Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Toei Animation, and Kodansha Comics.



The Price To Pay

Interlude II:

Price Check

By Gita Toronjil-Lee



Kunzite stared at the ground for a moment, not really seeing the rocky brown earth beneath his feet. Nephrite had gone, and gone leaving a heavy weight on his shoulders. Perhaps if he had known what would happen, he never would have attempted to return Zoisite to him. He didn't want the responsibility of the hurting his lover was going through, but he felt he deserved it.

Was this guilt he was feeling? He thought it was.

He really hadn't meant to interfere with the workings of life and death. All he'd wanted was to ease the unbearable ache within him -- all he wanted was Zoisite. It hadn't seemed like so much. There were so many living creatures in the galaxies; one shouldn't have caused any notice.

But apparently the person who was the most important in his life had affected something else besides Kunzite's heart. This, however, was a negative affection.

Forgive me again, love. I'm going to fix this for you. He made the vow to himself, gritting his teeth angrily, then shook his head at the dirt and began to walk to where his senses told him Zoisite was.

****

Despite his sadness, he laughed.

Oh, but freedom and independence felt so fine, freedom and life, better than he'd ever had it in that miserable existence he'd had in the Dark Kingdom. He hadn't liked anything there; he just fought in the endless, mindless struggle that was the only way of life. He had always hated it, and was absolutely loving this improvement.

Even if he hurt.

Refusal, rejection, replacementů by thatů ouch.

He could deal with it, though.

Nephrite had never been one for sentimentality.

He had never thought Kunzite was, either, though recent events suggested otherwise. He had always considered himself stronger than the so-called Ice King.

This was, of course, barring the circumstances surrounding his own death. In his own mind, he pleaded temporary insanity. He ignored the fact that what he called temporary still hurt him deeply.

And he also chose to ignore the fact that he was minutely jealous; Kunzite was happy now, and still more powerful than he.

It wasn't that Nephrite was unhappy, bitter, or in complete denial of the truth. He was enjoying this adventure, after all; it had been so long since he'd had a real one, one where he felt important. Here he was, a wise sage returned from death itself, with the knowledge, authority, and power of the Stars.

He seemed to remember someone in his past telling him that he'd never amount to more than a drunken fortune-teller. Ha.

In his own mind, he'd made peace with the man who'd had him killed. Zoisite had paid, and after death, all grudges become more or less considered null and void.

Except for losing the sweet Osaka Naru (and for seeing the boy who'd filled his place in her heart -- he knew the poor kid was good to her, and he knew that thanks to the ginzuishou, omnipotent little jewel that it so often was, she didn't remember him, but his replacement was still quite pathetic.), he could almost appreciate the clarity of mind that his death brought.

And it was with this clear mind that he prepared to help enact what he knew was necessary, and then watch the results.

****

It now knew for sure that it had lost three. The queen and the demon were important, yes, and it was certain that their escape was completely impossible, so it did not fear losing them, but the damned Four were still free.

Not good. This desperation would be killing it, if such a thing were possible. So. The stakes needed to be upped, and quickly.


End interlude two

On to Chapter Eight

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