Secret Agendas

(Tears of Crystal - Pt.14)

© 1998/2006 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea


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"Oniwabandana!" Queen Beryl shouted. The youma floated upside down from the ceiling.

"You have called, my Queen?"

"Indeed." Beryl tapped her dangerous fingernails onto the armrest of her throne. Some more deep scratches joined the ones already there.

"I have been told such unbelievable news that I want proof," she cooed. "You will go to the Earth Realm immediately and find out what the traitors are up to. And bring me some nice photos of them, too!" The last sentence was shouted in such a fury that the first row of the courtiers decided to take cover.

"As you wish, my Queen." Oniwabandana bowed. Beryl waved her away, and the youma disappeared to carry out her orders.

* * *

Obsidian sat in his quarters and wrote letters. He wanted all involved persons to meet at the amusement park.

He hoped it would become a fun event. At any rate, he had put enough effort into finding out who should be the senders of the letters, and of course he had invented a different type of handwriting for each.

* * *

Mizuno Ami opened the letter she had gotten from Urawa Ryo. He invited her to the amusement park this afternoon. She sighed. Actually she didn't have time as she had to go to cram school, but on the other hand, since Ryo had moved she hadn't seen him very often. With a smile she put the letter into her satchel and went to school.

Aino Minako had gotten a letter as well that invited her to the amusement park, although hers was signed 'by an honest admirer'. Minako absolutely couldn't figure out who it might be, and so she was even more curious. She would go to the date and find out.

Kino Makoto jumped almost five feet high when she read her invitation. It was signed with 'your old boyfriend'. Of course she would go to the amusement park.

Hino Rei was invited by Kumada Yuuichirou. Well, he was a bit bland, the black-haired girl thought, but it might become a nice day anyway, and as long she didn't have to go through another enervating learning session with Usagi and Makoto, it was fine with her.

Tsukino Usagi got a letter written by Tuxedo Kamen that promised a date at the amusement park. Immediately the usual hearts blinked in her eyes and there was no question where she would spend the afternoon.

* * *

"We got a letter?" Kunzite asked incredulously.

"Yeah." Zoisite looked at it from all sides. "The sender is supposed to be SailorMoon."

"But she doesn't know where we're living."

"Well, it's only addressed to 'Kunzite&Zoisite, the meanest guys from the Dark Kingdom' anyway."

"Haha."

"We're 'cordially invited to a meeting at the amusement park', it says."

"This can't be written by SailorMoon. I'm sure she can't spell difficult words like 'cordially' right."

"Well, even if it wasn't by her, I'd still like to know who sent it. We should go to the amusement park."

"I agree," Kunzite nodded. Maybe he could convince Zoisite that they should go as early as possible and he wouldn't have to prepare the sushi.

* * *

Nephrite had gotten a letter from Osaka Naru who claimed that she now remembered everything. She had managed to flee from the Dark Kingdom and wanted to live with him for the rest of her life.

He couldn't believe it, but he wanted to know who had sent the letter if it wasn't Naru so that he could punish him for the bad joke.

Jadeite received an invitation by an unknown admirer who wanted to meet him alone at the amusement park to get to know him in person and not only from afar. He wondered who that might be, and as he certainly didn't want to experience Kunzite's efforts to cook, he decided he would go and maybe eat something there. He wouldn't mind if there was really some 'unknown admirer' around as he felt a bit neglected in the romance department. Somehow it was really unfair, he thought.

* * *

"Lord Kunzite, I'm hungry," Zoisite announced around noon. "You have to start with the sushi now."

"Ahm, but I'm not exactly prepared to -" He brandished the cookbook, but a long kiss convinced him otherwise.

"Have you read how difficult is to cook the rice alone?"

"Yes. But you'll manage."

Kunzite sighed and laid the cookbook open on the table, before he started to wash the rice properly as it was described on page 42. Zoisite watched him closely.

Jadeite heard Kunzite mess around in the kitchen. It sounded dangerous. Furtively, he gazed into the room and shook his head. Probably it would be the best idea to go now.

"Jadeite, good to see you," Kunzite called. The blonde King hadn't been stealthy enough. "Have you seen a hangiri somewhere around?"

"It was in the cupboard yesterday, and I don't think it has flown away."

"And which of the manaita can I use for the fish?"

Jadeite stepped into the kitchen. "Take this." He pointed at a white plastic chopping board. "The others are for herbs, vegetables and proper meat, so stay away from them with your smelly fish."

Kunzite made a face, but decided not to take the bait. "Thanks anyway," he grumbled.

"Why don't you do anything?" Zoisite nagged.

"Because after the washing the rice has to swell for an hour," Kunzite explained patiently. Jadeite almost burst from suppressed laughter. He was going to cook something easy, Kunzite had said.

"But I'm hungry."

"If you want to eat something fast then sushi wasn't the best idea," Jadeite grinned. "Let's see, two hours for the rice... Yeah, have fun!"

"What? But in the restaurant I always get the stuff immediately."

"They prepare the rice in advance. And they're experienced in cutting the ingredients properly."

"I'll starve," Zoisite groaned and looked at the dripping rice that wasn't even cooked yet.

"Well, I'll go now," Jadeite said cheerfully. "I have a date."

"A date?" Zoisite looked at him in surprise, before he started to rummage through the refrigerator. Maybe he found something in there that he could eat without long preparation. Suddenly he squeaked. "There's a tako in the icebox, and it stares at me!"

Jadeite couldn't help but giggle at Zoisite's shocked face when he discovered the octopus.

"Kunzite-sama, you can't want me to eat a thing with tentacles and suckers!"

"But you did in the restaurant."

"There it didn't look at me like that. - Maybe we should go to the restaurant after all," Zoisite said meekly when he inspected the other ingredients that Kunzite had bought. Especially the akagai looked highly inedible.

"Bye-bye!" Jadeite went to his motorbike and drove away.

Fortunately Nephrite already had gone to the city as well. He'd said something about going to some dealers to buy a new Ferrari.

"Please, Lord Kunzite?"

"You're right." The silver-haired man smiled. Now that Jadeite was away he could just get rid of this stuff and afterwards still claim he had cooked and it had been great.

He disintegrated the ingredients and looked at Zoisite. "We'll visit our favourite restaurant." As neither Jadeite nor Nephrite were too fond of the Japanese cuisine, there was practically no danger of meeting them there.

When they sat at the table in the restaurant, two bowls of excellently prepared kani chirashi-zushi standing in front of them, they stared soulfully into each other's eyes again, and Zoisite took his lover's hand.

Suddenly a bright light flashed.

"Thank you," Asahina Nana grinned. "I just had to take this photo."

"Oniwabandana!" Kunzite looked up angrily.

"I wondered where you hid the last time. I thought I was supposed to meet you here and get some instructions." The woman raised an eyebrow. "I ate about twice through the whole menu, up and down in the last days."

"I hope you enjoyed the food," Kunzite remarked dryly. "We were otherwise occupied."

"Kunzite-sama, I still wonder who invited us to the amusement park. Could it be a trap by Queen Beryl?"

"Possibly. But we still have to check out what's going on. Which reminds me..." He looked to the brown-haired reporter. "I wonder if you're still on our side."

"I'm always on my side, Lord Kunzite. I thought you'd know. But what did you say about the amusement park? Is there a chance I might take some more interesting photos?"

"Probably," Kunzite laughed. "Why don't you join the fun?"

* * *

The Senshi met after school as usual when Usagi didn't get detention for a change.

"I got a letter from Tuxedo Kamen," Usagi announced and waved it around. "He invites me to the amusement park!"

"To the amusement park?" Ami frowned. "Well, we could go together, if you like. Ryo is in town and he wants to meet me at the park as well."

"I don't want to disappoint you, but I'm also invited to the park," Minako said. "And that three of us are invited to go to the same place sounds somehow suspect."

"Four," Rei remarked. "I'm also invited." All glances were directed at Makoto who nodded.

"Me too."

"Well, now I'm sure that it's a trap," Ami declared.

"We should go there together to find out what's going on."

"So the letter wasn't by Tuxedo Kamen?" Usagi sniffed. "That's mean! But it also means that it can only be the doing of the Dark Kingdom."

"Probably," Ami nodded. "Next to Naru Ryo is one of their favourite victims." She sighed. "But when we combine our forces we should be able to do it."

"Then let's go," Rei urged. "I want to see who's responsible for the invitations and punish him, her or them in the name of Mars!"

Usagi nodded eagerly. "It's impudent to awaken false hopes in young girls. I will punish them in the name of the Moon!"

"Indeed," Makoto agreed. "No one should reawaken hopes of a love that was already buried once. In the name of Jupiter I will punish them!"

"In the name of Venus, I'm with you as well!" Minako cried. Ami merely shook her head, and together they stormed to the amusement park.

* * *

Oniwabandana had taken up a good observation post from which she could see all the important things, while Zoisite tried to drag Kunzite onto some of the carousels. The young man just loved to have a ride on the merry-go-round.

Nephrite had finished his shopping trip and was the proud owner of a new, bright red Ferrari. He was more than glad that he had really good connections as Sanjouin Masato, and even so he had to settle for a used car for now. But he did issue an order for a new Ferrari 512 TR, which would take at least 4 months to be delivered. Furthermore he had looked for and found a French restaurant where he was not only served a high class seven-course meal, but also an excellent wine with it, a Château Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac 1er Grand Cru Classé.

This reminded him, he should visit France in the next time for a wine-tasting so that he could replenish his wine-cellar with some select wines.

When he arrived at the park, he was rather early, and so he walked slowly over the area when he discovered the Senshi. Interesting. He followed them stealthily.

Kunzite stood at the roller-coaster, watched Zoisite, who thoroughly enjoyed himself and ate some roasted almonds, when the Senshi passed him without noticing him. Nephrite, who trailed the girls, discovered him, though.

"What are you doing here?" he inquired.

"Zoisite wanted to have a little fun." He pointed at his beloved who smiled from a waggon and waved his hand. "Want some almonds?"

"Yes, thanks." Nephrite helped himself. "The Senshi are here, too."

"They are?" Kunzite frowned. "And why are you here?

"I want to know what they want." Nephrite pointed at the five girls who seemingly couldn't agree on the direction in which they wished to go next.

"Jadeite, too?" Kunzite made out his blonde ex-colleague who stood in front of a stand and bought vanilla flavoured cotton candy.

"Interesting," Nephrite said. "The Senshi are here and we are here. If you ask me - this looks like a trap."

"Indeed."

Zoisite returned from the roller-coaster. His face was flushed and he beamed when he slipped his arm through Kunzite's. "You should have tried that, too," he exclaimed. "Oh, hi Nephrite!"

"Hello," Nephrite replied and looked for any signs of danger, but everything seemed to be in order.

Kunzite smiled at his beloved. Zoisite was so wonderfully youthful and made him feel almost as young again as well. But they weren't here for their pleasure, they wanted to find out what was going on.

"We should intercept the Senshi and ask them what they are up to," Kunzite suggested.

"Then I will finally take the silver crystal from SailorMoon!" Zoisite smiled wickedly.

"Why not," Nephrite shrugged.

"Good." Kunzite tried to turn dramatically and cursed when he remembered that he didn't wear his uniform and cape at the moment. Zoisite giggled.

"What was that supposed to accomplish?" Nephrite asked amusedly.

"I miss my cape," Kunzite sighed and looked down at his white jeans and likewise coloured shirt and jacket that accentuated his tanned skin.

"Well, you'll have to do without your dramatic entrance."

"Unfortunately." Kunzite ran his hand through his long, silvery shimmering hair, then he walked towards the Senshi.

Now Jadeite discovered the three. "Kunzite, did you fail your cooking attempt?" he grinned broadly.

"No," Kunzite replied almost truthfully. He hadn't even started, so how could it have failed? "Actually we had some wonderful sushi for lunch."

"Let me guess - you went to a restaurant after all. Why are you at the amusement park?"

"Er, well... We got an invitation. Very surprisingly."

"Really?" Jadeite cocked an eyebrow. "By whom?"

Kunzite lowered his voice. "We got a letter in which SailorMoon claimed she wanted to give us the silver crystal. It's a trap, of course, but I intend to turn it around."

"Aha. Are you sure SailorMoon wrote the letter?"

"Most likely not. There were lots of words in it I'm sure she doesn't know."

"I wonder what the Senshi talk about." Nephrite watched the girls who stood not exactly in the line of sight.

"Kunzite-sama? May I?" Before the tall man could reply, Zoisite had sneaked up to the Senshi and shouted: "Boooo!"

The girls jumped at least four feet high into the air before they jumped at Zoisite. Who else could have written those letters?

Zoisite squeaked in shock when he was buried under five furious furies who fortunately hindered themselves with their eagerness to punish him too much to be able to cause him real harm.

"Oh dear," Kunzite sighed and started to walk towards the heap. "My little rat is always much too impulsive."

"If you play with fire, you must expect to get your fingers burnt," Nephrite grinned.

"I always thought Zoisite wasn't interested in girls", Jadeite chuckled.

"That doesn't mean girls aren't interested in him." Kunzite put his hands on his hips and looked sternly at the Senshi. "Would you please get up from Zoisite? I wouldn't want you to get hurt in front of so many witnesses."

Of course the five girls were too occupied with trying to hold Zoisite down so that he couldn't conjure an ice crystal or something worse, and they didn't notice Kunzite.

The silver-haired man sighed again and finally discovered a part of Zoisite which he grabbed to tug him from under the heap. Even after Zoisite was freed, the girls struggled around.

The small man threw himself into Kunzite's arms. "Thank you, my Lord - they are all so mean to me!"

"You really should think first before you do something - if you're able to do this, that is," Nephrite sneered. "You are dusty and wrinkled."

Zoisite conjured a mirror and squeaked again. A brush followed, and he started to straighten his hair.

The Senshi discovered the flight of their victim and sat on the ground while they glared angrily at Zoisite.

"I really should punish you for messing up my hair like this," he hissed when the brush got stuck again in a nasty tangle of coppery golden hair. "But maybe I won't - if you give me the silver crystal like you announced in your letter." He directed a deadly stare at SailorMoon.

"What letter?" SailorMoon wanted to know.

"The letter you sent Kunzite and me, in which you asked us to meet you here so that you could give us the silver crystal." He tugged angrily at another tangle in his hair.

"I didn't write such nonsense!"

"And what's that?" Zoisite showed her the letter.

"That's not SailorMoon's handwriting," SailorMercury immediately said after one short look. "Whoever wrote this used kanji, and we all know that she can't write kanji."

"That's not true," the blonde protested. "I can write them, but I prefer not to use them."

The others hung their heads.

"I told you, the text was too difficult for her," Kunzite remarked.

"But who wrote it then?" Zoisite asked.

"It seems someone wanted to lure us here," Nephrite stated. "Who else got a letter?"

All took out their letters. Nephrite inspected them thoroughly. "The handwriting looks different on each of them."

"It's probably from the same person anyway," Kunzite suspected. "Who could have an interest to lure us all to one place?"

"Queen Beryl?" Zoisite wondered.

"I can't imagine her writing such letters," Jadeite grinned.

"True. And I don't think she'd know all those things the writer obviously does."

"Hm. Who knows all of it?" Kunzite frowned. "Endymion?"

"Can't be," SailorMercury interjected. "He was brainwashed and doesn't even remember poor SailorMoon."

"And Naru was brainwashed, too," Nephrite sighed.

"There's only one person left," Kunzite realised. "Obsidian!" he shouted enraged. "I'm sure he wants to betray us. I will kill him!"

"Indeed. I wouldn't trust him if my life depended on it," Nephrite nodded.

"Obsidian? But he wouldn't do anything against me, would he?" Makoto asked anxiously.

"He's evil, remember?" the other four Senshi shouted in unison.

"Yeah," Jadeite chuckled.

"If he hurts Mako, I will punish him in the name of the Moon!" SailorMoon declared.

"Great," SailorVenus remarked. "And what are we going to do now?"

"Well, I want to get something to eat." Jadeite looked around if he could see an interesting stand.

"I have to straighten my clothes," Zoisite muttered and patted at his black trousers and jacket. He was dusty like the great desert. The Senshi didn't look better, but it didn't seem to disturb them too much.

"But what's the point of Obsidian's plan - if it truly was Obsidian who sent the letters," Jadeite wondered.

Suddenly a couple of youma appeared and started to attack them.

"It's just a normal trap," Zoisite yawned and did what he could do best: cause mayhem and kill people - in this case youma. The others joined him on the spot.

Oniwabandana was pleased. The photos she would take here would certainly grant her a pay rise when Queen Beryl got them into her hands. Unfortunately it didn't take long and none of the youma were left.

"Slowly but surely this gets on my nerves," Jadeite complained. "I want to be left alone for a change."

"I should have left one to take with me and play around a little longer," Zoisite mused and smiled cruelly.

"No, no and no." Kunzite shook his head. "You always 'forgot' to tidy up after you caused such a mess, and I refuse to clean up the remains of your victims for you."

The Senshi stared at Zoisite in horror.

"I guess we should go now," SailorVenus said hurriedly. "There isn't anything left to do for us."

"Yep," Zoisite purred. "Although I'd love to get my hands on Obsidian."

"No, you won't!" SailorJupiter shouted.

"I only wonder on whose side he's on," SailorMoon frowned. "It's quite a problem when it's so difficult to tell the good ones from the evil ones."

"With the exception of Zoisite," SailorMars said and examined the pretty man as if he were a particularly disgusting insect.

Kunzite chuckled. "Well, Obsidian doesn't seem to be on my side, and that's enough for me to hunt him down."

"Isn't everyone here on his or her own side?" Nephrite asked.

"Kunzite-sama, I want to have a hobbyroom," Zoisite said, went to him and wrapped the arms around his middle.

"Only if you promise to keep it clean. I don't want any bodies lying around in the house."

"You're utterly disgusting," SailorMars told Zoisite.

"Did you expect anything else?" Nephrite wondered.

"Everybody needs a little hobby," Zoisite said innocently. "You have your wine and the stars, Jadeite his model railway, the other model stuff and his cooking..." He laid his head against Kunzite's shoulder. "Well and I have my little obsessions as well."

"Disgusting is too mild a word," SailorMars corrected herself. But Jadeite and modelling and cooking? This was certainly not exactly what she would have thought. "Let's go - I want to get out of this company."

The Senshi walked hurriedly home. The Kings shrugged and went away as well, while they still wondered what was the sense in this meeting.

* * *

Oniwabandana teleported back into the Dark Kingdom and presented Queen Beryl the photos she had taken. The woman on the throne almost exploded.

Obsidian stood somewhere in the shadows and observed the happenings. It was even better than he had hoped. Originally he had wanted to tell Queen Beryl of the meeting at the amusement park, but Oniwabandana's photos were even better than his original idea.

"That's revolting!" She pointed at the pictures of Kunzite and Zoisite.

Obsidian went to her. "Let me see, too, please," he begged. "What is it?"

"It's a photo of the traitors!" Beryl fumed. "I still can't believe that this sneaky weasel Zoisite actually managed to seduce my strongest commander!"

Although she should have known, she thought. In the aftermath of the Crystal War, when she had slowly but surely formed her army to attack the Moon Kingdom and take back the Silver Crystal, Kunzite and Zoisite had been lovers as well.

Only the defeat by the hands of Selenite had led to their separation, as Zoisite had died and Kunzite was put into a healing trance to recover when they were banished into the Hollow Earth.

She had decided to wipe out all memories of the past from Kunzite's mind to spare him the confusion after he woke up again and helped her to rebuild the Dark Kingdom.

"Zoisite can be pretty convincing," Obsidian remarked.

"If I had known that Kunzite would fall for Zoisite again I wouldn't have ordered him to train him. This love nonsense only leads to complications," she grumbled. "First Nephrite with this mortal girl, then Kunzite - at least Jadeite was only plain incompetent and didn't fall in love."

Obsidian decided to listen silently to the ramblings of the Queen. He wondered how she would explain her interest with Endymion. But then, as queen she didn't have to explain anything. She tapped her fingernails on the armrest of her throne.

"But maybe I can use this ...love to lure Nephrite back into the Dark Kingdom."

"By using Celestine as bait?"

"Indeed. And maybe that will help me to catch the others, too. I would like to punish Zoisite and let Kunzite watch every single detail of it."

"That would be marvellous," Obsidian agreed, while internally he felt utter revulsion at the thought. He loathed wanton violence.

"Then you will be assigned the task of catching Kunzite and Zoisite," Beryl decreed.

"As you wish, my Queen," Obsidian bowed his head. "Although I have to admit that Kunzite might be too powerful for me."

"Then you have to lure him into a trap."

"I'm gonna try it."

"I expect results soon. You are dismissed!"

"I hear and obey."

Obsidian bowed deeply again and teleported out of the audience chamber. This task wouldn't be easy.

Oniwabandana bowed and disappeared as well.

* * *

"Endymion, do you still look for the traitors?" Oniwabandana asked. She hung upside down from the ceiling, one of her favourite poses.

"Of course. That's my task." Endymion looked up to her. It was absolutely dizzying to see the youma floating that way, the long hair almost wiping the ground.

"Are you interested in my last photos of the traitors?"

"What pictures?" Endymion asked without genuine interest.

"Well, I saw them all together and took some pictures for Queen Beryl."

"All together?"

"Yeah. All the four Kings and the Senshi. And they seemed to be pretty friendly with each other, too."

"Show me the photos." Endymion held out his hand.

"What do you offer me in return?"

"Your life."

"Stuff it!" Oniwabandana laughed. "Beryl needs me and wouldn't be pleased if you tried to kill me."

"I'm sure I can console her about your death."

"I wouldn't be that sure." The youma threw him one of the pictures of Kunzite and Zoisite. They definitely were the cutest motif.

Endymion looked at the photo. "They seem to enjoy each other quite well."

"Yeah, I have a whole series of them," she grinned.

"Thanks, one of these is fully sufficient. What about the other pictures?"

"Well, what do you offer?"

"What do you want?"

"What about a favour when I should need one?"

"Agreed."

Oniwabandana smiled and gave him copies of the photos she had given Queen Beryl. Endymion gazed at them with anger. It would be difficult to win back the silver crystal when the Senshi worked together with the renegade Kings. He threw the pictures into a corner.

Oniwabandana smiled, floated upwards and disappeared.

* * *

"Celestine, report!"

The young commander immediately teleported into Beryl's audience chamber.

"At your service, my Queen."

"Do you remember the traitor Nephrite?"

"Yes," she replied and tried to sort through her memories. There were some faint pictures attached to that name. She had loved him once, even though he took advantage of her whenever it pleased him. Celestine was glad that Queen Beryl had helped her to wake up and see the things as they truly were.

"What would you do if you met him again?"

"I'd like to take revenge on him, because he continually made fun of me and my feelings, and he only used me for his plans."

"Very good, Celestine. Your new command is to find him and bring him back to the Dark Kingdom. And then you may deal with him however you please."

"Thank you, my Queen."

"You are dismissed."

Celestine bowed deeply and teleported to her quarters to think about the assignment - but not for too long. Beryl demanded to see results as soon as possible.

She wondered where she could find her target. He'd probably be somewhere in Tokyo, and so she opened a doorway to the city. She decided not to take any youma along, for she wanted to make Nephrite feel safe when she saw him.

* * *

Jadeite went into town again. Zoisite had given him the idea to buy some new model building kits. It was true, he loved to build models of trains, cars and other vehicles, but back in the Dark Kingdom he didn't have much time for stuff like that. Every five minutes Queen Beryl had called him to complete some tasks - how could one concentrate on anything that way?

Kunzite and Zoisite had gone home as they needed to figure out a new plan to get their hands on the silver crystal, and this could be best done in a comfortable environment.

* * *

Nephrite stood in the great hall of his mansion that fortunately hadn't been redecorated by Kunzite and Zoisite. It was large and empty as before, and he called upon the power of the stars to create a new black crystal to replace the one Zoisite had stolen.

He needed it to find Naru to save her from the clutches of Queen Beryl.

Finally it was done, and Nephrite looked with satisfaction at the large black crystal that lay on the palm of his hand.

It led the way into the city. Nephrite followed its signal, and to his surprise he found Naru in her favourite ice cream parlour where she sat in front of a chocolate parfait.

"Naru," he greeted her and walked to her table.

"Sanjouin Masato - no, Nephrite," she said and smiled at him. He would be in for a nasty surprise when she got her way with him later on.

Nephrite sat down next to her. "It is a while since we last met."

"Indeed. But I saw you die - how could you return to life?"

"I was called back."

"Why didn't you come sooner?"

"How could I? - But how did you escape from the Dark Kingdom?"

"What are you talking about?" She put on an astonished face.

"I saw how you were abducted by Prince Endymion, and I saw how you led an army of youma."

"I've never been there," she lied easily. "Probably it was all an illusion."

"I'm pretty sure it wasn't."

"Then I don't know what happened."

Nephrite frowned. There was something really dubious going on, and he suspected she wanted to lure him into a trap. On the other hand, she seemed as sweet as in the time before his death.

"Do you want a chocolate parfait, too? You told me you wanted to eat one with me."

"Sure." He watched her more closely. The red-haired girl smiled and ordered another ice-cream, while she wondered how she could punish him thoroughly for all the things he had done to her.

Soon the chocolate parfait was served, and Nephrite took a spoonful. It was delicious, he had to admit and told Naru the same.

"Good," Celestine smiled. She would wrap him around her little finger, and then he would do anything she bade him to do.

When they had finished their ice-cream, she invited him home for some tea, and he followed her curiously.

* * *

With deep satisfaction, Beryl looked into her crystal ball. Celestine was more ingenious than Endymion when it came to making out the traitors' current locations.

She wondered what Endymion was up to at the moment anyway.

* * *

The black-haired man walked through the amusement park and tried to find a trace of the traitors. Unfortunately they had already flown again, it seemed.

He looked at the photos and tried to find passers-by who had seen the fugitives. It was demeaning, he thought, but somehow he didn't have any idea of where else he could find them.

* * *

Makoto returned to her apartment. She didn't want to believe that Obsidian had betrayed her and her friends. He wasn't evil, certainly not.

With a sigh, she went to the refrigerator, took out some leftover mochi and killed them off.

Suddenly the telephone rang. She took up the receiver, and immediately the hearts returned into her eyes, when she heard Obsidian's voice.

"Makoto?"

"Obsidian!" she exclaimed happily. No, he wasn't evil.

"I just wanted to call you as I promised - would you cook something tasty for me? Please."

"Of course! What do you want?"

"Why don't you surprise me with your cooking skills?"

"Good." She frowned as she went through the ingredients she had at home. "Do you like pork?"

"Sure." Actually, Obsidian wasn't sure, but he wanted to try it anyway. "When shall I come?"

"In about an hour I should have something for you - I think of buta no yakiniku."

Obsidian smiled, even though he didn't know what this was supposed to be. "Great. See you in an hour!"

She threw the receiver onto the phone, bound a strip of cloth around her head and started to attack the preparation of the meals.

Exactly one hour later Obsidian stood at the door. He looked forward to eating the newest creations that Makoto would have conjured from her pans, and he was curious what the Senshi thought about his letters.

This time he had taken some more time to prepare himself for the occasion. He wore dark trousers, a white shirt, and his hair was neatly combed that it fell down to his waist like a slightly violent tinted dark blue waterfall.

Makoto couldn't put her eyes from him, but still managed to serve the meal as it was proper. This time she offered him even more different dishes.

"Do you fear I'm starving?" Obsidian gave here a winsome smile.

"Cooking is a passion of mine," she admitted, "and it's more fun to cook when others eat the things one has prepared."

Obsidian chuckled. "Then I shouldn't visit you too often, or I'll get used to your wonderful cuisine, my dear Mako."

"Oh, I don't mind." She blushed slightly. "It's my pleasure," she smiled shyly.

"How was your day?" With his chopsticks he fished for some more pieces of the meat. It was delicious.

"Oh, first I was at school, and afterwards we went to the amusement park."

"We?"

"My friends and I. But somehow the Dark Kingdom had learned about it and sent some youma to attack."

"I sure you had no problems to vanquish them." He had taken care that the youma troop was fairly small; he only wanted to get Queen Beryl upset, not to kill off the others.

"Of course, but still we wonder how they knew that we were there - or rather who was responsible for the letters. Kunzite said you might have written them."

"What letters?" Obsidian asked and faked genuine surprise.

"Letters that told us to meet certain people at the amusement park."

"Why should I write such letters?"

"Kunzite wasn't sure either. - By the way, do you also think that Zoisite is sick? He seems to be really keen on torturing people."

"He's dangerous," Obsidian nodded.

"Obviously. I guess one shouldn't stay alone with him at any cost."

"I agree. You should never turn your back to him."

"I must admit I can't stand him. I wonder if there's anyone who likes him - except for Kunzite, of course."

"Well, he is really pretty." But that was about the only redeeming quality of that sneaky little weasel, he thought.

"That's true - especially his hair is wonderful." Makoto sighed. Hers was of such a bland brown colour, it was really unfair. "Well, thinking about it - you all from the Dark Kingdom have gorgeous hair."

"Do you think so?"

She nodded. "The guys around here mostly have much too short hair. It's a pity. And then there's the colour." She stared at the deep blue violet of Obsidian's mane. "Yours is wonderful, although the silver of Kunzite's has its merits, too. Even Jadeite's hair looks quite nice, but he really should let it grow a bit."

"I don't mind how he looks like," Obsidian commented wryly.

Makoto laughed. "I guess so. But I must admit I like you best of them. The others are too old."

"Sure? They aren't older than me, when I think of it." Actually only Kunzite and Nephrite were older, as they were born in the time of the Crystal Kingdom. Zoisite and Jadeite were later reborn on Earth and taken into the Dark Kingdom by Queen Beryl as soon as she found them.

"Well, Zoisite looks pretty young, too - but the others?"

"At least they were awake for a longer time than I was." He put a hand onto his stomach. "Dear me, I'm stuffed! I fear I won't be able to move anymore."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"Never mind. Consider it a compliment to your cooking skills."

Makoto smiled gratefully. "Thanks. - Well, back to the letters. Do you have any idea of who might have sent them to us?"

"No. But it seems it was someone who wanted to lure you all in a trap. Someone even took photos of the event and showed them around in the Dark Kingdom."

"Real photos?" Makotos looked at him with amazement. "But who took them?"

"A youma."

"How did I look like on them?"

"I'm sorry, I haven't seen them, but I'm sure you looked great as usual."

"Oh." She blushed.

"I only hope they won't attack us at home," she remarked and looked around in her apartment. Till now she had felt rather safe here.

"I don't think that your homes are known to the youma. Beryl and Endymion certainly don't know."

"Hm. What would the youma do if Beryl or Endymion weren't there anymore?"

"I guess they would obey anyone who successfully takes over the reign. Although, with the help of the silver crystal it should be possible that one can change them back into normal humans."

"You mean into those people of the Crystal Kingdom?"

"Yes."

"Then it's settled - we have to kill Queen Beryl and heal all the others. Or can we heal Beryl as well?"

"Only if you manage to destroy Queen Metallia."

"Who's that?" Makoto wondered.

"She's the great ruler of the Dark Kingdom, the driving power that stands behind Queen Beryl. She's a horrible demon."

"Well, then Rei should be able to banish her easily with one of her ofuda."

"I don't think so. She isn't a common demon. She's really powerful."

"Oh. But how are we supposed to vanquish her if she's so powerful?"

"I think the silver crystal is needed to do that."

"Aha, so we do need SailorMoon to face Metallia."

"Probably," Obsidian sighed. He wasn't sure if one could trust SailorMoon to do anything properly.

"But we haven't even managed to challenge Queen Beryl, and even Kunzite seems to be far stronger than we Senshi together."

"Beryl is really powerful," Obsidian admitted. Especially when she had the most important spellbooks of his father in her possession. At least she hadn't managed to get her hands on the book Amethyst had given him. "I think Kunzite might be even stronger than Beryl, but she managed to put this mind control device into his brain. I fear she could be able to renew her grip on him if he has to face her again."

"So if Kunzite joins forces with us and Beryl doesn't manage to put him under control again, we might actually stand a chance again Beryl and Metallia," Makoto pondered.

"Well, try to convince him somehow."

"Hm. But actually I wouldn't work together with Zoisite."

"But they're a double pack - you won't get one without the other."

"Hm, that's a problem. Or do you think we could convince Zoisite to attack Metallia, too?"

"It depends if you can convince Kunzite."

"We need some bait for him, I guess." Makoto frowned. "Didn't he want to become the ruler of the Dark Kingdom?"

"Yes. But I won't support that. He may be less evil than Queen Beryl, but I wouldn't say that for Zoisite."

"It's too bad that we can't get rid of Zoisite."

"Indeed, but I fear we have to work together to eliminate both Beryl and Metallia." Obsidian didn't like the idea either, especially as Zoisite had tried to kill him twice already and succeeded to murder Nephrite once till now.

"Do you think Nephrite and Jadeite might be inclined to help us?"

"Nephrite currently thinks only of Naru. Jadeite might be an option."

"I wonder if it would be possible to heal Zoisite with the silver crystal."

"Heal Zoisite? No chance!"

They sat in silence for a moment, before they went to the Hikawa Shrine to meet the others and do what they didn't succeed in until now - figure out a plan.

* * *

The other four girls sat in Rei's room and tried to dig through their homework. Ami had finished hers about two hours ago and desperately tried to explain Usagi the greater glory of calculus.

"I wonder where Makoto stays," Ami said. Usagi was hopeless, she found. "She wanted me to show her maths stuff of today, too. Now I have to explain it all over again." Well, maybe then Usagi would grasp at least a little more of the subject.

"That's true. And she promised to bring us something to eat, too," Usagi remarked and chewed on her pencil.

"You shouldn't eat so much. When your stomach's full, there's no blood left for your brain."

"But I'm so hungry." Her stomach gave a rumble, and she blushed. "See?"

Rei sighed. "Try meditation."

"No chance while my tummy rumbles."

"At least that would keep you awake while meditating."

"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Usagi threw herself onto the table and whined.

"Hello!" Makoto went into the room, followed by Obsidian; Rei's grandfather had let them in.

"It's that evil guy again!" Without further warning she took out an ofuda and started to chant. "Rin, pyou, tou, sha, kai, jin, retsu..."

Obsidian hid behind the large girl. "Rei, stop it!" Makoto shouted angrily, and the black-haired girl paused in mid-sentence.

"What's her problem?" Obsidian wondered.

"He sent us those letters," Amy pointed out.

"Me? Certainly not!"

"He didn't do it," Makoto affirmed.

"How do you know?" Rei looked at him with her best penetrating gaze.

"He told me."

Obsidian decided it was safer to stay behind Makoto. He didn't trust Rei who was pretty mean in her own right. "Why should I write such silly letters?"

"Because you're evil?" Rei snapped back.

"I'm not evil."

"Prove it!"

"How?"

"Hm." Rei frowned. "Do some good deeds."

"We should rather think about something to convince the Kings that we have to work together to overthrow Queen Beryl," Obsidian sighed.

"Indeed. Especially as Beryl has a demon called Metallia at her side," Makoto supported him.

"A demon? I'll handle it," Rei announced. "Demons and evil spirits are my specialty."

"That's something I'd love to watch," Obsidian said with raised eyebrows. Rei had not an earthly chance.

"No problem. A handful of ofuda, and the demon is mincemeat. Evil spirit is evil spirit."

"Hm, I'd rather say she's the Embodiment of Evil."

"The Embodiment of Evil? This does sound serious," Rei admitted. "And who or what do you think can withstand this Metallia-demon?"

"Only the silver crystal."

"Well, maybe then SailorMoon can prove her worth," the black-haired girl commented wryly.

"But first she has to get there," Obsidian pointed out.

"This means we have to work on a plan," Ami stated.

"What, again?" Minako sighed. She had the impression they always needed some plan, but never managed to actually figure one out.

"You're sure I have to face and destroy that demon?" Usagi asked doubtfully.

"Well, you're the owner of the silver crystal," Rei shrugged.

"And only the Moon Princess is able to use it properly," Luna interjected.

"But I don't want to. It sounds dangerous."

Obsidian looked at the black cat. "Why is it that only the Moon Princess can use the silver crystal?" In the Crystal Kingdom it was maintained by a circle of Mages when it needed re-adjusting to continue working as the sun crystal, if he had understood the writings of his father correctly.

"That's what Queen Serenity found out," Luna replied. "Only the women of her line can use it."

"Bullshit!" The young man shook his head.

"Pardon?" Luna gave him an angry look.

"Everybody who can work magick can use the silver crystal. Depending on the required energy level from one up to an undeterminded number of Mages are needed to invoke its powers."

"But why can I use it? I don't know any magick," Usagi said. "By the way, where's the food you've promised, Mako?"

"Er, Obsidian ate it."

"It was really good," he grinned.

Usagi looked scandalized at him. "But I'm sooooo hungry," she whined.

"You mean, each of us should be able to use the silver crystal?" the black-haired girl inquired.

"Sure. The Senshi all had - have - magickal powers, or you wouldn't be able to transform and use these attacks of yours."

Rei grinned triumphantly at Usagi. "So why don't you give me the silver crystal when you're such a coward that you don't want to face the enemy?"

"It's mine," Usagi sniffed. "I'm the leader of the Senshi, am I not?"

"Only because Luna insists on it."

"But I'm the Moon Princess. No one else is such a beautiful Princess as me!"

The others (including the cats and Obsidian) hung their heads.

"Well, the one with the silver crystal is the one who has to face Beryl and Metallia," Obsidian concluded, "and I don't care who of you it is."

"And where do we find this demon?"

"She's currently half asleep in a cocoon and waits to get enough energy to break free completely. It's in a cavern in the vicinity of Queen Beryl's audience chamber. We have to go past Beryl to reach Metallia."

"We just have to blast her," Rei suggested and folded her hand in the typical Fire Soul gesture.

"Don't force yourself."

Rei ignored Obsidian's ironical remark. "And then we'll take on the demon Metallia!"

The End of Pt.14 - Goto Pt.15


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