A Job Opening

(Tales from the Dark Kingdom - Pt.1)

© 1997/08/24 by Stayka deyAvemta


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"Kunzite!" The call of his Queen reached him when he was only halfway done brushing his silvery white hair. He sighed. Unfortunately Beryl was his Queen, and she tended to be quite upset, if someone didn't heed her call immediately.

But first things first... He put the brush on the table and put on his long white cape. Appearances mattered after all.

Pic
of Kunzite by Stayka

Beryl tapped her long fingernails impatiently on the armrest of her throne. Where did this insolent king stay so long? Granted, he was the most powerful of the three, but this didn't entitle him to come late every time.

She smiled wickedly. Well, she would give him something else to worry about.

Jadeite was at another task at the moment, and Nephrite almost hadn't survived his first encounter with him. Beryl examined the petite figure standing in front of her with a thoughtful gaze.

Zoisite had long flowing hair in a coppery golden tone that was caught back with a green ribbon which exactly matched the emerald shade of his eyes. As he stood there, looking modestly to the ground to await her orders, he radiated an astonishing aura of innocence that was absolutely at odds with the nasty temper Nephrite told her about when he said - threat of Eternal Sleep or not - that he refused to train this 'murderous mean little rat' any longer.

Getting stabbed in the back with an ice crystal didn't turn his opinion of Zoisite to the positive, either. Nephrite had barely managed to teleport away and heal himself, while Zoisite floated sulkily in the air and complained that there were just too few job openings in the Dark Kingdom that promised real power, and it definitely wasn't anything personal when he had to do something about that.

When Beryl was told about the occurence by a youma, she couldn't help but admire the ruthlessness and ambition of the young man. But still he had to be cut to size and shaped into an obedient working tool.

At last Kunzite appeared. When the blue glow of energy that was his personal trademark had faded, Beryl started to speak.

"Kunzite."

"At your service, my Queen." He bowed his head.

"I have a task for you. This is Zoisite." Beryl pointed at the delicate figure standing to Kunzite's left. "Zoisite is hereby elevated to become the fourth King of the Dark Kingdom, and you will see to it that he is properly trained."

Pic
of Zoisite, floating around by Stayka

Kunzite examined the newly appointed 'king' and could barely suppress a snicker. Did Beryl really say 'he'?!

Zoisite gave his new tutor a mean look from behind long, silky lashes. He would teach this arrogant idiot to ridicule him!

"Your wish is my command, Queen Beryl," Kunzite said mechanically.

"You are dismissed, Kunzite, Zoisite."

The Queen waved her hand, and Kunzite opened a doorway to his quarters. Since he was stuck with this new guy, he could start by interviewing and testing him right now. Afterwards he could still find some unpleasant tasks to shift from his own shoulders to his pupil's. After all, that's what students were for, wasn't it?

"Come!" he snapped. Zoisite pouted. It had almost sounded like someone ordering his dog to heel. Nonetheless he followed Kunzite through the black energy doorway.

"Very well," Kunzite said when he had closed the doorway. "It seems we are stuck together now by Her Majesty's orders. If you follow all of my commands, we might even get along."

He was more than peeved that his quiet, solitary studies should now be interrupted with training Zoisite to become another King. Another rival for power! What did Queen Beryl think anyway? Suddenly Kunzite shook his head with amusement. Maybe he should train Zoisite to become a queen instead. He would certainly look perfect in one of Beryl's dresses.

Fortunately, Zoisite couldn't read his thoughts, or Kunzite would have faced a rather nasty ice crystal, superior strength be damned.

"Yes, Lord Kunzite," he said meekly. It was always best to lull a potential enemy into a false sense of security as the following strike would hit even harder then. He only wondered if Kunzite had heard of his attack against Nephrite. Hm, probably not. Nephrite would never admit such a faux-pas, and Queen Beryl might have had chided him, but she was an advocate of the survival of the fittest.

Zoisite batted his lashes at Kunzite. He knew perfectly well that he was more than good-looking, and he used the fact to his advantage whenever it suited him. Kunzite cleared his throat and had to fight to ignore Zoisite's act. The young man was much too pretty for his own good, he thought.

"I'd like to know a bit more about you and your powers before I can decide what kind of training would be best for you," Kunzite finally said when he could rip his eyes from the delicate features of his pupil. Zoisite smiled sweetly, before he produced a foot long sharp ice crystal that he levitated some inches over his palm.

"Ah, nice," Kunzite admitted. "Is that all?"

"Of course not," Zoisite pouted while he let the crystal disappear. After a display of fire and levitation, Kunzite nodded.

Pic
of Zoisite, floating around by Stayka

"This looks promising," he said thoughtfully. "I fea- err, think you can become quite powerful." - 'Actually, he already is', he thought uncomfortably. 'At least in the magickal department...'

Zoisite smiled.

"Now let's see what you can show me in combat with and without weapons." Kunzite opened a doorway to the training ground.

The smile on Zoisite's face disappeared. He hated direct physical confrontations. Not only that he was at a disadvantage because of his small stature, they almost always left wrinkles in the uniform, and of course his hair was in danger of becoming tangled instead of being purposely artfully disarrayed.

When they materialized on the training ground, Kunzite summoned some youma for Zoisite to test himself against.

"Here!" He took a training sword from a rack at the wall and threw it towards Zoisite. "Now you can show me how good you are with that."

Zoisite made a face as one of the youma stepped into the combat circle and waited for her opponent to make his entrance. Hesitantly Zoisite joined the youma, while Kunzite waited expectantly for them to begin.

As he couldn't find a way around it, Zoisite suddenly lunged at the youma and attacked her with astonishing ferocity. What he lacked in strength he made up with catlike grace and agility. It didn't take long for him to tire, though, and promptly he conjured one of his deadly ice crystals and used it to finish off the youma permanently.

Kunzite gave him a disapproving look.

"This was supposed to be a sword-fight," he chided.

"Err, well..." Zoisite smiled sweetly. "I hate to lose." He straightened his uniform. "By the way, Lord Kunzite, do you happen to have a brush with you?"

Kunzite sighed. If Beryl ever again accused him of being vain...

"No!" he thundered. "And now we'll get to a test in hand-to-hand combat." He smiled menacingly and beckoned an especially huge youma into the circle.

Zoisite swallowed hard. This was decidedly unfair. Unfortunately he had the impression it was just what his mentor had in mind.

"And this time no magickal tricks," Kunzite demanded with a vile grin.

Zoisite sighed heavily. Obviously this was meant to be a little lesson for him. But he would make him pay for it! One well-placed ice crystal, and he would soar up the ranks of the Kings. And when he got rid of Nephrite next, just for good measure, then there would be only one obstacle left.

Unfortunately the youma still waited for him.

"Fight, you coward!" Kunzite said coldly.

"And I'm not even allowed a little magick?" he asked sullenly.

"No!"

Suddenly Zoisite's face lit up as he stepped into the circle and bowed before his opponent.

"I cede the victory to you, youma Eridan," he said. The youma beamed, and when he turned and wanted to leave the circle, Zoisite jumped and hit him hard in the back. When Eridan lay on the ground, he only added one well-placed kick that snapped the youma's spine.

Kunzite sighed. Obviously Zoisite did prefer sneak attacks. He made a mental note to improve the security system of his rooms.

"Well," the silver-haired King said, "I think I've seen enough for today." At least now he knew how dangerous this innocent looking man actually was. On the other hand, he was still the most powerful of Queen Beryl's minions, and he would show Zoisite where his place was.

"Do you have any further wishes, Lord Kunzite?" Zoisite asked. Kunzite thought a moment before he grinned.

Pic
of Kunzite by Stayka

"Yeah. You could clean up the basement of my dwelling."

Zoisite's look was plain murder, but he held his tongue. "As you command, Lord Kunzite..." - '...but I'll pay you back for this', he added mentally.

* * *

Finally! It had taken him some time, but now Zoisite had managed to crack the security codes and the magickal wards around Kunzite's dwelling. Now he would take revenge for all the humiliations and degrading tasks of the last days and weeks.

He conjured an especially long and mean looking ice crystal and sneaked towards Kunzite's bed. Just when he moved to stab him, his victim rolled over, and the crystal embedded itself deep in the mattress.

Zoisite's curse woke up Kunzite, and the older King didn't think long, but immediately blasted his attacker with a flash of blue lightning. Zoisite was thrown against the opposite wall and lost consciousness on the impact with the stone.

Cursing, Kunzite got up and turned on the lights with a thought. He took a quick look around and discovered the unconscious form of Zoisite. How had the little rat managed to circumvent his security system? He was even more cunning than he had given him credit for.

Kunzite conjured his uniform before he meditated what he should do with his dangerous little student. Logic told him it was the best course to kill him now and for good. Kunzite sighed. He despised such a waste of talent and beauty.

Slowly Zoisite stirred. He held his head and groaned. "What hit me?" he wondered groggily.

"I did," Kunzite said. "And I wonder what should prevent me from killing you right on the spot?"

"My unsurpassed beauty?"

Kunzite shot him an incredulous stare. Zoisite had nerve! "That reminds me," he mused and put on an evil grin. "I could put you to Eternal Sleep and enclose you in crystal. I think you'd make a nice addition to my furniture."

"Oh, no! You can't do that!"

"And why not?" So he was finally becoming afraid after all.

"Look at my hair! It's in a horrible mess!"

Kunzite couldn't help but laugh at Zoisite's shocked expression. "It really would be a shame to kill you," he said, obviously amused. "But on the other hand I can't let your attempt on my life go unpunished..."

"So what are you going to do with me?" Suddenly Zoisite spotted a brush on a sideboard. "May I?"

Kunzite looked at him unbelievingly. "Sure..." he managed to say. The young man was a phenomenon.

"Well, I can't stop you, if you wish to kill me," he explained, seeming almost melancholy, "but if I am to die, I prefer to die pretty..."

"Hm." Kunzite gave him a thoughtful glance. "If I could make sure that you wouldn't try to kill me again whenever the opportunity arises..." He sat down on his bed and noticed the ragged hole the ice crystal had left in sheets and mattress.

"You are a murderous mean little rat, did you know that?" Without his knowledge he repeated the judgement Nephrite had already pronounced over Zoisite. The young man pouted.

"I think I have an idea," Kunzite said. "You will swear to me that you'll never attack me again or try to harm me, and I will bind your life force to the oath. That way you can't break it without getting killed yourself."

"That's mean," Zoisite complained.

"It's the oath or death," Kunzite reminded him.

"Doesn't sound like too much of a choice..."

"True."

When it was over, Zoisite sulked.

"How am I supposed to become the first among the Kings when I can't even try to kill you anymore?" He looked absolutely cute when he was pouting like that, Kunzite observed.

"Well, you'll have to deal with it," he grinned. "And, by the way, could I get my brush back? I haven't had a chance to get my hair in order since you woke me in such an untimely manner."

"I think you look rather nice that way," Zoisite commented without thinking. Kunzite returned his gaze with a slight frown, especially as he became aware of the adoring glances that Zoisite now directed at him.

Probably the scheming little rat had decided to resort to other measures when he wasn't allowed to kill him anymore. On the other hand... Zoisite was beautiful, and Kunzite wondered what it would feel like to caress his coppery golden curls. At least now he could be sure not to get an ice crystal in the back anymore.

The End of Pt.1 - Goto Pt.2


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Disclaimer: SailorMoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha and Toei Animation. All characters, settings etc. are used without permission. This is an amateur fiction, and I definitely won't make any money of it.


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