The Mars Princess

(Tears of Crystal - Pt.17)

© 1998/2006 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea


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"Usagi!" Makoto called out in anger when the blonde lifted another tidbit from the plate. "If you continue that way I'll never manage to finish!"

"But I'm soooo hungry," she mumbled with cheeks stuffed like a hamster.

"Didn't we agree that we wanted to lure Obsidian to my home?"

"Do you really think he can smell the food from here to the Dark Kingdom?" Ami asked skeptically.

"Until now he always arrived just in time when I had finished to cook my meal," Makoto pointed out and slapped Usagi's hand when she tried to fish for another piece of tenpura. "Na!"

"Well, if he isn't here in five minutes we should consider eating the tenpura ourselves," Rei decreed. It looked absolutely delicious and really should be eaten right away.

"You're a real master cook," Minako complimented Makoto, too, and managed to snatch a piece of deep-fryed aubergine that she dipped into the tentsuyu. "Divine!"

"I agree." Ami tried to hack the recipes into her computer. There were so many ingredients...

"Why don't you go into the other room?" Makoto tried to usher them out. "I need some more space in the kitchen."

"But it smells so good around here." Usagi looked into a jar and got another slap on her fingers.

"Get out!"

"If you insist..." Usagi left the kitchen but didn't relinquish the jar that contained some squares of mochi as she had discovered.

Soon after their departure, Makoto decided to serve them the meal after all. There was no sense in letting it get cold and stale. When Obsidian decided to arrive she would simply prepare something new.

"I wonder if they have telephones in the Dark Kingdom," she sighed.

When they were all devouring the food, the bell rang. Makoto jumped to the door. "Obsidian!" she shouted in excitement. "Come in. How did you know that I had just prepared something to eat?"

"The delicious smell wafted through fissures and cracks in the earth and reached my nostrils," he grinned. Actually it had been pure chance, he just wanted relax from the day of running around with Celestine.

Makoto smiled at him and led him to the low table where the other knelt. "Look, who came..."

"Hello Obsidian." Rei examined him critically. She wasn't sure what she should think about him. True, he belonged to the Dark Kingdom, but on the other hand he seemed to be rather peaceful around Makoto. In a strange leap of thought she wondered whether Jadeite was really able to cook, too, as Zoisite had claimed. She really couldn't believe this.

"Hi! - Do you have a party?" He definitely hadn't expected all of the Senshi here.

"You see, Makoto wanted to cook and invited us," Usagi said while she chewed on a deep-fried shiitake.

"I would have called you immediately if you had given me your phone number," Makoto said.

"Well, I'm afraid, we don't have phones in the Dark Kingdom."

"I guess a letter wouldn't reach you either?"

"Probably not. There are too many curious youma around who would rather keep it than pass it to me."

"And what about email?" Ami wanted to know. "The internet reaches the remotest corners of the world."

"I don't have a computer either, sorry."

"Well, then we have to find another way," Makoto said.

"What about smoke signs from the oven?" Rei grinned.

Obsidian grimaced.

"But how can I call you?" the brown-haired girl wanted to now.

"I've never thought about that," Obsidian admitted. "Long-range communication in the Dark Kingdom functions via telepathic calls."

"Can you teach me how that works?" Makoto looked questioningly at him.

"I don't know. In the Dark Kingdom everyone is able to communicate telepathically. It's just like talking. I guess we have to think about something else."

"But what?"

"I'm sorry, I don't know."

"Well, then you have to visit me every day," she smiled.

Obsidian sighed. Queen Beryl would be furious when he sneaked away from the Dark Kingdom even more often than now. "I don't think I can manage that," he regretted. "I just don't have as much time as I'd like to have."

"So what do you have to do during the time you aren't available?" Rei inquired.

Obsidian sighed once more and lifted his hand to number off his duties. "I have to catch the fugitive Kings, I'm supposed to kill you Senshi, I have to collect energy, I shall retrieve a certain spellbook for Queen Beryl, I ought to train Celestine..." He lifted the other hand. "...then I'm to procure the silver crystal... Ah yes, that was all."

"I told you he's evil," Minako commented.

"Well, obviously he doesn't do it, though," Makoto assured her colleague.

"But Beryl seems to lose more and more of her minions."

"Right," the black-haired Senshi grinned. "Now that Kunzite kidnapped Endymion..."

"He did?" Obsidian mused. Now that was interesting, but at least it explained why Beryl was so upset at the moment.

"We have to free Endymion," Usagi interjected, now that her sweetheart's name was mentioned again.

"Remember, we have to find a way to get to Paris to free him," Minako pointed out.

"He's in Paris? Now that's interesting." Obsidian nodded. Kunzite chose the place where Beryl's troops would have the greatest difficulties to reach him.

"What's interesting?" Ami asked.

"Paris is located in the middle of the warped energy fields of Europe."

"Warped energy fields?" Rei inquired. "What are you talking about?"

"Have you ever heard of the lines of power that run over the whole Earth?"

"Oh, you mean ley lines? I just read about them in an article about stone circles in Great Britain. The amateur archeologist Alfred Watkins first postulated their existence in 1921," Ami started to lecture. "Actually they are connecting lines between megalithic monuments and are supposed to form a 'pattern of force'."

"Well, probably it's them," Obsidian nodded. "We don't call them ley lines, though. Their energy can be used to fuel our magick - for example it's absolutely easy to levitate along one of those lines. But back to Paris... There was a kind of magickal accident a while ago in that town, and the lines got tangled badly."

"I didn't know you worked in other regions than Greater Tokyo," Makoto said fascinatedly.

"You never asked."

"But doesn't that mean it'll be pretty difficult to free Endymion?" Ami wondered. "We might experience difficulties with the Sailor Teleport when we have to jump into such a disturbed energy field, too."

"Well, I can neither open a doorway nor teleport to Paris," Obsidian stated.

"That's too bad. - But why don't you eat a bit while we try to figure out what we can do?" Makoto fetched a bowl and a pair of lacquered chopsticks and gave them Obsidian.

He thanked her with a smile, knelt down and tried her newest creations.

"I thought we wanted to interrogate him?" Usagi suddenly blurted out.

"Usagi, you have the diplomatic skills of a Mongolian horde," Rei said with a withering look at her.

Obsidian examined the Senshi in surprise. "You want to interrogate me? Why? And about what?"

"Well," Minako took heart and asked him directly. "Do you know if Kunzite has a weakness that we can take advantage of?"

"Actually I know only of one weakness he has"

"Zoisite, huh?" Rei grimaced. "Unfortunately this is a weakness I wouldn't want to exploit."

"Sorry, but that's all I know. Kunzite is the strongest of the four Kings and unfortunately he usually knows what he does."

"But I can't believe he's that perfect!" Rei's gaze darkened visibly.

"And who knows if Obsidian tells us everything he knows?" Minako pointed out.

"If there was a possibility I'd already have done something against him," Obsidian grumbled. "I still have a score to settle with him, too."

"So? And what would that be?"

"That's of no concern to you." His tone of voice was final. Obsidian didn't want to be reminded of the oath he had forced him to take. "Kunzite is strong enough that no one but Queen Beryl can stand against him."

"That's frustrating." Rei folded her hands in the typical Fire Soul gesture. "I'd love to blast him into oblivion!"

"Trust me, you're not alone," Obsidian told her.

"Maybe we could collect all the people who want to get rid of him and work together with them."

"Have you ever considered joining up with the Dark Kingdom? At the moment you'll find quite a lot of allies against Kunzite there, including Queen Beryl herself."

"Thanks, but no thanks!" She thought a moment. "But on the other hand when they are so much against Kunzite..."

"But Rei!" Ami called out scandalized.

"If you like I can take you with me," Obsidian offered her. "It gets more and more boring in the Dark Kingdom in the last time."

"Hm. It might be not so bad an idea to work against the Dark Kingdom from within," Rei pondered. "Then I could strike when they least expect it and maybe even free Naru and kill Beryl in the process."

"I wouldn't do it." Ami shook her head. "I guess Beryl will brainwash you immediately after your arrival."

"Hm. That's true." Rei frowned.

"Indeed. Beryl has just ordered a big brainwashing action for the youma," Obsidian nodded.

"Oh-oh," Makoto said. "You should also think about the fact that our strength lies in cooperation, Rei. Alone we aren't that strong."

"Is there something more to eat?" Usagi interjected. As long as Mamoru wasn't mentioned, the discussion was boring anyway.

"Sure." Makoto went to the kitchen and filled the bowls again.

"So much for our planning," Minako sighed.

"Why don't we just go to Paris and free our Tuxedo Kamen?" Usagi whined.

"Because we can't teleport there and we don't have money for plane tickets," Minako sighed exasperatedly.

"Couldn't Obsidian buy the tickets for us?" Usagi wanted to know.

"Why should I?"

"Hm. Because you have still a score to settle with Kunzite?" Rei offered.

"But that doesn't mean I will pay for your plane tickets!"

"And how are we supposed to get to Paris?" Usagi nagged.

"Walk."

"Please, Obsidian," Makoto asked him and looked at him out of her large, tourmaline green eyes. "Don't you have any money resources in the Dark Kingdom that you can use?"

"All of the money we used here was stolen," he admitted. At least that was what Nephrite and Kunzite had done.

"So they are evil after all," Ami stated.

"It's difficult to conjure money that looks genuine enough."

"I wouldn't want to use stolen money," Minako declared.

"Then it's your turn to suggest something," Rei said with a shrug.

"But I want my Tuxedo Kamen back," Usagi wailed.

"Maybe you could offer Kunzite something in exchange for him," Obsidian proposed.

"What about Usagi?" Rei suggested.

"No, I don't think he'd want her," Obsidian shook the head.

"Waaaaaah!" Usagi yammered. "You are soooo mean!"

"You don't do much more than whine and cry. I guess you could drive them insane," Rei stated matter-of-factly.

"I bet she wouldn't need more than five minutes for that," Obsidian nodded.

Rei grinned evilly. "As I said."

Ami looked at her in shock. "But she's the Moon Princess..."

"Who claims that anyway?" Obsidian had never seen this fabled Princess himself.

"Well, SailorMoon turned into the Moon Princess after Zoisite stabbed Tuxedo Kamen with an ice crystal," Makoto told him. "She was really beautiful, regal..."

Obsidian examined Usagi thoroughly. "Sorry, these are attributes I just can't connect with her."

"Actually Luna thought at first that I was the Princess," Rei said.

"But later even Usagi asked me if I was the Princess," Minako pointed out.

Obsidian looked from one of the girls to the other. Each of them would have been a better Princess than SailorMoon, he thought.

"But I am the Moon Princess," Usagi pouted. "Everybody can see that!"

"You're a clutzy crybaby. Everybody can see that," Rei contradicted. Immediately tears started to flow from Usagi's deep blue eyes.

"That's not true," she sniffed. "You're really mean again!"

"See? She whines again."

"But you were mean to her," Ami chided the black-haired girl.

"Truth hurts, huh?"

"Well, I imagine a princess completely differently," Obsidian said. "But probably there are different kinds of princesses." He looked thoughtfully at the odango-haired girl. "Maybe you should try to exchange her for Endymion after all. I'm sure you'd get her back in no time."

'Who said we'd want her back', Rei thought. "Well, we could try it."

"You can't actually want to do that to me," Usagi protested. "I'm your leader! And Kunzite is even meaner than Rei!"

"Why did you choose her as leader of the Senshi anyway?" Obsidian wondered.

"Luna told us we should let her be the leader and she gave her the moon sceptre," Makoto explained.

Rei preferred not to comment on that. She knew Usagi used the sceptre for lots of things not connected with her position.

"Too bad," Obsidian commented.

"You're mean, too," Usagi muttered. "I'm the Moon Princess and no one but me can use the sceptre!"

"We've never tried that," Rei observed. "Usagi, why don't you give me the scepter so that we can try it out?"

"It's mine," Usagi pouted and held it securely.

"You just don't want me to succeed," Rei accused.

"I'm sure you can wield it much more expertly," Obsidian told the black-haired girl.

"Exactly."

Usagi held on to the sceptre. It was hers and hers alone. No one else but she was able to use it anyway. She looked at Obsidian. He was at least as mean as Kunzite, and to be sure she should punish him in the name of the Moon.

"Well, if you insist to be the leader, you should figure out a plan how to rescue Tuxedo Kamen now," Rei said and gazed at her.

"But I don't know anything," she whined.

"I suggest exchanging her and then you can choose a new leader," Obsidian moaned.

"I agree."

"Shall I wrap her in some nice wrapping paper?" Obsidian grinned and examined Usagi.

"Waaaaah!" The blonde jumped up in shock.

"But Rei... We can't..." Ami began.

"Would you please fetch a rope or something like that?" Obsidian asked and tried to catch Usagi who screamed and fled.

"Mako, where do you have a rope?" Rei giggled.

"You don't want to actually do this?!" Ami gasped. Makoto wasn't convinced either that it was a good idea.

Minako looked from Ami to Makoto to Rei and then decided to run after Obsidian. She couldn't allow him to chase poor Usagi.

Ami agreed with Minako and hurried after her, while Rei rummaged through some drawers to find a rope or something similar.

Finally Obsidian caught Usagi and held her. As neither Minako nor Ami could stop in time, they crashed into them and fell down in a heap. Makoto sighed. They messed up her whole apartment.

"Where's the rope?" Obsidian shouted as Usagi struggled hard to escape and Minako and Ami tried to free her. Rei threw him a clothes-line that she had just found, and Obsidian tried to tie up the blonde odango-head.

Unfortunately Minako and Ami were as eager to untie her, and so they ended up in a big tangle of four persons. Rei couldn't help but giggle, while Makoto decided to close her eyes and pretend that nothing happened.

"Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" Obsidian tried to tug his hand out of a loop of rope, but Minako grinned triumphantly and held the other end.

Rei held her sides - the picture was hilarious.

"I'm caught," Ami protested. "Let me go! - I thought you wanted Usagi!"

"When Minako would let go of my hand..."

"Certainly not - I have to save Usagi!" Minako declared.

"I want to get out of here," Usagi squealed. She lay on the bottom of the heap, next to Ami, and felt somehow floored.

"I want out, too," the blue-haired girl complained.

"Mako, do you have a camera somewhere?" Rei asked her friend, who just shook her head. "What a pity!"

"We should do that more often," Obsidian said cheerfully. He couldn't remember when he'd last had so much fun. Especially Usagi's face was worth seeing.

"I strongly disagree," Ami groaned.

"Mako, why don't you save me for a change? - Although I must admit it's fun to be bound together with a handful of pretty girls."

"Obsidian!" Makoto called out and tried to pull him free. She didn't like it when he was too close to the other girls, even when they were her friends.

"Ah, you help me at last," he had with satisfaction. "I feared you didn't like me anymore."

"Of course I like you," Makoto assured him. "You look a lot like my old senpai!"

"Tsk, and I thought I was unique."

"Haven't you noticed? Makoto believes every good-looking boy looks like her old senpai," Rei explained.

"Interesting. - Well, do you free me now?"

"Well, let's see." Makoto tried to disentangle him from the long clothes-line, but as the others still struggled, she soon joined them in the tangle.

"I guess now it might take a little longer," Obsidian commented dryly.

"I want out," Usagi whined again.

"Never again," Minako sighed. Usagi squeaked as one of her ponytails got caught under Makoto. "This is demeaning," the other blonde muttered.

"I think it's funny," Obsidian grinned. "You're nicer than I thought."

Makoto beamed at him. "You see - Obsidian isn't evil!"

Rei still stood apart from them, looked at the heap and laughed at the sight.

"Rei, now get us out of here!" Minako demanded.

The black-haired girl procured a pair of scissors and looked down at the heap. "What do you offer me for freeing you?" she asked.

"What do you want to have?" Minako asked back.

"I want out of here," Usagi whined once more.

"I want to try out the moon sceptre," Rei stated.

"But that's mine," Usagi protested.

"Well, then we have to spend the rest of the evening bound together," Obsidian said with amusement.

"Actually I must admit I don't mind too much," Minako giggled. She was on the top of the heap next to Obsidian and examined him thoroughly. He was really cute, just like the rest of the guys from the Dark Kingdom. It was so unfair that they were evil.

"I'll do what you want," Usagi panted. "I only want out."

"Well, then give me the sceptre," Rei grinned.

"When I'm free again. Currently it's lying below me."

"Okay. Promise?"

"Promise."

Rei cut them free, and they stood up from the ground. Usagi yammered when she tried to straighten up.

"So." Rei held out her hand and Usagi looked thoughtfully at her sceptre.

"But you'll give it back to me!"

"I just want to see if it's true that only a member of the royal family can wield it," Rei explained.

Hesitatingly, Usagi gave her the moon sceptre.

Rei gazed at it. The moon sceptre was the sign of the leader of the Senshi, Luna had said, and the black-haired girl still thought that she was a much better leader than the clutzy blonde crybaby.

"But what do you want to use it on?" Ami asked her.

Currently only the five Senshi and Obsidian were in Makoto's apartment, so what should Rei use to prove that she also was able to use the silver crystal?

"Well, I could try to heal Obsidian from all evil," she pondered.

"If you think you'll accomplish something with it," Obsidian shrugged.

"At least this would make some sense," Minako said.

"Hm, but what am I supposed to say? Moon Healing Escalation somehow doesn't sound appropriate. I wonder whether it works when I try out Mars Healing Escalation."

"Well, you aren't the Moon Princess after all," Usagi commented poutily.

"I wonder if there was a Mars Princess," Rei said thoughfully.

Pic
of Rei as Mars Princess by Stayka

"There is no higher developed life on Mars," Ami lectured. "And I don't think there was any a thousand years ago. I guess the names of the Senshi are just symbolic."

"Actually there wasn't even life on the Moon," Obsidian pointed out. "Queen Serenity only created her realm after she had stolen the silver crystal. Without its energy the Moon would have stayed as lifeless as before or nowadays."

"Well, I'll try it." Rei took out her transformation pen to turn into SailorMars, so that she could call upon her supernatural powers. "Mars Healing Escalation!" she called out, and a pink light flowed from the sceptre and engulfed Obsidian.

"Hey, that tickles," he giggled. "And why has it to be pink? I don't like that colour."

"Hm. Obviously something works when Rei uses the sceptre, but why doesn't Obsidian change into something else?" Ami wondered.

"I told you he isn't evil," Makoto beamed at the violet-haired young man.

"At least this is the proof that not only the Moon Princess can use the sceptre and the silver crystal," SailorMars said with satisfaction.

"Everybody with magickal powers can use the silver crystal," Obsidian stated. "My father did it as well."

"That's unfair. I'm someone special that I can use it," Usagi yammered.

"You're a clutzy crybaby. What more special would you like to be?" SailorMars said acidly.

"Perhaps Rei should try to change you back." Obsidian grinned at Usagi. "I bet she'll turn you into a frog."

Makoto grinned as well. "You're right. One use of the sceptre - Usagi becomes a frog, one more - she turns back into the Princess, and so on."

"Why are you always so mean to me? Rei, give me back my sceptre!"

"I think she'd be easier to handle when turned into a frog," Obsidian laughed and looked invitingly at the raven-haired girl.

SailorMars giggled and brandished the sceptre again. "Mars Healing Escalation!" The pink glow engulfed Usagi, and suddenly she turned into the seeming of Princess Serenity. "Oops."

"What a pity," Obsidian pouted. "No frog. But we could try to exchange her against Endymion."

"True." SailorMars looked at the white gowned girl with an evil grin.

"Fine. Then I'll wrap up the Moon Princess and bring her to Kunzite, and in exchange for her I'll fetch Endymion. But we'll need something like the silver crystal so that Kunzite will take her."

"What?!" Princess Serenity looked at them in utter shock.

"Be strong, SailorMoon," SailorMars said. "I have a wonderful idea to save Endymion. Obsidian will bring you to Kunzite and tell him he wants Endymion in exchange for you. You will stay with them until we have Endymion, and then we'll free you. - Mako, do you have some jewellery that we can fake the silver crystal?"

"I guess so. Just a moment."

"Okay." Obsidian looked at SailorMars with admiration. She was truly a leader.

"You don't really want to do that?" Ami asked incredulously.

"Of course," Obsidian told her. "I think it's a great idea." Of course Kunzite would never be fooled by some fake silver crystal, but burdening him with SailorMoon alone would be fun enough.

"So do I," SailorMars grinned.

"Do you think we can use this?" Makoto had found a cheap faceted glass stone that shimmered in all colours of the rainbow.

"This is perfect," SailorMars nodded. "Take this, Usagi, then your masquerade is complete."

Serenity complied silently. She still hadn't completely understood what was going on.

"But it's only a stone. It doesn't look like the moon sceptre at all," Obsidian pointed out.

"That's true," SailorMars said thoughtfully. "But do you really think they'll notice? There was a time when SailorMoon didn't have the sceptre at all, but only used her tiara. So why can't we just convince them that she's so powerful in her Moon Princess seeming that she doesn't need it anymore?"

"Well, you have a point," Obsidian stated. "Then let's go. I'll open a doorway and bring her to Kunzite and the others."

"Okay." SailorMars grinned at Serenity who still stood there like a statue.

"Come with me." Obsidian took Serenity's hand and dragged her through the black gate he had created.

"What? How? Why?" she stuttered, and SailorMars giggled at the sight.

"He's kidnapping her," Amy shouted.

"No, he doesn't. He's not evil," Makoto tried to calm her down.

Minako couldn't grasp the actions, so fast had they occured. Normally Usagi needed far longer until anything was set into motion.

"I wonder how I would look like as a Mars Princess," SailorMars pondered as she peered into the mirror that hung in the tiny hallway of Makoto's apartment.

"But Usagi is the rightful leader of the Senshi," Minako pointed out.

"Well, now she's helping to free Endymion. Isn't that something the leader of the Senshi should do?" SailorMars asked.

"I don't think she was aware what she has gotten herself into this time." Minako shook her head.

"That's her problem," SailorMars grinned. "Now we'll wait for them to return Endymion, and when we have changed him into Mamoru again, we can still decide if we want Usagi back."

"Of course we want her back," Minako declared.

"Indeed," Ami agreed. "We can't leave her alone among these villains."

* * *

Kunzite and Zoisite still enjoyed the fact that they didn't have to do any more evil deeds on Queen Beryl's behalf. They lay on the sofa in their living room and watched the Army of Darkness videos, Zoisite's current favourite flicks.

Well, to be honest, they were more occupied with cuddling around, and the running TV set was only a convenient alibi when they kissed passionately.

Obsidian, who had materialized in the hallway, entered the living room with the blonde girl in tow. She still hadn't understood completely what was going on.

"Hello, you two lovebirds," Obsidian said cheerfully.

"Hm?" Zoisite lifted his coppery golden head and looked up. Kunzite stayed just where he was. He refused to be disturbed by Obsidian, especially when he felt so well with his beloved in his arms.

"I have a present for you," Obsidian announced.

"I know that movie," Serenity commented when she saw the TV set.

"What?" Zoisite looked irritated at the Moon Princess. "Aren't you under age? That movie is rated!" He sat up and put on a slight frown. Now Kunzite also had the chance to sit up. His gleaming silvery white hair was dishevelled, and his white shirt was unbuttoned and showed parts of his tanned skin and powerful physique.

"Did I disturb you somehow?" Obsidian grinned.

"Of course you've disturbed us," Kunzite sighed and ran his hand through his long hair. "Why did you bring the Moon Princess here?"

"The Senshi want to exchange her for Endymion."

"Indeed? And what makes them think we'd accept her?" Kunzite decided to straighten his clothes. At the moment he didn't look much like a person to be respected, he feared. But that could be helped. One thought, and he was clad in his usual grey uniform, complete with cape.

Somehow he still felt most comfortable in this, even though Zoisite couldn't understand it. His beloved preferred outfits that emphasized his beauty - not that he needed it in any way. Kunzite smiled at him before he turned back to the problem at hand.

"So you want to relinquish the silver crystal to us after all?" he asked the girl. Well, at least that would make up for the disruption of his little tête-à-tête with Zoisite.

"Rei took it away from me," Serenity sulked, completely forgetting that she was supposed to deceive the Dark Kings.

"Pardon?!" Kunzite frowned at her, then at Obsidian. "She's absolutely useless without the silver crystal."

"Sure," he agreed. "But then, she's useless with it as well."

"I could torture her a bit," Zoisite proposed with a really nasty grin. "Maybe she's at least useful for that."

"But - he can't do this to me, can he?" Usagi sqeaked and clung to Obsidian who couldn't stand that at all.

"Of course I can," Zoisite declared with his sweetest smile and conjured a sharp, long ice-blade.

"Put it away, Zoisite, I need her alive," Obsidian told him.

"You need her?!" Zoisite looked at Obsidian in utter bewilderment.

"If you don't want her, I'll give her to Queen Beryl as a present."

"Hm." Kunzite gazed thoughtfully at the frightened girl. "This opens up completely new possibilities," he said with an amused smile. "I'm sure she'll get on Beryl's nerves pretty fast, and thoroughly at that."

"That's exactly what I had in mind."

"Good. You may keep her for this purpose."

"Oh, how can I show my gratitude for your mercy, mighty Lord Kunzite?" Obsidian exclaimed ironically. Sometimes - or rather most of the time - Kunzite was insufferable. Kunzite and Zoisite really deserved each other, he thought.

"Well, I will think about some appropriate means," the silver-haired man declared, deliberately ignoring Obsidian's sarcasm.

"I will wait for your decision." Obsidian examined Kunzite with a thoughtful gaze. It was too bad that he didn't dare to challenge the man.

"Later. Now you may take the Moon Princess to Queen Beryl, and we will wait for the results."

"As you wish."

"You are dismissed." Kunzite haughtily waved his hand.

Obsidian chose not to acknowledge the command. He tugged Serenity to a chair and placed her there. She still gazed wide-eyed around.

"You don't want to leave her here?" Kunzite looked from Obsidian to the blonde and back.

"I don't mind." Zoisite played with another ragged ice-blade of his.

"At the moment Beryl won't be in her audience chamber - she has to sleep once in a while, too - and I don't intend to drag the Princess along all the time."

"Fine." Zoisite went over to Serenity and looked down at her with a smile that sent icy shivers down her spine. She closed her eyes and whimpered in terror. Zoisite was so mean!

"When I slit her throat, she'll be silent immediately," Zoisite commented conversationally and lifted his icy knife.

"But she has to be alive when she's supposed to drive Queen Beryl insane," Kunzite pointed out.

"If you kill her now, you'll have to find an equal replacement," Obsidian warned.

"That's difficult," Zoisite pouted. "But I really want to have some fun."

"You'll have to find another plaything."

"Well." Zoisite turned around, looked up to Kunzite and went to him. He let the ice-crystal disappear and wrapped his arms around his beloved's middle.

Kunzite raised an eyebrow. Plaything?! He'd have to talk with the little rat when they were alone again.

Obsidian shook his head. "I'll be back in two hours or three."

"Two or three hours?!" Zoisite squealed.

"It could take even a bit longer. I'm returning to the other Senshi."

"Well, we'll just bind her and gag her, then we can get back to our former occupation," Kunzite suggested and tenderly stroked Zoisite's hair.

"Whatever you wish. I'll go play around as well."

"But fetch her as fast as possible," Kunzite demanded. He had something else in his mind than babysitting the Moon Princess.

"We'll see."

"Kunzite-sama, I have another idea of how to torture her," Zoisite chimed. "Let's turn on some game show or karaoke show and let her watch it." He grinned evilly.

"Oh yes, I love karaoke," Serenity exclaimed.

"Okay, then we'll skip that," Zoisite sighed. He had thought it was such a nice idea.

"I can sing unaccompanied, too," she threatened and started to sing loud and off key. Kunzite grimaced, the he waved his hand and Serenity was thoroughly gagged. She gave him a deadly stare.

Obsidian laughed. "Have fun!" In the next instant he had opened a doorway and teleported to Makoto's apartment.

Another wave of Kunzite's hand, and the blonde girl was bound in ropes of black energy.

"We will retreat to our private chambers now," Kunzite told her. "We will be back - well, when we're back." He grinned and lifted Zoisite onto his arms.

Zoisite grinned, too, and stuck out his tongue at Serenity before he laid his head against Kunzite's shoulder and let him teleport them upstairs.

Serenity grumbled something into her gag. Zoisite and Kunzite were really mean.

The End of Pt.17 - Goto Pt.18


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