The Four Points

Chapter Sixteen: Whose Side Are You Truly On? The Outer Senshi's Choice

© 2006 by Shari


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Kunzaito-sama! It's pulling me under!

It was how this had all started. He could still feel the sands pulling him under. He could feel it entering his mouth as he screamed, pouring down his throat and into his eyes and ears. It was how it began. He still felt it now, even as his consciousness returned. The sands still had him in their grasp. Beryl was the sand. She was pulling him under once more and this time not even Kunzite-sama could save him.

"Zoisite?"

He flinched at the voice in his ear. Rolling onto his side, he buried his face in a silk pillow, not even reacting to the hand on his shoulder.

"Zoisite?" he was flipped onto his back, still keeping his eyes firmly closed until the voice added in a hesitant whisper, "Zoi-chan?"

Zoisite opened his eyes and locked gazes with the Prince of the Dark Kingdom. Without willing it, an ice blade appeared in his left hand but even that effort seemed to tax his strength and thus Endymion was, with ease, able to prize the weapon away from his aching fingertips. Endymion hurled it across the room where it connected with the wall and promptly shattered. At that same moment, Zoisite spurred on by intense fury, conjured another and leapt up from the bed. The two men fell, striking the floor with a painfully loud thud as each struggled for the upper hand.

"Zoi-chan, stop this" Endymion grasped hold of Zoisite's wrist and twisted. The younger man shrieked and dropped this new weapon. The Prince sprang up, knocking Zoisite back down; he clamped a gloved hand over his mouth. Zoisite snarled and bit him but Endymion refused to let him go.

"Zoi-chan" Endymion hissed, "Be quiet! Do you want to give us both away?"

Then the rage subsided. It disbursed as quickly as it had come and with it came another array of emotions; fear, pain, regret.

He called me Zoi-chan.

Zoisite ceased struggling and stared up into the kind pair of blue eyes staring back at him. Slowly the hand over his mouth was removed.

"Mamoru-sama?" Zoisite tested the name and was rewarded with another smile from the younger man.

"The ginzuishou healed me," Mamoru explained. "Beryl did not even suspect that it would and I was able to get you away."

"Why? Why risk her wrath for me?"

"You were my friend and my guardian back in the old kingdom, no matter what happens you'll always be one of my guardians. I couldn't let her... she wants your powers."

Zoisite ignored this and said instead, "I don't remember anything about that time. I only know what Sailor Pluto showed me. I don't know what to think anymore." And true, Zoisite did not. Did he hate the Prince? He stared hard at Mamoru. Yes, a part of him did hate him, but the bonds that had kept Zoisite at Endymion's side still remained. He had no choice but to obey him.

Mamoru smiled, "I know. Beryl wiped all your memories of our kingdom in order to control you. She did the same to me but the ginzuishou restored them, but that is not important now. I am sure Beryl will have heard us and will be here soon. We must find somewhere to hide."

"Hide?" Zoisite echoed, "Why not open a portal?"

"We cannot. If Beryl senses our magics... I have a Youma in the Earth realm. She will open a portal for us..." Mamoru's eyes darkened, "Or so she said... she is already late."

"You can't trust the Youma" Zoisite stood, as he did so the room seemed to spin. He moaned softly and stumbled back down, wincing at the added pain in his wrist.

"Let me see" Mamoru grasped his left hand loosely in his own, "Luckily it's not broken... I'm sorry, Zoi-chan."

"Me too" the youngest king indicated the bloodied gloved hand wrapped around his own and he was startled when he realised that he actually meant it.

Mamoru smiled, "It is no matter. We must go."

"I-I'm not sure I can."

"Yes you can, I'll help you." Mamoru moved to wrap an arm around Zoisite, to haul him to his feet but the man shied away from this.

"What are you so afraid of?" he asked.

Zoisite lowered his gaze. "Nothing."

"Then let me help you."

"No"

"She will kill you."

Zoisite shrugged, all the doubts, every tiny fear was bubbling to the surface once more, mixed into his fatigue and pain. "What else is left now? It will always be there. She will always be there. No matter what I do I will always have this inside of me! I can't fight... I can't return to Kunzite-sama like this! I have nothing!"

With this admission, he felt a tear roll down his cheek and this horrified him. Zoisite did not want Endymion to see him so weak. He turned, crouched on the carpeted floor, his back facing the young Prince as he continued to weep. Kunzite-sama... was his lover even alive? It did not matter anymore. He would die. The Youma army would kill him.

"Zoi-chan?" he felt a hand on his back, as Mamoru knelt down beside him, "Please don't do this. I can help you, if you'll let me."

"First you want to kill me and now you want to help me? How can I trust you? I may not remember how you treated me but I saw it. I saw the disgust in your eyes. You must dirty your hands by even touching me! You became your father, Mamoru-san. If anything, you disgust me!"

The hand withdrew. "You are tired" no anger in his voice, only sadness, "Get some rest. I will -"

"Endymion!"

Mamoru froze, fear and horror registering in his eyes, as he heard her voice echoing throughout the room moments before she appeared. A red light lit up the dark room before it slowly shrunk and obtained a form.

"Beryl" Mamoru whispered, too shocked to move until her greedy gaze settled on his guardian.

"Zoi-chan, run!" Mamoru commanded, before hurling a red rose at the furious Queen. She disintegrated it with a thought.

"So, it is true. You have turned against me and you hide Eternal too,"

Her staff glowed and a beam of red light shot out and struck Mamoru in the chest, he gasped in pain and sprawled back across the floor, his head struck stone.

"Endymion-sama!" he heard Zoisite cry out as the demon lunged forwards, wrapping a hand around Zoisite's throat. The little king clawed against her, shrieking as her grip tightened.

Beryl stood, pulling him up with her. Zoisite gagged as his feet left the floor.

"Look at me" she implored, using her free hand to grasp the young man's chin, "Look at me!"

Zoisite screamed again, as he felt her magics wrapping around his mind once more, draining away his life force. He squeezed his eyes closed and the intrusion was cut off.

"Look at me!" Beryl whirled around and threw him against the door. It groaned as the rusted hinges gave way. Mamoru saw his chance. Beryl was distracted. He let fly another rose, this one striking home. Beryl screamed as it embedded itself in her stomach. Tearing at the flower she crashed to her knees. The young Prince pushed passed the Queen and knelt down beside his semi-conscious guardian. Ignoring Zoisite's protests, he hauled the king to his feet and started to drag him down the corridor, away from Beryl's cries.

"Endymion!" the demon Queen screamed, raising a shaking and blood soaked hand towards the Prince, "Endymion... unforgivable, unforgivable, UNFORGIVABLE!"

* * *

When Nephrite and Uranus returned to the manse he was met by Naru and Sailor Neptune. The Senshi greeted her partner with a kiss on the lips and Naru quickly embraced Nephrite before enquiring to know how it went.

"Well we got it" Uranus grinned devilishly, as she held up a glass vile filled with a greenish liquid. Naru shuddered and turned away.

"I wouldn't want to drink that."

Nephrite to admit his stomach turned at the thought but did not voice this to Naru, "How is he?" he asked instead.

"No change" came the reply.

"Was he rude to you?"

"He's grieving"

Nephrite scowled, he was getting pretty sick of the icy bastard routine and was determined to do something about this.

"We have another issue" Sailor Neptune stated quietly, "Youma."

"Youma?"

"Hundreds, possibly thousands. They are all banding together in the surrounding countryside. Guess where they're headed?"

"Here?"

Neptune nodded, "We knew it would happen. Beryl, now she knows of our hideout is not going to let us live for very long. The Youma will reach us by dawn."

Naru flinched at these words, "What do we do, Nephrite-sama?"

Nephrite, in all honesty, had no idea. If they stayed and fought the Youma they would die, but if they went to the Dark Kingdom to free Zoisite then they would leave Naru and the others open to attack. Zoisite had to be dead, Nephrite reasoned, yet deep down he felt that this was not true. He met Naru's adoring gaze and answered that they should give Kunzite the antidote first and then deal with the approaching Youma.

The Senshi left them as Nephrite hurried up the stairs to Kunzite's room. Hotaru was still seated outside. She too left as Nephrite approached. He pushed open the door, signalling to Naru that she should wait outside, as he entered the room. Jadeite was present in the room itself, seated by the bed with a book. He looked up when Nephrite joined him at the bedside.

"Kunzite?" he shook the older man. Slowly he opened his eyes. Nephrite was genuinely shocked at the appearance of the first king.

The man lying upon the bed gave off an aura of despair, matched with his usual coldness. He was paler still and shook as it took a huge effort for him to even open his eyes to stare at Nephrite.

"You return" he stated softly.

"We found the Youma" Nephrite indicated the vile, "You need to drink this."

"Why?"

"So you will get well."

Kunzite shook his head, "We are all dead anyway."

To this the auburn haired king slammed the vile down on the bedside table and hissed, "Why are you being like this?"

Kunzite gave no reply to this question, but Nephrite did not either need or expect one. He knew what was eating away at their leader's soul. He knew the hopelessness of the situation. Nephrite also knew that he would gladly die if it meant that he could take Beryl and everyone of her servants with her.

"Do you have no honour?" he added, allowing a hint of sadness into his voice, "Do you really hate this world?"

This did provoke a reaction. Kunzite's eyes narrowed in a mixture of despair and fury and Nephrite caught a glimpse of the man he had been before.

"Zoisaito always said that you were a fool, Nephrite. He was right. What do you expect of me? Do you really believe all this nonsense and talk of saving the world? This world is nothing. You used to laugh at the thoughtless little humans and their pathetic and meaningless lives. Humans were all trusting fools. It used to give you pleasure when they fawned all over your alias. You used to laugh at the little schoolgirl's attempts to win your heart. You hated Zoisite because he could see you for what you really were: cold, heartless, callous, ambitious, and a coward who took pleasure from seducing minors. You are also a fool. What makes this world so special? You hated it as much as I did. What is worth saving at the cost of your own life? When are you going to wake up? We are the villains as much as Beryl and Endymion."

Nephrite was too stunned to reply at these words. A part of him wanted to lash out but he knew these words to be true and it shook his resolve. Was Kunzite right? Who was Nephrite to suddenly start caring about the fate of a barren land? No matter what the outcome, the atrocities that had taken place would never be undone. The Senshi would not be reborn this time. Naru's family would still be dead. Why bother to fight this? What would more meaningless deaths achieve?

"You know" Jadeite spoke, reminding Nephrite that the blond was still in the room, "There is nothing more degrading than self-pity. Now you can stay here and wait to be torn apart by the approaching Youma or you can drink the fucking antidote and once more become the leader we all were hoping you'd be. You say there is nothing in the world to fight for, but you are wrong. You have Zoi-chan to think about. How will he feel when we break into the Dark Kingdom to rescue him and he learns that you have been lying here feeling sorry for yourself? If you want to salvage what little relationship you have left with him then you'd better start getting your act together. I know Zoisite better than you think."

"No, you don't. If you truly knew him then you'd know that he'd realise how hopeless this is."

"Then think about this. I know you love him, no matter how cold you can be; I know you feel things just as deeply as anyone else. Where do you think your love for Zoisite came from? It certainly wasn't the Dark Kingdom. That love has been with you since the old Earth Kingdom. It has survived your soul's infusion with Metallia and it has survived death and rebirth again. Humans may be a weak race, but in some ways they are by far our superiors. If you want to die, then stay. We will be breaking into the Dark Kingdom at dawn. We will leave the antidote here. If you change your mind... well we would be glad to have your support. If not, then stay here and be ripped to shreds for all I care. You are not the man I was proud to call my superior anymore."

Jadeite left, leaving the remaining kings stunned into speechlessness. Nephrite had never once picked Jadeite for his leadership abilities and yet, in Kunzite's absence, Nephrite found himself quite willing to follow his once inferior king. Jadeite's outburst was enough to allow Nephrite to gather together his thoughts that had been thrown into turmoil by Kunzite's harsh words. The first king was behaving like his student! It was about time he started to face his responsibilities. So he had failed Zoisite before, they all had. Beryl had overpowered them. That could not be helped, but now they had a chance to even the score. If Zoisite was dead, then Nephrite knew that he would join Jadeite in avenging his death and if he lived then he would fight to the death, if need be, to rescue the younger king. Kunzite was wrong, Nephrite had honour. He was one of the four heavenly kings of the Earth Kingdom. The devil had captured both his peer and his Prince and they were going to fight to get them back.

* * *

When Jadeite reached the lobby, he found Haruka and Michiru handing out weaponry to the humans that they had rescued from Tokyo a year ago. Even Umino was wielding a small dagger and wore armour taken from the basement of Nephrite's mansion. On seeing the king's entrance, the young man stepped shyly up to the blond and requested to be informed of the best technique to kill a Youma. Jadeite shook his head slightly; he did not have the heart to tell the boy that his only hope lay in the safe return of Zoisite and Endymion. Instead he told the boy to cut off its head and watch out for its poison unless he wanted to end up like their leader.

As Umino murmured his thanks and disappeared into the throngs of people, Nephrite appeared beside Jadeite once more.

"You really gave him a talking to back there," he muttered as they heeded Haruka's gesture for them to join her and Michiru in the adjourning kitchen.

Jadeite half smiled at this, "Someone had too."

"Do you think it worked?"

"I hope so. As much as I hate to admit it, we need Kunzite's help if we're going to be able to save Zoi-chan."

"If he's even strong enough to fight."

Jadeite nodded grimly, "We may not be able to hold Beryl off for long but perhaps it will give Zoi-chan a chance to..."

"To what?"

"I don't know. To end this, I suppose?"

"Do you think he will?"

"No."

"He has too" Haruka broke in harshly, "And when we reach the Dark Kingdom we shall make him understand this."

Jadeite and Nephrite exchanged glances. The blond king had been afraid of this. Nephrite had informed him of what had happened with the Youma, Yakaki, She had known something... she had called Endymion, Mamoru. She had known to call him by that name and before Nephrite could coax more information from her, Haruka had cut her down without any questions being asked. It had been the same with Hotaru. Professor Tomoe had died because of the Senshi's intervention. For this reason, Jadeite knew that he did not want them anywhere near Zoisite or the Dark Kingdom.

His opinion on this matter was met with fury and protests.

"You need us" Haruka snapped, "What can the two of you accomplish alone?"

"We know Beryl. We know her weaknesses. The three of us can get to her and hopefully catch her off guard."

"The three of you?"

Jadeite was about to reply when Hotaru stepped between them. Her violet eyes were moist with unshed tears as she stood before them all.

"When are you going to learn the lesson that Usagi's death should have taught us?" she whispered, "Fighting doesn't solve anything. Usagi was not a warrior, just a frightened schoolgirl burdened with a destiny that she had no control over. Look at us! Look what we've become! Haruka-san, Michiru-san! I know you weren't killers before. You're the same as Usagi! You didn't want this! I know you want to save the world, but this is not just your fight! You have to decide whose side you are truly on. It is the only way forward! The only way we can begin to understand each other."

"The only way" Michiru repeated. "Then so be it. We will remain here and try to defend what is left of the human race."

"And I too" Hotaru nodded, "If all else fails, we will need the power of my Silent Glaive. That is my burden. That is the burden each Senshi must carry."

"What of Zoisite's powers?" Haruka demanded, "Will he allow Usagi's death to go to waste?"

Jadeite had no answer to give and it was not his place. Zoisite would have to decide for himself, it he still lived, as the Senshi had done. Though at the back of Jadeite's mind there was this nagging feeling that if Hotaru was willing to lay down her life and use the Silent Glaive then how could his fellow king do anything less?

All power had its price... Jadeite only wondered if it was a price that any of them were willing to pay.

* * *

Deep in her cavern, Metallia stirred as she heard Beryl's rage echoing around the kingdom. Such a foolish woman... to think that her mistress did not see through her plans. Metallia could sense his power... the only power capable of stopping her now. So she slipped from her resting place. Her dark energies melting into the very foundations of the kingdom as the Youma scattered in wild panic. She silenced them with her kiss of dark magics. There would be no witnesses to her betrayal. Beryl's blindness would be her undoing. She would take the form of her Queen and once she had entered into the physical plane... nothing would stop her from taking control of the Earth.

* * *

I know you love him, no matter how cold you can be

Jadeite's words continuingly echoed in Kunzite's head, even after the blond had exited the room. This angered him, especially as Kunzite realised that the man's words had got through to him in a way he had never thought. Indeed he felt tears prickling his eyes as he held the vile of green liquid in one hand. His grip was weak and the glass shook dangerously. Without this he would die. Kunzite frowned. Death was preferable to what Beryl would do to him if she ever got her claws into him again. Yet even this thought was not the source of Kunzite's misery. He now knew the true depths of his suffering. He recalled that scream echoing around the kingdom. He recalled the pain of having to remain strong as Zoisite slipped away. He had hated himself for it and though Zoisite had been glad that he had been so strong, it did not make the pain lessen. Kunzite knew he could not watch Zoisite die again. He had withstood the grief once and in the end it had consumed him. It was better to believe that Zoisite had already died than to journey once more into hell. Kunzite could not bear it if he was too late.

What would Zoisite think?

Jadeite had been right again. The ever-insecure little Sakura would probably think that Kunzite had abandoned him, did not want to save him. That prospect was, in a sense, even worse. Yet how could they hope to kill Beryl? Kunzite was drained magically. He dared not fight again or... death did not scare him. He had welcomed it once before and would do so again.

I am happy, for I shall die in your arms.

Death had terrified Zoisite and he spent his last breath telling Kunzite how much he loved him. If he was dead, Kunzite knew he would have to see it with his own eyes. Zoisite... if he had to watch his lover die again then he would make sure that the person responsible would suffer.

Kunzite raised the vile to his lips, downing the blood in a single gulp, not even flinching at the acidic burning in his throat or the bitter after taste that this left in his mouth. Even this small effort taxed his strength. Despite himself, Kunzite felt his eyelids growing heavy once more. Sleep would claim him for now. It was awhile until dawn...

* * *

Nephrite stood alone on the balcony, staring up at the hundreds of stars that dotted the black landscape. Beryl might have conquered Earth, but even she could never take away the beauty of the heavens. The stars gave Nephrite comfort, and for the first time in his life he did not seek their advice on the coming battle. The auburn haired king could picture it in his minds eye. They could not win and Nephrite was not expecting them too. All he wanted was enough time to get a hold of Endymion and Zoisite and bring them back. Nephrite almost laughed to himself at this. He was not as na´ve to think that Beryl would allow them to escape to easily. They could all, possibly, die tomorrow. Yet that was not important right now.

Naru stood hesitantly by the open balcony doors. Her face was cast downwards, but even so Nephrite could see the small tremors racking her body and the tears sliding down her cheeks. She would not ask him to stay, that he knew. Naru knew he had to go. It was what they were reborn for and Nephrite did not intend to allow Tsukino Usagi's death to be a waste. He would fight. Naru knew this and silently stepped up to him and curled her arms around his back as they embraced. No words were needed as they held each other, saying a silent goodbye under the stars.


The End of Chapter 16 - Goto Chapter 17


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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