Two Weeks?

(Tales from the Dark Kingdom - Pt.2)

© 1997/08/28 by Stayka deyAvemta


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"I give him two weeks," Jadeite said.

"I didn't know that being an optimist belonged to your job description," Nephrite replied with arched eyebrows. "I'd say a maximum of three more days, and he's toast." He sipped an exquisite vintage of red wine from a crystalline goblet. It almost matched the colour of his long, wavy hair.

"That's what you said three days ago. And a week ago... - I thought your stars knew everything." Jadeite decided to refill his cup again. If there was a good thing to be said about his comrade, it was that he knew what to drink. Nephrite decided to ignore the quip.

"You can take my word for it - and when he's gotten rid of Kunzite, I'm sure she will decide to set him loose on you."

"Why me?" Jadeite asked. "Wouldn't you be much better suited for the job of training him?"

"No!" The second of the four Kings of the Dark Kingdom shook his head emphatically. 'Not again', he added mentally. But he'd rather not tell Jadeite how close he had come to being killed by that murderous maggot.

"One could almost think you are afraid of Zoisite," Jadeite teased.

"I wouldn't go that far. It's just that I utterly despise that malicious little weasel..." He added some more colourful descriptions that involved Zoisite's dubious parentage and probable tastes.

"Okay, I get your point." Jadeite grinned at his vis-à-vis. "But I'd say we should watch the show a bit longer. It might even become quite amusing."

* * *

The subject of the aforementioned discussion still sought desperately for a way to get around the oath that Kunzite had forced on him. If there was any way to break the connection that tied his words to his life force - but no!

It was humiliating. Even when he only thought of ordering a youma to set a lethal trap for Kunzite he immediately felt as if all of his energy had left him, and every breath turned into an agonizing fight for air.

He would kill him for -

There it was again... A wave of pain shot through his body, and Zoisite doubled over. It was so terribly unfair, he thought with clenched teeth. If only he could do something to wipe that smug grin from the face of his tutor! Exhausted he sank to his knees.

As if called, Kunzite materialized in Zoisite's quarters.

"Time for..." he began, but then he spotted the young man in his miserable state and tsked. "Trying to figure out another way to get rid of me?" He smiled. "I admire your resolve, little rat."

Zoisite made a face. It would be easier, if he could actually manage to hate the tall, silver-haired King. Currently it was more a matter of principle for him to fight against the forced oath.

Kunzite quietly shook his head and helped him into a chair. "I wonder if you'll ever accept a defeat," he said almost tenderly.

Zoisite looked at him with such a hurt filled gaze that Kunzite had to fight the impulse to comfort the pretty young man. He only wondered how much of this was an act to manipulate him, as Zoisite had no chance anymore to attack him physically.

The tall King draped his cape over one arm and sat down in the opposite chair. Calmly, he watched Zoisite regain his composure. He realized that it was easy for him to lose himself in the beautiful looks of his student as he studied Zoisite's large emerald eyes and the long curls that sported a colour like slightly copper tinted gold.

Uneasily, he became aware that he found it more and more difficult to keep a professional attitude towards Zoisite, and he wondered, if this might be caused by another magickal talent of Zoisite's that he hadn't bothered to mention when he was tested.

"Are you feeling better now?" he finally asked, shoving aside the disconcerting emotions. After all he wasn't here for sight-seeing, he had a message to deliver, and his Queen waited.

Zoisite nodded.

"Queen Beryl wishes an item called 'silver crystal' to be found. As it seems she wants you to hunt for this object - as a kind of test of your abilities."

Zoisite's transition from looking vulnerable to fiercely determined was amazing.

"Then I shouldn't keep her waiting." Without hesitation he disappeared in a flurry of cherry blossoms.

Kunzite sighed at the display, before he stood up and straightened his cape. Then he teleported after Zoisite and materialized in Queen Beryl's audience chamber. Obviously he was the last to arrive, and the woman on the throne gave him a disapproving stare.

"You are late," she remarked sharply.

"I beg your forgiveness, Your Majesty," Kunzite said automatically.

Jadeite and Nephrite, who were already there, exchanged an amused glance. Kunzite's vanity would someday become his undoing. Surely he had been standing in front of a mirror for the last hour and trying to figure out which swirl of his cape would impress his admirers most.

"He's still alive," Jadeite whispered almost regretfully.

"I can see that, too," Nephrite said under his breath. "And the obnoxious little creep as well..."

"Zoisite." The voice of Queen Beryl cut through their quiet conversation.

The small man bowed his head. "At your service, my Queen."

"I heard your training proceeds well. I have decided to appoint you the task of retrieving the silver crystal." Of course she didn't mention that several dozen youma had been given the same job as well, but this wouldn't have bothered the fourth of the Kings anyway. Finally he was given a task all by himself! Zoisite's eyes lit up.

Unfortunately Beryl wasn't quite finished. After she had related the information she had on the mystical object, she added: "Kunzite will monitor your progress."

Zoisite's mien turned to disappointment, although he didn't dare direct a vile glare at Queen Beryl. It was much too dangerous to anger her in the audience chamber among her loyal subjects. But there would be other opportunities, he was sure. Maybe some time when he managed to catch her alone and unawares...

Nonetheless, he obediently bowed his head again. "As you wish, my Queen," he said.

Beryl gave the others their orders, too, before she dismissed her court.

* * *

"'Monitor my progress'," Zoisite muttered angrily when he materialized in his quarters. "Am I a King or not? And why couldn't she appoint Jadeite or Nephrite? I could at least take revenge on them, if they got on my nerves!"

A low chuckle came from behind him. Zoisite whirled around. Who else? Kunzite stood against the wall, arms folded, and watched him with utter amusement.

"Poor little rat," he said mockingly.

Zoisite looked as if he wanted to jump at his mentor, but suddenly a pained expression appeared on his face and he stopped, hands clenched to fists.

Kunzite sat down in a chair and waited for Zoisite to calm down and get over the pain that disregarding his oath caused. The young man was much too impulsive and vindictive, a trait that might prove fatal some day.

"Do you already have a plan to find the silver crystal?" Kunzite asked.

"Not yet," Zoisite admitted reluctantly. "But I'm working on it." He put on a face of fierce determination.

"Good."

Zoisite walked up and down as he tried to figure out a plan, while he attempted to eye Kunzite inconspicously. He admired the utter calm the man radiated, as if there was nothing that could move him to rash or thoughtless actions - and to top that he was also really good-looking with his long silvery white hair and cool platinum eyes.

It was curious, Zoisite mused, that somehow he felt strangely at ease in Kunzite's vicinity. Since he had been forced to submit to this damned oath, his mentor had made no move against him. He was sure Nephrite or Jadeite immediately would have taken advantage of his inability to strike back anymore.

"If you walk up and down any longer you will produce a trench right here," Kunzite commented.

"I'm working on my plan," Zoisite claimed.

"Does it involve searching the whole Earth on foot? If yes, I can understand the necessity of training in walking endurance."

"Why do you always make fun of me?" Zoisite sulked and decided to levitate decoratively.

"Because you look absolutely cute when you are pouting," Kunzite grinned. He found it nice that for a change there was one person in the Dark Kingdom against whom he didn't have to guard his back all the time. It was the irony of fate that it was just the sneakiest and most malicious little rat around, but somehow he couldn't help but admire Zoisite for his straightforward viciousness.

"If she had been a bit more precise in her description of this damned crystal!" Zoisite decided to get back to the job he had been given.

"Just consider it a bigger challenge," Kunzite suggested, looking up to where Zoisite currently floated.

"Thank you - you're a big help," Zoisite snapped.

"Who said I was supposed to help you? Beryl only told me to 'monitor your progress'..."

Kunzite's mocking tone caused Zoisite to lose his temper again, and with a furious hiss he hurled himself on the sitting man. Of course the penalty came immediately, and instead of a proper attack he just crashed down in a heap.

"Umph," Kunzite groaned at the impact of the human dive bomber. Of course Zoisite felt even worse as the effect of the oath set in. He curled together in agony.

"And what was that supposed to accomplish?" Kunzite asked with a raised eyebrow. He looked at the young man who lay sprawled over his lap and fought for breath. Zoisite's shiny gold-copper hair was disheveled, and his emerald eyes looked reproachfully at him.

His closeness was disconcerting, Kunzite found. Gently he pushed a strand of hair out of Zoisite's eyes. His little student was stunningly beautiful, he thought. And that he showed quite some spirit made him even more attractive.

"Don't ask," Zoisite grumbled, but didn't hurry to get up. He still felt a bit weak, and anyway, it was all Kunzite's fault. Moreover, he felt quite comfortable here.

"Don't you have something to do?" Kunzite finally asked. He thought it was unwise to give in to temptation, although it became harder and harder to resist.

Zoisite blushed bright red and jumped up. The colour of his cheeks clashed with the coppery tint of his hair, Kunzite observed absently. Zoisite caught a glimpse of his tousled hair in the mirror at the wall to his left. With a little shriek he jumped to a drawer, dug out a brush and worked furiously on his hairdo.

Pic
of Kunzite by Stayka

When he became aware that Kunzite still watched him with interest, he almost exploded again.

"You could help me with this silver crystal, couldn't you?"

"And why should I?" the silver-haired man asked amused.

"Why not?" Zoisite shot him a sulky look.

Well, there he had a point, Kunzite admitted. Currently he had no other orders than to monitor Zoisite, and this was easiest when he stayed in his vicinity. In addition he had to admit that he had grown rather fond of his student.

"All right. I will assist you in your task," Kunzite agreed.

* * *

Nephrite sighed. Now even Jadeite's two weeks were over, and still neither Kunzite nor Zoisite were dead. He couldn't understand how Kunzite had managed to avoid the nasty ice crystals of the ambitious little weasel.

He had seen it in the stars - Antares in Scorpio had promised death and destruction. He frowned as a startling thought crossed his mind. Had it really?

Pic
of Nephrite by Stayka

Suddenly he started to chuckle. No, that couldn't be - or could it? After all, Scorpio was not only the sign of death and destruction, it also ruled passions and dark desires...

Maybe Jadeite was right, and it would become quite amusing.

The End of Pt.2 - Goto Pt.3


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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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