Hide and Seek

(Tears of Crystal - Pt.7)

© 1997/2006 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea


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"Celestine."

She awoke slowly, when someone called to her. A soft, female voice that sounded warm and comforting. Where did she lie? The ground was hard, but not cold. It felt strangely alive and pulsing with energy.

"Celestine, wake up!"

She opened her eyes and a soft, dusky gloom filled her vision. A majestic woman with long, flowing hair the colour of ruby looked down on her. Her eyes were strange, a glowing orange-red, and they looked worriedly down on her.

"My child, do you remember what happened?"

Celestine tried to shake her head, but she felt dizzy and confused.

"You were attacked by a traitor who succeeded in killing your ...mate." Queen Beryl almost stumbled over the word. She still thought that love was an invention sent by beings who wanted to destroy the order in the Dark Kingdom, but if she wanted to turn this girl, she should best use the already existing emotions and twist them to her purpose.

"Yes. I was attacked." Celestine squinted her eyes.

Beryl looked down at her and lifted the staff with the crystal ball. Energy streamed out of it, and black tendrils entered the girl's body.

Celestine screamed when she was attacked by returning memories. "Nephrite!" Her beloved was run through by wooden spears of a traitorous youma, and a girlish looking young man floated in the vicinity and laughed at them as he stole the black crystal that was by right Nephrite's.

"I can see it that you remember." The soft voice soothed her. "Don't be afraid, I'm with you."

The scenery changed and three girls in Sailor outfits appeared. They immediately started to attack the already wounded auburn-haired King who was defended by her, Celestine, and two youma who were on their side. "I wasn't able to save him," Celestine sobbed. "He died and I couldn't do anything..."

"The traitors were too strong, Celestine, it wasn't your fault."

"Now there's nothing left but revenge," she whispered.

"I will help you to get your revenge, my child," Beryl promised.

The brainwashing was far from over, the Queen knew, but she had achieved the first important breakthrough. Now she had to strengthen the concept of the enemy, while continuing to transform the girl's human body into the quasi-immortal magickal form that she also had given Jadeite and the other Kings so long ago.

* * *

The five Sailor Senshi met at the Hikawa Shrine. Much to the shock of their feline guardians they had brought four unlikely allies with them.

Luna and Artemis eyed Kunzite, Zoisite, Jadeite and Antimony with utter mistrust. Especially Zoisite's presence incurred Luna's displeasure, as the pretty young man had attacked her violently to get one of the rainbow crystals not too long ago.

The three men and Antimony sat on the floor of Rei's room and tried to formulate a plan together with the five girls. It wouldn't be easy to find a way to retrieve Naru, Umino and Endymion, while punishing Nephrite's student Obsidian and simultaneously overthrowing Queen Beryl and Queen Metallia in the process. Kunzite suspected they wouldn't agree on one plan anyway.

"We should transform," Ami suggested. "They already know who we are, and we can't use our powers in our Earth identities."

The others nodded.

"Well, hurry a bit," Kunzite growled. "I desperately need to get my hands on Obsidian to strangle him or worse." He really had to get Nephrite out of his mind again.

"I agree." Zoisite looked longingly at his beloved. Unfortunately Nephrite could see, feel, hear and sense everything just as Kunzite did, and somehow he had a little problem with the idea.

*I can't tell you how much I want to get out of you*, Nephrite yammered.

*Why can't you just go to sleep or look elsewhere?* Kunzite thought gruffly. Nephrite's presence absolutely poisoned his mood. How could he have any privacy with Zoisite when the spirit of his collegue always hung about within him?

*Because it would only lead to you smooching around with your little pet, and I'd have to endure this captivity even longer.*

Kunzite sighed. "Are you ready at last?" he asked the Senshi who had just pulled out their transformation pens.

"How could he do that to me?" Makoto asked. Obsidian was so cute, and she had had the impression he liked her somehow, but now he had gone back to the Dark Kingdom without even saying good-bye to her.

"Ask him when we find him - that is, if there's something left of him afterwards," Zoisite grinned cruelly.

With their usual power up formulas, the girls transformed into their magickal seeming, and the Kings plus Antimony waited impatiently until they were all clad in their scanty Sailor fukus. When Jadeite watched the display, he asked himself again why they had to wear such impractical dresses. But they did show off very nice legs that way, and the fiery black-haired girl was the cutest of them, he judged, even though it had been her who brought about his demise with her ofuda.

In the meantine, Kunzite wove a shield that would make sure that Zoisite's signature couldn't be picked up by Beryl either.

"Are you finished now?" Zoisite said contemptously when the flickering energies had dissolved.

"What did you think," SailorMars snapped. "That we would additionally sprout some wings or other stupid stuff?"

"One never knows."

*I want to go now*, Nephrite nagged.

*Shut up!* Kunzite waved his hand and opened a black energy doorway. "There you go."

"I only hope it's not a trap after all," SailorMercury hesitated.

Kunzite desperately tried to maintain his cool and composed demeanor, which was no small feat faced with both Sailor brats and Nephrite. "Girls, either come or stay," he said coolly.

"And what shall we do?" SailorMoon wondered.

"Well, I will go now," Venus decided and shoved Usagi in front of her through the doorway. "You have to save Endymion and Naru, remember?"

"You're right," she cried. "In the name of the Moon, I will punish Endymion for abducting Naru and bring them both back!"

The others only shook their heads, and Kunzite directed an icy glare at SailorMoon. So this was the Dark Kingdom's most dangerous nemesis?!

"Now let's go," Jadeite demanded and looked at the remaining three girls. He made an inviting gesture towards the gate of black energy.

"Indeed," Kunzite sighed and continued to maintain the doorway. "I feel like I'm the gatekeeper."

He sensed Nephrite grinning in his mind. *That's just the perfect job for you.*

*Just wait until we're in separate bodies again*, Kunzite threatened. How long did it take until the Senshi passed the gate? Finally the Kings and Antimony could follow, and Kunzite closed the doorway.

They appeared in a deserted part of the Dark Kingdom, a small cavern that was gloomily lighted by some greenish shimmering fungi. Several likewise lighted corridors led in different directions.

"So, what's the plan?" Jadeite asked. He recognized the place; it was a disused storage area some miles away from the inhabited regions. "I mean other than working real fast, so that Beryl won't know what hits her."

"Well, first things first." Kunzite waved his hand, and the three Kings were clad in their uniforms again. The tall man flourished his cape. This was what he missed most in the Earth Realm.

"Where can we find Naru and Endymion?" SailorVenus wanted to know. Kunzite shrugged.

"I don't know. Maybe Endymion is in Beryl's audience chamber or in his quarters. And Naru? Perhaps the Queen wants her as a maid."

"Great," SailorMars grumbled angrily. "I had thought at least you would know your way around here."

"Actually I do, but I have other matters to attend to," Kunzite declared haughtily. "You want to take care of Endymion and this Naru girl. I want to find Obsidian to punish him."

"Well, it seems then we will go separate ways," SailorVenus stated. She wasn't too glad about it, because now they were on their own in enemy territory, and they didn't have the slightest idea where they were headed.

Kunzite strode into the tunnel that led to the large cavern where his house was located. Unfortunately they couldn't just teleport around as the danger of being sensed and located that way was too high, so the only choice was walking on foot and teleport only in case of emergencies.

But if he was here he could as well try to retrieve his books. He just hoped Nephrite's unwelcome presence would mask his signature well enough so that they won a little time until Beryl found out what was going on. Zoisite would take care of Obsidian's punishment with pleasure. Jadeite followed him as he considered it safer in Kunzite's company than staying with the girls, and so did Antimony.

* * *

"They are all gone," SailorMercury commented worriedly. "I don't know if we can find Endymion and Naru on our own. Maybe we should try to catch up with the Kings and continue with them."

"I prefer not to stay too close to Zoisite," SailorMars grumbled.

"True, he's much too mean," SailorMoon agreed. "But what can we do? It's cold and dark in here."

"Yeah, and we have to be careful not to be discovered by Queen Beryl's troops."

"Usagi, can't you use your transformation pen to change us into less conspicuous outfits?" Ami asked.

"I can try it."

"Maybe we should change into a uniform like the one the Kings wear," the blue-haired girl suggested.

"Do you think it would suit me?" Doubtfully, SailorMoon looked down on her fuku.

"Just try it."

SailorMoon pulled out the pen and spoke the formula. "Power of the Moon, transform me into a pretty Dark Kingdom warrior!"

After the usual display of colour and energy flows, Usagi wore a grey Dark Kingdom uniform with white piping and a matching long, white cape. Rei grinned when Usagi looked fascinated down at herself.

"Do you want to imitate Kunzite?"

"Well, I'm the leader of the Senshi, am I not?"

"Now let me try it!" Ami stretched out her hand and took the transformation pen from SailorMoon. To her relief it worked on her, too, and she turned out in a similar uniform with blue piping, but without the cape. The others followed suit and immediately were clad in uniforms with piping the same color as their Sailor fuku.

Pic
of the Senshi in disguise by Stayka

"And now?" SailorMoon flourished her cape and discovered that it was fun to have such a garment.

"Now that we're so ...perfectly disguised," SailorMercury looked at Usagi's trademark odangos; the transformation only had changed their clothing, not their hairstyles, "we can try to find Endymion, Naru and Umino."

"But where? I can see five corridors that lead to different directions."

"Let's take one and find out where it leads," Rei said and tugged at her uniform jacket. It was not too comfortable, but at least it was warmer than the Senshi fuku.

SailorMercury activated her visor and scanned the corridors. "The Kings went through this one," she pointed to the left.

"I suggest following them as they want to find Obsidian," SailorJupiter proposed.

"I disagree. I don't want to find Obsidian, and I don't want to meet the Kings again," Rei remarked. "We should take the opposite direction."

"But I like to take this one," Usagi pointed to the next corridor, and Minako decided to choose even another. Ami sighed.

"When we stay here much longer we cede the initiative to our enemies," she declared. "I will pick a random number, and you will all pick a number between one and ten, too, and who is closest to my chosen number will lead the way."

"One, no - ten," Usagi started.

"Only one number," Ami sighed. The other said their numbers, and SailorMercury nodded. "I had picked a three," she claimed. "It's the same as Makoto's, so we will follow her corridor."

She didn't tell the others that she had considered Makoto's choice best anyway and thus let her win. A discussion certainly would have taken an hour or longer, so this was the fastest way to get moving.

"What are we waiting for?" SailorVenus asked and they stormed into the corridor Kunzite and the others had taken. Only SailorMars grumbled something under her breath that she didn't like it.

* * *

Immediately after his return to the Dark Kingdom, Obsidian reported to Queen Beryl.

"Can you imagine," he told her, "the traitors have allied themselves to the Senshi and want to take on Endymion."

"This is unfortunate news." Queen Beryl tapped her long fingernails on the armrest of her throne. "It won't take long, though, and I have another worthy officer for may army who will lead the youma in the fight," she said. "Celestine!"

A small red-haired girl appeared. She wore a uniform with turquoise piping and bowed before the Queen.

"You have called, my Queen?"

"Indeed. This is Obsidian who will supervise your training from now on." Beryl looked from Celestine to the violet-haired man. "Obsidian, I'm well aware that your own training isn't completed yet, but unfortunately I need Endymion for another task. So you will teach Celestine to use her powers to the best of her abilities."

"As you wish, my Queen," Obsidian replied automatically. This girl was SailorMoon's friend Naru, he thought perplexed.

"You are dismissed. But I demand results as soon as possible!"

Obsidian and Celestine bowed again and left the audience chamber. Obsidian sighed. What was he supposed to do with her?

"My Lord, what is my first task?" Celestine asked him. She wanted to learn how to master her powers as fast as possible to take revenge on the traitors. She was aware that it had been partly her fault that Nephrite died - if she had trained properly before the attack, she could have defended and saved him.

Obsidian thought a moment. "Er, what about a little target practice?" This was never wrong, and anyway he had to do it as well all the time.

"Your wish is my command." Celestine bowed her head. Now that was something he could get used to, Obsidian thought. It was great that he wasn't the lowest member of the chain of command anymore and being called 'Lord' was really cool.

"Let's proceed to the training range."

"Yes, Lord Obsidian."

They went to the practice area, and Celestine had to show him her skills. The red-haired girl was only moderately successful when she directed her attack of dark red drops of energy at the targets.

Obsidian frowned at her. This was fun, he thought, when she cast down her eyes.

"Forgive me, Lord Obsidian, I will aspire to do better," she said meekly.

"I hope so," he said sternly and tried to hide his amusement. Queen Beryl had been really successful with her brainwashing, it seemed. He didn't know if and how one could reverse it, but he couldn't return her to her friends like this; who knew what she might do to them in her present state.

Celestine returned to her training. It turned out that Beryl's manipulations had given her additional powers that could influence the weather, such as conjuring small storms and hail. Obsidian watched her thoughtfully. He had to get rid of her; he couldn't spend all his time training her. Slowly he understood Nephrite's attitude towards him.

"Lord Obsidian, do you have any further orders?"

"Follow me. You will spend the next time studying some important books about magickal theory."

"Yes, my Lord." Celestine trailed along behind Obsidian who lead her into one of the larger libraries of the Dark Kingdom. There he pulled out some of the books that Nephrite had ordered him to read as well and gave them Celestine who took them to the quarters she had been assigned. To Obsidian's relief, Beryl's brainwashing had included knowledge of the written language of the Dark Kingdom, too, and so she started obediently to read through the volumes.

Obsidian returned to his rooms as well. He wanted to retrieve the crystal that enabled him to locate the Kings. They would certainly appear in the next time, he thought.

* * *

*I wonder where Obsidian hides*, Kunzite said mentally to Nephrite.

*He's either in his quarters or in the library*, the disembodied King replied. *I don't think we will find him at the training range or somewhere else.*

*Where does he live? It's too dangerous to check out the library.*

Nephrite described the way.

"Kunzite-sama, what are we going to do?" Zoisite asked. He hung at his lover's arm and laid his head against his shoulder.

"We'll go to Obsidian's quarters," Kunzite told him.

"And then I will spank him," Antimony said grimly.

"Could someone please tell me what we are going to do and why?" Jadeite demanded.

Kunzite sighed. "First - we want to find Obsidian. Second - we want to punish him. Third - we want to overthrow Queens Beryl and Metallia. Fourth - we will rescue my books. And fifth - I will assume the throne of the Dark Kingdom with Zoisite by my side."

"Ah," Jadeite commented. He was sure Kunzite wanted to make fun of him.

"Now let's go. We're about to accomplish the first of our goals." Kunzite started in the direction of Obsidian's rooms and lead the group with blowing cape.

* * *

As Obsidian had discovered the Kings' approach, he decided to check on the Senshi for a change. It seemed they were still wandering through one of the corridors. He teleported behind them and followed them silently.

"No wonder it's the Dark Kingdom," SailorMars commented. The fluorescent moss and mushrooms at the walls of the corridor dispersed only an eerie greenish-blue light. "They should put up some lamps."

SailorMoon stumbled over some stones again and cursed. "They could tidy up the ground a little," she complained.

"If you would look where you put your feet you wouldn't have these problems," SailorMars mocked. SailorMercury had put on her visor and thus she had no difficulties with the feeble lighting at all.

Obsidian shook his head. The Senshi looked utterly ridiculous in the Dark Kingdom uniforms. Especially SailorMoon was a riot with the long white cape over which she constantly stumbled.

"Wow," SailorMars exclaimed when she had reached the end of the corridor and looked at a cavern so large that it seemed to have no ceiling at all.

The ground was overgrown with strangely shaped plants that sported dark colours interspersed with fleshy, garishly yellow, orange and red flowers that looked suspiciously carnivorous. The sky was dimly lit and streaked with misty cloud veils. In the distance there was a dark and gloomy castle, and some mist collected on the ground. Farther away one could make out some more twisted, uncanny buildings.

"Where are we?" SailorJupiter asked with fascination. When she looked up to the sky she was sure there was no ceiling, but then, she couldn't imagine a place on earth with a sky like this.

"If you ask me," SailorMercury said, "this has to be the fabled realm called Hollow Earth about which several authors in wrote in the past. The fact that the entrance to it is located at the North Pole also points to it. But I must admit, I always believed it was a figment of some writers' imagination. I'd never have thought that the Dark Kingdom was in fact a realm in the Hollow Earth."

"And where are we going from here?" SailorMoon asked.

"What about setting out to the castle over there and check whether it is Queen Beryl's residence?" SailorMars proposed.

"But it is sooooo far away," SailorMoon complained.

"Well, where would you like to go?" SailorJupiter wanted to know. SailorMoon pointed to a small group of trees in the vicinity. "And what do you hope to find there?"

"I don't know, but I don't want to walk that far."

"I don't care," SailorMars declared. "We will go to the castle and you can either go or stay."

"Okay, okay!" SailorMoon ran after the raven-haired Senshi and the rest of her friends. Staying back alone was even worse than walking a bit.

"It really looks sad here," SailorMercury stated and looked at twisted flowers and wilted grass. "No wonder that they want to collect energy - somehow they have to find a way to revive their realm."

"I wouldn't want to live here," SailorVenus shuddered. "It's all so drab and grey."

"Yeah. I'll be glad when I'm back in our world, too," SailorMars declared.

"Somehow I pity the people living here," SailorMercury said.

* * *

When they arrived at Obsidian's quarters, the Kings discovered that he wasn't there.

"And what are we going to do now?" Jadeite asked.

"Now I'll put up some wards that'll trap him in his rooms should he try to return." Kunzite declared. "Or do you want to set them up, little rat? As I still vividly remember, you are quite adept in this."

"Yeah," Zoisite grinned and blew Kunzite a kiss, before he started to seal the walls with the ward he had discovered a while ago.

"Perfect," Kunzite acknowledged Zoisite's handiwork and pulled him into his arms. Exactly this type of trap had marked the beginning of their relationship.

Nephrite had been quiet all the time, but he had to object when Kunzite neared Zoisite again in such indecent manner. He absolutely hated it.

*Shut up!* Kunzite thought angrily. He decided to kiss his beloved to make his point. Nephrite was furious. There was a limit to everything.

*You might consider looking elsewhere*, Kunzite thought annoyedly. Why couldn't Nephrite just dissolve into thin air?

*As if that was possible*, Nephrite growled mentally.

*Unfortunately not. But I won't let you endanger my relationship with Zoisite.*

"Kunzite-sama? What's our next move?"

"We will check what they did to our house, little rat."

"And that's why we went here?" Jadeite inquired.

"First we want to find Obsidian, but several other things are likewise important."

"If you say so," Jadeite sighed.

"But isn't that dangerous? I mean, there will be guards," Zoisite stated.

"We have to be stealthy."

"I only want to catch Obsidian," Antimony remarked.

"What is it about this guy?" Jadeite wondered. At least he did free him from the sleep crystal.

"If you had Nephrite sitting in your mind and nagging around all the time, you'd want to kill him, too," Kunzite growled.

"Really? Nephrite is with you? I thought he was in her body!"

"Not anymore," Kunzite sighed. He buried his face in Zoisite's silky mane.

"And how did this happen?"

"Obviously Obsidian knows some potent magickal spells and loves to try them out."

Zoisite looked up to his lover. "We'll kill him together, yes?"

Kunzite smiled. "It'll be a pleasure."

"I didn't know that Obsidian knew such powerful magick." Jadeite was fascinated.

"I didn't know either," Kunzite said darkly.

"We should be really careful that Beryl's troops won't find us while we stalk around in the Kingdom," Jadeite warned. "I have no intentions to meet her again."

"Don't worry," Zoisite said with a dangerous glint in his emerald eyes and played with a freshly conjured long, ragged ice crystal. "If I see her again I will kill her. That bitch wanted to fry me!"

"How could she do that," Jadeite commented ironically.

"Exactly," Zoisite sulked. "Only because I almost offed Endymion."

"Hm, as far as I'm concerned he's really useless."

"That's exactly my point!" Zoisite laid his head against Kunzite's shoulder again. "Fortunately Kunzite-sama saved me." He sighed affectionately.

Slowly but surely Jadeite managed to piece the bits of information together. Now it wouldn't take much longer, and he was fully informed, he thought with satisfaction.

"I couldn't let her kill you, my little rat." Kunzite tousled his hair.

*Hey! We should go now!* Nephrite nagged. He was frustrated that he had to play the watcher in the dark. He needed a body of his own, preferably his old one.

"He's right," Kunzite said.

"Who?" Zoisite wondered.

"Nephrite. He said we should go."

"I agree," Jadeite chimed in.

They set off in the direction of Kunzite's house. The silver-haired King extended his senses. "There aren't any youma in front of us," he said with surprise.

"Maybe they are occupied elsewhere," Jadeite suspected.

"Hm. But with whom or what?" They had reached the large house that looked like a gloomy, uncanny castle. Kunzite laid his hand against the door. "The wards are still intact." He closed his eyes and concentrated to deactivate them.

Pic
of Kuzite's Castle by Stayka

"Maybe they are hunting for the Senshi," Jadeite remarked.

"Well, that would be no loss on either side. - You may enter now."

When they stood in the entrance hall, Kunzite resealed the house, just to be on the safe side. The hall was dimly lit, and the walls consisted of bluish black stone. A wide flight of stairs led up to the first floor, and Kunzite floated upstairs.

"What does he want?" Jadeite asked.

"He wants to fetch his books. You wouldn't believe how much of his time he spends with books and not with me," Zoisite sighed.

"Little rat, you don't want to accuse me of neglecting you, do you?" Kunzite called from above.

"Well, not exactly." Zoisite followed him into the large library and blushed when he discovered that it looked just like on the day they had fled. Some parts of one of his uniforms lay still on the floor where he had dropped them.

Jadeite sank down in a chair and waited. Nothing would surprise him anymore, he decided.

Kunzite went to a shelf and took out some books that he put into a freshly conjured bag. He sighed. He still could take only a select few books with him this time. He discovered something dark green lying on some smaller volumes and couldn't suppress a smile. "Zoisite!"

"Yes?"

"I told you at least a thousand times not to throw your clothes everywhere." He let the sock drop to the ground and shook his head.

*Interesting*, Nephrite commented. *Is he that sloppy, or was it only the urgency?*

Kunzite blushed slightly when he remembered that particular evening before their flight. *I bet you don't want to know.*

*Of course I want to know*, Nephrite claimed. *And if it's only because you seem to be a bit embarassed.*

*Well...* Kunzite smiled inwardly. He was sure Nephrite would be even more embarassed when he had to witness it, and so he projected the happenings in all detail before his mind's eye.

Nephrite shuddered mentally. But on the other hand, as long as he wasn't directly involved, it was actually rather interesting, he discovered. *How sweet*, he thought. *Are you always in such a hurry to get your little pet into your bed?*

*Well, sometimes.* Kunzite gave Zoisite a loving look. *He's just plain wonderful*, he thought.

*He's pretty, but dangerous.*

*Exactly that's the point*, Kunzite declared dreamily.

*I still wonder how you have managed to get him under your control.* Nephrite was fascinated. *And you really do love him. I always thought you only said so to ensure Zoisite's loyalty to you.*

*Certainly not.* Kunzite gazed at his beautiful beloved with the long, coppery golden locks and shining emerald eyes. *I guess I fell in love with him when I first saw him*, he mused. And now Zoisite was even more important to him than his rank and status, he thought wryly. Well, everything had its advantages and disadvantages.

*You have to know what you're doing*, Nephrite commented. He certainly wouldn't forgive Zoisite for killing him that easily.

Kunzite smiled at Zoisite before he turned back to his books. Slowly but surely the first bag filled, and a second had to be conjured.

"We shouldn't stay here too much longer," Jadeite warned. Kunzite agreed, and they left the house. Of course it was sealed again, before Kunzite dared to open a doorway and transported his bags to the Earth Realm. He chose a hiding-place in North America, as he was sure that the youma were located around Tokyo, as usual.

Soon he returned, and they considered their next moves.

* * *

Obsidian still trailed the Senshi. They needed a really good plan to save Naru, he thought.

"We need a plan," SailorMars said. "If this is really Queen Beryl's palace, it'll be madness to simply walk in. We need a way to enter stealthily so that we can take her by surprise."

"But we don't have a plan, have we?" SailorMoon stated. "How can we get in?"

"Exactly that's the point," SailorMars sighed when they had reached the uncanny building. "Hm, what's this?" The castle glowed with black energy that seemed to permeate the walls and everything. SailorMercury activated her visor and scanned the building.

"It seems to be the same type of energy that Kunzite used to trap us in his dome," she commented.

"Then we should be doubly careful," SailorVenus cautioned.

"I fear we won't be able to enter at all when the energy surrounds the whole castle. I hate to remind you, but that dome also managed to absorb all of our attacks," SailorJupiter stated.

"Yes, even my Fire Soul was useless against the barrier," SailorMars agreed.

"Well, then we should rather go somewhere else," SailorMoon turned around to leave, but Rei caught her and turned her back to face the building.

"We have to find out if Queen Beryl is in there and challenge her," she said.

"Okay, okay. But do you have any idea of how to get into the castle?"

"First we will check all sides of the building, and then we will look at the windows."

"You don't want to say we have to run around the whole castle? My feet ache!"

"Crybaby!"

"Baaah!" SailorMoon stuck her tongue at SailorMars, who returned the gesture. SailorMercury shook her head and scanned the building more thoroughly.

"It seems to be warded all around. Even the windows are behind an energy barrier."

"Then it will be difficult to get in," SailorVenus remarked thoughtfully.

"Obviously," Ami agreed. "But this also means it's highly improbable that it's Queen Beryl's castle. I mean, she's a queen, and so she certainly holds audiences, and thus there should be people coming and going all the time."

"Then her castle, palace or wherever she reigns has to be somewhere else," SailorVenus commented.

"We should ask someone who knows the place," SailorMoon suggested.

"You're free to find and ask someone," SailorMars mocked.

"Well..." SailorMoon looked around. "I'll ask the first person we'll meet for the way."

"We should have stayed with the Kings. They know their way around," SailorMercury said dryly.

"If you want to risk staying in the vicinity of that despicable weasel Zoisite?" SailorMars grimaced. "I prefer that we get rid of Queen Beryl ourselves. Then the Dark Kingdom will hopefully collapse and we don't have problems with energy collecting youma anymore."

"And what about Kunzite? Didn't he say he wants to assume the throne when Beryl is gone? I fear that our problem only shifts to another adversary," SailorMercury pondered.

"Well, we can take care of him as soon as we have finished off the queen. By the way, if he fights against Beryl, we can even wait until they weaken each other and then get rid of both parties," SailorMars suggested.

"Sounds reasonable," SailorVenus agreed. "But now we should get away from here and try to find the real castle of Queen Beryl."

SailorMoon whined again when they set out for the next large building that could be seen far in the distance. She hated long walks.

* * *

"The Senshi are here," Kunzite discovered when he returned. Jadeite, Zoisite and Antimony waited in the vicinity of his house, but fortunately they were on the opposite side of the five girls at the moment. Kunzite went a bit in their direction to get a look at them.

"Yes, they tried to break into our house," Zoisite stated, "but they haven't managed to overcome the wards."

"They don't seem to know what to do - as usual," Jadeite grinned. "But then, what do you expect of silly little girls?"

*And they look absolutely ridiculous*, Nephrite commented when he had seen their uniforms via Kunzite.

*Indeed*, Kunzite grinned. "SailorMoon wants to copy my outfit, it seems." He flourished his cape.

"But it looks much better on you," Zoisite admired him.

*I agree. SailorMoon's silly hairdo ruins every outfit.*

Kunzite smiled at Zoisite. "Everything else would worry me."

"I wonder where they want to go now," Antimony said.

Jadeite's gaze followed the walking girls. "I'd say they wander towards the entertainment complex."

Kunzite grinned. "I guess they'll have much fun when they enter the bar."

*Do you know why these Senshi ever were a danger to us?* Nephrite asked.

*I never considered them to be a danger*, Kunzite thought contemptously.

"Why don't we follow them?" Zoisite laughed gleefully. "I have to see them there."

*Yeah, we shouldn't miss this.*

"Exactly." Kunzite put his arm around Zoisite's shoulders. "Come on."

They followed the Senshi inconspicuously.

* * *

"Great," Prince Endymion thought. Now he had led the youma army to the Earth Realm, and Zoisite and Kunzite were nowhere to be found.

But he had to take revenge on Zoisite for the humiliating hit with the ice crystal. He had some interesting ideas of what he wanted to do with the nasty pretty boy, most of them ending quite fatally for Zoisite.

* * *

It didn't take long, and Obsidian was bored again when he followed the Sailor Senshi. He still didn't understand what the girls actually wanted to accomplish.

They went to Kunzite's house, looked at it, talked a while and then went on, this time in direction of the entertainment complex.

Obsidian hid behind a gnarled tree and watched as the Senshi went by. Then he joined the girls and stalked after them. Especially SailorMoon looked amusing, how she shuffled along at the rear of the row, cape and head hanging limply down.

He grinned evilly and tapped her on the shoulder.

"May I ask where you want to go?"

"Waaaaaaah!" SailorMoon jumped at least four feet high.

* * *

"There's Obsidian!" Zoisite hissed when the violet-haired man appeared behind the Senshi. Immediately he held a ragged, two feet long ice crystal in his hand.

"You won't hit him at that distance," Kunzite cautioned. "You'll only alarm him."

"Well, then I have to get closer."

Zoisite crept in Obsidian's direction.

* * *

"What are you doing here?" Obsidian asked again. "You should be more careful who stalks you, too. If I'd have been Zoisite, you'd have a problem now."

"We're trying to find Endymion," SailorMars explained. "As the castle over there seems to be too heavily warded, we decided to try this building." She pointed at the large complex of dark shimmering stone.

"I wouldn't look there for Endymion," Obsidian remarked.

"Why not?"

"Because you won't find him there."

"But where is he? My Tuxedo Kamen," SailorMoon whined.

"He's in the Earth Realm, hunting for Kunzite and Zoisite."

"But aren't they here in the Dark Kingdom?" SailorMoon wondered.

"Sure, I and you know that, but neither Queen Beryl nor Prince Endymion do," Obsidian sighed. The leader of the Senshi shone with abundant intelligence, as usual.

"And what about Naru and Umino?" SailorMercury interjected. "Do you happen to know where we can find them?"

"If I remember correctly, Umino should be in that complex. Naru is somewhere else."

"Well, then let's get him first before we fetch Naru," SailorMars suggested. "Afterwards we can still get back to Earth and look for Endymion."

"That's your business," Obsidian shrugged and scanned the area around, just to be sure. It was not a second too early, as he discovered a sharp ice crystal flying towards him, and he teleported away.

The ice crystal just barely missed SailorMars and buried itself in a gnarled tree. Zoisite cursed maliciously.

Obsidian materialized behind the small King and gave him a slap on the backside. "You get on my nerves!"

Zoisite whirled around, and his eyes sparked the desire to kill. "Obsidian! How dare you! You will immediately pull Nephrite out of Kunzite-sama's mind or you'll regret it a million times over!"

"Are you sure that I should do it right now?"

"Why not now?"

"I'm sure Queen Beryl will notice him immediately when Nephrite's presence doesn't mask Kunzite's energy signature anymore."

"Hm." Zoisite blushed deeply red when he became aware of the fact that it would have been a bad idea to kill Obsidian right now, and it was likewise bad to force him to separate Kunzite and Nephrite here in the Dark Kingdom. "I hate to admit it, but it seems you have a point."

"I'll do it as soon as we are back in the Earth Realm. Promise!"

"Really?" Zoisite cocked his head. "Then I promise not to attack you anymore while we're here." It would be hard, but on the other hand, sharing Kunzite with Nephrite for much longer would be worse.

"Great. I'm too curious what they are going to do." Obsidian pointed at the Senshi.

"What do they want to do?"

Now Kunzite and the others reached Zoisite and Obsidian. They were astonished that no one had gotten hurt yet. Kunzite put his hand at Zoisite's nape of the neck and gently caressed him.

"Have you finally seen some reason, little rat?"

"Hm-hm." Zoisite closed his eyes and enjoyed his lover's caress.

"They look for Endymion, Naru and Umino, not necessarily in that order," Obsidian answered Zoisite's question.

"And why are they on the way to the entertainment complex?" The copper-gold haired man wondered and thought that Kunzite really could continue for a while.

"Because Umino is there, and they decided they might save him en passant."

"Why is this Umino-guy in the entertainment complex?"

"Because he wasn't useful for anything else. Beryl decided not to turn him into a warrior, but to let him work as a barkeeper."

Zoisite grinned when he tried to picture the clumsy fellow as a warrior. It would look as ridiculous as his appearance as 'Tuxedo Umino Kamen'.

Kunzite sighed and examined Obsidian thoughtfully. Unfortunately is would be grossly unwise to force him to separate him and Nephrite while they were still in the Dark Kingdom. And killing Obsidian would not help him either at the moment.

"How is Nephrite?" Obsidian asked with interest.

*Oh, someone remembers that I still exist*, Nephrite sulked.

"He says he's glad that you remember him," Kunzite prompted.

"Somehow I don't believe it," Obsidian grinned. "But I found a new spell that might help him to get a new body."

"I'm sure he'd be delighted," Kunzite said. "I'll be even happier when he's gone for good. You can't imagine him nagging around when I merely kiss Zoisite."

"I can very well imagine it. He's always nagging around."

*I'll kill him!*

*I'll help you - when you're in another body*, Kunzite sighed. He desperately longed to hold Zoisite in his arms, to be comforted by his beloved, but somehow Nephrite was a nuisance.

Obsidian looked thoughtfully at Kunzite while he tried to figure out how to conjure a new body for Nephrite. He had some problems to create something larger than a cat.

Antimony examined Obsidian sternly. She still had to spank him when the opportunity arose.

"Is there something," the violet-haired man asked his former nursemaid.

"We still have a score to settle - keep that in mind!"

"As usual," he sighed. "What do you all have against me?"

"I don't have anything against you," Jadeite stated.

"Then you're the big exception."

"Well, maybe you should think first about what you're doing and act then," the blonde King stated.

"Certain other persons don't do this either." Obsidian glanced at Zoisite.

"Well, they have more convincing arguments and stronger backup."

Obsidian grumbled something incomprehensible. Jadeite sighed. This was the course of the world, and as usual the world was really unfair. Kunzite held Zoisite close again, actively ignoring Nephrite's snide remarks.

"By the way, what are you doing here?" Obsidian asked the Kings.

"Actually I intended to kill you," Zoisite said, "but right now I'm otherwise occupied."

"I still have a certain score to settle," Antimony grumbled.

"Don't ask me," Jadeite replied. "I'm just here."

"Aha. But as you obviously don't want to kill me here on the spot - what do you want?"

"I want to obliterate Queen Beryl," Zoisite declared. "I have to kill someone."

"That's okay with me," Obsidian commented. "I don't like her either."

"Good." Zoisite laid his head against Kunzite's shoulder and imagined how he could best destroy the Queen slowly and painfully.

"I think you need a spanking, too," Antimony told Zoisite. "There are other things in life than running around and killing people."

"Well," Obsidian said thoughtfully. "Slowly but surely I have the feeling that killing off people is the only thing that's really fun."

"That - and being together with Kunzite-sama," Zoisite sighed dreamily.

"That's something I'm in no position to judge."

"Your luck. Otherwise it would be back to killing and torturing you," Zoisite smiled evilly.

Pic
of Zoisite by Stayka

"He really needs a sound spanking," Antimony remarked.

Obsidian ignored Antimony - as usual. "Maybe I should try to take you as an example after all," he said to Zoisite, who promptly beamed at him.

"Really? - But you keep away from Kunzite-sama!"

"We'll see."

Zoisite's mien darkened immediately, and his eyes sparkled deadly poison. "You will keep your fingers from him." He wrapped his arms possessively around Kunzite's waist to drive his point home.

"Temper, temper, little rat," Kunzite groaned. "I'm no teddy bear."

"These two are just too cute," Obsidian grinned. "Especially when Zoisite proudly demonstrates his ownership of Kunzite."

"Well, he is all mine," Zoisite declared. Kunzite decided better not to contradict his lover, because then he would pout all the time, but on the other hand it would be as unwise to agree.

"Cute," Obsidian grinned.

"I think they should try to behave a bit more in public," Antimony said gruffly.

"You're boring as usual," Obsidian stated.

"I don't have to be interesting, I just have to teach you manners - and the others, too, if possible."

"I'm much too old for a nursemaid."

"But you still behave like a baby."

"Really?" Obsidian pouted.

"Indeed." Antimony gazed at him angrily, while Kunzite looked both amused and affectionately at his beloved.

"I'm glad that I'm a) grown up and b) not so madly in love with someone," Jadeite grinned.

"What do you want to say?" Obsidian hissed.

"I'm the only reasonable person around," the blonde man claimed.

"You're as boring as Antimony," Obsidian replied.

The Senshi just stood around and watched the exchange with fascination. So these were the terrible evil guys that continuously threatened the Earth Realm? Okay, Zoisite was evil, but the others?

"Pah," Jadeite grumbled. Zoisite and Kunzite were currently ...occupied again. Nephrite had given up to comment on their behaviour for now, they would ignore him anyway.

"Why are you still standing around?" Obsidian asked the Senshi. "I thought you wanted to save your friends?"

"Well, we need some more information about the Dark Kingdom, and you give us lots," SailorMercury said.

"But I have already told you where you can find Umino," the violet-haired man remarked. "You don't have much time."

"Won't you accompany us?" SailorJupiter asked and looked at Obsidian. He was still cute, but somehow he wasn't nice anymore, it seemed.

"Why? I don't think you'll get too many difficulties."

"But you know your way around!" the brown-haired Senshi looked at him from her tourmaline green eyes.

"You just have to go there." He pointed in the right direction.

"And when we're in the building?"

"Just straight forward and you should see him behind the bar."

"Pardon?" Antimony looked at him with a deep frown. "I forbade you to go there!"

"I haven't been there. It's boring anyway."

"Good," the nursemaid said.

"I want to get my hands on Beryl," Zoisite sighed when he parted from Kunzite and regained his breath. "We should sneak into the palace now."

"Yeah, that might be a good idea," Obsidian agreed. "Beryl should only have her bodyguards and the usual courtiers in the palace. The youma army is with Prince Endymion in the Earth Realm, if I remember correctly."

"Wonderful! I want to catch her unawares. She has to suffer - long and painfully." Zoisite smiled cruelly.

"Do whatever you wish," Obsidian shrugged.

"You should rather try to keep your temper in check, little rat," Kunzite warned. "Queen Beryl is too dangerous to play around with."

"That's all very nice," SailorVenus interjected. "But what about going on before the youma return and catch us here?"

"I agree," SailorMars said. "I want to get out of this uniform as fast as possible."

"It doesn't suit you at all," Obsidian remarked nastily.

"Haven't I said so?" SailorMoon sighed. "We didn't have to disguise anyway, or do you see someone who cares that we are here?"

"At least the uniforms are warmer than our fukus," SailorMercury stated matter-of-factly.

"I find it embarassing that SailorMoon of all people chose to wear a cape like mine," Kunzite sighed.

"She only stumbles over it anyway," Obsidian commented.

Zoisite grinned evilly and made some threatening steps towards SailorMoon who shrieked and tried to step backwards. Of course she only tripped over her cape and crashed down with a strangled noise. "Obviously!" He laughed gleefully before he went back to Kunzite and slipped his arm through his beloved's.

"We should let the little girls go to retrieve this Umino while we take revenge on Queen Beryl," Kunzite decreed. "Let's go to Beryl's palace."

*Good idea. I want to get out of here as fast as possible.* Nephrite still felt absolutely uncomfortable with the fact that Kunzite always stayed so close to Zoisite, even though the vicious little weasel seemed to be nothing but utterly devoted to him.

The Kings set out on their way and left the Senshi behind. Kunzite cast a spell around them that made them less noticeable - people who looked in their direction would just get the feeling there was nothing of importance and look elsewhere.

* * *

"And what about us?" SailorJupiter asked. "Shouldn't we follow them and try to take care of Beryl as well? If the evil Queen is obliterated, we might be able to return Endymion and Naru without a fight."

"But I thought we wanted to save Umino first," SailorMoon pointed out.

"Well, you're the leader - you have to decide," SailorMercury said.

"Er... Then let's follow the Kings. Where are they anyway?"

"A moment before they were still there. But they went there, I'm sure." Rei pointed vaguely into the direction where they disappeared.

"I hope we don't get lost," SailorVenus worried.

SailorMercury activated her visor. "Okay, it seems they set up some kind of invisibility spell. But I still can trace them by their body heat."

"Okay, then let's go," SailorJupiter said.

Led by SailorMercury, the girls ran after the Kings, Obsidian and Antimony.

* * *

After he had waited quite a while in the Earth Realm, Prince Endymion decided to return to the Dark Kingdom. Kunzite and Zoisite seemed to have vanished without trace, and not a single youma found a hint where the Senshi or the fugitive Kings hid.

He reported to Queen Beryl who was pretty peeved at his failure. But when she looked into his dark sapphire eyes, she decided to give him a couple more chances to redeem himself, and so she ordered him to take over Celestine's training.

The red-haired girl sat in a heap of books and read quietly when Endymion materialized in her quarters.

She stood up immediately and bowed as it was proper.

"Prince Endymion, I'm honoured. How can I be of service?"

"Your skills have to be properly trained. We will go to the training range where you will go through some exercises."

"Your wish is my command, Prince Endymion." Without being aware of the fact that she hadn't been able to do so only a short time ago, she teleported with her teacher to the training range.

On his orders she completed the usual training cycle. Celestine was proud that she had improved quite a bit since the last exercise, but she had still to do some work to be as good as most of the youma that trained beside her.

Endymion still wondered what Queen Beryl planned to do with the girl. She was no match for any of the youma, and so he dressed her down accordingly.

Celestine sighed and tried again. Endymion watched her only half interested, while he tried to figure out a plan how to pay back Zoisite for his underhanded attack with the ice crystal. When he turned his attention back at her, he found that at least now she didn't hit the wall anymore.

"Are you satisfied with my performance?" she asked.

"Well, you seem to improve. But you should concentrate better in any case."

"I will aspire to do my best."

"Queen Beryl expects no less from you."

* * *

The Kings and the Senshi finally arrived at the entertainment complex which looked as dreary from the outside as the rest of the Dark Kingdom.

Only the music that streamed out of the building told them that something was going on inside. It sounded unusual to the ears of the Earthers, but Zoisite recognized it as one of his favourite songs and hummed the melody.

Kunzite was about to pass the building to go further on in direction of the palace, but SailorMoon tugged at his cape. "Can't we just save Umino while we're here?"

The tall man whirled around. How had the girls been able to follow them that easily? As they halted now and knew the Kings were there, the spell lost most of its effect on the Senshi. Kunzite gave the girls an impatient gaze from his icy platinum eyes. "You are free to do so, but we have another agenda."

"Why can't we take some drinks on the way?" Jadeite asked.

*That would be really nice*, Nephrite nagged. *I really regret to stick here within you.*

*You would only drink yourself senseless*, Kunzite commented in his thoughts, before he answered Jadeite. "Because we don't want to point each and every off-duty youma to our presence. We are already more noticeable than I would like."

*But I need a drink really badly.*

*Sorry, I won't do it*, Kunzite declared. *I prefer to stay sober.*

*I feared something like that.*

"Are we going to save Umino or not?" SailorVenus inquired.

"Of course we'll save him!" SailorMoon stormed the building.

As soon as she had opened the door, she was assaulted by loud music and intoxicating smoke. Laughter and shouts boomed through the room and smothered all attempts of conversation.

The Senshi followed their leader while the Kings stayed outside. "And where is Umino?" SailorVenus shouted at SailorMoon.

Lots of highly interested glances followed the Senshi. They were glad that they still wore the uniforms, as the looks of the male guests seemed to undress them even in these unrevealing garments. One especially forward guy tried to catch SailorVenus to draw her onto his lap.

Horrified she jumped to the side and looked scandalized at the man. This was the limit! She gave the man a nasty uppercut and went on. Fortunately this gave her more breathing space and less lewd invitations.

SailorMoon dug through the crowd and finally discovered Umino behind the bar where he poured drinks. She couldn't believe it. The other Senshi stayed close to her; all the obscene comments embarassed them a bit.

SailorJupiter sent the fourth or fifth man into the land of dreams with a hard knock of her fist. She was absolutely fed up with their comments.

"Just take Umino, and then let's be gone!" she shouted to SailorMoon.

* * *

Obsidian stood in front of the building and sulked. He wasn't allowed to go into the complex, but the Senshi were, even though they were younger than him. To be honest, he had visited the bars there already, when Antimony wasn't in the vicinity.

Kunzite and Zoisite decided to wait and see how much ruckus the Senshi would cause. And if they survived and got out, they might even use them as diversion when they went towards Beryl's castle. Together with Jadeite they stayed somewhat in the shades under the protection of Kunzite's spell - it was no use if someone ran into them and blew the cover. Then Endymion would be set on them right away to capture them.

"I want to know what's going on in there," the young man nagged.

"You stay right here," Antimony decreed. "This place is definitely not good for you."

"Why not? And what about the girls?"

"I don't care about them, but you're much safer here. In the bar you'll meet only bad people, drugs and everything."

"I'm no baby anymore," Obsidian protested. "Actually, I'm training to be a feared warrior of the Dark Kingdom, or so Queen Beryl says."

"As long as I'm responsible for you, I will take care of you as it is proper."

"And if I'll just go?"

"Try me."

Obsidian tried to work into the building, but Antimony caught his arm and pulled him back, before she smacked him on the backside.

"Ouch!" he yammered, but on the other hand, he couldn't hurt Antimony, she had been his nursemaid for so long. Sulkily he stayed with her.

"Now be a good little boy and wait for the others."

"They are younger than I am."

"But I'm responsible for you."

"You're mean! You spoil every fun, and you treat me like a baby," he grumbled.

"One day you will thank me for your good upbringing," Antimony claimed.

* * *

"I can't believe that Umino works in here," SailorMercury said. She stood at the bar and watched the boy with the thick glasses confusedly .

"Probably he's been as brainwashed as Tuxedo Kamen," SailorVenus remarked.

"Well, let's see." SailorMars went to the bar. "Umino!" No reaction. The boy continued washing some cocktail glasses. "Hey!"

"What can I do for you?"

"I'd like to have a cup of green tea," SailorMars answered.

"Sorry, we don't have any tea."

"What's your name?" she tried. Somehow Umino behaved utterly un-Umino-like.

"Sodalite."

SailorMars couldn't help but giggle. "Okay, then I'd like to have a Coca Cola light, Sodalite."

Sodalite was a bit peeved that so many people made fun of his name, and so he slammed the glass before her on the bar.

"Thanks."

"SailorMoon, you have to transform him back," SailorMercury said.

"But I can't do it in here."

"Well, we have to get him out of here and back home."

"I wonder if they will look favourably on us if we kidnap their barkeeper," SailorJupiter remarked.

"Well, there are more waiters and barkeepers around." SailorVenus pointed at the other bars at the sides of the large room. "Probably they'll only consider it funny when we carry him away."

"If you say so." SailorJupiter grabbed Umino, dragged him from behind the bar and threw him over her shoulder.

Some of the guests applauded enthusiastically when SailorJupiter strode out of the complex and grinned around. The others followed her in a hurry.

"Finally! There you are," Obsidian called and gazed at Makoto's burden.

"Yeah. Unfortunately they brainwashed Umino just as they did with Tuxedo Kamen."

"What did you think?"

"I hope we can change him back," SailorMercury said.

"I don't know how one can accomplish that without the machine and the black energy, but at least you can try it out on Umino before you retrieve Endymion and Naru."

SailorJupiter put Umino down. "He's heavy," she groaned. SailorMoon took out her moon sceptre and spoke the formula.

"I don't think that was a good idea," Obsidian commented wryly. "Now Beryl will know that you're here and call back Endymion at once."

"Uh-oh," Jadeite said when he saw that Prince Endymion materialized not too far away with several dozens of youma. SailorMoon interrupted the treatment of Umino and stared at the newcomers.

"Now we'll have fun," Obsidian said, teleported away and hid behind a corner, before he also fetched Antimony with his powers. He didn't want to be seen with the traitors.

Immediately when she saw Endymion, SailorMoon got that treacherous glow in her eyes. She mooned at the prince, until SailorMars smacked her on the head.

"Hurry, transform him back!"

SailorMoon lifted the moon sceptre and spoke the formula again, this time directed at Endymion, while the Senshi covered her. Unfortunately Endymion had a similar idea, and a handful of youma stood protectively in front of him.

Kunzite and Zoisite went into the cover of some trees in the vicinity, and Kunzite formed an energy shield around the two of them. Jadeite joined Obsidian and Antimony who watched the confrontation with interest. It was intriguing to observe the attacks of the Senshi when they weren't directed at them.

SailorMars pointed her hands at the youma and shot one Fire Soul attack after the other at them, just as SailorJupiter used her Supreme Thunder and SailorVenus her Crescent Beam, while SailorMercury tried to confuse the enemy with her Shabon Spray.

They took care, though, not to hurt Endymion, while they obliterated one youma after the other. Unfortunately SailorMoon had no chance to get near enough to Endymion to heal him.

"I suggest we should consider a better course of action," Kunzite said to his beloved.

"What about disappearing and leaving the girls to their fate?"

"Better not, little rat. Imagine what happens when Endymion overcomes them and Beryl brainwashes them. We can't take on Beryl, Metallia, Endymion, and five more adversaries with considerable attack powers."

"So what's your plan?"

"Well." Kunzite got out of the cover, still heavily shielded. "Care to return home, little girls?"

"There are too many - we really should leave," SailorVenus groaned exhaustedly, and the others nodded.

Kunzite opened a doorway to the European region, while Zoisite covered him and blasted the youma who tried to get too near. The Senshi and Umino ran towards them and jumped through the doorway. Zoisite fired another barrage of ice crystals and energy at Endymion and his troops before he also went through. Kunzite went last and closed the doorway.

They appeared near the Eiffel tower, and from there he immediately opened another gate, this time to North America, where he fetched the bags with the books he had hidden. The next step was Japan.

* * *

Endymion followed him as fast as possible, but he discovered that the energy flows in the area where he arrived were badly twisted, and he had severe difficulties to use his powers at all. When he managed to open another doorway, his prey was gone, and he cursed blasphemously.

* * *

In Tokyo they went to the Hikawa Shrine. Kunzite looked pretty exhausted. He hated going to the European region, but at least he knew how to handle the energy flows.

Now SailorMoon pulled out her moon sceptre once more and finished the healing of Umino. The boy looked puzzled at the Senshi, Kunzite and Zoisite.

"Where am I? I only remember being at the cinema with Naru and my friends, and now I'm here."

SailorMars disappeared stealthily and turned back changed into her Earth seeming.

"You became unconscious," she explained. "We brought you to the Hikawa Shrine so that you could recover."

"Rei! Where's Naru?"

"She had to return home very urgently and left you in my care," the dark-haired girl explained.

"Why do you wear these strange uniforms?" Umino wanted to know.

"Well, that's a longer story. But now you should go back home and relax a bit," SailorMoon said.

Umino did as he was told, and the girls changed back into their normal Earth clothes. Kunzite leaned tiredly against the wall.

"We will return home, too," he said. Fortunately the car was still parked in front of the Hikawa Shrine, and Zoisite and he drove to their house. At the moment Kunzite only wanted to fall into his bed and sleep.

The End of Pt.7 - Goto Pt.8


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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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