Dancing Towards Disaster

(Tears of Crystal - Pt.23)

© 1998/2006 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea


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Queen Beryl looked down at Nephrite who lay at her feet on the cold stone floor of the audience chamber. Phonolite stood next to the prone form of the traitorous Dark King.

Beryl squinted her eyes at the blonde girl in the grey uniform who still sported the same ridiculous hairstyle that she had worn as SailorMoon.

"Is it true that you managed to overwhelm Nephrite?" she asked incredulously.

"Yeah, or he wouldn't be here, would he?"

"And where did you catch him?"

"In that big house of Kunzite's."

"So you have the coordinates so that we can finally strike at them directly?"

"Er, well... Not exactly. You see, it wasn't easy to open this doorway in the first place."

"Pardon? Opening doorways is one of the easiest tasks to learn!" Beryl straightened on her throne and gave Phonolite a dark look.

"Well, I have to admit this was the first time I managed to do it."

"What?! You miserable excuse for a Dark Kingdom warrior! Celestine was supposed to teach you. I shall punish both of you accordingly!" She tapped her fingers on the armrests of her throne, and the sound of her claws scratching the stone made Phonolite cringe.

On the other hand, the girl had managed to strike down Nephrite and bring him back, a task in which Endymion had miserably failed all the time. She had given him far more time and chances than the others, and he hadn't been able to come up with a single favourable result yet.

Probably she should rather punish him for failure. Well, tonight would be ample time to take care of Endymion, after she had questioned Nephrite thoroughly. By applying the proper amount of torture, he would certainly speak and betray his 'friends'.

It was too bad that Zoisite wasn't around anymore; the sneaky weasel would have taken special delight in applying the most gruesome torture methods to his dearest enemy. But then, should she get her hands on the pretty man again, she would be most pleased to apply the same to him for causing Kunzite to defect.

Phonolite stepped from one foot onto the other. She didn't want to stay in the queen's vicinity any longer than absolutely necessary. This red-haired she-devil on the throne gave her the creeps, and besides, she was hungry.

"You are dismissed," she heard with relief. "I will now tend to Nephrite's questioning."

Immediately Phonolite stormed out of the audience chamber. When she arrived at the canteen, she found Celestine sitting alone at a table. The lower youma preferred to stay away from the commanders unless they had a dead sure plan to eliminate them to take their place.

Unfortunately until now about all of those plans had led to the obliteration of the youma in question, and so they were wary, even though this new commander looked rather weak. But then, they had thought the same of Zoisite and this had proven to be a very deadly mistake.

Phonolite sat down next to the red-haired girl who wolfed down her share of the canteen fodder. She waved to a youma waitress who immediately took her order for another standard issue meal.

"Is it true that you caught Nephrite?" Celestine asked perplexed.

"Yeah!" Phonolite puffed herself up.

"But how?" Celestine couldn't grasp it that her utterly incompetent colleague had succeeded where so many others had failed.

"I hit him with the night sceptre," she declared proudly.

"Incredible," the other girl commented. Most certainly it had been pure luck.

"But it's true!"

"And what is Beryl going to do with Nephrite? I'd like to keep him as my personal plaything as revenge for the things he did to me."

"I don't know - she said that she wanted to question him."

"I only hope she won't destroy him in the process."

"True, that'd be a pity."

"I want to have him," Celestine said with a dangerous glint in her dark turquoise eyes. "I want to take revenge for the dozens of times when he took advantage of me when I was still a mere mortal girl."

"But I want, too!"

"You? What did he do to you?!"

"Quite a lot! He was pretty mean to me, too."

"But he didn't break your heart!"

"So what?"

"It hurt! And thus I am going to break him." Celestine put on a determined face. "But it depends all on Queen Beryl's decision. When she decrees to off him I won't have the opportunity to exact my revenge at all." She stood up. "I'll go to the training range now, and you are well advised to do the same."

"Okay, I'll join you when I'll have finished my meal."

* * *

Obsidian went into the living room of Kunzite's and Zoisite's mansion to continue studying the books about magickal sciences. Suddenly he became aware that SailorMoon wasn't there anymore. Where could she have gone, bound and gagged as she had been?

He concentrated and sent out a telepathic tendril to Zoisite, for he didn't want to risk angering Kunzite again.

*Huh?* A puzzled thought pattern answered his request.

*Have you put SailorMoon somewhere else?*

*Why do you ask? - Ah well, you see, Kunzite-sama and I are otherwise occupied.* Some stray emotion patterns from deeper levels erred through the mental connection, and a wave of pleasure washed over Obsidian.

*She isn't here anymore*, Obsidian stated with amusement.

*Oh. And where is she?* Zoisite's thoughts where intermingled with sensations of pleasure that were at odds with the content of the telepathic conversation.

*I can't find her anymore.* Obsidian was astonished that Zoisite still managed to keep up this at least two-level communication. But probably the time in the Dark Kingdom with Beryl's constant demands had forced him to practice this ability.

*Oh dear - Kunzite-sama will be furious when he learns this.* The petite man sighed mentally.

*When SailorMoon has returned to the Dark Kingdom, she will certainly give away the location of the house.*

*Indeed. We have to look for another base of operations.* Zoisite snuggled closer to Kunzite (if this was still possible, that is). "My Lord, we have a problem," he said verbally.

When Kunzite frowned, Zoisite explained what Obsidian had found. Kunzite's frown deepened.

"This is grave news. We have to find SailorMoon as fast as possible and neutralize her, preferably before she can betray our location - that is, when she has managed to pinpoint it."

With a sigh, Kunzite got up and conjured up some comfortable clothing. His lover looked disappointedly at him, before he decided to dress as well. Together they teleported downstairs.

Zoisite in kimono and hakama

Obsidian waited impatiently in the living room when the two men materialized in front of him.

"What exactly has happened?" Kunzite inquired instead of a greeting.

"How am I supposed to know?"

"Where is Jadeite?"

"He told me he wanted to meet Rei after school."

"And what about Nephrite?" Maybe he had been sober enough to notice SailorMoon's escape.

"I haven't seen him for a while," Obsidian shrugged.

"Well." *Nephrite?* The silver-haired King called telepathically. Only silence answered him. "Strange. I can't establish a mental connection to Nephrite."

"This means he isn't in the area of Tokyo anymore," Obsidian wondered. "But where could he be?"

"Maybe he went into the Dark Kingdom on his own to free Naru," Zoisite proposed. "He is rather fond of that chick." His tone of voice said clearly that he didn't understand Nephrite's attitude to the mortal girl.

"But why should he take SailorMoon with him?" Obsidian was puzzled.

"Maybe he wants to exchange her for the Naru-girl?"

"But he should know that it would jeopardize the secrecy of your - his - house's location," Obsidian commented.

"I tried to take care that SailorMoon won't know the location," Kunzite stated, "but Nephrite is another matter. Should he be caught and questioned, we might be in danger."

"I can't imagine SailorMoon being able to capture Nephrite," Zoisite said contemptously.

"But Celestine is another matter," Obsidian cautioned. "She caught him once already."

"We'd better establish a second base of operations," Kunzite decreed. "It's early enough in the afternoon to visit a realtor and buy a house of our own." It was a shame that they couldn't just conjure up a house like Nephrite's by magick, but as it would take an enormous amount of energy, Queen Beryl would never miss the magickal feat.

He held out his hand to Zoisite. "Come, little rat." They went to the garage and left Obsidian to his own devices.

'That's typical', the violet-haired man thought. 'Not even a little thank you.'

* * *

Beryl transported the unconscious Nephrite to one of her torture chambers where disobedient youma were disciplined and prisoners were questioned.

This time she wouldn't make the mistake of brainwashing him first like she had done with SailorMoon. She wanted to know where she could find the other traitors, so that she was able to punish them properly, and Nephrite would supply the needed information.

Afterwards she could still wipe all of his memories and implant everlasting loyalty to her alone. She ordered two lower youma to tie him to a stone slab.

Nephrite awoke when he was drenched by icy water that soaked him all through. His head throbbed hellishly, and when he tried to rub his temples, he found that he couldn't move his arms as he was bound to an uncomfortably hard surface.

"Welcome back, Nephrite," a familiar voice purred, and he groaned. He knew that it bode ill for him, although he didn't remember why. 'Nephrite' was most certainly his name; at least it felt like it. He wondered what had happened so that he couldn't remember anything.

"What happened?" he asked and struggled against the bonds. They didn't move a fraction of an inch.

"Pardon?" Beryl smiled and showed her pointed teeth. "I want you to deliver your companions to me."

"Why should I do something like this?" He didn't even know who he was, how should he know anything about any companions of his?

"I didn't know that you were suicidal."

"Everything is an improvement to these horrible headaches."

"Well, after I'm through with you, you will think otherwise." Beryl called for her favourite interrogator who started to apply some particularly nasty torture methods to loosen Nephrite's tongue.

Much to her surprise he refused to give any useful information. Beryl frowned. She wondered why he remained so stubborn, especially as there was no love lost between him and Zoisite who was among the persons he protected with his silence.

Beryl became more and more annoyed, until she sent out a telepathic call. *Phonolite, attend!*

*Coming, my Queen!* About five minutes later the blonde girl stormed through the door of the audience chamber. "What's up?"

"Phonolite, I ordered you to attend immediately, thus meaning you were supposed to teleport to me in the same instant," the queen growled. "If you dare to let me wait once more in the future, I will punish you accordingly," Beryl hissed. "But that's not why I called you. What have you done to Nephrite?"

"Nothing," she claimed.

"Nothing?! I have the impression he lost his memory. So what did you do to him, you stupid wretch?"

"Well, I hit him a little bit with my night sceptre," Phonolite admitted. "But not very much."

Nephrite looked at her and winced in pain. Now the rest of his body ached about as much as his head - and this was supposed to be a 'little hit'?!

"Well, I wanted to be sure that he was unconscious."

Beryl shot her an evil glare, but she decided not to punish her right now as she did manage to bring Nephrite, something that Endymion had never managed to do. "You are dismissed."

After Phonolite disappeared, Beryl ordered a youma to transfer Nephrite into the brainwashing device and keep him there until she had the time to take care of him. If he suffered from amnesia, she would consider him a clean slate that could be programmed as she liked. Her chances would improve, now that she had the second strongest of her Kings back.

* * *

Kunzite and Zoisite sat in the office of a real estate agent and leafed through catalogues depicting several nice objects, all of them highly expensive. Cheap apartments or houses just didn't exist in Tokyo.

Kunzite shrugged internally. Fortunately the price didn't matter. What mattered more was the fact that they needed a new house and this immediately.

"So what did you have in mind?" the agent asked.

"Lord Kunzite, let's buy this one!" Zoisite pointed at a Western-style bungalow with a large swimming pool that some actor wanted to sell according to the description in the catalogue.

"I don't like it. I prefer a less decadent house." Kunzite showed Zoisite his choice, a nice Japanese-style house that even had a classical onsen in the garden.

"Are these real hot springs?" Zoisite asked.

"Not quite, but it looks nice, don't you think, little rat? Furthermore it's in a quieter part of the town."

The agent waited politely for the decision of the two men.

"If you really like it, my Lord?" the small men said hesitantly.

"I do." Kunzite gave the agent a smile. "It is agreed. We will buy this house."

They decided on the matter of payment and only a few minutes later, Kunzite and Zoisite left the office.

"Did you notice the looks of the guy when we gave him our names?" Zoisite asked. "I guess we should establish a secret identity like Nephrite did, too, so that we have some more inconspicuous names."

"And what would you suggest?" Kunzite had never paid much attention to the mundane lives of the Earth people.

Zoisite looked thoughtfully. "Just a moment, I have to think on that." A while later his face cheered up. "Why don't we check the phone book or some magazine?"

A short time later, they settled on names Saito Kazuya for Kunzite and Sakura Mirai for Zoisite. Unfortunately this still didn't help them to get ID cards, and Kunzite sighed.

"I almost admire Nephrite for his cunning to set up not only a full identity here but also a whole business and everything."

"Pah, we're certainly better than Nephrite. I have absolute confidence in you, my Lord." Zoisite smiled at Kunzite and kissed him lingeringly.

This was typical, Kunzite thought. Zoisite always managed to let him do all the work. Well, he was the strongest of the Four Kings and he was the one in charge, but sometimes it would be nice if the others did something, too.

On the other hand, how could he resist when his beloved looked at him like that? "Let's check out our new home," Kunzite suggested when he had managed to rip his gaze from Zoisite's beautiful emerald eyes.

But first they had to make sure to obfuscate their traces, and so Kunzite returned to the realtor and rearranged his mind and the mind of his secretary so that they did neither remember the names Kunzite and Zoisite nor how they really looked like.

Then they began to relocate their things to the new home, which meant Kunzite first packed all of his books together as he didn't want them to fall into the hands of possible pursuers.

* * *

Jadeite waited in front of the T*A Private Girls' School at Rei. He held the box with the sweets and pastries in his hands and paced impatiently back and fro. Somehow he would have preferred her to be one or two years older, he thought, but then, time passed by so fast, that soon it wouldn't matter anyway. And circumstances like the fights against the youma had let the Senshi mature ahead of their time, too.

Suddenly a bell rang and hordes of girls of different ages and sizes streamed out of the door. Some of them (more than Jadeite was comfortable with, considering the fact that he wanted to make a good impression) stared at him in utter adoration.

'What a hunk!' and similar more or less hushed comments came to his ears. When he had the impression the girls had already stared quite a lot of holes into him, Rei appeared.

She blushed when she discovered that Jadeite had remembered his promise and waited for her.

"Hello, Rei," he said and wasn't sure if he should rather look at the tips of his boots or into Rei's amethyst-coloured eyes.

"Hi, Jadeite." She cast down her eyes and thus didn't notice the envious stares of her fellow pupils.

Jadeite did, though. "Shall we go?"

"I think that's a good idea." Rei smiled at him and he flushed, too.

"I prepared something for you," he announced and offered her the box. "I hope you like it."

"You did? Thank you." Curiously she opened the box. "This smells delicious. Oh, and they're still warm!" She took one of the cookies - Jadeite had enclosed a variety of different sweets and pastries - and tried it. "Wow, this is at least as good as Makoto's stuff - No, I'd say it's even better," she beamed at him.

Jadeite smiled in return. "Thank you."

Rei looked at the blonde King in amazement. It was astonishing that this guy of all people was such a great cook, especially as he was a male chauvinist and everything. Hm. Maybe she had to revise her opinion of him a little bit. She ate another cookie. This was indeed fantastic - the stuff tasted even better than it smelled.

Jadeite was highly satisfied to watch Rei devour his little gift. "And what shall we do with the rest of the afternoon?" he wanted to know.

"First I have to get rid of my books and I'd like to change into some other clothes, and then we can figure out what to do. - Oh, this was the last cookie."

"No problem, I'll bake some more for you if you like."

"Wonderful! You see, I can cook a little, too, but only the easier stuff."

"I could show you how to cook properly, if you are interested", Jadeite suggested with a smile. This was probably a very nice idea to get to know each other better and he would always have an excuse to show up at her place.

"I'd love that. Shall I tell you something? I'd never have thought that you might be able to cook or bake."

"If you knew the canteen fodder in the Dark Kingdom, you wouldn't be surprised," Jadeite laughed. "Learning to cook was just my instinct of self preservation."

Rei watched him thoughtfully. When they had fought him, he had always been tense and cold, but right now he appeared like a really different person, relaxed and in high spirits. On impulse, she linked arms with him and they went to the Hikawa Shrine.

* * *

"Ah!" Kunzite exclaimed when they were on the way to their new home again to drop some more things there. He turned the car without reducing the speed more than absolutely necessary, and Zoisite clung desperately to the safety-belt.

"What's up, Kunzite-sama?"

"I almost forgot the lessons in magickal sciences I promised the Senshi."

"And what about my cooking lessons?"

"Well, if I want to arrive in time, I don't have any time to drive you to the mansion. Tomorrow is another day."

Only a couple of minutes later, they arrived at the Hikawa Shrine, and Kunzite suddenly noticed that their new home wasn't too far away from Rei's.

Jadeite and Rei tried out another recipe when the bell rang. The girl found that cooking was really fun when one did it together with someone who knew what to do and who was a totally kawaii guy in addition to that.

Jadeite and Rei cook pasta

Kunzite frowned when it took a while until Rei opened. She wore a bright red apron and her hair was bound back in a thick ponytail. "Oh, you're just in time for dinner," she greeted him.

"Dinner?" Zoisite chimed. "Great. I'm starving!"

"Shouldn't we begin our lessons immediately?"

"But neither Makoto, nor Ami, nor Minako are here yet, and Jadeite and I have cooked some wonderful dishes." She ushered them in. Currently not even Zoisite's presence could spoil her good mood.

"Jadeite? He's here?"

"Yeah." Rei blushed a little.

"I hope we haven't disturbed you," Zoisite grinned.

"You haven't," Jadeite assured him and wiped his hands on a towel. He had been curious and joined Rei in the hall. "I'm teaching Rei how to cook properly."

"So that's how you call it."

"He is a great cook," Rei defended the blonde man who wore his 'Here cooks the Boss' apron again for the occasion.

"According to the fact that he managed to teach Zoisite how to prepare spaghetti and lasagne, I have to agree," Kunzite remarked dryly. "I'm sure it wasn't easy."

"Kunzite-sama! I'm not that bad."

"I wouldn't call you a natural either," Jadeite observed.

Zoisite sulked and Kunzite couldn't suppress a chuckle at his lover's pout.

"I hope you're really hungry," Rei said. "We tried out quite a lot of stuff." She directed them to the dining-room where they knelt down at the low table.

Now the other three girls arrived. They were surprised to meet Zoisite and Jadeite, but Kunzite assured them they would continue their lesson after lunch.

Rei and Jadeite served their creations.

"This looks great," Makoto said and sniffed. "And it smells even better." When she learned that the dishes were Jadeite's creation, she looked at him with genuine respect.

They devoured the food, and Jadeite and Makoto traded recipes, then they went to their magickal training, while Zoisite and Jadeite had the honourable task of cleaning the dishes.

* * *

Obsidian was peeved that Kunzite and Zoisite had gone away without a word and left him standing like some lackey. Who did they think they were?

Fuming, he teleported back into the Dark Kingdom. He needed something interesting to amuse himself and calm down. Which reminded him - there was this ancient map he had found a while ago. When he remembered correctly, it depicted some of the old corridors and cellar rooms that weren't in use anymore since the fall of the Crystal Kingdom and which Beryl had sealed so that no one would enter them.

He fetched the map from his quarters and went on an exploratory tour throught the depths of the Dark Kingdom.

Cursing, Obsidian worked this way through the dust layers of several centuries. He hated cobwebs in his beautiful blue-violet hair, but now he was dirty anyway, and he continued his quest.

There had to be something interesting down here beside the dust. In some rooms he found decayed shelves with illegible remnants of books or parchment, long forgotten shards of bottles and rotten pieces of ancient devices.

Suddenly the faint whisper of a strange aura beckoned to him. Obsidian ignored the other rooms full of long decayed stuff and marched in the direction of the energy field.

It felt pretty weird, he thought, an icy sensation of utter evil that still somehow lured him to go on.

He continued his ardous trail for two more hours in which he had to dig through unlit caved-in corridors and debris littered stairs, until he finally reached another long forgotten room with a still securely sealed door.

By now Obsidian was too curious to go back and blasted the door with a thought. A light spell illuminated the large room and showed that it contained several large objects which were hung with nondescriptly coloured threadbare pieces of cloth.

Curiously, Obsidian tugged at one piece of cloth and it came down in a huge cloud of dust. He coughed quite a while until the dust had settled and he could examine his finding. It was the source of the evil aura.

When he wiped at the thick layer of dirt and dust covering it despite the protective cloth, he discovered that it was a huge crystal, even a bit larger than the one that had held Jadeite captive. Contrary to Jadeite's former prison, it was coloured screamingly hot pink and seemed to be completely opaque.

Obsidian wanted to examine it a bit more closely, but it was so dirty that one couldn't make out much more. Thus, he decided to open a doorway to Makoto's and clean the crystal there.

* * *

When Kunzite had finished his lesson, Makoto was done as well. Exhausted, she went back to her apartment and wished for nothing more than to be able to shower and fall into her bed.

She opened the door. Hm. Didn't this sound like water running in her bathroom? "Obsidian?" The girl took off her shoes and stepped into the apartment.

"I'm in the bathroom," he called and tried to wipe up the black puddles on the floor. The crystal was fairly clean now, but he looked the worse for wear.

"Oh. I see. How much longer do you need? I'd like to take a shower, too."

"A little longer. I'm still much too dirty."

"Dirty? What have you done?"

"I was on a treasure hunt in some long forgotten parts of the Dark Kingdom."

"This sounds exciting! Did you find anything?"

"I did, although I'm not exactly sure what it is."

"But how does it look like?"

"Pink. Large. About two feet taller than my height."

Pic
of Obsidian with the pink crystal by Shavana

"Pink and that large? Where is it?" Makoto looked around in the living room.

"In the shower. It was dirty, too."

"Oh. But don't you forget to clean up everything when you've finished."

"No, Makoto," he sighed.

"Good." She waited curiously for Obsidian to emerge from the bathroom. It took several more minutes until he had managed to get rid of all the dirt, but now everything was dripping wet, especially all the towels.

"Mako, could you please give me two more towels?"

"As you wish." She fetched fresh towels and knocked at the door. "Here they are!"

Obsidian opened the door a fraction and held out his arm. "Thanks."

Makoto sighed. She still hadn't gotten a glimpse of him in his full magnificence. It was unfair.

Finally Obsidian was fairly dry and wrapped himself and his hair into a towel each. He hated it when the water dripped onto his back. Tragically he looked down onto the heap of dirty clothing at his feet. This had to be washed.

"Aren't you finished yet?" Makoto nagged. She wanted to shower, too.

"Why don't you come in? While you're at it, you can take a look at the crystal, too."

"Hm." She stepped into the bathroom. It looked as if a water bomb had detonated in it. Wet towels and clothes lay everywhere, and in the middle of it stood an almost eight feet high, ridiculously pink crystal. "Obsidian!"

"Yes?" Obsidian peered from his hiding-place behind the crystal and looked innocently at her.

"What did you do to my bathroom?"

"I cleaned it, didn't I? I just don't know where to put all this wet stuff, and my clothes need to be washed, too."

"Obviously. Can't you dry the stuff with some spell?" She sighed. "You see, I'm tired and want to shower, but as it seems I have to abandon the idea."

"Okay, okay, I'll tidy up everything." He twisted a lock of Makoto's hair around his finger and smiled at her.

"Please." She looked into his amethyst coloured eyes which looked far more beautiful than those of her old senpai. Obsidian concentrated and called upon his powers to clean up the mess he had caused as he didn't want Makoto to be angry at him.

"Thanks."She beamed at him. "But what about this crystal thingy? What is it good for?"

"I don't know, but its aura is fascinating, and it's beautiful to boot."

"Hm. It is pretty," she admitted. "I wonder if one could cut it into jewellery."

"I'd like to keep it in one piece. It's such a beautiful big crystal."

"But we can't keep it here in my apartment."

"Tomorrow I'll find a place where I can put it. I promise! I just couldn't leave it in the Dark Kingdom."

Makoto knocked slightly against the smooth surface. "I wonder if it's massive."

"I can't tell." Obsidian freed his long mane from the towel. His spell had not only tidied and dried the bathroom, but himself as well. With another thought he was clad in his usual combination of black trousers and white shirt. "It looks like some kind of quartz," he said thoughtfully, "although the colour is way too vivid."

"It would be even nicer if it were translucent."

"Indeed, then one could also see if there's something hidden within it." Obsidian wondered whether it was a sleep crystal like the one in which Queen Beryl had imprisoned Jadeite, but somehow it looked and felt differently.

Finally Obsidian moved the crystal telekinetically out of the bathroom and put it down in the living room. While Makoto finally could take her well-earned shower, he touched the cool surface and shivered from the malignance of the aura permeating it. It was definitely not good - to be precise, it felt pretty evil, but still it was also highly exciting.

* * *

The next morning, Kunzite and Zoisite decided to furnish their new home after Kunzite had warded it thoroughly against everything he could think of.

Actually, this meant that Zoisite browsed through catalogues with furniture and pointed at the items he wanted to have and Kunzite had to conjure them.

For the sake of domestic peace, the silver-haired man complied.

* * *

When school was over, Makoto met her friends and told them immediately about the exciting pink crystal in her living room. Of course she didn't leave out the story of the mess Obsidian had made of her bathroom either.

"He did what?" Ami asked indignantly.

"Ah well, but he tidied up afterwards."

"These guys from the Dark Kingdom seem to be pretty good at cleaning up," Rei grinned. "Yesterday evening, Jadeite and Zoisite tidied up my whole kitchen without complaint."

"I'd love to see this crystal," Minako changed the topic.

"Why don't you all come with me? I'm sure Obsidian hasn't put it away yet."

"That would be cool."

They went to Makoto's.

"Look! There it is," the tall girl exclaimed and pointed at the large crystal that still stood in the living room, just being hot pink. Minako stared and circled around it, before she hesitantly touched the cool surface.

Rei concentrated and stretched out her empathic senses. "It feels weird. To be precise, it feels downright evil."

"Exactly," Obsidian nodded. The young man came from the kitchen and chewed on something. "It's highly fascinating."

The young shrine maiden knelt down in front of the crystal and sank into a light trance. It felt even worse now, and so she decided to leave the trance immediately. "It's strange," she mused. "I think I saw Kunzite in my vision and he was linked to this crystal."

"Hm. I don't think it belongs to Kunzite," Obsidian stated.

"Maybe it means that we are supposed to ask Kunzite about the crystal" Ami suggested.

"The crystal is mine," Obsidian pouted.

"I don't think Kunzite will take it," Makoto tried to reassure him. "Otherwise I shall punish him in the name of Jupiter!"

"As if he would be stopped by this."

"Well, I know that my Crescent Beam hurt him pretty much," Minako said smugly. "I could repeat the experience for him."

"Okay. Maybe he does know something about this crystal."

"Indeed. And he should be able to discern if it is dangerous." Makoto was a little worried because of Rei's comment that this thing was evil. After all, it stood right in the middle of her living room.

"Good, then I will ask him if he would like to take a look at it." Obsidian closed his eyes and sent a telepathic probe through the town.

*Obsidian?* The reply formed in his mind. *What is it now?*

*Could you please come here to examine a crystal I've found in the Dark Kingdom, Lord Kunzite?*

*What kind of crystal?* There was a small pause. *No matter, I'll be there immediately.* Kunzite just wanted to get away from the tedious task of conjuring things for Zoisite. It was pretty exhausting after a while.

*Good.* Obsidian looked at the girls. "Kunzite agreed to come."

"Fine!"

About half an hour later, Kunzite's Toyota parked down in the street, and he and Zoisite entered Makoto's apartment.

"Now where's..." Kunzite began and stopped in the same instant when he noticed the huge, hot pink crystal. "Now that's a ridiculous colour for a crystal," he commented.

"I like it," Obsidian said defensively.

Kunzite closed his eyes to concentrate, but immediately they snapped open again and he looked at the crystal in shock. "Where did you get this?" he asked flatly.

"Why do you want to know?"

"I sense a strong magickal aura. Whoever is imprisoned in there is almost as powerful as I am." He touched the crystal surface thoughtfully. "I haven't seen a true prison crystal in over a thousand years."

"Ah, so there is someone within the crystal? I had thought there might be."

"I propose we should keep it in there if it's evil and as powerful as Kunzite," Makoto remarked. "Moreover, we should get rid of the crystal as fast as possible."

"He's almost as powerful," the silver-haired Mage declared haughtily.

"Hm." Obsidian knocked at the crystal.

"I'd like to see who is almost as powerful as you," Zoisite grinned at Kunzite. His lover's tone of voice implied that he was pretty worried about the content of the crystal and just didn't want to admit it.

"So do I," Obsidian agreed. He was just too curious to pass such an interesting opportunity.

"I wouldn't open this crystal if it's truly a prison," Ami cautioned. "Who knows what kind of evil guy is stuck in there?"

"But I want to see it...him," Zoisite said while Kunzite frowned. "Or do you fear that whoever is in there is in fact more powerful than you are?"

That hit a nerve. "He isn't!"

"Then we can just look into it," Obsidian demanded.

Kunzite growled something unintelligible that sounded vaguely like "Why me?" then his eyes began to glow bluish white as he mustered the energies to dissolve the crystal. It was a complicated pattern, but after a while he was able to unriddle the seals and magickal locks. Slowly but surely the opaque crystal became more and more translucent.

Zoisite's gaze turned from Kunzite to the crystal and back. Suddenly he had a really bad feeling about it. He'd better not have tricked Kunzite into freeing the captive, but he had to go through with it or lose his face.

Obsidian shuddered, too. What if this guy in the prison was stronger than Kunzite?

The figure in the crystal became clearer and clearer visible, and Zoisite stared openmouthed at the man. The others were as stunned.

"I think it was a bad idea after all," Obsidian murmured.

"My Lord, why have you never told me that you have a twin brother?"

Pic
of Kunzite freeing Cyanite from the the Pink Crystal by Stayka

The End of Pt.23 - Goto Pt.24


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