Thunder in the Mountains

(Tales from the Dark Kingdom - Pt.13)

© 1998/01/19 by Stayka deyAvemta & Shavana Rhea


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"I think I have an idea," Kunzite said thoughtfully and closed the fifth book about magickal effects and techniques that he had researched in the last six hours. He still lay on the belly in his bed and had his head propped up on his elbows. "Zoisite?"

No answer. He looked to the place next to him. Zoisite obviously had been overcome by fatigue during the study and now smiled peacefully in his sleep.

Kunzite shook his head amusedly and stroked the cheek of his beloved with affection. Zoisite was beautiful beyond words, he mused and couldn't resist to kiss him softly on the lips. The young man woke up and squinted his eyes.

"Kun-Kunzite-sama? Did I...?"

"You fell asleep, little rat."

"I'm sorry... I really tried to pay attention."

"Well, at least I did, and I seem to have found something."

"And what have you found, Lord Kunzite?" Zoisite sat up. His uniform was badly wrinkled; he really should have taken it off, but then he hadn't intended to fall asleep. On the other hand, he hadn't thought that Kunzite would leaf through those books for half a day either.

"Well, perhaps you will remember that I wanted to find a way to still work magick properly in those warped energy flows of the European region..."

"And? Did you?"

Kunzite nodded and stretched languidly, and Zoisite eyed him hungrily when he sat up and ran the fingers through his long silver hair, smoothing it back.

"Not exactly. But I found a way how we might erase the pattern in the flows that the explosion of Nephrite's crystal has caused. Actually it needs quite an amount of energy to do so - far more than we have collected so far - but I believe I can do it."

"How?" As usual Zoisite couldn't take the eyes from his lover's perfect frame.

"Fear is one of the emotions that sets free the greatest amount of energy in humans. So why not causing a natural catastrophe that plays with the deepest fears of a large amount of humans?"

"You mean like a typhoon or an earthquake?"

"Almost. I thought about a volcanic eruption. There are some locations in Europe that would be perfect targets - we would not even have to invest much energy to start it."

"You're so wonderfully inventive, my Lord Kunzite," Zoisite sighed. Kunzite smiled. He liked to be admired, especially by Zoisite who loved to show his admiration by rather palpable means - such as now, when he grasped his hand and kissed the palm. "Which location do you have in mind?"

"I want to blow up the Etna in Sicily. It's one of the most active volcanoes, and I think a nice big eruption would be just the thing to scare the humans in that area witless."

"And we can harvest their energy!"

"Exactly. And when we don't collect the energy for Queen Beryl, but use it to purify the warped energy lines, we have this energetically bountiful area for ourself, as I don't think that Beryl wants to use precious energy to send youma to inspect a region that I have declared off-limits. We just have to take care of Nephrite and this obnoxious twit of his, and declare that the supposed 'enemy' here is too strong. Then Beryl will direct her attention at other areas, and we can do what we want in Europe."

Zoisite wrapped his arms around Kunzite's neck and kissed him deeply. "And you allow me to play a little with Nephrite?" A cruel gleam flickered in his emerald eyes.

"If you wish." The story with the 'great enemy' would cover for everything that Zoisite did to his favourite arch-nemesis.

"I love you, my Lord..."

* * *

"Kunzite!" Queen Beryl thundered angrily. Where was this blasted insolent King this time? If he'd tell her he had been under the shower again, she would punish him in the name of the Evil Powers.

Instead of him, Nephrite materialized in the audience chamber. "Did Kunzite decide not to heed your call again?" he asked. "I'm sure he's otherwise occupied."

"I only hope he's occupied with his task to collect energy," Beryl shouted angrily. "If he isn't, I'll put him to eternal sleep!" The courtiers were shocked and murmured in hushed tones.

"I don't think he's collecting energy."

"Well, and what do you think he's doing then?"

"I guess he went on an outing with Zoisite."

"Why should he do that? He's supposed to train Zoisite, not to take him on a trip."

"It doesn't look too much like training, if you ask me."

"And what does it look like?" Queen Beryl purred.

"As if they have a lot of fun together..."

"They aren't supposed to have fun! They're commanders of my forces."

"They don't act like that, though."

"So why don't you go after them and see to it that they don't amuse themselves, but work?!"

"If you say so..."

"Indeed!" Beryl screeched. "You are dismissed!"

Nephrite bowed and teleported away. Beryl's mood was worse than usual today, but at least he had managed to get around the energy collecting for now.

Beryl tapped the fingernails on her crystal ball. She ought to imagine a satisfying punishment for Kunzite once he dared to appear before her eyes again.

* * *

Nephrite concentrated to find out Kunzite's whereabouts. He seemed to be at home, and Zoisite was with him as their energy signatures showed. He teleported to the sinister looking, castlelike building and rang.

Kunzite just knelt at the floor of the living room in a heap of papers that showed the fault lines in the European region, so Zoisite, who was utterly bored by the preparations, opened the door.

"Nephrite?"

"Hi there," the auburn-haired man greeted and followed Zoisite to the room where Kunzite worked. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, I decided to improve my knowledge of the Earth Realm," Kunzite said, stood up and straightened with a groan.

"Aha." Nephrite looked at the maps on the ground.

"What brings you here?"

"I have to check if you work as you are supposed to."

"We're figuring out schemes to collect energy," Kunzite claimed.

"Unfortunately," Zoisite sighed. "I have other ideas of how to spend my free time." He gave Kunzite a loving look and blushed slightly.

"Aren't you ever bored by that?"

"Absolutely not." Zoisite thought about the pleasures of the last night, and his blush intensified.

"Are you able to blush deeper still?" Nephrite asked with amusement.

"Graaa!" Zoisite stamped his foot on the floor. Kunzite chuckled and wrapped his arms around the smaller man.

"So what do you want?" he asked Nephrite.

"I check for your work morale."

"On whose behalf?"

"Queen Beryl suspects you're occupied with too many other things."

"And that's why she sent you to chaperone us?"

"Exactly."

"We don't need a chaperone," Zousite pouted.

"That wasn't my idea. I only obey her commands."

"And what about your duties to train Obsidian?"

"That doesn't occupy me fully, she thinks."

"That's curious... Training Zoisite is a full-time job," Kunzite grinned.

"Well, I don't train Obsidian day and night."

"Okay, now that you have checked on us, you can very well go back to your other duties," Kunzite said generously.

"But I have no other duties at the moment."

"Why don't you go and harrass Jadeite?" Zoisite proposed.

"That isn't in my job description either."

Zoisite sighed and leaned back against Kunzite.

"Well, then you have to join us while we collect energy in Sicily," the silver-haired man said.

"I'm ready," Nephrite grinned. Obviously Kunzite preferred not to have him around, so he would stay in his vicinity to find out what he really wanted to do.

Kunzite frowned and opened a doorway. He had to remember that seven doorways were the absolute maximum while he was in the European region, and that only when he didn't do anything magickal besides. Well, maybe he could 'lose' Nephrite somehow. When he left him there, his colleague would be in dire trouble to return to the Dark Kingdom.

Nephrite followed Kunzite who had put his arm around Zoisite's shoulders and led the way. They stood at the base of a conical mountain with a slightly flattened top that suggested a crater, especially as a thin wisp of smoke stood over it.

"What do you want here anyway?"

"Collect energy," Kunzite explained patiently.

"Here? This is a desolate landscape without any humans that might be harvested."

"That's partly true. Do you see this mountain? It's called Etna."

"So what? A mountain is a mountain."

"Well, I guess I should elaborate a little bit. The Etna is not only a simple mountain, it's a volcano - and I intend to blow it up."

"What?" Nephrite looked horrified at him.

"You see, on the southern foot of the volcano we have the city Catania with about three hundred thousand inhabitants. Imagine the amount of energy their mortal agony will yield!"

"Hm," Nephrite mumbled.

"We only have to climb the mountain to find the best spot to provoke the eruption." Kunzite didn't want to squander precious magickal energy to conjure another doorway. He had heavy magickal work to do, and they needed at least one gate to reach the city and another one to get back to the Dark Kingdom.

"Climb up there?!" Nephrite groaned.

"Indeed. A little training might improve your figure," Zoisite giggled.

Nephrite shot him a deadly glare.

"Let's go." Kunzite began to walk the path that lead to the main crater. Nephrite trailed his colleagues. It couldn't be too far, he hoped.

The ascent went on and on, though. Zoisite sighed. It could have been so romantic, were it not for Nephrite's panting. And they really should haven taken something to eat with them; a little picnic might have been fun, too. He imagined himself lying on a blanket, head reasting on Kunzite's lap while his lover fed him sweets and other bits.

Nephrite grew more and more annoyed of the straining walk, but he wouldn't give Kunzite the satisfaction to get rid of him. The path didn't seem to end, and slowly but surely Zoisite grew impatient, too - especially as Nephrite still hadn't given up.

"How much longer is it, my Lord?"

"A little while. The mountain is about 9700 ft high."

"I'm sure the path is much longer," Nephrite wheezed.

"Of course it is. It leads up to the top in long serpentines," Kunzite lectured. Zoisite sighed. He wanted to be home, in his bed, preferably with Kunzite... Nephrite didn't say anything either. He needed his breath to climb on.

Kunzite grinned, even though he also felt the muscles of his legs. Unfortunately Zoisite hung heavier and heavier at his arm, and so he also hoped they reached the crater some time soon.

Why couldn't they have materialized directly at the crater, Nephrite asked himself. Probably Kunzite had done this only to annoy him.

Zoisite sighed tragically. They still hadn't gotten to the top, and he was almost done. Kunzite on the other hand obviously wasn't even a little bit tired. It was soooo unfair!

Slowly but surely Nephrite was fed up with this climb. He certainly would be flat-footed on his return. He was sure they would start the descent as soon as they had arrived at the top.

* * *

Quite a while later they reached the top of the mountain and looked down into the main crater of the Etna. It was a vast area where smoke poured from fissures and crevices and sulphurous gases permeated the air.

Nephrite grimaced. It stank horribly, and the ground shook slightly. He desperately wanted to be somewhere else.

When Zoisite saw the distress on Nephrite's face, he laughed out, although he didn't like the area either, especially as he wasn't able to open a doorway from here himself.

"And what are you going to do now?" Nephrite asked Kunzite. "Admiring the view?"

Kunzite closed his platinum eyes and spread out his arms to feel the energy patterns. It was an enourmous tension in the rock and deeper down in the depths of the earth.

Zoisite put the index finger to his lips. "Shhht! He has to concentrate."

Nephrite mumbled something inaudible.

Suddenly Kunzite opened the eyes again; they glowed bluish white from his magickal powers. More energy poured from his hands and seeped into the ground of the crater.

The rock heaved as slowly increasing quakes shook the mountain, and Nephrite looked uneasily into the crater. "Isn't that a bit dangerous?"

"That's the point," Zoisite declared as he watched Kunzite with utter admiration. "Isn't he just gorgeous?" His beloved was not only the most powerful of the Kings, the best thing about him was that he was his alone.

"Hm," Nephrite made. He didn't like it here. The ground shook again.

Kunzite felt his energy dwindle and hoped the rest he held was sufficient. He had to keep enough to open at least the doorway to Catania to collect the energy of the people's fear and the gate back to the Dark Kingdom. It's would be a horrible strain on his resources, but he would manage somehow. It was all a part of the discipline, he told himself.

"How much longer will it take?" Nephrite nagged.

"Shhht," Zoisite hissed. "Kunzite-sama has to concentrate."

Still his energy formed white blue tendrils of icy fire that oozed into the faults and fissures to wake the sleeping volcano.

"But it's boring, and the earthquakes grow worse."

"It was your decision to accompany us." Zoisite examined the auburn-haired King. It might be fun to push him so that he would fall into the crater and slowly burn to cinders when the lava started to pour out. Zoisite sighed dreamily as he envisioned the charred remains of Nephrite.

"Don't look at me like this," Nephrite said angrily. "I won't give you the satisfaction of jumping into the crater."

"What a pity." When he shoved him, he would fall, he thought.

"And if you consider shoving me, be assured that I have no problems to take you with me."

"You wouldn't!" Zoisite hissed and gave him a murderous glare. Another earthquake shook the ground.

Nephrite decided to change tactics and grinned at the pretty boy who almost exploded when he realized that the other man wanted to make fun of him.

"Do you want to compete with the volcano?" Nephrite teased.

Zoisite tried to float decoratively in the air, but his powers just didn't work here. He stamped his foot on the ground, when the volcano answered with another earthquake.

"It's much more dramatic than you," Nephrite commented. "You seem only childish."

At this snide remark, Zoisite tried to hit Nephrite, but the taller man simply caught his fist and held it effortlessly.

"Let me go," he hissed. It was so unfair that he wasn't as strong as Kunzite or Nephrite.

"No. If I let you go, you'll only try to hit me again." He changed his grip so that Zoisite could neither hit him anymore nor move too far.

"That's unfair," the small man pouted.

"Of course," Nephrite grinned.

"I'll tell Kunzite-sama and he'll punish you."

"I thought he wasn't to be disturbed right now."

"Just you wait, Nephrite," Zoisite threatened and tried to free himself, but without being able to use his magickal powers he had no chance at all.

"Keep still!" Nephrite held him tighter. "Slowly but surely I understand why Kunzite always holds you in his arms." The other King certainly wanted to keep Zoisite from hitting him as well, when the little weasel got angry about something.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Zoisite snapped.

"Nothing. But I must admit I take more and more pleasure in it..."

Zoisite tried to wriggle out of his hold so that he could at least beat him somehow.

"Cute." Nephrite looked down on the smaller man.

"I hate you!" Zoisite hissed. "I'll kill you some day - mark my words!"

"Yes, yes, I've heard you."

"Take your hands from me," Zoisite shouted. He couldn't stand to be touched by someone other than Kunzite, and Nephrite was even worse.

"Only when you keep still."

"I refuse to be ordered around by you!" Zoisite tried to kick Nephrite.

"Shall I tell you something? You need a thorough spanking."

"Don't you dare!" Finally he succeeded and kicked Nephrite on the shin.

"That's enough!" He held Zoisite with one arm and slapped him soundly on the backside with the other.

Zoisite looked at him scandalized and screamed and cursed at the other man. He was so loud that even Kunzite's concentration was disturbed.

"Would you two please stop playing around and keep the volume of your argument to a more reasonable level? I'm doing delicate work and I need to concentrate," he said icily.

"Tell that to your little plaything. He kicks me."

"That's not true! Nephrite hit me," Zoisite whined. "I hate him so much, Lord Kunzite, please let me throw him into the crater!"

"I'm tempted myself," Kunzite said with dangerous calm and looked at his colleague. "Let go of Zoisite immediately. He's my personal property and no one but me is allowed to punish him, should the need arise."

Zoisite gave his lover a scandalized look. What was that supposed to mean?

"Only when he promises neither to hit nor to kick me again."

"Zoisite, you will keep quiet and refrain from attacking Nephrite," Kunzite said sternly. "Is that understood?"

"Yes, my Lord," Zoisite said meekly and lowered his gaze.

Nephrite gave Zoisite free and went back some steps, just in case. But much to his surprise, the small man stayed where he was. Kunzite turned his attention back to the volcano.

Nephrite didn't take his gaze from Zoisite while he waited for Kunzite to finish his work.

Suddenly the volcano shook violently, and Kunzite ceased the energy output and created a doorway. "Step through. Fast," he said calmly, and Zoisite jumped through without hesitation. Nephrite also hurried to get through, and Kunzite went last and closed the gate behind them.

They stood in a city where people crowded the streets as the ground vibrated dangerously. Darkness had fallen and earthquakes shook the city with increasing strength. Not far away they could see the volcano that spit out fountains of glowing sparks and orange-red fire.

"That looks really pretty," Nephrite commented. "And the people's anxiety and fear seems to yield quite some energy."

"My plan works perfectly." Kunzite grinned smugly as he harvested the energy that he would use to purify the warped energy lines of the European region.

"Still we shouldn't stay here too long." Nephrite saw a lava stream that slowly oozed down the mountain slope.

"First I have to fulfill my scheme," Kunzite said. "You're free to go."

Nephrite made a face. Kunzite knew very well that he wasn't able to open a doorway from here..

Zoisite giggled. "Poor Neffy..."

"Shut up, I'm more than fed up with you."

"We didn't invite you to follow us."

"Queen Beryl ordered me."

"And you follow all of her commands like a good boy, do you?" Zoisite sneered.

"Certainly. Just as you do, don't you?"

"Of course," Kunzite declared and looked thoughtfully at his beloved. He just couldn't understand why Zoisite was able to question Queen Beryl's orders.

"How much longer will it take?" Nephrite inquired.

"Until I have collected all the energy I need."

Nephrite sighed.

* * *

It became a very long and boring night for both Nephrite and Zoisite. Kunzite smiled and wove the energy in a pattern that interfered with the warped patterns and forced them back to the natural flows.

Nephrite amused himself with teasing Zoisite, and the pretty man gave all the insults back with venom. Kunzite chose to ignore the quarrel. As long as Nephrite was occupied, he wouldn't realize was he was doing here.

Suddenly the volcano erupted with a violence that led to an immense wave of terror in the people around. Kunzite was overwhelmed by the amount of energy and could help himself but get rid of it as fast as possible to prevent burning out his powers. Unfortunately this disturbed the delicate balance of the energy flows that he had reached, and everything returned to the former, twisted state.

Exhausted and frustrated, he barely managed to open the doorway back to the Dark Kingdom, and the three Kings returned.

* * *

"Nephrite, report!"

The second ranking of the Kings materialized in front of Queen Beryl and gave her a summary of the happenings. Of course he omitted everything that might cast a bad light on him, such as the little quarrels between him and Kunzite's pet.

"And where's that energy Kunzite supposedly collected?" Beryl shouted angrily.

"I don't know."

"Kunzite, report!"

This time the silver-haired man materialized immediately, even though he looked rather tired and shaken. "At your service, my Queen," he said and sank to his knee.

"Nephrite told me you collected a huge amount of energy - so where do you have it?"

Kunzite bowed his head. "Didn't Nephrite tell you of the unfortunate circumstances that led to the loss of the energy, too?" He gave his summary of the happenings, before he recommended never to go back to the European region again.

"You bunch of incompetent fools," Beryl shrieked. "That happens when you try to set plans in motion that I haven't approved. As punishment you won't leave the Dark Kingdom until I will permit it again. No more shopping trips, no more visits to expensive restaurants! - Get out. Now!"

"As you wish, my Queen," Nephrite said dejectedly. Where could he now get a good bottle of wine? He teleported away.

Kunzite disappeared as well. He materialized in his house and chuckled.

"Zoisite? Beryl gave us 'detention' for our failure... We're supposed to stay in the Dark Kingdom for the next time. No more silly energy collecting!"

"Wonderful, my Lord." Zoisite went to him, put the arms around Kunzite's middle and laid his head against his lover's shoulder. "Then we have some more time to spend together. I'm really looking forward to it."

"So do I, little rat, so do I." Kunzite smiled at his beloved and kissed him lingeringly.

* * *

Queen Beryl looked at the courtiers who stood at attention in her audience chamber.

"Did you still not find the silver crystal?" she asked the youma who crowded the hall.

"No, Your Majesty," they answered in unison.

"Our great ruler demands that you use all of your energy for that. If you can't deliver the silver crystal, you're required to use the energy you possessed when you were still human."

Suddenly a blonde man in the grey uniform of one of the commanders of her forces materialized in a pillar of blue flames.

Pic
of Jadeite by Stayka

"Queen Beryl? Please give me the command to fulfill this task! My slave, the evil Morga has already begun to collect the energy of the humans."

"It shall happen as you propose."

"Thank you, my Queen."

The End of the Second Series of the Tales of the Dark Kingdom


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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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