A Sailor Moon fic by Gigi
Disclaimer: Nothing's mine.
Chapter 13: Silver Light
A/N: Guys, you are all amazing. In one day, I got 26 reviews for the last chapter, and then even more after that. I've never gotten such a big response to a chapter, and I'm ecstatic that you liked it! Here's the next chapter for you, and I hope you are as enthusiastic about this one as you have been so far!
The sounds of battle were everywhere, confusion and chaos ripped across the courtyard. Usagi didn't know what was going on, where she was, who all these people were. All she could understand was the red. So much red sprayed and splattered around her. Horrified, she felt warm liquid soak through her slipper. She didn't look down, wishing that her dress wasn't actually dragging through puddles of blood.
Tears blurred her vision as she called out for someone, anyone, to make sense of this hell. It wasn't until she felt that surge of panic that she registered her arms and face stinging with cuts and bruises, her singed pigtails whipping in the howling wind that both seared her skin and chilled her to the bone. She didn't want to admit it, squeezing her eyes shut and shaking her head back and forth furiously until—
The scream rent the air, and there was no denying it. This was her dream, Usagi realized as she allowed her moisture-ridden eyes to slide open. Only now she could see, she could clearly see every last gut-wrenching detail of the white-haired general yanking his jet-black sword out of Sailor Venus' stomach. Time slowed to a crawl as Usagi watched the crimson stain spreading across her senshi's abdomen, the blood bubbling out of her cousin's—her sister's—mouth, and her best friend crumpled to the ground. A sob tore out of Usagi's throat as she stared into those cornflower blue eyes already glazed over in death. She was so fixated on those unseeing eyes that she didn't notice how much time had passed. Time was absolutely pointless as she cried for her best friend, the girl who'd seen her through everything, who'd seemed so indestructible. But the battle raged on around her, and boots slipped in the blood now surrounding the orange-clad warrior.
An icy chill ran through Usagi, breaking her trance. She turned her head slowly, and terror shot through her body. Malice and pure, unadulterated hatred permeated the space around her, all stemming from the sinister spire of a woman standing not five feet away. Her hair was the color of fire, if fire were able to bleed. Her eyes had no color, no whites, nothing but that solid, all-consuming black. The air behind her seemed to roil and twist in a shadow that cloaked her like the mantle of a Queen. Usagi couldn't look away from those black orbs that glittered so victoriously, but her ears picked up the faint rasp of a sword sliding out of its scabbard. A blade darker that the most unrelieved night drew in any light around it and suddenly the teenager couldn't move a muscle.
Dread filled her to the brim at that deep bellow, which now carried the timber of a voice she knew far too well. A man in deep blue and silver armor leaped in front of her. Usagi wanted to empty her stomach when she looked up into that face that stared at her so tenderly and felt warm, strong hands rest gently on her bare arms. Jet black hair fell into his piercing cobalt eyes, eyes which held so much love and passion in their depths. Usagi's dread multiplied a thousand-fold in the moments she stared into Mamoru's face, watched that strong, beautiful face twist in pain as the light-eating sword plunged into his back.
Her heart shattered into millions of pieces, and each piece in turn shattered into a million more. For a moment, Mamoru enveloped her in his warmth one last time before he fell at her feet. Usagi dropped to her knees, screaming incoherently at the top of her lungs. Tears flowed in rivers down her face as she fisted her protector's soft cloak, blood meeting her fingers.
That unbearable pressure grew in her chest, and she was vaguely aware of that horrid…murderer making her way closer. What she wouldn't give for the sweet oblivion of darkness. Unending, unyielding darkness.
The sword that was in her hand could give her that darkness. It could end it.
Silver light burst forth from her body with the painful relief of sheathing the sword in her breast. The hideous, agonized scream of that woman rang in her ears as she slumped forward and welcomed the beautiful, unyielding darkness.
Something cold was against her cheek. She was laying face down on something hard and cold. Tile? Why would she have gone to sleep on tile? More sensations filtered through her groggy brain. Noise, for one. It sounded like a battle was going on around her. And pain, she registered with a groan. Blinding pain coursed through her body, the worst of it focused on her right side.
The groan must have caught someone's attention, as she heard a relieved, "She's waking up!" That voice…she knew it. A name floated through her thoughts—Mercury.
Forcing her eyes open, Sailor Moon—that's who she was, Sailor Moon—tried to breathe through some of the pain. Her eyes darted around as she lay panting on the floor. Directly in front of her stood a pair of blue heeled boots, Mercury's boots. Green ankle boots were planted firmly at the edges of Sailor Moon's limited vision. Those were Jupiter's. And judging front the sounds behind her, Mars and Venus—the names were coming to her more easily now—were guarding her back. Together they formed a bubble in the fighting to protect their fallen soldier.
Me, Sailor Moon realized, clenching her fists to contain the shrieks of pain that needed, begged to escape. I'm the fallen soldier. That thought rankled her for a second, before she remembered that she was being protected without hesitation. Before she remembered how she fell.
Details of the day began floating back to her. Starlight Tower, the duel for the crystals, Kunzite aiming that crystal spear at Tuxedo Kamen's back…Gritting her teeth, Sailor Moon moved her head down enough so that she could see her side. The green crystal that had been meant for Tuxedo Kamen was firmly embedded in her body, bordered by crimson stains on her crisp white fuku and pooling on the tile floor. Seeing it made her pain so much worse! She couldn't keep the agonized moan inside after seeing that jagged crystal sticking out of her side. It throbbed angrily, never letting up for even a second.
She was no good just lying prostrate on the tile. She was sure she could use her tiara from a sitting position if only she could manage to sit up. Panting heavily and squeezing her eyes shut against the tearing in her side, she pressed against her fists and lifted her torso barely an inch off the floor. Her side screamed in protest but she kept going. Two inches. Three inches.
She was halfway upright when a brutal blast echoed throughout the floor. Her eyes flashed open just in time to see Tuxedo Kamen fly into the wall opposite her. His top hat and mask had fallen off at some point so she could see his face clearly as it contorted in pain. His ebony hair fell in front of his eyes as he opened them, determination swimming among the cobalt. His gaze locked with hers, and it was like a dam broke in Sailor Moon's mind.
The dream crashed over the blonde. The same dream as always but horrifyingly real and visible. All the blood, the chaos, the death. His death. Another name floated forward, the one she'd screamed over and over again as she sat in a pool of his blood. Endymion. His name. Tuxedo Kamen's name. Mamoru's name. That flash of gold that always ripped her heart to shreds was the man who was just flung against a wall with an already injured shoulder. Sailor Moon's arms shook, threatening to buckle under her weight, but she took no notice. Blood. There had been so much blood, and some of it had been his. She'd felt his blood seep through her white dress. She'd had his blood on her hands, and she'd sought out that unforgiving darkness because of it. The darkness she hated until she finally saw what it hid. The darkness she killed herself to return to.
She didn't even notice she was screaming. She paid no mind to the burning on her forehead. All she could see was the blood and the death. Her throat was shredding from the volume, and her head wanted to explode. Too much blood. His death. His death. She felt that same pressure in her chest as in her dream, the one that made her so wish for a sword in her hand. She didn't care. No more death. No more blood. Especially his blood. No more!
Heat suffused her body, her brain, everything. Were she able to open her eyes, she was sure her entire being would be made from light. Her fuku melted away, replaced by what felt like silk. She felt her tiara lift off her brow, and with a presence locked away in the back of her mind surged forward.
Mars had only a moment's warning before silver light burst from her fallen companion. It had the force of a physical blow but she managed to keep her footing for a time at least. A searing pain blossomed behind her ear, and with a gasp she fell to her knees. The barrage of light seemed to last forever and take no time at all. When it was over, she was panting, but, she realized for the first time in months, she felt pure and clean.
Mercury turned to look over her shoulder just as light filled her vision. With wide eyes she watched the seven rainbow crystals zoom across the room and into the center of the light, presumably where Sailor Moon sat. Sailor Moon…she'd never seen such power, especially not from the senshi of the moon. As if in a trance, she dropped to her knees and stared into the glowing orb surrounding her friend.
An impossible breeze blew Jupiter's mahogany curls backward as she beheld her friend. From her angle, she could almost see her, but the silver light obscured everything. Kneeling, she squinted up into the figure to see the swathes of white fabric. Flashes of color disappeared into the folds and the light intensified. Jupiter had to shield her eyes from the brightness even as hope bloomed in her chest. Sailor Moon was going to be okay.
Venus whipped around when she heard Sailor Moon scream. So much anguish had been in that scream, a scream she'd never heard outside of her dreams. A scream she'd heard while she lay in a pool of her own blood as everything went even darker than before. She watched the pinprick of light grow on Sailor Moon's forehead and felt the answering glow on her own. When the light enveloped her former cousin, the image of Sailor Moon overlapped that of a blurry woman in a flowing white gown in her mind's eye. Without another thought, she folded herself into a formal bow. Balanced on her left knee with her right foot planted, she put her left fist to the ground and her right over her heart. "Princess," she whispered almost reverently. She had come.
Tuxedo Kamen watched all those emotions race across Sailor Moon's face when she locked eyes with him. For a moment, he forgot the pain in his shoulder, for the pain that shimmered in her cerulean eyes surely surpassed anything he could be feeling. The protector in him wanted desperately to make that look in her eyes go away forever, but something physically held him where he was.
When she started screaming, his heart pounded so hard he thought it might come right out of his chest. He would do anything—anything—to keep her from ever making such a heart-wrenching, agonized sound again.
Warmth tingled in his fingers and spread through his veins until he felt energy thrumming just underneath his skin. Whatever pinned him to the wall disappeared when light exploded from the petite blonde. Never taking his eyes off the orb of silver light that engulfed Sailor Moon's body, he took a step forward. The soft chink of metal settling into place made him aware of the armor he suddenly wore. He'd never even felt the change into his suit of armor from the dreams. His attire made no difference. He kept forward.
When the light faded, he felt his heart beat a different rhythm, and he felt something—or someone—nudge his mind. That someone was spilling over with happiness at the sight before him. He felt a smile break out across his face as he looked upon the most beautiful, loving creature in the universe.
"Serenity," he exhaled, all the joy and caring he felt poured into that one name. That one glorious, brilliant name.
Princess Serenity rose gracefully as the silver sun faded to a faint nimbus about her person. A pinprick of light remained in front of her breast, where a multi-faceted spherical crystal glowed like a full moon. Cerulean eyes flecked with silver scanned the room, taking in the unconscious generals—likely knocked out by the power that woke her—and her senshi. Venus was the only one formally bowing, but whatever had yet to wake in the other senshi's minds bade them also to kneel. And then her eyes found his.
A radiant smile lit up her face as she looked upon her blessedly alive prince. "Endymion." She caressed his name, stretching her arms out for him. She would have gone running into his arms, but the body of her reincarnation was so very weak at the moment. She could feel the echo of the wound in her side, the Silver Crystal lending its healing powers to Sailor Moon.
"Serenity," Endymion responded with equal reverence for her name. He, too, looked as if he wished her could dash to her and twirl her in the air. But his reincarnation was also injured quite badly, if not quite so gravely as Serenity's. He made his way toward her at a stately pace, mindful of Tuxedo Kamen's shoulder. When he finally reached her, he brushed a warm hand across the satin of her cheek. His deep blue eyes crinkled in fondness, drinking in the sight before him.
Serenity sighed into his touch. It really was him. He was here. Tears pricked her eyelids. "I can't believe it's really you," she whispered, her voice hitching. A few beads of moisture trickled down her cheeks and onto his fingertips. She wanted so to close her eyes and stop the crying, but that would require her to stop seeing the man standing so near her. She couldn't do that. Not after so long and so harsh a farewell. She reveled in his presence, feeling nothing but the purest elation. He was alive.
Lips touched her forehead, right on the golden crescent moon nestled above her brow. As innocent as the contact was, it sent Serenity's head spinning. She felt the tears coming faster as he embraced her, breathing in the lavender scent of her golden hair. "I will never be far from you, Serenity," he promised. "But please, for the sake of my heart, never do something like that again."
Serenity scrubbed her face into the fabric covering the top of his armor and shook her head. "I cannot promise such a thing if I could keep you from harm."
Endymion tensed. "I can't promise that I wouldn't follow you if you died trying to save me," he murmured. "It's my entire life to protect you."
Tears mangled her voice a little more as Serenity remembered how she died. "I died the second you did, Endymion," she wept into his chest, trembling. Her delicate hands found purchase in his dark cloak. "I want no part of you giving your life for mine, because I will only repeat what I did before."
"Please." The prince's low voice shook, and he pulled back to look into the flushed face of his love. "Please do not repeat history. Fight, and stay alive. If I am ever taken from you, I promise I will find my way back to you." He brushed a stray strand of golden hair from her face. "Just promise me you will wait for me."
Serenity looked up into his determined, passionate, blazing blue eyes. She felt how tense he was under her hands, how desperately he needed her to be safe and alive, even if he wasn't. It broke her heart, but reluctantly she nodded.
Their quiet reunion came to an end with the groans of the rousing generals. Endymion released Serenity and took up a defensive position in front of her, watching the princess's senshi stand and do the same.
Kunzite was the first to regain his bearings. Blood drained from his face at the scene before him, and he spat in Zoicite's direction, "You fool! You've woken the princess!"
The blond general scrambled to his feet, flushed with anger. "Me? You're the one who hit Sailor Moon!"
"I never should have gone along with your daft plan," Kunzite railed. His silver hair began to rise as he collected dark energy in his palm. "I won't let her kill me for your stupidity!"
Things happened too fast then. Kunzite kept his focus on Zoicite, but when he released the beam of dark energy, it headed straight for the Silver Crystal floating above Serenity's heart. The senshi and the prince all rushed to deflect it to no avail. Serenity watched it approach her, her face so calm it was as if she didn't even see it. And then she brought her hands up to the crystal and thrust it above her head, a pulse racing outward from her body.
Pure white light dissolved the beam effortlessly, but the pulse kept going until it beat at the two Negaverse generals. Kunzite flung up his cape, feeble protection but enough to give Zoicite time to touch the floor and bend the Tower's dimensions even further to his will.
Satisfaction warred with pain on the younger general's face as he stood. "Have fun finding a way out," he sneered despite how he and Kunzite were now buckled over from the assault. "More likely, you'll starve to death first." With a hand gripping Kunzite's wrist, he teleported them away.
Serenity's power held out until the generals were out of sight, but the second they left the Silver Crystal disappeared into her breast, which once again bore the broach and bow of her fuku. Endymion barely had a moment's warning before she crumpled into his arms, unconscious.
The four senshi peered at the slumbering blonde in the caped man's arms, paying no heed to his transition back to Tuxedo Kamen. For a few moments, the only sounds in the top floor of the Starlight Tower were the sounds of labored breathing.
"So," Jupiter broke the silence, awe seeping into her voice, "Sailor Moon was our princess all along." She stepped up to her unconscious friend and swept back the golden strands that had fallen free of her pigtails. Snapshots of memory flashed in her mind as she looked down on the senshi of the moon. Jupiter had just moved to the Moon Palace to train to be a senshi at the tender age of 10, and she'd been hiding from her trainer in a rose garden when a curious pair of bright blue eyes poked out from behind a rosebush. Tenderness shone in Jupiter's eyes as she put a hand up one of her rosebud earrings. "She looks like her," she whispered. She shook her head disbelievingly. "I can't believe we didn't even remember what our princess looked like. She looks exactly the same."
"She does," Mars agreed, but she was remembering Serenity's mother. Queen Selenity had been the one who wielded the Silver Crystal, and her daughter had only ever exhibited a fraction of that power. "She's become as powerful as the Queen was."
Venus walked up beside Jupiter, putting a gloved hand on the brunette's shoulder. "I grew up with her since we were both infants, and I had no idea she was our princess." She sounded disappointed in herself—despite the fact that she knew any memories involving the princess had been blocked intentionally until she awoke—but she said it to reassure Jupiter. They couldn't have known before this. But, Venus thought to herself, she still should have known somehow!
"Venus," Mercury called quietly. Venus looked over her shoulder at the blue-haired senshi. "When we were trying to get into the building, your forehead lit up the same way Sailor Moon's did, and you used that same white light to get through the doors."
"I did, didn't I?" Venus's eyes widened as she recalled what she'd done to get inside, the implications of it. She turned back around and grasped Sailor Moon's limp hand. "I was Serenity's cousin in the Silver Millenium," she announced barely above a whisper. "Our mothers were sisters, and I grew up in the palace with her."
"You didn't live on Venus?" Mars asked. From the fragments of memory that floated forward now that the Silver Crystal was whole, Mars gleaned that she and every senshi supposedly grew up on their respective planets and were the firstborn daughters of the royal families of their planets. She'd had two other sisters, twins, who were three years younger than her. Mars remembered them crying and holding onto her skirts when she had to say goodbye to them to go to the Moon for training. She was only 10, but she'd felt so much older than them that she thought she wasn't allowed to cry in front of them however much she wanted to. She remembered crying the entire way to the Moon Palace.
Venus shook her head. "My mother was Lunarian and my father was the King of Venus until I was born. He didn't want to give up his family, but he didn't want to force the burden of giving up your first daughter onto his younger brother. So he abdicated while I was still an infant and moved us to the Moon Palace so I could be the senshi from Venus, and he and my mother could still be a part of my life." She stared into space, her eyes glassy from the memories. "It was because my mother was sister to the Queen that they were allowed to come live in the Palace with me."
"So you're part of two royal bloodlines," Mercury inferred.
"I am." Venus shrugged and squeezed Sailor Moon's hand. "I guess being part of Serenity's bloodline allows me to harness a portion of the Silver Crystal's power."
"As important as this conversation is," Tuxedo Kamen interrupted through gritted teeth. "Both Sailor Moon and I are quite seriously injured, and we're in the middle of a Negaverse dimension." All the girls gave a start, making the masked hero roll his eyes. They really had forgotten where they were!
"Right, we should get some place safe," Venus agreed, trying desperately to tamp down the flush in her cheeks. "Jupiter, take Sailor Moon before Tuxedo Kamen keels over." The man in question made a strangled grunt, which Venus ignored; she didn't have time to nurse his pride. "Mars, help Tuxedo Kamen. Mercury, find us a way out of here."
The bruised and battered party slowly made their way down the endless flights of stairs. Mars had Tuxedo Kamen's arm around her neck as she supported him around the waist. Funny, she thought wryly, how often I've imagined Mamoru and I walking like this, but now that we are it's nothing like what I wanted. That thought brought the raven-haired senshi up short. She'd found out Mamoru was Tuxedo Kamen today and it hadn't even registered until just now.
"Mars?" Tuxedo Kamen's strained voice alerted her to the fact that she'd stopped walking.
"Sorry." Shaking her head, she resumed their descent. "So," she murmured, hiding behind her curtain of black hair. "Mamoru is Tuxedo Kamen."
She felt him stiffen slightly before he answered, "Yes."
Violet eyes darted to Sailor Moon's lax form draped over Jupiter's back. "I guess that makes sense. You and Usagi have been getting along much better lately."
"Actually, we were starting to get along better before we found out about each other," Tuxedo Kamen mused. Mars had the feeling he couldn't quite believe that himself.
"And you're a prince?"
She felt him nod. "Apparently." His voice grew hoarse. "Prince Endymion of Earth."
Mars looked at Sailor Moon's back again, mustering up the courage to ask the question that had been gnawing at her since they'd started walking. "Do you love her?"
Tuxedo Kamen was silent for a little bit. Mars concentrated on the stairs, which seemed to twist nauseatingly to the eye and make it hard to avoid falling, to give him time to think. "Endymion loved Serenity," he finally admitted. "He loved her more than anything in the Universe." He furrowed his brow and peered at the unconscious blonde. "As for Usagi…" He seemed to be sorting out his feelings for the blonde as he talked. "I care about her more than I ever thought I would. I feel better around her, but I've never—we've never…" He dropped his head tiredly. "I don't know. I might."
Mars expected that raging jealousy to come bubbling to the surface, ready to take over and turn her eyes black. She expected the endless struggle with Dark Rei. But it never came. All she felt was her own sharp disappointment that her crush had feelings for her friend and not her. And she could get over that; she'd have to. After all, what girl could compete with a thousand-year-long love? For the first time in a very long while, Mars was surprised to feel no resentment whatsoever toward Usagi.
"We've been walking for a while," she observed, no longer whispering so that the girls ahead could hear.
Jupiter paused to adjust her load, sending a perplexed look toward Mars as if she hadn't noticed until she said so. "Yeah, shouldn't we have reached the ground floor by now?"
Mercury typed away on her computer. "Zoicite twisted this dimension so much that the stairs don't even seem to follow the basic laws of physics," she explained over the clicking of the keyboard. "According to my readings, we've gone from the top floor to the basement to the fifteenth floor and so on. We're currently on the sixth floor."
"But we've only been going down stairs," Mars commented, "not up."
Mercury nodded and snapped her computer shut, a resigned look in her eyes. "Exactly. But if we leave the stairwell, we may come out on an entirely different floor."
A groan slipped past Jupiter's lips. "Zoicite wasn't kidding." She shifted Sailor Moon on her back once again. "But we need to get out fast because these two are losing a lot of blood, and her highness is heavier than she looks."
"I heard that," came a moan from Jupiter's shoulder. Cerulean eyes fluttered open, but Sailor Moon was too tired to even lift her head from its almost hanging position. Still in quite the fog, all she could remember was the pain and that she was apparently royalty now. "Off with your head," she commanded woozily. She was vaguely aware that she'd swung a hand up, but now it fell heavily, dangling over Jupiter's arm.
"Sailor Moon!" Venus called, rushing over to relieve Jupiter of her burden. The pigtailed senshi barely had her feet on the ground, however, before she collapsed again into Venus's arms."
Mercury gasped. "Jupiter, your back!"
Crimson covered the length of Jupiter's back, with only specks of white scattered across the fuku, and Jupiter hastened to clarify none of the blood was hers. "Sailor Moon's been bleeding on me the entire time. She kept slipping, she'd lost so much. We need to get her out of here right now."
"But how?" Mars asked, registering with some panic that Tuxedo Kamen was now leaning more heavily on her than he had before. "All the floors are mixed up."
"We find a floor close enough to the ground and jump out the window," Tuxedo Kamen grunted. Four appalled faces looked back at him. "Does anyone else have a better idea?"
Venus hoisted her cousin on her back. "He's right. Crazy, but right," she growled. "Mercury, can you find a door that lets out onto one of the first five floors?"
Gasping and all but writhing in pain, Zoicite landed on a twisted marble floor so black it seemed to absorb any and all light. He was on all fours staring at that unrelieved darkness that still seemed to churn sickeningly as he watched. That floor alone had caused many a strong stomach to empty, but even the nauseous marble paled in comparison to the fire-haired woman he knew sat on a dais at the end of the room, glaring at him.
This hadn't been where he'd intended to teleport once he fled the tower. He and Kunzite were going to their meeting room in the basement of the Dark Castle, but only Kunzite made it there. His Queen had something quite different in mind for Zoicite when she hijacked his teleport.
He dared not move a muscle. Struggling to get his breathing under control—having your teleport wrenched sideways was an unpleasant experience to say the least—he kept his head bowed and told himself it was only his teleport and the Moon brat's power that made him tremble so, not the heat of rage he felt emanating from Queen Beryl. To move now, before she allowed him to, would be to ask for an eternity of everlasting pain prematurely.
"Report," she demanded in a harsh, acid tone. Her somewhat husky voice held none of the allure it did when she was pleased, only that razor-sharp edge.
"Your Majesty," Zoicite spoke to the marble between his splayed hands. "You did not witness it?" He cringed as the words left his mouth. No matter how humbly spoken, she could—and very likely would—skin him for them.
"Of course, I witnessed it!" Beryl snapped. There was no denying even to himself that he was shaking because of this woman anymore. "I want to hear your pathetic account of the disaster you orchestrated tonight, which not only allowed the Moon Princess to awaken and revive the Silver Crystal, but that also eliminated one of my finest agents!"
Zoicite wet his lips. He wanted nothing so much as to be dead somewhere far, far away. Yes, he'd messed up worse than either of the idiots who'd come before him, and everyone even down to the misshapen underlings lining the room knew it. Haltingly he recounted the events that transpired in the Starlight Tower, not daring to leave out a single detail. She'd seen everything and would be ten times more livid if she thought he was trying to deceive her.
When he was finished, he risked a glance through his eyelashes. Sitting on a mottled black and purple throne, the rail-thin woman held herself rigidly erect. But for her ample bosom, her dark purple gown hung loosely about her form. When they'd first begun their work on this miserable planet, she'd filled out that gown quite nicely; now it barely stayed up. The dark circlet above her brow glowed as it continued to feed off her anger. Her throne rested on a dais, allowing her to glower down her nose at the underlings and at him.
"You have failed me for the last time, Zoicite," she boomed, every word clipped with dissatisfaction. Skinny arms lifted from their armrests to hover around the orb in front of her.
"No, please!" Zoicite begged. Anything but what she sent that fool Jadeite into. He was better than Jadeite. "Please!" The last was a scream as she clenched her hands into fists. He was being picked apart atom by atom, and with the dropping of her arms, he began melting into that sickening marble floor.
Oh, the pain! He'd never felt such blinding, mind-searing torture. Each atom ripped away from him was like a thousand of the sharpest knives digging and twisting in that one spot, all over his body and all at the same time. His shrieks were swallowed by the floor when it finally enveloped his head. All sound was absent, but his shredding vocal cords told him he was still screaming. He lost all ideas of time. What was the point? This was going to continue well beyond any measurable amount of time. Through all of the agony, his mind could focus on only one thought—he would never know peace, or death, only this pain for all of time.
The last of Zoicite's ear-shattering screams finally dissipated, and Queen Beryl gazed imperiously over her expansive throne room. A smirk twisted her blood-red lips upward as she beheld her faithful subhuman underlings shivering in abject terror of what she could do to them if they failed her. Her smirk contorted into a vicious snarl and she barked, "Kunzite!"
Her black-laquered nails tapped an impatient tattoo on the metal of her throne's armrest. The white-haired general materialized in the center of the throne room and immediately folded himself into a deep bow. "My Queen," he said, his voice deep and restrained.
"Zoicite in his bungling unwittingly neutralized one of my best agents," she rasped, tapping her nails faster now. "I need you to go retrieve her so that I can repair the damage."
Kunzite straightened. "Of course, my Queen. Who will I be fetching?"
Her smile returned, a glint in her eye so sinister it made even the implacable Kunzite take a step backward before he remembered himself.
A/N: Guys, you're all amazing. I hope you know that, and remember it. Because I've finally caught up to my writing, and so Chapter 14 is going to be a little bit longer in coming. I'm only about 5 pages into it in my notebook, but I'll definitely be in the writing mood if you continue being as fantastic as you have been so far and review!