Paris by Night

(Tales from the Dark Kingdom - Pt.6)

© 1997/10/05 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea

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It was night in Paris, France, when the two mightiest Kings of the Dark Kingdom materialized with their students in a small street that lead to a brightly illuminated large road.

Queen Beryl wanted the two younger men to prove that they were a worthy addition to her ranks, while their tutors were supposed to oversee their efforts.

The four men left the byway and looked curiously around. Unfortunately they couldn't understand anything of the foreign symbols on the neon signs that adorned the houses along the wide road.

Obsidian studied the colourful lights. They looked really nice, he thought.

"I sense a lot of energy here that only waits to be harvested," Kunzite declared. The first among the Kings flapped his long, white cape and immediately became the center of attention of the passers-by that strolled through the night. Of course it helped that he was tall, handsome and had long, flowing silvery white hair that shimmered like starlight.

Nephrite shook his head. Kunzite's showiness was legendary. As usual Zoisite looked at his mentor and lover with utter admiration.

Obsidian had caught some of the looks that Kunzite and Zoisite exchanged, and he was getting more and more curious. He was sure there was a secret to uncover.

"Well, Zoisite, it's your turn now," Kunzite said. "Queen Beryl wants to see how you perform."

"That's what I wanted to say, too," Nephrite told Obsidian. The violet-haired man gazed confusedly at his instructor. He had already completely forgotten what he was supposed to do.

"And what exactly do you want me to do?" Zoisite looked helplessly at Kunzite. He prefered it when the older King told him what was expected.

Stressed, Nephrite sighed. He had feared something like that. Their current assignment certainly would end catastrophically. He took a deep breath and rebuked Obsidian for his inattention, before he reiterated the tasks Queen Beryl expected them to solve. Hopefully this time his pupil would remember the job.

While Nephrite shouted at Obsidian, Kunzite employed a much calmer tone with Zoisite. "Little rat, just try to collect some energy - preferably more than Obsidian," he sighed. "Be creative!"

The pretty young man gave him such a tragic look out of his emerald eyes that Kunzite almost forgot himself. He needed every bit of willpower to refrain from pulling his beloved close and comfortingly stroking his wavy gold-copper hair.

When he had finished barking at Obsidian, Nephrite shook his head. It would become a disaster, he was perfectly sure. Now he became aware that Obsidian had found a store window and decided to admire his reflection. Promptly Nephrite reprimanded him again. The second of the Kings wished for nothing more than one or two or better three bottles of wine.

"Creative?" Zoisite echoed. He looked around and discovered the window where Obsidian stood. Promptly he stepped beside him and rearranged his bangs, before he looked over his shoulder to Kunzite. "Where are we supposed to store the energy anyway?"

Nephrite tried once more to drive the importance of the task home to Obsidian, but the unappreciative look out of his amethyst eyes almost drove the King to desperation.

"Lord Kunzite, I'd prefer to take a vacation with you," Zoisite pleaded in a low voice so that the others weren't able to overhear him. "Let's forget about that energy..."

"I don't think Beryl would be pleased, little rat." Kunzite likewise answered sotto voce.

Nephrite tried to make that plain to Obsidian, too. 'A Kingdom for a bottle of strong wine', he thought.

"Maybe we should have consulted Jadeite first," Kunzite said to his auburn-haired collegue. "He has experimented with energy collecting measures for some time now. Or do you have any idea of how to store the stuff properly?"

"No," Nephrite admitted.

"But I'm supposed to know it, huh?" Obsidian sulked. He tried in vain to straighten his slightly tousled hair. With a grin Kunzite lent him his brush, an act that Zoisite acknowledged with a murderous gaze in Obsidian's direction.

It was amusing to tease Zoisite a little, Kunzite discovered. His fits of jealousy were really sweet.

Nephrite looked up to the stars, his only reliable companions. He desperately needed a drink.

As the attention of Nephrite and Obsidian was directed elsewhere, Kunzite smiled and gave Zoisite a reconciling kiss that actually seemed to calm him down a bit.

"What about looking for a restaurant where we can sit down and try to work on a plan?" Kunzite suggested. They should get away from those shopping windows, or Obsidian would admire himself every ten yards. At least he had returned the brush, and Kunzite dissolved it in a sparkle of energy until it was needed again.

When Obsidian heard the magic word 'restaurant', he was eager to go on. He loved good food, and the chefs in the Dark Kingdom left much to be desired. Some youma had told him that the Earth Realm had a lot of amenities to offer, among which were interesting culinary pleasures.

Unfortunately they still weren't able to read the signs, and so they went into the first establishment they saw.

* * *

They had entered a nightclub with several stages where scantily clad young women performed rather indecent dances. Some of the girls were even quite beautiful underneath their thick make-up, Kunzite observed.

Zoisite fumed when he became aware of the targets of Kunzite's gaze. He definitely should remind him of the fact that he was his now and no one else was allowed to come in between.

Obsidian wondered if they could really get something to eat in this place. Only Nephrite was satisfied. He had spotted the bar and steered directly to it. For want of a better idea the others followed him.

On the way Zoisite gazed murderously at the girls that had drawn Kunzite's attention, and they decided to give their smiles to some less dangerous looking patrons. Zoisite put on a self-satisfied grin.

Nephrite's trainee considered his surroundings absolutely fascinating. In fact, he found them so captivating that he sometimes forgot to watch his step.

Zoisite thought they should look for a more suitable establishment. He couldn't stand it when he wasn't given Kunzite's undivided attention, and unfortunately his lover often tended to be distracted by persons of beauty.

"I hate it when you admire other people," Zoisite sulked when Nephrite and his pupil were out of hearing range. "Let's find a real restaurant. I don't think we'll find anything to eat here."

Obsidian watched the girls interestedly, while he took care to stay in the vicinity of Nephrite. The King finally had gotten his wine and was happy as long as the source didn't dry up.

"It seems as if Nephrite is rather content to stay here," Kunzite observed. "What would you say if I promise you not to look at anybody other than you while we're here?"

"Good." Zoisite was almost consoled.

Obsidian on the other hand began to get bored. Unlike his instructor, he didn't like wine.

Kunzite decided to join Nephrite at the bar. He wasn't overly fond of his collegue - in fact, he wouldn't miss him at all, should he meet an untimely end - but if he wasn't allowed to watch the pretty people here, he could at least have some drinks. Zoisite followed him like a shadow and observed his every move.

Nephrite slowly emptied the third glass of wine and finally felt better. There was no other way to cope with the demands of his job. As Obsidian was deadly bored by now, and he spent his time watching Zoisite who possessively looked at Kunzite.

"Well," Kunzite began. "We should start to work on our plan, but this doesn't see like a suitable location."

"He's right," Zoisite immediately agreed. "Let's leave and find a place with fewer patrons and no scantily clad women." He couldn't understand why Kunzite liked to peek at them when he had him, but the less temptation the better.

"Whatever you wish," Nephrite said. "I have gotten what I wanted." He paid with some money from a purse that he had telekinetically stolen from another patron. He had money himself, but he was sure no one here would care for the Japanese Yen he normally carried around in the identity of Sanjouin Masato.

Kunzite decided to follow Nephrite's example. That was a good idea.

"Then let's go." Zoisite stormed off in the direction of the exit, and Obsidian followed him. He wanted to know where he went, as he as usual hadn't listened to the conversation.

Kunzite sighed and joined Zoisite who seemed to be rather upset again - or still. It certainly would take hours to calm him down and reconcile with him tonight, he was sure.

Nephrite took the additional wine bottle he had bought and followed the others. Where exactly did they want to go now? He only hoped it wasn't too far.

This time Zoisite inspected the establishments first. Finally he found a nice restaurant which he deemed suitable. Obsidian was right behind him. He smelled food.

The copper-gold haired man gave him a vicious look. He didn't like anyone at his back. Well, with Kunzite he made an exception, but certainly not with anyone who was in any way connected with Nephrite. Obsidian ignored Zoisite's glare. He only wanted something to eat.

The restaurant was small and furnished in dark wood. The tables stood in booths, and only about half of them were occupied. They sat down at a free table and Zoisite chose a place opposite Kunzite so that he could keep his eyes on him all the time.

Obsidian found that highly amusing. He had the suspicion there was something more behind it than a normal mentor-student relationship.

A waiter brought them the menu, and as he mistook Zoisite for a woman, the pretty young man was served first. Kunzite found that highly amusing, especially when his lover was addressed as mam'zelle. Obsidian and Nephrite almost burst from laughter, and Zoisite fumed.

When they had calmed down, they took a look at the menus, before they frowned and exchanged stressed looks as they couldn't make any sense of the writing.

Nephrite was relieved that he had his bottle of wine.

"Lord Kunzite?" Zoisite looked hopefully into his eyes. "Can you read that?"

"I'm afraid not," he admitted.

"But how can we get something to eat then?"

"We just show the waiter one of the lines and hope for the best," Kunzite replied dryly.

Nephrite sighed and looked fondly at his bottle. If they didn't get anything edible - at least he had his wine.

Shortly after the waiter arrived and asked in French what they wished to order. Zoisite stared at him blankly. Why hadn't Beryl chosen an area where the people spoke Japanese? The others hadn't understood one word either.

Obsidian, who was really hungry, just pointed at some lines of the menu. There should be something there that he could eat. The others followed suit, and Nephrite showed the waiter his bottle and made some signs that he would like more of it. When the waiter asked the others a last question, they decided to nod politely. Now they had to wait.

Nephrite's pupil started to get bored again and played with the desk lamp, which was decorated with nice colourful stones.

Zoisite was frustrated about the presence of Nephrite and Obsidian. Now he couldn't even hold hands with Kunzite or tell him what he felt for him. He sighed. Damn Queen Beryl and her command that they had to work together!

"How are we supposed to collect the energy?" Obsidian asked curiously. As long as there was no food around he could think about his task.

"We need something to bottle it in," Zoisite remarked. Since he couldn't spend his time with Kunzite as he would prefer, he might as well ponder the job. Kunzite gave him an approving smile.

"I don't think we can put it in a tin can," Obsidian said ironically.

"But maybe we can conjure some containment field," Zoisite suggested. He gave Kunzite a look full of hope. "You could do that, couldn't you?"

"Of course. But it takes energy to maintain it as well."

"That's too bad," Obsidian commented. "Can't we do it without continuously spending energy?"

"Not if you want to employ a containment field," Kunzite declared. Zoisite sighed, and Kunzite had to fight not to stroke the coppery golden hair of his partner.

"That's much too straining," Obsidian sulked, and Nephrite took a deep sip from his bottle. Fortunately the waiter appeared with two more bottles of wine and four glasses. Zoisite looked puzzled. He couldn't remember that he had ordered any wine. Again he was served first. Well, sometimes there were advantages in being mistaken for a female, he thought.

Nephrite was relieved when he got the new bottle. The other was almost empty by now. Obsidian shook his head. He didn't like wine at all, it was much too sour.

Zoisite sipped from his glass. It wasn't as sweet as he would have liked, but he was sure he could get used to it. Kunzite gave him a warning look. The young man needed to be careful with the alcohol. Who knew what he would do or say if he got drunk. Of course his lover refused to heed the warning, and so Kunzite fatalistically decided to take a long sip as well.

"I thought we wanted to put together a plan?" Obsidian was annoyed. There had to be a way to save the energy without straining work, but the others seemed to care more for the wine than for their task.

"Oh yeah, the plan..." Reluctantly Zoisite ripped his gaze from Kunzite's marvellous platinum eyes. "We just need some means to store energy that doesn't need more energy to be maintained. That's all."

"If it's that easy, why haven't you figured out something by now?"

"I'm working on it," Zoisite pouted.

"I'm waiting."

Zoisite gave him another of his murderous glares, while Obsidian returned a look of utter innocence. Kunzite sighed. Now there were two of them who pretended to be oh so innocent... He didn't believe either.

"Well?" Obsidian asked five minutes later.

"You were also given this task!" Zoisite retorted. "Why don't you think of something, too?"

"I'm sure you're better at it."

Zoisite grumbled something. Why didn't Kunzite come up with an idea? He looked up to him. When Obsidian noticed this, he also directed his gaze at the silver-haired man.

"Okay, okay, I give up," the King resigned. "We might try to use some magickal crystals," he proposed.

"Good. But how?" Obsidian inquired further.

"You were given the job. I gave you an idea. Now work with it."

Obsidian sulked. That was mean. Zoisite looked first at the violet-haired man, then at his lover. He knew that Kunzite liked to watch people who pouted, but he shouldn't dare to look at Obsidian in the way he looked at him.

"The task is much too difficult," Obsidian grumbled.

"You only say that because you're not capable of accomplishing it," Zoisite said with contempt.

"That's was I said," Obsidian agreed. "I'm just not good enough with all of this magickal mumbo jumbo."

"That's too true," Nephrite sighed.

Kunzite grimaced. "Well, then it's up to you, my little rat." When he realized that he had addressed Zoisite with his pet name he blushed slightly, took another sip of the wine and hoped that the others hadn't noticed.

Unfortunately Obsidian had noticed, and he filed it among the other pecularities. There had to be something...

Zoisite tried to conjure a crystal that might do what they wanted it to do, but all he managed was a rectangular ice crystal.

"Hm." Obsidian frowned. "It's thawing."

"Ooops." Zoisite put on an apologetic mien. "Well, I am best with ice crystals, you know..."

"I do know. But I think more durable crystals would help us more."

"Why don't you conjure something more durable?!" Zoisite said angrily.

"Me? No, I can't do it."

"I think you really should put some effort to it", Nephrite chided. "You're not supposed to let others work for you."

Obsidian gave his instructor the 'totally innocent' look.

"Don't look at me this way," Nephrite shouted. "You will put your best effort to it, or I will see to it that you will regret your attitude."

Zoisite grinned at the reprimand Obsidian got.

"You could try it once more, too," Kunzite told him.

"As you wish, Lord Kunzite," Zoisite sighed.

The students continued their attempts to produce a crystal with the needed properties, but to no avail. Obsidian conjured pretty glass stones, while Zoisite settled on ice crystals of various forms and sizes.

The violet-haired man asked himself how he was supposed to conjure something he didn't know anything about, but he didn't dare oppose Nephrite, especially when he wasn't sober and watched him angrily.

Zoisite gazed miserably at Kunzite. Why didn't he give him a hint how to do it? He was so much better in conjuring stuff. The older King sighed and gave in. He just couldn't resist those wonderful emerald eyes. Only seconds later Zoisite could admire a clear, light violet crystal that seemed to have the properties they needed.

"Please, Lord Nephrite, how does it work?" Obsidian asked after the next failure. Nephrite only wanted to know why he was punished with such an incapable pupil. He glared at him warningly.

Finally the food arrived. The amount of it astonished them all, and Zoisite wondered if the others had also pointed to half a dozen lines each. At least the stuff smelled really good. He took one of the plates and found out that it tasted even better.

Obsidian also devoured his chosen meal before he started on the next. He was hungry and this was excellent.

When neither Zoisite nor Obsidian complained, Kunzite tried another meal. Now the only thing that lacked was Zoisite as dessert, and everything would be perfect. He gave his beloved an amorous look, until he became aware that he was slightly tipsy. Immediately he fought to regain his control.

Obsidian examined Kunzite thoughtfully, until he directed his attention to Nephrite who had definitely drunken enough. He wondered if his mentor was still able to stand or walk.

Zoisite had cleaned his plate and felt absolutely stuffed. He took out the crystal Kunzite had conjured and admired the play of the light within it. He felt a little bit dizzy from the wine and gave Kunzite a longing look. They should find an excuse to retire really soon.

Obsidian had the impression that he was being completely ignored by his three companions, and he didn't like it at all. "Is there anything else I can do, or am I allowed to go now?" he asked.

Nephrite looked deep into his glass where the light lit up the deep red wine and didn't hear his student, while Kunzite and Zoisite only had eyes for each other. Obsidian decided to crumple a napkin and threw it at Zoisite.

"Hello," he called.

They immediately looked to Obsidian, and Zoisite blushed furiously, while Kunzite decided to direct his attention at his wine glass.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, but I'd like to go, and I think, Nephrite should do the same."

"Err... Ahem..." Zoisite gazed back to Kunzite. "What do you say?"

"I think we should retire for the night and meet tomorrow after breakfast," Kunzite declared.

"Good." Obsidian tried to convince Nephrite to get up, while Kunzite put together the money he had lifted and payed for the meal.

Zoisite tried to stand up and staggered. He had only had two glasses of wine, but it still was a bit too much for him, it seemed. As Kunzite seemed to stand straighter, he decided to hold on to him and clung to his arm.

Obsidian had no choice but to drag Nephrite along. Two bottles of wine were more than enough, it seemed.

"And where do we stay for the night?" Zoisite wanted to know. He rested his head against his lover's shoulder. The world seemed to revolve around him, and Kunzite was a steady landmark.

"I'd prefer to return to the Dark Kingdom," he said and looked at Obsidian and Nephrite. "What about you?"

"I agree," Obsidian nodded. "I don't think I have another choice."

Kunzite waved with his free hand, and a black doorway appeared.

"Where does it lead?" Obsidian asked suspiciously. Kunzite wasn't completely sober either.

"Directly into my house. That's a location I know well enough, even when I'm a little ...tired."

"A little ...tired," Obsidian echoed quietly and tried to hinder Nephrite from loudly singing some bawdy songs. Kunzite shook his head and walked through the doorway.

They appeared in his bedroom. He sighed. Sometimes the subconscious inadvertently influenced the choice of the doorway's exact location... The room was pretty untidy; the bed wasn't made and some clothes lay around. Kunzite was only glad that Zoisite's uniform also was dark grey, even though the lining of his was green, so it shouldn't be too obvious.

Obsidian followed with Nephrite. When he became aware where they had appeared, he shook his head.

"I said we'd appear in my house and we did," Kunzite declared and blushed slightly. Zoisite still clung to his arm, with a slight smile on his face and eyes closed.

"You should consider tidying up the room once in a while," Obsidian commented.

"It's not my fault when Queen Beryl calls at the most improper times," Kunzite grumbled. He was glad when he managed to get dressed in time, how was he supposed to take care of the room as well?

"You have to be prepared at any time to be called in front of the Queen," Obsidian recited one of the rules that Nephrite had always tried in vain to get into his head.

"But that doesn't mean I have to make my bed. And Queen Beryl has definitely no business here anyway," the first of the Kings declared in a huff.

"She hasn't?"

The look of disgust on Kunzite's face spoke volumes.

"Ah," Obsidian nodded satisfied. So that rumour seemed to be unsubstantiated.

"Well, didn't you want to take Nephrite to his quarters?"

"Actually, I don't want to, but I seem to have no other choice..."

"Then do it! - You're dismissed."

"You're not my direct superior. That's Nephrite." Still, Obsidian took his mentor home and retired as well.

Kunzite gave him a final glare, before he carried Zoisite to the bed. The little rat needed to sleep off his intoxication.

The End of Pt.6 - Goto Pt.7

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