Chapter Five: The Dark Kingdom

“Show me the Dark Kingdom” Minako’s heart was pounding loudly in her chest as she spoke these words and indeed she was shaking ever so slightly. Despite being the supposedly fearless leader of the Sailor Senshi, there mere thought of going to the Dark Kingdom terrified her.

I have to ask. If I don’t then how are we ever going to truly know each other in this world?

“No” Zoisite refused her, “Minako-chan, it is too dangerous for you there. If Beryl found you…”

“I know” Minako tentatively placed a hand on his, “But I don’t care. I want… I need to understand how you live your life. You’ve seen how I live mine.”

“It is different.”

“How? You were reborn, too, weren’t you?”

“We were resurrected by Beryl. You were there when she told us, remember? Had Beryl not broken Metallia’s seal then there would be nothing for us in this world.”

“I don’t believe you! If it were true then you would not have regained your memories of Endymion!”

“Minako--”

“Show me” she repeated, her grip on his hand tightening as she sensed his indecision, “Please. I won’t transform. Beryl can’t sense a normal human, can she?”

“It is not Beryl I am concerned about.”

“Who is it then? Endymion?”

Zoisite was not willing to reply and Minako knew better than to push him anymore, especially as he seemed to be on the verge of giving.

“Please” she repeated, “We needn’t stay long.”

Zoisite nodded silently, his glamour glowing white briefly before once again dispersing as he changed into his Tennou self. Minako couldn’t help but shiver slightly as he took her in his arms and allowed a teleport to take hold of them both.

The transition into the Dark Kingdom was worse than Minako had feared it would be. Her body screamed out as it were torn from the room and thrust into this world of negative energies… She whimpered against Zoisite as she felt the very essence of the kingdom take hold of her. Waves of vertigo crashed into her and Minako held onto him, long after they arrived at their destination.

Short of breath, she finally raised her head to look around.

The room that they appeared in was not what Minako was expecting at all, had she known what to expect that was. It was terribly bare in comparison to her luxury hotel room, but she supposed that she could not compare the two as they were from completely different worlds. The floor was made of polished stone and her heels clicked loudly on this as she took a step away from Zoisite to fully take in her surroundings or, at least, what she could in the constant gloom.

Looking around, Minako could only see one object in the room itself, a piano sitting in the middle of the room, and this filled her with a certain sadness, though she did not really understand why. A few coloured sheets of music littered the floor, but apart from that the room itself was spotless. Curtains hung up across windows, the purple cloth having an almost eerie effect upon the room. Minako shivered again and took a step towards the piano whilst murmuring:

“So this is your world?”

********

“We’re here!” Motoki announced triumphantly as he pulled his car up outside wherever ‘here’ was.

To this Nephrite said nothing, though he did raise his head to look out of the car window to see where ‘here’ was. ‘Here’ was the local karaoke parlour, Crown. Nephrite knew vaguely on it as he had researched it as a possible energy gathering location back when he was in Beryl’s favour.

Again the anger threatened to overcome him as he recalled that moment when he had forced his own weapon through his stomach and had ultimately lost everything.

You being alone like this… I don’t like it…

Nephrite exhaled deeply as he once more pictured her… Mercury… the only person that had made living in the Dark Kingdom bearable after Beryl had turned upon him. Of course, they hadn’t exactly been friends to begin with, and Nephrite recalled, with a great amount of shame, that he had tried to kill her at one point. He hadn’t truly wanted to hurt her, but his temper often got out of control and he did things that he would later regret and hurting Mercury would lead to a lifetime of regrets, this he knew.

“Hey?” the funny human grabbed him by the shoulder and shook him out of his somewhat bitter thoughts, “Why so pensive?”

“What?”

“Are you feeling okay?” Motoki, to Nephrite’s horror, placed a hand on his forehead and frowned, “You don’t feel warm or anything. Are you tired? When did you eat last?”

Nephrite, furious that a human had dared to touch him, slapped Motoki’s hand away as though the man could give him a terrible disease simply by placing a hand upon him.

Motoki ignored this hostility and said, “Are you going to sit here all night?”

Nephrite scowled and obeyed the next request that he get out of the car. It was a cold night and Nephrite shivered slightly, realising dimly just how much he missed his uniform and just how warm it was.

Motoki, on the other hand, did not comment upon the weather and hurried unlocked the sliding glass doors before ushering him inside.

“Take a seat,” he indicated to a row of chairs just inside the doorway and, without waiting to see if Nephrite heeded this request, Motoki hurriedly disappeared into an adjourning room.

Glancing round the Karaoke parlour, Nephrite noticed a turtle sitting in a tank atop the counter. He mentally rolled his eyes at this; he should have figured that Motoki would have one somewhere, as his car was full of stuffed toys of the stupid creatures. Getting up, he wandered over to the tank to get a closer look simply because he couldn’t think of anything better to do.

Unfortunately, Motoki chose that exact moment to come back and noted, with delight, Nephrite’s apparent interest in his pet.

“Do you like turtles, too?” he asked excitedly.

Nephrite frowned, “No.”

Motoki’s face fell and he handed Nephrite a mug with a brown liquid inside of it, “Drink this. It will make you feel better,” he urged.

“What is it?” Nephrite sniffed suspiciously at the drink.

Motoki rolled his eyes, “It’s hot chocolate. Haven’t you had it before?”

Nephrite shrugged, despair suddenly threatening to overwhelm him once more and his gaze darkened as he slumped back down in his chair. Motoki noted his change in attitude and pulled up a seat beside him.

“What were you doing in that parking lot anyway?” he asked as he took a sip from his own drink, “Were you lost?”

“I don’t know” Nephrite answered quietly.

“Do you have any family I can contact?”

Beryl-sama… he had thought that he had everything, but it seemed like he had, had nothing for a long time and only Beryl’s thrall had kept him from realising this.

You being alone like this… I don’t like it…

“No” Nephrite said out loud, “There is no one.”

“How terrible” Motoki replied sadly, letting Nephrite feel his empathy, “How terrible to be alone…”

The sympathy in his voice was unbearable and Nephrite snarled out, “I don’t care about that! I like being alone!”

“Do you?” Motoki shook his head, “Do you really?”

“I don’t have to listen to this!” Nephrite stood, hurling the cup to the floor and watching in satisfaction as it shattered and the liquid spread out across the tiled floor and soaked Motoki’s trainers. Angrily, he stormed over to the door, but Motoki’s next words stopped him:

“Where will you go?”

Nephrite paused and then reluctantly whispered: “I don’t know…”

*****

“So this is your world?” Minako repeated softly as she stepped up to the piano, “How lonely.”

“Not as lonely as your world” Zoisite pointed out and Minako felt shame overtake her as she realised that his words were true. Though, on the outside, she had everything, she had nothing of value in her life… well… she cast a glance at the white haired king, things used to be like that anyway.

Shaking off these saddened thoughts, Minako turned away, her eyes searching the bare room and finding two doors leading off from it. She stepped towards the first of these doors, but Zoisite stopped her by saying:

“Don’t. You mustn’t go outside of my rooms” Zoisite cautioned her, “If Beryl finds you here…” he trailed off, “I can’t protect you from her.”

Minako frowned slightly at this. The thought of launching an attack upon the Queen of the Dark Kingdom unexpectedly had crossed her mind, but if Zoisite couldn’t defend himself against her then what chance did she have alone?

He must have guessed what she was thinking as a flicker of hurt flashed in his eyes before he hid it with a shrug and looked away. “So you’ve seen how I live.”

Minako shook her head and nodded towards the other door, “Where does that lead?”

“My bedroom.”

“Bedroom?” Minako repeated, the phrase sounding ridiculous to her ears, yet she reasoned that, of course, even the Shitennou had to sleep somewhere.

“You seem surprised” Zoisite commented lightly, even as she placed her hand on the door handle.

“Can I have a look inside?”

He shrugged, “You can, though I don’t know what is of interest to you in there.”

Instead of commenting she simply murmured, “I wanted to see you how you lived so that I could understand you better, didn’t I?”

Zoisite did not respond to this and Minako turned back to the room. It was almost as bare as the piano room. A double bed stood in the centre of the room. The coverlet was white, but the purple illumination from the windows caused it to appear a shade of light lilac. The only other piece of furniture was a wardrobe standing in one corner. Minako crossed the room and opened this. A couple of white uniforms were hung in there and nothing more.

“I don’t understand” Minako murmured more to herself than the king standing behind her. The was no stamp of his personality in the room. It was just like the rest of the Dark Kingdom; cold, lifeless…

“Minako” Zoisite stepped forward, reaching out towards her but Minako shied away from this contact.

“I can understand what keeps you here” she said at last, “There is a presence about this place. It is terrifying but alluring at the same time. It scares you to stay, but it scares you all the more to go.”

“You won’t find the answers you seek here,” Zoisite said to this, moving to her side once more, “I think you know this.”

Minako nodded, “But where--”

“The answers you seek lie in the past.”

“The past, but, Zoisite, I thought we agreed that the past did not have anything to do with what we had?”

“It doesn’t, at least it has nothing to do with Aino Minako” Zoisite explained softly, “You heard what Queen Beryl said. We were resurrected to serve her. You were not reborn to fight alongside the Master. You said that you wanted to understand me. You can’t do that here. Do you understand?”

“No” Minako took the offered hand in her own, “What exactly are you saying?”

“What you saw… of our past lives. It was but a glimpse of who I once was.”

Minako allowed him to lead her back to the piano room. Zoisite sat at the instrument and beckoned her to come closer before starting to play the Moonlight Sonata.

“You are contradicting yourself” she said softly, “You say that we are different in this world and then you tell me that I must see the Zoisite of the past life.”

“You forget that when Beryl got her claws into us our personalities became distorted. When I was under her control I was not the same person that I am now” was his reply.

Minako nodded and shuddered slightly as she remembered the steely determination and cruelness in his eyes when he had tried to stab her so long ago. She also recalled the fear and panic as her Crescent Beam struck him and Beryl’s spell released its hold. She could still picture the desperation and terror that had radiated from the young king as he struggled to reach out to Endymion, calling to him before disappearing.

“Concentrate on the music” Zoisite urged her, “Then you will see what you need to understand.”

“What I need to understand?” Minako repeated and slowly closed her eyes. The music was so beautiful and she was easily borne away on the notes. Then, when she finally did open her eyes, the piano room was gone.

******

The palace was just as Minako remembered it. Vast marble columns made up an entrance hall, bright sunlight reflected down through stained glass windows and onto the fabric of her skirt. She paused, half way up the steps, realising that she could move around under her own freewill and not in thrall of her memories the last time she had graced such a place. Frowning, in some confusion, Minako looked around for Zoisite and her heart sank when she did not see him with her. Was she going to be alone this time?

“Then you will see what you need to understand.”

Minako almost smiled in recollection of his words and, taking a deep breath, she pulled open the solid oak doors to the palace and stepped inside. Almost immediately two guards met her, though they gave no sign that they had seen her.

“Aino Minako does not exist in this time,” Minako whispered to herself as she brushed passed them, “So of course they would not see me.”

This gave her some comfort as it meant that she could move about the palace with relative ease. As she realised this, Minako became aware of music coming from the end of the hallway. Her heart skipped a beat as she recognised the tune; Fantasy Impromptu.

Minako hurried down the hallway, already knowing who she would find when she reached the room and pushed the door open. Yet, her smile faded somewhat when she recognised the person sitting at the grand piano. He was younger, quite a lot younger, but still sporting the same white hair and uniform that she was so used to seeing him in.

“Zoisite” she whispered despite herself. He could be no more than ten winters old. Another boy leaned up against one wall. He was only a year older than Zoisite was.

“Zoisite” Nephrite complained quietly, “Don’t you want to come outside? It is the last day of the Cherry Blossom viewing, after all.”

“I told you” Zoisite answered, “I am busy. The Master said that we should perfect our powers did he not?”

The younger Nephrite pouted, “You have to come. It is not good that you simply sit in here all by yourself.”

Zoisite shrugged, “I like to be alone.”

“That’s how I used to feel” Minako murmured to herself, “I used to shut people out… even those who were trying to help me.”

Nephrite turned, angrily slamming a fist down on the piano before stalking from the room. If this bothered Zoisite, he did not show it and simply went back to playing the piano. Minako stood in silence, watching this display and then the door opened again.

A younger boy, only about five or six years old now entered, with Jadeite trailing behind him. The blonde seemed almost guilty as the two of them came to a stand still beside Zoisite’s piano.

“Jadeite says that you won’t come outside” the young Prince said softly, causing Zoisite to cease playing. “Nephrite said the same thing,” he added hurriedly when Zoisite cast a sidelong glance at Jadeite, giving him a look that Minako recognised as annoyance.

“I prefer to stay inside, Master, with your permission, that is.” Zoisite replied quietly.

“Why?” the young Endymion questioned, not really understanding what Minako did so well and it tore at her heart to realise that they were so much more alike than they cared to admit. “Don’t you like the Cherry Blossoms?”

Zoisite shrugged, “I have seen them before.”

Endymion shook his head, “You wouldn’t come last year either. Why is that?”

Minako could understand why and knew that Endymion, being so much younger could never do so. Zoisite knew this, too, but was loath to say a word to that effect.

“Are you sick?” Endymion persisted.

“No, Master. I just don’t want to go this year.”

“Well I want you too!” Endymion pouted and his lower lip trembled slightly.

“Is that an order, Master?”

“Yes” the Prince said after a moment’s thought and Zoisite stood, obeying this command.

His smile returned when he realised that Zoisite was going to join them after all and he grinned happily up at his guardian and replied, “The last day of viewing is always the best and I’m so glad that we all get to go together, for once”

Zoisite seemed to humour the boy and allowed him to lead him from the room, ignoring the look Jadeite gave him as he did so. Minako followed them as they made their way into the palace gardens.

*****

“Stop her! Endymion, get rid of this girl. If you won’t…”

Ami could still here Beryl’s words echoing round inside her head. She could still see his stunned look of disbelief turn to horror and pain as the weapon entered his body. She could still pinpoint the exact moment when his blue eyes suddenly lost the spark of life and became muted before he fell, like a stone, to the ground. Beryl’s triumphant look was still etched in her mind and Ami had wanted more than anything to take the blade that had been used to kill him and stab it through the Queen’s evil heart. Of course, the blade would break, because Beryl had no heart, Ami knew. What beat inside her chest was made of stone, no matter how deep she may claim her feelings for Endymion went.

“Ami-chan?” Usagi’s nervous voice snapped her out of these dark thoughts, the darkest she’d ever had since being healed by her best friend. Ami shuddered. Could it be that she was turning evil again? No, she decided. This pain ran deeper than even Metallia’s magics had run. It coursed through her veins like fire; it would bring tears to her eyes when she was least expecting it. This was the heart wrenching agony of losing the man she loved, and Ami knew that Usagi felt it too.

The Senshi of love and justice sat cross-legged, in front of Ami, already stuffing another piece of the chocolate cake that Makoto had made, into her mouth. Crumbs fell down the front of her nightdress and onto the pink carpet. Still, despite the mess, Ami couldn’t help but smile. This was the Usagi that she cared about… not that frightening being that she had become…

“Don’t come any closer!”

We were your guardians, Ami thought silently as she recalled the coldness in Princess Sailor Moon’s voice. Would you be willing to sacrifice us, too? Do you truly care for nothing and no one but Endymion?

Usagi was terrified, or so she had confessed to Ami earlier that evening. She was scared of becoming the Princess whilst she was asleep again and hurting someone. Ami had been so moved by the tears in her friend’s eyes, that they had decided that Usagi could stay at her house for the night. That was Ami could keep an eye on her and, so Usagi had declared, that Ami was the only one who could sleep through class the next day and still get straight A’s.

Ami smiled sadly. She couldn’t sleep… she hadn’t been able to sleep since it happened… Nephrite… Her heart clenched and again tears sprang into her eyes.

“Ami-chan?” Usagi repeated, her own glaze as downcast and mournful as Ami’s own, “You’re not scared are you?” she added hesitantly. “You’re not scared that the Princess will hurt you.”

“No” Ami shook her head, “I believe in you, Usagi-chan.”

“You do?” Usagi squealed and threw her arms around her stunned friend, “Thank you, Ami! I knew you would always stick by me no matter what!”

“Well you believed in me” Ami smiled, managing to free herself from this suffocating embrace, and recalled, with much shame, Dark Mercury and what she had done.

You believed in me, Usagi-chan, even when I didn’t believe in myself…

******

The palace gardens were just as Minako remembered them from her previous flashback. The rolling lawns… the marble statues and beautiful gushing fountains and, most importantly, the Sakura trees where Minako and an older Zoisite would often snatch a few minutes of privacy from the outside world. Now, though, Minako saw a reflection of herself staring back at her rather than the man she loved.

Children were running around the maze of trees, playing tag and then stopping to throw handfuls of Cherry Blossoms into the air. Servants scolded their actions, but smiles were playing on their lips as they watched these playful antics. The King and Queen sat on makeshift thrones, drinking sake and laughing at the playful demeanour of their son and his friends.

Minako could easily pick out the Shitennou. Kunzite leaned up against a tree, frowning down at Jadeite, Nephrite and Endymion who were joining in this game of tag. Yet, even the oldest Tennou was smiling and obviously enjoying the evening. Zoisite stood on the fringe of the trees, leaning up against a tree trunk, obviously not enjoying himself or caring that he looked bored. Still, Minako could see the longing and want to go and join the other children, in his eyes and her heart ached for him as she recalled that feeling… every time she saw Usagi with her friends.

It was the same for each scene of the past she viewed. Minako watched, a lone witness as Zoisite grew up as one of Endymion’s guardians, yet becoming more and more detached from the others, but, equally, the most loyal to his Master. It pained Minako to see Zoisite on the outside whilst Endymion practiced his swordsmanship with Kunzite or had arm wrestling matches with Jadeite or Nephrite. Always alone… always watching… just like she had been…

“Now do you see?” his voice, as the abrupt pausing of the music, forced Minako to snap out of her daze. Slowly, she opened her eyes and found that she was back in the Dark Kingdom. Zoisite sat beside her, his hands resting upon the keys of the piano. They trembled ever so slightly as he awaited her reaction.

“Back then” he continued, “I was not the same person… but at the same time I was no one. All that existed for me was serving the Master. We could not think of ourselves, we did not have that luxury. Everything we did, we did for the Master and his Kingdom.”

Minako shook her head, “No… I can see it, even if you cannot” tentatively she knelt down beside him and took his hand in her own, “You are like me. I didn’t want to admit that there was more to me than my destiny. I would watch Sailor Moon and the other Senshi and pretend to feel indifferent when really I wanted their friendship, but I was too afraid of what it might mean. You saw Jadeite and Nephrite, too. They retained personalities and individuality throughout their duty at Endymion’s side. Even Kunzite did. You were so dedicated and loyal to the Prince that you failed to see yourself as a person, too. But” she took a deep breath, “I saw that person. I can see the person you are through your music. I love you because you are you, not because of who you were or who your Master was!”

“Zoisite” Mamoru turned to face the second Tennou, “You told me that I am me.”

Zoisite recalled his Master’s words. His Master wanted to remain Chiba Mamoru almost as badly as Zoisite wanted to find his place in this world. He was scared, he admitted dully. If he left Beryl then he would have nothing. Nothing in this world to hold onto. Him fearing what Beryl might do was nothing more than an excuse. He stayed in the Dark Kingdom because he wanted the Master to become so again and tell them what to do. Zoisite was unable to unite the Shitennou against the Dark Kingdom because he had not forged friendships with them in the old kingdom.

Zoisite stared down at Minako and then pulled his hand from her grasp. Why had he let her talk him into this? Why must he feel so strongly for her when she was causing him to question everything in his life? She was destroying everything he had!

“It is time you went back to your own world,” he said a little coldly and Minako’s face flushed with a mixture of hurt and fury.

“You don’t want to face up to it! Why not? What is so terrible about being yourself? I had your doubts and you helped me to overcome them! Why can’t I help you do the same?”

“Because it is different,” Zoisite snapped back, “I am different.”

“How different?” Minako challenged him.

Zoisite lowered his head, already hating himself for it as the words passed his lips, “The Princess destroyed the Earth Kingdom and the three of us with it. Before he died, Kunzite made a deal with Beryl. That is what comes of caring for my fellow Tennou. Kunzite was reborn on Earth as a human before Beryl awakened him and we were left to serve her. Kunzite handed our souls over to her so that we might live. What do you think will happen if we die before this awakening of Beryl is destroyed? We will be returned to Metallia until she can either grow strong enough to destroy this world or we will be revived in future awakenings. Every time we are reborn, it will be to serve Beryl and all because of Kunzite’s foolishness.”

There, he had said it. He had voiced the guilty secret that only Zoisite and Kunzite knew. The reason Kunzite loathed and feared the second king. Zoisite shuddered slightly as he awaited Minako’s reaction. It was not, however, what he was expecting.

“Then I will set you free… all of you” she decided.

“That is impossible” Zoisite replied, recalling Nephrite’s fate.

“No” Minako whispered, reaching up to caress his cheek, “You have shown me who you truly are and I will save you. You do care for the other Tennou, perhaps more than you would like to admit. I will free you from this evil.”

Zoisite couldn’t speak. What could he say when her mind was obviously made up? He knew it couldn’t be done. Death couldn’t free them and life simply imprisoned them. Instead he gently stood, holding Minako in his arms as a teleport took them both from the room.

When they reappeared they were in Minako’s hotel room once more. She was asleep in his arms, the trials of the day taking more out of her than she would care to admit. Zoisite smiled and laid her down on her bed, pulling the white duvet over her and pausing just briefly to place a tender kiss to her lips. Minako smiled slightly in her sleep, but did not wake.

Zoisite left the room, but did not go back to the Dark Kingdom. Instead he cast his glamour and walked. The parks of Tokyo were very beautiful this time of year. The cherry blossoms falling from the trees reminded him of the life he had once had, and the young woman who needed him so much…

******

“Thank you, Ami! I knew you would always stick by me no matter what!”

“Well you believed in me”

Usagi sighed as she recalled Ami’s words and leaned back against the counter, accidentally bumping Ikuko’s arm as she did so. Her mother cursed as she dropped the bowl full of cake mixture and it splattered loudly to the floor.

“Usagi!” she snapped angrily, “Look what you’ve done!”

Ami-chan… she had seemed so distant… so much in pain… Usagi hated seeing her like that. It hurt her so much…

“Usagi!” Ikuko grabbed a hold of her arm, startling the young teenager out of her thoughts.

“Mama! That hurts!” she squealed and then stared dumbly at the cake mixture on the floor.

“Sorry!” she cried, genuinely meaning it as Usagi knelt down to clean up the mess.

Ikuko sighed whilst Shingo shook his head and went back to watching the TV. Then the doorbell went.

“I’ll get it!” Usagi declared cheerfully, practically racing to answer it. It could be Ami-chan, or Rei-chan or Mako-chan with another cake!

As Usagi pulled open the door, she suddenly became speechless as she stared up at the man on the other side of the door. In fact, she stared well beyond the point of politeness and then let out a delighted shriek:

“Minako’s Manager!”

Satchou sighed, deciding he had definitely found the Tsukino household.

*****

Minako sat on the hospital bed, casting a glance at Artemis hidden under a bag of clothes as the doctor came back into the room.

It is just a routine scan, Minako told herself. Nothing to be afraid of.

Yet the doctor looked deadly serious as he re-entered the room, her results in hand.

“Aino-san” he began with difficulty, “It is not good news. The tumour is growing much faster than we anticipated. Without the operation very soon, your life will continue to shorten.”

“I see” Minako nodded, she had heard all this before, “How long are we looking at?”

Two months with Zoisite? Three, four? Five if she was lucky?

“Two weeks.”

“What?” even Artemis made a strangled gasp at this.

“No” Minako shook her head, feeling that familiar wave of dizziness and panic overtake her once more, “You have to be mistaken.”

“There is no mistake. Unless you have the operation immediately then you will only live for another to weeks at the most.”

“I see” Minako felt as though she was walking in slow motion as she got down off of the bed and reached for her bag. Ignoring the doctor’s calls to come back, she left the room.

Zoisite… only two more weeks… then let us make it last a lifetime…

******

Kuroki Mio scowled to herself as she entered the dark and gloomy rooms belonging to the second Tennou of the Dark Kingdom. The traitor’s aura was everywhere, even whilst he was absent, and this caused Beryl’s shadow to cringe. She could feel the Queen’s own anger bubbling forth as she gazed upon the piano and Mio suddenly had the most insane urge to destroy the damn thing, lest the meddling fool interfere again with her plans to make Endymion her own.

She didn’t understand it. Why did Beryl continue to keep the traitor alive? He, and the two other Tennou, was fast outgrowing their usefulness now that Endymion was trapped in the Dark Kingdom.

Mio wanted to hear the traitor scream… she wanted him dead for ruining her plan and joining forces with a Senshi. How could Beryl let him live? That was why Mio was here now. She would find something… anything that would make Beryl mad enough to finish him.

She moved to the piano itself. It was bare, except for a few sheets of rainbow parchment that lay scattered about and a quill pen. Mio’s scowl turned into a grimace of fury. Was there nothing? Moving away from the object, she placed a hand on his bedroom door and pushed. Surprisingly the door opened and Mio stepped warily inside. If he caught her here…

He would not… she wouldn’t be long… Her hawk-like gaze scanned the sparse room until it rested upon something set upon his bed, half hidden under the coverlet.

Grinning, she pulled back the bed linen and her grin widened. Sitting, almost as though it were waiting for her, was a tiny plushie wearing a Sailor V fuku. Mio reached out with a hand, closing a fist around this simple thing. She had found what she was looking for. The traitor would die and not even Endymion would be able to save him this time…

more to come soon!