Continuing Tales

Dark Kingdom Renegades 1: Refugees

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 5 of 7

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It was monday night when Titanite made her move. As everyone had expected there were no youma incidents. For whatever reason it existed the two day cycle seemed real. Tomorrow would be the big one, the day they tried to end this once and for all.

It was close to midnight but none of the adults seemed to think Kunzite would appear as soon as the date changed. She paused by the door to the living room. She could hear them discussing it, trying to make sense of it all.

"Look that section of the docks would be perfect. With Cybertech in receivership there's no activity around their warehouses. It means we don't have to worry about innocent bystanders." Calcite sounded a bit down. Ms. Saito hadn't been at school today and there was still no sign of life at her apartment. Cal seemed to think she might be hiding from him.

"I'll buy that. The only problem is we don't know when the attack will come. Jadeite attacked wednesday afternoon, Nephrite on friday night and Zoisite on sunday morning. Time of day seems to vary widely. It'll make for a long day." Azurite sounded ready for a fight. Why had Azure got to keep her secret identity while she'd had to abandon Sailor Polaris? It wasn't fair! Adults! We're older, we know better indeed. The truth was they had no better idea what was going on that she did.

Pyrite decided to put in his two cents. "Actually there could be another cycle we haven't considered. Afternoon, night, morning. I'd guess Kunzite will appear in the afternoon. If there's a fifth appearance it'd be thursday night, and so on."

"There will be no fifth appearance!" Her brother sounded determined. "This ends tomorrow! The longer this goes on the bigger the risk to all of us. We're damn lucky Ti just got bruised yesterday. She'd dropped her glamour completely so if she'd bled ..."

"That would have been bad. Still didn't you say something about there being English bluebloods?"

"That's just a figure of speech Azure."

"I wondered. Meanwhile we've got something else to consider. Say Pyr's right and Kunzite shows up tomorrow afternoon, can the two of us take him?"

"I've been wondering about that. Particularly if Pyr's right and it's really Jadeite wearing other people's faces."

Pyrite broke in, "It's a better theory that Nephrite and Zoisite returning from the dead. Whoever's behind this has some serious power. No offense Cal, you're tough but you couldn't match one of the four. Jadeite was in the perfect position to fall into our warpgate. I've been thinking it over and none of the other sleepers had that much power. Mainly they were youma around Magnesite's level who managed to offend Beryl so much she deepfroze them instead of simply killing them."

"There's another possibility 'cept she didn't have this kind of power ..." Azurite's voice broke off suddenly. "Uhhh think I've had enough wine. Here Cal why not finish the bottle. You look kind of down." Titanite tried to make sense out of what Azurite had started saying. Who was 'she'?

"Thanks. What were you saying I didn't catch it?"

"Nothing important. Anyway getting back to Jadeite ..."

Calcite cut her off, "I don't think it is Jadeite." Pyrite started to interrupt but Calcite overode him. "I'm the only one who's been at the sight of all three generals' reappearances. Now Jadeite was acting like he'd just got out of his crystal and he had no idea there were now five Sailor Warriors. But Nephrite recognised that girl Naru and Zoisite mentioned hunting for the rainbow crystals. Both of those happened after Jadeite got eternal sleep. If they were really Jadeite how'd he know that?"

Silence followed broken by Azurite saying, "He's got a point Pyr. But that leaves the question of who we're up against, why people around Cal are targetted for energy draining and how it knows who and what we really are?"

"I wish I knew. We also know whoever it is knows Sailor V ... I mean Sailor Venus's real identity. Phoning her and pretending to be Lord Calcite isn't a good sign. Maybe whoever it is plans to expose us to the Sailor Warriors. The only thing we do know is that there must be a youma behind all this. Whoever it is has way too much knowledge about the Dark Kingdom."

"All of which means you don't want to call in the Sailor Warriors for backup?"

"You've got it Azure. Last thing we need is them around when the fake Kunzite says, 'oh by the way Gray and Sailor Arcturus are actually Calcite and Azurite of the Dark Kingdom'. Since we're not facing the real Kunzite we should be able to take him out together. Especially since without any witnesses we'll be able to use our full powers and fight unheroically."

"I don't know about that cousin. Maybe it isn't Jadeite but whoever it is isn't going to be a pushover. He has some real power."

"That Pyr, is why we're counting on your inventions. Attack patterns indicate whoever it is uses precision teleporting to get right next to a target before striking. Your new improved jammers should prevent that. His long range attacks we can face. Make no mistake we are going to end this!"

Titanite figured she'd heard enough. They definitely weren't intending to include Sailor Polaris in their attack plan. She was about to head for the basement when Azurite mentioned the objective of her raid.

"The only problem Cal is we can't be sure the creep'll show up around you. Remember the second Jadeite incident? You weren't present when he materialized. You had to use Pyr's aura tracker to find him. And that was useless until he manifested about a kilometer from you."

Pyrite sounded a little offended at this reference. "Look there are limits to how much range you can give a hand held unit. Which is why Cal had to use a search pattern. Besides even the heavy duty scanner's having trouble with this one."

"Good point. Zoisite appeared in the heart of your sensor web ..."

"And I set it cover the whole zone while he was there. Theoretically if he teleported to anywhere in the zone I should have detected it."

"But you didn't."

"Look I spent hours going over Azure ... the sensor logs. There was no sign of where Zoisite went when he warped. I figure there are three possibilities. The first is the least likely, namely that he left the zone. Since he'd start dying right away I consider it unlikely."

"Then why consider it at all?"

"Just on the wild chance that he's found a way to use human energy to temporarily shield himself somehow while outside the zone. I don't see how you'd do it but it does explain the need to drain humans. The second possibility is he shifted to a pocket universe. If it is Jadeite he could have created or accessed a minor space/time bubble. Remember when he was dumping those buses in that continuum?"

"Yeah. Amazing someone that powerful could screw up so much. So what's the other possibility?"

"That he's still in the zone but he's got a shielded hideout. Somewhere that I can't detect jumps in and out of."

"Like this house?"

Azutite broke in. "You know if this was a horror film he'd turn out to be hidden in here right under our noses."

"I scanned. Only four lifeforms in here."

"Getting paranoid?"

"Just cautious. Now pass the bottle Cal my throat's dry from all this talking."

Titanite slipped away and headed for the stairs. Pyrite's lab was unlocked. He only sealed the basement when there were outsiders in the house. She eased inside and hoped he hadn't added a security system.

No alarms sounded, so far so good. Every surface was covered with crystals of various sizes and shapes. Her cousin had grown most of them since arrival, he'd had to leave most of his old equipment behind in the Dark Kingdom. She'd never studied youma technology, or human technology for that matter. Long as it functioned when activated she didn't care how it worked. Oh she knew a few of the broad principles of magick but the actual nuts and bolts behind it? Not a chance. Still this was now a dying art with Pyrite its' only remaining practitioner. That was a shame though the loss of most Dark Kingdom traditions was something that was fine with her. Particularly the "kill the renegades" philosophy.

She'd been in here earlier this afternoon and innocently asked about tracking down the generals. As she'd hoped Pyrite had pointed out the devices she was thinking about. Now as long as he hadn't moved them ... There!"

The two handheld trackers were still on the same shelf. The heart of it was an enchanted crystal but Pyrite had added a plastic shell and various lights and meters. This made it look like a technological artifact rather than a magical one. She wasn't too surprised to note that they now resembled tricorders. She reached up and removed the unit at the back. Pyrite had mentioned he hadn't bothered telling Cal he'd built a second unit. At the time he'd been expecting both Azurite and Calcite would end up warping around the city trying to track down the mystery youma. But with the current ambush strategy, the enemy's camoflague ability and the trackers short range they weren't going to be much use. So hopefully no one would notice one of them was missing.

Titanite quietly exited the lab and headed for her bedroom. She slipped the tracker into her schoolbag then sat down at her desk. Unfolding her city map she tried to find the docks Cal was planning on waiting at.

School the next day passed with agonizing slowness. Cal and Azure had left early to set their trap. Just in case the afternoon wasn't the time the imposter turned up. Nobody relished the though of Kunzite showing up and zapping their neighbours. Which could mean she'd miss all the action. It wasn't fair, Sailor Polaris should be there!

At lunchtime she phoned home. Cousin Pyrite told her he hadn't heard or sensed a thing. It was all quiet at the docks.

Meanwhile inside a locked warehouse Cal and Azure were unwrapping the burgers Cal had got from a local McDonalds and remembering their favorite foods from the old days. Cal was just mentioning the lack of insects in most human cuisine and the puny size of all the terran ones except lobster. Yes that doesn't really qualify but that's how he thought of it. Anyway as he finished something occurred to Azurite. "Say Cal will your absence cause any problems at work?"

He shook his head. "When you can control minds it's real easy to arrange sick days."

"Oh. So what happened to your spiel about the ethics of doing that?"

"Survival comes first. That probably indicates a certain lack of morality on my part but I'll feel guilty later."

"Whatever works. I'm just lucky the sportswear shoot got rescheduled to thursday."

Calcite smiled and his eyes glowed briefly. "Luck had nothing to do with it."

"You sneaky bastard!" She said it with a certain admiration.

"That's why I'm the leader."

Back at the school, waiting impatiently for the day to end, Ti realized that two people were watching her. Ms. Saito had returned and was teaching today. Whenever Ti passed her in the corridor or walked past her classroom she was stared at intensely. Several times she had the impression Ms. Saito was about to speak to her but changed her mind. Probably something to do with what she'd seen Calcite do on sunday. Ti reminded herself to tell Cal about this whenever she next officially saw him.

The other watcher could be a problem. Minako Aino, aka Sailor Venus seemed to be keeping an eye on her. Whenever she saw Ti was aware of her she'd look away in a hurry. Still it was undeniable, she was being watched. But why? She was using Pyrite's blocker and her own mental disciplines to hide her aura. Assuming the Sailor Warriors could detect youma auras anyway. Her glamour was (supposedly) undetectable especially as it did so little, merely changing her haircolor and bloodcolor (at least within the confines of the illusion).

There might be a far simpler explanation. Perhaps she should have made a few additional changes in her appearance when she became Sailor Polaris rather than simply dropping the glamour. Lucky she'd thought to alter her voice a little by messing with the translator.

Eventually the final bell rang. Ti made excuses to her friends and headed off alone. She did take the precaution of checking she wasn't being followed. But there was no sign of her fanclub. Running as fast as she could without attracting attention she headed for the bus stop. Once there she fished out a notebook and reviewed the route she'd worked out for getting to the docks.

Inside the warehouse Calcite and Azurite waited for action. It was close to the time Jadeite had appeared on wednesday afternoon. Each waited in their own fashion. Calcite leaned against a pile of steel beams and waited to sense the presence. To make doubly sure he had Pyrite's tracker with him. Azurite paced up and down the floor pausing now and then to brush off the dust her footsteps raised. They'd both changed to their goodguy identities some time back and she was pretty sure he appreciated the way she looked as she moved. She handled herself well in combat it was the waiting she found hardest. Which was probably why she said, "Cal?"

"Hmmmm? What's up." He emerged from his introspective haze. Probably daydreaming about his girlfriend again.

"Apart from a few wiseguy remarks you haven't said a thing about how I look. I've noticed you watching so how about an honest opinion?"

"Azure, you are and have always been one of the most beautiful women I've ever known. In your case it's far more than skin deep and were we both unattached I'd be doing my best to get you to notice me."

"That's ... why didn't you say that before?"

"Because when we met I was already involved with Margrave and not long after that you were seeing Pyrite. Just the way things worked out. Maybe it was for the best. You were happy, I was happy. There's not much point in might have beens."

"How bad do you think it's going to be?" Was he saying this because he didn't think they'd make it?

"Difficult but we've taken down tough guys before. Melore, Aszram ... they were dangerous but we make one hell of a team. Don't worry."

"Cal ..."


"Nothing, forget it. Let's just hope this sucker shows up soon so you can go square things with Mai."

Meanwhile Minako had just got home when her mother said, "There's a call for you, dear."

"Thanks Mom." She took the phone from her mother and said, "Hello?"

"Hello Sailor V ..." That voice, Calcite! "... I just thought you might to know where we can hold a little reunion."

"Where!" Her mother heard the venom in her tone and wondered who she was talking to. She thought she heard Minako mutter something about piers and docks. Minako finished the call by shouting, "I'll be there!" and slamming the phone down. Her daughter headed for the front door saying, "sorrysomethingscomeupgottagodon'twaitupbye!" and was gone before she could protest. What was with that girl lately? Gone at all hours, showing up with bruises and feeble explanations as to how she'd got them. What was Minako mixed up in and why hadn't she done something about it before? Oh her friends seemed like nice girls but ...

Something soft rubbed against her leg. She looked down and saw Minako's cat Artemis. He meowed and she picked him up. Such a friendly cat despite the way Minako yelled at him sometimes. She stroked his white fur and he purred with contentment. She caught a reflection in the window. The way the light struck it Artemis's cresent mark almost seemed to glow. She had the strangest feeling she'd been worrying about something but couldn't quite remember what. Oh well it couldn't have been anything important. She kept petting the cat.

Outside Minako had pulled out her communicator and was telling the others ,"All hell's gonna break loose at the docks at six pm. Meet me there!" She broke the connection before Usagi could come up with an excuse. Then ducked behind a wall, check there were no witnesses and shouted, "VENUS POWER MAKE UP!" The transformation completed she headed for the docks at top speed. Time was running out.

At the docks Titanite had jumped a four meter high fence unobserved after changing to her other identity. Sailor Polaris glanced around the silent warehouses. According to her brother all the properties around here belonged to companies that had gone under. Making it the perfect place for his ambush. Only problem was she didn't know exactly which warehouse they were in. Besides if he saw her too soon he'd send her home. More likely he'd take her home by teleportation leaving her too warpsick to interfere.

Which was why she was planning on using the tracker to find the site of the action. She activated the device and turned it up to maximum scan. She should be able to find any youma aura in the vicinity. Unless her brother and Azurite could block all traces of their aura. The tracker bleeped loudly. There was a well shielded youma close by, very close by, almost on top of her!

Then she said a few words that would have surprised Calcite. It was her own aura, she'd forgotten to compensate for that. She made the adjustments Pyrite had shown her and tuned herself out. There was a faint signal to the east. Moving quietly and sticking the shadows she crept towards Warehouse 21. She'd show them that she wasn't useless. Sailor Polaris was going to kick some youma ass!

Meanwhile west of Titanite in Warehouse 15 Calcite started slightly. He'd thought he sensed something. He signalled Azurite to stand ready and tried to pinpoint the source. His mind reached out and found ... nothing. The tracker was silent. Could it just be nerves? The fake generals hadn't made any effort to hide their presences ... with the exception of Zoisite who'd briefly masked his aura prior to striking. Azurite looked to him and he said, "It may have been nothing, I could just be edgy."

"You're not given to jumping at shadows Cal."

"Not as a rule but everyone gets nervous. For now we just wait and see what happens." Both fell silent and waited. They had a far better idea what combat was like than Titanite and had long ago lost their illusions of immortality.

Meanwhile Titanite had reached Warehouse 21. Something was wrong. The very faint signal was completely stationary and only indicated a single presence. She suddenly felt her mouth dry up. What if this was a shielded Kunzite waiting to launch his attack? She hesitated a moment then touched the charm on her bracelet. If things went bad she'd use the emergency signaller and Cal and Azure would teleport to her rescue. In fact this could be good. If she uncovered the bad guy's hideout alone they'd have to acknowledge her value.

The warehouse was sealed and she wasn't about to try 'porting in. Spotting a window on the second floor level she jumped up to it. It was covered by a security screen. She examined it and couldn't see any wires. So hopefully there were no alarms. Ti glanced around to see there weren't any witnesses. None were visible. Good. She didn't want Sailor Polaris wanted for B & E.

Ti braced herself against the ledge, seized one end of the screen and heaved. The heavy wire mesh ripped loose with a (to her) deafening screech. She stopped and looked around. Still no one in sight, the tracker showed no movement inside. She kept pulling until the gap was large enough to squeeze through. She paused a moment to wipe her the sweat from her palms (caused by nervousness not exertion) and slipped inside.

She found herself on a catwalk encircling the warehouse. The place was full of crates but there was a clear patch in the center. The thing in that space was the source of the signal. Whatever it was it didn't even look to be alive, let alone Kunzite. She sighed half in exasperation and half in relief. Whatever it was she'd better check it out. It was faintly radiating youma energy so it must be important.

Titanite jumped from the catwalk and landed without injury. Pity she couldn't use her strength in school sports. She'd have broken olympic records. She crossed to the broken object and tried to figure out what it was, it looked familiar somehow. She picked up a piece and tried to figure where it fit. The indentation looked ... suddenly she knew what it was. The last time she'd seen it it had stood upright and been occupied. She was a genius, she could hardly wait to tell her brother. This meant ... this meant that Cal and Azure were in a lot more danger than they thought! The thought was like a bucket of icewater down her spine. She had to warn them!

Suddenly her tracker screamed! It was detecting youma presence everywhere. She spun around but saw nothing. What was happening? The tracker screamed on warning her of nonexistant enemies all around! Then the hand closed on her shoulder. Her head snapped around and she looked into the merciless pale eyes below the shock of white hair. Kunzite smiled and said "I don't know who you are but that outfit's far too similar to some old enemies of mine. Any last words?"


At the same time Azurite fiddled desperately with the tracker as it continued reporting everywhere in range containing youma. Calcite tried to sense what was going on but felt his mind fill with static. He swore, "He's here! He's flooded the whole area with youma energy somehow. There's no way to track him against the background!"

"Maybe that's what the human energy was for?"

"Maybe. Our big problem now is where's the attack coming from and does he know we're in here? OK, back to back, teleport and shield link and watch the walls!"

"We'll have to shut down the jammers before we can teleport. Meaning he can use his precision jumping!"

"If either of us activates the link the other shuts down their jammer."

"Got it." Their minds forged a mental link. Whichever teleported first the other would transport to the same destination. They waited for the inevitable attack.

Some distance away the other Sailor Warriors had caught up with Venus not far from Warehouse 21. Sailor Jupiter looked annoyed, "This better not be a wild goose chase I'd just found a new boyfriend."

"Does he know that?"

"He was about to."

The doors to Warehouse 21 exploded as the battered Sailor Polaris was rammed through them. The doors slammed open and Kunzite stalked out. He stopped at the sight of more enemies. "You brats again? How annoying!"

Minako was surprised, she'd expected Lord Calcite. But she overcame her astonishment and shouted "CRESENT BEAM SHOWER". No opening speech, Kunzite was far too dangerous. Almost everyone else followed suit except for Sailor Moon who was kneeling by the unconscious Polaris.




A black energy sphere surrounded Kunzite and the attacks struck it and were absorbed. Kunzite smiled, "That doesn't work remember?"

Mercury activated her vizor and scanned the sphere. Any energy that struck it was absorbed and became part of the shield. However a physical attack would succeed. "Sailor Moon only kinetic enrgy weapons will breach his shield!"

Not surprisingly Usagi said, "What?"

"THROW YOUR STUPID TIARIA AT HIM!" Everyone gets edgy from time to time.

Usagi stepped away from the injured Polaris and her hand went to her forehead. "OK, Moon Tiarahhhhhhhh!" Kunzite's force beam slammed her backwards. She stopped rolling and lay still. Kunzite smiled at Mercury.

"This shield doesn't stop my attacks remember. Thanks for pointing out the only member of your pathetic group who could harm me!"

Mercury's eye's glittered. "You monster! SHABON SPRAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" Another forcebolt hammered her into the ground. Kunzite surveyed the three remaining warriors.

"Well that's the brains of your group and the most powerful member out of action. Like to kill yourselves now and save me the trouble?"

"Sorry I've got a date to get too. So I'll have to wipe you out!" Jupiter launched herself at Kunzite. Ami had said physical objects could penetrate the shield, at least that's what she hoped Ami had said. So she'd get physical with whitey! The flying kick should take Kunzite square in the face and drop him.

It would have if it connected but Kunzite showed a remarkable turn of speed and siezed her ankle. His arm surged upwards and Minako flew above his head. Then he played crack the whip and she hit the ground hard.

"JUPITER!" Rei was caught off guard by her friend's injury. Kunzite's force pulse caught her squarely and she folded. Venus glanced around. Everyone else was still except for Sailor Polaris who moved slightly. She was on her own and her powers wouldn't stop this guy. Kunzite's smile was cold as he began levitating so he could take out all his targets without obstruction.

"Lord Calcite wants me to thank you for bringing all your friends here to die at my hands. Leave now and I'll let you live!"

"I stand by my friends!" Brave words but what could she do? She couldn't shield them alone, couldn't shoot him down and couldn't reach him in person. Had she brought everyone to their deaths?

Polaris regain consciousness. Things were real bad and she hurt too much to focus her powers. Only one thing she could do. Uttering a silent prayer that it still worked she triggered the emergency signal.

The telepathic siren wailed in the minds of Calcite and Azurite. As one they switched off their teleport jammers and warped.

Kunzite hadn't blasted them yet. Maybe if she could keep him talking Usagi would revive and use the Moon Sceptre on him. A feeble hope but the only one she had. "Why are you doing this?"

Kunzite looked at her with loathing. "You Sailor Warriors got Zoisite killed! Maybe I loved him, maybe I didn't but he was my partner. And when your partner gets killed you're supposed to do something about it. Something like this!" His hand glowed with power.

Eight knives flew towards Kunzite. His image seemed to flicker but he didn't disappear. The blades went straight through the bubble and into Kunzite. Three went straight through him the other five lodged in place. He was starting to yell with pain when the five blades glowed with energy. Kunzite's face twisted in agony, he was in too much pain to scream. He hovered in place writhing for a moment until hurricane force winds from above slammed him into the ground. He dropped the pouch he'd been carrying. As he hit another wind slashed sand into him at typhoon speeds. Somehow he forced himself to his knees. Just in time to see the grey clad figure with the sword coming down on top of him. He tried to focus a blast but it was too little too late. The sword slashed downwards and blood sprayed across the concrete. Minako was a little surprised to see that it was red.

Gray was lowering his bloody sword when someone new hit the ground. He spun to confront him and saw it was Tuxedo Mask. He'd landed by Sailor Moon and was looking at Kunzite in the middle of a spreading puddle of blood. He looked at Gray and said, "Was that necessary?"

"After what he did to my sister? Yes, it was very necessary!" Minako had never heard Gray sound so fierce. It was amazing how little time had elapsed.

"She's not too badly hurt Gray." That came from Sailor Arcturus who was at Polaris's side. Winds still swirled around Arcturus ready to strike if needed. It occurred to Calcite he'd just blown the secret of his connection to Sailor Polaris. Screw it.

Tuxedo Mask announced Sailor Moon would be alright in a few hours when she got over the concussion. Gray standing over Kunzite with his sword ready nodded. "Good. You two check your friends. Arcturus over here. He's still alive and we need answers." Arcturus gently eased Polaris down and came to Gray's side. They'd reactivated the teleport blockers as soon as they arrived. Kunzite wasn't going anywhere. Gray rolled the wounded general onto his back and looked into the pain and hate filled eyes. Sounding in control again Minako heard Gray say, "You're in a lot of pain but it could be a lot worse. I can reactivate the blades and she can sandblast you again but I don't think you want that."

She heard Kunzite cough up a mouthful of blood and gurgle, "No ... I don't ... want that." She finished checking Ami. Mercury was already beginning to revive. She glanced over at Tuxedo Mask who was examining Rei and Makoto and saw him give her the "thumbs up" sign. Hurt but they'd recover. Good. She headed for the pouch she'd seen Kunzite drop. It could be important.

"Drop the mask, let's see who you really are!" Gray looked down at the dying youma. The bleeding figure managed to smile and say, "Fool! it's ... it's not over yet. You've beaten me ... but the master remains. Lord Calcite will destroy you all!"

"WHAT!" Gray sounded amazed, Arcturus looked amazed. Then Kunzite began sinking. It was as though the ground had suddenly turned liquid beneath him. The knives sticking out of Kunzite crackled but it didn't seem to affect him. While Kunzite melted into the ground the blades didn't. They were left behind in the blood pool Kunzite had created. Minako heard Gray swear, "Sonofabitch, the bastard phase shifted!"

"But that's impossible. It's an aspect of teleportation. With the jammers on he couldn't have used it!"

"Impossible or not he's gone."

Both of them were staring at the place Kunzite had been. Minako broke the silence by saying, "So Calcite is the mastermind behind this all! I knew it."

"Don't be ridiculous. Calcite was a low rank youma with delusions of grandeur. He's just a scapegoat."

Minako looked Gray in the eye. "You want me to believe that so you can hunt him down yourself. Well this is my city and he's mine!" AS she waved her arm for emphasis she remembered the pouch. "Oh yeah Kunzite dropped this. Let's have a look!" She ripped it open. Five rocks fell out. "Five? there only used to be one at a time."

Ami called over, "Bring them here. I'll have a look." As she walked over to where Mercury had propped herself up she saw Gray and Arcturus look at each other. Then they crossed over to Sailor Polaris's side.

Sailor Mercury picked up the rocks one at a time. Let's see ... the green one is Kunzite. No big surprise there. This blue one is Azurite, this yellow one is Pyrite, this is Titanite and this last one ..."

"Yes?" Mercury was studying the white stone carefully.

"No doubt about it. This is Calcite."

As he checked Ti's skull for signs of injury Calcite reflected that life was about to get a lot more complicated. Thankfully Ti had added a small glamour to Sailor Polaris so her blood appeared red. She managed a weak grin and said, "Why aren't you yelling at me about my stupidity, big brother?"

"Right now I'm just thankful you're all right. I'll yell at you when I get over that."

Arcturus nodded. "When his voice goes I'll take over."

Titanite looked at them both and managed to say, "I can't say I don't deserve it. But there's something in that warehouse you have to see! Help me up!"

"Take it easy Ti... Sailor Polaris. You're ..."

"Please Gray, Sailor Arcturus. I swear this is important!" She tried to stand up and fell backwards. Cal caught her and picked her up.

"I'll carry you. But this better be important." The trio headed into the darkened warehouse. Minako started to follow but Mercury caught her wrist.

"Wait!" Ami activated her vizor and focused it on the three gaijin. She adjusted the scanner then said, "OK, I can follow everything from out here. If you joined them they'd just clam up again."

Minako looked at Ami with a certain admiration. "You're a lot sneakier than I thought."

Inside the warehouse you could see the wreckage from Kunzite knocking Ti around the place. Azurite decided Ti must have a stronger forcefield than she'd thought. Otherwise she'd never have survived. It was in the exact center of the warehouse that they saw it.

The crystal lay on its side, it was about seven feet long. The top half had been shattered and scattered across the floor. The bottom half was largely intact and still bore the impression of the man who'd been sealed in it. He gently handed his sister to Azurite then squatted down by the crystal. Calcite touched the impression and read the aura. It was faint but he recognised it. In fact he'd encountered it recently. He stood up, looked at Azurite and confirmed, "Jadeite!"

"Damn! So it was him all along. But why this insane masquerade?"

"I don't know. But we hurt him tonight. Next time we'll have to finish it permanently."

"Well with this cycle of his we've got to wait until thursday. Assuming he isn't too injured to show up."

Arcturus handed Polaris back to her brother. He cradled her in his arms and noticed she'd lapsed back into unconsciousness. He told Arcturus, "Bring a piece of that. Maybe we can trace him with that way." She nodded and picked up a chunk about the size of a loaf of french bread. They turned to leave and Ami deactivated her vizor. It was strange, she thought, that the three westerners kept speaking Japanese while they were alone. She'd expected them to lapse into English.

They reemerged and Gray asked how everyone was doing. On being told everyone was recovering or would in time Gray nodded. Carrying Polaris he walked off with Arcturus. Minako watched them turn the corner and wasn't too surprised to see grey smoke emerge from there. They'd be gone with no trace, Gray's standard mysterious exit. She looked at Ami and asked, "So what did you find out?"

Mercury frowned and said, "I'm not sure. Help me in there. There's something I need to see up close." As Minako helped her up she noticed that Kunzite's blood had dried up and become dust. It swirled away in the breeze.

Later at their home Azurite asked Calcite, "So what are you planning to do to punish Ti?"

He shrugged and said, "I'd say warp sickness on top of the battering she got pretty well covers it. At least now she understands this isn't some TV show where the good guys always triumph. That's a fairly good lesson."

"I suppose." She sighed, "So we have to take on Jadeite?"

"Looks that way. At least we hurt him tonight, we know he's not invunerable. Besides if we don't finish the job he'll blame us as the masterminds behind everything he's done. Which means we'd wind up fighting the Sailor Warriors. I wonder if he'll have cycled back to being himself?"

"One damn thing after another, eh Cal? At least we've got a day to recover."

Elsewhere Kunzite studied himself in the mirror. He could see bone through the slash in his chest. No blood emerged from the cut. With one of his lungs punctured his voice sounded funny. Still he managed to say, "You all think you've got until thursday to lick your wounds. So you're going to be very surprised tomorrow. That is the day this concludes..." The wound sealed and his face and body shifted. His waist narrowed and his chest underwent major alterations. Spikes emerged from his shoulders and his hair extended. The voice that continued was a lot higher pitched. "Yes tomorrow we end this charade ..." Queen Beryl smiled, "... By royal decree!" Her laughter echoed through the cavern as she sorted though photographs of schoolgirls each marked with a name; Usagi Tsukino, Ami Mizuno, Rei Hino, Makoto Kino, Minako Aino and Titania Hobbes.

Dark Kingdom Renegades 1: Refugees

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 5 of 7

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