Target Practice

(Tales from the Dark Kingdom - Pt.5)

© 1997/10/03 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea

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When Zoisite woke up in the morning, he wondered if it was possible to feel any happier than he did right now. He lay in Kunzite's arms, breathed in his lover's now so familiar scent, while his body was relaxed with the drowsy contentment of another night of pure ecstasy.

"I wonder if you can imagine how much I love you," he sighed. "I can't even fully grasp it myself."

He studied the face of his still sleeping companion. Kunzite's skin was a shade darker than his, and shimmering silver hair framed handsome features that he could watch for hours.

Kunzite awoke from Zoisite's movements and opened his breathtaking silvery grey eyes.

"Good morning, my-" He didn't come further as Zoisite interrupted him with a passionate kiss.

"It's nice that you're so eager, little rat, but we have to get up," Kunzite finally managed to say. "Remember, Queen Beryl wasn't pleased that we have neglected our duties quite a bit over the past few weeks. Fortunately she still doesn't seem to have a clue why, or else I'm sure she would be even more displeased."

"Awwww, my Lord Kunzite," Zoisite pouted.

"Now get up!" Kunzite gave him a light slap on the backside before he disappeared in the bath. Zoisite sat up sulkily and fetched his comb so that he could start his morning ritual of disentangling his long coppery golden hair.

Suddenly the comb broke in two with a loud crack, and Zoisite cursed. Maybe he should consider a short hairdo. He conjured another comb and started anew.

Kunzite returned from the bath, freshly washed hair gleaming like liquid silver. He was already dressed in his grey uniform and grinned at his lover. "I'll wait for you at the training range."

Zoisite gave him a reproachful look. "Don't complain about me being late again," he grumbled. "It is all your fault, you know."

"Okay - this time." Kunzite gave him a final kiss. It was too bad that they had to hide their love from the other inhabitants of the Dark Kingdom, but such emotions were generally frowned upon and only seen as means to exploit others. "See you in... well, when you're ready."

He disappeared in blue streaks of energy.

* * *

Nephrite shouted angrily through the hall, because his new student Obsidian enjoyed using him as a target of his exercises, and often enough he had almost succeeded in hitting him.

Kunzite appeared at a safe height of about five feet above the heads of those who were practicing. He knew that some of the youma and the other students weren't too accurate in their targeting. As Nephrite had to jump away again, just in time to avoid being fried by his newest student, Kunzite couldn't help but laugh.

Interested, Obsidian looked up to the floating man with the long, flowing cape. He had heard quite a lot about the most powerful of the four Kings, although he hadn't had the opportunity to meet him yet.

"Good morning, Nephrite." Kunzite smirked. "I take it this is the new student Beryl assigned you?" He folded his arms and examined the young man. Obsidian had dark blue violet hair that reached down to his waist and amethyst coloured eyes. He was quite handsome, but certainly no match for Zoisite.

of Obsidian by Shavana

"I can't deny it." Nephrite gave Obsidian a deadly look, and his pupil promptly lowered his gaze.

Nephrite had tried in vain to convince Beryl that he wasn't interested in taking a student anymore since he had almost been killed by Zoisite.

Now it seemed that Obsidian wanted to keep up the tradition; the almost hit of today wasn't the first attempt on his life. Nephrite still couldn't understand how Kunzite managed to get along with that malicious sneaky little weasel Zoisite, but obviously both were not only still alive, they even seemed to stick together most of the time.

"It seems he has still a lot to learn". Kunzite gazed at the smoking hole only a yard next to Nephrite.

"Indeed. Particularly discipline and obedience," the auburn-haired King grumbled.

Suddenly a swirl of cherry blossoms turned into Zoisite. The pretty young man had assumed another of his decorative poses and floated next to Kunzite.

"What's on the schedule today, Lord Kunzite?" he asked, the formal address slightly at odds with his adoring gaze.

Obsidian was fascinated by the pink cherry blossom petals. 'Peculiar design', he thought, before he had to turn his attention back to Nephrite who had started to shout at him again.

Zoisite gave the second King a reproachful gaze. "Could you turn down your volume a bit? If you continue that loud I might get a migraine." He played with his coppery golden ponytail.

of Zoisite by Stayka

"This is the training range, and as certain students seem to have really bad ears, I can't allow for your request." Nephrite barely managed to keep his tone reasonably calm. How he would like to strangle this insolent effeminate weasel!

Zoisite made a face. Only one little ice crystal, and there would be heavenly quiet... Unfortunately Kunzite waved him to a free booth.

Obsidian was forced to return to his target practice, too. It was true that he had defects in that area; his last hit was much too far away from Nephrite.

"Why don't you try out the energy boomerangs?" Kunzite suggested as Zoisite joined him. The young man rolled his eyes.

"Are you sure? They are your specialty." But that gave him another idea, and he smiled evilly.

Suddenly someone screamed "Take cover!" and a purple boomerang flew straight towards Nephrite's back. Obsidian had likewise fired a new shot in the direction of his teacher, so Nephrite had just decided it would be the best decision to teleport to safety. The boomerang hit only empty air.

"Oops," Zoisite said disappointed, before he put on a smile of utmost innocence.

"Zoisite," Kunzite said reproachfully. "I thought your targeting abilities were better."

The young man sulked. "It's not my fault that Nephrite teleported away!"

"I heard that," came from Nephrite who had materialized in the vicinity.

Zoisite cast down his eyes and studied the tips of his boots. "It was an accident," he claimed.

"So? Then I'm consoled," Nephrite said ironically. "And now let's get to you." He turned his attention back to Obsidian. "It seems your chronic deafness has been joined by a serious visual defect." His student guiltily lowered his gaze.

Zoisite grinned self-satisfiedly, but was promptly reprimanded by Kunzite. "May I remind you that your target is there?" He pointed at the far end of the booth.

The copper-gold haired main grimaced. Well, he could always pretend it was Nephrite... Promptly he hit it with a quick succession of about a dozen ice crystals. "Gotcha!" Such an exercise was definitely no challenge for him. He would have preferred the real target.

Kunzite stepped closer to his student and regretted the fact that he couldn't wrap his arms around him and pull him into a tight embrace. "Zoisite, I suggest you don't show your disdain for Nephrite so openly," he said quietly. "It'll only lead to unwanted questions when he finally meets his premature end."

"But I can't stand him, Lord Kunzite!" Zoisite seemed to be on the verge of tears.

"My poor little rat." Furtively Kunzite caressed his lover's cheek. "I'd really like to know why you hate him that much."

"It's too embarassing," Zoisite sniffed, and Kunzite tenderly wiped away one tear that rolled down his cheek.

"Shhhh, little one," he soothed him. It was too bad that he couldn't comfort him properly. Well, he would have to keep that for later. "Now continue with your practice."

* * *

Nephrite sighed. He was really punished with this student! Actually Obsidian wasn't as incompetent as he wanted to make him believe, the King was sure, he just didn't feel like doing what his teacher wished.

This time Nephrite positioned himself behind Obsidian and turned him in the right direction. "One more miss and you'll deeply regret it," he warned him.

Obsidian looked back over his shoulder to his instructor. "Understood..." He decided to devote his mind completely to his exercises before Nephrite got really angry, but after a while the violet-haired man became more and more bored. Did they expect him to become a sniper?

Nephrite on the other hand only yearned for a quiet room where he could indulge in a good glass of wine. He had always known it - another student would become his ruin.

Fortunately this time Obsidian managed at least an average number of accurate hits, and Nephrite didn't have to scream at him again. The young man was relieved.

Suddenly a telepathic call from Queen Beryl reached Nephrite and ordered him with his pupil to the main audience chamber. Of course they had no choice but to follow the command immediately.

* * *

"I think it should be no problem to make it look like an accident," Zoisite mused and conjured a new boomerang that he balanced on the tip of his index finger.

It was easier to explain an 'accidental' hit with one of them as he could claim that he wasn't so sure with Kunzite's dearest weapon. No one would believe him that he had accidentally hit a wrong target with his ice crystals.

Kunzite sighed. "Don't. You've failed one attempt already today. Save it for tomorrow."

"That's not fair!" Zoisite pouted. "By the way - how long do I have to pretend to practice? You know that I won't miss a given target. I'd like to learn something else - something I don't know yet and that I can actually use."

"And what do you have in mind?"

"Poison!" A really wicked gleam appeared in Zoisite's emerald eyes.

"That's my murderous mean little rat," the older King said amusedly, while Zoisite looked suspiciously innocent as usual. Kunzite really wanted to know how the young man managed to do it; he still succeeded in fooling most people with his demeanor, even though they should know better by now.

"Although, with the amount of wine he always drinks I could even claim it was just alcohol poisoning..." Zoisite laughed gleefully.

Kunzite chuckled and gave him an affectionate look, when a call from Queen Beryl interrupted their conversation.

"Kunzite, Zoisite, report!"

"What does she want now?!" Zoisite's mood abruptly darkened. He imagined the target as Queen Beryl and dissolved the boomerang, before he shot another ice crystal at the position where he envisioned the middle of her forehead. He scored a perfect hit.

"Well, we have to heed her call," Kunzite said.

They teleported into the main audience chamber and bowed before the majestic woman who was the absolute ruler of the Dark Kingdom - as long as they didn't manage to awaken the entity that was supposed to reign above her.

of Kunzite by Stayka

* * *

"What do they want here?" escaped Zoisite when he discovered Nephrite and Obsidian. Queen Beryl shot him a furious glance, and Obsidian gazed at him with contempt while Nephrite chose to ignore him.

Kunzite sighed. Zoisite should really work at restraining his impulsiveness, or his temper would some day become his undoing.

'What could Queen Beryl want of us?' Nephrite wondered. He was especially peeved at the presence of Zoisite. He didn't trust the vicious little weasel as far as he could throw him without magickal aid, and he was sure it would be his end if he ever turned his back to him while they were alone somewhere.

"Kunzite, Nephrite, I'd like to see how your students will perform when they are given a real task. - As you still haven't found the silver crystal, Zoisite, you will show me if you are at least able to gather some energy in the Earth Realm."

The young man looked down at the tips of his boots. It wasn't his fault when Beryl couldn't give him either a more precise location or a description of that damn thing!

"The same task goes to you, Obsidian."

Nephrite grinned smugly when Zoisite was reprimanded, before he grimaced. The idea of visiting the Earth Realm together with Obsidian wasn't to his liking at all. His pupil always seemed to have other things in mind than the tasks he had been given, and he never seemed to finish anything either.

Beryl went on with her explanations. "You will check out the region Europe which Kunzite has already reported as a viable energy source." She conjured a map that showed Europe and pointed a finger at a random spot. "You will go right there and start to collect energy."

"What's 'there'?" Zoisite asked and floated a bit higher so that he could see something. It was unfair, he thought, the others were all taller than him. Even the new guy was almost as tall as Kunzite! For that alone, Zoisite decided not to like him.

"Paris?" Obsidian read the inscription. "What is that?"

"A town in Europe," Beryl thundered. The quality of her troops became worse and worse, it seemed.

"Why do they always have to scream that loudly?" Obsidian muttered. First Nephrite, now Queen Beryl...

"I heard that, you insolent whelp!" Queen Beryl gave Nephrite a more than disapproving look. "Your pupil is as bad as Zoisite!"

The 'bad example' blushed and sulked. 'That was mean', he thought and continued to study the ground while he invented some creative methods to murder Queen Beryl. Nephrite and Obsidian joined him in watching the tips of their boots.

Kunzite couldn't help but grin at the display. Unfortunately that got the attention of his Queen, too.

"Take the silly smirk off your face," Beryl screamed angrily, and the first of the Kings decided that the wisest action would be to lower his gaze as well. The Queen was deeply satisfied at the display of submission.

Nephrite had to fight not to grin with malicious joy at the reprimand his rival had gotten from Beryl, while Zoisite only wanted to hide behind his mentor. The Queen's mood was frightening, and Kunzite had promised that he would always protect him. Somehow he would get her, though, Zoisite swore to himself, but it was safer to resort to a sneak attack.

Obsidian wondered how long they had to stand around uselessly. He wanted to see this 'Paris'.

"Now go!" The Queen dismissed them with a wave of her hand. "I expect you to work together."

Zoisite gave Kunzite a shocked look. As usual Beryl had saved the worst for the end. He was supposed to work with Nephrite?! The second of the Kings returned the gaze of the small man, likewise horrified.

Kunzite only sighed. On the other hand, he thought, that gave him more excuses to comfort his beloved.

Obsidian glanced impatiently at his tutor. What were they waiting for?

"What are you waiting for?" Queen Beryl thundered. "You are dismissed!"

The four men immediately teleported into their quarters to prepare for their trip.

* * *

"Are you sure she really meant that we are supposed to work with Nephrite?" Zoisite asked incredulously when Kunzite and he had materialized in Kunzite's house.

"That's what I heard as well."

"That's unfair!" Zoisite threw himself into Kunzite's arms, and the tall man gently stroked his wavy, coppery golden hair.

"I'm sorry, my little rat, but we have to follow Beryl's orders." Kunzite lifted Zoisite's chin and kissed him tenderly.

"Maybe we could lose them once we've arrived in that town..." Zoisite wrapped his arms around his lover's waist and rested his head against his shoulder.

"I don't think that's what Beryl had in mind."

"We could tell her it was an accident."

"I don't think she'll believe you that," Kunzite grinned. Several of Zoisite's rivals had met more or less deadly 'unfortunate accidents' in the last months.

Zoisite pouted and Kunzite couldn't resist comforting him thoroughly.

* * *

In the meantime Nephrite loudly cursed his orders, Queen Beryl and - just for good measure - Obsidian, too.

When he had almost grown hoarse, he decided to pour himself a large glass of his favourite wine. It was the only way to survive the coming job.

In his quarters Obsidian waited impatiently for Nephrite's command to start. It seemed he wasn't in a hurry, though, as he didn't contact him for about an hour.

* * *

"Well, we should ask Nephrite when he wants us to go and join him," Kunzite finally said.

"Maybe I can arrange an accident for him when we're in the Earth Realm," Zoisite said thoughtfully, and his emerald eyes immediately lit up. Again Kunzite congratulated himself on the oath he had forced on Zoisite that made it impossible for the young man to harm him in any way.

"And when we've gotten rid of Nephrite we could take the vacation we talked about." Zoisite snuggled closer to Kunzite. "This Obsidian guy should be an even smaller problem."

"I'm not sure if Beryl will look kindly at your frequent assassination plans, little rat. I fear this time we should actually work together with them. - Well, let's go now."

"Just a moment, I have to straighten my hair first. Then we can go." Zoisite started to work on his hairdressing while he watched Kunzite affectionately.

"Good idea," Kunzite agreed and looked for his brush. He couldn't understand why Zoisite always accused him of messing up his hair when it was actually the other way round. "I only hope Nephrite and Obsidian are ready to go. I want to get through with this as fast as possible."

* * *

Of course Obsidian didn't stay in his room after Nephrite hadn't shown up for over an hour. He decided to walk over to the quarters of his instructor.

When Nephrite opened the door, he held a bottle of wine in his hand.

"When are we going to leave?" Obsidian wanted to know.

"When the others have decided to honour us with their presence," Nephrite said acidly.

"And when..." Obsidian began.

"How am I supposed to know that?" Nephrite barked at him. Obsidian shook his head. He hated this continuous shouting.

Nonetheless he tortured his instructor with hundreds of further questions about their target area, and Nephrite needed another glass of wine to cope.

Suddenly Kunzite and Zoisite materialized. They seemed to be in suspiciously high spirits and exchanged some peculiar glances. "We're ready - what about you?" the silver-haired man asked.

"I've been ready for quite some time now," Obsidian said pertly.

"So am I." Nephrite put his glass on the table.

"Good." With a wave of his hand Kunzite formed a black doorway that led straight to the Earth Realm. "Come." He took the lead.

While Nephrite stood up listlessly, Obsidian stormed after Kunzite. Zoisite gave the other student an evil glare as he tried to overtake him. That was his place, he thought. Obsidian had gazed at Kunzite in much too friendly a fashion anyway.

When Obsidian became aware of Zoisite's look he wondered what the small man had against him. As far as he could remember he hadn't played even one of his practical jokes on him yet.

The End of Pt.5 - Goto Pt.6

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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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