrite sat at the kitchen table, staring at the glass of brandy in his hand and listening to the ticking of the clock as the minutes passed, or it could have been hours. Who knew how long he had been sat here simply waiting? Across from him sat the Sailor Senshi, Sailors Uranus and Neptune. Empty wine glasses sat on the table in front of them, they too were lost in their own thoughts. Nephrite winced slightly as a jolt of pain ran through his burns. Naru had insisted that they be bandaged up before she allowed him to speak with their allies. She had been terrified that he was going to die and leave her again. Inwardly Nephrite cursed. He had not given a thought to Naru when he had sensed Beryl's energies. All he had cared about was stopping her from achieving her objectives, whatever they might have been. No, Naru was the one who was selfish. The fate of the world depended on keeping Zoisite safe and what a damn fine job of it they had done so far! They had alienated him, struck him, shouted at him... hells it was little surprise that he had reacted in the ways that he did! Nephrite couldn't even imagine having something else, someone else, inside of him. Only little Hotaru had some idea of the pain the youngest king had been going through and they hadn't even allowed her to speak with him! If they had then perhaps this would not have happened. If he hadn't have been so cold to Zoisite. They were all struggling, as well, with who they had once been. Zoisite, from what he had told them, had hated Endymion in his Tuxedo Kamen form and of course he would not simply start wanting to protect and look up to the man because he was told that in a previous era that had been so! Still this was not all Nephrite's fault. If Zoisite had confided in one of them then this would never have happened. Instead he reacted as they expected he would. The coward had tried to destroy the only power that existed in this world that was strong enough to free Endymion and dispel Metallia from the Earth! Zoisite did not want to fight... and now... now the strongest power in the universe belonged to Beryl. Nephrite shuddered at this thought. Of course Beryl would not kill Zoisite. He was too valuable to kill. She would harness his power for herself and become even stronger... she even had the ginzuishou.

The auburn haired king looked up when the kitchen door opened, its hinges squeaking loudly and echoing around the silent room.

"How is he?" he asked, his voice sounding dry and raspy to his ears.

Naru shrugged and settled herself in his lap once more, her arms curving around his back.

"He is still unconscious" Jadeite replied for her as he sat down beside Nephrite, Hotaru wordlessly seating herself in between Haruka and Michiru.

"It is more than exhaustion" Naru added softly, "You said he was injured on the way to Mugen Academy?"

Nephrite nodded, recalling Yakaki's attack "He said he was fine."

"He lied" Jadeite said shortly, "Poison."

"Poison?"

"A little known fact about Youma is that their claws contain a slow working poison. At the worst Kunzite should have just felt a little off colour for a few days but as you are aware our magics fight infection just as well as a humans immune system. However, if a human's immune system breaks down they become vulnerable to all kinds of diseases and even the common cold can become a life threatening illness. Kunzite practically drained every drop of magical energy fighting Beryl..."

"Will he live?"

Jadeite shrugged, "Not without the cure."

"What is that?"

Jadeite grimaced visibly and shot a glance at the women, "The blood of the Youma that poisoned him."

Nephrite felt Naru flinch against him at this, as a hundred other thoughts raced though his head. It was too long... It could take weeks to find Yakaki. Kunzite would die before then and at any rate they had to somehow break into the Dark Kingdom and stop Beryl. To do that they would need all the help they could get and Kunzite was easily the strongest of them all; including the Sailor Senshi except Sailor Saturn. If they didn't reach Beryl soon... If she obtained the ginzuishou and Eternal's powers... She would become unstoppable.

"We can't wait" Nephrite stated, making that very painful decision for them, "We have to break into the Dark Kingdom tonight, before it is too late."

"What of Kunzite?" Michiru asked softly.

Nephrite shrugged, "You said there would be some sacrifices."

"Zoisite wouldn't want that."

Nephrite glanced down at Naru, not being able to hide the shock and disbelief that filled his azure eyes. What was this? Why would Naru care about them?

"So many people have died" she whispered, "My mother, you once, Usagi-chan, how many more must we sacrifice?"

"I don't make this decision lightly"

"I know" Naru replied, "But Jadeite-san told me what Zoisite did. That he spared that Youma's life and now that very same Youma will kill the man he loves."

"What of Beryl?" Haruka demanded, "Nephrite-san is right. We cannot wait. We have to either get Zoisite away from her or kill him. We cannot allow Beryl to obtain his power. No matter what the cost."

"And what will happen if you do rescue Zoi-chan?" Jadeite asked quietly, a thoughtful and almost saddened expression replacing his usual look of indifference and calm, "You will force Zoisite to fight?" when the Senshi nodded he continued, "What good will that do? You can't force him into anything!"

Nephrite had to grin at this and this earned him several disapproving glares from the Senshi. Not even Beryl had been able to make Zoisite do anything that he didn't want too.

"Well it looks as though it is decided then" he spoke for all of them, "We will have to hope that Zoisite can look after himself for a bit." He stood, taking charge and quietly requesting assistance from the Senshi, "We're going Youma hunting."

* * *

Forgive me... Zoisaito

Those three little words still haunted him now, even in the depths of his slumber he could hear them echoing over and over in his mind. Zoisite... he had killed him again. Wildly, this silent accusation pulled him from his rest. Everything was dizzying, even the room was spinning slowly round as he struggled to get his bearings and fight off the burning realisation and failure that was once again burning in his soul. He had killed Zoisite again. He had failed him as he had done in the throne room a year ago. Kunzite was the most powerful of the four and yet he had been unable to save the person that mattered most to him.

Beryl... that bitch was going to pay... the waves of dizziness became worse as he struggled to sit up, fighting not only his sudden illness but also a small palm pressing against his chest, even this light touch was enough to force him to lie back down in his weakened state.

Kunzite did not want to give in... he had to avenge his lover's death. He had not done so before and sorely regretted it until the day he had died and he was not going to repeat the mistakes of the past.

"Beryl" he whispered through clenched teeth, "You bitch... I'm going to kill you..."

"Kunzite?" he jumped slightly at this voice in his ear. A soft voice, different from Zoisite's and yet comforting. He slowly turned his head and his misted gaze met a pair of violet eyes. Hotaru and Nephrite's girlfriend. What was going on here?

"How are you feeling?" Hotaru asked, in that same condescending-sounding tone. Kunzite was also appalled to hear pity in her voice. Again he tried to sit up and again hands forced him back down. He bawled his hands into fists, humiliated at the weakness in his limbs and the utter helplessness of his situation. Kunzite drew a harsh breath, which ended in a cough. His throat tightened around the air and it brought tears to his eyes. Never before had he felt so drained... was this the punishment he would suffer for allowing his lover to die a second time?

He would not grant these children with a reply. He was one of the great four of the Dar-... No, Kunzite shook his head slightly. He was not one of the Shitennou anymore. They had lost that identity and the new identity Beryl had given them. What was left? Kunzite did not know. He had been content simply to have his lover back in his arms. He had given no thought to the consequence of gating when he should have known that Beryl could track them! Every decision he had made since being brought back had been wrong, had ended in disaster... there was nothing left now.

"You're feeling weak because you were poisoned" Hotaru persisted, ignoring the stony silence of the man, "Nephrite-san and Haruka-san have gone to find the Youma who did this to you. Michiru-san and Jadeite-san are guarding the mansion grounds. Beryl can attack us at any time now."

Kunzite, ill as he was, did note the slight blush that rose in Hotaru's cheeks at the mention of Jadeite. In this time, such unions were frowned upon, as was the one between himself and Zoisite, whereas back in the old kingdom it would have been perfectly acceptable for Jadeite to court a girl so much younger than him.

Poison... Kunzite had suspected but had ignored the signs. Youma poisoning was not serious... would not be serious had he not used all his energy trying to defeat Beryl. He had failed... if he couldn't destroy her then no one could.

"We attack as soon as you are better, Kunzite-san" Hotaru pressed on, "Together I am sure we can defeat Beryl and Metallia."

He chuckled softly at this, "You really are a na´ve little thing, aren't you?"

Hotaru frowned, "I know the score, as does all of us. I know what Beryl is capable of!"

"Then you will also know that if I couldn't stop her, then there is no hope for any of us."

"Zoi-chan will stop her"

"Zoisite is dead."

"No, he isn't."

"Even if he lives, he will not do for long. You know what Beryl does to traitors."

Naru shuddered at this and turned away, her shoulders shaking slightly. Hotaru scowled, "Do you really place that little faith in your lover?"

It was not about faith, Kunzite knew. Back in the Dark Kingdom, Zoisite had often spoken of coming up with some plan to destroy Beryl and take her place as ruler of the kingdom. This had never been feasible, especially when Sailor Moon and the Sailor Senshi awoke to challenge them. Even with a combined effort, Kunzite had doubted whether they would be strong enough to kill Beryl and even if they had managed it, there was still Metallia. She was darkness in its ultimate form, infinite energy powering her very being. Nothing could destroy Metallia. Even Sailor Moon and the ginzuishou had been defeated.

No, it was not about faith. Kunzite simply knew what they were up against and knew how little of a chance they really had. These silly girls prancing about in Sailor fukus had no idea at all. They truly were pathetic.

Gazing upon them now, Kunzite knew that it was them who were to blame for the current situation. Zoisite would have been better off if they had never laid eyes upon any of the Senshi or their followers. Kunzite was finally beginning to understand why the people of Earth and the Moon could not get along. They had different ideals, different destinies.

Sleep was threatening to overcome him again. Kunzite requested that they leave him be, which they complied with. Naru pausing just once by the door, telling him to hang on and that they would rescue his lover. This would have made Kunzite laugh, if he weren't so tired. Hotaru added that Nephrite and Haruka would be back with the cure soon. Kunzite, in truth, no longer cared. Why should he? They were all dead anyway.

* * *

Jadeite cursed inwardly as he turned a corner and spotted Hotaru sitting outside Kunzite's bedroom door. The little girl looked up at his approach and smiled hopefully. Jadeite resisted the urge to take her in his arms and simply sat down on the empty chair beside her and asked how the older king was doing.

"He is sleeping" she replied, somewhat disappointedly at Jadeite's tone, "Naru-chan wanted to go and see if Nephrite-san was back yet."

"He's only been gone an hour" Jadeite chuckled. He was slightly envious of his comrade and couldn't help but wish he had a young woman waiting for him to return home. He glanced at Hotaru and then looked away again, ignoring the conflicting feelings inside of him.

"I'm worried" Hotaru confided, "Kunzite-san seems different... defeated almost."

Jadeite had been expecting this. "He cannot accept defeat. >From the little I saw, Beryl had pretty much overwhelmed him. He is the strongest of us all, probably stronger than all of us combined and Beryl overpowered him. Because he was defending Zoi-chan, Kunzite also feels as though he failed him."

"That doesn't sound like Kunzite-san to me" Hotaru wrinkled her nose, managing to look adorable at the same time.

Jadeite shook his head sadly, "We were all human once, granted we had our powers, but we were human. With Beryl's influence gone we are starting to become human again. Nephrite even bled red blood earlier. Humans have many different emotions. Even someone as cold and as uncaring as Kunzite feels things deep down."

"He also said we cannot win."

Jadeite did not know what to say to this. He and Nephrite both knew that the outcome was bleak. Beryl had control of the Earth, she had the Prince of Earth warming her bed each night and now she had Zoi-chan too.

"So it is true," Hotaru said softly. Jadeite did not try to deny this. What would be the point of feeding her false hopes? "Then the Silent Glaive will be the only option after all."

"Beryl's power is strong" Jadeite admitted, "Far stronger than all of ours but perhaps that is her weak point."

"She will begin to think of herself as invincible" Hotaru finished for him, "Maybe that will provide us with a chance to strike against her."

Jadeite held the gaze of the younger girl, seeing the same determination and love for the world that Sailor Moon had held in her eyes. Jadeite could never have forgotten that look. So much fire... Sailor Moon may have been a clumsy, crybaby but she had believed in the world she was fighting for.

Because I believe in the world that everyone tried to protect

Perhaps they too needed to believe. Suddenly the task ahead did not appear to be as daunting after all.

* * *

I must have blacked out, was Zoisite's realisation, as he slowly became aware of his surroundings once more. It was funny, but he did not recall losing consciousness. In fact, he didn't seem to be able to recall much of anything. He had been in the bedroom that he and Kunzite-sama had shared. Something happened in the bedroom... something bad. Zoisite's brows furrowed together in concentration as his aching mind tried to call up more hazed images, all were churning around in his head and adding to the constant headache raging through his skull. He attempted to bring a hand up to his face, to wipe the sleep from his eyes, but nothing happened. Instead he encountered a sharp pain jolting through his wrists. In addition to this was a burning sensation around his throat. Panic coursed through his body at this sudden inability to move and with that came the comprehension that his hands were pulled tightly behind his back and bound together. His first reaction to this was indignant anger. How dare someone tie him up like a mere Earthling! He was one of the great Shitennou! Of course the second reaction was fear. Zoisite could only use his magics through his hands and by binding them behind his back, the person who had done this to him obviously had to have known a fair bit about him and the powers he possessed.

Realising that outbursts would serve him little purpose other than to alert his captor to his consciousness, Zoisite instead focused his aching eyes on the room he was in. From his sideways view on the floor and the added fact that the room was dark, Zoisite couldn't really get a great idea of his whereabouts. The floor was cold, made of polished emeralds and Zoisite couldn't help but start to shiver. He wondered how long he had been lying here and how long it would be before Kunzite-sama came to rescue him.

"Kunzite-sama! Let me help you... I think... I think my powers are strong enough to win..."

"No! Just run. It's you she wants!"

Beryl... Zoisite's blood ran cold at this and the fact that the door had swung open upon the Queen's command. Uncontrollable terror gripped the youngest king as the demon Queen entered, her ruby red lips pulled back into a devilish smile as the room lit up with artificial lighting and Zoisite could finally see where he was. The knowledge of his whereabouts did nothing to comfort him. He was in her private chambers. Indeed he was lying beside the huge four-poster bed, a satin sheet covering it and clothing littered the floor, some of it Beryl's and some of it, Zoisite recognised as Prince Endymion's. He fought the urge to vomit at this, he would have gladly have stayed oblivious to such goings on.

"So you are awake," she stated, crossing the room to perch upon the end of the bed, her cold red eyes locking with fearful green ones, "I expect you are wondering why you are here?"

Zoisite struggled to right himself so he could at least face her sitting up. After several minutes (Beryl simply watched his attempts with something resembling amusement etched across her porcelain features) he succeeded and found, to his dismay, that he did not feel any the braver for doing so. In fact his fear heightened when Beryl slid off the bed and knelt down beside him, capturing his chin in a clawed hand.

Zoisite recoiled in disgust and fought furiously to free his chin from the vice like grip. Beryl chuckled and only tightened her hold on the youth. Instead he focused his energies into creating a small shard of ice in his left hand. With expert precision he brought it up with rub against his bonds. Slowly, Zoisite felt the ice do its work, slicing through the cord. Just a little more and he would be free.

"You are here because I wish for it. The powers you possess are strong and for that reason you must die. I cannot have a rival. You cannot be allowed to continue living, Serenity."

"I-I'm not Serenity."

"You finally summon the courage to speak and yet it is to deny what I already know to be true. I can recognise her energies flowing through your veins. She saved you from my wrath once before but will not do so again."

"How do you know that? How do you know that the second you lay a finger on me I won't destroy you?"

"Because as we speak there are Youma approaching your mansion hideaway. Tens of thousands of them to be precise. In an hour they will reach their destination. They have orders to kill all that dwell inside. The human race will perish with them and so will your lover."

Zoisite's blood ran cold when she accentuated this point by conjuring an image of the approaching Youma. So this was her plan all along... blackmail.

"I can call them off... if you cooperate that is."

"And then what? You will steal my powers and kill them after all. Even if I refuse, we both know I cannot fight you like this. Why force me to choose again?"

Beryl smirked, "So I can make your suffering as eternal as the powers that live inside of you."

"In that case you are the fool."

Beryl's smirk vanished as the ropes fell from his wrists and he leapt up, drawing a hand back and conjuring an ice dagger. The Queen froze in shock as the ice blade hurtled straight towards her chest.

* * *

Mamoru hurried along the silent corridors, grimacing at the loud tapping his boots made upon the polished black marble floor. How long had it been since Beryl left for the Earth realm? An hour? Or perhaps two? It was no matter. Yakaki had been willing enough to divulge the information and now awaited her Prince's instructions in what remained of Tokyo. There was no time for grieving over his lost youth or even his Princess. Mamoru knew what had to be done. He would atone for his wrongs and stop Beryl now.

He knew his way well enough. He had walked this path towards the Queen's bedchambers many a times and yet this was the first time that his stomach had been filled with a sickening dread. Usagi... Mamoru prayed that he wasn't too late to save the soul of his lover and the youngest of his court. Beryl's dark ambitions would never again be realised upon this Earth. As Prince Endymion and Chiba Mamoru, the young man knew it was his destiny to make it so.

The Prince pushed the door to her chambers open just as Zoisite let fly the deadly shard of ice. He stopped in shock but his entrance startled the younger man and his concentration wavered. The ice exploded inches from Beryl's chest, decorating her floor in crystal droplets. Beryl stumbled backwards, relief flickering in her red orbs before fury overwhelmed her.

"How dare you?" she screamed calling forth her own powers. Red light crashed into the guardian. He rocked backwards, striking the stone dresser. Zoisite fell down, his eyes fixed on Mamoru's face until he slowly slipped into unconsciousness, "Endymion..."

Being called by that name by the little man was enough to floor the stunned Prince. Mamoru fell down, the weight of the words pressing down between his shoulder blades and forcing him to his knees. Beryl to appeared startled before regaining her composure and stalking towards the king once more. Ignoring the entrance of Mamoru completely she knelt beside Zoisite, her staff poised.

"Queen Beryl-sama!" Mamoru finally found his voice, though his words came out in a choked whisper, as the Queen's staff glowed red and in seconds dark energies wrapped around the youngest king.

"Perhaps I will make him mine" she mused more to herself than to Mamoru, "Though he will need a complete reprogramming. That nasty temper did some damage before and I will not tolerate that kind of behaviour again."

"You don't need him" Mamoru protested weakly, "You have me, my Queen. You need no other."

"And what exactly have you accomplished since my glorious darkness covered the Earth? I order you to find the traitors and you fail. Then I order you to bring me the Holy Grail and again you fail me. Why should I listen to anything that you say?"

"Because my Queen, I love you." Mamoru cursed this as soon as the words passed his lips. Love was not something Beryl would tolerate in the Dark Kingdom. She had killed Zoisite before partly because she found out about his and Kunzite's love.

Yet his words had a profound effect upon the Queen. She ceased her magics and looked up sharply, hints of tears filling her eyes.

"You do?"

"Yes" and Mamoru hated himself for it. "You have no need for the traitor." He added softly.

Beryl nodded, stealing herself into complete calm, she uttered the spell and again the little king was bathed in energies, this time the flows were reversed. A soft river of pink light travelled from his body and into the staff in Beryl's hand.

"I do need his energy" she admitted, "I will drain him dry and teleport his body back to the Earth realm and to his lover."

"A good plan, my Queen but if I may suggest an even better one?"

"Continue."

"You could kill him in front of his lover, as you did before. I am sure Kunzite will not be able to take watching Zoisite die a second time. He will break, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you alone managed to melt his icy fašade."

Beryl liked this. Her face twisted into a contemptible sneer at the memory of seeing the two kings together. Aside from Endymion, the only man she had ever felt was worthy to share her bed was the first king of the Dark Kingdom. She did not love Kunzite as she did Endymion but it made perfect sense to both her and Queen Metallia that out of all her kings he should be the one with that honour. No, it had never been as Beryl had planned it. The Youma she had sent to Kunzite's quarters had reported back that the white haired man was taking pleasure from his younger student, Zoisite. Nothing could tempt the first king away from the Sakura whore. Beryl had sent him to work with countless beautiful Youma and even ordered him to stay for six months among the Earthlings and yet Kunzite had stayed loyal to the younger king. Beryl had considered ordering him to take her but what good would that do? She could not force a man to have sex with her. No, it had never been love and yet still it had humiliated her so.

She would take her revenge against both of them. After Zoisite was dead she would brainwash Kunzite once more and he would carry out the executions of Jadeite and Nephrite. Then she would strike back against Metallia and her dreams of becoming the supreme ruler of the Earth would be realised.

Beryl uttered the words and the pink river ceased. Taking back her staff, she gazed down at the little man. He had weakened. She could feel his strength ebbing from his body even as he lay there. He could well die before she had a chance to make him suffer. Spurred on by this thought, Beryl turned to her Prince and commanded that he stand guard over the king until she returned. She had to issue the new orders to her Youma troops. They would attack the mansion at dawn and kill all except for the kings.

When he was sure that she had gone, Mamoru knelt down beside his guardian. He was appalled at how pale Zoisite had become. Had Beryl drained too much of his energy? A quick mental probe did not confirm things either way and Mamoru, with his limited knowledge of such magics, was reluctant to try any further spells that might do him some harm or, even worse, alert Beryl to the happenings. No, he had to get Zoisite away from the Queen as soon as possible. This would prove a difficult task. Mamoru groaned softly as he scooped the older man up in his arms and nearly fell down with this added weight. Thankfully Zoisite had never been particularly well built and with some manoeuvring, Mamoru managed to get them both out into the corridor.

He winced at the sound of the door slamming shut but thankfully Beryl's Youma were nowhere in sight. Most probably in the Earth realm readying to attack the remaining kings, Mamoru thought uncomfortably. Now he was at a loss. The quickest way to disable Beryl would be to destroy Metallia before she had the chance to be free of the Dark Queen's powers. Of course Metallia was far stronger than Mamoru, even in his Prince Endymion form and Zoisite attacking the great ruler was out of the question. He could, Mamoru reasoned, take on Beryl. Perhaps she would be reluctant to attack her beloved Prince Endymion? But no, hadn't she killed him on the Moon when he refused to join her before? The best course of action would be to open a portal to the Earth and attempt to warn the other kings of Beryl's army. Yet, even this, presented a whole host of other problems. Mamoru could not risk opening a doorway to the Earth, lest he be discovered by Beryl. He doubted that she would be amused if she found out that he was trying to save Zoisite. Why was he saving the little king? Mamoru still recalled what Zoisite had done. All the years Mamoru's father had spent making agreements with the Celestial Court of the Moon Kingdom, all the years he had searched for the Shitennou only to have Zoisite and Kunzite ruin it with one night of lust. Deep down, Mamoru knew it was more. The Kunzite, he remembered, would never have made the decision lightly, Kunzite would never even have contemplated such an action had Mamoru not tried to force him into a loveless marriage. Gods, even at the end when Zoisite had tried to reason with his Prince, Mamoru had ordered him to forget his feelings. Feelings were not so easily vanquished, Mamoru knew. Serenity... Tsukino Usagi. He had taunted her Earth form in the beginning because he had always known that he loved her and that alone terrified him.

Shaking this off, Mamoru decided to make for his private quarters though, to his utter disgust, he couldn't recall ever using them more than once. Thankfully they were not very far away and Mamoru's aching arms finally gave way and he dropped the unconscious man down onto his bed. The young Prince slumped down beside him, heaving a sigh of relief before once more turning to Zoisite. He lay where he had fallen, his mouth slightly agape as he took short, quick breaths.

"Don't die" Mamoru whispered softly, recalling the blurred memories he still retained from the old kingdom. "We were close before... I want for us to overcome these difficulties and perhaps salvage our friendship. Don't die, Zoi-chan. Don't die."

"Endymion-sama?" he jumped when he heard the rap of the door. The raspy voice of Yakaki snapped Mamoru out of his thoughts/despairs. Had Queen Beryl returned already? Had she sent Yakaki to find them? Mamoru had been expecting this but not so soon. Steeling his voice into one of calm he enquired to know what it was that the Youma wanted.

"The traitor has escaped, Endymion-sama. Queen Beryl-sama is looking for him. She demands that I search your quarters."

Mamoru sighed, rubbing a hand through his hair, he made a choice. He quickly unbolted the door and ushered the Youma inside. Her coal black eyes widened when she saw the man in question lying across Mamoru's bed.

"Endymion-sama" Yakaki whispered, making no effort to hide her horror and fear at this, "Queen Beryl thinks that he has taken you hostage."

Mamoru struggled to suppress a snort of contempt at this. Did Beryl truly believe that? Obviously she would rather than face the truth that her beloved Endymion had turned against her.

"Zoi-chan and I..." Mamoru trailed off, wondering just how much to entrust the Youma with, "We go back a long way" he finished at last, "I do not believe in Beryl's tactics concerning him."

Yakaki nodded, keeping her head bowed she added, "I, too, believe that she goes too far. If I may, Endymion-sama, I would like to help you."

Mamoru acknowledged this with a nod of his head. Yakaki was a good Youma and a good servant. She would follow him no matter what the path he took.

"We need to open a portal," Mamoru said at length, struggling to think of a plan as the Youma looked expectantly at him for orders. "Of course now Beryl is looking for me I fear it shall be near impossible as she will recognise my energy patterns. Zoisite is too weak to help. You will go to the Earth realm and open a portal from that side. This way Beryl will not suspect to look for a portal coming in to the Dark Kingdom. Once we are safely through I need you to clear a path through the other Youma to Nephrite's mansion."

"There?" Yakaki asked hesitantly, "But thousands of Beryl-sama's servants approach. We will be delivering him into her hands once more."

"I can't let the others die!"

"Then let me take him. I'll find somewhere safe for him until you return, Endymion-sama."

Again Mamoru hesitated. He was not ready to entrust Yakaki with his best friend.

"I see" she lowered her gaze, "You fear that I might turn upon you."

"No" Mamoru snapped, "That is not it at all."

Yakaki nodded, "I understand. I shall retreat to the Earth realm and open a portal to hear as soon as I have reported to Beryl that you are nowhere to be found in your quarters and that I suggest we try looking at D Point as you seem to have headed that way."

Mamoru smiled, "Then let it be so."

Yakaki bowed, casting an eye over Zoisite once more before whispering, "Is it true? Eternal?"

"No" Mamoru lied without faltering once, "It is another of Beryl's fears taking her over. Eternal died that day a year ago."

"He showed me compassion and mercy when I tried to bring about his death. If someone like that... He has a great power, Endymion-sama."

Great power... Mamoru shook his head. That may be so but looking at Zoisite now he knew he was barely capable of standing let alone fighting.

"Mamoru" he replied softly, "Call me Mamoru."

* * *

"I don't like it" Haruka murmured, "It is too quiet."

Nephrite nodded in silent agreement, keeping his gaze fixed firmly in front of him. It was dark now. The best time to find Youma was at night but even so the auburn haired king was aware that they could be wandering around Tokyo for days before finding the Youma they sought.

"This is a waste of time" she added coldly, "Why risk so much for one life?"

Nephrite sighed; even he had hated the idea of ignoring the bigger problem of Beryl and going after Yakaki. He cursed Kunzite for not alerting him to his illness and then cursed himself for not knowing enough about Youma to guess.

"If that one life is lost, you will lose more than you think."

"Are you implying that Kunzite can persuade Zoisite to fight Beryl?" Haruka demanded sharply.

Nephrite shrugged, "Kunzite could talk Zoisite into anything" in a different life that was. And now? Who knew? Nephrite wasn't sure what to think. Zoisite could be dead by now. They had no idea what Beryl had planned for him. She probably wanted to eliminate another source of power and she... Nephrite stopped cold. That was it! Beryl wanted to use Zoisite to destroy Metallia! Then truly, Beryl would become the Queen of the Dark Kingdom and Earth! He halted, causing Haruka to walk into him.

"What now?" the Senshi hissed, exasperated, it would seem, with kings.

"We should turn back" Nephrite was torn between the will to continue on his present course and hurrying back to the others as soon as possible. If Beryl destroyed Metallia then she would have no one to keep a rein on her. Everything had changed.

"Nephrite-sama?" he whirled round as a shadow leapt out from the darkness. Without a thought Sailor Uranus called upon her powers. The orange ball slammed into the Youma, sending her sprawling back against a wall.

Nephrite shook his head, amused and frustrated by the Senshi's display. They would attack anything that moved without cause!

The second king walked towards where Yakaki lay, soaked in a pool of her own greenish blood. Her eyes showed a stunned disbelief and yet that was not what disturbed Nephrite, but rather the way she had said his name, not with contempt or fury but with respect and some desperation. Cursing Uranus's impulsiveness, Nephrite knelt down beside her. Yakaki's wounds were fatal. She would die soon.

"No... I must open the portal" her hand quivered and raised slightly before falling again uselessly at her side, "Mamoru-sama... forgive me..." She died, small tremors seizing her lithe form, even as Nephrite reached forward to help her.

"Mamoru?" Nephrite repeated, seizing her shoulders and shaking her "Why do you call him that?"

Yakaki did not reply, could not reply. She was too far gone for his words to reach her ears. Nephrite set her back down in the dirt, staring in dismay at the blood coating his hands. Behind him Sailor Uranus demanded to know if everything was ok.

"Fine" Nephrite stood. They had got what they had searched for... but at what price?

* * *

"This is unforgivable!"

Beryl winced at the tone in the demon's voice as she lowered herself humbly to the floor of the cavern whilst mentally cursing the creature before her.

"He has taken Endymion too. Without him I fear we cannot continue our strike against remaining kings and the meddlesome Senshi" Beryl added, and true all her forces were down on Earth leaving the Dark Kingdom open to attack.

"Fool!" Metallia screamed, "You are so blinded by your emotions that you do not see what is right in front of you! Endymion has regained his memories of the old kingdom and now attempts to save the traitor!"

"Impossible" Beryl stammered, "Endymion would never..."

"He would! They are all traitors, Beryl. I am the only one you can look too. You must find Zoisite and bring him before me. Then I shall use his energy to cleanse the world of all that oppose me. Bring him to me at all costs."

"A-And what of Endymion?"

Metallia's answer made Beryl's blood run cold, "I shall kill him."

"Y-you can't" those two little words were out of her mouth before Beryl could stop them. To this Metallia screamed in rage.

"You dare to tell me what I can and can't do? This is unforgivable!"

"M-my Queen. What I meant to say was..."

"What is this?" her attentions were now directed at the staff clenched tightly in Beryl's right hand. A whisper of power flickered out from the demon and wrapped around the wood, burning Beryl's flesh. She shrieked and dropped it.

"I can smell him all over you. What have you done?"

Beryl snatched the staff back up and lowered her gaze as Metallia continued.

"I turn a blind eye to your relations with Prince Endymion only because, as powerful as you may be, you are still only human but this... just how many men do you need to warm your bed? Need I remind you that it was I who repaired your battered a broken body that day a year ago? That it was my infusion with your soul that made the Dark Kingdom what it is today? You will find them immediately! I will accept no more excuses!"

Beryl nodded and fled the chambers. Never before had Metallia been so enraged. Still... Beryl shuddered; she would be more so if she had guessed the real reason for Zoisite's aura to around her. What she said about Endymion... it could not be true? Endymion would never betray her. He loved her! Beryl snarled, Metallia would pay for this! Beryl would find Zoisite herself and drain every drop of magical power from his body and then Metallia would be begging her for mercy!


The End of Chapter 15 - Goto Chapter 16


Disclaimer: Once again I own nothing - if I did I would not be here but making my ficcies into anime, something that will sadly never happen *cries*


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