The Gathering

(Tears of Crystal - Pt.6)

© 1997/2006 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea


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Queen Beryl grinned malevolently. She had found the perfect target to turn into a new commander of her forces. As this commander's most important task would be the retrieval of Kunzite and Zoisite, she deemed it to be the best choice to pick someone who had a personal score to settle with them - or at least one of them.

And who was better suited than the mortal girl who had fallen in love with Nephrite and who had witnessed his murder from the hands of Zoisite's servants?

"Endymion!"

"Yes, my Queen - you have called?"

"Indeed. You will go to the Earth Realm at once and bring me the girl Osaka Naru."

"What for?" Endymion asked in surprise. He couldn't understand why Queen Beryl wanted this little school girl.

"She will be trained as another commander of my forces. I want her to find Zoisite and Kunzite, as you seem to be incapable of doing so."

"At your service, my Queen," Endymion replied. He didn't know how Beryl intended to turn Naru into an officer of her army. It would be as unlikely a job for her as for Queen Beryl to turn into a member of the Salvation Army.

"When you have managed to acquire her, I will indoctrinate her properly, and after that you will immediately see to it that she becomes a worthy addition to my troops."

"Your wish is my command." Endymion wasn't sure if the defection of Kunzite had caused Beryl a severe mental disorder.

"Then go!" The Queen impatiently waved her hand.

Endymion bowed deeply and left the audience chamber. It shouldn't be too big a problem to catch Osaka Naru. Turning her into an officer of Beryl troops was something else completely, though.

* * *

Kino Makoto stood in front of a mirror and checked her appearance for the bazillionth time. She wore a kneelength dark green skirt and a white blouse, and her hair was caught in the usual ponytail.

"I'm so excited," Usagi chimed and jumped merrily up and down.

"I don't need any nursemaids," Makoto grumbled.

"Remember, the guy you meet belongs to the Dark Kingdom and is therefore evil," Rei warned her.

"We'll watch you and take care that nothing happens to you," Minako promised.

Makoto sighed heavily. "If it's your fault that my date disappears, then I will punish you in the name of Jupiter," she threatened.

"You're mean," Usagi moaned. "We want some fun, too."

"You could watch the movie," Makoto suggested.

"But they are right, you have to be careful," Ami cautioned.

"Which film do you want to watch anyway?" Usagi asked curiously.

"There's that new action movie that just came into the cinemas."

"But I'd rather watch the new love film," Usagi nagged.

"You can watch that if you like - I will go to the other movie. I don't think Obsidian is fond of love flicks."

"Do you think he'll invite us?" Usagi wondered. "My pocket-money for this month is already spent."

"I fear then you'll have to wait outside," Rei grinned. "It may be better for us anyway."

"Waaaaaaaaaah," Usagi wailed. "You are so mean!"

"You should have tried to do without all the daifuku mochi, and ice-cream, and..." Rei sneered.

"But I was hungry," Usagi defended herself.

"You're always hungry," Minako observed.

"Well, I will go now," Makoto declared. "You can stay here if you like and continue to argue. I want to meet Obsidian."

"We're coming with you." Usagi fetched a jacket and put it on.

"Yes. It's too dangerous for you to go alone," Minako said. "I'm sure he wants to kidnap you."

"Someone who's that cute wouldn't need to kidnap me," Makoto sighed dreamily and earned scandalized looks from the other girls.

"Now hurry, we're late," Usagi cried.

"We're late?" Makoto looked shocked and scooted out of the door, and the others hurried to follow her.

Some minutes later they reached the cinema complex, where quite a lot of people stood around and waited to get in.

"Where is he?" Usagi asked, badly out of breath. She looked curiously around.

"I don't see him yet - I only hope he'll come." Makoto searched the crowd.

"I think we're better off if he doesn't appear," Ami said.

"But I want to see him," Usagi whined. "He belongs to the evil guys, and we have to observe them."

"Don't make eyes at him," Makoto warned. "I saw him first, and that means he's mine!"

Usagi pouted. Makoto stalked along the crowd and tried to get a glimpse of Obsidian somewhere. Rei shook her head. She had been so sure that at least Makoto was a bit more sensible than Usagi.

Obsidian was late as usual. It wasn't easy to put aside old habits, and of course he had to change into something more suitable for Earth than his drab uniform. Now he wore black jeans, blue T-shirt and a black leather jacket.

"There he is!" Exitedly, Makoto jumped at least one meter high. "Obsidian!"

The violet-haired young man turned around when he heard the shout and discovered the tall Senshi who beamed at him.

"You really showed up!" She ran over to him, while the others decided to watch them from a little distance.

"Didn't I tell you so?" Obsidian cocked his head.

"You said 'perhaps'."

"Well, I had to ask first if I was allowed to come."

"Oh. Whom did you have to ask?"

"My supervisor."

"So you aren't one of those Kings?"

"Of course not," Obsidian laughed.

"Good." Makoto was relieved. "I think the others aren't as opposed to you when they hear that you aren't one of the big bad guys."

Obsidian grinned. "Tsk, then I'm only a small bad guy."

"Hm. How evil are you anyway? You don't want to do me any harm, do you?"

"As long as I'm not threatened I won't do anything," Obsidian assured he. After all, he wasn't Zoisite who might kill someone just for the fun of it.

"Great," the girl smiled. "So, which movie are we going to watch?"

Obsidian shrugged. "I'm not overly familiar with movies. Take your pick."

"Would you prefer action, or comedy, or horror, or love?"

"Whatever you wish."

"Well, I'd like to watch that new action movie."

"Then let's go." Makoto smiled soulfully and took Obsidian's arm. "Where can we buy the tickets?"

Makoto directed him to the box office, and he bought two tickets.

Now Usagi discovered where Makoto had gone, and when she saw Obsidian, she looked appreciatively at him. "He's really cute," she breathed and stalked the two of them as silently as she could.

Of course she wasn't inconspicuous enough, and Makoto looked back and gave her and the others a warning look. Rei didn't waver in her attention, though. She suspected others from the Dark Kingdom in the vicinity who wanted to lure them into a trap.

"I have the impression we're being watched," Obsidian stated and looked around carefully.

"Just ignore them. These are my friends who want to chaperone me."

Unbeknownst to Makoto, there were even some more curious watchers around, as Kunzite and Zoisite had decided to keep an eye on Obsidian as well. He knew where they were hidden, and if he inadvertently betrayed them, they had to take immediate action.

"That's not so easy," Obsidian said uneasily. There were just too many people who watched his steps.

Nephrite had found a way up to the roof of an adjoining building and watched the cinema complex from above.

"Oh well, I just want to enjoy the movie," Makoto said. Obsidian took her arm, led her into the cinema and to their seats. In the gloomy light of the cinema, Obsidian couldn't make out his pursuers at first.

Kunzite bought two tickets for the last row. From there he could watch everything, and he could dedicate his attention to his beloved who clung devotedly to his arm.

When Obsidian let his gaze wander over the other cinemagoers, he discovered Kunzite and Zoisite in the last row. He felt pretty uncomfortable, knowing these two at his back.

* * *

Usagi sulked. She still stood in the foyer of the movie theater as she had not enough money to buy a ticket. It was so unfair!

Minako had watched Kunzite and Zoisite enter the cinema and told the others about them. Rei decided they had to follow them, lest they wanted to kidnap Makoto. Of course this meant they had to buy a ticket for Usagi, too, and Rei grudgingly lent her the money.

"Usagi!" A familiar voice called to them. It was Naru, whom Umino had invited to the new action movie. "Wait for us!"

"Hi Naru, hi Umino," Usagi greeted her friends. "Do you also want to watch that action movie?"

"Yeah." Umino beamed at her. "It's the flick with that karate ace."

"Then let's go in. Afterwards we can sit down in the ice-cream parlour and talk about it," Minako suggested.

"Oh yes. Ice-cream," Usagi shouted enthusiastically.

"But you don't have any money left," Ami told her.

"Hmph."

Finally they went into the projection room as well. Their seats were somewhere in the middle between Obsidian and Makoto and the two Kings.

* * *

Endymion cursed as Naru always seemed to be a step ahead of him. He had ordered the youma to watch out for her, but not to try to get her. Youma often had the tendency to get a little carried away when attacking someone, and it was of no use to bring her back dead when Beryl wanted her to be trained.

And as Beryl didn't seem to expect a success in his pursuit of Kunzite and Zoisite anyway, he canceled the search for them. Why should he do more than he had to?

Now the red-haired girl disappeared into the cinema complex and Endymion hurried to follow her.

Unfortunately she had already entered one of the cinemas, and so he had to think about his further steps. He teleported from one of the cinemas to the next.

His first try was this awful love film, but after he had endured a couple of minutes while he probed the audience, he was sure she wasn't in here.

When he finally picked the right cinema, he discovered her amidst a crowd of people who seemed to be her friends. It was impossible to kidnap her without causing a commotion, so he'd better wait until the movie was over.

Endymion sat down in a seat from where he had a good view at her.

* * *

"Isn't that Makoto with this violet-haired guy?" Naru wanted to know when she discovered a familiar tall girl with a reddish brown ponytail. "Is that her new boyfriend?"

"She would like to see him as her boyfriend," Usagi said grumbling. It was unfair, Makoto had someone, and her Tuxedo Kamen was away. She sniffed, and tried to fight back her tears.

"Oh." Naru looked at him again and thought that he was rather handsome as far as she could see. Well, she had Umino now, even when he didn't look like much - at least his heart was in the right spot.

Makoto laid her head against Obsidian's shoulder. She had decided not to let her conquest get away at any cost. The young man found it amusing and wondered what she intended to do.

"Do you like this movie?" she asked.

"Till now nothing's happened," he pointed out. Actually not even the opening credits were over.

"Oh, sure." Makoto blushed slightly. Obsidian grinned and watched the screen, while his companion ignored the movie, but studied his profile.

"Obsidian seems to have a good time," Zoisite remarked and absently twisted a strand of Kunzite's shimmering silver hair around his index finger. "Although I honestly can't understand what he wants from this Sailor brat."

"Ask him," Kunzite grinned and caught Zoisite's hand to kiss his fingertips.

"Not now. I'm occupied."

Obsidian found the movie extremely boring. It seemed to solely consist of people who beat each other to unconsciousness, and that in pretty unbelievable ways. This was supposed to be entertainment in the Earth Realm?

Zoisite was glad that he had Kunzite with him. This flick was more than boring. Where was the blood? The senseless butchering? The torture? Or to say it in one word: the fun? He decided to climb onto his lover's lap and kiss him passionately.

The Senshi were occupied to watch Obsidian and Makoto, but as they didn't do anything forbidden, Usagi soon whined for some popcorn to eat.

Makoto was a bit peeved that it was so dark in the cinema. She would have loved to exchange longing looks with Obsidian, but now that had to wait at least eighty more minutes until the film was over. Obsidian didn't have such problems; he could see in the dark as well as in bright daylight.

It took only ten more minutes, and Obsidian was so enervated that he decided to do something about it. He wanted to get a little closer to Makoto to find out what the Senshi planned. He remembered that time when Kunzite had conjured a rose for Zoisite and decided to try something similar, although he didn't want to be so kitschy (a rose!). So he conjured a pink gerbera blossom and levitated it onto Makoto's lap.

When the girl discovered the blossom, she looked at Obsidian. "Oh! Did you do that?"

"Who else?" he asked back with amusement.

"Oh, of course." She smiled at him. "Thank you." She laid her head against his shoulder again. "I was right - you can't be evil, even though you're from the Dark Kingdom."

"Maybe I'm an exception."

"I'm glad about that," she sighed. "If you were evil I would have to fight you after all."

"That might be interesting."

"Are you serious? I don't want to fight you. You're much too cute."

"Well, you're cute as well," he smiled and played with her ponytail.

"Really?" Makoto blushed.

"You're the prettiest of them all," Obsidian complimented her. Not long, and she would eat out of his hand.

"You flatter me." Makoto cast down her tourmaline green eyes.

"I like tall girls."

"You do?" Makoto almost couldn't believe it. Normally the boys preferred smaller girls, as she had found out.

"Well, then I don't have to bow down so deeply," he grinned. Makoto sighed and smiled at him.

"Do you always wear your hair caught up like this?" Obsidian tugged lightly at her ponytail.

"It's more practical."

"That's a pity. I'd love to see you with your hair loose."

"Really?" She moved to take the ribbon out.

"No, let me do it." Obsidian took out the ribbon, and Makoto blushed again, when she felt him arranging her hair. "Nice," he remarked.

"Obsidian." Makoto sighed.

"What are they doing?" Rei hissed, when she watched Obsidian busy himself with Makoto's hair.

"Yeah - what are they doing?" Ami asked.

"I can't see anything," Usagi whined. "Someone turn on the lights!"

"Shhhhh," someone hissed from the row behind.

"What?" Usagi jumped up, and Minako pulled her down in the same instant.

"Be quiet!"

"We have to do something about it," Rei declared.

"Exactly. That's just not done," Usagi shouted.

Now even Kunzite, who had Zoisite securely wrapped into his arms and who had been quite content up to this moment, was ripped from his reverie.

"I still can't understand how these Sailor brats have managed to be victorious over us so many times," he wondered.

"If I kill them here and now, it'll be quiet again," Zoisite suggested.

"Don't, little rat. Endymion might sense the energy and send in his youma."

"Awwww, Kunzite-sama."

Of course Endymion heard the shouting as well - actually he was only a couple of seats away from the commotion. He wondered what was going on and hoped it wouldn't make it more difficult for him to abduct Osaka Naru.

Makoto looked furiously back to her friends. How dared they disturb her? She was just on the right way to conquer Obsidian. Obviously they were plainly jealous.

"It seems your friends have a problem with me," Obsidian remarked.

"I told you - they think you are evil and they want to save me from you, even though I don't want to be saved."

"What would you say if I led you away from this envious display?"

"And where to?"

"Wherever you wish to go."

"What about the ice-cream parlour?"

"Your wish is my command. Come!" Obsidian got up and tugged Makoto with him. The people behind them hissed angrily until they were gone.

Kunzite was astonished. "Where are they going?"

"Dunno. I'd like to stay. It's much too comfortable here."

"On the other hand we might be charged with offending public decency if you continue like this," Kunzite chuckled and caught Zoisite's hand that had slipped under his shirt again.

"They try to escape," Usagi shouted. A Coke can and some crumpled papers flew in her direction and hit her. "Aaaagh," she wailed. "Someone throws garbage at me!"

Ami shook his head, stood up and tugged Usagi behind her out of the cinema. "You are an embarassment," she chided her angrily.

"Why? I haven't thrown anything."

"But you caused the uproar! - Oh, hi Mako..."

"Hi," Makoto replied, not very delighted.

"Hello," Obsidian said. He had hoped for some time with Makoto alone, as it was easier to work on a single girl. When her friends were around, too, it would only make it more difficult.

When Ami and Usagi left the cinema, Rei, Minako, Naru and Umino decided to follow them. They didn't see much of the movie anyway. They gathered in the foyer and tried to figure out if they wanted to strangle Usagi or peacefully go to the ice-cream parlour.

Endymion followed Naru stealthily. Unfortunately she was still in the flock of her friends, and so he hid behind a corner and watched them.

Kunzite decided to pursue them as well. If they overpowered Obsidian and forced him to tell them the location of their hideaway, they might get into trouble, especially as he couldn't invoke his powers here to fight them off. Currently everything relied on stealth and gathering intelligence.

Zoisite sulked, but stayed close to him. They hid in the dark entrance way to the cinema and observed the foyer, where the Senshi and the others stood together.

Suddenly Kunzite discovered a person he definitely hadn't expected. Zoisite saw him in the same instant, and before Kunzite could react, his lover had conjured an ice crystal and hurled it at Endymion. Kunzite looked tragically at Zoisite. Now their cover was blown, especially as the crystal obviously didn't hit a truly vital part of the prince.

Endymion howled when he got hit and jumped out of his cover. Without thinking twice, he grabbed Naru and opened a doorway to take her to the Dark Kingdom. In the heat of the moment he didn't notice that Umino tried to hold her back and was tugged through the gate as well.

"Damn!" Zoisite hissed. "I haven't hit him fatally."

"Indeed." Kunzite raised a brow and couldn't help but grin. The sight of Endymion clutching at the steaming ice crystal buried deep within his backside had been too amusing. "Although I don't understand why he didn't try to catch us."

Nephrite who had gotten bored standing on the roof, just entered the cinema when Endymion tugged Naru through the doorway. He ran over to Kunzite and Zoisite; they had to do something, now.

"Did you see what I just saw?" Rei asked incredulously. "Was that really Zoisite trying to hinder Endymion kidnapping Naru?"

"Hm. I saw that, too," Minako wondered. "I thought they were all evil?!"

"But they seemed to be on different sides," Usagi remarked in a rare flash of insight. They were still so shocked that the fact of Naru's abduction hadn't hit home.

"That's strange," Ami said. "But as they don't wear their uniforms anymore - maybe they have been kicked out of the Dark Kingdom? But why did they grab Naru and Umino? We have to figure out a way to get them back!"

"I can't believe that they suddenly turned good," Rei declared. "Especially not that slimy little weasel Zoisite."

"I heard that!" Zoisite fumed, ran over to the black-haired Senshi and slapped her face. "Weasel, huh?"

Obsidian looked from one to the other and decided, he'd better get away as fast as possible, before real violence erupted.

Rei was too shocked to reply anything and gingerly touched her smarting cheek.

"Zoisite, calm down." Kunzite said sternly and wrapped his arms around him, not so much for comfort, but to hinder him to do further harm. "We'd better go before Endymion returns. I wonder anyway why there aren't already youma all over the place."

"But we have to rescue Naru first!" Nephrite shouted.

The five Sailor girls looked perplexed at the blonde woman. What interest had she in Naru - and why did she ask Kunzite and Zoisite to do something about it?

"We can't follow him right now as you very well should know," Kunzite told his collegue. "First we have to figure out a plan."

"Why would you want to save Naru?" Rei demanded from the unknown blonde. "Who are you anyway?"

"As you haven't done anything, someone else has to step in," Nephrite retorted angrily.

"We have to go now," Kunzite said with his usual calm.

"Not so fast! I demand answers. Now!" Rei shouted. She was much too angry to think about the fact that she currently faced Kunzite and Zoisite alone.

Now Jadeite joined the group. He had been to the bathroom and missed all the uproar. "What's happened?" he wanted to know when he saw the Kings amidst the group of girls among whom were the three Sailor Senshi he knew. He surmised that the other two girls were the Senshi he hadn't met yet.

"That's Jadeite!" Ami discovered. "Wasn't he supposed to be dead or something like that?"

"You can continue to chat if you wish," Makoto interrupted. "Obsidian and I will go to the ice-cream parlour now and try to find out if we can save Naru."

"Yes! Endymion has abducted Naru! Now we have to get him and her back," Usagi whined. "By the way, has anyone seen Umino?"

"And I still want some answers," Rei grumbled.

"I'd rather find a way to get Naru out of Beryl's clutches," Nephrite said.

"Could someone please tell me what's going on?" Jadeite inquired again.

Makoto and Obsidian didn't wait any longer and went to said ice-cream parlour. Rei decided to go after them, as she was sure the others would follow anyway.

"Later," Kunzite said to Jadeite. He still had to keep an eye on Obsidian, and he wanted to leave the cinema complex, as Endymion certainly would return as soon as he had healed his backside. Zoisite trailed along, as usual.

The others followed suit, and so the ten people stormed into Makoto's favourite ice-cream parlour. Jadeite didn't understand why neither the Senshi nor the Kings had blasted each other by now, but well, he wasn't told anything anyway, it seemed.

They sat down at two tables.

"And now I finally want to know what's going on," Jadeite demanded.

Usagi studied the ice menu. She hoped that someone would invite her. Rei stared darkly at the three Dark Kings and the unknown blonde.

"So, now I'd like to know who you are," she told Nephrite.

"I am Sa...to Keiko," he claimed. He had almost used his usual Earth name 'Sanjouin Masato', but fortunately he had remembered that he looked pretty different now.

"Ah." Rei frowned. The name didn't tell her anything.

"He's still alive," Zoisite said miserably and sat down on Kunzite's lap. "I missed him. I don't know how this could happen."

Nephrite shot him an angry look. "Our foremost concern has to be to rescue Naru," he stated.

Minako wondered what the blonde wanted from Naru.

"Could someone tell me now what's going on?" Jadeite interjected, by now looking somewhat annoyed.

"What do you want with Naru, Keiko?" Rei asked.

Jadeite had the impression he was invisible. It was somehow uncanny, he thought.

"By the way - who are you anyway?" Minako asked him suddenly. She examined him from head to toes and thought he was quite a hunk.

This was too much. He puffed himself up. "I'm Jadeite, one of the Four Kings of the Dark Kingdom!" he declared in a huff.

"Ah, I remember. Ami told me about you - you're the chauvinist bad guy who had a thing with airplanes."

Jadeite folded his arms and sulked. Minako thought that he looked really cute that way and not really like a chauvinist bad guy.

"Could we please return to our main problem?" Nephrite nagged.

"You're right," Zoisite agreed. "I'd like to know why this twit Endymion is so lucky that he's still alive."

Nephrite glared angrily at the pretty boy and took the ice menu from Usagi. "Why don't you say anything?" he asked her. "I thought Naru was your best friend?"

"Well, she is, really. But what can I do?"

"What about 'punishing whomever in the name of the Moon'", Zoisite sneered.

"I don't care about this brat," Kunzite declared. "Give me the menu!"

"We have to free her," Nephrite urged and gave Kunzite the menu. Maybe he'd get into a better mood when he had eaten something.

After a short glance, Kunzite decided to order one of these sundaes for two. Zoisite had the tendency to eat up his stuff, and that way he might be able to get his share in spite of that.

"So, and what would you say are we supposed to do about the abduction?" Kunzite asked.

Jadeite shook his head. "Don't ask me, I'm no one."

"We need a plan," Nephrite urged. "A good plan."

"Exactly! I want Naru back," Usagi declared. "I wonder why Tuxedo Kamen kidnapped her."

"This is something I'd like to know, too," Minako nodded.

"Maybe Queen Beryl is fed up with Endymion and wants to try something new," Zoisite laughed wickedly. Jadeite, Nephrite and Obsidian were scandalized.

"What should Queen Beryl want to try with Naru?" Ami asked wonderingly.

"You don't want to know," Rei stated.

"Don't worry, that'll never happen," Nephrite declared, and Kunzite chuckled. He wasn't that sure about Beryl.

Finally Kunzite's sundae arrived, and he fed Zoisite a generous spoonful of ice-cream to silence him. Usagi gave them an envious look. Why didn't anyone invite her to an ice-cream?

All eyes of the Senshi were currently directed at Zoisite. They just couldn't believe it - normally the pretty King was mean, nasty and cruel, but currently he seemed to be as meek as a kitten and gazed affectionately at Kunzite.

"Well, does anyone have an idea?" Nephrite asked.

"Never mind, I'm continuously being ignored, too," Jadeite grumbled.

"So you're really lovers?" Ami asked fascinatedly. Somehow she still couldn't believe that beings as heartless as these Dark Kingdom Kings were actually romantically involved, although the picture the two presented was pretty explicit.

"Hey! I always thought you Senshi would fight for love and justice and all that crap - and not hang around without doing anything while a friend of yours was abducted," Nephrite tried again.

"I don't believe it." Jadeite shook the blonde head. "Where have we come to that a Dark King has to remind the Senshi of their duties."

"A Dark King?" Usagi echoed. "But she's a girl!"

"So who are you really?" Rei asked Nephrite again.

"I've already told you. And by the way, you had better try and rescue Naru."

"You know that I can't risk going back," Kunzite said. He had just finished his sundae - or rather Zoisite had. "Queen Beryl would sense me immediately."

"We would go to save Naru if we knew where the entrance to the Dark Kingdom is located," Rei said.

"It's at the North Pole," Nephrite declared impatiently. He wanted to get the show on the road.

"At the North Pole?" Ami was surprised. "Well, that's a location we haven't checked yet."

"Why do you tell us that?" Rei wanted to know. "Do you want to lure us into a trap?"

"You want to get Naru back, don't you? I also want to free her from Queen Beryl's clutches."

"But - you belong to the Dark Kingdom," Ami said frowning. "Why would you tell us something that enables us to go there and probably defeat Queen Beryl?"

"Little Senshi, don't overestimate yourself," Kunzite said amused. "You haven't even been able to defeat me, so what makes you think you could defeat Queen Beryl?"

"I still think it's a trap," Rei stated.

Zoisite laughed gleefully. "A trap? We don't need to set up a trap for you - if we wished, you'd all be toast by now." His emerald eyes sparkled cruelly.

"Toast?" Obsidian sighed. "This whole talk of toast makes me hungry." He looked for the menu.

"Why should we set up a trap? We'd be glad if you would tidy up the Dark Kingdom a bit," Nephrite declared.

"To be precise, we wouldn't mind if you did away with Queen Beryl," Kunzite stated. "After that's done and I have assumed the throne, I might even allow you to return to the Earth Realm." Kunzite vowed he would never take orders from anyone else again, and if that meant he'd have to assume the throne himself - so be it.

"Don't think we'd support a power hungry usurper," Rei hissed.

"We could force you to do it," Zoisite mused while he played with Kunzite's long, silvery white hair.

"I have the impression we will never find a common base," Obsidian sighed and ordered the largest sundae he could find.

"But we have to free Naru," Makoto said and looked at Obsidian. "Maybe the two of us could do something about it?"

"You have an idea? You see, Endymion is very strong."

"Maybe we could sneak in without being seen."

"It might be possible, yes," Obsidian admitted. "But I think it's way too dangerous."

"Do you know what they might do to Naru?" Makoto wanted to know.

"Dunno. What might one do with a school girl?"

"Humph," Makoto grumbled. She was a school girl, too.

"Never mind."

Hino Rei was still peeved. She couldn't stand Zoisite at all. This effeminate pretty boy was a nuisance, and she was sure that the world would be much better off without him. He was even worse than this chauvist bad guy Jadeite. She gave him a deadly glare. Zoisite smiled back sweetly, while his eyes sparkled plain murder. Jadeite couldn't help but admire the fire in Rei's dark amethyst eyes.

Usagi sulked. She wanted an ice-cream, too.

Nephrite looked tragically heavenwards. He was sure they'd never manage to do anything as long as Zoisite stayed with them. He would never get along with the Senshi and vice versa.

Kunzite sighed. He was well aware that Zoisite had his usual problems with the rest of the world - or rather the other way round. But on the other hand, he would never leave a meeting that involved a plan to overthrow Queen Beryl and/or Endymion. Maybe he could take Zoisite's mind off his dislike for the others. Kunzite smiled at him and gently caressed his lover's neck. Immediately Zoisite snuggled against him and closed his eyes to enjoy the attentions. Now he really looked like an angel, Kunzite thought lovingly.

The Senshi were speechless at the display. Obsidian shook his head. Zoisite just couldn't behave himself.

"Well, back to our initial problem," Ami finally managed to say. "We still have to sneak into the Dark Kingdom to rescue Naru. And while we're at this, we could even try to free Endymion."

"Endymion is really dangerous," Nephrite said. "And I don't think anyway that he would like to be freed."

"But we have to get my Tuxedo Kamen back," Usagi whined.

"He's been brainwashed," Kunzite pointed out. "I don't think you'll get him back - or if you do that he wants to stay here."

"Who wants this jerk back anyway?" Jadeite muttered, more to himself. He didn't even expect to be noticed anymore, so he was pretty surprised, when Usagi wailed again.

"I want him back!"

"Next time I'll get my hands on him, he's toast," Zoisite promised. Kunzite had looked much too fondly at Endymion, so the Prince had to be disposed of at the next occasion.

"Before I let that happen, you're toast," Rei threatened and pointed her hands in the typical Fire Soul gesture at Zoisite.

"I hate it when you talk of toast while I'm so hungry," Obsidian sulked. Where was the sundae he had ordered? He waved the waitress and the woman finally brought the large portion for him. He grinned and dug into the ice-cream.

"I'm hungry, too," Usagi pouted. "Who wants to invite me?"

"I thought you wanted to rescue your friend," Nephrite reminded her.

"Well, yes," Usagi admitted, "but before we can do that I need something to eat."

"What about a day of fasting," Minako suggested. "Maybe then you would be in better shape."

"Waaaaaah!"

"I wonder how we can get to the North Pole anyway," Ami said thoughtfully.

"What about an airplane?" Jadeite said, and Nephrite snickered.

"But I don't have any money to buy a ticket," Usagi stated. "And I think the others haven't either."

Kunzite sighed. Obviously the real thinking was left to him, as usual. "I don't know why you want to make it so difficult anyway. It would be easiest if Obsidian opened a doorway, and everyone who wants to save this Naru-girl steps through." He turned his attention back to Zoisite and his wonderful coppery golden hair.

"I knew it," Obsidian moaned. "All the work is left with me!"

"You're the only one who can do it without immediately alarming Queen Beryl," Kunzite told him.

"I know," Obsidian nodded. "But what do I have to do with this Naru? I don't even know her."

"I demand that you do it - and you have to obey my orders," Nephrite said sharply.

"You're nuts! I don't have to obey any traitors!"

"Traitors?" Rei looked from Kunzite & Zoisite to Jadeite, the blonde woman and back.

"I'm no traitor," Zoisite snapped. "Beryl started it all when she tried to kill me."

"What a surprise," Rei mocked. "But you're such a sweet and lovable person that no one would ever consider harming you."

"Lord Kunzite, she continuously mocks and insults me," Zoisite sniffed and looked poutily at his lover. "Please, let me kill her."

"Not now, my little rat," the silver-haired man soothed him and gave him a tender kiss on the lips. "Currently they seem to be on our side. Well, at least partly."

"'Little rat'?! That's a sneaky weasel," Rei snorted.

"If you utter one more insult, I'll consider punishing you myself," Kunzite said with the iciest voice he could muster, and Rei decided that it would be prudent to obey for once.

"I want to save Naru now, before it's too late for her," Nephrite demanded angrily.

"I really wonder how anyone here managed to do anything at all," Jadeite commented, shaking his head.

"You of all people have to say that?" Zoisite sneered. "You were the least successful of us all."

Jadeite was fascinated - finally someone acknowledged that he said something. This was an opportunity he didn't want to pass. "You never managed to accomplish anything of worth either," he claimed. It was a random shot, but obviously it did hit some nerve.

"I was able to acquire all of the rainbow crystals," Zoisite protested. "You only played with wrecked ships and airplanes - and not very successful at that!"

"And you are only here because you have found yourself a strong protector."

"That's not true," Zoisite sulked. "I'm not too bad on my own either." Kunzite chuckled at the exchange.

"Obsidian, would you open the doorway now?" Nephrite insisted. The violet-haired man studied the heap of ice-cream on his spoon and decided not to hear the request.

"Well, I won't join you on that mission," Kunzite declared. "The risk is too high that Beryl senses my signature and puts me directly under her control again."

"If Kunzite-sama stays here, I'll stay with him," Zoisite said.

"Then stay back," Nephrite looked contemptously at them.

"I didn't know that you are all such cowards," Rei snorted. "Obviously it's easier for you to take on 'school girls' than the real enemy."

"That's not the point," Kunzite said coldly. "I have no intentions to be used by Beryl again."

"I wouldn't survive it if you were turned against me." Zoisite looked at him tragically.

"Poor little pretty boy," Jadeite gibed.

"Can't you masquerade somehow?" Minako wanted to know. Their chances would be higher if they had the strongest of the four Kings on their side.

"Queen Beryl knows my energy signature, and as soon as I'm back in the Dark Kingdom, she can home in on me without any problems. The same goes for Zoisite. Jadeite and Nephrite are considerably safe as she won't expect them, and so she won't look for them."

Nephrite? Rei and Ami exchanged a puzzled glance. Wasn't he dead? But before they could ask about it, Obsidian spoke up.

"Lord Kunzite, would you please come outside for a moment. I think I read something that might help."

"Wait here," Kunzite ordered the others and waved his hand that Obsidian should follow him. Zoisite came along as well. They went around the corner into a sideway. "So, what did you read?"

"One of the things I read about was a spell that can swap the bodies of two persons."

"Well, I don't think it'll gain us anything when I'm in another body and my energy signature is just the same."

"Hm," Obsidian said. "But I won't set out alone with these idiots to save this Naru-whoever."

"Nephrite seems to be intent on doing right that."

Obsidian frowned when he thought about the other stuff he read in his father's spellbook. "I read another spell about how to disembody spirits - do you think that could be of help?"

"You don't want to disembody either Zoisite or me, do you?" Kunzite looked darkly at the young man.

"Why not disembody Nephrite again," Zoisite grinned malevolently. "He doesn't like Antimony's body anyway."

"And what advantage would I have by that?"

"Dunno. But Nephrite as ghost might be fun," Zoisite giggled. "He could haunt Queen Beryl's palace."

"I don't think she would mind. Anyway, I don't think I'd like it if Antimony became normal again," Obsidian said. He vividly remembered the last spanking she had given him.

"True. Who knows into whom Nephrite would slip if he's free of her," Zoisite shuddered. "It would be horrible if he suddenly landed in Kunzite-sama!"

Kunzite didn't look amused either. The thought of maybe sharing his body with Nephrite was disgusting.

"Actually, I don't think that's so bad an idea," Obsidian mused.

"Pardon?" Zoisite gazed at him in shock. "That would mean, if I'm together with Kunzite-sama, I'd be together with Nephrite, too? No thanks!"

"It might be a wholly new experience for you - especially as you and Nephrite are such wonderful friends."

Zoisite shot Obsidian a murderous glare, before he threw his arms around Kunzite's waist and laid his head against the tall man's shoulder. He wanted his lover all for himself! Kunzite smiled and wrapped his arms around the smaller man.

Obsidian took advantage of their fit of passion and slipped back into the ice-cream parlour to convince Nephrite to join the 'meeting'. The idea of putting Nephrite into Kunzite's body had more and more appeal to him. It would be a fitting revenge on Zoisite, for the times when he had tried to kill him or show him in an unfavourable light.

On the way back to Kunzite he murmured the disembodiment spell. It was nice that he had such a good memory, even though he didn't understand what he actually said.

Nephrite suspected nothing, until he felt a horrible suction tugging him away from Antimony. He fought desperately, but suddenly everything turned dark around him again.

Antimony collapsed in the same instant and lay prone on the ground. Obsidian tugged her into the sideway, before he started to recite the other spell that would allow a disembodied spirit to enter a person in the vicinity. He was curious where Nephrite would end up. Either choice promised fun. Fortunately the two Kings were fully absorbed in each other, so that they didn't know what hit them until it was too late.

Suddenly Kunzite felt an intruder in his mind. He let go of Zoisite and looked horrified around. "Obsidian!" he shouted enraged. He was pretty sure he knew what had happened.

"Kunzite-sama? What is it?" Zoisite asked confusedly.

"I'll kill him," Kunzite said menacingly, and his eyes glowed seethingly white-blue. Zoisite made a step backwards. He had rarely seen Kunzite that angry.

"No, I'll do that for you," a furious female voice cried. Antimony, now herself again, had regained her consciousness and ran over to them. "Obsidian!"

"Er, I think, I'd better go." Obsidian teleported away.

"Kunzite-sama?" Zoisite looked worriedly at his beloved. "What did he do?"

"He's done the same to him that he did to me," Antimony hissed.

"Nephrite?"

"No. I'm Antimony."

"Pardon?" Zoisite looked from Kunzite to Antimony and back.

*Where am I?* Nephrite's voice sounded in Kunzite's mind. He had recovered faster from the displacement than Antimony when he was thrown into her mind.

*Guess where*, Kunzite thought back. *Obsidian transferred you into me. I guess he thought it was a nice joke.*

*Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!*

*I wholeheartily do agree.*

"Kunzite-sama?" Zoisite put his arms around him again. Nephrite was horrified. Being that close to Zoisite was torture. Frantically he fought for the control of Kunzite's body.

Kunzite felt that Nephrite tried to push him away, and he defended himself mercilessly.

"Kunzite-sama? What's the matter with you?"

"Just a moment, my little rat," Kunzite replied absently. He needed his concentration to erect barriers against Nephrite's take-over attempts.

*I want out!*

*And I want nothing more than you being gone, too*, Kunzite agreed. *But I fear we have to find Obsidian to achieve this goal.* "Zoisite," the silver-haired man turned to his lover, "we have to find Obsidian immediately. He bound Nephrite to me."

"He did what?" Utter shock stood in Zoisite's emerald eyes.

*I bet he hides in the Dark Kingdom.*

*But I can't go there*, Kunzite replied despairingly. *Beryl will find me and put me back under her control.*

"You don't want to imply that everytime I kiss you, I'll kiss Nephrite as well?" Zoisite whined.

A wave of mortification reached Kunzite, when Nephrite heard Zoisite's comment.

"Little rat, it seems Nephrite likes the thought even less than you," Kunzite sighed.

*We have to end this situation as fast as possible*, Nephrite yammered. *I want to get out of here!*

*Quit the whining. I agree with you*, Kunzite thought. He desperately needed comfort, and he pulled Zoisite close to him. The young man looked quizzically up to him. Was it really Kunzite now, or was it Nephrite who wanted to mock him?

Nephrite struggled wildly around in his host mind. Kunzite had to let go of Zoisite, he demanded angrily. He didn't want any part in this, he hated Zoisite more than anything else on the world.

*Cut that!* An angry thought of Kunzite lashed out to him like a whip. *You're only a guest, so keep quiet.* He let go of Zoisite and looked apologetically at him. "I'm sorry, my love, but Nephrite disturbs me more than I thought."

"Awww, Kunzite-sama..." Zoisite looked longingly up to him.

*Now that's better*, Nephrite said with satisfaction.

*But I refuse to let you dictate what I have to say or do*, Kunzite snapped telepathically.

*Then you should help me to get out of you.*

*With pleasure!* - "We have to find Obsidian," Kunzite groaned.

*So what are you waiting for? I don't think anyone will identify your energy signature, now that it's overlapped with mine.*

*I hate to admit it - but I think you are right*, Kunzite agreed. "Zoisite, Antimony - come! We have to join the others, then we can go to the Dark Kingdom and retrieve Obsidian."

*And while we're at it, we can free Naru, too.*

*I don't care about the brat, but if she wants to come back with us I won't hinder her.*

*But I care*, Nephrite nagged.

The three persons entered the ice-cream parlour, and Kunzite decided to pay his sundaes. If Obsidian got banned from the parlour because he hadn't paid for his ice-cream, it was his problem.

"Let's go," Kunzite said without preamble. "We need a secure place where we can open a doorway to the Dark Kingdom without being disturbed."

The Senshi looked at him as if he were a ghost. How had this change of mind come about?

"Why are you suddenly in such a hurry?" Jadeite wanted to know.

"We're on the way to punish Obsidian," Antimony hissed furiously.

"If I catch him, I'll fry him slowly until he's well done," Zoisite threatened.

"Well, we could go to the Hikawa Shrine," Rei suggested. She didn't trust any of them, but they knew their identities anyway, and Jadeite even lived there as Shrine attendant for a couple of weeks before they defeated him.

"Why do you want to punish Obsidian?" Jadeite looked quizzically at Antimony.

"Because he did it again!"

"What?" Jadeite had the impression he didn't know anything about nothing, and he didn't like it at all.

"Obsidian played around with some ancient spirit spells," Kunzite grumbled.

"And what does it have to do with you?"

"Ask Obsidian when we meet him again," Kunzite said darkly.

Jadeite still couldn't make anything out of it.

"Well, let's go," Rei urged. "I want to retrieve Naru, Umino and Endymion - and maybe kill Queen Beryl in the process." She stood up and left the parlour, and the others followed her.

"Does anyone know what exactly is going on?" Usagi suddenly asked. Jadeite grimaced and shook his head.

The End of Pt.6 - Goto Pt.7


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