A Crystal Clear Catastrophe

(Tales from the Dark Kingdom - Pt.8)

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


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"I wonder how long she wants to punish us by making us work with Nephrite and that annoying student of his," Zoisite sulked and got up from the breakfast table. They had harvested energy in Paris for about ten days now, and still Queen Beryl wanted more.

"I wonder more why Obsidian hasn't told Nephrite what he has found out about us," Kunzite stood in front of the mirror and brushed his long, silvery white hair. When his beloved went by, he caught him in his arms and held him tight while he buried his face in Zoisite's silky coppery golden mane.

"That's something I don't understand either." Zoisite rested his head against Kunzite's shoulder. "I thought he couldn't stand me and would try to embarass us whenever possible."

"Well, it seems we have a small reprieve before he decides to broadcast the news of our relationship." Kunzite sighed.

"Do we really have to go to Paris again?"

"You don't want to disobey Queen Beryl, do you?"

"Of course not." Zoisite cast down his eyes. As much as he hated the Queen, she was much stronger and could decide who would live and who would die in the Dark Kingdom.

Kunzite attached the long white cape to his grey uniform, before they teleported to the agreed meeting point with Nephrite and Obsidian.

* * *

Nephrite and Obsidian were about as enthusiastic as Kunzite and Zoisite when they thought about their current assignment.

The second of the four Dark Kings was sure that the education of Obsidian was an act of utter futility, as the brain of his pupil wasn't able to grasp even the simplest of his instructions.

This led to the fact that the job of collecting energy fell to him, even when Beryl had given it to Obsidian and Zoisite who were still in training. But it was better to do the work than to return empty-handed. Nephrite knew that he had to find an easier way to collect more energy.

Obsidian was bored as usual. The young man with the waist long violet mane wanted to experience something exciting when he was allowed to leave the Dark Kingdom, and and his idea of 'exciting' didn't include sitting around and waiting for hours until a dumb crystal was filled with energy. He had to make sure that Nephrite kept on doing the work for him.

After breakfast they met with Kunzite and Zoisite.

"Ah, there you are again," Zoisite greeted them inexuberantly.

"Not voluntarily, you bet," Obsidian retorted. Neither Nephrite nor his student was overly fond of Zoisite who already had tried to kill either of them.

"We have duties to perform," Kunzite declared and opened a black energy doorway that led to a desolate byway in Paris, France, in the Earth Realm. He would rather have spent a little more time alone with his beloved, but a command was a command.

"Why do we have to collect all the energy anyway?" Obsidian grumbled.

"Don't question your orders," Nephrite started to shout at his pupil again.

"We have to collect the energy to revive the great ruler of the Dark Kingdom," Kunzite lectured. He wondered why Nephrite hadn't told his student what it was all about, but probably he had been drunk again and forgotten to explain the basics to Obsidian.

"And who is that great ruler? Why can't he collect the energy himself?"

Nephrite sighed. Obsidian asked far too many questions, and whenever he got one answer he wanted to know ten more things. This fact had convinced him that he should not tell Obsidian anything of importance, or he would have to spend all his time explaining things to him.

"The great ruler is the absolute power in the Dark Kingdom," the first of the Kings continued the lecture. "And you should never question the wisdom of our Queen who has set us this task."

Kunzite wondered how his collegue could stand this obnoxious twit. He was absolutely glad that he had Zoisite as a student (and more). The little rat might have a really nasty temper, but at least he was intelligent and cunning - not to mention passionate and tender -, and he didn't drive him mad with stupid questions. He gazed at him affectionately and wished they could have some private time together. It was too bad that they still had a job to do.

Obsidian looked at Kunzite. Why did they all get mad at him when he wanted to know something? He would never learn anything if he wasn't allowed to ask about what he didn't understand.

"Let's go through the doorway," Kunzite commanded. He had better not forget himself and pull Zoisite into his arms, he thought, although he was sorely tempted. He stepped through and appeared in the Earth Realm.

Before they grew roots, Nephrite decided to shove Obsidian through and followed him. Zoisite went last, as he preferred not to have hostile persons at his back.

Obsidian was in a bad mood. He didn't like this assignment at all, he didn't like Nephrite, and he couldn't stand the others either.

After Zoisite had appeared, the doorway collapsed. The pretty young man immediately went to his mentor who gave him a furtive loving glance, then he conjured one of the energy collector crystals. Now that he knew how to do it, it was really easy.

As Nephrite wanted to get back to the Dark Kingdom as fast as possible, he urged Obsidian to the target area. He had just gotten an idea how he could minimize the needed effort.

When he managed to find a person who just reached the peak of his or her energy level, he should be able to harvest more energy in a shorter time than they did currently when they tried to get small amounts from many people over a longer time.

He tried to explain his idea to Obsidian. It took about an hour before he thought he had managed to drive the plan home to him. At least he hoped he had. He asked his pupil to wait for a moment so that he could teleport to his mansion near Tokyo where he wanted to consult the stars.

When Obsidian heard about that star thing, he thought Nephrite was nuts. Stars definitely didn't know anything, contrary to his mentor's stupid superstition.

About half an hour later Nephrite returned and declared he had found a fitting person. He ordered Obsidian to watch her so that he could harvest the energy at the proper time.

* * *

Zoisite and Kunzite returned to their shopping mall. They had found that the energy collecting here was slow but crowned with certain success, and they had the opportunity to spend their time together without being disturbed by Queen Beryl or other inhabitants of the Dark Kingdom.

While the crystal slowly but surely filled with energy, Zoisite had convinced his lover that they could stroll through some of the boutiques. He wanted to try out some nicer clothes than the dull grey uniforms they had to wear in the Dark Kingdom.

Kunzite shook his head when Zoisite tried on one fashionable outfit after the other, especially as he demanded a comment (preferably favourable) on every single one of them.

Two hours and five boutiques later Kunzite felt as if the crystal had drained him of most of his energy. And now Zoisite even had the silly idea of showing him that he looked perfect in women's garments, too. Probably the comments of the waiter in that restaurant the first time in Paris had given him ideas...

When Zoisite walked up and down in front of him in a short turquoise dress, Kunzite had to admit that he actually looked stunning. The pretty young man had taken out the ribbon that tied his hair back, and the coppery golden cascade flowed down his back and flew when he turned around. Furthermore he had really nice legs, Kunzite observed.

He smiled when he became aware of the envious looks some male customers directed at him. He grinned back. Zoisite was his personal property, and anyway, they would certainly be a little surprised when they discovered that his beautiful girl-friend was in fact a boy-friend.

* * *

Meanwhile Nephrite and Obsidian continued to work on their assignment. The second of the Kings had decided that the time was right to harvest the chosen woman's energy.

He directed Obsidian to place the collector crystal in the vicinity of their victim, and his student did as ordered. Somehow he had a really bad feeling about it, but he hoped that Nephrite knew what he was doing.

When the auburn-haired man transferred the victim's energy into the crystal, it began to glow softly at first, then the gleam became stronger, until a crack announced that something was severely wrong. Fractions of a second later the cracking sound was followed by an explosion which hurled Obsidian and Nephrite through the air.

* * *

"No, no and no!" Kunzite said, when Zoisite wanted to try on some bathing suits. "Please remember that you are one of the mighty four Kings of the Dark Kingdom, and you really should at least try to maintain some dignity and decorum."

"Awww, Kunzite-sama..." Zoisite looked at him out of shimmering emerald eyes, but for once he had no success. Kunzite took him, threw him over his shoulder and carried him back to the café.

The silver-haired man had a hard time reconciling with his lover who sulked because of the embarassing transport method. He had drawn Zoisite onto his lap, held him close and was kissing him tenderly, when suddenly a loud crack startled them out of their preoccupation.

When they looked up at the source of the sound, they discovered that their collector crystal had shattered.

"How...?" Zoisite put on a puzzled frown.

"I don't know," Kunzite admitted, equally confused.

"Well, we can still conjure a new crystal." The small man concentrated, but to no avail. "It doesn't work!" He looked at his partner for help.

"But you did it before." Kunzite frowned and tried it himself. "You're right. Something has changed in the energy flows around here," he observed.

"But what?"

"I've no idea. We should contact Nephrite and ask him if he has noticed anything weird."

* * *

Cursing, Obsidian tried to disentangle himself from the bush in which he had landed. He hurt and couldn't understand what had happened. Had the crystal overloaded from the sudden burst of energy?

Where was Nephrite? Obsidian looked around to find his instructor. He found him several yards away, lying unconscious on the ground. Oh dear, what should he do now? Thoughtfully he looked down on Nephrite.

If he eliminated him right now, no one would find out that it wasn't the explosion of the crystal that had killed him, he thought. On the other hand, Nephrite knew a lot that he had yet to teach him.

Obsidian shook him, but he didn't move. The violet-haired man sighed. He really should have listened to his feeling that there was something wrong with the crystal.

When he looked down his body, he discovered that the bush had caused him some scratches, but nothing he wouldn't survive. At last Nephrite stirred.

"What happened?" he groaned.

"How am I supposed to know? I heard something go 'Boom!', and everything just burst apart."

"Oh. It seems the crystal couldn't cope with the amount of energy the woman emitted," Nephrite guessed. It seemed he had to work some more on this method to collect energy. Maybe he should try something other than a crystal to store the energy.

Suddenly Kunzite and Zoisite stepped through a doorway. When the youngest of the four Kings discovered that Nephrite lay there, but seemed only to be hurt, he frowned.

"He's still alive," he commented with mild disappointment.

"What happened?" Kunzite asked.

"Boom!" Obsidian imitated and added an expressive gesture.

"What do you mean - 'Boom!'?" Kunzite frowned. "Our collector crystal shattered, and we can't reweave the flows in the proper configuration to conjure a new crystal. What have you done?"

"Our crystal exploded," Obsidian told them, and Nephrite finally managed to get up.

"I fear it overloaded," he explained and held his head. This time he had no hangover, but it ached about as badly.

"I knew that your methods were dangerous," Zoisite smirked. He was glad that Beryl had given him Kunzite as his mentor, and he smiled at him possessively.

"I admit, this method was still in the experimental stage," he grumbled and rubbed his aching body parts. The explosion had thrown him rather violently through the air.

Zoisite grinned with malicious joy. He loved to torture Nephrite, or at least to see him in discomfort.

"Would you please describe in detail what you have done?" Kunzite demanded.

"I tried to speed up the process of transferring the energy into the crystal."

"Great idea," Zoisite moaned. "A little bit more patience would have been better."

"Funny that you would say that, Mr.Patience Personified..." Nephrite gave him an angry glare.

Kunzite chuckled at Zoisite's grimace. "Well, whatever happened - it hasn't only destroyed the crystals, it also rearranged the energy flows in the area."

"That's interesting," Nephrite commented. Obsidian had just discovered that at least half of the bush that he had landed on still clung to his hair, and so he directed his attention to this problem.

"I can't say yet how far the damage reached," Kunzite continued, "but I fear Queen Beryl won't be pleased at all."

"I agree," Nephrite nodded uncomfortably.

"But what can we do?" Zoisite looked up to Kunzite. His mentor always knew what to do - or so he hoped. The first of the Kings considered the problem.

Nephrite shook his head. "I can't see a way to counteract the results of the explosion."

"I will check the damaged region," Kunzite said and teleported away, while Zoisite uttered some curses that involved Nephrite, his lineage and his state of mind.

"Shut up," Nephrite shouted angrily.

"But I didn't botch big time, Nephrite. I think Queen Beryl with be very interested in this failure of yours." Zoisite laughed gleefully.

"It's easy not to fail when you don't need to do anything yourself."

"What do you want to say, Nephrite?" Zoisite gave him an evil glare.

"Think of it yourself." He returned a deadly look. He definitely couldn't stand that malicious mean little fellow.

Obsidian had been listening to the argument while he plucked leaves and little twigs out of his hair. "And what are we going to do now?" he wanted to know. The fact that Beryl would be furious was a much bigger problem than the stupid bickering between Zoisite and Nephrite.

"We should wait for Kunzite-sama's return," Zoisite suggested.

"What else," Obsidian shook his head.

"What are you implying?"

"It seems there's only one person around who is responsible for the thinking."

"Well," Zoisite admitted, rather proud of his beloved, "Kunzite-sama is the strongest in power and everything..."

"Mostly the latter, hm?" Obsidian said ironically.

Zoisite blushed, but didn't comment on the remark. Nephrite was astonished that Zoisite didn't give one of his usual retorts, while his pupil had put on a smug grin.

Fortunately Kunzite chose to reappear just at this moment. "It doesn't look good at all," he stated. "The energy potentials of the whole continent look more than strange. It seems, you have botched big time, Nephrite."

"I know it by now," Nephrite grumbled, and Zoisite couldn't help but laugh at his miserable facial expression. Of course that earned him another angry glare. "I suggest we avoid this area from now on."

"Yeah. But what do we tell Queen Beryl?"

"I have to think about it," Nephrite replied.

"It should be something believable," Obsidian remarked. If there was someone he didn't want angry at him, it was Queen Beryl.

"Maybe we could invent a powerful enemy," Kunzite pondered.

"It might work," Nephrite agreed.

"We should say we had almost won, but the enemy cheated," Zoisite added. His mood darkened visibly. "I must admit I don't like it at all - I really hate to lose."

"Really?" Obsidian asked curiously.

"Ask the other warriors in the Dark Kingdom." Zoisite put on a vicious grin, and Obsidian made a mental note to do just that.

Kunzite chuckled. As far as he knew, Zoisite had only once admitted a true defeat - and that was when he'd had to take the oath on his life force that he could never attack him again or try to harm him in any way. Everybody else who had achieved a victory learned shortly thereafter that it had been only a temporary victory.

"Well, what do we tell Queen Beryl?" Obsidian pressed.

"Let's see." Kunzite looked thoughtful. "A mysterious powerful entity discovered us while we were collecting energy and attacked us by blowing up our crystals. We tried to fight back, but it retaliated by restructuring the energy flows in its realm which just happened to be Europe. We could barely escape and advise now against further actions in Europe until we have analyzed the danger thoroughly," he suggested.

Zoisite looked at him in utter admiration. "I knew it - you always know what to do," he sighed.

"Okay," Nephrite agreed. "Let's make it so."

Obsidian examined Kunzite with interest and wondered how he had managed to come up with such a story in such short time. The silver-haired King grinned smugly. That meant Nephrite and Obsidian were now in his debt. He was sure he could make good use of that.

Nephrite intended to find a way to gloss over this 'little' failure as fast as possible. He didn't like being at Kunzite's and/or Zoisite's mercy at all. But now he needed to return to the Dark Kingdom; he still ached in every bone.

Promptly Kunzite opened a doorway and made an inviting gesture.

They went back to their quarters first. Nephrite and Obsidian wanted to change into clean uniforms as fast as possible to be in top condition should Queen Beryl call them.

When Kunzite and Zoisite appeared in Kunzite's house, the small man threw himself into his lover's arms. "I'm soooo proud of you," he sighed. Of course it didn't take long before they ended up in their bed again.

* * *

Some time later Queen Beryl called them into the audience chamber. She was annoyed that they hadn't come immediately after their return. Nephrite and Obsidian materialized only seconds after the call. They didn't want to anger her more.

Kunzite and Zoisite arrived a little late as usual, and Beryl promptly gave them a tongue-lashing that made them study the tips of their boots.

Nephrite was satisfied that they were being dressed down, but tried not to show his amusement to overtly.

"Where is the energy I sent you to collect?" Queen Beryl thundered and eyed Nephrite and Obsidian who weren't gazing down yet. Promptly they started to study the ground as well.

"There was a little problem," Nephrite began meekly.

Kunzite peeked at the Queen whose eyes glowed dangerously red, while Nephrite told her the agreed upon story and hoped for a miracle. Of course Beryl exploded after the auburn-haired King had finished, and her outbreak fried the first row of her court to the left.

The four men didn't move as they didn't want to draw any more of the Queen's attention.

"Can you tell me why I am supposed to let you live, you pityful excuses for Dark Kingdom warriors?" she screeched.

Zoisite fumed. He would have loved to tell her whose fault it actually was. Then he certainly wouldn't need to think up new accidents for Nephrite anymore, but unfortunately Kunzite thought it would be better to have something to blackmail the other King, so that he could put him to good use whenever it suited him.

Nephrite stayed silent, as he didn't know an answer that wouldn't lead to his immediate extermination. Obsidian also stifled a pert comment.

"Queen Beryl, we only lost one battle," Kunzite dared to say. "Please let us continue our fight, so that we can win the war for you."

The woman on the throne tapped her fingernails on the armrest. "Well, as currently there don't seem to be any stronger warriors around, I will grant you another chance. But don't fail me again. You know the punishment that awaits you!"

Obsidian hung down his head. She really should try to invent a new line, he thought. He waited for the 'You are dismissed'.

Nephrite was glad that they had gotten off that easily. He definitely didn't want to experience such a dressing down again.

Zoisite looked at Kunzite with sheer hero worship. He would never have dared to address the Queen in her current mood.

"You are dismissed!" Beryl shouted. She was still upset.

Ah, there it was. Obsidian was satisfied with himself. Maybe he should consider a new career as a fortuneteller. That was certainly better than Nephrite's stupid stars that obviously didn't know everything - or they would have warned him about the overload.

The four men teleported back to their quarters.

The End of Pt.8 - Goto Pt.9


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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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