Erasing Lives

Post-Walpurgisnacht: the Dark Kingdom contingent face Beryl's wrath. Endymion and Kunzite know why. Nephrite and Zoisite know less - and might even have a chance of getting out mostly intact.

Date: 2016-01-31
Pose Count: 19
Queen Beryl 2016-01-31 23:03:22 26035
Of course, Queen Beryl had been watching the fight against Walpurgisnacht. She'd seen the goings on. She'd even seen Jadeite make an appearance. She had seen... well, she had seen all too much, with the barrier fading in and out. She had, impressively, managed to retain her calm sanity until the damned monster had fallen.

But the moment it did she made it /implicitly/ clear EVERYONE was to return to the throne room - rage building in her like an uncontrolled forest fire. The slaying of Jadeite hadn't even calmed it - in fact, that was explicitly AGAINST the command of 'everyone get here' so now there was nobody left not on her rage list. In fact, the stabbing of Jadeite had been the last straw, and she grabbed her crystal ball and HURLED it across the room where it shattered into a thousand peices, spraying shrapnel across the room and into a few unfortunate courtiers. And the call came out again, shrill and angry and echoing inside the heads of three generals and one price, loud enough to cause a piercing headache. "ALL OF YOU GET HERE RIGHT NOW OR I WILL DRAG YOUR CORPSES BACK TO THE DARK KINGDOM AND I WILL KILL ALL OF YOU IF ANY OF YOU DELAY!"
Mamoru Chiba 2016-01-31 23:13:08 26038
In the split second of hallway that Endymion tends to favor before walking, like a human being, into the throne room, he'd laid a hand on Zoisite's shoulder and briefly squeezed it. Right in front of Nephrite and Kunzite.

But then there's that screech in their heads, and the blue-eyed Prince winces before pushing open the enormous doors and stepping in. He walks up with head held high and impassive expression, and--

--does not kneel. He inclines his head slightly, an acknowledgement only: after all, he came when he was called.

"Your Majesty," he says.
Zoisite 2016-01-31 23:17:06 26039
Zoisite's arrival is an instant after Endymion's, but in far worse order. Jadeite had already turned his power against the youngest general before Mercury added her share. The petals of his teleport narrow in, slashing at the ice half encasing him; he shatters it a moment later, driven more by the intensity of Beryl's call than by any concern over frostbite or air. His jacket is still stiff with frozen blood. That, he leaves alone, drawing himself upright instead to follow Endymion into the heart of the Dark Kingdom. His bow to Beryl, hand over what passes for his heart, is deeper than necessary. Precisely and a little desperately correct. Drawn in on himself not quite so much as usual - the mingled respect and terror that the Queen inspires at war with his certainty over his actions, and with the momentary sating of his taste for death.
Nephrite 2016-01-31 23:26:17 26041
Nephrite is a ball of directionless rage. It roars in his ears and burns beneath his skin--and he knows, he /knows/ that there is not one thing he can do about it right now. The glance he shoots Kunzite is murderous, but he does nothing more than that. Cannot do more than that. Every ounce of his willpower is bent towards reining in his emotions.

His left shoulder bleeds freely from where Sailor V's beam struck him, but he pays it no heed as he clasps his tightly-coiled fist over it. His bow gives him time to stare intently at the floor, and to figure out how to unclench his jaw enough to speak when required.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-01-31 23:35:06 26044
That second call from Beryl may have made one thing clear to Nephrite: Kunzite was not threatening him, out on the field. Warning him. That talk on Nephrite's terrace: "Our Queen's been increasingly impatient for the last few months."

Kunzite's definition of 'impatient' might be a little overly broad.

The mark he bears of V's anger is a lesser wound than Nephrite's, but it sliced close to his left eye, and he keeps the rest of the group on his right-hand side as they enter. Still able to see Nephrite's contained rage and Zoisite's lethal hands past the damage that the Crescent Beam did to his vision. It'll recover, if he lives through this.

Three more precise steps, and he leaves Nephrite and Zoisite at his back, taking up a place behind Endymion and to his side. His bow is as tightly controlled as Nephrite's. His eyes are dead, the color of ashes.
Queen Beryl 2016-01-31 23:52:32 26050
Beryl actually gets up out of her chair and walks slowly towards the group. Okay. Beryl stomps LOUDLY AND INTENTLY at the group. With a wave of her hand, the Youma Court vanishes into the shadows, leaving ONLY Beryl and the four men. "I do not even know where to begin." she says, and holds out her hand. Her ivory staff, topped with the red gem, appears. And she points it, first, at Zoicite.

"I told you I wanted all of you to return. That IN NO WAY MEANS STAB ONE OF THE OTHER ONES." she says and the tip of the staff unleashes a little red beam, thin and bright, which strikes out for Zoicite. It's not a lethal attack - it's a symbol of her disapproval, a burst designed only to cause a very extreme pain.

And then she's pointing at Nephrite. "I told you to defeat the monster known as Walpurgisnacht, but under no circumstances did I tell you to assist one of our most hated enemies in her efforts! It would've been vastly more useful to us to have both the monster AND Walpurgisnacht dead."

Kunzite gets an equal glare. "And you. Just like with the other one, there's a line between helping and saving, and you crossed it. I thought you were the smartest of them but apparently you've been in that body so long you forgot who gave it to you! And the conditions under which you get to keep it."

And then Endymion gets her attention, oddly enough, last. Maybe it's because she's that upset with him. "And you. I think Zoicite may have stabbed the wrong traitor." she growls. Just because she has an entirely unhealthy obsession with the boy doesn't mean she is willing to forgive such a flagrant display of kissing not-her. She sees his blue eyes as she walks up. Staff hits the ground and makes an echo. "Why is it that whatever I do for you isn't enough? You're such a selfish little brat!" she yells in his face.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-02-01 00:14:06 26058
Endymion's expression flattens further when Beryl shoots Zoisite, but he doesn't look. He doesn't look when any of them are yelled at.

But when Beryl comes at last to him, his blue eyes meet her furious red ones. "You put them below me, second only to you, Majesty. I told them to guard the fighters, those most capable of pouring the right kind of energy into Walpurgisnacht to take it down. I directly ordered Nephrite to cover Jupiter, and Kunzite to cover Venus. They had no reason to question those orders, as they believed I was working under your ineffable aegis, and you've made it clear that it is not ours to question your reasoning."

The faintest hint of a smile turns up one corner of his mouth. "Once I remembered who I was, it was easy to take advantage of their trust in your judgement. After all, you must have had a reason to put me in charge of them, right? So the logic is that they should have been able to trust me, since you clearly did."

His voice goes very, very quiet. Just for Beryl. "You can't trust someone who remembers your sword going through his chest. You'll never own me, I will sabotage everything."
Zoisite 2016-02-01 00:16:29 26059
"But, Queen Beryl-sama --" The boy's light voice rises in familiar protest, a tone he only uses when he's absolutely certain both that his reasoning is correct and that, if he could only give Beryl information she doesn't yet have, she'd agree with him. That thin red light cuts off his words, wracks his body in sudden agony.

He doesn't scream. He's learned a long time ago not to interrupt Beryl with something as trivial as that.

When it ends, he collapses to his knees, then scrabbles to force his position into something more like formal penitence than the shivering huddle it began as. He doesn't try to speak again. If she wants to hear from him, she'll tell him.

And when Endymion's smile touches the tone of the prince's voice, Zoisite goes very, very still.
Nephrite 2016-02-01 00:32:15 26068
The only movement out of Nephrite at his queen's chastisement, at Zoisite's screamed protests, is a tightening of his fists. He keeps his eyes trained on the ground, waiting out the storm. Kunzite certainly understated things when he mentioned Beryl's "impatience."

But then he hears Endymion's voice. The same voice that called out to him in the labyrinth. It makes his head swim, makes visions of some other place flicker in place of the dark throne room. Nephrite draws in a breath and holds it. Not here. Of all places, not here.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-02-01 00:49:01 26073
Kunzite's head turns at the bright red light, something reflexive, automatic. He keeps himself from moving, somehow; holds himself steady long enough to be certain that the strike is not lethal, and then returns his attention to Beryl. Tracking her closely enough to be able to keep half an eye on Endymion -- half an eye being all he can presently use on that side. When that baleful attention turns to Kunzite himself? Dead eyes close, briefly, under Beryl's harangue. Kunzite bows his head to their Queen, stiff and precise. Accepting reprimands and threats evenly. Displaying at least minimal submission to both.

And then she turns her attention on Endymion, and the control he's kept for almost two months begins to fray.

It's nothing obvious. Small changes. Subtle changes. His hands tightening like Nephrite's; the tension in his shoulders easing into something that can move more fluidly, more quickly. That is ready to move on the instant. Watching Beryl.

He can't hope to oppose her. She gave him this body; the odds that he's physically capable of so much as lifting a hand against her are -- low. But for all that he's been chief of Queen Beryl's monsters for two ages now, he was Endymion's monster first.

And she's killed Endymion in front of him once already.
Queen Beryl 2016-02-01 01:25:01 26086
Beryl's rage is incensed - not by the way in which the boy tries to weave a bit of legalese into the events of the night, but by the things he says privately to her in that quiet tone. And her movement is swift, quick, wrapping a clawed hand around his neck and lifting him up into the air. Before she throws him, hard, bodily, against the wall of the chamber with a great deal of force. At least as much rage as she unleashed upon her scrying orb. And she's walking through, staff in hand, pointing it at him. But what she says is different than what he might have intended or expected.

"You lept on that sword, Endymion. It wasn't meant for you. And you know that. You jumped on the sword and made that decision. And now I see you trying to do it again. Not just for that girl, but for the other men I summoned to stand in front of me. But it's been a long, long time since that happened." she says, walking until she stands over him.

"I'm not putting another sword through you. That's where everything went wrong. That's where all of my plans went downhill, you see. I remember it all too well. And I'm not going to repeat that part of history."

And she's not even turning towards Kunzite or Nephrite, but all she says to Kunzite is. "And your facade has been slipping for some time now, Kunzite. You might as well drop it."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-02-01 01:31:46 26090
Lifted by the neck, Endymion's hands come up to pry uselessly at that hideous strength, and his face is a grimace of airless determination-- and then he's flung at the wall faster than Jupiter might throw a tree, and he hits with a sickening crack.

He falls as limply as a ragdoll.

He is still moving, here and there, a leg, a hand-- but then she stands above him, and his blue eyes are alight with hatred as she speaks, even if they cannot focus, even if he sees four Beryls when one is more than enough.

When she addresses Kunzite, his face turns bitter and his eyes close-- but his expression finally clears.

It's a mercy when he passes out.
Zoisite 2016-02-01 01:36:32 26094
It's not when Beryl strikes that Zoisite moves. It's not when Endymion hits the wall. It's not even when Beryl starts talking.

It's when Beryl starts talking about remembering that the boy scrambles across the floor, not wasting the time to get to his feet. He coils behind Nephrite, whose rage is suddenly the least threatening thing in the room. One hand hovers by his mouth; his eyes are immense, painfully wide, and not so much uncomprehending as wishing desperately that they were.
Nephrite 2016-02-01 01:42:01 26096
Nothing at all makes sense to Nephrite. Not the words from Beryl's mouth, not the prince lying on the floor, not Zoisite's sudden terror. What he does know is that moving right now would be unwise. And that no amount of anger he feels can make his brothers cease to matter to him.

His hand drops to Zoisite's shoulder, fingers curling into the fabric of his uniform. Reassuring them both.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-02-01 01:55:17 26103
Kunzite is fast. Was ready to move. Was barely more than a step away.

Beryl is faster.

By the time Kunzite could reach Endymion, could try to pull her out of the Queen's way, she already had him in hand; the Prince was not where Kunzite had moved for.

The look on his face when Endymion struck the wall already gave Kunzite away, openly, before the other two. Because he had an expression. Pain and shock as if he'd taken the impact himself. Horror. Self-hatred. Cold rage and a colder hate.

And he's at Beryl's heels, a stride or three behind her. Safe enough for her. He knows he can't harm her. He doesn't waste energy on trying.

He kneels down at Endymion's side instead, half-facing the Queen, his head bowed, and reaches to lay a hand on the unconscious prince's arm. She could strike him away with as little effort as it takes her to blink, and he knows it.

And he smiles, slight, feral, damned.

"It was worth the try."
Queen Beryl 2016-02-01 02:02:36 26105
"You're a better actor than I would've given you credit for, Kunzite." she says, quietly, just to him. "I'll have to remember that for this next time."

And she leaves him there, leaves Kunzite to round on the remaining members there. "I am done fucking around." she says, calmly - the tone of her voice at extreme odds with the things she's saying and the threats she's making. It's clear that what was done and the attitude Endymion showed her flicked a switch.

"The next time any of you fails me, I will put you through such torment that..." and her eyes rest on Nephrite "...a certain seer's last few months will feel like a a blissful paradise compared to it."

"And since you all seem so attached to each other, to this boy... rather than do doing your DAMNED JOBS... Each and every one of you is going to follow me to the chamber. We're all going to have a nice little personal chat with Our Great Leader. And then you idiots are going on a field trip before our enemies..."and she breaks from her calmness to shout loud enough it echoes inside thier minds, because the shout is as much psychic as verbal "DO YOU EVEN REMEMBER WHO OUR ENEMIES ARE?!" and she's back to the calm tone "...before they can beat you there."
Zoisite 2016-02-01 02:14:29 26109
Zoisite's hand comes up to meet Nephrite's, covering it, fingers tightening. Clinging to one brother not ten minutes after murdering another, not twenty after the three of them were fighting beside each other, watching one another's back. It's a useless gesture, a desperate attempt to find some shred of comfort even knowing it's about to be ripped away.

It's enough to let him climb to his feet and keep his place beside Nephrite.

Maybe he'll miss him when they're both dead.
Nephrite 2016-02-01 02:24:22 26115
Nephrite should know better than to openly cringe away from any threat of his queen's, but her reminder of his recent ordeal is enough to make him do so. He forces his eyes away from Kunzite, away from the mysterious prince who seems so familiar. There is nothing he could do for either of them now, even if he did have half a clue of what is going on.

As docile as any well-trained guard dog, Nephrite bows differentially to his queen. Even if his fists still remain clenched.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-02-01 02:37:26 26122
Out of options. Out of moves. Resisting, fleeing, trying to rescue the prince - any of these things Beryl could counter in an instant, with her control over his nature, and they'd only win more restrictions and more pain, and perhaps more deaths. The only thing Kunzite can do for his surviving brothers, in turn, is not make Beryl any angrier than she is. Endymion kept three of them alive. Better than it could have been. He closes his eyes for a moment - closes them tighter at that psychic shout. Asks no questions. And gathers Endymion's broken body into his arms, trying to do as little added damage as he can. It's impossible to do none. That's bearable. He's hurt him worse than this before.

Losing Jadeite is not bearable. He can't think about that now. He can't think about the certainty that he's not going to get another chance; he can't risk wondering whether he did enough with this one. He only rises, silent, to fall in behind the Dark Queen.