2014-07-01 - Treachery Parfait

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Title: Treachery Parfait

Zoisite has a prize for Beryl: the civilian identity and tentative friendship of Tuxedo Mask! Beryl has a way with chocolate and fear.


Queen Beryl, Zoisite



OOC - IC Date:

5 February 2014 - 07/01/14

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

The wind howls, faint and distant, in Beryl's court.

The youma live their lives in the warrens of unnatural and festive japery well away from this place; here, they are shadows, and silent too. It is solemn and stark, colored in its thousand subtle hues. Beryl sits at the apex of the gently rippling room, the trails of her dress spread out before her as she regards her crystal sphere.

What does it show her? Lights gleam within, but other than their hues - which seem to predominate with red, tonight - there is little to reveal their content. At times she raises one long-fingered hand over the ball, casting a shadow on the luminous life within.

Yes, it lives... in its way, at least.

Beryl speaks a word that echoes, perhaps across the world - perhaps all worlds. An addressing. "Zoisite," she says.

Her tone is not infuriated, but hardly warm. But was it ever warm, after perhaps those first few days of heady rebellion?

"Attend me," she concludes.

She makes no effort to straighten herself up, of course. What purpose would there be in that?

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

Those selfsame winds that keen through the malign caverns honeycombing the North Pole briefly, momentarily sparkle with surface perfumes: the fragrance of roses in spring.

It's a fine herald to Zoisite's arrival, as usual done theatrically with pink petals that melt away into the air once his feet touch the polished flagstones before Beryl's throne. Whatever he was doing when the summons rang out across the dimensions, it matters not; as is appropriate when appearing in the cavernous audience hall, the youngest Shitennou is attired in his uniform, his autumnal curls properly tamed into a ponytail (and not one hair out of place, either).

He cannot quite tame the smirk from his face, however.

Zoisite's arm crosses his chest in a salute, and he bows before his queen. "Queen Beryl," he begins, most of his characteristic sweetness absent in favour of businesslike tones, "what is your bidding?"

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

Petals bloom and wither in the cold.

And there he is.

Beryl's gaze does not lift from her ball. After the bow, she is silent for exactly four and a half seconds, long enough to feel uncomfortable and lingering. It is a show of power, perhaps. Or maybe she is simply focused on her spells.

"Zoisite," she says, then. "You have been at work for some time. Your task is not one that is easily measured in bolts or stacks."

"Report upon your progress."

NOW she looks up - fractionally. Her eyes are bright in the dim room.

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

Long enough for the shades behind to shift and murmur, and for Zoisite's composure to sustain an infinitesimal fracture in the form of a twitch of the flesh beneath one eyelid.

Perhaps this is like Beryl's relaxed posture, all telegraphing to her audience that whatever occurs is not enough to move her -- not enough to merit her full attention.

It rankles.

But-- true, the gauge of Zoisite's progress is not like that of his comrades', fed to the Great Ruler. So, keeping his gaze respectfully (if barely) south of Beryl's gleaming eyes, he responds, "I have spent time amongst the youths of Tokyo, infiltrating their schools and watching for signs that one or more of them are our enemy. The girls, I have not discovered," here he inclines his head in apology, "yet I have made a discovery that is just as critical.

"My queen, are you are familiar with the man who calls himself Tuxedo Mask?"

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

Beryl answers this by rising to her feet.

As Zoisite speaks, she steps, not towards him, but towards the side. Some of the shadows merge and press together as she moves, and she looks away from him as he speaks. As he inclines his head in apology, Beryl acknowledges it with a slight raise of one hand.

Her staff, and its orb, remain where she'd placed them, despite having no visible means of support. But that's not surprising.

Beryl does not reply immediately. The shadows yield and provide her with something - a small dish of immaculate crystal, containing an elegantly layered parfait. Cherries in syrup - dark chocolate ice cream - and a swirl of the freshest possible whipped topping, decorated with a single chocolate-coated espresso bean.

Beryl walks back to her seat.

She slides one fingertip into the whipped cream, gathering some of it and neglecting the black metal spoon slid into the side. She raises it to her lips and savors it.

THEN she replies. "The tall young man... who follows the Sailor girls. Yes. What have you discovered, Zoisite?"

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

Does Beryl know sweets are Zoisite's favourite (and, often, /only/) food? Even if she doesn't, her indulgence is nevertheless going down on one of the many internal lists of slights Zoisite broods over when he's alone. Outwardly, he remains calm, his vivid green eyes tracking her every move -- as a good and loyal retainer should.

He clears his throat. "Ahem. I have discovered his true identity," he allows himself the sliver of a smile, "and befriended him in one of my human guises. He seems to have eventually seen through it, but I have turned that to my advantage; a few choice words impressed upon him the..." His hand lifts to his mouth, and behind it he laughs lightly, cruelly. "Well, let us just say I have him convinced my loyalties are fluid and forced. We have agreed to share information as it becomes pertinent, and I plan to exploit this agreement to our benefit."

As Zoisite explains, he watches Beryl eat. It's monstrously distracting. Will the crêpe cart be open when he gets back?

"...Ah, yes. He is soft, and trusting -- far too trusting. I feel there is great opportunity here, my queen, and it would be my pleasure to continue my pursuit of it."

She has to acquiesce. Why wouldn't she?

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

Beryl picks up the spoon, slipping its flared tip into the yielding cream. She draws out the chocolate coated espresso bean, and sucks it clean from the spoon, her tongue pinkly visible as she stares at Zoisite.

As she listens.

She draws the spoon out of her mouth with a subtly wet sound. A bit of the wafer is cracked by her next spearing downwards, rooting for several tastes in one bite.

"Zoisite... A matter of clarification."

She brings up dark ice cream, a black smear on her red lips for a moment afterwards. As she draws the spoon loose, she states: "He is aware of your identity... of your true name? Or merely... that you are not who or what you seemed to be?"

Beryl slips the spoon down, drawing out a preserved cherry. It glistens in the cold as she awaits the reply.

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

For another man, Beryl's luscious, meticulous method of eating her parfait might be a sensual tease, as effective an attraction as anything overt.

For Zoisite, it's simply infuriating.

In this malign light, the melting chocolate on her violet lips looks like nothing so much as blood. "That I am his enemy, my queen," the Shitennou clarifies. "I do not think he knows who I work for, or even my true name; even if he does, none of it seems to matter in the light of his desperate need to figure out the truth behind this..." Zoisite lifts a hand -- the other is cupping his elbow -- and forms air quotes with two fingers, "'nostalgia' he feels whenever he meets me. It would appear I remind him of someone, though he does not know whom."

There is nothing to be gained by admitting to Queen Beryl that, to an extent, Mamoru Chiba inspires similar feelings in Zoisite. That his cure for these feelings is to destroy their source would not, he thinks, be sufficient reassurance.

Those fingers of his move to loop a stray piece of hair between them, twisting and curling. He's fidgeting. "Either way, I hardly see how it matters. Tuxedo Mask cannot expose our arrangement without exposing his part in it, including the fact that it was *his* idea. Human girls are not so noble that they will just overlook such an egregious betrayal, and if they somehow then came here looking for a fight..."

Is that a sentence that really needs finishing?

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

Beryl lets the red cherry slide down her tongue, and into her throat.

She doesn't seem to swallow. "Indeed," she says.

"You have my congratulations, Zoisite," she then says, if without actual joy in her voice. "This is a coup, and you have done well. You intend to play upon his sentiments and draw out the identities of the Sailor Soldiers..."

She stabs the spoon in, deep, swirling it in the parfait. "I am pleased. But remember always our true goals... 'Tuxedo Mask' may be a victim of the cats' games, or some other ancient thread. Do not grow attached to this boy."

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

Zoisite blinks. How does she do that?

But- it quickly becomes unimportant, as Beryl dishes out what is, for the Dark Kingdom, extravagant praise. "Ah- My queen, I thank you." The general bows deeply under the weight of it, his palm to his chest and an insufferably smug smile on his lips. What is a little uncomfortable nostalgia against the pride of such praise, against the security it buys?

But she isn't finished, as Zoisite finds when he straightens. Slowly, a small divot appears in the skin between his brows, impressed there by a dignified frown. "No, certainly not. To develop affection for such a fool would prove me equally foolish."

It's not a lie. It's /not/. And even if it is, blood can wash it out.

"I will report to you again after new developments occur, or when next you beckon, my queen," Zoisite says, his hand still on his chest. "Have I leave to depart?"

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

Beryl's tongue slides along the spoon, drawing black and red into her mouth.

Seconds pass.

She speaks. "You do."

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

"Thank you, my queen."

The words are spoken amid dancing petals, and linger in the cavern after Zoisite has phased away from it.

Back to, one hopes, his duty.