A Narrow Escape

(Tears of Crystal - Pt.1)

© 1997/2006 by Stayka deyAvemta

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Queen Beryl was furious, even though she didn't show it much outwardly. How could this insubordinate King dare try to kill her beloved Prince Endymion? She explicitely had demanded that he be returned unharmed - and there he was, mortally wounded by one of Zoisite's ice crystals.

It was a kind of disobedience she couldn't allow, lest others of her subjects followed suit. Furthermore Endymion was hers, since the time of the Silver Millennium, and she wouldn't allow anyone to stand between her and her Prince.

"Zoisite, are you prepared to die?"

The delicate figure standing before her met her gaze with horror, obviously realizing that this time he had dared too much.

"I have only one request - please give me another chance..."

"What for? You have opposed my orders - you have tried to kill Tuxedo Kamen."

"But I..."

"You do not believe you can cheat Queen Beryl, do you?"

Kunzite followed the dialog with growing terror. It appeared as if Queen Beryl wanted to make an example of Zoisite. He remembered the look of horror on Jadeite's face when he was frozen in eternal sleep and encased in crystal to warn everyone to fail the Queen. Beryl started to wave her hands in a certain pattern to conjure up the deadly energies.

Suddenly Kunzite felt something break deep inside, and he realized that somehow Beryl's hold on him was replaced by the fierce resolve to save his beloved. Without further thought he invoked a teleport field that surrounded both Zoisite and him, and they both dissolved just as the deadly blast went through the place where Zoisite had stood only a second before.

They materialized in Kunzite's home, where the silver-haired man pulled Zoisite in a tight embrace. Tears flowed down the face of the younger man, and he shook violently.

"She actually would have killed me," he sobbed.

"Shhh, little rat." Kunzite held him close and stroked his coppery golden hair. "I won't allow anyone to harm you." He took a deep breath. "Unfortunately this means we should make a run now as fast and far from here as possible," he sighed. "I can imagine that Queen Beryl is completely beside herself with rage, and she is more powerful than even both of us combined."

"But where can we go?" Zoisite wiped the tears from his face. There were matters of greater importance now than wallowing in self-pity.

"Good question. I would suggest the Earth Realm for starters - and we should move pretty fast at that, as I fear Beryl will send at least a small army of youma after us."

"Okay, then let's get some things packed," Zoisite pulled out of his embrace and looked for a bag where he could put the stuff he didn't want to leave.

Kunzite watched him lovingly. That was what he admired in Zoisite - the ability to put his mind to the things of importance with a fierce determination when it counted, even though he had been in a completely different mood only a moment before. Kunzite started to throw some stuff into a bag, too. Unfortunately he had to leave quite a bit of his things as they were too unwieldy, such as his numerous books on magickal techniques.

"I will keep the house sealed with a self-sustaining version of the teleport ward you discovered," Kunzite announced. "If we're lucky no one will be able to break in, and we can fetch the rest of our things later."

"Later? You mean after we have found a way to kill Queen Beryl?"

"Exactly. I only wish we had worked harder on the plan to get rid of her before."

"It's no good to brood over things not done," Zoisite remarked. "I'm ready. - What about you?"

"The same." As last piece he took up the picture of him and Zoisite and stowed it in the bag. He didn't want to leave it behind as it had taken quite a while to get it right. Kunzite smiled at the memory of how many attempts the youma Oniwabandana had needed until Zoisite was at least halfway satisfied with the result. With a glance towards his beloved he opened a doorway to the Earth Realm.

Kunzite decided to point it to the area they were most familiar with and where the energy emissions of others might obscure their trace - Tokyo. Admittedly, he didn't care to run into the Sailor Senshi at all, but if Beryl sent any youma in pursuit of him and Zoisite, the probability was high that the Senshi would discover them and take care of the youma before they even reached their objective.

They went through the doorway and appeared in the town. It was dark down there.

Zoisite looked around and grimaced. "It seems our timing was less then perfect," he sighed while he levitated next to his bag.

"I can't agree more." Kunzite looked around. "I'd say first we should try to find some place to stay," he suggested. "Although where to start I honestly don't know."

Kunzite felt completely at a loss, and he didn't like it at all. Until now he had considered the Earth Realm only as a viable source for the energy their great ruler demanded, or as a battlefield between him and these annoying Sailor Senshi. He became aware that he hadn't wasted even one thought on the people here and why and how they lived.

Especially the how would be of major interest if they wanted to hide on Earth until they could retaliate. Maybe Nephrite had a point when he built up his secret Earth identity.

"Zoisite," he began. "You have been around here more often than I - do you have any idea where we could stay at least tonight?"

Zoisite made a face. "Actually there is one place that should be vacant right now - Nephrite's mansion in the forest. But I must warn you - the decorators must have been on strike when he wanted to furnish the house. Can you imagine - there's absolutely nothing in there!" At least that was true for the hall that Nephrite used to consult the stars, and Zoisite didn't see much more of the house during his visits to taunt the now deceased King.

"I can imagine it. Nephrite had always been weird, although it was you who finally drove him over the edge."

Zoisite looked perfectly innocent. "But all I did was make a little fun of him! Besides killing him, I mean."

"Besides that, yes", Kunzite chuckled.

They teleported to the remote mansion. It was hidden in a dense forest and looked like an odd cross between a large house and a cathedral.

"It's warded, of course," Zoisite declared, "but not very aptly." Actually the wards were rather good, but during his short intermezzo as Nephrite's student he had had the opportunity to analyze them so that he could circumvent them later on. Much to Nephrite's chagrin it had never been a problem for Zoisite to appear right in the middle of the mansion anytime he wished and annoy the hell out of him.

Strange, Zoisite thought, sometimes he missed the second of the Kings - as much as he had disdained him, Nephrite had been such a wonderful victim. He swore to himself that - should he ever find another nice toy like Nephrite - he would keep it a bit longer to prolong the fun of torturing it.

"Well, let's get in," Kunzite said.

The main part of the mansion was a single, empty hall with multicoloured windows that could have adorned any church. Kunzite looked around. Hm. If he was honest, he hadn't imagined the house being that empty.

"Did I mention that I think Nephrite was weird?" He shook his head. "Is here at least a bathroom with a shower in the house? If not, I'd say tomorrow we should go and find something more suitable."

"We haven't checked the outer wings, and there's still the second floor. I suggest we should renovate the mansion. Queen Beryl doesn't know of its existence as far as I know, and she couldn't locate Nephrite when he was here."

"That might be an option," Kunzite agreed. He only hoped they would find a bathroom. How could he maintain his perfect appearance without being able to wash his hair? The shining silvery white colour did not come from nothing.

Zoisite started to giggle. "Well, if Nephrite slept here on the ground then it's no wonder he always saw stars."

"I always thought it was the result of all the wine and liquor he drank," Kunzite laughed. He suddenly became aware that he had never before felt so free in his life. When he listened into himself he couldn't find anything left of the compulsion that had bound him to Queen Beryl before. Maybe that was why true emotions were frowned upon by the Queen - they threatened her hold on her subjects.

He swept a surprised Zoisite in his arms and whirled him around. "I love you, my little rat," he whispered. Zoisite chose not to answer verbally but kissed him passionately.

"Let's try to find a place where we can stay for the rest of the night," Kunzite said when he had regained his breath.

"Good idea." They left their bags in the hall and began to explore the mansion. Much to their relief there were livable rooms in the other parts of the building including a bathroom. The furnishings reminded them of the usual décor in the Dark Kingdom.

"Kunzite-sama," Zoisite looked expectantly up to him. "I'd love to redecorate the whole house - what do you think?"

"Then do it. - But tomorrow, will you?" He gently stroked Zoisite's neck. "Although I'll make an exception with the bedroom."

Kunzite invoked his powers and transformed the interior of the room to make it look like the bedroom they had left behind. He refused to sleep in Nephrite's bed, and he was sure Zoisite agreed with him, even though it was a more taxing magickal work than conjuring for example a rose. Thinking of roses... He smiled and created a perfect blossom that he gave his beloved.

Zoisite returned a blissful smile and snuggled closer to him.

"Let's go to sleep, little rat. I fear tomorrow we will have quite a lot to think about and to do."

"You're right." Zoisite concentrated and called their bags to him. The luggage appeared in a sphere of reddish energy and landed only a step away from them. "And now..." He used his levitation skills to transport them into bed.

* * *

To say that Queen Beryl was furious when Kunzite disappeared with Zoisite was more than only a slight understatement. It was a miracle that she didn't tear her palace apart with the energies she invoked through her orb and that she used to fry the foremost rows of her underlings who stood in attention in the throne room.

Suddenly the presence of Queen Metallia called to her, and she hurried to the hall where the still half asleep entity resided. The large room was eerily illuminated by stray energies emitted from the deadly, malevolent being who was the true ruler of the Dark Kingdom.

Beryl kneeled in front of the cocoon from which the reddish sheen emanated.

"My great ruler, what is it that you wish?"

"Don't squander precious energy in useless outrage," Beryl was reprimanded by Metallia. "You will save Endymion now or bear the consequences. He might be of great use to us."

A wave of agony searing through Beryl reminded her that there was actually one being far superior in power to her. She put on a properly chastened mien. "I hear and obey, Queen Metallia."

Beryl hurried to the room where she had left Endymion in the stasis chamber. He was barely held alive by the dark energy she had poured into him. Beryl still wondered how Kunzite had managed to break through her enchantment which should have sealed him to her and the Dark Kingdom for all eternity, and she swore that Endymion would never get the chance after she was finished with him.

It certainly was all Zoisite's fault, she mused. The young man somehow had managed to defy her all along - not in big ways, but the way he had slightly varied orders she had given him, shown open disrespect in questioning her commands while Nephrite was still alive.

Actually, when he killed Nephrite, it hadn't been completely to her liking either. It definitely wasn't a good idea to discard the most powerful tools one had before they fulfilled their usefulness to the last.

She could go on and on in her list, and she wondered why she left him alive at all. And now he had even corrupted her strongest minion, Kunzite!

Beryl frowned. When she was finished with Endymion she could send him to retrieve the fugitive Kings. After a brainwashing they might even become usefool tools again. She smiled evilly. After she had punished them properly, of course. It would be a pleasure to break Zoisite.

* * *

"Why?" Zoisite asked curiously. He had been awake for quite a while now and pondered over the events of the day before. There was one thing he didn't understand.

"Hm - what?" Kunzite yawned. It was so early in the morning. Absently he stroked Zoisite's back.

"Why did you save me? By doing this you sacrificed your rank, your status - everything." Zoisite could very well remember when Kunzite told him that he didn't need any rivals for power, and that he would have killed him without thinking, if he stood in his way.

There was a long pause. 'Good question', Kunzite thought. It had just been the right thing to do, and the thought of losing Zoisite was unbearable. Not even the greatest amount of power would make up for this. "It was... I can't imagine my life without you anymore," he finally said.

of Kunzite and Zoisite enjoing themselves by Stayka

The truth of this statement surprised him as much as it did Zoisite who stared at him in wonder. This was definitely the sweetest remark Kunzite had ever made. He curled up in his arms and enjoyed the feeling of security and warmth that spread through him. For a while they merely relished in their closeness until they let passion rule again.

"Isn't it wonderful," Zoisite said some time later. "No calls from Queen Beryl at the most improper moments!"

Kunzite chuckled. "That's true. - But we should get up anyway. Didn't you want to redecorate the house? And we still should try to get our hands on the silver crystal. With it we could not only get rid of Queen Beryl, but take care of the Senshi as well, and then we would have the Dark Kingdom and the Earth Realm in our hands."

"Sounds good to me." Zoisite tried to untangle the worst knots in his mass of coppery golden curls with his fingers. "Why do you have to mess up my hair that badly every night?" he sighed. "Tomorrow I'll braid it," he threatened.

"You've tried that already," Kunzite grinned and disappeared in the bathroom. Zoisite gazed after him before he dug the brush out of his bag and worked on the tangles.

When Kunzite came back, he was already clad in the usual grey uniform. Zoisite shook his head. "If we want to stay a little longer in the Earth Realm we had better dress accordingly," he said. "Just wait for me to shower, then we can figure out something nice to wear for you."

As Zoisite returned, Kunzite couldn't help but stare. Zoisite wore tight white jeans and a matching jacket, and his hair flowed loosely down his back like a cascade of liquid fire.

of Zoisite by Stayka

"Well, what do you think?" he asked and turned around.

"You look stunning." Kunzite admired him duly. Without the uniform and his hair tied back, Zoisite looked even more effeminate than usual, but more beautiful as well. "And what would you suggest for me?"

After some attempts they settled on a similar outfit for Kunzite. His was in black, though, to set off the silvery white colour of his hair.

"You look wonderful," Zoisite declared. "Now let's jump into the city that I can show you off."

Kunzite laughed. "Actually this was what I had in mind with you, too. By the way, you still have the black crystal, do you?"

"Of course. Although I'll have to re-adjust it to find the silver crystal. Beryl tuned it to locate the rainbow crystals, but as you know they aren't the issue anymore."

"Well, we can do that later." Kunzite opened a doorway leading into the city and held out his hand to Zoisite who took it. "Now I want to take a closer look at the Earth Realm."

* * *

Mizuno Ami - otherwise known as SailorMercury - was just on the way to cram school when she noticed a couple that attracted quite a lot of attention. The man was handsome, tall and silver-haired while his companion was an angelic beauty with flowing coppery golden hair.

Ami squinted her eyes and peered closer at them. Could that be? They did look a lot like Kunzite and Zoisite, but somehow she couldn't imagine them on a stroll through the city - especially when the last time she saw them was only a day ago, when Zoisite stabbed Tuxedo Kamen with one of his ice crystals and Kunzite teleported them away - and certainly not in civilian clothes and appearing as if they were a pair of turtle doves.

Anyway, Zoisite couldn't be that beautiful lady, could he? He was a guy after all, albeit a very effeminate looking one. On the other hand he did dress as SailorMoon, too, and even managed to deceive Tuxedo Kamen.

Ami slipped in a corner and changed into SailorMercury. Now she could turn on her visor that came with the Senshi outfit and take another look. Unfortunately the result of the scan was the same - she just stumbled into the two remaining Dark Kings who recognized her in the same instant. Maybe she should have stayed in her normal persona, she thought wryly, the Sailor outfit was a bit too well known.

Immediately after Zoisite had discovered SailorMercury, he lifted his arm and prepared to attack her with a blast of energy, but Kunzite caught his hand.

"Don't! Remember - they might be useful for our plans." He kissed Zoisite's fingertips.

SailorMercury watched the display open-mouthed. Plans? What did Kunzite talk about?

"I have decided to let you live a little longer," the silver-haired King said generously. "Currently we have things of greater importance to attend to." He opened a doorway and pulled Zoisite with him. They materialized only three streets away from their former location.

Zoisite gave him a puzzled look. "Why did you do that?"

"Well, first to maintain appearance, and second because the Senshi fight Queen Beryl, don't they? Should they actually manage to weaken her, we could take the chance to strike when both parties are low in power."

"This sounds as if it could really work." Zoisite looked at Kunzite with admiration.

"It should. But something else occurred to me. Each use of our magickal abilities could give us away if Beryl thinks of posting youma in the Earth Realm to look for us. So I will set up a net of detector crystals in the town that passively scans for the energy signature of youma. As soon as there are some in the area, we'd get warned and would know when we have to be more careful."

"We should think of a way to get some money, too," Zoisite added. "If we steal everything we need we'd get more attention than it is wise. The best thing would be to conjure some precious stones and turn them into the local currency."

"Then let's do just that." Kunzite conjured both detector crystals and a variety of gemstones. The first detector crystal he placed within the wall of a nearby house. "And now let's get back to our tour through the city." Kunzite wrapped his arm about Zoisite's shoulders. They began to equip themselves with everything they needed for their stay in the Earth Realm and Kunzite placed the detector crystals, too.

* * *

Ami pulled out her communicator and called her friends.

"SailorMoon? I just ran into Kunzite and Zoisite. It seems they plan something sinister. I suggest we meet tonight at the Hikawa Shrine."

Tsukino Usagi and the other Senshi agreed. They still had to punish the Dark Kings for wounding and abducting Tuxedo Kamen.

The End of Pt.1 - Goto Pt.2

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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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