Sweet-Bitter (Kunzite)

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Sweet-Bitter (Kunzite)
Date of Cutscene: 19 December 2015
Location: Dark Kingdom
Synopsis: Content Warning: Nightmare. Kunzite isn't immune to the disruption in dreams that he himself caused.
Cast of Characters: Kunzite, Minako Aino

Sleep hadn't been a necessity for Kunzite for a long time; but it cost him in energy to avoid it, and for the moment, that price was more difficult to pay. His reserves were still low, his injuries only partly mended, and the faster and easier routes to remedy the problem had acquired complications. The season offered opportunities; he wasn't suffering, certainly. But he wasn't recovering as quickly as he should, and he needed that to pass unnoticed. So unnecessary energy expenditure was to be avoided.

Even as he closed his eyes, he was already certain that he was going to regret that decision.

... A year or so ago, he remembered, Zoisite had spent most of a week obsessing over a dead poet's work; a particular fragment, just a line or two; a particular word from that fragment. Glukupikron. No, give it its right spelling, in that awkward script made for incising rather than the smooth elegance of a brush. γλυκυπικρον - there was some sort of accent on the second vowel, but he'd forgotten what it was supposed to be. Sweet-bitter, it meant, and Zoisite had spent hours talking at him about the subtle differences between sweet-bitter and bittersweet, and how it fell into place in those lines, and how another word punned on negotiation and combat to draw both into a single category and negate them at the same time.

"Once again Love, the limb-loosener, seizes me; sweet-bitter, the creeping monster that cannot be opposed."

Given that they themselves were monsters, and that the most Beryl's kingdom had to do with love was the exploiting of it, Kunzite had paid him little attention at the time. He regretted now that there wouldn't be a chance to remedy that. Even if Zoisite had dropped his interest in the poet the way he would have dropped interest in a stray kitten once it had starved to death, he still might have remembered more about that particular monster. Not that it had helped him against her.

Not that much was helping anyone against her.

Endymion's fingers and throat were bleeding from his clawing at the chain. His eyes darkened from ruby-bright to fading coals, to the last of the twilight, to night falling on an ocean never troubled by a wave. When she freed him with a flick of her wrist, his body fell near Zoisite's corpse.

Queen Beryl commanded the youma attendant on her to swarm the intruder in a wave, but they shrank back into the shadows of the throne room instead. They would risk death or dissolution for her on her least whim; but this creature that had come among them was a different order of threat altogether, something they could neither face nor understand.

She lifted a clawed hand and shrieked Kunzite's name, calling him to her defense. But his limbs would not obey either him or her; and a moment later, when her hand closed and she called on something deeper than his name, the radiant dark within him would not obey her, either. He stayed in his place in the intruder's train.

The sorceress knew in that moment that she had no chance at victory; her Great Leader had forsaken her for another. She might have saved herself, or if not saved, at least she might have survived. It would have required an instant surrender, instant obeisance. She held to her pride instead, and tried to fight. She had not heard the scrap of poem. She did not know that what she was fighting could not be opposed.

The intruder lifted her hand, and a cold, cold light tore out what was left of Beryl's heart.

Kunzite felt a faint surprise that that was actually enough to kill her.

Even as Beryl's ashes fell and drifted, the victrix stepped forward to claim her throne, and the youma thronged forward to grovel before her. It would neither help nor save them, Kunzite knew; it would just deny them the small mercy of a swifter destruction, as he had been denied. But it granted them this sight: the Dark Kingdom lit by a golden radiance. Beauty that was sweet-bitter indeed, honey and cyanide, impossible to look away from, lethal to look upon. The Queen of the Evening Star, ushering the final sunset down into an eternal night.

Beryl would have had to conquer the world, to lay it at their Great Leader's feet. All that Venus would have to do was wait for it to come to her.

... He did not, fortunately for his wounds, startle himself awake. His eyes opened, nothing more, and he stared into the dark. The absolute blackness almost reassured him, in contrast to the memory of that poisoned light.

He was acquiring an entirely new appreciation for the scale on which things could go wrong. But he'd have appreciated more never having to consider that there might be an order of magnitude worse than the end of the world.